Thank you to everyone reading this story. Also, thank you to anyone took the time to review.
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The sun was settling itself below the horizon when Bulma's hover bike came into view. Gohan smiled at the sight of the familiar woman, and also at the single sun slowly dipping out of view. The sun on his home planet cast the sky in red light. It was the most beautiful sunset he'd ever seen.
When her chopper landed a few yards away from the group of silent warriors, she hopped off and encapsulated it.
"I've got two Senzu beans. Who needs 'em?" she called, scanning the group of warriors. Bulma was relieved to see them all alive and intact. Well, mostly. Her blue eyes widened at the tall Namekian, clutching his arm that was still dripping purple blood.
"Oh Piccolo," she frowned, extending a Senzu to the man. "I think you'll be needing this."
"Hn," Piccolo grunted, a smirk forming on his lips. Removing his hand, he extended his arm at the elbow and shouted. To everyone's surprise, the limb regenerated. Piccolo flexed his healed arm before the group of slack-jawed fighters.
Bulma's frown remained. Shaking her head, she turned from the Namekian and surveyed the rest of the men. Everyone seemed to be avoiding eye contact with her.
"Okay, I get it, you're all a bunch of tough guys."
A familiar voice cursed her, and she opened her mouth to speak to the flame-haired man, but his back was turned to. Her face fell.
"Are you hurt?" She asked, taking a subconscious step in his direction, her fingers clinching around the pair of beans in her palm.
"Go away woman," he sighed. "I am an elite warrior. I will heal."
Yamcha paled at his words, the opening in his stomach visible from where he stood.
"Vegeta," she sighed in frustration, "being a prince doesn't make you invincible you know."
He turned to face her, one his hands clutching his injured stomach. "Woman, I understand that these weaklings serve as your only examples of fighters, but a true warrior can take a blow from his opponent."
Bulma however remained silent, her eyes widening at the sight of his wound. Everything she knew about the human body said he should be dead. Of course, he wasn't human. She ignored his anthem of macho-ism.
"Vegeta…" She took a few more steps, until she was standing directly in front of him. "Take this; you'll be stronger than before. I promise, there's nothing unmanly about healing a hole in your abdomen."
He glared at her, and she had to suppress a smile at the heat in his gaze. It was pure, unadulterated anger, yes, but there was no trace of hate. He snatched one of the beans from her and chewed it, his eyes never leaving hers.
Bulma watched as his skin returned from beneath his tattered armor, and though his legs dripped with blood the scrapes were gone. When he was healed, but still glowering at her, she beamed. "See?"
She then turned from the prince, and surveyed the other warriors. Goku seemed roughed up a bit, but fine. Piccolo, upon magically healing himself, was also unscathed. Raditz was sporting a bloody lip, but she knew it was nothing the Saiyan couldn't handle. Krillin, Tien, Nappa, and Yamcha looked like they'd avoided battle completely.
Dropping to her knees, she met Gohan's gaze. "Your mother would die if she saw that black eye."
He smiled, flinching as he did so. "It's nothing."
Cocking her head to the side, Bulma handed him the last Senzu bean. "Trust me, things will be a lot easier on your dad if you come home free of any nasty bruises."
With a sigh, Gohan took the bean and ate it, looking defeated. He wondered where Bulma's powers of persuasion came from. She'd not only gotten him to take a Senzu bean, but also had forced Vegeta into eating one.
Nappa and Raditz watched their prince in amazement. The woman's pills seemed to have an instant effect, even greater than their tanks. It was amazing. Not for the first time, they were impressed by this plant's offerings. When Raditz had first landed, they were not even able to travel into space further than their own moon. It was truly astounding.
Vegeta, however, was not concerned with anyone other than the third-class Saiyan. "Kakarot," he mumbled through his clinched teeth. He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he hadn't noticed Bulma had approached him and was standing at his side, watching him with a thoughtful gaze.
"Go away, woman."
She grinned. "Sorry Vegeta, but I'm not going anywhere."
Bulma followed Vegeta's gaze, watching as Goku hosted his son up over his shoulders, causing the child to laugh. Piccolo and Raditz stood by, watching the scene fondly. Bulma smiled.
"Stay on Chikyuu."
"Never," he growled, eyes snapping to her own.
"You haven't anywhere else to go, right?" She cocked her head to the side, watching the emotions play out across his features. It was mostly a mask of anger and frustration, but she saw something else in his eyes, as though he were entertaining the idea. "You can use the Gravity Chamber any time you'd like."
"You will make improvements," he instructed, his eyes never leaving hers. "I will need the gravity doubled, and I require training devices. I assume your supposed genius can handle that?"
Bulma could only laugh.
"Kakarot," he mumbled, glancing briefly at the man still wresting and laughing with his son, "soon I will surpass you."
