Chichi smoothed her cold hands down her dress and pushed through the revolving doors of the medical wing. It was not as large as a conventional hospital, but it wasn't even close to being as small as a private clinic. She had to walk a fair distance before turning the corner that opened up to the spacious and luxurious waiting lounge.
"Urgh! Just shut-up and go back to your planet of superior beings already!"
She heard Bulma's voice loud and clear above the other murmurs.
"Oh that's right, you can't! Since you know, it went poof with the rest of your so-called superior kind!"
Chichi couldn't help but smile, clearly nothing had changed with those two. She kept on walking, clenching and unclenching her fingers in an effort to relax. She was close now; the floor beneath her shoes had just changed from the glossy tiles of the entrance to the lush carpet of the lounge.
"Hehehe, she got you there Vegeta."
Thump. Thump. That voice - orotund, warm and carefree; a voice she'd recognise anywhere – Goku's.
Air, she needed air, to think he was here already it was just-
"Oh, shut-up Kakarot."
That was another familiar voice – Vegeta's. No one else would sound so grumpy or call Goku by his birth name.
She took a few more steps and just like that, she found herself standing before the small group of familiar faces assembled to witness Pan's birth.
Her eyes found his face immediately.
She gulped - nerves, anxiety, grief, pain...everything she'd been trying to suppress on the long journey here gushed out with no limit. She may have appeared composed to the onlookers in her sober houndstooth suit, looking ever regal and conservative, but...really, inside, the princess was nothing but a murky, sinking puddle of discomposure.
See, a comfortable drive from Mt. Frypan to West-City in the new DX hover car was a good 4 hours, which was more than long enough to rattle a woman seeing her ex for the first time in four years. She'd anxiously juggled keeping an ice-pack on her eye with changing her hair style several times. She'd fussed over the fall of her scarf as well as incessantly changing the coating of her make-up. She'd munched on crackers trying to fight the urge to chew on her nails. She'd even started a conversation with her chauffeur about his thoughts on the education system in Mt. Frypan—anything to not have to think about seeing him again.
Unfortunately, the driver was not much of a conversationalist; he'd murmured a few comments here and there and that was it. So in the end she'd run over what she'd say to her ex a thousand times, determined to be friendly, but composed no matter what.
However, standing before them now, as they all turned to stare at her in return, she found that, that resolution might be a lot more difficult to maintain than she'd thought.
Her eyes found his face immediately, but Chichi missed the opportunity to notice how those handsome features had just gone from laughing at Vegeta's expense to unabashedly stricken at the mere sight of her.
Oh no, she didn't see that at all. What she did notice, what she couldn't have missed even if her eyes were dug out of her skull, were the perfectly manicured fingers of the hand belonging to the redhead standing beside him.
They were touching his arm lightly with such disgusting familiarity that it was all she could do to not yank them off and break that perfect little hand into an awkward angle.
So this was her then—the Momu Goten was always talking about.
Humph! Sure, she was pretty enough she supposed, if one cared for such loud and vulgar hair. But that dress really? Seems Goku's taste in women was far from sophisticated.
Still, a painful internal self-kick reminded her, sophisticated or common, beautiful or plain, whatever she was or was not, in the end it didn't matter because this redhead...this Momu had, in just two short years, become the one thing she'd never been, the one thing she would never be—Goku's choice.
And that...the weight of that truth, no matter her resolve to live the rest of her life without him, hurt in a slow swarm of relentless pain.
However, this was not the time for such thoughts. This was not the time to nest and lick one's wounds; this was a happy occasion, indeed probably the only thing she'd really looked forward to in these past five years. Pan was coming into the world today, and she was determined to see to it that she was greeted by a happy grandmother.
Clasping her hands before her, she tore her gaze from the redhead's fingers and held her head high. Ignoring the quiet stares from all eyes present, she walked through the silence that had befallen the previously lively room until she came to a stop just before them.
You're friendly, you're composed. You're friendly, you're composed. She reminded herself as she took a deep breath.
"Hello Goku," she prayed for strength. "It's been a while." She managed a warm smile—somehow.
"Chi," she heard her nickname float from his mouth. It was more of a croak than a word; an unfamiliar, strangled, dry and painful sound from one who was always so sprightly.
A good look at his face and her heart sank. Goku wasn't wearing the look of a man determined to play the part of the friendly and composed ex. He wasn't smiling; he wasn't even trying to pretend to be happy to see her. He wore such a stricken alien expression, like...her very presence was an unwanted and poisonous intrusion in his space.
One by one, the binds on her composure began to unravel, elevating her heart-rate. Had she ever seen Goku like this? No, never.
She gulped, preparing to distance herself from the duo. Did he resent her presence that much? He who had always been able to smile through everything? Couldn't he at least pretend to be happy to see her? Really, Goku had some nerve! He was the one with a sleezy woman hanging on his arm and he had the nerve to look so stricken! Hmph! She didn't know quite what to expect, but certainly nothing good would come from one who looked at her with such...
"You're hurt," his eyes narrowed, his hand suddenly touching her face.
It was so unexpected that it really startled her.
Before she could speak, a light finger brushed and fingered the swollen and bruised flesh around her eye. She opened her mouth, perhaps to protest, perhaps to say something else, but the words dried up at the intensity in his eyes.
"Chichi what happened?" He held her face in both hands now, gazing down at her in an expression so familiar it made her ache as it searched her eyes for answers.
His hands against her skin were just as she remembered: firm but gentle, soft but not entirely smooth, adorned with a calloused finish at the edges of his palms. Most definitely, these hands, the feel of them against her skin, were just as she remembered.
Without thinking, she leaned into his touch like a kitten kneading into its owner, and sighed. What could she tell him?
Though the council meeting had been too soon after the punch for her eye to swell and discolour, this trip to West City had provided just about enough time for that to happen. She'd been diligent enough to keep her eye on ice while she was not fussing about her appearance during the trip, but the effects of Yamcha's powerful punch would not be held at bay. They were displayed on her face for all to see, apparently enough for Goku to forget that she was poison and touch her, his concern overwhelming any other thought or emotion.
"It's...it's nothing," she fought for control, composure, anything but the breathlessness threatening to overwhelm her. "T-Training, was distracted."
"Yamcha did this?"
"It wasn't his fault, really."
"Still, he should be watching his strength."
"Goku, I'm fine, really."
"Chi," was it a word, a whisper, a murmur? Either way, there was just too much of him, filling up all the space around her.
When did he get so close? His face was practically leaning in on her and every hair in her body agreed that he was just too damn close for comfort. What had gotten into him? Just a second ago he was looking at her like she was poison and now—
Another trace of his searching fingers along the lines of her face, "Maybe Dende could-" His hand moved from the injured site to aimlessly tracing her face.
Chichi couldn't believe herself. What the hell was she doing just standing around, leaning into his touch, enjoying the feel of it, revelling in the wash of concern in his eyes, and Kami, even the thick emotion in his voice was giving her a rush. What exactly was she doing?
"How obscene," muttered Vegeta in something akin to contempt as he folded his arms and turned away from the spectacle.
Obscene indeed, Chichi agreed with horror. Vegeta's disgust couldn't have come at a better time. She immediately pulled away, taking a few steps back even as her face protested against the loss of warmth from his fingers.
"Ahem," the redhead standing next to Goku cleared her throat. Vegeta's outburst had seemingly rescued her from her trance-like state of standing by, staring like the rest of the onlookers. "Well now Goku," she tossed that red hair back. "Aren't you going to introduce me?"
"Right," said Goku, his eyes never leaving Chichi's face. "Um...Momu, this is my wife Chichi."
Everyone in the room, widened their eyes, but Goku didn't even notice. He just went on with his introductions, "Uh Chi, this is my friend Momu."
"I see," said Momu. "Well then," she extended a slender hand towards Chichi. "It's good to finally meet you Mrs. Son."
Chichi found herself caught somewhere between a flush and a protest at Goku's blunder. You'd think that after five years he'd be used to calling her his ex-wife by now. Especially in front of his little girlfriend! Though, in all honesty, what was four years, compared to seventy? She supposed it was just a slip of the tongue.
She accepted the redhead's hand, giving it a firm shake.
It was tempting, so, so tempting to keep squeezing until she'd crushed it down to the last bone. But...she was friendly and composed, she reminded herself, so that wouldn't do.
"Nice to meet you too," she lied through a smile, though this one didn't quiet reach her eyes.
"You need to chill, nothing's gonna happen." Grand Kai lounged back as he grabbed the base of his curvaceous hookah pipe. "That sexy dame was just trying to rattle your whiskers," he dismissed, placing the tip of the hose against his mouth.
"I'll be happy to relax, just as soon as the sun sets on Earth without incident," said King Kai.
"Well, technically the sun has set in several places on Earth already," said the white-haired deity, just before he pulled long and hard on the hose.
King Kai frowned. "Yes Grand Kai, but I'll keep an eye on Goku's part of the world just the same."
"Suit yourself, but prepare to be scolded by Elder Kai when he learns that you haven't delivered the message to Goku."
"I'll take that chance. I'll let him know just as soon as this danger period passes."
"Well, tell you what Sonny. Grab a seat and have some of this pipe. I invited some of the girls from Planet Botle to come and shake it to some rock'n roll. Heheheh, and I'm not just talking about any girls, either. I'm talking about the ones that kept their bodies, if you know what I mean," he grinned, the f his up and down rhythm of his bushy eyebrows making his dark sunglasses dance to the same tune.
King Kai frowned. Grand Kai knew he had no interest in such matters, yet he still...Urgh...
"I think...I'll get back to Gregory and Bubbles now. I'll keep you posted."
The atmosphere had definitely taken a turn for the awkward.
After Goku had introduced her to Momu, Chichi had moved away from the duo as fast as possible. For starters, she was kicking herself for her little lapse of judgement; how could she have allowed him to touch her like that in front of all those people?
Secondly, despite her resolve to be friendly and composed, there was no way she was going to stand around and engage Goku and his girlfriend in idle chit-chat. She'd come far in these five years, but not that far.
So she'd moved away at the first opportunity, meandering around to politely greet the rest of the group: Piccolo and Vegeta, Krillin and his wife, Mr. Satan and his latest Squeeze.
Trunks and Goten were still nowhere to be found.
She'd then attached herself to Bulma, whose demeanour no matter the tension or awkwardness was just as talkative as ever.
"...so our rep said it was a little cumbersome 'cause they have to hire outside Frypan for all the technical staff," said the heiress.
"I know, I know, our little university has never been strong in the sciences, which is why I twisted Mr. Satan's arm three years ago and got him to finance the new Science and Technology Institute."
"Well like I said on the phone Chichi, you know I'm passionate about the sciences and Capsule Corp will assist however possible, but jeez, do you have to talk shop all the time? It's like I don't even know you anymore."
"What? Bulma! That's not true!"
"Yes, it is! Whether it's over the phone or on the rare occasions that I actually get to see you, you're always on about some project or other."
"Do I? Hmmm...let's see then...first it was the Rural Electrification Project, then it was the Martial Arts School, then the Foreign Investment Initiative, then you caused all kinds of drama in the Ministry of Health, then-"
"Oh alright, so I've been busy, I get it."
