Disclaimer: If I owned it, there would be lots less dragons and many more balls.
Warnings: Slash (Male/Male YAOI GAYNESS :O!1oneone), swearing, rape, blood, crying, sap, irony, extreme angst, Jeice (because I love him), rather sick subjects, despair, grief...not a happy story. It is suggested that the reader keep their tissue box at hand and their mouse on the back button.
Author's note: This is the last chapter, folks! D:
I know. I'm not happy about it either.
This is the part that pretty much ties all the loose ends, and shows how I'm going to tie my story to the actual DBZ timeline. While this fic is meant to recount how Vegeta lived before he first came to earth, Letting Go recounts my version of what happened after DBZ came to an end. If you have any questions, feel free to message me and ask. I'm not perfect, and it's likely I've left something out somewhere or another.
Anyways, thank you for reading this! I hoped you enjoyed it, grim as it was (and will continue to be throughout this last installment). On with the finale!
"Text" – Speech.
'Text' – Thoughts.
Chapter 12 – What the Future Holds
"You escaped?!" Nappa gaped with his mouth full of green meat, staring in shock over the small cooking fire at his long-haired companion. Raditz, sitting with a barely-conscious Vegeta held lovingly in his lap, continued to wrap the bandaging around his bloody torso and thighs.
"What, did I stutter?" he grunted, annoyed that Nappa seemed intent on talking when his Prince was in such desperate need of help. "As far as I know, Frieza's goons don't really have any way of knowing where we are. I incinerated the locator in the ship we took; that should keep him looking. We should be safe…for now."
He cast a glance at Vegeta's exhausted visage, feeling a stab of pain wrack his heart. 'It's okay, Vegeta. I'll keep you safe. He'll never touch you again.'
Raditz supposed he should be immersed with relief at the fact that all seemed to have gone as planned. The capsule had indeed taken them to the location of Nappa's ship, which just so happened to be a desolate planet by the name of Tyzintum 18. There were enough natives to eat yet too few to pose much of a threat (Raditz had made sure from the moment they had landed that Vegeta got the best bits of meat), and until they heard otherwise, it was to be assumed that Frieza was no longer on their trail.
However, fortunate as all that was, he couldn't honestly be in much of a mood to celebrate.
'F-Frieza…h-he took s-something…out…of me…'
Those words echoed over and over again in Raditz' mind, and it was all he could do to keep from glancing once again at the long slash over Vegeta's stomach. He knew it had to have been his baby; he had been around Frieza long enough to learn that icejins reproduced asexually somehow, and while he really didn't want to know the details, it was a bit of a consolation to know that Frieza's tail posed no threat of impregnating his beautiful Prince.
He winced, really wishing his thoughts hadn't taken such a turn. While locked in his cell, he had heard every scream and plea for help, every shriek and cry from down in Frieza's chambers. Raditz knew how much Vegeta had been hurt, and he wanted to pound the lizard into a bloody pulp.
Despite this, he was outmatched, and the most important thing was keeping Vegeta safe.
Raditz felt his blood boil within him as he looked down at his Prince, eyeing the bandaged area where he knew that accursed brand of an 'F' lay carved into Vegeta flesh. An idea popping into his head, he snapped his head up, gazing at Nappa with wide eyes.
"Nappa…" He began, thinking his sudden scheme over inside his head. "We…I know we can't take down Frieza alone, no matter how hard we try. But what if…what if we had another Saiyan?"
Swallowing his food, the behemoth of a Saiyan glanced up over the flames upon which they were roasting their meat, eyes confused. "Another Saiyan? Raditz, you know there's only us left. None of us would stand a chance against him," he said as if it were the most obvious thing in the universe, shaking his head. "Besides, we're away from him now. We should be focusing on making sure we don't get caught again. Isn't that all that matters?"
"No!" Raditz snapped, wincing. He had withheld the details about Vegeta's rape from Nappa, mostly to save his Prince's pride, and it seemed he had forgotten that the source of much of his rage remained unknown to his larger companion. Teeth grit, he silenced momentarily, holding Vegeta gently in his lap.
