Learning to Let Go
Okay, first and foremost, this is kinda going to be a one-sided Krillin/Bulma story; as I've said many times, it is in no way my intention to detract from any of the relationships, but facts are facts: Krillin really did have a crush on Bulma. But, how did it develop? At what point did he decide to let it go? And why? So many times, people seem to overlook the romance that occurred between the two, even if it WAS slight and short-lived. I think that it shows a lot about his character. (It may also be half the reason some people hate him).And he did love her, though that dwindled to the love one friend feels for another. Please take time to read this; don't just push it away in disgust.
Another night on Namek. At least, he thought it was another night. Who could really tell; the sun never did set on this planet. The only way they could tell the passage of time was the few clocks and calendars they had with them. Since he last looked, the time would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 9:00 P.M. right now.
He just sat there on the grass, absentmindedly pulling at it, thinking about why they were here. About the Saiyans. About how their friends had died, killed by those two monsters. About how Piccolo had died and as a result the Dragon Balls had faded out of existence, becoming nothing more than impossibly smooth round stones. About how they had come here to an alien planet in hopes of finding the means of reviving those they had lost.
But perhaps most of all, he thought about the two that had come with him. It seemed those two were always fighting anymore. She'd get upset over something trivial, they'd start fighting, he'd say it wasn't his fault, and then things would get ugly. But not until recently did things get really bad. Not until recently had she begun to hit him.
Sure, she'd thumped them both before, but recently, she'd begun to do it with more… intensity. Instead of a playful smack or even a reprimanding slap upside the head, she'd begun to actually all out hit him as hard as she possibly could. Sometimes over the smallest things like leaving a mess scattered around the little house that they had set up inside the cave; messes that were clearly not his. Not much difference from their trip here, without the smacking, of course.
Gohan soon decided to go back into the place he currently called home; thinking about this stuff was taking a toll on his six year-old mind. As he approached, however, he could hear the occupants fighting yet again. He didn't really know what this one was about and, for that matter, he didn't really care. He just pushed his way past the two that were currently fighting and went into his room. These things always turned out the same: he would come into the room, Gohan would ask why they fought, he would answer with, "That's just what grown-ups do sometimes," and then he'd go to sleep.
As Gohan listened, however, the fight seemed to grow in intensity, and he could just barely make out what they were yelling.
"-violated my privacy! I can't believe this. That journal was the ONE thing I took on this whole trip that I said from the beginning was off limits, and you go ahead and read it!" A male voice, obviously Krillin.
"What, you think YOU can TELL ME what I can and cannot do? Let me tell you mister, you'd better not forget who's in charge around here!" Gohan heard a thud against the wall before Bulma continued. "And let me tell you something about your little delusions, pal! You and me? NEVER GONNA HAPPEN! You understand that, or did you suddenly become as stupid as you are ugly?"
"You can't talk to me that w-" He never got to finish, as the sound of a loud slap echoed through the room, followed by two more at equal intervals. Finally, Gohan could hear footsteps exiting the room, obviously Bulma going to bed. As time went by, he began to worry. Krillin usually came in and went to bed by this point, but not a single sound was coming from the other room. He quietly got out of bed and walked out into the living area to find…
Running. He had to keep running. He didn't really care if anyone spotted him anymore. He couldn't take it anymore, couldn't take the pain to which he'd become accustomed over the years. It hurt too much.
He kept running and didn't stop until he reached the now empty shell of what had been their ship on the trip from home, and slumped down against the cold metal walls of the interior. Finally reassuring himself that no one was around, he allowed himself to do the one thing he'd needed for so long.
He cried, letting the loud sobs escape his lips, pounding on the floor as he did. It wasn't fair! Why did she have to treat him like this, especially now that she knew….?
That was when the thought had struck him. What if that had been the reason all along? Bulma had been something of an enigma to him since the day he met her, always been somewhat spoiled and pampered, being an heiress and all, and had an attitude to match; she was something of a perfectionist. Everything had to be just right, or her little world fell apart. Which was no doubt the reason she'd hooked up with Yamcha; the guy was strong, good looking, everything she'd been looking for. Didn't matter that their personalities had clashed, didn't matter that he'd neglected her, didn't even matter that he'd been unfaithful, maybe more than once. At least they looked good together.
Krillin pulled himself off the floor and made his way over to what remained of the bathroom area. Sure, he could've gone outside, but he preferred the use of the facilities whenever possible. As he did his business, his thoughts had trailed back to the previous topic. Bulma certainly was beautiful and Yamcha did compliment that very well. Then there was him.
He looked up and saw that Bulma had left one of her many mirrors hanging on the wall. He noted his own reflection with a scowl as Bulma's previous words returned to his mind
"You understand that, or are you as stupid as you are ugly?"
