By Kaboom Krusader

Chapter One - "It's my match, and I'll be late if I want to!"

"All right, folks! Are you ready for the grand finale?"

The crowd responded with wild cheers of excited approval. The announcer raised his left arm, his right holding his microphone.

"Then strap yourselves in and prepare for a wild ride, 'cause we're about to start the final match of the 31st Tenkaichi Budokai!"

Five years ago, he'd taken over this position after his father's retirement, and he loved it just as much as his begetter had. Few people ever had the opportunity to witness the sheer amount of skill, power, and excitement as close-up and personally as he did every year. The event this time around had produced a turnout worth the three-year wait. A few certain exceptional fighters, whom he'd watched compete several times as a boy, and been told marvelous stories about by his father, had attended and signed up to compete after years of absence. Now, two of the most spectacular of them had progressed to the final rounds, and based on what he knew, it was going to be a match well worth waiting for.

He spoke into his mic again. "Will the two final contestants please enter the ring!"

One of the expected individuals casually walked out from the sidelines. Slightly shorter than average but possessing a strong build, his arms were folded apathetically over his muscled torso. His slightly aged face, adorned with a defined widow's peak to his spiked, dark black-brown hair, and piercing, jet-black eyes, wore a slight scowl of either disinterest or annoyance. Rather than walking around to and up the ring's stairs, he chose to jump from his standing position, seeming to float down the few feet onto the ring's tiled surface.

"Ah, Mr. Vegeta!" The announcer greeted him. "How are you feeling?"

"Fine," Vegeta responded brusquely. "Where's Kakarrot? Are we fighting, or what?"

"Kakarrot . . . ?" It took him a second to register. "...Ah, do you mean Contestant Son Goku? Wasn't he down ringside with the rest of you?"

"No, of course not, I wouldn't have asked otherwise," Vegeta responded, appearing annoyed. "Dammit, Kakarrot," he said, looking around while speaking to himself. "What did you do, forget?"

"Well, let's see," The announcer mumbled, before speaking into his microphone again. "Attention, contestant Son Goku! If you are anywhere in the arena, please report to the ring in the next ten minutes, or you will be disqualified by forfeit!"

He turned to look at Vegeta again. The scowl had intensified.

"Um..." He spoke into the mic yet again. "Will the arena staff please attempt to locate Contestant Son Goku..."

Little did anyone know, that in one of the arena's luxury waiting areas reserved for its contestants, a disastrous discovery of epic proportion was being made.

"Chi-Chiiii..." A pathetic voice called from within the bathroom.

The woman in the main room sighed at the pitiful sounding of her name, and replied exasperated.

"Be right there, honey..."

She crouched down to the infant who had been crawling around at her feet. "C'mon, Gosan," She said, as she hefted her grandson into her arms. "Let's go an' save your Grandpa..."

"Bwah!" Gosan replied happily, as grandma picked him up.

Chi-Chi walked into the bathroom, to see Son Goku, her husband of almost forty years. He was only half-dressed, having been in the bathroom freshening up before his match. But now, he was simply looking into the mirror and pouting. He turned to face her dejectedly.

"Chi-Chi..." He whined. "They're startin' to sag..."

"Welcome to my world," she absent-mindedly replied, paying more attention to Gosan. A second later, though, she realized what he had just said.

"Wait... what?"

Goku tilted his head down, and pointed to his hair.

She looked, and was that he was right. His spikes of hair, almost as much his trademark as his massively inhuman strength, were indeed beginning to lose the firm, jagged edge that they had always had.

"See?" Goku said sadly. "It's happening t' Vegeta, too. Our hair's saggin', and we're growin' hair places we didn't before. Vegeta had a little beard for a while, but Bra made 'im get rid of it..."

"Well," Chi-Chi said, moving closer to Goku. "I guess even Saiyans have to get old eventually..."

"Well, gettin' old sucks." Goku said, folding his arms and pouting further. "Vegeta's gettin' wrinkles, too. Wrinkles!"

Chi-Chi glowered playfully, and raised an eyebrow.

"Uh, not that there's anything wrong with a few wrinkles, Chi..." Goku said, correcting his mistake. "I mean, they look good on you..."

"Quit while you're ahead," she said, angling her face up to give Goku a quick peck on the cheek. "Don't worry, I still love you."

Goku smiled and returned the kiss. "I love you too... but still, aging like this, Vegeta and I are startin' to lose our power a bit, too..."


"Yeah. It's not much of a problem, yet, but we don't gain lots of power th' way we used to any more, and what we do have is gettin' harder to use." He made a fist, and lightly pounded it into his hand. "That's why we both signed up for the Budokai this year. For one last match while we're still pretty much even..."

"Come t' think of it, hon," Chi-Chi said. "Your match is soon, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Goku replied, scratching his head. "I forget, when does it start...?"


