Final chapter; hope you enjoy. This one, like the last chapter, has a fair amount of angst. And sorry for the late update; inspiration kills me, and the site wouldn't let me access my Doc Manager. ;_; I hope I didn't make Goku OOC.
Thanks goes out to my beta: Aethena. Without her, I would've never done this in the first place.
Super Saiyan 4
"Chi-Chi, I don't know how many times you want me to say it, but I'm sorry. I really am."
Said woman regarded her husband with an icy glare, nearly knocking the child-like man over in a rush to get to her bedroom. "How about you not apologize at all?" she remarked bitterly. "It's not like you know what you're apologizing for anyway." And with that said, Chi-Chi slammed the door to their bedroom shut, leaving a confused and hurt Goku in her wake.
It had been like this for awhile now; ever since they had returned back to Planet Earth from the Tuffle migration, Chi-Chi had been giving him the cold shoulder. Whenever he tried talking to her, she ignored him. Of course, none of it went by without a tongue-lashing, only somehow her words had been getting more and more vicious as the days went by. At first the man-in-a-child's-body had suspected that Baby was still nestling inside of her, but he immediately dismissed it. She had not once uttered the words 'Lord Baby' or 'filthy Saiyan monkey', and, of course, he had made sure to rid the world of that treacherous being by blasting him into the burning sun.
So what, exactly, was the problem?
Goku had thought that the problem stemmed from what had happened earlier in the day. Today was Grandparents' Day at Pan's school. He had honestly forgotten all about it as well as the one-sided promise that came with it, which was since he could become a Super Saiyan 4 now (due to it being the only form that renders him an adult), he could attend the school event. Being stuck in between pleasing the women of his life (Chi-Chi and Pan) was not in the least bit fun as they both harbored stubborn attitudes, Pan more so than his wife for the simple fact that she was the daughter of Gohan, whose mother was Chi-Chi, and the daughter of Videl who was the daughter of Mr. Satan.
He didn't know which was worse: facing the wrath of a bitter wife or facing the wrath of a stubborn, otherwise crazed granddaughter. Chi-Chi didn't want him to transform. There were one too many times where he suffered the consequences in not following her demands pertaining to his special ability. It had all been for Goten back then, who once volunteered his dear ole father to be his show-and-tell project, in which Goku had to show his son's class the differences between each Super Saiyan form from his base/regular state to his third stage. Sadly, it resulted in a massive earthquake, canceling schools worldwide, as well as depriving him of his privileges of dining with his family for an entire week and a steamy tongue-lashing to boot.
And now he was faced with the same obstacle, only it involved a third member.
Like the countless other times, Chi-Chi had told him not to do it. He had agreed, but not without explaining to her the reasoning behind his initial plan. As always, she told him to break the news to their granddaughter, who was brimming with so much excitement at the mere prospect of 'Grandpa G' attending her school event as a 'mondo cool, fur-covered battle ax'. Who could really break a heart as precious as that?
But Goku, the man known for keeping his promises, no matter how absurd? Unheard of.
But he did as he was told, following the demand of his wife by telling their granddaughter that he wasn't allowed to transform into a Super Saiyan 4.
Pan had thrown a temper tantrum equivalent to that of a Golden Great Ape, minus the ki blasts. Not even her parents could calm her as the only thing that would make her happy again would be if 'Grandpa G' fulfilled his promise. Goku, again, not being one to break haphazard promises, agreed without the consent of his wife. Neither had he bothered informing Gohan and Videl of his predicament.
He had wanted to tell her, he honestly had, but she just kept making things difficult. Her sweet nothings, his extra food portions, the small favors; it was engulfing him in a pit full of guilt. But he said nothing, or rather, he decided that the best way for him to fulfill the wishes of both girls would be if he went through with what they both had proposed.
For the first half of the event, he'd parade around as a child. And for the second half, he'd simply step away from the classroom and come back as a semi-different person. He didn't see the problem in it, and to him, it was no harm done. Unfortunately for him, the trouble rooted from not only him not informing his wife of his plan, but from him simply being as he was; a child, a man trapped in a little boy's body.
Chi-Chi often told Goku that he had a habit of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Of course, he hadn't agreed with her, but he'd never express this sentiment aloud. Well, it turns out that what she had said had, indeed, been true.
"What a cute kid."
"Who's the mother?"
"Lady, you have a precious grandson."
"Your brother is adorable."