"I mean…I want to take that bastard down once and for all. You know you want to too, Nappa. It's just a matter of building up our forces, is all."
Nappa snorted. "Build up our forces? With what? Freiza'd clean our clocks."
Still deep in thought, Raditz slipped his green scouter from his face, studying it intently for a moment. "…not necessarily."
Raditz turned the device on with a click of a switch and scrolled through the menu, moving to the 'Recorded Data' option. Luckily for him, his old scouter hadn't been replaced when he had been enlisted into Frieza's army. It had been checked and returned to him, but he prayed that one detail had been overlooked. A certain detail he had added before he had ever become one of the lizard's recruits.
His breath hitched as he found it: a piece of data he had recorded many years prior to the times when this application was meant to be used only to keep track of which planets he had annihilated.
"Here!" Raditz exclaimed, beckoning Nappa over with an impatient sweep of the hand as he didn't want to risk hurting his Prince with any sudden movements. Holding the scouter out in view, he pointed to the ship identification number he had recorded many years ago. His baby brother's capsule number. 44029.
"My father told me to record this when I was younger," he murmured as he pointed to the number, then bringing it down for the sitting Vegeta to see. "It's…Kakarrot's ship ID number. He was shipped off as a baby to some planet. I barely knew him, but my father said I might need to know where he was one day, just in case…" He trailed off, eyes going wide. Without much warning, he stood and gently supported Vegeta in his arms, knowing the other still had trouble walking due to his injuries. "Hold him, Nappa. I'll be right back."
Seemingly more confused than before, Nappa reached out and took the small Prince into his arms, watching as Raditz darted quickly over to where their own capsules were parked nearby. "I hope you know where you're going with this, because I sure don't," he muttered, shaking his head with the vague implications that he figured his companion might have lost a screw or two on the way to Tyzintum 18.
Squirming down so he could fit, Raditz clicked the 'On' button to put his ship into a low power state, looking up at the screen with his eyes narrowed in concentration.
"All right," he murmured and brought up the Ship Number database, typing in the correct digits he saw reflected in the green glass of his scouter. Making sure not to hit the "depart" button, he watched as a small, succinct profile popped up on screen, listening intently as the voice of the capsule computer sounded out the information.
"Capsule number: 44029," it enunciated. "Registered to: Kakarrot. Species: Saiyan. Ship Location: Earth, Planet 227.408555.09. Estimated Population: 6 Billion."
"Earth," Raditz repeated softly to himself, shaking his head in disbelief. So that was where his little brother had gotten to. Some small, out of the way ball of dust. Unfortunately, there was no real way to determine whether or not Kakarrot was still on the planet; all he could be certain of was that his ship was there, but a true Saiyan would never leave such a thing behind. As far as he knew, Kakarrot had been sent to a different planet altogether as a child, and was now simply carrying on his Saiyan legacy by visiting new planets and abolishing the life he found there as well.
A rare, disbelieving grin spread over his lips. He couldn't believe his luck.
"Nappa!" he called out jubilantly and shut his ship back down, running over to where the larger Saiyan and his Prince were gnawing at their meat. "I did it. I brought up the database; Kakarrot's ship has been located on some planet called Earth."
Surprised, Nappa looked up from his food again, letting the words sink into his brain. "So…you're saying we can get to him? You know his ship code?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying," he smirked and sat beside them, images of Frieza being thrashed peppered through his mind. "Don't you see what this means? I wouldn't be surprised if that brat was about as strong as I am. We'll bring him back and then go after that bastard together. Frieza will be as good as done against the four of us," he growled, clenching his fist out before him. "I am not letting that freak live after what he has done."
Attention stole away by the soft, pained voice, Raditz glanced down to find Vegeta struggling to get to his feet. His anger dissipated within moments and he stood, helping the other up upon his trembling legs. "You shouldn't be standing, my Prince," he murmured, looking down into the youthful face. Vegeta shook his head, staring up into the dark orbs with a tired determination that surprised the long-haired Saiyan to say the least.