"Chichi, it's not that you've been busy that's the problem, the whole world is busy is trying to make ends meet, it's just that...I get the feeling that you don't make time for anything else. Seriously, I think I liked you better when all your energy was directed towards Gohan's education."
"Well, he's an accomplished young adult now isn't he? He's doing very well for himself. He doesn't need his mother smothering him."
"How are things with you two these days? Any better?"
Chichi shrugged. "Well, it's the best it's been since the divorce, but it's still..."
"Yes, he's still so distant, it's exceptionally hard to bear. But I'm doing the best I can to give him as much time as he needs to forgive me."
"I'm sure he already has. With the baby coming, this is a perfect opportunity for you two to rebuild."
"I hope so," she smiled sadly. "I hate to admit it, but Gohan's never really looked at me the same, not since we came back from that trip in space and gave him and Goten the news."
"I can't accept this," said Gohan as he paced the short length of the living room.
Roughly he tugged at the dark spikes on his head, running his hands down his face, his head shaking in denial.
Goten was curled up between his parents on an old couch, his eyes following his older brother's movements. Chichi and Goku sat stiffly with the seven year old between them, both doing their best to avoid each other's eyes.
It was a tense moment in the usually bubbly Son household and Gohan's reaction to the news was only making the situation worse.
Shaking his head even more, Gohan turned to his parents and exploded: "I will never accept this; it's just coming out of nowhere!" His fist crashed down on the table with such force that the wood shattered; the whole structure crumpling to the floor.
Chichi jumped, startled; her hand moving to rest against her racing heart.
"Hey now, I know you're upset Son, but there's no need for that." said Goku.
"Are you guys kidding, a divorce? But why? Why?" He swivelled around, looking at both his parents with bleak eyes. "You were so happy in space, and that was just two weeks ago!" he accused them. "You even got re-married!" As far as he was concerned, this was coming out of nowhere, it just didn't make any sense!
To his outrage, his mother merely clasped both hands on her lap, saying nothing. She wore that infuriatingly stubborn expression on her face, and that more than the anything, scared him. Even more so when it was his father that did the talking.
"Son, your mom and I...we...your mom and I..." He struggled for words, and Gohan could just tell that he was having trouble too.
Gohan stole a quick look at his brother, his eyes were moving between the trio as he sucked on his thumb—a sure sign that he was worried and scared. And Gohan felt terrible, it was his fault. Goten was used to their mother's wrath. She would yell and scream and cry while breaking and bashing things, that was just the norm, but seeing his big brother like this...it was no wonder the little guy was scared.
"Your mom and I..."
Gohan willed himself to be calm for Goten's sake. He sat at the edge of the coffee table by his parents and tried to rail in his raging emotions.
"You and Mom, what Dad? You don't love her anymore? This makes no sense. What happened to you Dad, is this about your childhood memories of Vegetasei? I thought we were important to you!"
"Gohan, what I remember about the past means nothing. It's not important. Son, you know how it is with this power we have. You know they'll always be other threats, other battles. You know that no matter what, I'll have to be right there to fight them right? For you and your brother, for your mom, for everyone?"
"What's that got to do with anything?"
"It's hard on your mom. It's been a life of waiting and worrying. It's hard on her and she's suffered because of it. She's always the one getting left behind. Always alone, always..." He licked his lips, trying to stick to his resolve and not crumble before his son. "...and it's not fair on her. I wish I could guarantee that I'm never gonna get called off to train again, or to battle or even death, but you know as well as I do, that I can't."
"So you'd rather break mom's heart than stop fighting?"
"Gohan," Chichi tried to intervene.
"No Mom, I'm not a child anymore, I can't," his chest tightened, "I can't just say nothing when I know what this is gonna do to you!"
"Gohan please, this was my decision, not your father's. It's been a lifetime since we were together and I guess, we've sort of...um...grown apart and...look...I just...I want...I need a different life. I need it. Please, try to understand."
"How can you say that Mom? How can you say that? You love Dad more than anything!"
"Yes, I love your father very much. He's the father of my children and I'll always care for him, but...too much time has passed, too much has happened and changed. I'm just not the same as I was. I can't be married to him anymore."
"M-Mom." He couldn't believe what he was hearing. His whole belief system was crumbling right before his eyes and he just couldn't breathe.
"Gohan," Goku placed his hand over his shoulder. "We'll still be a family, just-"
"No we won't!" He pulled away from his father. "What about Goten and I? Will we even get to see you Dad?"
"I'm not going anywhere. This house is my home, our home, and with your mom moving back to Fire Mountain, you and Goten will have two homes now."
"I'm going to quit school," he blurted.
"What?" As expected, Chichi shrieked.
"I'm quitting school. I'm going to focus on training. I'll become strong and finally live up to my potential. Dad will never have to fight another battle again. I'll make sure that Goten and Trunks get into shape as well. We'll take care of this planet, just you watch."
"Son," Goku began.
"See Mom," he cut his father off. "Dad will never have to fight again, so there's no need for a divorce. I'll keep him safe, he'll be right here by your side, and the two of you can finally have the happy ending that you deserve. Just leave everything to me."
"Gohan," Chichi sighed, "I can't force you to go to school, and I can't force you not to train if that's what you really want. Honey, I love you and your brother very much, and I know this must be upsetting for you both. But I'm not going to change my mind, your grandpa's on his way to get me and—"
"There's no point in putting...Gohan? Gohan wait!"
But he wasn't listening; he took the door down in his rush to get out and launched himself into the air.
He couldn't remember the last time he'd flown with tears in his eyes, but so high up in the sky, at such speed, they dried up as they poured out, the wind was just too strong.
He didn't consciously have a destination, but in no time at all he was banging at Videl's window.
He'd sensed his father's energy hovering outside for a while, but he never came out, at some point his father had given up and left.
He curled up in Videl's arms instead, losing himself in her, wondering how she truly felt about him. Did she feel the same pull that he did? A pull so intense and severe it was almost painful to bear?
"Videl, do you love me?" He'd had no choice but to stop and ask, otherwise what was he even doing here? Being with her this way, sharing this kind if intimacy.
Videl didn't even open her eyes; she moaned and pulled down his head, her mouth seeking his in an urgent kiss.
It was hardly ideal, certainly not easy, but Gohan had no choice but to pull out and climb off of her. And with the separation of thier bodies, she finally opened her eyes: "W-Wha what are you doing?"
"My parents are getting a divorce," he said, sitting up, running his hands down his face.
"Wha..." her face contorted in confusion as she sat up as well.
"They just told us, my mom is l-leaving," he choked.
"I don't understand."
"I don't either," he clutched his head.
"How can that be? They just got married didnt they?"
"That's exactly what I said! But I saw the look on my mother's face when they told us—she means it Videl. It's really over for them, and I just..." He didn't have the words.
"I'm so sorry Gohan, you must feel...you must feel like you lost a part of your reality. I know how that goes, but one can never fully understand what it takes to make a marriage work, not unless you've walked everyday in their shoes."
Gohan shook his head, "I just don't know what to believe anymore. I don't know if I can believe in love anymore, my parents were-"
"Hey, look at me," she cupped his face. "I don't know your parents all that well, but their story has definitely inspired me. Don't lose faith. They both look like fighters to me—don't give up, okay?"
"You didn't see my dad's face, I think he's given up. And that's the worst part, 'cause Dad never gives up!"
"Sometimes a little space can give a little perspective," she pressed her forehead against hers. "I know that these few weeks back on Earth, away from the spaceship, away from you, have definitely given me new perspective."
"Yes, Gohan...I don't know the future, I don't know what might happen and I can't promise that we'll always be together, but I promise you this: The way I feel about you now, as creative as my imagination can get, it has yet to imagine a situation that would make me give up on you, okay?"
"Are you sure?" he closed his eyes and pressed his own forehead back at hers. "'Cause I don't think I could take it if you were still undecided about us. Back in space, you said my feelings scared you,"
"They did, but not anymore," she kissed his nose. "It's just you and me, okay?"
"What if I quit school to devote my life to fighting for the planet? Will you still have me then? My mom clearly couldn't handle it." he frowned.
Videl just laughed, "That would be such a relief! Then you wouldn't be able to nag me about my own crime-fighting," she grinned.
"Videl, I'm serious. I might quit school, and free my dad from this burden of—"
"Gohan, don't punish yourself. There's no reason to trade in what you love for something you're not passionate about. If you want to fight, fight. But you don't have to give up everything just to do it."
"You think I'm passionate about school?"
"I know you are, you're just a big nerd at heart after all."
He smiled. "I'm not so sure, it's just something my mom always pushed me to do, but today…" A frown replaced the smile on his face. "It was as if she didn't even care if I quit or not. She basically told me to do whatever; I just don't understand who she's become."
"Well, if she's going her own way, then maybe she just wants you to do the same."
"I intend to," his face hardened.
He didn't go back home that night, nor the one after that, or the one after. And as cosy as sneaking around in Videl's house was, it was hardly a permanent solution, so he'd set out to find a place of his own. One big enough for a permanent spot for his brother, should things with his parents go south.
He loved his father, but he wasn't so sure that Goku was up to being a single parent without help. He was also concerned about what this divorce would do to his brother emotionally.
But as it turns out, he needn't had worried. Goten was just as happy as ever.
Truth be told, he didn't understand why his big-brother was so upset by this divorce thingy, it didn't make any sense to him. As far as he could tell he had more than he'd ever had before—a daddy to play with whenever he wanted–and play they did! all the time, without rules or restrictions!
He also had Gohan and Videl in the city, which was great! He could go there and do all kinds of cool stuff whenever he felt like it. Videl was pretty cool, she took him to see all kinds of things, and to try out all kinds of cool and weird things to eat. She even took him with her when she went crime fighting, which was great! Gohan felt better when he was there to protect Videl when he couldn't be there so it worked out great! He even had his own little Saiyaboy costume.
Even more, he had his mom and grandpa in Mt. Frypan, which was great too 'cause people treated him like he was important and stuff.
Sure, he was seeing everyone separately now, his mom in one place, his dad in another and his brother in yet another place. But, sometimes Gohan and Videl would come to 439 to hang out with him and his dad and they'd do all kinds of fun and cool stuff.
"So I'm not sad at all Gohan, I promise. I'm having lots of fun!" he reassured his brother.
They were walking along the massive grounds of Mr. Satan's house with matching ice-creams. Today was graduation and the Champ had thrown a big to do for Videl's entire class. The invitations extended to all their friends and families too.
Watching his brother happily lick at the stack of ice-cream balls before him without a care in the world, Gohan decided then and there that it was time to stop looking back. His parents had carved their own path, now was the time to carve his own.
"I'm glad to hear it squirt, 'cause after this party, I'm going to kidnap Videl and marry her," he grinned.
"That's a great game Gohan! Then I'll turn into Saiyaboy and come rescue her!"
She pushed, but nothing came out.
She gritted her teeth and closed her eyes. She tried to go a thousand years back, when she'd still lived, when her grandmother had still lived and tried to hold onto that moment, that feeling, that first time when she'd taught her about the crafts.
