Disclaimer: Kami, this gets old…okay, okay "I don't own Dragonball Z". Happy now?
A/N: Last Chappie! Thank you everyone who has taken the time to read this story. It was my first Romantic fic ever, so I am truly grateful for all the support and criticism you all have given me these past few months. I'd say ten chapters wasn't too bad, but I simply can't keep this story going forever…I mean, we all know what happens next anyway. Furthermore, I plan on continuing to post stories for a long time to come. Hope to here from many of you in later fics, thank you so much! -bows- Bye guys, it's been fun!
A/N2: So sorry if anything in this is too cliché or corny. But it's kinda hard to write stuff when everyone already knows what happens. At least…it is for me (but that's really not saying much).
Since FanFiction has made it illegal for me to respond to your reviews, feel free to email me should you want to converse…anytime! Marshmellowdragon, Courtney, super saiyan 4 chichi, Gosha, shadowcatyumi08, anime/videogame freak, rimera, carolinawhiterose, crazy-fan-fic-addict, fubuplayer2005, wynora, and cutie.
Goku stepped over the threshold and onto the tile floor, which had black strips running across it from the heels of overly anxious children. He'd never been inside a school before, and he wasn't all too sure he liked it. But he looked over at ChiChi, who was simply overjoyed, and shrugged it off. Surely if ChiChi was this excited about a preschool then it couldn't be that bad.
"And this," the overweight school administrator said, "Is the cafeteria. If you choose to pay for the meal plan your Gohan will get breakfast and lunch here."
ChiChi frowned. "Um, no. I usually just cook his breakfast and lunch."
"Besides," Goku interrupted. "those plates are awfully small. Do you get seconds and thirds with those?"
The administrator sweat dropped. "No, those plates usually fill the students up."
"That's fine." ChiChi said, nudging Goku hard in the ribs. "By boys just have healthy appetites."
"Indeed." The administrator said. "Follow me to Ms. Yamina's classroom please, this will be his homeroom for the year."
ChiChi marched right alongside the administrator while Goku and Gohan followed at a safe distance behind. It certainly was a large building, and very…gray. Goku didn't enjoy being inside it either, but if it made ChiChi this happy he didn't put up a fuss.
Besides, Gohan did need to get educated. Kami knows Goku could have used some schooling when he was a kid.
"Daddy?" Gohan asked, pulling on his pants legging.
"Yeah buddy, what is it?"
"I don't want to stay here. Please can we go home?" Gohan's sad face looked up at his father pleadingly, and Goku had to swallow hard.
"Now, you know your mom said this is a really good school." He patted Gohan's head. "I'm sure you'll learn to love it."
Gohan's face fell, if it were possible to look any more solemn, and he simply nodded. "Okay."
Goku grunted and kept following his wife and the fat man. He didn't want to send Gohan here, he wanted to keep Gohan at home and play with him. They had a lot of fun together, when he wasn't studying of course. That wasn't the point though. The point was that ChiChi was so headstrong on the studying part she wouldn't even consider what Goku wanted. He wanted to train Gohan, to teach him all the techniques he himself knew so well. It wasn't fair, it really wasn't.
"Goku, come on. Don't just stand there." ChiChi said, and Goku realized he'd not followed the others into the classroom.
"Sorry Chi." He said, and moved past her.
She frowned, knowing something was wrong with Goku to make him act so…sad. Goku wasn't ever sad, he was always bouncing around and cheerful. She made a mental note to ask him about it later, but now she had to finish this tour.
They met with the teacher, who seemed nice enough, and watched as Gohan was allowed outside to meet his fellow classmates. All the little ones stopped there playing and turned to greet the new student. Some were smiling and others weren't, but most were generally acceptant.
"Children," Ms. Yamina said. "This is Son Gohan, he will be in our class."
Collectively the other students, some not so enthusiastically as others, said "Hello Gohan."
Gohan blushed and looked down, muttering some incoherent word which the teacher translated as "Hello".
The administrator looked around at the Sons and smiled. "Well, I think he'll be just fine." With that he shook hands with them and led them to the door.
"It was wonderful to have met you, Gohan will be ready to go home at four o'clock sharp." He opened the door. "Good day to you."
"So we just…leave him here?" Goku asked. "Just like that, not even saying goodbye?"
