Note: I have only seen cartoon network DBZ. Continuity issues that go beyond that, I'm uneducated on.

Betas: Ane S. Thesia, Keith, and Eloy Brightdreamer thank you very, very much :)

Chapter 1

A young woman with short-cropped black hair floated high above the earth. A strong wind pulled at her hair and clothes tugging her in their eddies. "I'm so high." The whispered words seemed almost sacrilegious in the chill morning air. The world stretched out below, a sea of browns and greens crisscrossed by roads. It all seemed so normal and quiet.

Flying was something he'd given her. Something he'd learned as a child. It had been expected of him. He was a half-Saijin, son to a real hero. He was supposed to fly, and fight, and save the world.

The young woman squeezed her eyes shut for a moment. It shouldn't be so peaceful. The world shouldn't sleep while its fate is being struggled for. Men were pouring their bodies and souls into fighting some vague evil. A big bad destructive force had found its way to the Earth again. As though it could sense the powerful beings who had made this planet their home, evil after evil came to test its power. Ghosts of monsters destroyed danced just beyond reality, Freeza, Cell, Buu...

Funny thing about being a hero; people don't think about the dying. Death was almost always part of the gig. Sooner or later, men like that die in their struggles, if not fighting this evil, then the next or the next.

He could already be dead, blasted to nothing. His father was dead; he died a young man, leaving two children and a wife. The peaceful sky darkened as if in response to the morbid thoughts of the girl floating in it's midst.

But he was more than some gladiator. He had a mind and a sense of humor. He knew how to live. She could tell that almost from the first time they met. A lack of malice was perhaps the best way to describe it. He didn't want to hurt anyone or anything. He didn't love to fight and definitely not to kill. Yet, every defining moment of his life seemed to be born out of violence and death. Eventually that defining moment would be his own death.

"I don't want you to die, Gohan!"

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"Videl, baby, you're going to be late for school if you don't get up. You already missed your morning run. It isn't like you to sleep in."

A tousled Videl poked her head out from under a thick blanket. "Right, sorry Daddy. I was just dreaming."

The massive man stretching in their living room was Hercule, media darling, martial artist, and fraudulent hero. Videl didn't hold it against him and she'd never confronted him about his lies. Gohan and his family weren't interested in the notoriety or the credit her father thrived on. The only thing to be gained would be to hurt her dad, something she'd never do intentionally.

"Tell your old dad about it. A good dream, I hope," Hercule said.

Videl shrugged. "You know I don't remember." She caught sight of the clock and muttered a curse too quiet for her father to overhear. "I am gonna be late."

Hercule grinned at his scampering daughter. She was fast, even when she wasn't fighting. The bathroom door slammed cutting off Videl's mad rush through her morning rituals. A grin crept slowly over the fighter's hairy face. He had really raised that girl right, a chip off the old block. She was going to be a world champion martial artist someday, as long as she stayed focused.

A knock at the door interrupted Hercule's self-congratulations. "Yeah, what is it?" He pulled the door open and his face immediately fell. It was the skinny kid, the evil alien, one of the fighters who killed Cell and busted up the World Martial Arts Tournament last year. "What are you doing here?" The normal bravado in his voice was absent.

"I'm walking Videl to school. Is she ready?" Gohan asked. He smiled and made a little half-bow.

Hercule could just hear the shower in the background. Videl deserved better than a dangerous alien boyfriend. "Sorry kid, Videl already left. Must not have been interested in an escort."

Gohan's smile faded a couple of degrees. And the shower was running to test the plumbing? "I see. Thank you anyway." Hercule's response, a slammed door, finished obliterating Gohan's good mood. "Just let me pick the splinters out of my teeth." He wasn't angry at Hercule's reaction, the man didn't like him or any of the Saijins. Well, Videl was the only reason he even cared what that big goofball thought. Gohan took the high-class apartment building's steps two and three at a time then merged into the sea of people flowing down the city street.

Videl, the main reason for his foul mood, had been distant since the battle with Buu. She didn't want to train, date, nothing. This walk was supposed to be a chance to talk through what was eating her. And now she had her dad running interference, lying to him. It wasn't something Gohan had wanted to believe, but maybe she'd had a chance to think about who he was, and maybe she didn't like it. Maybe she was more like her father than he'd ever thought.

Well there were more important things in the world than mooning over a girl who didn't even want to see him. There was school. Integral calculus was not the walk-in-the-park differential had been, and the ancient literature elective had been a mistake. Not to mention his other responsibility, the one he tried to ignore for seven years.

Vegeta had been right, he hadn't been training properly in the time between Cell and Buu's arrival. It could have cost the world its existence. Never again, he'd promised himself when his father wrested him from the gut of that monster. He'd be ready the next time a big ugly decided to pick on his corner of the galaxy, but first, calculus.

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Within a dark cathedral a dull blue glow illuminated a tiny circle around an oblong crystal. Sharp contorted shadows hinted at horrors just out of sight. One of the shadows moved, slowly, gracefully, into the light. A long lithe body and strong sculpted face, framed by slightly curling blond hair, the man was breathtakingly beautiful. Then he opened his eyes. They were empty, the same dull blue as the glowing crystal. The man dropped to his knees and the crystal's light grew stronger. "You called, my lady?"

"Who are you?" a disembodied cold voice demanded.

"My name is Rinback. I was born more than two thousand years ago, on a planet called Orven. Third son to a Master General, I was trained to fight. I loved and lost, and I fought many battles before I came to stand before you, and my life truly began." The words were spoken like scripture. It was part of their dance, their symmetry.

"I loved you well. Have you loved me, my Rinback, my lover?" The crystal's strength continued to grow and the light was gradually filling the chamber.

"I gave you my soul, lady, and all the love in it." Rinback reached out and the ghostly image of a woman, appeared above the crystal. She might have been beautiful. "I gave you all I am, lady." The light had gradually pulled the shadows into it's embrace, revealing the source of the contorted forms; the room was filled with statues, a thousand different types of aliens, some humanoid, many not, all rendered in perfect unchanging blue crystal.

"I am dying, lover. Our world is dying again." The form of the woman took on a slightly more cohesive state. "I can't even touch you now."

Rinback began to tremble. "Take my life first lady. You must not die."

"You will save me then? You love me so much?" The energy of the crystal immediately began to gather into a ball of light. "Then take the last of my energy, and find him, one who can save me." The ball of energy flashed and flew into Rinback's chest.