Disclaimer: Knock knock. Who's there? Ding dong. Ding dong who? That's you if you think I own the rights to Dragonball Z.

Hi? I'm not going to lie, I'm tired of writing this story, and if I'm tired of writing it, I bet you're tired of reading it. When I look back on it, the story isn't good anyways so this will be the last chapter. In the distant future I may revise and add to it but don't hold your breath. :P oh and the end is inspired by the song Nebel(Mist)by Rammstein, of which I also do not own the rights to.

Chapter 24: A New Life

It had been a quiet year since Daimao's defeat. The house was finished and we'd settled into it. The kids loved the area and loved to visit "Uncle" Gohan and Goten. Amazingly enough, Chi-Chi and Christine got along relatively well so we'd often have dinners together. Christine seemed to change gears completely from warrior to mother, but she still got that gleam in her eyes and we'd spar after the kids went to sleep. She also resolved that we all needed education. I didn't really want to, but Christine insisted I take part and learn along with her and the kids. Gohan would come over and tutor us for a couple of hours. Christine learned extremely fast and before long, she would just lead the lessons so Gohan could focus on his studies.

There weren't any enemies to train for or fight. There weren't any monsters to fear and exterminate. Things felt a lot like they had after Cell, with one big exception: I wasn't restless. By all accounts, I should have felt useless again. Afterall, I was a warrior without a battlefield once more. But things were different. Maybe it was because I had been able to hold my own in the last fight. Maybe it was because I had a family now. I'm not sure though, I didn't feel like I was a completely different person. I still loved to battle, I was still the stoic Namek, but at the same time I wasn't. It's very confusing, but… I kinda liked it. I liked who I was. Maybe that was the reason.

"Dad! Hey Dad!" Alucard yelled and brought me out of my meditations.

I opened my eyes and saw him floating nearby, "Mom said it's time to come in."

I nodded and stretched, Alucard stared at the fish jumping in the sunset-bathed pond below, "Why do they do that?"

"Jump?"

"Yeah."

"I think they're catching bugs that are on the surface."

"Oh," he didn't say anything else but studied them a little longer, "I think your right."

"You sound disappointed."

He shrugged, "I guess I was hoping for something more interesting."

I raised an eye ridge, "Oh, like what?"

He huffed, "I don't really know, I guess I just want some excitement again. You had plenty of things to do when you were my age."

I grunted, "I suppose."

He cocked his head, "you make it sound like it was a bad thing to have enemies to fight."

I shook my head, "Not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm not entirely sure it was a good thing either."

He thought for a while again, "well I don't get what you mean, but I guess I can understand it. It was pretty stressful to fight like that."

I grunted, "Anything can be stressful, even something good."

Alucard tilted his head, "Like what?"

"Well, like your birth. It was something both your mom and I looked forward to, but it put us in an stressful situation with your mother's family."

"Oh right, they tried to kill you and me before I was born…"

I nodded, "but after you were born they left us alone and we started our own family."

My son's brow knitted, "Then are there times that stress is bad and good?"

I nodded.

"So is fighting bad or good stress?"

"Sometimes, it's both."

My oldest sighed. "Gee, stress is complicated."

I grinned, "Yes, but right now I don't forsee any stress, good or bad, so let's not worry about it."

His face suddenly lit up, "Oh! Yeah, 'cuz it's dinnertime!"

~/*\~

As usual, I checked the mail on my way back from my morning meditations. We hardly ever got anything, but I checked it anyways. Today was one of those rare days we actually did receive something. I read it as I walked in and found Christine mixing pancake batter. She took her eyes off her work for a moment and greeted me, "Good morning Piccolo. What's that," she motioned with her head to the postcard in my hand.

"An invitation from Bulma to one of her Reunions."

"Oh? When is it?"

"Tonight at five."

She was quiet, deep in thought for a moment and then spoke softly, "Do you think Gohan could pick the children up so they could go?"

I raised an eye ridge, "You don't want to go?"

"No, no I do, but, I'd much rather go to that beach on Threve with you. With the children we haven't had time to ourselves in a long time, and this seems like a good opportunity."

She poured three large circles of batter onto a long cooking plate as she spoke, never once looking at me. She was hiding something. She had been hiding something from me for a while now, whenever I asked what was wrong she replied, "nothing," and smiled, but it was a haunted smile, a smile I hadn't seen since we were prisoners. It was irritating.

"Christine, tell me what's wrong, what are you hiding?"

She held a spatula, looking at the light brown batter, waiting for it to cook enough so she could flip it, but she still didn't look at me not even when she whispered, "Nothing."

"Dammit Christine," I grabbed her arm, perhaps a little more roughly then I intended, and spun her around. Tears rimmed her eyes, those mesmerizing emeralds glistening even more with the reflection of the kitchen light off those restrained tears. I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to make of her expression. When she pulled away from my grip and turned her head I didn't stop her.

"You better call Gohan so he knows to pick up the children."