"I guess so, is that best?" ChiChi asked the administrator.
"Well, in the past we've had difficulties with separation anxiety from both parents and children. So we try to just make the transition as painless as possible for both now, if you leave he won't even realize you're gone for a while. By then, he'll be used to the others and able to cope."
Goku scratched his head, looked to Chichi (who was simply frowning) and said "Huh?"
ChiChi sighed. "He means we ought to just go, then come back and get him this afternoon."
"Oh." Goku said, turning and trying to catch a glimpse of Gohan outside. He couldn't, so he turned and nodded. "Okay, if you say so."
They all walked back into the hallway and made their way to the entrance of the school.
"I trust you two can find your way back alright?" The administrator asked.
"Yes. We're fine, thank you." ChiChi said, grabbing Goku's arm and walking outside with him.
Goku squinted as the sun was suddenly too bright for his eyes. He raised his hand to his face for shade, then continued walking out of the school grounds.
"I like it Goku, I think Gohan will get a great education there." ChiChi said, smiling. "Though I did want to say goodbye to him."
"Yeah, me too." Goku said, grabbing up ChiChi once they were out of sight of the school.
"Iya, Goku!" She yelped, but they were already up in the air by the time she shouted. "Goodness Goku, people aren't used to seeing someone jump fifty feet in the air and take off flying!"
Goku nodded, somewhat distracted, and kept going west. His mind was elsewhere, wondering just what Gohan was doing at that school. Questioning if he was having as much fun as ChiChi thought.
"Goku." ChiChi said, leaning down against his chest.
"What's wrong? You've been acting strange all day." She said, head against his shoulder.
"I have? I'm sorry." He said, falling silent again.
"Goku, tell me what's wrong. I want to know." She said.
Goku looked at her, giving her an odd expression, then looked back ahead of him.
"I don't think you're being fair." He finally said. "About Gohan, his going to school and not ever training."
"Goku we talked about this, I don't want him to train. I want him to study and be a scholar."
"Yes. You want this, and you want that. Well what about what I want, I'm his father." Goku clinched his teeth and bit his bottom lip to keep from shouting. ChiChi never responded well to being yelled at. Besides, he didn't like to yell at people. He liked to be nice, if he could.
"Yes, you're his father. So do you want to see him get hurt like you always do. You always get hurt Goku! I don't want to see Gohan lying in a bloody heap on a concrete fighting ring, I don't want to see him get killed like you're friends. And I don't want him to turn out like us, uneducated and barely making enough to survive." She cleared her thought and breathed. Suddenly, she felt a little better.
"He doesn't have to enter tournaments, or even really fight. I just want to teach him what I know, so we can have fun sparing together." Goku again looked at his wife, who was now also biting her bottom lip.
"Don't you understand Chi?" Goku asked. "Fighting's all I've got. It's all I am. I don't know much about anything else, you're the smart one in the family. I want to give him something that's mine, something that can be just for the two of us…father and son stuff."
She smiled. "That's sounds kinda…" She frowned. "No Goku, I just don't…what if he got hurt? What if he got killed? Piccolo is still out there, he still hates you. Don't you think he'd try and hurt Gohan to get to you? I think he would."
"Yeah, but wouldn't it be smart to make Gohan stronger in case that happened? He's got power ChiChi, he's got a lot of power. I couldn't teach him to use it, then nothing could hurt him."
ChiChi again bit her bottom lip. Truth be told, he was right. Or at least, he sounded right. She knew when she married him he was a fighter, all the way to the core. She knew it, so why did she even bother to argue with him about this?
"We'll see Goku." She said. "Give it some time, let him get a little older."
Goku looked at her in surprise. "So, you'll let me train him?"
"Well, just not right now. He's only four." She said. "Can't we leave it at that for now? I'm not saying 'no', I just want to wait."
Goku nodded. "Alright, he is still little. We can give it another year or two."
She smiled and kissed his cheek. "You really are a good father Goku. I'm proud of you, you're my hero."
Goku smiled too. "Really? You're hero?"
She nodded. "Yes, you always have been. You didn't know that?"
He chuckled and looked down at the tree tops passing by. "I guess I had a clue. But it's really nice to hear you say that."