The memory of those words stirred something deep within and he found himself smashing a fist into that mirror, watching as the pieces fell to the floor before he joined them, once again sobbing uncontrollably. "It's not fair," he managed to croak out. His whole life, he'd had to deal with people and their judgment of him. And all because of how he looked. A fact he cursed the pathetic human beings that he was forced to call parents for again and again. Was it his fault they were permanent residents of crack house lane? Was it his fault his mother had been drinking at least three bottles of hard liquor a day during her pregnancy? Apparently they all thought so.
Another wave of sorrow washed over him. His whole life he'd wanted a family, someone he could love and be loved by in return. And his whole life, every single girl he'd ever met was completely and utterly repulsed by him. Then he'd met Bulma. She was the first girl to ever not be completely disgusted by his appearance, the only one to ever tolerate his presence. And as a result, he found himself with a fervent and unrelenting crush on the girl he'd come to dub as his only chance at love. Sure, she'd yell at him, hit him, throw him from moving vehicles, but that was just how she was. Everyone seemed to receive that same treatment; not even Yamcha had been safe from her wrath, he noted with some amusement. But, for some reason, she seemed to direct a lot of her anger at him, even if it was caused by someone else. His lot in life, he supposed; everybody's punching bag. But, why? Why did she always take it out on him? He reached up to his face and felt that a bruise was actually managing to form there. Was that the only reason she'd ever kept him around? To be her punching bag, someone she could hurt without anyone really caring? Especially now; who was gonna do anything even if they did? Gohan? She had that boy completely intimidated, just like everyone else.
He also began to wonder if he was indeed delusional. Why did he ever think she'd go for him? Despite the fact that he'd always been there for her, no matter what, despite all they'd been through together, she'd still picked her a man that had treated her like… like she was something to be had, a toy he could come back to after he'd had his fun with another. She'd rather be with someone like that than him, and he then realized: the one girl in the universe he had a chance with? He didn't stand a chance.
He tried to stop his tears as he pulled himself off the floor of the ship and prepared to leave. He had a long walk ahead of him.
Bulma had managed to cool down considerably since her little spat with Krillin. Now that she was thinking clearly, she did fell sort of bad for what she'd done. It was, however, a fleeting feeling as she got out of her bed and went toward the kitchen to get herself a drink. When she entered the room, however, she found Gohan sitting at the table, reading a book. Nosy as she was, she leaned over him to see what he was reading.
Krillin's journal. The one she'd been reading herself before she exploded and hurled it across the living room. Now the kid was reading it?
She pulled back and felt a slight shock as she noticed Gohan look up at her, a small frown on his face. Finally, he spoke to her. "Why did you say those things to Krillin?"
Bulma turned her nose up at the boy. She really didn't see how it was his business, anyway. "I said it because it's true. What's it matter, anyway? It's not like he's never heard it before."
Gohan grew quiet for a moment before answering. "Look, I'm not gonna pretend I know a whole lot about this sorta thing. But I do know that from what I've read in here, he really does care about you, Bulma. I don't think I've ever heard him talk that way about anyone before."
Bulma snorted. "Well I have. He seems to start fawning over ever girl he lays eyes on. For crying out loud, he was practically drooling over your mom when he first met her!" An afterthought struck her that maybe that wasn't the best thing to say. What kid wants to hear about some guy drooling over their mom? Lord knows she went through enough of that.
The boy seemed a little disturbed, but continued anyway. "Yeah, maybe, but… how much of this did you read?"
"I read enough."
"No." Gohan shook his head. "I don't think you did." He handed the book to her and pointed to a page. "Read that." With that last statement, the boy walked back to his room and went to bed.
Bulma took the book back into her room, shutting the door behind her. Sitting down on her bed, she began to read the first line, which happened to be the only line she'd read before.
It's no real secret I've had these feelings for Bulma. But now, now I think she's feeling them too.
She was about to close the book then and there, that same rage sweeping over her. But then she stopped to think. Why did this make her so mad? A little voice answered her in the back of her mind. 'Because it's true.'
She continued to read beyond where she had previously.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not some kind of arrogant chauvinist. I really can't stand those types myself. It's just, I've noticed things. The way she looks at me sometimes, the way she seems to turn to me when she needs help. I don't know, maybe I'm delusional or something; maybe I'm just reading into things.
It's just… I've known her for quite a while now and from the moment I saw her, I thought she was beautiful. Granted, I think pretty much every woman is, but this was different. Maybe because she was different; because she was the first girl that I ever actually talked to that didn't seem disgusted by me.
As time went by, I found myself liking her more and more. A lot more than I should have; I knew her boyfriend and considered him a friend. Some friend I am, sitting there when his back is turned stealing glances at his girlfriend! What kind of a jerk am I?