A skinny girl with a head full of wild purple hair, she hadn't been much to look at, not much to notice until that day. She'd touched it that day, drawn it out of herself and weaved it into a shape, an order, a sequence that she desired.
Hundreds of years later, they would inscribe scrolls about her, engrave stones and place useless protective charms to keep her out of their minds.
It was that power that she sought now, for without it, she was doomed to this weightless existence of nothingness in this dimension floating at the centre of nonexistence.
She pushed, and delved and tried to summon every ounce of craft taught or created, but nothing she did had any effect. The binds were as solid as they'd ever been.
Sweat pooling under her arms, behind her back, down her neck and down her face, she slumped forward and gave up.
There was no choice but to use the feather light traces of her Boloi that she'd scattered in his dreams. If only she'd known that she was to be summoned and imprisoned today, then she would have made better preparations.
She was drained from pushing to reach a power that would forever remain out of her reach. She was pissed that that Orge Enma had resisted her giant form, but more than anything she was irritated that she'd left herself vulnerable to be banished here, with only enough lingering energy to create a basic block.
"You'll forgive me for this Goku, I know you will," she whispered, and then she shut her eyes and started on her tapestry.
Bulma placed her ear against the door and frowned. "Hey Chichi, what's taking so long in there?"
"Bulma! How inappropriate!" shrieked Chichi from the other side of the door. "Why did you follow me to the bathroom?"
"Because it's been more than fifteen minutes and you haven't returned, now open up!"
"Is that something a Princess should be saying? Open the door or I'll override the system."
"Eep!" the door flew open, and Bulma found herself being dragged in, with the door shutting behind her.
"Ow! I'm not one of your ruffian villagers Chichi, that's gonna leave a mark." Bulma rubbed the spot where Chichi's hand had gripped her. "What are you...oh," she swallowed her words when she saw her friends face. "Jeez Chichi, look at you, it's almost swollen shut now!"
"Don't just stand there and point out the obvious, help me! Can't you see that this ice pack has melted? It's completely useless now!"
"Oh alright, come...there's an elevator that can take us to the main house at the back. Let's get something cold on that eye."
"Okay, but..." she twiddled her fingers.
"As long as we don't pass through the lounge okay?"
Bulma grinned. "You're so transparent you know that? Don't worry, the elevator is the other direction."
They walked down the passage, headed in the opposite direction as the lounge.
"We should hurry though, I'm sure Videl's pushing by now," said Bulma.
"Yeah, we should hurry," Chichi agreed. "By the way Bulma—"
"Oh there you are!" a familiar voice interrupted her.
They both turned their heads to find Momu rushing towards them, red hair flaying all over her face.
"Oh hey Momu, you looking for me?" asked Bulma.
"Yeah," she said breathlessly. "I wanted to say bye," she breathed as she came to a stop.
"You're leaving already? But the baby—"
"I know, but that idiot husband of mine," she shook her head. "He overexerted himself at tennis trying to show off, now he's-"
"Don't tell me, another asthma attack?" quirked Bulma.
"You know it! He's fine, but it was bad enough to get him admitted, so I'm heading out to pick him up. Maybe we'll swing by later if he's up to it."
"Well then shoo, shoo...go rescue your man." said Bulma. "It's always something with him jeez. How you guys even manage a round of sex with that chest of his I—"
"The same way you manage it with that alien of yours without being broken in two, now shut up and stop embarrassing me in front of a real life Princess," she smiled. "It was very interesting to have met you," she spoke directly to Chichi, "interesting indeed. But now, I gotta run, ciao!"
As soon as she disappeared down the corridor Chichi poked Bulma in the chest. "Did she just say...husband?"
"Then what the hell is she doing with Goku if she's married?"
"What do you mean?"
"Don't play dumb with me Bulma. I heard it all from Goten, that fluzzy is practically living with him!"
"Living...Huh," Bulma blinked, "You...oh! Pahahahahah!" she burst out laughing. "You thought...you think that Goku and Momu...that they're...Oh my Kami Chichi! That's the funniest thing I've ever heard! Now it all makes sense!"
Chichi pursed her lips. "It's not funny Bulma, if they're not together then what the hell is she doing with Goku?"
"You really don't know?"
"Do I look like a mind reader? No I don't know okay? All I got is snippets from Goten! If she's not his girlfriend, then what the hell is she?"
"Goku's her boss."
"She's Goku's manager."
Chichi pursed her lips. "Just what the hell are you talking about?"
Bulma sighed. "Come, let's walk. It's a long story. I'll tell you all about it on the way to the kitchen, that eye is not getting any better you know."
"Alright, let's go."
They marched on as Bulma prepared to tell her story.
"It was about three years ago," she began...
Through the bright artificial lighting, the quiet humming of the a/c, and the constant whirring of machinery, a frustrated Bulma cursed. "Damn it!" she slammed her hand against the large mass spectrometer as she swivelled back her stool to stare at the simulated images on her screen.
The elemental compositions of all the samples Sekei had brought back on his last trip in space were all useless. None of them were a match for this 'Rk'.
Two years ago, upon their return from dragonball hunting, Goku'd made good on his promise to write down the formula for the regenerative fluid used in the Cold-Empire healing tanks. Unfortunately, the chemical composition of the healing fluid included a compound consisting of two parts Hydrogen and one part Rykersin –an element Bulma'd never seen or heard of.
Goku'd been no help, he had no idea what this 'Rk' was; only the formulae that his father had made him memorize. Bulma could only assume that Goku's father had assumed that any scientist/chemist/pharmacist worth their salt would be able to replicate the fluid given the formula. Which Bulma could understand, she would have no problems replicating it either, if only she knew what the fuck this 'Rk' was!
It was so frustrating, being so close to the secrets of something that could change modern medicine forever, and yet...be so far.
Pushing up the rim of her glasses with one hand, Bulma impatiently scoured through her shelf with the other. She picked up a piece of gum and tore at the paper wrapper. Squinting her eyes she stared sourly at the rotating atomic level imagine simulated from the STM probe as she popped the nicotine gum into her mouth.
Damn it! What was it? What was this stupid Rk?
"Bulma are you in here?" The annoyed voice of her husband rang as he pushed the lab-door open so hard that it went off its hinges.
"Vegeta! That makes the fifth door this month!" She tossed the empty wrapper at him, only to gape...absolutely stunned by his appearance.
"I'll break down every door on this property every blasted hour if you don't do something about Kakarot!" he stormed in.
"Kami Vegeta!" she practically flew of her stool. "What happened to you? Did Goku do this to you?'"
"No. Bastard didn't even show up for battle."
"Battle?" Bulma's eyes sprang out. "What do you mean battle? Have you been out provoking people?"
Dark eyes regarded her coolly. "Don't be ridiculous. As if I'd waste my time with weaklings. Some idiots fleeing from a planet Teronko prison decided to crash land here. Seems you Earthlings make quiet a tasty snack for the creatures," he grinned.
"What?" Bulma shrieked. "Vegeta! Are you fucking joking?"
"Do I look like I'm joking?" He tore of the remnants of his burnt and tattered armour, tossing them into the bin. "Those ugly idiots blew some strange fire out of their pores and burnt my clothes off, that's why I look like this." Sitting down on a chair, he pulled out what was left of his boots. He then marched to the sink and splashed water on his arms and face. It did nothing to rid the dark smudges of soot though.
"Vegeta! I can't believe you!" Bulma placed her hands on various parts of his body to examine him. "You went off to face some alien monsters without even telling me! What if something had happened to you?"
"Don't be stupid Bulma." Vegeta removed her hands from his body as he marched across the room to the heavy-duty laboratory fridge. "Do I have to report to you every time I squash some insects under my boot? They were just worthless beasts." He pulled at the insulated doors and grabbed two cans of soda. "Not even worth the time it took to fly out to greet them." He chugged down the contents and tossed the empty cans into the bin. "But that's not my point of coming here. The point is Kakarot!"
"Listen Vegeta," Bulma sat back down on her stool. "I don't have time to listen to your complaints about Goku besting you on the battle field. If you'd been the kind of man who thought about other things except fighting, you might have paid attention to the work of the scientists on your planet and I wouldn't be pulling out my hair trying to figure out what Rk is!"
"It's not my fault that your tiny human brain can't grasp the superior concepts of Saiyan science,"
"Oh please, who do you think you're fooling oh mighty Prince? Let's not forget that it was the Tuffles that came up with anything even remotely intelligent. Your lot was and still is as stupid and as barbaric as ever." She punched extra hard on the keys as she gave the computer instructions. "You're not hurt right?" she turned from the screen momentarily and roamed her eyes over his half-naked body–dirty, but perfectly intact. "Good. Now then, get out. I'm trying to work."
A vein began to pulse on the prince's neck. "I never said that Kakarot bested me on the battlefield you mule-headed presumptuous woman." He inserted himself in the small space between her stool and her screen. "I was trying to tell you that those beasts were emitting a very loud and sinister energy that Kakarot would have been the first to sense. With that transmission technique of his, he should have been first on the scene. But he didn't even show up to defend these precious humans he claims to love so much."
"Well, he's not the only defender around here you know." Bulma glared, annoyed at this continued interference. "Goku's going through some stuff right now. Give him a break. You managed just fine without him didn't you?"
"You miss the point as usual. It's been two years since that worthless female left him! How long does he plan to mope around? It's disgusting! He is a Saiyan warrior, his very heart beats for the thrill of battle. He should have been the first one on the scene, itching for a chance to swat at those annoying flies. That's how it is."
"He probably sensed that you were on the way and decided not to come."
"Again, that's not the point!" he snapped.
"I don't think there is a point!"
"Listen up Bulma." He pointed a finger at her. "When I went to confront him, he was holed up in some cave like a damn animal. He said Goten was with that stupid mother of his this week, so there was no reason for him to be staying in his home. I tried to beat some sense into him and..."
"Let me guess, you lost again." said Bulma flippantly.
"That would have been tolerable. But that bastard didn't even put up a fight. He just let me beat the tar out of him. He let me win! How dare he?"
Bulma shook her head. "You should just leave Goku alone, he'll forget about Chichi eventually and-"
"He won't." he said simply. "He can move on and find another to warm his bed if he chooses. However, as much as you all like to pretend that he's human. He is not. I don't know about the half-breeds, but when it comes to what you humans define loosely as 'love', Kakarot has the same inborn pattern of behaviour that exists in every member of the Saiyan race and, because it is embedded in the genetic code, it cannot be overcome by force of will."
"Oh here we go again," Bulma rolled her eyes. "Another lecture on the superiority of Saiyan-love."
"Fine, don't listen," Vegeta stepped out of her way. "But rolling your eyes cannot rewrite genetic coding. To Kakarot, that woman will forever be the one. Moping around in some hole, waiting to 'get-over-her' is going to get him nowhere. He needs to grow up and fight for her, or find other things to distract him. He's not the only one who has to live a life of bitter disappointment and regret for not ever getting the things he wants more than his own life."
"A life of bitter disappointment? You jerk! If that's all Trunks and I are to you then please, by all means, let yourself be possessed by Babidi again. I'm sure that will be far more fulfilling for you," she snapped bitterly.