I stood there my hand still raised, I knew I needed to say something, but I was too frustrated to think of what to say. I crossed my arms and stared at her, her long, wavy blackish blue hair was held loosely in a ponytail so it wouldn't get in the way as she made breakfast. Her eyes were turned away from me, the tattoo under her eye barely visible. Odd, how did she get it turn grey?

"Piccolo," she prompted sternly, breaking my trance, and then she added. Almost beggingly, "please, just trust me."

Suddenly, I felt my anger disappear. Something was wrong, that was obvious, but if I was going to figure out what it was, getting mad wasn't the way to do it. I turned and walked to the other room where the phone was. Gohan was more than happy to take the kids so Christine and I could have some time alone, although he was a little disappointed we wouldn't be there. Then he updated on how he was doing, what antics his father was up to, how his work was and so on. I found it hard to really listen to him, my mind kept wandering to Christine, to that haunted smile, the cryptic request, the tears in her eyes, the tone of her voice when she asked me to trust her. I didn't like it. Finally, I was able to say goodbye to Gohan and hung up.

When I walked back into the kitchen, my family was sitting at the table eating. Alucard was excitingly telling a story, his hands as narrative as his voice. Ryu and Selena listened intently, making remarks of their own here and there and making sure he told the story accurately. Christine had let her hair down; it framed her face, and flowed delicately around her shoulders and down her arms. Her eyes were dazzling, the early morning light from the window making them shine like true emeralds, tears no longer shrouded them. She smiled as our oldest son told his story. Her smiling lips looked delicate, the light colouring of them a nice contrast to her darker blue skin. She looked up at me as I stared at her from where I was leaning against the wall. The children followed her gaze and all pipped, "Good morning daddy!"

Alucard excitedly asked me if they were really going to be picked up by Uncle Gohan and spend the evening at Capsule Corps. The other two stared intently awaiting my reply. I told them Gohan would be here at noon. They cheered and went back to their normal breakfast routine.

Christine and I were the only ones on the beach. Thick grey clouds blotted out the sun. The waves lazily rolled in and out, dampening the sand. Christine was looking at the distant horizon, lost in thoughts I couldn't even begin to guess. I held her in my arms and looked out at the sea as well. She turned in my embrace to face me and opened her mouth as a breeze teased her hair. She kept her mouth open for a while and then closed it, as if the wind had stolen her words. I was going to ask a question, but she put her fingers to my lips and rested her head on my chest. We stayed like that for a while. She looked up at me, her eyes seemed dull, it was probably since there wasn't any direct sunlight. Her tattoo seemed an even lighter grey as if it was bleaching out, I wondered how she was doing that. Her lips were paler than usual, but that was probably just my imagination. She kissed me, her lips were soft, her lips were moist, her lips were cold. She whispered, the words barely audible over the crash of a wave that lapped against our feet, "I'm sorry." Before I could ask for what she went rigid. Her eyes were open, but there was no spark of life in them, her lips were slightly parted, but no breath came between them, her body was pressed against mine, but no heat radiated from it.

"Christine?"

Nothing.

"Christine?!"

Nothing.

I locked onto Dende's energy, he was at the reunion. I teleported there. The children were off playing. I was grateful, I didn't want them to see this.

"Dende, quickly heal her."

"What happened?" A worried voice spoke, I'm not sure whose.

"I don't know."

Dende put her hands over her; a look of distress and sadness crossed his face, "Piccolo, I can't she's dead."

An eruption of voices, of questions, followed, but none of them were coherent to me.

Without realizing it I said, "It's like…she just………stopped."

I was on my knees from where I had put her lifeless body onto the damp, green earth. I couldn't stand, it was like my legs weren't there anymore. I stared at her face and noticed the tattoo was gone completely. Someone picked up her body saying they would take it inside before the children came back. Gohan put a hand onto my shoulder and said something.

The last couple of weeks spun in my head. Her odd behavior, her sad smile, the time she talked to me about how she wondered what the children would grow up to be, the tears in her eyes. Her last kiss, our last kiss and those last words those horrible last words. Her body just freezing, just stopping, as if her seconds of life had just run out. Yurni's words from so long ago floated into my head, "Even the brightest star can just…stop, cease to exist in a moment. Do you understand?." Did he know? Did he know this would happen? Did he know what caused it?

I stood and said, "I have to see Yurni."

I locked onto the man's chi and teleported there. I found him praying.

"It has happened hasn't it?" He spoke, "She has… ended."

"You knew?"

"Yes, it is the fate of The Chosen. "And The Chosen's brilliance will light up the world until it is no longer, then, it will slowly set until it is gone, and nothing can make it rise again, until a new The Chosen is needed to replace them." Thus, it is written in the Forbidden Text. All of the previous Chosens had died in battle, although one was found dead after a fight without a scratch. We always assumed that it was just from the fighting. When the creature came in to try to sabotage Christine's Trial it entered through a secret hallway that one of our monks had made in secret to hide the Forbidden Text. It's entrance revealed the manuscripts and the monk that had fallen to his greed and wanted to use them to gain power. We found this passage about The Chosen, but Christine had already passed. I showed it to her and I was going to show it to you, but she didn't want me to tell you, she didn't want you to know. I, I couldn't bring myself to not at least give you a clue, but any more would have been disrespectful to her wishes, and she bound me to not reveal this truth until her death."

