Looking Up At Vegita
a story by Dot

This came out of a writing assignment for my CRW 1101 class. As usual, my overactive imagination didn't let me stop until I had finished the story.
        My father had a way of looking down at everyone, even people who were taller than him. Maybe it was because of his prominent widow's peak that accentuated his constantly locked eyebrows. Maybe it was because he could look right through you as if you didn't exist, or glare at you, making you wonder what you did wrong. Maybe it was because of his small but pointed nose. Maybe it was his mouth, which either frowned with cold indifference or smiled with sardonic contempt. Maybe it was the entire thing put together, which gave all of us the impression that his face was permanently angled downward as if we were so beneath him he had to squint to see us. But whatever it was, when he 'looked down' on you, you really felt inferior; you unconsciously cowered beneath his presence. And when my father crossed his arms and leaned against whatever he found convenient to lean against, that was the ultimate message of disdain. You felt like he was scrutinizing you, testing you to see if you were worthy of his attention. Most of the time, you weren't.

        My mother had warned me not to hold any expectations of having a father-son relationship, because I would be sorely disappointed. She told me that Vegita was overwhelmingly proud of himself, so much that he acted like an asshole most of the time. I immediately asked her what 'most of the time' meant, but she didn't answer directly, just repeated that my father's ego got in the way of everything. Still, I held onto the inkling of hope that there was some kindness in Vegita, some that he would show to me.

        The first time that I was face to face with him, though, that hope was almost crushed. Since there were nearly no pictures of my father, and he had died before I was one, I wanted to get a good look at him. But Vegita noticed my scrutiny and scowled.

        "What the hell are you looking at?" He demanded. "If you really are a Saiyajin, then I'm nothing special." Of course, I could only mumble an apology and turn away; not even Goku-san believed that I was Vegita's son when I said so.

        The second time we met, I was utterly disappointed. Apparently, there were two other Jinzoningen, one of whom my father had blown to bits. The other one was being pursued by him, Piccolo, and Kuririn when I joined up with them. Mom (the one in the past) wanted a good look at the Jinzoningen, so she flew by in her hovercraft. What's worse, she attracted attention to herself by waving at us. Naturally, the robot (who Piccolo said was some guy named 'Dr. Gero') tried to kill Mom. But Dad just stood there! He didn't even make a move to save her! And when I asked him whether he cared about his wife and son, he just laughed coldly.

        "Should I care?" He asked me in return. He was about to take off after the Jinzoningen (who had split right after he tried to kill Mom) when I blocked him.

        "Please!" I begged, nearly adding 'father' to my plea. "Don't do it!" Don't throw your life away! I was determined that this Trunks would grow up with a father.

        "Get out of my way." I didn't budge. And then Vegita--my father--sucker punched me in the stomach. The air knocked out of me, I doubled over, and Vegita flew past me.

        "Shimatta..." I clenched my fist as I watched my father disappear. I took off after him, resolved to make him stop. Of course, he didn't.

        "When will you quit following me?!? Go away!" He was clearly annoyed, but I persisted. Still, Vegita kept going. To this day I still have nightmares where I am chasing my father's ever retreating back, unable to stop him from being killed.

        I still wasn't able to stop him from chasing Juuhachigou, not even after she nearly killed both of us. He just flew away, hollering that he was the greatest and that he would not admit losing. Once, when I asked my mother about Dad, she said that "he was too full of pride to show his love". Now, as I watched my father leave me yet again I wonder whether he had any love to begin with. I felt my heart growing colder and colder and he went farther and farther away from me.

        In the year that we trained in the Room of Spirit and Time, I was finally face-to-face with my father--but that was only when he sparred, and used me as a punching bag. I gave him a good run for his money, too, but I was still subconsciously afraid of hurting him and held back, and father capitalized on that. While we didn't spar Vegita pretty much ignored me, even though I tried to reach out to him again and again. I desperately wanted his acceptance and his love--and he needed mine, but he would never admit that. I tried to make that clear to him, but only a few times did Vegita respond, and it was in his usual way. And so the year passed, and my opinion of my father didn't change much; I had learned, like my mother had advised me, to be skeptical of Vegita's abilities to be the father I had hoped he would be.

        After Dad came out of the Room, he became much stronger, even stronger than Second Form Cell, who got a bad beating. But, dad's ego also seemed to grow with his strength, because when he found out that Cell could become even stronger, he immediately decided to let it do just that. That was the final straw; I turned Super Saiyajin and tried to stop my father, again without much success.

        "If I have to fight my father to save the world, then so be it," I told him, but it hurt me immensely to say that. Vegita knew it too, and he was more than happy to get me out of his way. In the brief moment that I fought against my father I was distracted from my real task--keep Cell from absorbing Juuhachigou--and in the next few seconds the entire world was turned upside down.

        Cell became perfect.

        His ki grew proportionally larger until it exceeded even my own, and I had discovered a stage higher than the 'Ultra Super Saiyajin' which Father was so proud of. Father didn't last five seconds against him. And neither did I, not even after I had made myself stronger. Cell pointed out my stupidity, then announced the 'Cell Game' that would determine the fate of humanity and the entire universe.

        Naturally, Dad decided to return to the Room of Spirit and Time again.

        "I don't care how many people die; but I won't rest until I beat him!" He answered when Bulma asked him why. Anyone else listening would have thought that Vegita was being a sore loser, but I thought it was because he felt responsible for destroying Cell, since he had in a way created it. And when I volunteered to join him, Dad said it was fine by him.

        Alone with him again, I tried to reach out to him again. Dad still pretty much ignored me, but he didn't act annoyed when I got 'sentimental'. It was really disheartening, though; I felt like I was talking to a brick wall.

        I gave up. Mom was right: Dad was more interested in protecting his reputation than in me, even though I was his flesh and blood. I wondered why Mom ever fell in love with Dad in the first place.

        And then he asked me whether it was hard to grow up without a father. The conversation didn't quite go in the way that I had intended it to, but I felt myself fill with the hope that maybe somewhere in his heart, Dad cared about me after all. Actually, all he had said was: "If I didn't care about you or your mother, would I thrown my life away like that?" But I knew that, as much as he valued his pride, he wouldn't have; it wasn't worth dying for. But his mate, and his child...

        Ironically, I knew for sure that Dad really loved me after I was killed, and was brought back by the Dragon Balls.

        "When Cell killed you," Yamcha told me, "your father was furious! He just charged at Cell without thinking."

        "My father...?" I stared at him. Yamcha nodded. I smiled to myself; the corner of my eyes grew wet. "My father..." I murmured. At long last I saw the man my mother had seen and fallen hopelessly in love with. At long last I knew for sure that he cared. At long last I found the father I never had and always needed.

        When it was time for me to leave, my father was there. He was in his usual 'I'm-better-than-you' pose, but in his eyes I saw something more than what was usually there, something I interpreted as love. And when he lifted two fingers in response to my smile, I allowed myself to be pleasantly surprised that Vegita, the 'Saiyajin no Ouji', had dared to risk hurting his pride in front of all of the others.

And when I took off in my time capsule, my father looked at me straight in the eye for the first time since we met.

Copyright 1997 by Dot
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?