That had only been the beginning of the end. From the time they had arrived until it was near departure, that had been what the grandparent-granddaughter trio had to suffer. Goku didn't know who had it worse, but judging from the way his wife's elated attitude dropped to pure unemotional, he could honestly say that she had it worse. To be accused of having a grandson - when she didn't even look that old - must've been tough. But she had told Goku not to say anything about it, because seriously, imagine what people would think if they told people they were married.
It was, as Trunks would say, a minor miscalculation.
Goku couldn't take it anymore. The comments about being Pan's little brother, being Chi-Chi's grandson, being an adorable tyke and/or rapscallion (whatever that was), the ruffling of his hair, the pinching of his cheeks, and, worst of all, the grabbing of his tail; he just couldn't bear it any longer! And that was when he decided to blurt out to the entire class that he was, in fact, Pan's grandfather and that Chi-Chi was his wife and that he wasn't a kid but a man trapped in a kid's body, in which the grandparents and the teacher decided to fix Chi-Chi with disturbed looks and the children thought it to be appropriate to scream 'ew' in unison.
Amidst Pan's humiliation and Chi-Chi's obvious frustration, Goku huffed out in exasperation. He knew they wouldn't believe him by mere words, so he resulted in killing two birds with one stone. His promises were fulfilled as he did parade around in one of Goten's old, ridiculous suits as a child for Chi-Chi, and he was transforming into a more appropriate form, much to his granddaughter's amusement.
All thoughts of consequences and repercussions flew out of the window as the man-trapped-in-a-child's-body did the unmentionable - at least by Chi-Chi's standards - and transformed. In the child's place was a man (a very beautiful man), his previous suit no where to be found amidst the unruly mop of black hair that fell past his shoulders, the luscious coat of red fur that covered his entire torso down to the back of his hands, minus his bulging pectorals, or the wristbands and training gear covering his bottom half.
To make a long story short, there was no longer a grown man parading around as a child, but a man with beautiful golden eyes, who looked like a god. The only thing recognizable about him was the fact that there was a tail swishing back and forth in amusement, only instead of its usual brown fur, it was swathed in crimson.
Unfortunately, this little act sent the classroom into a 'tissy' as most of the grandparents started to go into cardiac arrest at the magic show, the children went into 'hoots' and 'whoops' of ecstasy, and the teacher scurried off to alert the police. Pan stood off to the side, basking in the glory of having a 'mondo cool grandpa'.
As Giru would say, 'Goku, danger! Goku, danger! Giru, Giru, Giru.'
It was safe to say (or rather it wasn't safe to say) that what happened next was surprising. Chi-Chi, who would normally explode like an active volcano at her husband's ridiculous displays of stupidity, simply shoved him out of the way when he smiled at her and left the classroom without so much as a peep. The children 'oohed', the paramedics rescued the elderly, the teacher stared with all of the confusion of a 25-year-old woman, and Pan simply shook her head.
"You're in so much trouble when we get home, Grandpa."
Oh, how right she was. He was in a helluva lot of trouble, and all throughout the car ride home, Chi-Chi wouldn't even look at him. Goku could only sit in the back seat, twiddling his thumbs like his carbon copy once did.
And now Goku was standing near the entrance to his bedroom, the door blocking the only means of having a connection with his wife. He had the strongest urge to use the Instant Transmission and reappear in the room with her, but that would only make him feel even more guilty. He knew how much she didn't like him using techniques in the house, and so he decided to grant her that much as he already upset her due to, what he liked to consider, a harmless act.
"What's wrong with Mom?" Gohan asked, coming to stand by his side, his hands in his pants pockets.
Before Goku could voice his thoughts, Pan walked past them, cradling an apple in her hands.
"Grandpa transformed into a Super Saiyan 4 at school today and now Grandma's mad at him," she explained.
Gohan raised an eyebrow at his father, his ebony eyes wide. "You did? What would make you do something like that? Did Mom yell at you?"
"He got tired of people calling him Grandma's 'grandson'," Pan laughed out after swallowing a piece of her apple. "You should've seen it Papa! The other grandparents were ruffling his hair and calling him stuff like 'tyke' and 'cutie patootie'. Even my classmates were trying to play with him! It was funny. But then he transformed, and all the grandparents started to pass out and stuff. It was weird."
"None of this would've happened if you would've just listened to what I told you," Goku told Pan, his eyebrows knitted together in frustration. "Now your Grandma won't even look at me."
Pan opened her mouth to speak, but Gohan held a hand up, cutting her off, his face contorted into a disapproving gaze. "That's enough Pan. Your Grandpa's right. If it hadn't been for your temper tantrum, none of this would've happened. I don't wanna here another word about it. Now go to the house and check on your mother."
"But Papa!" she protested.