Vegeta sighed, placing his chin on top of her head as he traced a finger on her chin. "Don't put words into my mouth Bulma. You know that's not what I meant."
Bulma opened her mouth to speak, but Vegeta slid his finger to her lips to shush her. "Listen carefully Bulma," he whispered. "The only reason Kakarot's accepted this pointless separation from his wife is because he too likes to pretend that he's human. It won't last, and when he snaps you'll wish you'd listened to me." He pulled away and headed for the door.
"You're just trying to scare me. Goku is a sweet and kind soul. He's not one to just snap. That's your department."
"Fine," he stepped over the fallen door. "Turn your back on your so-called friend. Let him wallow in idle self-pity for a bit longer and just see. Just don't come running to me when it all blows up in everyone's face."
Bulma gritted her teeth at his disappearance and jumped off her stool. She poked her head out the door and screamed after him. "What would you have me do Vegeta? It's not as if I know how to distract him. If a battle doesn't even interest him, if a fight won't even stir him, then what the hell will?"
"That's your problem, not mine."
"Hold the doors!" Momu yelled as she raced to the elevator, phone tucked under her ear. She slipped through the crack of the closing doors and squeezed herself in by pushing the occupants back as she hung up, slipping her phone into her purse.
As soon as the doors opened, she was the first to push out. Keys in hand, heels clanking, she made her way through the parking lot to find her car.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
She rolled her eyes as her phone went off again. "Momu Speed, you've got ten seconds to state your business." She answered as she unlocked her car.
A chuckle from the other end, "Is that any way to greet your boss?"
"If that boss wants me to make my flight so I can poach for her the most talented aero-car designer in ten years, then yes, absolutely," she laughed, slipping into the driver's seat. "What's up Boss?"
"I'm afraid you're gonna have to miss that flight, I have a new project for you."
"You're joking right?" she exclaimed in disbelief. "You've wanted this Motheo kid for months, and now when I finally have a shot at reeling him in—"
"I know, I know, and I still want him, very much indeed. This new engine we're finalizing combined with his slick designs will take the aero-car market by storm. But...you've already done all the ground work on this one, let someone else bring in the kill. I have a project that only you can handle."
"You know how much I hate leaving my prey to someone else, but alright. You're the boss, I'll bite. I'll have to leave this to Jaz then, he speaks car better than me anyway."
"Good, I'm in my lab on the third floor. Come up, let's have a talk."
"A talk?" she arched a perfectly shaped brow. "A name is all I need to go on, you know that."
"I know, I know. I'm not questioning your head-hunting skills; I know you're number one in the industry."
"Hmm...a free compliment from the Boss Lady? It's been a long time since you've ever had to butter me up. Now you have me intrigued. Could this new project have to do with poaching a member of the SS for Capsule?"
"Don't be absurd, I'd never ask you to do something illegal. Let's just say, that this is a little different from your every-day head-hunting."
"Instead of finding me the perfect candidate, I need you to find the perfect job for a special candidate."
Fuck. Bulma wasn't kidding. This really was the middle of nowhere!
Climbing out her car, Momu cursed as her heals sank into the damp soil beneath the wild grass. She wiggled as she tried to pull out, the figure-hugging beige dress not giving her much room for manoeuvrability. "Ever heard of a lawnmower? Or a foot-path? Hump!" she muttered as she trekked on. It was an effort to pull out an embedded heel, take a step, sink into the soil again, only to have to pull out and do it all over again. "Like sex with a damn virgin." The tips of her beloved shoes would be ruined for sure and this was an exclusive pair she'd bought overseas on one of her 'hunts'.
As soon as she was at the door, she pounded rudely with the base of her fist. "Hey, you in there! Son Goku! Open this damn door!"
It took a few seconds accompanied by some squeaky creaking, but sure enough, the unimpressive badly-in-need-of-vanish wooden door cracked open.
"Um…yes?" said a voice from the door.
A perfect bicep rippled as the man's arm moved to rub his eyes. He'd obviously been sleeping, those bare feet, those creased orange pants and that perfectly sculptured torso were but dead giveaways of his previous past time.
Well hello to you Mr Son. Momu fanned herself.
Fuck you Bulma, you said this friend of yours was a naive, unskilled, uneducated, mentally stunted, socially inept sweet guy. You said nothing about this hotness that puts even the legendary Olibu's statues to shame.
Under her sharp scrutiny, it was obvious to see that he'd been in some kind of fight, but he looked like he'd taken it well. If anything those bruises and cuts here and there added a little something spicy to the wild man mix. Hmm, with a shower, a few nice clothes and she could definitely work with this.
"Are you Son Goku?" She didn't wait for an invitation. She simply slipped into the house uninvited through the small space between his tall frame and the door.
"Uh..yeah, I'm Goku. Who are you?" The man blinked in confusion as she slipped into his house.
"I'm from the East District Government; I'm here to repossess your property," she shrugged, stepping over a pile of an unidentified mess on his floor, as she tossed her purse onto the couch.
"Huh? Repossess? What's that?"
Momu stood in the middle of the lounge with her legs parted – well, as far as that tight fitting number would allow anyway. She took a slow 360 turn as she looked around her surroundings, and then watched him close the front-door behind him as he joined her. His face was the perfect image of confusion.
"To repossess is to take back, to take away."
The man tilted his head to the side, a bicep flexing as he moved to lightly scratch his collar-bone. "What do you wanna take away?"
"Everything." said Momu, stepping over more junk on the floor as she moved towards the large bay window overlooking the front garden. "This house, this land." She swept her hand outside and stuck her head out the window.
Goku's eyes followed the little beige dress as it rode all the way up her thighs.
"Your car," she continued, "that big satellite on the roof giving you cable and internet." She then popped her head back inside, turning to face him. "What else..." she walked from the window and began to tour the house, making a great show of looking for more items to pick out. "What else..." she moved down the corridor and started poking her head into the other rooms.
Goku scowled as he followed behind her. "You can't just-"
"Let's see...all this furniture, though I have to say it doesn't look like it's worth much." She toured the entire house, bedrooms, bathrooms and all, picking on random things here and there until she was back where she started. "Oh! And that bathing-barrel I saw outside." She beamed at him, seemingly proud of herself for remembering it. "So yeah, you know, just about everything you got."
"Hey now." Goku's voice dropped. "That's not a very nice thing to say lady. You can't just come to someone's home and threaten to take their stuff."
"Oh? And why not?" She stumbled over more items strewn on the floor until she was standing right in-front of him. "Tell me Goku," she poked him in the chest. "When was the last time you made a property tax payment for all this land ey?"
"Ah...ah...choo!" he sneezed, and rubbed his nose. "A property what?"
"When was the last time you renewed your air space license for your hover car?"
"I don't see a solar panel or a whirlwind out there; you're running a diesel generator for electricity right?"
"Uh yeah, I think so. Ox King set up all that electricity stuff when Chichi...ah...ah...achoo!" he sneezed again, "when Chichi and me got married."
"How touching. Tell me Goku, when was the last time you made a payment to DSEAR to send over an inspector to renew your Petroleum license?
"DSEAR, you know – The Dangerous Substance and Explosives Atmospheres Regularors?"
Goku blinked down at her, then leaned down and sniffed the air around her. "Never heard of them."
"Ahem," Momu cleared her throat and backed up a step. Just what was he doing sniffing at her like that? "They're the guys that give you permission to store more than 40L of diesel in your home," she explained. "It's a flammable and dangerous substance, the quantities you've been keeping here for your personal consumption are enough to set this entire forest ablaze if not handled correctly."
Goku scowled. "I never heard of those guys." He held his arms. "Don't see why I need their permission. It's my house and you smell kinda weird. "
"Well," said Momu, "The law doesn't care if it's your house or not!" annoyed that he'd say such a thing about her favourite fragrance. "You do know what the law is don't you?" She glared at him, hands resting on her hips challengingly.
Goku pouted, "I'm not stupid you know, of course I do."
"Mmhmm..." Momu backed up to the couch and pushed some DVD's lying there in a heap aside to make herself comfortable. "So you know the law, but you just choose to ignore it–I see."
"That's not true. I always try to do the right thing. Just didn't know about that stuff–sounds confusing. Chichi always takes care of all the paper stuff."
"Oh, great!" Momu jumped off the couch to stand on her feet enthusiastically. "So tell her to take care of it then–problem solved!"
"I can't."Goku slumped his shoulders, his turn now on the couch. "She left." He hung his head. "I'm not allowed to see her or talk to her. I..."
"I see." She cut him off. "Then there's no choice, I'll just make a quick call and all the...let's see..." she counted on her fingers. "Five authorities whose laws you've been shamelessly breaking will just come and help me take everything from you." She reached into her purse.
Goku's eyes widened in alarm. "I can't let you do that!" he snatched the phone from her hands.
"Oh, come, come Goku," she made a clap with her hands as she stood up, then gestured for him to give the phone back. "Don't be so dramatic. It's not like you're attached to any of this stuff. I'm sure you'll be just fine living in the forest. It doesn't even look like you spend much time here anyway; doesn't even look like you do much with your time except get beat up." She beckoned for the phone a second time, but then dramatically touched her forehead as she exclaimed: "Oh, that's right, you'll probably not even have the freedom to bum off in the forest. Just a prison somewhere, to pay for all the laws you've been breaking. Dear me." She sighed dramatically.
"I can't allow that," he closed his fingers around her phone and crushed it. "I know what a prison is okay? It's where bad people go. I can't waste time there, I have to be here for Goten and Gohan – nothing is gonna get in the way of that. I can't allow anyone to take this home. I'm not the only one that needs it. My son Goten lives here too every other week and Gohan comes to visit whenever he has a break from school. There's also Lamano who has a cottage out back, she stays here when Goten's around to take care of things. I can't let anyone take this home from them."
Momu tried not to let the shock of seeing her precious phone crushed to fine dust right before her eyes get to her. She composed herself enough to feign surprise: "You have kids?"
"Two boys." Goku nodded.
"I see," she reached into her purse and pulled out a second phone. "Might have to report you to social services too, then your kids will be another thing that will be taken from you. You'll be forbidden from seeing them."
Goku scowled. "I think you're making me a little angry now. I would never let anyone stop me from seeing my kids no matter what."
"Big words. But a father that can't take care of himself, that can't take care of his belongings, that cannot take care of his own kids, doesn't deserve them." She gave him her most serious face.
"I take care of Goten just fine when he's here. Gohan too, even though he's all grown up and living in the city with his girlfriend."
"You don't say." She braced herself and put her tiny little frame right in front of him again, glaring up to him as much as she could. "Tell me Goku, do you even know where Gohan gets the money to pay for his rent?"
"Rent? I'm not sure, maybe Chichi...ah...ah," he backed away from her. "Choo!"
"What about how much it costs to send him or Goten to school?"
Goku blinked, "Um, I think Gohan has some fund or bursary or something like that. I think."
"You think? What about Goten? Private schools are not free you know. There's tuition, books, clothes, food, pocket money, entertainment. When was the last time you paid for all the things your sons need?"
Goku scratched his head. "I...uh...Lamano always..."