"Well, you're very welcome." She said, wrapping her arms around his neck and burying her face in the nape of his neck.
"You cold? We can stop for a while." Goku said.
"No, I'm fine. Is home much farther?"
"It's just another mile, we'll be there soon."
"Good. I'm ready to be home again." She said, closing her eyes.
"Yeah, me too." He said, more to himself than to ChiChi.
Gohan had been to school almost all that week, and he'd not enjoyed it at all. When he played games with the other children he broke the toys, or hit the ball too hard, or accidentally played to rough. He didn't mean to do those things, he just did them without noticing.
And when it was lunch time all the children teased him about how much he ate, that he was a little pig. He didn't think he was a pig, but he looked at the other children's plates. They were all eating much less than he was, some of them didn't even finish their first helpings. One little boy had pulled his tail on the second day of class, and Gohan couldn't move for at least a whole minute.
They all called him names, like "monkey-boy" or "piggy" because of his tail and appetite. Why was he so different? Why were the other children so mean? Why did he have to go to school at all?
"Your mom says it's good for you." Goku said, picking Gohan up. The two were hiking together, since it was Saturday, and now were looking over a large ravine.
"It's not that bad is it?" Goku asked.
"I hate it. I didn't make a single friend." Gohan said, slithering out of his father's hold and onto the ground. "I don't want to go back."
"You'll like it soon. Sometimes you might not like something at first, but then you learn to."
"But they hate me. They're mean to me because I'm different from them." He started to cry a little. "Why am I so different?"
"You aren't, you're just like me when I was a boy." Goku said, but Gohan didn't stop crying. So he knelt in front of him so they were eye to eye, and used his gi top to wipe off Gohan's face.
"Son, you're mom is the strongest woman in the world and I'm the strongest man. You're gonna be strong no matter what, you were meant to be. But that doesn't make you strange, and the other kids'll see that soon enough."
"But I just want to be normal." Gohan shouted. "I want to be like the rest of them, or I'll never make any friends."
"Sure you will." Goku said. "You're about the best person I know. Just be yourself and you'll make lots of friends."
"You really think so?" Gohan asked.
"Yep. I really do." Goku said, again picking Gohan up. "Do you know what'll cheer you up?"
Gohan shook his head.
"You can come to Kame island with me tomorrow. All my friends will be there and you can meet them. They'll be your friends too, you know."
Gohan smiled. "I can go with you, really?"
Goku chuckled. "Well yeah, we'll have a great time. You mom might even decide to go, since you're gonna go too."
"I'd like that." Gohan said, now completely back to his cheerful self. "Lets go home now, it's lunch time."
Goku laughed out loud that time, and jumped into the air. "You're just a chip off the ole' block."
"I am." Gohan asked. "Okay."
The two flew home and entered the house, which smelled of sweet rice and vegetables. ChiChi was finishing some chicken when Goku came up behind her and touched her neck.
"I'm trying to cook." She said, eyeing him. "Don't pull anything funny."
His hands went up in symbolic surrender, and he laughed. "You know me."
He sat down at the table next to Gohan, and waited for ChiChi to put lunch on the table. When she did he ate it, and when they were done he helped with the dishes. Gohan stayed outside and ran after any creature that moved. Out the window ChiChi could keep a watch on him, and Goku was next to her drying the dishes she washed.
"You know what I was just thinking about?" Goku asked.
"There's no telling." ChiChi answered, then looked at him. "What?"
He put the plate he was drying down and walked over to her. "Our first anniversary. DO you remember?"
ChiChi scowled and scoffed. "How could I forget. You didn't have a clue you were suppose to give me a present."
"Aw, you're not still sore about that are you? That was four years ago."
"So." She said, her scowl eventually lifting to a smile. "Oh, you know I can't stay mad at you."
He walked behind her and put his arms around her stomach. "I know. Because you love me." He kissed her neck.
She stopped washing the dishes and turned around. "Just what are you trying to pull?"
"Nothing, do I need a reason to kiss my own wife?" He kissed her lips and pulled back quick.
"Son Goku, you're up to something." She said, crossing her arms. As close as they were, her elbows were leaning against Goku's chest.
"Maybe I am. Who knows." He said, pushing her arms down and holding them at her sides.
