Reflections of a Time Well Spent

(Goku and Chi-Chi, Twenty Truths Challenge.)

Warnings: spoilers for the series' events (come on, I'm sure you've seen it all by now!) mild sex references and mild bad language, thus rated T)

One: Encased

The first night Goku lay stiff, immobile and encased in bandages after his brutal fight with the rabid alien, Chi-Chi finally caved. Her steely resolve never to forgive her husband for dying on her and their four year old son already worn thin, she secretly slipped from the hotel room she was sharing with her father, near by the city's hospital. Once she located Goku's ward through the drizzly mist of rain outside, she relied on her already-rusty martial arts skills to nimbly clamber up the side of the building, using the windowsills to help her unsteady footing. Once inside, she sped determinedly past the night-time staff in a swift blur of colour, used her strength to burst through any locked doors she needed, and snuck into the room her husband was quarantined to. As he raised a questioning eyebrow to her sudden appearance, she slipped beneath the cool cotton bedding beside him, laid her head on his discoloured shoulders, and wept. Unable to move, he silently stroked her shaking fingers as best he could, and whispered sweet nothings into her ear.

Two: Nightmares

It was a little known secret that the legend Son Goku, the fiercely brave and unbeatable protector of the galaxy, suffered from the most hideous nightmares and vivid bad dreams. It wasn't rare for Chi-Chi to awake in the middle of the night and find her husband curled into a protective little ball, his knees drawn into his chest and ushering terrified, childish whimperings. She guessed that all the horrifying ordeals he'd been through, however much he shrugged them off at the time, had to catch up to him somehow. Knowing there was nothing she could really do to remedy the situation, she would cradle his precious head against her chest and dab his sweaty forehead with a cool, damp wash-cloth, relief fluttering in her belly when he finally stopped twitching and uttered the word "Chi-Chi" in his fitful sleep, a grateful smile ghosting on the corners of his parched lips.

Three: Remorse

Chi-Chi was used to her husband's infamous disappearing acts. However, he hadn't uttered so much as a word all day, Gohan had accounted that his father had actually let Piccolo land blows on him during training, and when dinner time rolled around, all Goku had done was silently push food around his plate. If that wasn't alarming enough, her husband had slipped wordlessly from the house in the early evening, and it was now right in the middle of the night. Jumping nervously at another roll of thunder accompanying the relentless waterfall of rain outside, Chi-Chi made up her mind. Her throat dry, she shrugged an old raincoat over her shoulders, left the safety of the house, and travelled determinedly into the storm; setting her motherly instincts aside and leaving Gohan comfortably curled in bed (he was more than able to take care of himself for an hour or so, anyway).

She knew exactly where to find him, she thought, following her heart as her tiny feet slipped on the treacherous trenches of mud as she hiked up the mountains, the rain pounding the earth unremittingly.

Her suspicions were right. She found her husband sat desolately atop a hill, solemnly staring down at the small, aging hut next to their house. Rushing to his aid and shouting his name over the storm, she draped the coat protectively over his shoulders. He ignored her desperate pleas for him to return indoors. Refusing to return to safety alone, she sat beside him, and he buried his face desperately into her shoulder, hair clotted with rain. Barely above a whisper, Goku murmured shakily: "Today's the day I killed my grampa."

Four: Figure

Usually, it was Goku that snuck out of bed early in the morning to train, but sometimes, much to his amusement, Goku wouldn't awake to the clattering of dishes and delicious smell of breakfast, but to the sight of his wife doing a round of two-fingered-hand-stand-push-ups next to the bed. When he questions why she's doing it, and states that he thought she'd given up training long ago, she replies: "I've had two children. I have to keep my figure somehow."

Five: Susceptible

There was a raw, animalistic quality to Goku. He had pointed, sharp teeth, he swept through the trees of Mt. Paozu with the nimbleness and expertise of a monkey, he had wide, curious eyes that narrowed into lethal slits when faced with adversity, and a shaggy, black mane. However, it still took Chi-Chi by surprise when he started purring in content whilst dozing, lying splayed contently next to her in the sun under an ample fruit tree. She could just imagine his tail swishing and flicking lazily behind him in while he dozed. Curiously, her slender fingers sought the smooth, susceptible scar at the base of his spine and he sucked in a jagged, woozy breath when she gently prodded the sensitive area, cracking his eyes open and seeking further into her touch.

Six: Spiritual

Goku didn't have a proper grave, it didn't seem fitting, as everybody knew that he wasn't just a swirling, spiritual embodiment of his soul, but was special enough to keep his body as he roamed the endless expanse of heaven. In fact, he was very much alive in that realm, and as he looked down from his vantage point in the sky, he could see his wife sitting beside a humble, metal plaque hidden in the seclusion of the woods, book propped in one hand and the other cradling the gentle, expanding bump of her stomach.