"Is there anything I can do?"

"Yes," he said and held up my hand so I could see the mark of the Heart's Twine, "cherish her, forever, and continue her legacy. That is all." He let go and walked away, his footsteps echoed off the cathedral walls. He knew that I needed to be alone.

I walked to the cliff where Christine and I used to watch the sunset. I thought for a long time, and I didn't feel anything. I looked at the Heart's Twine and started talking to myself, "It's just like you, knowing something bad and keeping it to yourself. You never wanted to push your hardships on someone else and you never understood that I didn't mind…" I felt a sudden burst inside me, like chi blast that I had suddenly lost controlled of, "I still would have wanted to know…" I whispered and then screamed at the top of my lungs, "I STILL WANTED TO KNOW!!!!!!" I ranted at the mountains, stringing so many thoughts together that it didn't even make sense. The mountains stared back at me, as could and unmoving as Christine's dead eyes. I remained there in silence for an unknown period of time and then returned to Capsule Corp. my children would need me. Christine would kill me if she knew I had left them this long at such a time of need.

I teleported to the room were her body was laying on a bed. Someone has closed her eyes. The Heart's Twined was glowing, I touched it with my unmarked hand and to my surprise, it jumped to me. Usually, both of us had to be conscious to transfer it, but it just came to me. I felt something tug on my mind. I closed my eyes and heard Christine's voice.

"If you're listening to this, it means that I've died-" a long pause, "I'm sorry Piccolo. I know you would have wanted to know that I would die, but…I couldn't bring myself to tell you. You changed my entire world Piccolo, who know where I would be if you hadn't accidentally appeared in my cell, blind as a bat and clueless," she chuckled, " I'll never forget that day. Thank you Piccolo, I wish I could still be there, but things just don't always work out. It feels like I'll be gone forever, but I know that we'll meet again when you die. For know, take care of the children, so you can tell me how they turn out when you get up her." I mental image appeared of her smiling, "Good bye for now Piccolo, I'd tell you to be strong, but I know you already are. I love you."

Outside, I heard Shenlong's familiar question. Gohan asked for Christine to be revived. Shenlong replied that it couldn't be done, that he couldn't raise those who had died from natural causes. I heard Alucard yell and plea with the dragon. There was nothing the dragon could do. I stepped outside. Alucard stood with his fists clenched and tears pouring down his face. The twins were crying, although I don't think they fully understood what was going on, they just knew it was bad and it involved there mother. Shenlong asked for another wish, one he could do. Alucard was going to argue again, but I put a hand on his shoulder, "Shenlong, I wish for a proper burial for my wife, but I lack the materials, I will relay what I need with my mind, can you provide them."

The dragon waited as I told it what I needed then spoke, "It shall be done." The materials appeared at my feet.

"What is your second wish?"

"I do not have for now, I would like to save it for another time. Return to your slumber Shenlong."

The dragon grumbled and disappeared.

Alucard shook under my hand, then he suddenly turned on me, "How can you give up on her?!"

I squatted down to his level, "I'm not, if I was, I wouldn't be here with you."

"That's not good enough! You have to fix her!"

"I can't Alucard."

"Yes you can, you just don't want do!"

I struggled to keep the anger out of my voice, "If I could revive your mother I would do it in a heartbeat. There just isn't a way."

"There HAS to be a way! You just have to find it!"

I sighed, "There are some things you have to fight and some things you have to accept, this-"

"THIS ISN'T ONE OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT!!" He went to punch me, I could have blocked it, but I braced myself instead. Alucard pounded on my chest, his blows haphazard, his emotions to high to do any real damage. Gradually the punches became slower and half-hearted and he was exhausted and he fell forward. He buried his face into my chest and was still crying, but he had cried past the point tears would fall, his sobs were hiccups more than anything else. I held my eldest for a long time until his wails became sniffles. He stood straight and wiped his face, "I'm s-sorry."

"Don't sweat it kid, it's understandable."

The twins came over, worry and sorrow on their face, "Daddy?"

"Don't worry, it'll be okay."

We buried Christine the next day. As tradition, I remained at the grave until I was completely alone and then read the portaire, the "memory confession."

"Christine, you changed my world too. I'll never forget the day I stumbled upon our cell either. I never imagined myself with you those first couple of months, but I can't imagine myself without you anymore. Thanks for giving me something to fight for again. I'll do my best with the kids, and I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories for you. It does feel like you'll be gone forever, but we will meet again. I love you too."

I burned the portaire on top of her grave and mixed in the ashes with the top of the dirt that covered her. I completed the ritual by placing lilatas, "death flowers" on top of the ashes. After that I started my new life, one that my father never intended for me, one that I had never intended for me, and one that I wouldn't trade anything for.

THE END

Fin. Nothing else to really say. Hoped you enjoyed, reviews are always welcomed.
Elieare