"Oh yes. Lamano, that's your housekeeper right?"
"Yes, she used to work for Chichi's dad. She takes care of everything."
"Tell me Goku, when was the last time you paid her a salary at the end of the month? Or gave her money for shopping? Hmm? Just where does all the food, all the cleaning products, the gardening products, the fabric to make your clothes, the gas in the car, just where does it all come from huh?"
"I...uh...I'm not sure, Lamano always just..." He scratched his head. "I'm sure Chichi left her some money to uh-"
"I see. Poor woman probably has to steal, just to feed you and your kids. Just to keep this house going. What a shame. I might have to report her too."
"Whoa! That's not true. I'm sure Chichi gives her money or something. Stop it with these threats about taking my stuff and getting the people I care about into trouble."
"Stop or what?" she eyed him curiously. "You'll hurt me? Crush me like you did my phone? Hmm?" red tendrils dangled as she pushed her face so close to his their noses almost touched.
Goku flayed his arms with huge eyes. "Wha...No! No! I never said that! I would never..."
"Is this what you want your wife to think of you?" She swept her hand around everything. "That she was right to leave you? That you're just a mess, a bum, a man whose only use is on the battlefield hmm? Is this what you want her to believe, that in the end, Son Goku will always be an irresponsible man that can't even take care of his children without her help?"
"Well? Is it?"
"This is not how it is all the time you know. When Goten is here for his week with me, so is Lamano. The house is clean and stuff, and when he's back from school we play and talk and hunt and train and I always make sure that he eats well and sleeps on time. I don't know how to do the paper stuff that Chichi and Gohan did. I never had to," he said defensively. "No one ever showed me how." He finished that last part in a defeated whisper.
Momu retreated, deciding she'd pushed enough. "Listen up Son Goku," her demeanour softened. "Today is your lucky day." She slipped the second phone back into her purse.
"Correct. I'm not really here to take your stuff – that was just a stretch. I'm actually here to help you."
Goku blinked. "Huh...you are?"
"I brought you a little present Goku." She reached into her purse again. "Here, take a good look at it."
Goku grabbed the picture from her hand and...his eyes sprang out like yoyo's as all the blood rushed into his face. "Don't show me that Geez! I'm married!" He handed it over like it had burned his fingers.
"Correction. You're divorced, two years now," she said bluntly.
Goku winced. "Still though," he held out his index finger and pointed. "There was no reason to show me that...that..."
"You got a good look didn't you?" she glared at him. "Notice the difference?" she took a few steps back. With her hands on her hips she twirled for him.
"Uh...well...sure...your breasts grew back, your hair too. Plus you don't look all thin and green like in the picture. Why would you chop off your breasts like that anyway? Looked kinda weird and painful." he stared innocently.
"I had no choice you know!" she stared at him. Was he for real? "It's called cancer Goku, I had it in both breasts. I was sick and green and in a lot of pain for a long time. It was all vomiting, couldn't stand on my own, it was a miserable, miserable time. I lost my hair from chemo and let the doctors cut off my breasts to remove the cancer. I really thought I was gonna die, but I didn't."
"So you got sick huh? I had a heart virus once. Hurt real bad. I didn't get all green looking and thin like you though. Sorry you had to go through that. You look pretty good now though, nice and curvy and...um...I'm glad your breasts grew back, their nice and big and – Ow! Hey! What was that for?"
"Humph! That's for being a pervert! Don't get any ideas, I realize that I'm gorgeous, but I'm married." She folded her arms, a disapproving look on her face.
"Wha...I was not...I was just...oh man." He shook his head.
"My point is," she cleared her throat. "My breasts didn't just magically 'grow back' as you so nicely put it."
"No. I had to wait a really long time to undergo a very long, very painful surgery to replace them with fake ones. Bigger and better ones." She grinned, as she cupped them to emphasize her point.
Goku just stared at said breasts.
"Close that jaw and stop staring. I told you, I'm married."
"Heh heh heh," he dipped his head, trying to hide his grin. "Sorry was just wondering if I could tell the difference without...you know..." he made a gesture with his hand.
"How interesting," remarked Momu. "Naive, unskilled, uneducated, mentally stunted, socially inept, but still a pervert."
"Never mind." She waved it off. "My point is the life you had before with your wife is gone. Sure you miss it, sure you miss her, I understand. But that life is gone. Now it's time to build a new one."
Goku rubbed his arms, saying nothing.
"Look, I know you're hurting and in limbo. A man with your history, you have no idea where to start, or what to do. But you have people that are worth the effort to try. You have two boys that need a father they can count on – and not just on the battlefield."
"You know Momu, you've been saying a lot of stuff about me that I ain't even told you about. How do you know so much about me?" He eyed her suspiciously.
"Easy – Bulma sent me."
"That's why I said it's your lucky day. My name's Momu Speed. Stick with me, do as I say, and I'll teach you all about the 'paper stuff' that nobody ever did. I'm here to help you build a new life Son Goku."
"And with any luck, it will be even bigger and better than before." She pushed her chest forward and winked.
"I see," said Chichi.
With a fresh ice-pack on her eye, she'd listened to Bulma's tale without interruption.
However, this was not the picture her youngest had painted at all. In his stories, Goten had painted his father as nothing but a tumbling ball of fun-filled energy. He always came back from his week with him with nothing but stories of fun and adventure. There had been no hint that Goku was affected by divorce, none at all. And that was one more thing that had pushed her to move on with much more fervour and determination than she'd felt.
Now, hearing all this from Bulma, it just didn't add up. To think that Vegeta had had to intervene...It was impossible to reconcile these two versions of her ex.
"I didn't think the divorce was that hard on him. Goten always talked about all the fun they had and I-" she faltered.
"Well, you have to give him credit for keeping it together in front of his son," said Bulma. "Besides, you know how Goku is. He's always smiling, even if he's crying inside. That's just who he is."
"Maybe," she said quietly. "But at least now, I finally have closure."
"Closure? What are you talking about Chichi?"
"It's obvious isn't it? I was always the wrong partner for him!" she pressed the ice-pack harder against her eye. It was better to feel this than this never ending pain brought on by the subject of her ex.
"What are you talking about, you and Goku were always right for each other."
"Don't you see Bulma? Momu just waltzed in with her magic and her 'I'm- going-to-change-your-life' speech and just like that, in the blink of an eye, Goku was transformed into a stable and responsible adult." She looked away, tears stinging her good eye.
"While I tried and tried for years and years, and failed," her voice broke. "I could never get him interested in anything long enough to make him stay, not even his children, let alone a job."
"Chichi, it really wasn't like that. It was anything but in the blink of an eye."
"Goku, are you in there?" she pounded on the front door. "Goku, it's Momu, I'm really pissed at you, you better open up!"
She grabbed the round doorknob and twisted – nothing. The door was locked.
Angrily, she circled to the back of the house and sure enough, Goten's bedroom window was open as usual. Cursing, she slipped off her shoes, pulled up her dress and climbed through – falling with a soft thud on his floor.
Scrambling to her feet she pulled down her dress and marched to Goku's room.
"Goku I know you're here!" she pushed the door open and marched through the door. Sure enough, a pillow filled with dark spiky hair was there to greet her. "Goku, how dare you ignore me," she flung off the covers and gasped, promptly turning around.
"Momu?" Goku rubbed his eyes sleepily. "What's going on?" he sat up.
Momu clenched her fists, "What's going on?" she swivelled around, only to turn red in the face and turn right back around. "First cover-up! You're too old to sleep in the nude you know!"
"Oh, uh...yeah...sorry." Goku grabbed a pair of training pants and slipped them on. "Chichi didn't really mind so-"
"I'm not Chichi!" she yelled. "Rule number one – I get a copy of the key to the front door—I will not climb through another window. Rule number two – always, and I mean always sleep with some underpants or something. Geez!"
Goku scratched his head.
"And rule number three – never, ever stand me up again!" she huffed.
Goku yawned, "Um, what time is it?"
"It's late! That's what time it is. We were supposed to meet in West City to head down to that interview. Do you know how embarrassing this is for me? I pulled all kinds of favours to get that pompous secretary to the Minister of Defence to agree to see us, and you—"
"Sorry is not good enough Goku! This is the fifth interview we've missed!"
"Urgh! You're so infuriating, here!" she pulled out a device from her purse and passed it to him.
"It's another cellphone, you know, since your last one met with a tragic end. Now what are the rules Goku? Hmm?"
"Don't break it, don't wet it and always keep it charged," he mumbled.
"Great, now I have some bad news about that modelling gig,"
"The guys with the cameras?"
"Yes. They said you're gorgeous, but you definitely don't know how to make love to the camera, so that's a no."
"So what now?"
"Drawing board," she sighed.
"Well, she sounds bossy if you ask me," said Chichi.
"Look who's talking, you know better than anyone how Goku can be, Momu has to be bossy."
"Still," said Chichi as she held up the mirror to inspect herself, she cringed. It was no use, though the swelling hadn't gotten any worse, it hadn't gotten any better either.
"I thought you said Goku was her boss, sounds to me like she's just one of your employees running around after Goku on your behalf."
Bulma laughed. "Momu was never my employee. Capsule Corp. just used her head-hunting services from time to time. But she closed that down to focus her efforts on managing Goku."
"That doesn't make any sense." Chichi shook her head. "How can she afford to do that? How can Goku afford to pay her if he's constantly getting fired?"
"That was before," said Bulma.
Blue eyes stared with disbelief. "You don't even know what Goku does for a living do you?"
Chichi flushed, "why should I? It's not as if I'm interested in what he does. I'm not his wife anymore."
"Is that so? Okay, fine then! I won't say one more word about him since you're soo disinterested! Let's get going." Bulma headed for the door. "I'm sure your grandbaby is pushing her way into the world as we speak."
"Fine! Let's go then!" said Chichi. "I didn't come all the way to West City to hear about Goku and his floozy anyway. I came here for Pan!" she huffed as she marched out behind her.
"Nicely done Videl," said the Doctor. "A healthy baby girl," he passed the slippery bundle to nurse standing by. The nurse expertly wrapped her up in a warm towel and placed her directly on Videl's chest.
"I can't believe it." Gohan peered from behind her shoulders. "It's our little girl."
Panting, Videl wiped the sweat from her brow and squinted at the pink little squealer. "Hi there, gosh you're so tiny and so loud."
The doctor laughed, as he clamped the umbilical cord in two places. "A healthy set of lungs. Don't worry, she will fatten up in no time." He held up the tools to Gohan. "Would you like to do the honours Mr. Son?"
Gohan shook his head vehemently. "No, I...don't wanna mess it up."
"Oh my, are you sure she's okay? She's screaming her little head off!"
"Well, with all that Saiyan blood in her veins, she's probably just hungry. When you're ready, the nurse will take her through the rounds. She has to be cleaned, weighed, measured and vaccinated. If you're up to it, you can feed her, then you can take her out to meet your friends and family."
Videl squinted again. "Gohan...hold...her...I think...I think...I'm gonna pass—" and she was out before she could finish that sentence.
"Videl!" Gohan exclaimed as he caught the baby. "Dr. what's happening?"