"Yes, yes," Bulma grinned. "I think I can get the Gravity Chamber up to 300-g's. You'll be able to beat Goku up in no time."
He glared at her, not especially fond of her joking tone, but her eyes were serious.
"Come back to Capsule Corporation with me."
"I will." He nodded. "But it has nothing to do with you."
"It's about Goku, then?" She did not need an answer. At her words, his eyes narrowed at the other Saiyan. "You deserved to kill Frieza, but I know Goku wouldn't have been as successful without sparing you. Besides," her eyes scanned the exposed flesh of his freshly healed stomach, "I know you weakened him. At least it was a Saiyan, right?"
His fists compressed. "It should have been me," he said, his voice so low she could barely hear him. She was also sure she was the only one that had.
"I know." She smiled, "But Chikyuu is always facing its fair-share of villains. Next time, it'll be all you."
One of his brows arched. "I will see if this planet provides me with any suitable challenges."
Without another word, she embraced him, her head resting on his chest and her eyes pinching closed. Bulma's hands clinched the sides of his armor, and he stared down at her whitening knuckles in surprise. However, he felt no compulsion to push her away. And so, with his men standing nearby, and an entire throng of humans watching, he allowed her to embrace him.
"Thank you," Gohan said, glancing at his shoes, a bright blush staining his cheeks, "Mr. Piccolo."
The tall Namekian only smiled fondly at the boy. With a nod, he glanced from the small, half-Saiyan to his father. "I will be around." And, with that, he took into the air in the direction of the Lookout.
Tien watched Piccolo depart into the sunset and nodded. "I'm going to go as well."
Krillin smiled, raising his hand to block out the glare of the setting sun. "Tell Chiaotzu I said hi. Poor guy's probably upset that he missed the fight."
Tien nodded, and told Krillin that he would, before following Piccolos lead and blasting off in the opposite direction.
From his place to the side of the group, awkwardly watching as Bulma pulled away from Vegeta and smiled at the man, her eyes a bit misty. His heart clinched, and he turned away. With a forced grin, he raised his hand in a wave. "I've got a big game tomorrow," he sighed, reminding himself that he had a normal life to lead. "It was nice seeing everyone again," he chuckled, "despite the circumstances."
"Bye Yamcha!" Krillin and Goku called. From Vegeta's side, Bulma smiled and returned his wave. He nodded at her, before turning to Goku and wishing him luck. The group watched as he, too, took to the sky.
"What about you?" Bulma asked, turning to the pair of tall Saiyans. Nappa shrugged. "I will take Frieza's ship and go back to space. Perhaps if I get bored I will return, but I don't really see that happening. This place is a shithole."
Raditz chuckled, but shrugged. "I think I'll stay on Chikyuu for a while. If it's okay with Chichi."
Goku scratched his head, but Gohan jumped. "Alright! We'd love to have you Uncle Raditz!"
Turning to the shorter Saiyan, Goku asked, "Vegeta?"
"I will be staying here. In a year's time, we will face off."
"Alright," Goku grinned. "I'm looking forward to it."
Bulma sighed, fishing out her capsules as she shook her head. "Boys…"
"Woman," Vegeta growled, watching as she pulled out a capsule that surely contained one of her bulky flying devices. "I will not ride in one of your ridiculous contraptions."
Placing a hand on her hips, she leveled her gaze at the Saiyan Prince. "Oh? Well sorry, but that's how we get around here."
"Hn," he grunted, grabbing her around the waist. With one last glare at Kakarot, he took into the air, with the woman shouting curses in his arms.
Gohan laughed as he watched the pair depart, hoping that Bulma could convince him over the next year not to seriously hurt his father. He'd seen her progress with him so far, and he had the slightest bit of hope. His father, however, seemed excited about the prospect of fighting his fellow Saiayn. Danger aside, Goku was always up for a challenge.
"Well," Krillin said, scratching his head as he glanced at the trio of Saiyans, "I'm going to Roshi's place. I'm sure he's more than a little curious about what went down today."
"Yeah," Goku nodded, watching his bald friend. "Let him know how well Gohan did."
"Will do," Krllin glanced at Gohan, and smiled. "I'm also going to see if he'll train me. Seeing you guys in action today made me realize how much work I have to do just to keep up." He laughed. "You guys take care!" With a wave, he was gone.
Gohan returned the wave, laughing as he watched Krillin depart.
His father rubbed his head, musing his already messy hair. "I'm proud of you, Gohan."
The boy blushed, glancing up to meet his fathers eyes, and then looking over to see that Raditz looked equally pleased with his performance.
"Thank you," he whispered, glancing back to the sky.
"Well," Goku said, "I guess we should get back to your mom."
Gohan nodded absently, his eyes never leaving the horizon. He could feel his friends' power levels drifting apart, going in their separate directions. The heroes, his new best friends, not to all gather in once place again until the next time something threatened their planet.