Title: Without Peer (1/5-ish)
Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ or any of its characters. Don't sue; you'll get nothin' anyway.
Rated: Teens and up
Summery: Pan enters the Tenkaichi Budoukai to gain someone's recognition and reap a little revenge on the person who took her Grandfather away.
I know I shouldn't blame him for how my relationship with my grand father turned out, but I'm a third Saiya-Jin and Saiya-Jin aren't known for their rationale. Ask Vegeta. I should have been angry with Grandpa if I was to be angry with anyone, but if you ever met my gramps you'd understand how hard it is to be mad at him. Don't ask Vegeta about that, though. But there it was, I hated Ubuu with a passion and I wanted to use the upcoming Tenkaichi Budoukai to finally deal with my issues concerning the bumpkin.
I was going to beat the living crap out of him.
I didn't fully embrace my Saiya-Jin heritage until I turned fourteen-years-old. That's not to say I never liked fighting until then, because I did love fighting, I even trained regularly with Trunks and my Uncle Goten—both were half-Saiya-Jin—but they weren't all that interested in reaching their full potential. At best my Saiya-Jin role models only trained to stay in shape, not attain the lofty heights of strength their fathers' had.
My father was half Saiya-Jin as well, and going by all the stories Mom and Grams told me he used to be unimaginably strong, stronger even than my Gramps and Vegeta. It's hard to believe looking at him now. I love my father, I do, but he's the biggest softy I ever met. He doesn't like to fight, or train, or shout, or do anything remotely confrontational. Well, okay, besides ground me for neglecting my homework or picking on my little brother, but other than that, he's a big softy, not big on rowdy Saiya-Jin behavior.
Vegeta. What can I say about mister royal pants that won't have you running for the hills? He never liked me—I think. He never out and out told me so, but he's always treated me like an invisible serf. I knew he was strong, how could I not? He never wasted an opportunity to rub my Dad's face in his clear superiority. Always calling my Dad a lazy bookworm… I really don't like Vegeta.
He was never a person I looked up to, and his going on and on about Saiya-Jin pride and my Father's lack of it, didn't inspire me to embrace that aspect of myself.
I wonder if Grandpa Goku was around when I was growing up if I would've found that illusive pride in my Saiya-Jin blood? It wasn't as though he acted like being a Saiya-Jin was the best thing in the world to begin with. I guess he respects other stuff about being a Saiya-Jin. I know he embraced the part of being Saiya-Jin that made fighting such a joy to him and his kin. But beyond that, I don't really know.
I didn't know a whole lot about Gramps besides what my relatives and Krillin told me. Which is why I hated Ubuu, because he probably knew my Gramps better than I did. No, there's no probably about it, he did know Goku better; Ubuu was more his grandchild than I was.
I flew straight to the stadium after school. School let out early so everyone could watch the Budoukai on TV, or if they were very lucky, see it live in person. I arrived in time to get in line to sign up for the disqualifying rounds.
This year the Budoukai's disqualifying heats would be televised on Pay Per View—my very own maternal Grandpa, Mr. Satan, had set up the TV deal. Gramps stood to make millions off the venture. I was weary of being on TV, not many of my friends from school knew I was a fighter, and none of them knew how strong I was. I was going to go through with competing, there was no changing my mind and I'd have to deal with the fall out later.
The line at the sign-up booth was long; it extended twenty feet out the door. I didn't see anyone I knew from my place in line—dead last—which meant Granddad, Goten, and the others got here hours before I did. Well, they didn't have to wait to get let out of class, and skipping? Dad would have grounded me into the next century if I ditched a single minute of school. Then Grandma would have been waiting in the wings to add another hundred years.
Dad didn't care for me being in the Budoukai in the first place. He was worried I'd end up ignoring my scholastics and focus more on fighting, and entering the tournament didn't assuage his concerns. I tried to assure him I wasn't interested in going that route despite the none-stop training I'd done for two years. It didn't help my case any I couldn't tell him why I suddenly wanted to embrace my surly Saiya-Jin side. I wasn't sure how'd he react.
"What are you doing in this line, cutie? It's not for refreshments, you know."
I was wearing a knock-off of my Dad's old gi, I even had the weird-looking cape to go with it, so I wasn't reveling any part of my body except my head and the slivers of my ankles. So I don't understand why the guy who got in line behind me patted my butt. There was no fighting outside the ring, certainly no killing, so I let him fondle me, hoping he got bored after a while.
He didn't, not even after two minutes.