"Goku, what are you doing? What's gotten in to you?" She asked, unable to suppress a giggle that emitted when he again kissed her neck.
"What, you don't like me kissing you?"
"What if Gohan walks in? Save this for later Goku, if Go-"
He kissed her mouth again and halted her speech. He could hear Gohan a mile away, and he'd not do much more be kissing ChiChi anyway should he come inside.
He pulled back and she was flushed a brilliant crimson. He was amused that after all these years he still had that effect on her. "You're red, are you hot?"
She hit his shoulder playfully. "Don't be fresh, I just…oh forget it. It's no use."
"Nope." He said, and hoisted her up to sit on the kitchen table.
"Goku!" She whispered sharply, afraid that yelling would bring Gohan indoors. "You're crazy today, what's gotten into you?"
"Nothing. I just think you're pretty, that's all." He put his arms around her. "That wrong?"
"No, I don't guess." She said, leaning against his upper arm.
"Come on. Forget the dishes for a little while and lets go outside." He said.
"I'll not forget the dishes, the pots will rust. I'll come outside when they're done." She hopped off the table and put her hands back into the hot water.
Goku went back to standing beside her and drying the dishes she handed to him. Fifteen minutes later they were outside and under a large tree for shade. Gohan joined them soon and the three sat under the tree together. Goku was against the trunk of the tree, ChiChi was beside him leaning against him, and Gohan was in both his parent's laps taking a nap.
ChiChi brushed aside tray hairs that covered her son's face. Soon she'd give him a hair cut, he was in dire need of one.
"He's beautiful, don't you think?" ChiChi asked.
Goku looked down at his son and grinned. "Yeah. Just about perfect I think."
ChiChi touched Gohan's cheek and moved him gently against her and Goku. He didn't wake up, he mumbled something indecipherable lowly. Goku put an arm around ChiChi and used his other hand to pull off Gohan's shoes. Then he rested his hand on his son's bottom leg, unconsciously tapping his forefinger again Gohan's chin.
An hour later ChiChi was also sleeping, Goku was the only one awake. Between being full and the heat, he was close to taking a nap himself. Once ChiChi was completely unconscious he picked her up carefully, with Gohan on her stomach, and carried them to the nearby grassy hill they used to watch him train.
He put them down and laid beside them, with Gohan between he and ChiChi, and fell asleep soon after. He wasn't worried about the sun because of the shade the tall trees gave. Besides, soon enough it would be dusk and they wouldn't have to worry about burning.
That night, after supper, Goku was inside Gohan room to tuck him in. He helped a very sleepy Gohan, who'd stayed up past his bedtime, peel off his clothes and slip on a nightshirt. Once under the covers Gohan jerked around until he was comfortable, then he looked up at his father.
"Daddy, what time will we go to see your friends tomorrow?" He asked.
"Oh, just after lunch I guess." He said.
"Okay. It sounds fun. Thanks for taking me." Gohan said.
"You're welcome." Goku answered. "Now go to sleep. Goodnight."
"Goodnight daddy. I love you." Gohan said.
"I love you too, son." Goku leaned down and kissed Gohan's forehead. "See you in the morning."
Gohan nodded and watched his father leave the room. Once the door was shut Gohan closed his eyes and turned over. Within minutes he was asleep, and he was excited about seeing the Kame island the next day. Who knew what might happen, tomorrow would be an adventure.
Goku entered his bedroom and changed into his boxers, crawling into the bed beside ChiChi. He leaned and kissed her cheek, then settled down under the covers. His arm went up to pillow his head and his other went around ChiChi, pulling up next to him.
"Are you sure you don't want to go tomorrow?" He asked.
"Yes Goku, you'll have more fun if just you and Gohan go." She said, draping her arm over his stomach.
"I want you to go, I'll have plenty of fun if you're there too." He said.
"They're you're friends Goku, I'd feel a little out of place." She kissed his shoulder and hugged him. "You and Gohan will have a great time. I bet you'll shock your friends when they see you again."
Goku frowned. "How come?"
"Because you're different than you used to be. You're so much more…responsible, and mature."
"Oh yeah." Goku said. "I guess you're right. It'll be nice to see everyone, and see how they've changed."
"Yes. It'll be good for you." She said.
He smiled and leaned down to kiss her. "Goodnight Chi."