"Don't tell me what I can and can't do."
Relieved more than anything that Vegeta's spirit seemed to have returned a bit, Raditz bit back his smile and nodded. That was what he wanted to see; the passion and fiery will to live he loved so much in his little Prince made him feel better than he had in the longest time. If only Vegeta knew what a joy he was.
"Of course, forgive me," he nodded, biting his bottom lip. Vegeta, looking far too tired to care much, waved him off before extending a hand towards some bushes. "I-I want to talk. In private."
Raditz blinked in surprise. He would have thought Vegeta would be slightly more jubilant about the discovery of where his brother's ship was; he hated knowing that Frieza once again seemed to have sucked the joy from his royal lover. Also, it was hard to think what Vegeta would want to keep from Nappa, save for information regarding their trysts and the details of exactly what the Icejin had done to him within the walls of his lair.
Not sure what to expect, he nodded and followed the slightly wobbly Prince back behind the clump of dark maroon foliage, gasping as he felt that lithe body nestle itself into his arms.
"Raditz," Vegeta murmured, clinging on softly to the larger's side in a way that tugged at Raditz' heart. "I…don't want you to do that."
The long-maned warrior blinked and gently put an arm around the Prince, not sure what he meant. "Do what?" he asked, breath caught in his chest as those dark, wide eyes moved from their downward gaze to stare up at him.
"I don't want you…to go find your brother," the smaller Saiyan told him, marveling his lover with his decided facial expressions. Raditz couldn't believe what he saw in those eyes; the fire was still there, even after Vegeta had been raped time and time again by the lord of Ice. It seemed nothing could douse his Prince's will to live.
"I want to do it."
Shocked, Raditz tightening his grip slightly on the younger male. "You…want to go find Kakarrot? Bring him back with you?" he asked, trying to make sure Vegeta understood what he was saying. The insistence was in his Prince's eyes, and he immediately knew he should know better than to question the young royal.
"Yes. I want to do it." Vegeta nodded vigorously, eyes narrowed and surprisingly dangerous for a person who could barely hold himself upright. "I am the Prince. He has to listen to me. I want to be the one responsible for bringing Frieza down."
Raditz took a deep breath, not sure how to reply. He knew he should know better than to question Vegeta's decisions, but…he was hurt. Hurt so badly, in fact, that the larger of the two wouldn't have been surprised to see him faint sporadically or begin coughing his insides out without warning. God only knew how badly, how sadistically Frieza had treated him, and he wasn't going to take any chances.
He loved Vegeta more than life itself, and even though it went against everything he knew, he couldn't allow him to make that decision.
Slowly, Raditz shook his head.
"I-I'm sorry, Vegeta," he murmured, sparing the other's royal title as he knew in private he could dispose with the pleasantries. "I love you too much…I care about you. I can't let you go alone. I'll come with you."
"No!" Seemingly not having expected a fight, the small Prince tore from the grasp, hissing with what appeared to be pain brought on by the sudden movement. "You will not go and neither will Nappa! I want to do this!" His eye twitched, fangs bore in anger. "I'm the Prince. You can't stop me."
Surprised at how defensive Vegeta was getting, Raditz swallowed and tried to take a step forward, only to watch his Prince back up further. "Why do you insist on going alone?" he asked, gazing into the dark eyes and thinking he might know the answer to his own question. Vegeta had been used, taken advantage of so brutally even before the rapes…Frieza had sucked him dry of any authority. Now they were free, and Vegeta probably wanted to use this to his be independent and respected, feared and powerful.
Vegeta wanted to be the Prince he had been crowned as a mere cub, yet had only truly been for five years of his young life.
"…I'm sorry. I can't let you." Sighing heavily, the long-haired Saiyan shook his head again. "I'm not trying to keep you from living your life, Vegeta. You are my Prince and-"
"Then let me be one!" Vegeta shrieked, obviously not caring who heard them by this point. Obviously becoming enraged, he clenched his injured hands beneath torn gloves, hissing at his larger lover. "I can take care of myself, Raditz! You can't stop me! I'm going to do this myself!" He snarled. "I don't need to be watched over like a cub!"