"Instead of embarrassing yourself why don't you wait for me after I win the tourney and we go somewhere an' celebrate?"
I was getting upset. Not weepy upset, but seeing a red blinding rage upset. I wondered if I could punch the rude bastard away from the stadium fast enough the officials didn't see. Then I felt the man's hand go away.
I whirled around and saw Grandpa standing behind me, a huge grin on his handsome face. He wore a blue gi with a white belt and black shoes. He cut a striking, powerful figure, and it was hard to believe he looked so young—his age being somewhere around fifty-nine or sixty-years-old. Standing behind him was Ubuu, quiet and smiling politely. He had on an all white gi with a black belt and boots. With his flawless brown skin the gi was… an interesting contrast.
There was no one behind Ubuu; the vulgar man was gone.
I should have known Goku couldn't have arrived at the Tournament early. I have no clear memory of him being on time for anything—except a meal. He showed up before food hit the table.
"Good afternoon, Pan-chan," Ubuu greeted, his voice was also polite.
I didn't say anything back for a long moment, secretly enjoying his growing discomfort at my silence. But I wasn't silent just to make Ubuu nervous; I was probing him with my senses, trying to get a read on how strong he was. I'd seen him not too long ago at Goku's house. Ubuu was there to visit because he promised Grandma he would. She'd wanted to make him a big dinner (as if she knew how to make any other kind). You'd think after the way her husband took off to train the dark-skinned young man my Grandma would feel some resentment toward him, but she adored Ubuu, she plain thought he was the best-behaved and helpful friend Goku ever had. He helped wash dishes and cleaned the kitchen after dinner, which was more than Goku had done around the house in three decades of marriage. Then he waved goodbye and was gone in a flash over the mountains, heading for his village somewhere in the deep desert.
I never felt more than a spark of his power the whole time. I was hoping he'd tap into his real strength in preparation for his upcoming preliminary match. I scanned him, and damn it, he kept his ki under tight control. Just like Grandpa, Ubuu didn't flaunt his power until absolutely necessary. There was no telling what I could expect when I finally faced him in the ring.
"Hello, Ubuu," I said finally. Slightly dipping my chin at him, my eyes devoid of any warmth.
Ubuu bowed so I couldn't tell if my discourteousness hit home or not. When he straightened his expression was unbothered. Oh, boy, this guy bugs me.
"So, you're goin' to enter the Budoukai, Pan?" Grandpa asked cheerfully. I wondered if he was trying to dispel the moment, but cheerful was my Grandpa's general modus operandi.
"You bet." I looked at Ubuu. "I intend to go far," I said.
Goku laughed and placed his hand on top of my head. "Just do your best and fight with honor and I expect you will." At my Grandpa's praise a wave of pleasure went through me. I blushed and my eyes felt itchy with tears, I didn't know what to say—I couldn't speak—so I didn't say anything. He ruffled my hair and laughed.
The line moved slowly but we eventually reached the sign-up booth and filled out the necessary forms, then an official assigned us plastic sheets with numbers printed on them. I was given the number 206, Goku 207 and Ubuu 208. The prelims had already begun when we entered a small building separated from the main stadium, our competitors crowded inside waiting their turns on one of the four stages.
An hour later, the number of fighters looking for fame and riches at the Tenkaichi Budoukai had been cut in half, and with the crowd thinned, I finally caught sight of Goten and Trunks. Goten had the number 25 taped to the front of his black muscle shirt, which topped the blue jeans and sneakers he wore. Trunks' number was 26, and he had on a blue Capsule Corp. bomber jacket, on which hung his number, a dark blue tank top under the jacket and he wore loose fitting dark blue slacks and beige boots.
"Look, there's Goten and Trunks," I said, pointing out the pair to my Grandpa and Ubuu.
"Yo, boys, have you two fought yet?" Goku asked as we walked up to them.
"Nope," Goten said, "but Vegeta has."
"Vegeta had a match?" Grandpa asked, he sounded surprised.
I almost said aloud 'And no one died?' but stayed quiet on the subject. I really don't like Vegeta.
"It ended pretty fast," Trunks said like it was obvious, which, of course, it was.
"I just can't believe he waited in line so long," Grandpa replied.
Out of our newly formed group Ubuu's match came first. The outcome was no mystery and the others talked amongst themselves during his fight, but I watched raptly. His opponent was a professional boxer. I knew him, his name was Toushi Tebukuro, and he worked out at one of Grandpa Satan's gyms in Satan City. Grandpa even trained him back when Toushi first started out in the divisions. He was good, I guess, for a normal fighter, but nowhere near Ubuu's league. I got a good sense of Ubuu's speed when he used Zanzoken to move behind Toushi. He was fast, as expected, and I calculated even if Ubuu were a thousand times faster I'd have no trouble keeping up with him.