Seven: Warrior

Goku knew he was in trouble. When Chi-Chi told him not to return home dripping blood all over the floor or smear it over her crisp, white bed sheets, she meant it. The wounds were deep, his knuckles were raw and pallid where the skin was thinned enough to expose the off-white of his bone, a deep gash ran diagonally across his chest, his back was bruised and swollen from ki-blasts, his nose was probably broken, and parts of his forearm were and gouged and bleeding profusely. If Gohan came back from training in such as state, Goku doubted he would ever be allowed back home again.

But he still didn't regret getting so carried away, the sheer thrill of his battle with Piccolo had been worth it.

Hopping into the shower, he grimaced as the spray rinsed the worst of the dry blood and grime off, before trying to makeshift bandage the worst injuries. He wasn't too worried about the state of his skin; he knew that most of the cosmetic damage would be healed in a day or two. Sore and aching, he finally rolled into bed beside his wife, letting darkness drag him down into a solid, dreamless slumber. When Chi-Chi awoke the next morning to find speckles of dry, crusted blood peppering her sheets, she saw red. Her eyes widened in dismay as they travelled up Goku's damaged body, before finally resting on a fresh, new bruise appalling on his cheek. Seeing her husband in such a banged-up state sent a pang of sickness rolling through her stomach, knowing that torturing his body like that only bought him happiness.

Being the wife of a warrior broke her heart.

Eight: Ice

He stood at the threshold of the house, one hand proudly placed on his son's head, fingers threaded through his shaggy hair. Outwardly, you would never tell, but his heart was shuddering warmly in anticipation of seeing his wife again. During his long time on planet Yardrat, a hidden, yearning part of him longed to see Chi-Chi's sweet scowling face, tenderly slaving over a dish or something or other, wrapping up his wounds, shaking her hair down from its professional bun, just for him, in the privacy of their bedroom…

"Hello, Chi." He said smiling, standing confidently in the door way. He expected her to run to him, for him to sweep her up, for him to carry her upstairs and…

"Don't call me that." Her words cut life a knife as she carefully set aside the china dish she was scrubbing and peeled off her sudsy gloves. Unable to bear it, she whirled round and fled upstairs. After a second, the sound of a slamming door resounded through the household, the wood of the cheap door frame splintering at the rough contact.

Goku's veins turned to ice as he stood dumbfounded, only able to look on after her.

Nine: Fraternizing With the Enemy

What was left of the Red Ribbon. Piccolo. Radditz. Vegeta. Nappa. Freiza. … Space missions. Explosions. Golden hair. The oncoming threat of the androids. Fraternizing with the enemies. Sometimes leaving his family to the extent of neglect. Over-whelming, unfathomable power. Seeking closer into his radiating body-heat, listening to the languid, steady beating of his heart, Chi-Chi wondered incoherently if lying in arms of Son Goku put her in the safest place in the world, or the most dangerous.

Ten: Love

Goku made a point never to cry in front of anyone, no matter what. It showed that your resolve was cracking, that you were weak, and if anything, it was just damn embarrassing. However, the first time he knelt beside his exhausted wife's bedside and picked up the tiny, perfect baby swathed in blankets on her lap, he couldn't help but let a tiny tear slither from the corner of his eye. He didn't understand how he could have created something to fragile and so perfect, but he definitely did, he thought with a chuckle, as a slender, brown tail flailed in distress before wrapping tightly around his wrist.

Eleven: Study Time

Son Goku was the strongest; Son Goten was the fastest and… Son Gohan had the best hearing. One night, as the eldest demi-Saiyan lay in bed with one arm propped behind his crown of spikes; he couldn't help but think his inhuman hearing was deceiving him. From the next room, soft voices drifted through the paper thin walls. Utterly confused, Gohan slipped past his younger brother and out into the empty hallway, moonlight streaming through the oval windows. Suppressing his Ki and relying on his Saiyan stealth, he unhitched the door lock, snuck outside and floated up to his parent's bedroom window. Peering through the blackness with his superior eyesight, he could clearly make out the silhouettes of his parents bundled together on the bed. His father had a heavy book sitting in his palms, while his mother, tiny in comparison to Goku's broad chest, sat in his lap, forcing to him to read aloud from the pages. His words were broken and unsure of themselves, lingering with notes of unsureness.

The neat corners of Gohan's mouth upturned, his mother had always jibed that his father was barely literate. He guessed that it must have been true.