"That's not what I'm saying!" Raditz protested, wincing at his own raised tone of voice. Shouting at Vegeta was the last thing he wanted to do, especially because he was so injured. He respected his Prince's identity as a royal, but he loved him more than anything. And allowing him to go on a likely dangerous mission with no available help was something he just couldn't do.
"I can't let you do that, Vegeta. Don't you understand? You could get hurt, even killed!" he tried to stress, reaching out only to have his arms swatted away. "Vegeta, I'm doing this because I love you."
Growling loudly, Vegeta puffed out his tail behind him as a sign of warning to stay back. "If you loved me you would let me go!" he shouted, turning around and gazing at the nearby ships. Eyes narrowed, he made a run for the nearest capsule, only to hiss as his arm was caught by Raditz' hand.
"Vegeta! Stop this! You don't know what you're getting into!"
"I know perfectly well! I've been through Hell and back, Raditz! I don't need you protecting me anymore!" Vegeta tried to pull from the grip, but cried out and stopped moving, tail lashing angrily from side to side as he glared at his guard. Raditz' heart stopped; tears ran down both sides of his Prince's face. From frustration or physical pain, he didn't know, but the larger male wasn't about to let Vegeta get any more injured than he was now.
For all he knew, Earth was filled with vile, powerful creatures that would hurt Vegeta even more. Raditz wasn't about to let that happen.
"I-I just can't, Vegeta. I can't let you," he told him, shaking his head back and forth. It hurt him to hear that his Prince didn't need him anymore, but he knew it wasn't true. If his little love had ever needed compassion and care, it was now.
Vegeta struggled further.
"You…you don't care about me," he spat, leering up at Raditz with the utmost of hatred in his face. "If you cared you would let me go. I need to do this, Raditz. This isn't about you! It's none of your concern!" He hissed, gritting his teeth. "Get out of my face and let me leave!"
Heart hurting, Raditz grunted and narrowed his eyes, not sure what he could do to convince Vegeta that what he planned to do was out of the question. "You aren't going," he said levelly as possible, panting softly. "I will go. You are going to stay here with Nappa, where it's safe. You're in no condition to be doing anything-"
"You don't care!!" Vegeta shrieked again, brow furrowed with a mix of rage and frustration. "You don't! Everything you said to me was a lie! You don't love me! You'd rather have me die some pitiful, useless, low-class piece of trash than as the Prince I am!"
That did it. Anger enflamed, Raditz snarled and tugged Vegeta closer to him. "Don't you dare say that! Don't lie!" he hissed. "I put my life on the line for you! I gave you all of me for fifteen god damned years and this is how I get repaid?!" He snarled, hating the words even as he said them. It wasn't about how many years it had been, or the fact he had given Vegeta his life. That didn't matter.
It just hurt so damn badly to hear Vegeta say he didn't love him.
"You're the one lying to me!" The Prince insisted, tears dripping from his face. "You're a traitor! You won't even let me leave! And I thought you actually gave a damn!"
"Fine!" Letting go of Vegeta, Raditz turned around and stormed off towards his space capsule, sliding inside and glaring up at the other through the glass. "If you want me gone, I'll just go then! Good luck finding somebody who cares about you as much as I do."
With a quick slam of the red button by the capsule door, the hatch closed and Raditz pounded in his little brother's ship ID number, eyes fluttering shut as he felt the ship hover up from its resting place to shoot off into the depths of dark, cold space.
Five minutes passed, in which time the capsule achieved a level flying path. The moment Raditz looked out and saw stars, he knew he had made a mistake.
"I-I can't turn back," he whispered to himself in rage, feeling like an idiot. Once the coordinates were plotted, what was done was done. As soon as the ship had reached stability, he had to wait until his destination was reached to make it turn around.
God, he was such a moron.