Ubuu delivered a swift, delicate chop to the back of the boxer's baldhead and knocked him unconscious. There were cheers and hums of wonder as he walked off the stage and a couple of muscular guys in referee uniforms carried Toushi away. Ubuu came and stood next to Goku and was congratulated by the boys.
"Jeez, this is getting boring. When am I gonna get matched up?" Goten complained sullenly a few minutes later, he'd lowered to the floor and sat cross-legged with his elbows resting on his knees and his chin propped on his palms.
Looking down at him I wondered why all my girlfriends thought Goten was so hot. Sure, he had good looks and muscles, but I swear he possessed the maturity of an adolescent half their age. Maybe if my friends commented once on how sweet and earnest a guy he was I might understand the infatuation…
Trunks' number was called next. His match ended as quickly as Ubuu's, and after watching him I wasn't worried about having to go through him. Trunks was far from weak but he'd really let his skills go since I last trained with him and Goten. His speed was good, but he wasted too much energy. His control was also passable, judging from the way he neatly dispatched his opponent without causing unnecessary damage, yet it was not on my level.
Grandpa's match blew me away. During Ubuu and Trunks' matches I could see their movement. I couldn't detect Goku's at all. He'd used Instantaneous Movement. I prayed to Kami I wouldn't have to fight him before I reached Ubuu. And I especially didn't want to go up against…
"Kakarotto," Vegeta came up to us after Grandpa's match, his arms crossed over his chest, "about time you showed up. I didn't think I'd have a challenge before reaching that lack wit Satan."
I really, really don't like Vegeta.
I learned the truth about my Grandpa after I began training seriously, I also found out about the agreement among Goku and his friends, and Vegeta, to allow Grandpa Satan to win the Tenkaichi Budoukai until he retired. Vegeta agreed readily enough, but he obviously didn't do it because he liked or respected my Grandpa.
"I don't know, Vegeta, maybe one of the kids might give you a run for your money," Goku said.
"Humph." Vegeta's eyes roamed over Goten for a few seconds. My Uncle fidgeted under his appraisal and looked relieved when the Saiya-Jin's gaze moved on. Vegeta didn't even bother looking at Trunks, as if he knew he wouldn't ascertain anything new. Trunks scratched the back of his neck, embarrassed by his father's brusque assessment.
Vegeta's stare settled on Ubuu and maintained. Where his expression was dismissive with Goten and Trunks, he truly concentrated on Ubuu. The dark-skinned man let the Saiya-Jin study him without showing a hint of uneasiness.
After a few moments Vegeta 'humphed' again, and then he looked up at me.
I mentioned before how Vegeta never paid attention to me on the rare occasions we crossed paths. Though I was insulted on some level by his inhospitality, I wasn't exactly crying over his indifference. Now under his intense scrutiny I find I really wanted him to put his eyes somewhere else.
He studied me nearly as long as he studied Ubuu, but at the end of my testing Vegeta's eyebrows rose. Then his brow dropped and helped form a frown. Finally he glanced at Grandpa. "You shouldn't joke before battle, Kakarotto. These whelps might impress you, but they wouldn't make a true Saiya-Jin bat an eye."
When Vegeta strode arrogantly away, showing the number 3 on his back, I heard Goten and Trunks let out deep breaths.
"Wow, he still freaks me out!" Goten said, chuckling nervously.
"Try living with him some time," Trunks replied.
"Nah, I don't think even your millions'd be worth it."
"Hey, Pan," Grandpa whispered my way, "I guess Vegeta's noticed you got a lot stronger, huh?"
I was blushing again. Of course I was hoping Goku would notice how much I've improved and it felt good to know he'd recognized all my hard work, but he wasn't the reason why I trained. I shouldn't be so needy for his approval since I'd done without it for most my life.
But it felt so damn good to hear…
The prelim coordinator called out for the next two fighters to take the stage Goku left, and one of the names announced caught my attention. As calmly as I could I made my way up to the edge of the stage, hoping I didn't look as delighted by the man taking the platform as I felt. I ignored the comments the fighters around me made about his green skin and their whispers of 'demon'. I didn't realize Piccolo was going to be participating in the Budoukai. Now on top of beating Ubuu I'd have to worry about making my Grandpa Goku proud and put on a good show in front of the man I decided to make mine.