Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ.
North Kai stared at the Saiyans as they devoured the immense banquet he had set before them. Tora and Bardock both grabbed a thigh bone, then proceeded to play tug-of-war with it, stuffing their mouths with rice and steamed vegetables. Radditz smacked Nappa's hand away from his plate, shielding it with his arms. Fasha and Shikumesh growled at each other as they both speared a steak with their forks. Gohan and Goten stuffed their faces, but respected the others' personal space.
Gohan snatched his glass and gulped down his drink at an alarming rate. He gasped, set it down, then stood up.
"Thank you for the meal, King Kai," he said.
"Your welcome," North Kai grumbled.
The sounds of feasting ceased abruptly.
Goten looked from the Saiyan adults to Gohan and back, not understanding the sudden silence.
"Are you all right?" Bardock asked.
Gohan blinked at them, just as confused as Goten.
"Yeah. I'm just full."
Fasha shoot up, leaned across the table, and pressed a hand to Gohan's forehead.
"You don't feel warm."
Gohan smiled at her.
"I'm half human, remember? It's only natural for me to have a smaller appetite than the rest of you."
Fasha retracted her hand.
She sat back down. Goten shrugged and continued eating. Nappa, Shikumesh, and Tora followed his head, but Radditz, Bardock, and Fasha suddenly lost their appetites.
They had forgotten . . . that there was more to their younger generation than eating and fighting. There was an entire culture they knew nothing about that was part of their family. . . .
Fasha stood up and followed Gohan outside. Gohan looked up at her. She clapped a hand on his shoulder and gave him a small smile.
"I don't know anything about humans. . . . Could you teach me?"
Gohan smiled and nodded.
"Sure! But first, I have a question."
"Are you my grandmother?"
"Is it that obvious?"
Gohan shrugged. Fasha glanced back inside the house, watching Bardock and Radditz speaking to Goten.
"We were never good parents, even by Saiyan standards . . . but we loved your father and Radditz. We just couldn't raise kids."
Gohan chuckled. Fasha raised an eyebrow.
"Dad's kind of clueless, too. It doesn't make you a bad parent. Just a different one."
"Anyway, what do you want to know about humans?"
"Whatever you can tell me."
The cave was deathly silent. Vegeta, Goku, and Trunks shivered, but none complained. Piccolo's green skin adopted a frost-bitten hue. The darkness and cold threatened to swallow them up.
"Bah! Where's the damn snow monster!?" Vegeta cursed.
"I'm sure he's in here."
"He's in here," Piccolo said. "I can hear him."
Trunks said nothing. The only thought in his head was getting Goten back. Soon he'd see Goten's smiling face again. . . .
"HEY!" Trunks shouted.
Goku, Vegeta, and Piccolo halted and turned to look at him.
"Mark! Get your frost-bitten ass up here! And bring the dragon ball!"
His voice echoed up and down the save, and then silence returned. They stood still for a minute, their breaths forming puffs of fog.
Then they heard the unearthly roar, reverberating against the cave walls. Piccolo narrowed his eyes, Goku tensed, Vegeta smirked, and Trunks shifted his feet, moving into a ready stance. The cave shuddered and trembled, Mark the Abominable Snowman thundering towards them.
Soon, a white, furry, clawed hand gripped the edge of the corner, and Mark pulled himself onto their level.
Mark's teeth were as long as knives, and he towered over them, even Piccolo. Bright blue eyes glared at them through bushes of white, coarse hair.
Around his neck was a cord necklace, the five-star dragon ball dangling from it.
Goku darted forward, but Trunks out-stripped him. Trunks let loose a battle cry, pulling his arm back for a punch – but Mark inhaled frigid air until it looked like he could explode, then blew on Trunks, his breath sparkling with ice. Trunks was thrown back and, starting with his feet, his body started to feel numb. Trunks fell flat on his back, looked down at his body, and gasped.
Ice crept up from his waist, crawling up his torso.
"No - !" Trunks cried, before the ice enveloped his head.
"Trunks!" Vegeta shouted. He glared at Mark.
Mark only roared.
Vegeta gnashed his teeth together, then retaliated.
Mark saw him vanish, then felt something ripping through his chest. He roared and flailed about, trying to grab the offender, but Vegeta tore something out, and the cave slowly slid out of focus. Mark's last living moment was feeling Vegeta's warm spit on his cheek.
"Was that completely necessary?" Piccolo deadpanned.
Vegeta flicked dark blood onto the snow, trying to get most of it off without getting any on his clothes.
"No one messes with Saiyan royalty," Vegeta said.
"It was his own damn fault!" Piccolo argued.
Goku snapped the cord around Mark's neck and weighed the dragon ball in his hand.
"Yep, this is it," Goku said, standing up. "Let's get back to the others."
"What about Trunks?" Piccolo said.
"We'll defrost him when we get there," Vegeta replied, hoisting the Trunks-cicle onto his shoulder.
The Saiyans and the Namek left the snow monster corpse, Piccolo hesitating for a moment and looking back. He sighed, checked to see if they'd notice, and went back to it. He aimed at an out-of-the-way place in the save and eye-lasered it. Steam drifted up from it. He stopped once it reached a deep enough volume. He picked the monster up by the scruff of his neck and threw it in the hole. He turned around and followed the Saiyans out, content that, if Gohan ever heard of this, the boy would at least commend him for that, though it probably wouldn't warrant outright forgiveness.