Twelve: God

Chi-Chi had either met the Gods herself, or heard direct, second-hand tales about them. There was Kami, the first God of Earth: a bossy, bent, decrepit old man who couldn't do much else but offer his wisdom in the frequent times of desperation. There was Dende, the second God of Earth: a small, green, timid child handpicked by her husband himself to take the place of the former guardian. Then there was the overweight, overworked red guy who approved or denied applications for heaven, often just stamping: APPROVED in big, blue letters on the forms to make his job easier. And finally, there was Kaiosama, the chortling blue creature who Goku was apparently gallivanting around heaven with. Yes, Chi-Chi had met the Gods, and she knew that they weren't much different from the humans down below. But that knowledge still didn't stop her from praying without fail to the rotund blue-man every night, pleading him send her late-husband home to Mount Paozu, where he belonged.

Thirteen: Goten 1

Being a lonely, only child, Chi-Chi had always desired to create as big a family as possible inside a home filled with love. After a year or so of blissful, peaceful, undisturbed marriage, she and Goku eagerly got started, turning her fantasy into a fully-fledged reality, intent on making babies with tails and all. Like the aftermath of all fairytales, the dream didn't last for long. Safe inside their humble cottage, Chi-Chi sat by the kitchen window every day, watching the lengthy cycle of seasons pass: an endless onslaught of disappearances, death and personal attacks on her husband.

Of course, with other, more important things on the agenda, like the well-being of the planet, the two never got around to crafting the family she'd always wanted, the dream long forgotten and buried under years of destruction.

"Son Goku, I want another baby." She finally admitted again one night. Her voice was so sure of itself; almost as if it were the reason she had bothered living through the endless, bloody mess of intergalactic battles all along.

The looming threat of the Androids was approaching quickly, so the two decided to wait until the danger had passed before they continued raising a family. However, after a new psychopath bent on demolishing the world appeared, and there was only seven days left until everyone's impending doom, her husband decided to take the week off from his full-time job as the world's saviour and just savour the time he had left. He and his wife both knew, although neither of them would admit it to each other, that this week would be his last.

It was a wordless, mutual agreement to stop using protection during the last of their passionate, frenzied coupling. Again, he and his wife both knew, although neither of them would admit it to each other, exactly what the consequence of their actions was going to be.

Fourteen: Reunion

When Goku finally told his wife that he was coming home for good, standing proudly on the lookout after Buu's defeat, everyone awkwardly averted their eyes to the floor as the couple began to devour each other's mouths passionately, pouring seven year's worth of absence into a kiss that spoke more volumes than 1,000 words in Goku's limited vocabulary. The only three not to blush and swivel their eyes about the palace were Goten, Trunks and Gohan. Goten looked on in shock and confusion, Trunks clutched at his sides exclaimed how gross the display was, and Gohan was just tearfully glad to see his family back together again.

Fifteen: Trust

"AAAARGH!"The sole of Chi-Chi's foot connected with a sturdy tree-trunk, the force of the kick nearly snapping the wood in two as the over-sized plant shuddered in agony. Secretly, Goku perched on the window ledge, watching the scene with interest, trained eyes following every bob and weave of his wife's fists as she jabbed and swiped at thin air in a rapid succession. Her moves were fluid and frustrated, face contorted in rage. She only ever resorted back to martial arts if she was REALLY angry, the brisk, single minded goal of pumping her arms and legs pushing all other thoughts from her mind, anger visibly dissipating as her breath wound down and became ragged.

… But not this time. She just kept going and going…

Goku winced as her elbow connected with another tree. It was probably time to step in.

Hopping down from his hidden position, he landed directly at his wife's feet, easily deflecting a barrage of frenzied punches. "You…" she growled through gritted teeth, warning her husband that the Ox-Princess was still royally pissed off at him.

A cocky, confident smirk sat on his lips as he crouched into a defensive position, willing his wife to charge at him with everything she had. Emitting another snarl of rage, she flew towards him headfirst, and he braced his rippling stomach muscles, allowing for the impact. Expelling a puff of air as her body propelled him backwards, the two landed sprawled in the dirt. She assumed the dominant position and pulled back her fist, ready to plough it right into his shit eating grin.

Easily, he caught the tense ball of her fingers and swung her body over his shoulder, hearing nails scrape along the dirt to assume grip on the ground. In a nick of time, he whirled round to avoid another rapid fire of punches and kicks. Grabbing her arms again, Goku pulled his wife's small, threat-less body closely against his chest, refusing to let go as her legs flailed and struggled with the indignity.

Eventually, she relaxed into his embrace.

"That's not fair…" she panted, breathless and irked, trapped in his infinitely superior strength.