Angry at himself, Raditz kicked halfheartedly at the side of his ship, unable to believe the things he had said to his Prince. Never before had he disobeyed him in such a way, but…he supposed it had been for the best. He couldn't have allowed Vegeta to go to Earth alone; at least now, even if his Prince took the other ship and followed, Raditz knew he would be there to protect him.
Silently, the long-haired Saiyan sort of hoped he would. They could take care of the weaker life on the planet together once Vegeta was healed, and then team up with his long-lost little brother.
It would be just like the old days, only without Frieza hovering over their heads.
Wiping a tear from his cheek, Raditz broke out into soft sobs as his ship sailed through the darkness, closing his eyes against the bright stars that passed. Vegeta was like a star. Bright, fiery, never flickering in his pursuits.
Raditz only hoped he didn't fizzle out while he was gone.
He loved Vegeta more than life itself. And he would be back. He promised. They would pretend that stupid little fight had never happened and move on with their lives.
Head in his hands, Raditz leaned against the side of the capsule and cried, wishing he could just take it all back.
"Vegeta?" Nappa called, peeking his head through the bushes. He had heard shouting, and the unmistakable loud rush of a ship leaving the planet. He could have even sworn he had felt the grown shake beneath his feet. "Prince Vegeta?"
Worried that the other had left, he tore his way through some more foliage to the clearing where the capsules were, startled to find only one with a small, petite Saiyan Prince leaning against it.
He quickly realized that Raditz must have left for Earth. With a confused expression, Nappa began to approach Vegeta, halting when the shaken look in those royal eyes prevented him from venturing further.
Without a word, Nappa turned around and walked back to the firepit, knowing better than to disturb an upset Prince.
Vegeta, in a world of his own, didn't even notice the bald Saiyan had been there. He simply leaned against the large spaceship, sliding a hand into his pocket and holding out a small white item for his tired eyes to look upon. A capsulated ship he had stolen from Frieza's docking station was inside; he had seen it laying over near the control panel and grabbed it away as Raditz had run him to safety, having had a feeling he might need it in the future.
He sighed. Raditz.
Tears built up in his eyes.
Nothing he had said had been justified. He did love Raditz, and he knew the larger Saiyan loved him back. A dull, throbbing ache settled in his stomach where the wound was, leaving him nauseous and confused. Something about Raditz had been connected to that spot. Something…that was gone now, leaving him feeling empty and hollow.
On the verge of tears, he reached down and put a hand softly to his tummy, wishing he understood.
Pressing down on one side of the capsule, Vegeta tossed it out to the area before him and watched with disinterest as a full-sized ship materialized before him. He could slip inside and follow Raditz if he wanted to, tell him everything he had said was simply a result of frustrated pride and immense physical pain. He just hoped the larger Saiyan would still love him after the cruel words he had spoken.
Perhaps, he decided, it would be best to wait before seeing his lover again.
Raditz would be just fine on Earth, he was certain, and maybe it would benefit them both to have a little time apart. Vegeta would heal while he was away, and his guard would come back to a healthy, rejuvenated Prince.
Despite his tears, Vegeta couldn't help but give a small smile. He could practically envision the day when Raditz returned, could almost taste his lips and feel the way they settled over his mouth. He ached, but he knew his ache would heal.
Raditz would come back, and they would live the life he had dreamed of for so long. Vegeta couldn't wait.
As his eyes fluttered shut, Vegeta leaned his weight against the capsule ship, still imagining the feel of his lover's lips against his own.
Raditz would be back for him.
He knew he would.
Oh my god it's horrible! D: I can't believe how awful this is.
Of course, fans of the show will understand exactly why this is so grim. Raditz left for Earth, and as a result of his fight with Goku and Piccolo, never made it back to his Prince.
And thus, I suppose that was how Vegeta turned into what we see in the Saiyan Saga. -cries-
Anyways, I can't thank you all enough for reading. If you need a pick-me-up after that ordeal and like a little GxV, I recommend my other fic Letting Go. Sure, that's rather angsty too, but it's got a happy ending, unlike this piece of work. -still crying-
Please let me know what you thought of the finale!