Once Gohan and Goten came back, Goku would be back to normal and probably feel more bothered by it, too.
North Kai grumbled to himself. The Saiyans stood in front of him, looking expectant. Well, except for Gohan. He looked rather ambivalent for someone who was about to train with the powerful King Kai.
"Before I can train any of you, you have to pass a test."
"Bring it!" Radditz said.
"Yeah!" Nappa added.
North Kai sighed.
"Each of you have to make me laugh. If you can't, tough. No training for you."
They all stared at him for a moment, then –
"What kind of rule is that!?" Bardock.
"We're fighters, not comedians!" Tora.
"That's preposterous!" Fasha.
"But – but!" Goten, while pouting and looking disappointed.
"What does comedy have to do with training!?" Shikumesh.
Radditz just growled.
Gohan raised an eyebrow, his lips twisting into a frown.
"King Kai?" Gohan asked.
"How did Dad and Piccolo make you laugh?"
North Kai's antennae stood straight up.
"Goku and Piccolo?"
"Well, Goku threw out a lot of jokes, but the one that really got me was the jeweler and jailer joke. Piccolo's was more of a situational pun. Why?"
"Well, I'd think Piccolo's face once you broke the news to him would've been funny enough, regardless of what he said. Just imagining it is hilarious!"
North Kai smirked.
"Want to give it a try, then?"
Gohan scratched his cheek.
"I got nothing."
"Come on. . . ."
Goten's face brightened up, and he bounced up and down with his hand in the air.
"I got one! I got one!"
"All right, squirt, let me have it."
Goten grinned, pretended to clear his throat, and presented his joke.
"What did the teddy bear say to the waiter when asked if he wanted dessert?"
The Saiyans blinked and looked at each other.
"What's a teddy bear?" Bardock asked.
North Kai fought back a snort.
"Dunno. What did the teddy bear say?"
"No thanks, I'm stuffed!" Goten said, throwing his arms out for emphasis.
North Kai snorkled and chuckled, then burst out laughing.
"No thanks, I'm stuffed! Good one! Ha ha!"
Goten grinned from ear to ear.
He high-fived Gohan. The Saiyan adults just stood there, confused.
Bulma turned off the hair dryer as the ice around Trunks's head all melted. Trunks exhaled, took a few deep breaths, then sighed. He concentrated and the rest of the ice block shattered. He rubbed his wrist, and he shivered. Chichi draped a blanket on Trunks's shoulders, and Snow gave him another mug of hot chocolate. He brought the liquid to his lips, and the heat brought life to his bluish cheeks and lips.
Vegeta wore a different set of clothes, all cleaned up. Goku held the dragon ball in his hand, turning it over and over and admiring it. Piccolo sat on the hearth, next to the fire, mediating. He set his cape aside so it wouldn't catch fire. Eighter sat in a chair with his arms crossed and a disgruntled look on his face.
"You going to be all right, Trunks?" Vegeta asked.
"Where is the next dragon ball?" he asked.
Piccolo opened his eyes and glanced at Trunks.
"The closest, easiest one to get is with Girin. After that, we track down Crane Hermit." Piccolo said.
Goku nodded, then slipped the dragon ball into a bag.
"We'll go once Trunks feels better," Goku said. He looked up, and his eyebrows flew up. "Eighter? What's wrong?"
Eighter glanced at Goku, then sidled a glare at Vegeta. Vegeta disregarded it. Goku frowned.
"He didn't have to kill Mark." Eighter said slowly. "If I thought you'd let that happen, I'd have suggested some tactics."
Vegeta rolled his eyes.
"He froze my son and was in our way. It was the most practical thing to do," Vegeta said, walking over to Trunks and ruffling his hair. Water droplets flung to the floor from his lavender locks. Trunks said nothing, only sipped his drink.
Goku bowed his head.
Sorry, Eighter. . . ."
". . . . It's not your fault, I suppose. . . . ."
Goku hugged his knees, his frown deepening.
Radditz grabbed his hair, frustrated enough to pull it out.
"I CAN'T DO IT!"
Bardock rested a hand on Radditz's shoulder.
"Sure you can. We'll help you." Bardock said.
"Yeah," Nappa said.
"You all used up all your material! None of us have anything left!" Radditz sat down and hung his head. "You all go ahead. I'll just waste away here."
"You're exaggerating," Tora insisted.
Goten scrunched his face up in concentration, then his eyes lightened up.
"Here's one!" Goten said, then whispered the joke in his ear.
Radditz raised an eyebrow.
"You sure that'll work?"
Radditz grumbled a bit, then stood back up and walked up to North Kai. North Kai raised his eyebrows.
"I have a knock-knock joke," Radditz said, slowly, seriously. "You start."
". . . I don't know. Oh! Ha ha! That's the joke!"
North Kai burst out laughing. Radditz grinned.
"All right!" chorused the Saiyans. "Now we can train!"
North Kai rolled around on the ground, laughing and laughing.
Radditz looked down as he felt a tugging on his uniform. Goten grinned up at him.
"Told you it'd work!"
Radditz smirked, bent down, and picked him up, resting him in the crook of his arm.
"That you did, little nephew. That you did."