"Relax, she's just...exhausted. We'll wrap things up in here and have her transferred to her room. You go ahead with the nurse and the baby and get her sorted out okay?"
"Um, I don't know, are you sure she's okay?"
The Doctor laughed. "You have a short memory, don't you remember how long your mother slept after your brother was born?"
"I guess," he said uncertainly.
"It takes a lot out of a human body to carry a child with such strong and demanding genes, she's fine. Just take care of that little screamer over there," he smiled kindly. "Just follow the nurse and she'll take care of everything. By the time you guys are done, mommy will be ready in her room."
"Okay," said Gohan with a terrified look on his face as he held on to the screaming infant in his arms. "But are you sure the baby's okay, I don't remember Goten screaming nearly as much as this when he was born."
They walked down the passage in silence, each huffing with their noses in the air.
The closer they got to the lounge, the slower Chichi's footsteps became. Any minute now, they'd be back with the group and she just...there was just something nagging at her still.
"Okay fine, I want to know okay? I want know why Goten called her 'dad's new girlfriend', I want to know why she's almost always there when he goes to bed, and almost always there for breakfast and I want to know what Goku does for a living. When I asked Yamcha he...he blew me off, said it was none of my business and that he wouldn't spy." she frowned.
"Well, he's right. It is none of your business," the blue haired heiress grinned.
"Just tell me...please,"
"Why should I? So you can appease your raging jealousy?"
"That's not it at all. I have a right to know the details about a woman that spends so much time with my impressionable son! So shut up and just tell me what her story is okay?"
Bulma laughed. "Like I said before, soo transparent, but I'll tell you because you're my friend, and it would be cruel of me to let you suffer and die from jealousy over something that didn't even exist."
"I'm not jealous!"
"Sure Chichi. That's why your face was so murderous when you saw the way she was so comfortable with him. Don't think I didn't have my 3D glasses on when you first walked into the room and saw how she was touching him."
"Have you forgotten that I'm seeing someone?" she said calmly.
"How could I? You're all the dashing Astronaut ever talks about, poor guy."
"Bulma! What do you mean poor guy?"
Bulma sighed. "Chichi, you're still in love with Goku. If there was ever a doubt, that little display in the waiting room earlier certainly did away with it."
"Loving Goku was never the issue."
"I know that. But he's changed. He's grown up a lot in these five years, so hurry up and get back together already. I'm tired of seeing him suffer."
"Would you stop stalling and start talking please? I want to know what this woman's story is!"
"There is no story! She's just a control freak and Goku's a child. And after her rather unpleasant encounter in the custody of the SS, she immersed herself in his life in order to prevent another catastrophe."
"The SS as in-"
"Yep, the very one. Your ex was Captain of the SS Detainee Division."
"Goku?" Chichi shrieked, "Goku can't be trusted with something like that! I don't care how much he's changed, he'd probably just make them all promise to be good in the future and then set them free!"
Bulma burst out laughing, "Oh Chichi, you know him so well! But what actually happened was..."
A sweaty, hungry and furious Momu stepped out of her car. This time she was ready for the grass. She wore full platform wedges below her dishevelled dress, the thick and sturdy heels enabling her to march angrily to his door without sinking her shoes into the soil.
"Open up Goku!" she pounded on the door. "Open up so I can kill you!"
He opened the door with a greasy face almost immediately – a piece of meat dangling from his mouth.
Momu didn't waste any time, she slung her purse forward and began attacking. "I'm gonna kill you Goku! Kill you! Kill you! Kill you!"
"Whoa!" Goku swallowed the piece whole and put up his hands. "What did I do this time Momu?"
"Urgh!" she tried to shove him aside as she pushed into the house. Blowing a strand of hair away from her face she huffed: "What do you mean what did you do? You let a Level 9 prisoner escape!" she fumed, red unruly strands flaying everywhere in disarray.
"Oh, that guy. Yeah, he was innocent. So I let him out." He shrugged and closed the door behind her. "You look kind of sweaty," he sniffed around her. "and you're definitely out of breath. Did you even bath today?"
"I'll kill you!" she threw herself at him again, trying to attack with all her might.
"Whoa! Momu, Momu, calm down." Goku held her back by the shoulders, her long legs dangling a rule's worth from the ground. "Are we calm yet?"
"I'll never be calm. Do you have any idea what I've just been through with the SS? Detained! Interrogated! Frisked! Treated like some damn criminal, all because of you!"
"I don't understand," a thoughtful look spread over his face. "I'm going to put you down, but you have to promise to be calm and explain to me alright?" Goku set her down.
"I made the mistake of getting involved with you! That's what!" she shrugged away from him as soon as she was free. "Urgh! Goku, how could you? How could you just set him free? A dangerous freak like that? Can't you do anything right? Huh?"
"I had to, we had a talk. He said he didn't do it, and I believe him."
"Goku!" she shook her head and covered her face with her hands. "The SS Detainment Centre has the most dangerous criminals in the world behind its walls. Every guard in there is risking their life by just showing up for work each day, that's why they pay so much – to compensate for the high risk. The Level 9 prisoners as you well know are all...well...kinda freaks. That notorious mercenary Tao took out 3 guards with explosives from his limbs when he was first arrested, and not to mention that Monster Carrot guy - he turned four guards into carrots, and then ate them!"
"Yeah, I heard about that, it wasn't very nice of him. I really thought that guy'd changed his ways from the old days," he shrugged. "Some people are just bad."
"Yes they are! Hence Level 9! And you let that lunatic Man-Wolf out!"
"He didn't belong in there, with all the bad people."
"That's not your call to make! Your job as captain of the Detainee Squad was to protect the guards and more importantly," she all but growled, "To keep an eye on the prisoners! Stop them from causing chaos and spreading fear in the facility, stop them from escaping and stop them from killing each other. Your job was not to interact with them and set them free!"
"I know all that, and I've been doing that for the last six weeks haven't I? No guards or science guys, or prisoners have been killed or hurt when I've been on-duty. Man-Wolf didn't do anything wrong, I had to let him go."
"Breaking out a prisoner is against the law! It's a Class 2 crime you moron!" she hit him over the head.
"Aww, Momu, I didnt even break anything! I just used IT and-"
"Kami Goku, you have no clue! No clue how much trouble you caused. The only reason they haven't come to arrest you is because Bulma was smart enough to call Mr. Satan, who spoke to President Furry, who gave you a full pardon!"
"Heheheh, I guess they'll be pretty mad when I go to work on Monday then,"
"Mad? Goku don't you get it? You're never to set foot near that facility again. You're fired!"
"Aww man, again?"
"And not just that Goku, I quit!"
"Wha...Momu?" he blanched.
"Look Goku, I've been working with you for a year now and the truth is...I don't think I can do this anymore." Her shoulders slumped. "I've never been a quitter but Goku you've found a way to mess up every single job I've lined up for you, and each time I've had to run around like my feet were on fire and do some kind of damage control."
"I've spent so much time on you that I've lost most of my big clients. My business has taken a big hit and let's not even talk about my love life. It's too hard...you're high maintenance and I," her voice cracked. "I just can't do it anymore. I'm sorry." She grabbed her purse and ran out before he could see the tears in her eyes.
She ran to her car and took off into the skies, wiping her face, trying not to feel like a traitor. "I guess I'm just like your wife Goku, running off when things get tough."
She turned her eyes from the road for a second to pull the glove pull out a tissue from the glove compartment, and when she turned back into the road, she screamed and hit the brakes.
But it was too late, the car hit him full-on, the impact making it spin round and round in the air. Luckily she had her seat belt on but that wasn't going to help her against the impact of the car crashing against the upcoming mountain.
Momu said a prayer and closed her eyes, but nothing happened. The car had stopped spinning by itself in mid-air. Bewildered, she opened her eyes and peered out the window, only to find Goku with a goofy apologetic face holding it up with one hand.
"Jeez Momu, I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have IT'd so close to the car. It's pretty wrecked now."
"B-Ba...b-ba...but it hit you full on! I saw it!"
"Yeah, heheheh, I'm kinda tough. I could hit me a thousand times and it would still not leave a scratch, are you okay?"
To her added shock, he simply ripped the door off and pulled her out, holding her in his arms as they floated in the air. "You have a tiny scratch on your shoulder," he said worriedly.
"Goku! I mean, I know you're a martial arts expert and you're strong and well trained and everything but...but his is impossible! You caught the car with your bare hands, and you're flying and you...you...are you indestructible?"
"Um," he scratched his head. "Chichi always used to say that, but that's not true. I can be hurt."
"By what? The moon dropping on your head?" she was aiming for exaggeration.
"Nuh, moon's too small. Might get a headache though," he grinned.
"I think I'm gonna pass out now," she touched her forehead dramatically. "How can you be so strong?"
Goku eyed her quizzically, "I thought Bulma told you all that. Don't you know, me and Vegeta, we're aliens!" he said happily.
And Momu really did pass out.
When she came to, she was tugged snugly in her own bed, back in her apartment. She leapt out of bed and found Goku and her husband sitting in their lounge, laughing.
"Goku, I have a brilliant idea!" she made a dramatic entrance.
"Puppet, you're awake," her husband beamed as he got up to place a kiss on her cheek.
"You bet'ya!" she grinned. "Goku, we're going to Chikyuu-wood!"
"Goku, I'm going to turn you into the highest paid, most sort after stunt man in the film industry!"
Chichi blanched, as she stared at Bulma. "Goku's making movies? As a s-s...stunt man?"
"The best stunt man Chikyuu-wood has ever seen. The filmmakers are so crazy about him that Momu is actually running a bidding system for his services."
"You can't imagine how much production costs he saves. The man can make things go boom from thin air, of course they love him! You can drop him down a mountain, shoot him, or pummel him. He can fly, throw trucks or duplicate himself. Did you know he can even make himself more bulky?"
"A stunt man..." she repeated in a daze.
"Who needs the exorbitant costs of special effects when you've got a stunt man like Goku? Plus, Goku loves it. He thinks it's just one big silly game."
"I never would have-"
"Me neither," said Bulma. "Momu found him the perfect job. She runs his schedule like a military general, and she's always hovering close by to protect him."
"Well, his identity amongst other things. His career is all she has time for, and that's why they're so close. You can't spend that much time with someone without growing close." said Bulma as she turned a corner.
"I guess, I just-"
"We're here, and look...is that Gohan with the baby?"
Chichi gasped and dashed forward.
Gohan strolled into the waiting room with a little bundle in his arms. "Well, here she is..." he cooed, his eyes glued to his daughters little face.
Vegeta, who'd been lounging disinterestedly against the wall, was the first to peer down at the baby. "Not bad," he remarked after taking in her Ki, and then he was gone.
Mr. Satan was the next to shove his weepy face in, almost dropping a tear on the baby's face.
"She looks," sniff, "she looks just like a puny Videl Waaaah!" he wailed. "Wait a minute now Gohan, where's Videl? Where is my baby girl?" he asked.
"In her room, she's exhausted, she's asleep right now." said Gohan, a shadow of worry falling on his softened features.
"Well uh...I'm just gonna go and check on her," said the champ.