"Not another word, Pan. Now go," Gohan said sternly, gesturing to the house next door with his thumb. She did as she was told, huffing and puffing like a child and tossed her apple core in the trash on her way out, but not without slamming the door. Gohan sighed, removing his glasses as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I swear, sometimes I wonder where she gets her attitude from. She certainly doesn't get it from me."
Goku didn't say a word, his eyes still transfixed on the wooden door.
"You really upset Mom, didn't you Dad?"
Goku looked into the eyes of his son and sighed. "Yeah, I did," he muttered. "But it wasn't on purpose. I'd never make her angry on purpose. It's just so hard trying to please two people, especially when those two people are your wife and granddaughter."
"Yeah, I know what you mean," Gohan agreed, recalling incidents where he had to please three people; his mother, his wife, and his daughter.
Just then, the front door opened, capturing both Saiyans' attention, gracing their presence was Videl, her baby blue eyes swimming in confusion. "Hey Gohan, Goku," she spoke, closing the door behind her. Goku sent her a small wave, nodding his head in recognition. Videl raised an eyebrow at his uncharacteristic action.
"Hey," Gohan called, catching her attention. "What brings you over here? I just sent Pan over there."
Slowly, Videl adverted her gaze away from her father-in-law to her husband. "Actually, that's why I came over. She just went in her room and slammed the door. When I asked her what was wrong, she just blurted something about 'always getting in trouble'. Something happened that I should know about?"
"Remember that temper tantrum that Pan threw the other day?" Gohan asked.
Videl nodded her head and crossed her arms. "How could I forget?"
Gohan gestured towards his father. "Apparently, Dad responded to her out of guilt and transformed into a Super Saiyan 4 for Grandparents' Day at her school, even though Mom told him not to. And now she won't talk to him."
"And I apologized for it," Goku's child-like voice cried out. "But she won't even so much as look at me."
Videl quirked an eyebrow. "She didn't say anything at all?"
Goku shook his head at his daughter-in-law before tilting his head. "Well, she told me not to apologize at all, 'cuz it's not like I know what I'm apologizing for. But it's 'cuz I transformed; I know it is. Or maybe it's not. I don't know. I just don't want her to be mad at me. She's been like this for the past couple of weeks now."
"She has?" Gohan questioned, turning his gaze to the door that his mother was hiding behind. "... Now that I think about it, Mom hasn't been herself lately. I wonder what's wrong."
"I don't know," Goku responded, scratching the back of his head. "I just want her to be happy again."
Videl stared at her father-in-law for split second before looking to her husband. "Gohan, would you mind checking on Pan for me? Just until I finish talking with your dad. It won't take long."
Gohan regarded his wife with a look, but the spark in her eyes told him otherwise. If he knew any better, he'd say that a plan was stemming in that head of hers. He gave her a soft smile and nodded his head. Sending his father a look, Gohan said, "Good luck with Mom, Dad." And he set off for his home, giving his wife a quick peck on the cheek as a 'thank you', not that Goku knew that. He only looked at Videl with a look of bewilderment after his son left.
When Videl was sure her husband was gone, she gestured for Goku to have a seat at the kitchen table. Once seated, she gave him a small smile.
"I'm not surprised that you don't know what your wife is upset about," Videl said, folding her hands on the table.
"What do you mean?" Goku asked, his eyebrows raised. "I thought she was upset about me turning into a Super Saiyan 4 at Pan's school."
Videl chuckled. "That's apart of it. Listen, Goku. Try and put yourself in your wife's shoes for just one minute. You've been gone for a long time. When you came back, she was expecting to see a man, her husband. Not a man trapped in a child's body. It was hard for her to cope with that, and it still is because she sees the ever-growing age gap between you two, considering that her age is showing and that yours isn't. And the fact that you're a child has made it even worse."
"But Chi-Chi isn't old. I tell her that all the time."
"To you maybe, but for her it's different," Videl said, shaking her head. "Imagine how she feels when people call you her grandson. We know that you're her husband, but others don't know that. She was already aging faster than you, and you know it. The point I'm trying to make Goku, is that Chi-Chi misses you. She just wants her old husband back, the tall one, the adult. Not the child."
Goku stared at Videl, his gaze falling to the vase of flowers sitting in the middle of the table. He hadn't thought about that, none of it. What with villains popping up to invade the Earth and the Black Star Dragon Balls, he hadn't been able to give it that much thought. It explained everything; Chi-Chi's cold attitude, the tears she cried when she thought he wasn't looking, the extra make-up, the not-so-secretive practicing of martial arts, all of it.
He briefly thought about what she said when thoughts of the migration were first discussed; she had accused him of looking for someone younger than her. But that simply wasn't true. Not one bit.