She kissed him again and moved to turn out the light. "Goodnight Goku. See you tomorrow."
"Hai. See you in the morning." He said, turning so that he was up against ChiChi with his arm on her side. He rested his head on her arm and rubbed her side with his hand. He felt her relax and sigh, that was a good feeling.
"Goku, would you care to rub my back?"
He grinned. "Not at all."
He moved his hand around to her back and did his best not to press too hard. He was strong and he knew it, on occasions he'd not noticed that something he did was too rough. Once he'd picked her up but held her too firmly. Another time they were playfully wrestling in the floor of the living room when he grabbed her arm too hard.
So he was careful, very careful with her. She was tough, yes, but to him she was also very fragile.
"Thank you Goku, you're sweet." She said, yawning and sighing together.
"I love you Chi."
"I know." She snickered. "And I love you too."
The Next day - Mid afternoon
The battle was over, Radditz was dead. Piccolo was standing off to the far left of Goku, who was in process of dying himself. It was by Piccolo's own doing, but for a reason the Demon couldn't fathom he wasn't happy or proud…not in the least.
Goku opened his eyes and turned his head slowly, so he could catch a glimpse of his son. Gohan was amazing, but now he was unconscious. Goku wanted to say something, but no words came. He was in so much pain his world seemed to slowly drain of color, his eyes were hazy and unclear.
He suddenly heard a loud noise, then voices around him. Again he willed himself to open his eyes, Krillin…Master Roshi…Bulma. Bulma went to Gohan, said he was okay, then came back crying. Why was she crying?
Oh, yeah, he was about to die.
"It'll be okay Goku." Krillin was saying. "You'll pull through, you always do."
Goku pushed his arm up and Krillin took his hand, certainly he knew that wasn't the case this time. Without a senzu, there was no hope. Goku had been shot through the chest, his blood surrounded him. There was nothing to be done, and Goku knew it.
Honestly, Goku didn't remember all of what he said. Something to encourage his friends, make them less sad. Something about Gohan and ChiChi, something about death, something about life. He couldn't remember anything, and suddenly the pain was one hundred times worse. He cringed and closed once eye, still looking at Krillin.
Memories of the past four years invaded his consciousness. Marrying ChiChi, kissing her, Gohan's birth, his first steps, wrestling matches on the floor, getting spit up on, sleeping outside, fishing, training…so many things flashed in front of him so fast he couldn't keep them strait. He thought of Gohan and ChiChi, and he smiled.
The pain was gone.
"Goodbye." He said, to everyone around him. To his family.
And he was gone, his body taken by Kami to train in outer world. There was nothing left but the red stains on the grass, and a small boy laying unconscious in Bulma's arms.
ChiChi lay in her bed alone for the first time in over five years. Goku hadn't come home, Gohan was going to miss school in the morning, and Krillin came to visit out of no where. The little monk had acted very strange, and ChiChi was no fool. She knew something was up, she knew something was happening.
Something was wrong.
Tomorrow she'd find out the truth, she'd find out why she had this empty feeling. A sinking feeling that something was missing, that she was suddenly not whole anymore.
She'd find Goku, she would shout at him, he'd apologies and somehow make her anger disappear. They'd kiss and make up, send Gohan to school the next day, and life would go back to normal.
Yes. ChiChi knew it would. Perhaps they'd had a complicated beginning, and didn't quite know what they were getting into, but now she was sure they'd make it. They had a life together, and nothing could break that up or take it away. She just hoped, that her little sixth sense was wrong. Nothing bad had happened, Goku was just being Goku. Slightly neglectful emotionally, cheerful and naïve. He probably didn't even have a clue he had her worried.
He just didn't have a clue altogether.
"Goodnight Goku, wherever you are. We'll fight tomorrow I'm sure, but make up soon enough. Just don't stay gone long, I can barely sleep without you now." She closed her eyes. "I love you, you knuckle-head. And you know it too."
Minutes later she was asleep, not knowing that tomorrow she'd face the harsh truth that her husband was dead and her son taken by their enemy. She didn't know she'd have to learn to live without him through many of their years of marriage. She didn't know just how strong she would have to become, and learn to live without him, learn to forgive him, and learn to always accept him when he came back home.
She was strong and he was her hero, that's why they will always remain together.