"Take this." Piccolo slipped the Champ a sensu. "Give it to Videl."
"Right, I'll give it to her right away. The thought of my little girl suffering like that...hold on Videl...Daddy's coming!" he wailed, racing to Videl's room.
"Thanks Piccolo," Gohan gave him a grateful smile.
"Anytime Kid, look after her."
A lone green finger tapped on the baby's dark head. "I'll be ready to train her when the time comes."
"As I thought," Piccolo chuckled. "You're just like your mother," he smirked, flinging his cape back as he slipped out.
As Piccolo made his exit, Chichi who'd been at the other end of the room with Bulma literally shoved Krilin aside to get to Gohan. Her eyes misted over as they fell on the little bundle in his arms. "Oh Pan," she reached out. "Welcome back," she took the baby from Gohan, placing a soft kiss on her forehead.
"Look at you Pan, so tiny," Goku was right beside her, peering down her shoulder; his eyes alight with joy as he too gazed at the little angelic face.
"Look it's me Pan, it's grandpa! Come open your eyes, come on Pan, I know you can do it."
"Look at Grandma Pan, come on," Chichi began her own little prompt.
"Um, why are you guys calling her Pan?" Gohan scratched his head, staring at his parents.
Goku and Chichi froze as they stared sheepishly at each other.
"Um...well, because, she's...she's Pan right?" Goku stared at him, bewildered.
"You mean you guys haven't named her yet?" Chichi adjusted her hold, as she too stared up at her son.
"Um, well yeah, we have. We'd thought of Pan as an option, it was on the short-list of names we picked out. But in the end we decided to call her Nawa."
"Eeey?" Goku's eyes bulged out.
"What?" Chichi shrieked. "Nawa as in...absolutely not!" she declared vehemently. "No granddaughter of mine is going to be named after some disgraced Qeruxian harlot!"
"Mom!" exclaimed Gohan, utterly shocked. "I thought you liked Nawa, and you know she was innocent of those charges. Videl and I like Nawa. That's her name." he said with finality.
Chichi would normally argue, bully or threaten until she got her way. But as things were, her relationship with Gohan was still a bit shaky, starting a fight with him over then name of his daughter didn't seem ideal. She sent a pleading look in Goku's direction. "Um...Goku, can I see you at the corner please."
Gohan stared after them, bewildered as they hurried to a corner, whispering in hushed tones.
"Goku," she whispered. "What are we going to do? I know it's just a name but..." her eyes stared down at the baby. "She's Pan, just look at her little face. She should have the right name."
Goku stared down at the familiar face of his granddaughter. "It would be kinda weird to call her Nawa," he scratched his head.
"Only to us though," Chichi sighed. "We're the only ones who remember her real name. It would feel perfectly natural to everyone else. Maybe it's selfish of me," desperate eyes turned up at him. "It's just a name at the end of the day...I guess I could get used to Nawa." she cringed.
"Hey," Goku tipped her chin, eyes bright and warm. "This is our little Pan. Leave it to me," he said.
Then he grinned.
The piercing cries of a baby filled the 439 area as a panicked Gohan and Videl paced back and forth, taking turns to try and calm the screamer down.
"Gohan you're the experienced one, do something!"
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" he attempted rocking the baby in a different way, but she only screamed louder, her face growing frighteningly red. "Hush little Nawa don't you cry, daddy's gone find you a dragonball, and if that dragonball-"
"Gohan it's not working, here, let me try." She took the baby from his arms.
"Rock-A-Bye baby, on a tree top, when the wind blo-"
"Not working hon, she's getting worse. Try feeding her again, maybe she's hungry." urged Gohan.
"I just fed her, you wanna feel them," she cupped her breasts. "They're totally empty, there's nothing left!" she said hysterically.
"Okay, okay," Gohan cradled the baby on his arm. "Hush little Nawa, don't you cry-"
"Wah! Waahhh! Waah!"
"That's it Gohan something has to be wrong with her. I'm calling the Doctor," Videl rushed to the phone.
"Whoa!" said Goku as he entered the baby's room. "What's going on in here?" he cooed, easily taking the wailing baby from Gohan's arms.
"Something's wrong Goku! She won't stop crying," said Videl, on the verge of crying herself.
"Aww, is that true Pan? Are you kicking up a fuss in here?" he shifted the baby, placing her at an angle on his arm. With his other hand, he slipped a finger inside the tightly wrapped blanket and placed it behind her neck, pushing out a small bubble of soothing Ki without anyone noticing. This was something he'd discovered weeks after her first birth over fifty years ago. As the bubbles worked their magic against her neck and down her back, the baby immediately stopped crying, making a content, curdling sound.
"Dad," said Gohan, "I already told you, her name is-" he blinked, "s-she...she stopped crying," he stared, amazed.
"Oh, look Pan, here comes grandma." Goku turned his arm so the baby was facing the door. "Say hi grandma, look at me! Look at me!"
Chichi entered the nursery and closed the door softly behind her. "Hi Pan, did you miss me? Aww, you did didn't you? I just went to change into some comfortable clothes, yes I did! Yes I did!"
"Mom, dad, you guys need to stop calling her that. Her name is Nawa." said Gohan with a frown.
Goku and Chichi shared a look.
"I think she should decide for herself like you did Son, don't you think?" asked Goku.
"What are you talking about?"
"Have you forgotten how you ended up with the name Gohan?"
"Oh hush Goku, he was just a baby, of course he doesn't remember," said Chichi.
"Yeah, Dad. I've heard the story a million times but I definitely don't remember that. Thank goodness though, being called Einstein would have really sucked."
"Huh...weird that you don't remember," said Goku. "Now that I remember my past, I remember everything, even the time I spent swimming around in my Ma's tummy."
"W-Wha...?" Chichi stared wide eyed. "Goku! Tell me you're joking!"
"Hehehe, no I'm not. It's the truth. I guess it's a Saiyan thing. "
"Um, that sounds kinda creepy dad," said Gohan. "But I guess pure bloods must develop faster than us then. I guess they'd have to, after all, they did send new born babies to purge." he cringed as he looked at his daughter.
"Yeah, I have to agree, that's just creepy," said Videl. "But I can't believe it Goku, you're such a natural. She stopped crying just like that. Is she," she peered down at where the baby lay nice and snug on Goku's arm. "Is she...smiling?"
"That's because I used the right name," said Goku.
"Don't be silly dad, she doesn't know the difference."
"I'm not so sure Son, you knew the difference. Let's see what she has to say about the two names shall we?"
Gohan rolled his eyes, "fine," he said, peering down at the baby. "Hi Nawa, hi little Na-"
Goku slyly stopped pushing the bubble of Ki at the baby's neck and in a fit of fury the angelic little face contorted horribly, breaking into a fit of screams.
"Wha..." Gohan could hardly believe it. "T-That's impossible."
"Shh, there, there Pan," soothed Goku, pushing the bubble back behind the baby's neck. "That's okay Pan. They won't call you that ugly 'ol name anymore, will you guys?"
"That can't be right," said Videl. "Nawa, hi Nawa, mommy's little Nawa!" she waved at the baby.
"Waah! Wahhhh! Waaah!" she wailed with a trembling little lip.
"Hush Pan, it's okay," grandma Chichi cooed. "You like Pan, don't you. Aww, what a good little Pan," she smiled as the baby settled down.
"I," Videl was speechless. "You really don't like Nawa?" she stared down sadly.
"Waaah! Waah!" little hands tried to push out of the blanket in angry little fists.
"Okay, okay, Mommy's sorry, it's Pan, it's Pan." she said in a panic and watched in wonder as the baby curdled in peace.
"I guess, she likes Pan," Gohan stared bewildered.
"Yeah," whispered a stunned Videl.
Goku grinned, making a thumbs-up in Chichi's direction.
In turn, Chichi tried to hold her smile in, but when he winked, a flood of warmth washed over her face.
As soon as they stepped outside the house, Chichi couldn't help it; she burst out and released the laughter she'd been holding since the baby naming.
"Oh my Kami Goku! I can't believe it! It actually worked!" Chichi laughed, clutching her sides, all her facial muscles contracted.
"Shhh! Chichi," scolded Goku as he too broke out, even though he was trying to keep it quiet. "They'll hear us, come on!" he grabbed her hand and pulled her along as he took a quick sprint towards the forest.
As soon as they were far enough from Gohan and Videl's house, Goku fully gave in. "Pahahahah! Did you see their faces Chi?" he was laughing so hard that his air intake had become irregular, making him gasp.
"I know! I know!" Chichi let it out in guffaws."It was priceless!" she placed her hand against a nearby tree for support and took a much needed lungful of breath. "It was so bad of us to trick them like that though," she said.
"Heh heh maybe," said Goku. "But it was worth it, now Pan will have the right name."
"Yeah," she grinned. "You did great Goku, thank you." she smiled at him.
"Nuh, it was nothing," he rubbed his elbow uncomfortably. "I already know all the thing she likes, so it was easy." he added modestly.
"You always had a way with her," she said, her smile so warm and genuine, it was impossible not to be caught up in it.
"Nuh, I was just okay, nothing compared to grandma and her kitchen full of nice smells and goodies. She used to race across to our house every morning, remember?"
"Oh, like I was the main attraction? If I remember correctly, it was perching on her grandpa's shoulder while he told outrageous stories that she couldn't get enough off."
"You were always the main attraction for me Chi," he brushed a stray hair from her face. "and after all this time, nothing's changed huh?" he said, a sadness that hadn't been there for a while finally crawling out to the surface.
Chichi didn't understand when it was that the air around had suddenly changed, but it had. She was happily laughing a minute ago, but now she was just too aware of how isolated they were. It was just the two of them in the middle of the woods and it brought back too many memories.
"Chi," he brushed her cheek and pressed his forehead against hers, making her heart jump fearfully.
"Goku," she backed away. "Don't...please," she didn't want to ruin the carefree moment they were having but if he was going to get like this then...
He stared at her for a while, as if he was in some kind of debate, but then something rustled in the bushes behind her and Chichi promptly turned around ready to defend herself against the intruder.
Her eyes grew large as she spotted it. "No way!" she exclaimed, turning to her ex.
Goku clutched his sides and stared laughing, "Oh man Chi, you think it's her?" he stared at the intruder. "You think she's still trying to make it to the water?" he said, and then broke out into another fit of laughter.
"Oh you!" she hit him playfully, struggling to keep her own laughter in. "Don't be silly Goku, it's been what..." she counted on her fingers. "over twenty years if we go by the wish. Come on, she was slow but not that slow," she grinned, shaking her head at his foolishness.
She followed the painfully slow movements of the larger than life tortoise trampling down on the blades of grass it moved at a snail's pace down the path, fighting the urge to laugh.
This was the problem right here, she realized. Being alone with him like this made it too easy, just too easy to forget their situation. They were supposed to be two people who hadn't seen or spoken to each other in over four years, and yet...just like that, they'd fallen into another nice and cosy little moment. This would not do, this would not do at all.
She turned back in his direction ready to make up an excuse about why she had to suddenly leave, but she found herself struck dumb by the pureness and warmth of the joy she read in his eyes.