Surprised by the sudden outburst, Goku and Chi-Chi both turned around, where there in the doorway stood Pan, their fourteen-year-old granddaughter. She was panting slightly, having apparently rushed here at top speed.

"Pan!" Goku and Chi-Chi remarked simultaneously.

"Paaa!" Little Gosan exclaimed at his big sister's appearance.

"Grandpa!" Pan yelled, annoyed. "What are you doing! Vegeta and everyone else are waiting for you! You're gonna get disqualified if you don't hurry!"

"What?" Goku said, his face suddenly and comically twisted into an expression of panic. He darted out into the main room, grabbed his dark blue gi top and with some difficulty managed to wrestle it on and fasten it down with a white belt. Once that was accomplished, he sat on the couch and began hurriedly donning his boots.

"C'mon, hurry up!" Pan jumped up onto the couch beside him, egging him on. "You've gotta get out there and get Vegeta back for me!" Indeed, Vegeta had been matched up with Pan earlier in the tournament, and had opted to prolong the match by teasing and evading her for a good ten minutes, before swiftly winning with a ring-out. Pan had been left kind of bitter.

"Okay!" Goku said, standing up fully dressed and prepared. "I better get over there! Pan, get your grandma to her seat quick, so she can see the fight, okay?"

"Okay, just go!" Pan barked.

Goku raised a hand to his face, and touched the index and middle fingers to his forehead. Then in the blink of an eye, he vanished, homing in on Vegeta's ki to teleport to the arena.

"Well, folks" The announcer spoke into his microphone, "While we're waiting for Mr. Son, why don't we take a look at a quick recap of the semifinal matches!" At his word, the giant screen adorning the arena lit up, and displayed the faces of the eight contestants. Two at a time were singled out as he spoke.

"The first match was the mighty sumo wrestler, Yoyo, versus Son Pan! Pan won by a knockout with an impressive physical combo!" The two fighter's profiles were displayed on the screen, tomboyish little Pan appearing frail and tiny compared to the hulking brute that was Yoyo.

"The second match: Son Goku versus Oob! A spectacular match, with Goku not holding anything back against his own young pupil to gain an impressive win!" Goku's familiar, grinning face was displayed on the screen, next to that of his meek student.

"Third was Vegeta versus Ichitaro!" Vegeta's smugly grinning profile was displayed next to that of the young martial artist. "Vegeta edged out a decisive one-hit knockout!"

"The fourth match was Mr. Boo versus Grunkon!" Boo's eternally smiling face showed next to the burly, unshaven fighter. "Boo won with a single headbutt!"

Vegeta tapped his foot impatiently. The announcer went on.

"The next stage of the semifinals! First fight was Pan versus Vegeta! Both displayed an impressive amount of style and finesse, but Pan was unable to lay a finger on Vegeta, before losing by a ringout!

"The last semifinal match, Goku versus Boo! It was a close, thrilling fight, with Goku winning by Boo's forfeit! And now here we are, awaiting the arrival of Mr. Goku for his sure-to-be thrilling match with Vegeta!"

The announcer leaned aside to Vegeta. "Well, I've done all I can," he said. "He's got less than a minute left. If he doesn't show up..."

Vegeta was none too pleased by the situation. "Rrrgh," He said. "Damn you, Kakarrot!" He stamped his foot angrily. "What the hell ar-"

Suddenly, Goku, appeared out of thin air right in front of Vegeta, startling the older Saiyan.

"Aaugh!" Vegeta exclaimed.

"Huh?" Goku responded, looking around confused. "Oh, hey, Vegeta. Sorry I'm late..."

"Whatever," said the announcer, after staring dumbfoundedly at the contestant's sudden, seemingly-magical entrance. "Since you're here, I guess we can get started!" He spoke into his microphone once again. "Alright, ladies and gentlemen, Contestant Son Goku has arrived in the nick of time! Leeet's get ready to rumble!"

Goku and Vegeta each walked to their positions at opposite ends of the arena, then turned to face each other.

"Hey," Goku said. "Didn't you say last time that we'd need a whole planet for our fight?"

Vegeta smirked. "That's right, I did," He replied. "But don't think this is the fight I was talking about. We'll have that later. Consider this a warm-up round," He made a quick, dismissive gesture at the crowd. "...and just to put on a good show."

Goku smiled. "Works for me."

"Contestants, get ready!"

The two took their fighting stances. Goku faced Vegeta with his left side, his legs spread out to the front and back, while leaning forward, and positioned his left arm down by the ground and his right in the air. Vegeta took a slight crouch, holding his left hand up by his head, palm-forward and ready for defense, while his right was back behind him, poised for the counterstrike.

"Ready?" Vegeta inquired.



The gong was struck, and the two fighters charged.