Eyelids drooping half closed, a dreamy look swirled over his face. Chi-Chi was faring better against him than he thought she would, and it was one hell of a turn on. His nose brushed against his wife's face in an attempt to mould his lips to her's…

"OW!" He gave a high-pitched, boyish yelp and dropped her body to the group, where she landed with a soft 'bump'. Doubling over, he cradled his swollen testicles, reaping the repercussions of an attack he had been totally unprepared for.

Son Goku was just too damn trusting, and everyone was going to take advantage of that at some point.

Sixteen: Gentleness

Goku was acutely aware that he held enough power to destroy his wife in the tip of his pinkie-finger. Thus, he was always so nervous of hurting her, so afraid that he might crush her fragile body beneath his, so scared of gripping her silky flesh too hard. Solemnly, he understood the consequences of letting his control slip, even for just the fraction of a second. However, Chi-Chi always reassured him that she wasn't made of china, as her hands delicately skimmed the skin of her lightly muscled torso. She caressed his face and convinced him that she wouldn't break so easily. But it still didn't change the fact that in the glowing mornings after, his wife had to smother the red marks beneath her clothes, the dappling bruises on her thighs where he had gripped her hips to eagerly, so gratefully, between the sheets. Bittersweet, she understood that because the ever expanding gap in their strength was so incomparable, he really had been as gentle as possible, and if he knew he had accidently hurt her, however superficial the wounds were, he would probably never forgive himself.

Seventeen: Marriage

) Chi-Chi would have never guessed she would have two weddings in her lifetime, but claiming to be married to the suddenly-alive-man-who-had-been-filed-dead-eight-years-ago was tricky business in the eyes of the law, especially as the spiky-haired impersonator held no real custardy over the children. So, after a slap-dash proposal, the Ox-Princess found herself barefoot on the sandy beaches surrounding Kame House. Not wanting to make meal of the event, but still clothed in her mother's traditional wedding dress, Chi-Chi married a new man: a person the absolute, identical spit of her late husband, conveniently under the pseudonym 'Kakarrot'.

Sadly, as the blushing pair rushed off to elope for a week or two on Nimbus, Krillin reflected on the traditional sentiment changed in their vows. 'Till Death Do Us Part' had been swapped for a more fitting verse: 'As long as we both shall live'.

Eighteen: Goten 2

Hidden safely behind the locked, wooden door of the bathroom, Chi-Chi's knees went weak and she allowed her quivering body to slide to the floor. With numb, shaking fingers, she fingered the pregnancy test in complete and utter disbelief. After a few more moments of stunned silence, a slow grin spread across her face, a pale tint of colour finally seeping into her ashen cheeks. "Son of a bitch…" she murmured to no one in particular, before directing her voice to the heavens, praying that her target was listening.

"Son Goku!" she exclaimed, an absentminded hand caressing her stomach, "I'm going to kill you."

Suddenly, all vague shades of colour drained from her face again, leaving it as white as snow as she hastily hurled her face over the toilet, cheeks bulging into the basin.

Nineteen: Out of Body

It was sort of like an out of body experience for Goku when his grandchild was being born. Every sound was slow and deliberate, every syllable drifting disjointed through his sensitive ears, every colour swirling outside of his personal sphere. He hated hospitals, he winced with an internal sigh, keeping half an eye on his wife as she flustered up and down the cynically white hallways of the building.

Uncomfortable in the cheap plastic seat next to his father, Goten gave a sharp snore and nuzzled his cheek against the unforgiving, cold, metal support-rail that stood stiffly beside him, enveloped in his arms. In a rare display of tenderness, Goku scooped his twelve year old up and cradled him into his lap, a sturdy hand snaking into his photocopy hair. Absentmindedly, it worked through the spikes, nails raking soothingly against his son's scalp as Goku reflected on how it was suddenly Gohan's time to parent. Where had all the years gone so fast?

Soon, his eldest son would be supporting a cherubic baby all of his own, Goku thought with a bittersweet smile on his face. He gazed down at Goten and brushed away the drool leaking from his bottom lip. Despite missing the first 7 years of his life, he would always be his baby.

Twenty: Space and Time

Sleep weighing heavily on Chi-Chi's eyelids, she rested her book the table and flicked off the lamp. Romance stories; what a load of bullshit. Internally chuckling, she draped her body over her husband's in the dark, loosing herself in the pattern of his slow, even breathing. Here was a real love story, one that travelled through time, galaxies, life, blood, battle, reality, heaven, hell and death to be here with her, harmlessly asleep in her bed.

Sometimes, fairy tales really did have a happy ending.

Well, there you go. I hope you enjoyed this semi-one-shot! And yes, I know these are meant to be short and sweet... so some of them turned into drabbles... because I just can't help getting carried away!

(Inspired and challanged by miss-apple-dbz's Candid. Go check it out, go now.)

More love for Goku and Chi-Chi, please.