"Takes us way back though, huh?" warm eyes bored into her.
"Yeah," she admitted. "It does."
As the young married couple treaded through the forest, exploring their surroundings, Goku walked ahead so he could trample the overgrown vegetation with his weighted boots. This way a somewhat smooth path was cleared for his young wife trailing behind. The weighted boots were not to be trifled with, they were so heavy they made everything that fell beneath them stay.
"It just doesn't make any sense," said Goku rather thoughtfully, "why does it only happen to you then?"
"It doesn't Goku," said Chichi "It happens to every girl after they reach a certain age, as long as they're not infertile or anything, it will happen if they...um...you know..." she blushed.
"Infertile? What's that?" he turned around to face her.
"It's like, um...it's like," she bit her lip in that certain way that she did when she had to think carefully in order to give him an explanation.
Goku regarded her warmly. This was one of the things he liked most about this new wife of his. She was gentle and patient with him. Unless he was breaking some rule that she'd already explained, instead of calling him 'stupid' or saying 'just forget it Goku, you'll never get it', or other such things that other people called him, Chichi always tried to find the right words to put across the concepts he was never taught.
"It's like," she continued her search for the right words. "It's like...when the parts that make and grow a baby are not the way they are supposed to be, so they don't work the way they're supposed to work."
"Like...you know how some people can't see even though they have eyes just like everyone else?"
"Uh yeah, blind people right?"
"Yeah, it's something like that, accept it happens in here," she patted the part of her body where she'd said a baby was growing.
"Oh, so you're saying that Bulma's kinda blind in her stomach?" He stopped and turned worried eyes at her.
"Not stomach, womb," she corrected, but then she did a double take. "Wait Goku, did you just say Bulma? What has infertility got to do with Bulma?"
"Well," he scratched his head thoughtfully. "Now that I understand about sex, I can think of a few times that I saw Bulma and Yamcha doing it. So like you, she should have grown a baby there right?"
"Y-You...you saw them?" Her eyes turned into horrified swirls, "when they were..." she couldn't even say it he realized. Her eyes were as wide as the day he'd discovered that Bulma had no balls.
"Sure! Lot'sa times! Just didn't know what it was. The first time it happened, we were all staying at Bulma's house on our way back from an adventure. I heard some weird sounds in the middle of the night and you know my ears have always been able to pick up those kinda things. I was a bit worried for Bulma so I went to check on her, you know, just to make sure everything was fine. And yeah," he grinned. "They were just there you know, Bulma was naked with her legs wrapped around Yamcha's waist and Yamcha was-"
"No! Goku! Don't tell me! Don't tell me!" She waved her hands frantically.
"Well Goku," she blushed, "it's...um...kinda inappropriate." she said gently.
"Yes dear, it's inappropriate to look when people are doing that okay? You have to promise to never do something like that again."
"Um, well Goku, it's ...because it's a private thing, and one must never be seen when doing that."
"But...but the people in the magazines even take pictures of it...and...we let the animals look at us all the time, even this morning when we did it against the barrel, and the other day when we discovered that little valley remember, there were-"
"Um yes," she blushed even deeper, "we should really try to keep it inside the house, and never mind those silly magazines Goku." A small frown made a brief stop on her face but quickly disappeared.
"The animals don't really count, I'm talking about people. You must promise to never look at other people when they do that, or talk to other people about doing it okay?" she touched his arm lightly.
He was confused, he didn't really see why not, but: "If you say so Chi, sure I promise." he agreed.
How could he not though? Her face was so lovely and flushed; her eyes all sparkly as she looked up at him in shyness and adoration all in one go. He was the only person to ever look at him quiet like this, like he was the most wonderful person in the world. It always made him feel all powerful and silly all in one go. It was an addictive feeling, one he just knew he'd never get enough of - just like everything else he'd discovered about her in these four months of marriage.
"I promise not to look or talk about it, but maybe we should use the dragonballs to fix Bulma's problem."
A nervous laugh, "Um Goku, I'm sure Bulma's fine. Um," she bit her lip and looked at her hands.
He had also come to know this side of her. She always looked like this when she was uncertain or worried.
This made him worry; he didn't like it when she worried.
"Um, see Goku," she began almost timidly, "sometimes, well...sometimes when people don't want to be parents, they can use certain things to prevent you know...pregnancy."
"Really? How would they do that? I thought all the stuff goes inside for a swimming competition?"
"Well, yes it does, normally. So if you prevented the stuff from going inside, then you wouldn't have swimmers to compete in the first place. No swimmers equals no race and no winner."
"Oh," he said thoughtfully. "I guess I understand. So just pull out before it goes phkk, makes sense." he nodded.
"But where's the fun in that? Hehehh, I like that there's a competition in there, and that this baby," he placed his hand against her flat stomach, "hehheh, this baby is the winner!"
Chichi shook her head, "Well that's one method Goku, but it doesn't always work. Most people just use condoms or pills or whatever."
"What are those?"
"It will be better to show you, just remind me when we get home okay?"
"You got that stuff at home?"
"Um," she bit her lip again, "yeah, I...when I realized that you didn't have any on our honeymoon, I bought some at the Pharmacy in the hotel the next day. I was gonna talk to you about it, you know...since I'd explained about sex, I knew I had to explain about some of the consequences too, but when I came back..."
"Oh yeah, hehehheh," he wrapped his hands around her waist, "I tackled you to the bed, didn't I?" He grinned down at her.
"Yes, I barely made it through the door," she smiled, those cheeks just getting warmer and rosier.
"You know," he pressed his forehead against hers, "I think I might just tackle you again,"
Her eyes widened in alarm, "Son Goku if you think I'm gonna let you-"
"Shhh," his eyes darted suddenly. "Did you here that?" He said cautiously, instinctively manuevering them so she was standing behind him.
"Uh...no," she said. "What did you...Oh my gosh Goku it's huge!" she cried as she dove out of the way.
It was the biggest tortoise she'd ever seen, if there was such a thing as a tortoise dinasour, surely this would be it. But as it turns out, there was no need to dive at all, the thing was moving so slowly, all it had done since they'd spotted it was lift one front leg.
"Yoohoo! Hello there! Hi!" Goku stood in front of it and waved, "I'm Goku, what's your name?"
Chichi hissed at him from the bushes,"Goku! Get out of its way! If that giant foot stomps you you're dead!"
Goku laughed, "Aww, come on Chi, I just wanted to check if it can talk like Turtle. Hey, maybe if it's a girl, it can be his wife!"
"It's not a talking turtle Goku, honestly! It's actually not a turtle at all, it's a tortoise. Now, come, get out of its path. That foot is huge!
"Aww, Chi. I could do a thousand Kamehahas's before she made a land on me, she's so slow!"
"Maybe," she agreed, watching its movements. We should get out of its way and continue exploring."
"I got a better idea," he turned mischievous eyes at her, and the next thing she knew she was being hauled into the air. "Let's ride it!" he exclaimed as he settled them both atop the hard shell.
"Goku, are you crazy! It's like being on a rock mountain up here!"
"Pahahahah!" he laughed, pointing at its foot. "Look Chichi, she still hasn't made one step. Brace yourself; this is going to be one long ride."
"You're so irresponsible Goku, honestly!" she fidgeted.
"Aww, come on," he snaked his arms around her. "It's nice up here, we can see all the way down...oh look! She must be heading to that watering hole. There's two others like her down there," he pointed.
"Amazing!" she marvelled as she took in the sight of the tortoises gathered around the water. They were big, but not as big as this one. She regretted that she didn't have a camera; it would have been nice to take some pictures.
She sighed, the sun falling on her already warm cheeks. She was so blessed to live in such a wondrous place.
"Oh alright, let's ride her to the water. I'm sure those are her friends waiting down there." she smiled softly at her husband excited husbad as she reclined into his chest.
Goku grinned down at her, and with childish glee, he began to give the hard shell of the tortoise a few gentle smacks, urging it on as he continually broke into laughter at how slow it was moving.
"You can do it Tortoise, come on, faster, faster," then he'd just laugh as they counted the seconds it took for the giant to pick up each leg, let alone move.
"Come on, you can do it, hurry before they finish all the water!"
Chichi giggled, Goku was really just a big goofy child. Clueless as he was about most things, she had an inkling that that childish energy would make for a good father. She patted her stomach, wondering if it will be a boy or a girl.
And as Goku continued to take turns between nuzzling her and urging their ride, Chichi realized that more than the forest and all the wondrous secrets it had to offer, what was even more amazing was the man holding her in his arms.
Life was perfect in Mt. Paouzu, atop the hard shell of a tortoise.
"That was a good day," she smiled in remembrance.
"It sure was," Goku agreed. "Even though she never quite made it to the watering hole," he grinned. "Let's steal Pan and take her on a ride!" his eyes lit up.
Chichi shook her head. "No, Goku, she's barely a day old!"
"Yeah, guess you're right, tomorrow then," he grinned.
"You big idiot," she fumbled about and picked up a handful of soil and tossed it at him. "She'll still be too young tomorrow."
She had to squint just so now, so her vision wouldn't be blurred. Her eye was starting to ache, a clear indication that the numbing and pain killing properties of the anti-inflammatory cream Yamcha had applied earlier were finally starting to wear off. She made a few rapid uncomfortable blinks and then cringed when it really stung.
Goku frowned, and for the third time in one day, he touched her face. "Chi, you're in pain. Let me take you to Dende, it will just be a sec."
"You have to stop doing that," she backed away.
"Goku," she exhaled. "You just keep touching me, and you should try not to."
"Oh," a pained expression of understanding flittered across his face like a man being led to his execution. "I'm sorry," he dipped his head and stared at his boots. "I guess Sekei is the only one allowed to touch you now huh?" His face contorted into various stricken shapes.
Chichis' breath hitched, "I didn't realize that-"
"That I knew?" he pulled his face up to look at her. There was a flicker of something there that terrified her. It was hot and raw and probably powerful enough to snuff out the sun. "I've known for a while now." His voice had dropped an octave.
"Are you gonna marry him?" he blurted.
"Goku, that's really not-"
"Ugh," he suddenly clutched his head and sank to his knees. "Ughh!"
"Ahhhh!" he closed his eyes and pressed his palms harder against his temples as he began to howl like a wild animal in pain.
"Goku!" Chichi panicked as she tried to rush to his side. "Goku what's wrong?" she cried, trying to reach him.
But the ground and the trees and the rocks and the whole world began to shake beneath her feet as untamed winds and bolts whipped unchecked around him. Large cracks and gorges broke out from beneath her feet and it was all Chichi could do just to try to keep her balance.
"Goku what's wrong? Goku!" she struggled against the currents coming from him, trying her best to not be blown away. "Goku! Can you hear me? Goku!
But either he couldn't hear her or he didn't want to answer her, for Goku kept screaming as he clutched his head, shaking and pounding it against the dirt like a mad man possessed.
"Goku!" the spot she was on gave way and Chichi found herself dropping rapidly as she crashed into walls of dirt and rocks and roots on her way down to a dark abyss.
That's the chapter you guys. I hope you managed to get through it, I know it was a little longer than usual. Thoughts? Comments? Please let me know how it's going so far.