"Your Super Saiyan 4," Videl said thoughtfully. "It makes you an adult, right? Or about as close to an adult as you'll ever get?"
Goku looked to his daughter-in-law and flashed her one of the biggest grins she had seen in a long time. Sincerely, he said, "Thank you, Videl. I can see why Gohan married you; you're a really smart woman."
She returned the smile, standing up from her seat at the table with slightly flushed cheeks. "Thank you, sir. I guess I'll leave you to it then." And with that said, Videl left for her own home, leaving Goku behind to mend things with his wife.
Chi-Chi walked through the vast forestry just outside of her home, her hands cradling one another behind her back. While Goku had been talking with Gohan, Chi-Chi thought it'd be a good idea to sneak out. It was the perfect timing seeing as how he'd be distracted and his ki-sensing abilities would be the farthest thing from his mind. Besides, she needed to be away from him for just a while longer.
She released a deep-rooted sigh, her aging eyes darting to and fro as her legs carried her in no particular direction. She hadn't meant to yell at him the way she did, but she couldn't help it. Pent-up frustration at having not seen him for years on end did that to a person. She didn't want to be mad at him; Chi-Chi knew what she signed up for when she had married him. Years of spontaneous training expeditions and death should've drilled that into her head. She knew exactly why he left to train Uub, and at first she hadn't approved of it, but she saw the long-term help in it.
Goku was tired of being the savior of the world and he needed someone to take his place. What better person to uphold such a task than the reincarnation of Majin Buu? Even so, when she had learned of his return a year ago, she had been beyond excited at the mere prospect of seeing Goku again. She couldn't bring herself to be upset with him; she never could. But when she had seen him as a child, holding that boyish grin that made her insides squirm, something inside of her cracked.
She inspected her own appearance - a withering old lady. And she inspected his - a bristling young boy. She simply couldn't compete with a child, a child who was her husband. When she had saw him as a Super Saiyan 4 at her granddaughter's school, she had wanted nothing more than to flock to his arms, but she did the exact opposite and stormed off, too hurt to make eye contact with him. And everything else was a blur afterwards.
If she wanted all of this; if she wanted to hug him, kiss him, cry to him, then why wasn't she allowing it?
It's because deep down inside, you want him to know what it feels like, right?
"No," she whispered to herself. "I ... I just want my husband back."
"There you are."
Chi-Chi's heart skipped a beat and she found herself whipping around at lightning fast speed, catching her sight was her child-like husband, that same boyish grin still plastered on his face. Instead of running away like her mind told her to do, Chi-Chi simply stood rooted in place. Goku held out a small bundle of wildflowers in his cherubic hands, his smile still in place.
"I was looking for you, but I didn't wanna show up without a gift. I got you some flowers; they're your favorite," he said, walking up to her. He stood on his toes and grabbed her hand, curling her fingers around the stem of the flowers. She stared down at him, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
"Don't cry, Chi-Chi," he told her. "I'm sorr-"
"For what, Goku?" she interrupted, her voice shaky, her previous anger boiling over. "Why are you sorry? Do you have even the slightest clue as to why you're even apologizing? Or are you just doing it because it's the right thing to do?"
"That's not it!" he cried out, his eyebrows knitted together. "You won't even give me a chance to explain."
Chi-Chi's grip around her flowers tightened. "Explain what Goku? About the fact that I haven't seen you in more than three years? About the fact you could've at least visited, to let me know that you were still alive? About how you refuse to return back to normal! Do you have any idea what it feels like to see you as a child while I'm a withering old ... prune! It's like you don't even care how I feel and it hurts, Goku. It ... hurts," she whispered, gripping at her heart.
"I just want the old you back. I want the 6ft tall man that I married thirty years ago. I don't want a child whom everyone thinks is my grandchild. I want my husband back, and you can't bring him back because you refuse to grow up," she sobbed into the palms of her hands.
Goku stared at his wife, but he said nothing. What could he say? That he was sorry, like always? Apologizing fixed absolutely nothing, and it wouldn't fix anything now. He watched as Chi-Chi sniffled into her hands, her tears seeping between her fingers. Guilt struck him like a lightning bolt, and he found his thoughts drifting to what his daughter-in-law told him. The corner of his lip twitched and he stepped a few feet away from his wife, shutting his round orbs in a small fit of concentration. The wind began to pick up, skirting around Chi-Chi's dress, ruffling her short ebony locks and Goku's clothes.