But, I couldn't help it. I found myself being drawn to her more each time I saw her, especially when she'd try to push me away. Maybe something's screwed up in my head; maybe they slapped me around one time to many back at that monastery. But, I was, and not a single day went by that I didn't hate myself for it. At the same time, however, I felt like she was my only chance, you know? Like she was the only one that could ever maybe… WHO AM I KIDDING?! LOOK AT ME! WHAT KIND OF A CHANCE DOES A FREAK LIKE ME HAVE?!
Bulma was slightly shocked by his sudden change in his written tone, to say nothing of what she was reading.
AND YOU KNOW WHAT'S WORSE? THE FACT THAT SHE'D RATHER BE WITH SOMEONE THAT TREATED HER LIKE … LIKE HE DID! SHE'D PICK SOMEONE LIKE THAT OVER ME! ANYONE WOULD! SOMETIMES I THINK I'M BETTER OFF… sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. At least this wouldn't hurt anymore.
Bulm could feel the tears begin to well up. Did he really feel that way?
Well, like I said. She still picked him over me, and I felt more confused than ever; actually found myself hating him and calling him friend at the same time. It wasn't natural. Though, he did promise he was gonna treat her right when this was all over. All I can say is, he'd better. If he doesn't, I'll kill him!
Did you know that was why I lost touch with everyone over the years? I mean, Goku had his wife, which hurt due to the fact that he always seemed to get what I couldn't; I didn't want to face Bulma and Yamcha either. It hurt too much. Tien and Chiaotzu, well they sorta kept to themselves, so… yeah.
Another thing I keep kicking myself for. I ditched all my friends simply because I was being a selfish little coward! For crying out loud, my best friend in the entire world had a son, and I didn't even know it!
Well, to make a long story short, the Saiyans came, we fought and our friends died. Including Yamcha. Boy, did Bulma ever break down when she heard that we couldn't wish him back. That hurt me so bad I had to struggle with my desire to cry with her. I hate to see people cry. Especially when it's my fault. It was my turn to fight; I should have said no and done it anyway. But the idiot did it for me; me, the guy I'm sure he knew was having romantic thoughts about his girlfriend. You know, maybe… I think, if anyone had died, it should've been me. At least I wouldn't have left anyone behind. That's why I killed those things. They hadn't just hurt Yamcha; I knew what would happen when she heard.
Well, lo and behold, we managed to survive that ordeal and set out to Namek to find the Dragon Balls. When Bulma first asked me to go, I said no. I made up some excuse, said I was too scared. And I was, but not for the reasons that she thought. I didn't want to be alone with her.
When two people are alone for that much time, things can happen. It can make or break a person. That's why I was thrilled to hear that Gohan was coming with us. At least I'd have something to keep my mind off her.
But, even with the kid along, I found my mind wandering to her. I mean, here she was walking around the spaceship wearing nothing but her underwear! What was that, some kinda cruel joke? I found myself staring more than once, and hated myself for that. I'm on a mission to bring her boyfriend back, for crying out loud! I can't think about that. And now, here we are on Namek, and she's always picking a fight with me, she hits me… it hurts. Not so much physically as emotionally. But deep down, don't I deserve this? Is this my punishment for my betrayal? Or is it because she's disgusted by the fact that she's been thinking about m-
Bulma's eyes widened as she turned the next page, only to find it empty. 'Why didn't he finish this?' she wondered. Then she remembered. He had been writing in this when she saw that first line and blew up. He had been writing this that very day.
Soon, the reality of what he'd been saying hit her. He really did seem to care about her, and not just like she were any other girl that a desperate guy would be hounding. It was almost like he… loved her?
Before she knew it, she had begun to cry.
Krillin watched as she cried from the crack in her door. He'd originally planned to go in and tell her off, no matter the consequences. But now… He couldn't possibly stay mad at her like that. She was crying, due to Yamcha, no doubt. She probably missed him.
That thought brought the pain back into Krillin's mind. Of course she misses him she's lonely. Today would have been their anniversary, after all. He quietly shut her door and took a seat at the kitchen table.
Deep down he knew she couldn't possibly love him. And maybe he didn't love her. Maybe this was just a crush intensified due to extreme circumstances. Either way, he knew the right thing to do.
'I have to let this feeling go,' he thought. 'For her. I'll do it for her. Then, she'll be happy.'
'And that's all that matters.'
Well, that's it. I know, sad. But, I think it's close to what might have happened. It could have gone one of two ways, and since I'm actually exploring one in my other story… that, and I felt the need to get this one off my chest. I honestly like the whole Krillin/Bulma thing… to a point. I'm not saying I think those two should've wound up together; far from it. I just happen to think that that was a moment in the show that is overlooked, and that it really shows Krillin's character. I hope that you maybe saw that. Please review.