Chi-Chi found herself peeking between her wet fingers and watched as her child-like husband was engulfed in a sphere of light. She had never seen him transform before, but watching it now ... it was a truly magical sight. There was no longer the child she had fell in love with eons ago, but the man she had married with a few added changes. The person standing in front of her didn't look remotely like her husband, but one look into his moonlight-yellow eyes and she knew; it was Goku. Her Goku. Again, Chi-Chi stood rooted in place, tears clinging to the ends of her lashes like dew on a leaf.
Goku tilted his head to the side, a soft smile highlighting his face.
"I don't know where you get the idea from that you're old, Chi-Chi," he said, his voice an octave deeper; much more deep compared to that of his Super Saiyan 3. He stepped up to her in a series of slow steps, his tail snaking out like a cobra ready to pounce its prey. "You're just as beautiful as the day we met."
Despite her tears, Chi-Chi couldn't help the pink that stained her cheeks, but it was hard to tell what with her nose burning from her previous sniffling. She didn't look up, her eyes trained on the fur-covered chest in front of her. So captivated was she that it took her by surprise when Goku's tail snaked around her waist, pulling her to his body. It felt odd; being in his arms. It had been so long since she had seen, heard, or felt the warmth of him. But she wouldn't dare push him away.
"I know an apology won't fix anything and I'm sorry for saying it so much," Goku told her, leaning his forehead against hers, his black fringe brushing against her face. "You need to get rid of this mindset that I don't care about you. I know that I don't say it as often as I should, but I really do love you Chi-Chi. Whenever I faced off against a villain, it was always you and Gohan and Goten that I thought about, and it was always these thoughts that gave me the strength to push forward. I know I should've given you a sign to let you know that I was alive, that I was coming back and I know an apology won't fix that or bring back the moments that we've missed together, but can you ever forgive me?"
Chi-Chi's lip quivered, and instead of releasing a sob, she smiled. "You've never been a man of words," she whispered, her voice cracked. "You know how much I hate Super Saiyans ..."
Goku threw his head back in controlled laughter. "I know, but this is the only form that lets me be an adult at will. It's even crazier than my Super Saiyan 3."
Chi-Chi released a soft chuckle. "So ...," she said, breaking Goku from his laughter. "You can become like this whenever you want?"
"Yeah," Goku replied, bringing his arms to his sides. "But if you don't want me to transform, I can live with that. I really can, Chich."
"Actually ...," she responded through misty eyes. Chi-Chi's eyes trailed upward, taking in his appearance; training gear (of course) that slightly resembled the blue casuals that she had made for him a few years ago, taut upper torso hugged by a shade of burgundy fur that reached his tail and kissed the top of his hands, and honey dew eyes that were shielded by a coat of red. But despite his dramatic look, she could still see her husband in him and that was all that mattered to her. "Could you transform to this one more often?"
Goku paused and looked down at his wife, his golden eyes wide with disbelief, but soon they held nothing but warmth. "Of course. Anywhere, anytime."
Chi-Chi smiled, bending her head. "Despite the fact that you don't look anything like the Goku I married, I ... I think I can live with this one."
The warrior smiled, cradling his wife's face with one hand, brushing away the tear stains with his thumb. Slowly, he closed the gap between them and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. "Love you," he murmured.
And done! Goodness! That took longer than expected, but I hope it was worth the wait. From the beginning, I had planned on making Chi-Chi accept her husband as a Super Saiyan. :] And I hope I executed it correctly. Thanks goes out to everyone who's ever read, reviewed, added this to their favorites and alerted this. Without you, I wouldn't have gotten this far.
Kidgoku - Lol, really! She chased him out of the house with a broom? I read the one with the tail 'situation' and it bothered me. D: Never reading anything like that ever again. I hope you enjoy this one, and thank you for reading and reviewing!
SS4fan - I've decided not to put an extra chapter. xD I think this pretty much sums everything up, so I think that if I were to add anything else it'd take away from the fic. Any who, I hoped that I captured this perfectly and I hope that you enjoy it. Thank you for reading and reviewing. :D I absolutely appreciate it.
Ghostkid33 - I love Goku's SS4 form. XD Much more diverse than the others. :D I hope you enjoyed this one, and thank you for reading, reviewing and sticking with this story.
lovers45 - Here you are! Finally! Sorry for taking so long with the update. xD I hope you enjoyed this.
And with that said, this has finally come to an end. Again, I thank everyone for sticking with the story. :D Now that this is over, I can finally start working on 'Just Married' and, hopefully, 'Rebirth'. Until next time.
The fan art responsible for this fiction is located in my profile, but just in case, here it is: http:/turles(dot)tumblr(dot)com/post/4942647414