Disclaimer: I do not own DBZ or Just Like You.

Song: Just Like You, by Three Days Grace.

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Could Have Been.

I could be mean
I could be angry
You know I could be just like you

You really thought it would happen, didn't you? You thought you could mold me.

You couldn't have children. It was a well-known fact, but Icejins lived so damn long, no one was really concerned about it. You put up this font that made it seem like you'd last forever.

But…well, you and I know that wasn't true, didn't we? That's why you chose me, after all.

I remember the first time I saw you. I remember this feeling of absolute dread pooling in my stomach. You didn't really look like any type of cobra I'd ever seen, but I still thought, snake.

I was right, of course. You were a snake. You were cunning and deceiving, cold and calculating, dangerous and manipulative. You saw that I had a chance of being like that too, and you wanted to mold me into your mirror image. That's why you chose me.

I hated you so much, you know. I had always suspected that you had something to do with my people's demise, but even without that very correct assumption, I had reason enough to wish you'd burn in hell. You tortured me. You gave me broken bones and heavy bruises. You gave me scars, both mental and physical. I remember that sickening smile on your purple lips with every snap, with every drop of blood that slid down my skin. It gave you pleasure to see me in pain.

I could be fake
I could be stupid
You know I could be just like you

I never knew until Namek why the other two that were left just conveniently were either a low class or an idiot. You couldn't have three powerful, intelligent Saiyans, now could you? You only wanted me. I was the only one of use to you. But you knew my culture inside and out; you knew that I would die without them. You knew that I would die without my pack. You needed me.

So you kept them.

You sent me to war very young, just barely age five. "Do come back alive," you said, as if it were direly important. I didn't understand why for a long time. I knew you did not care that I was a royal; I knew you had a second agenda. I just never saw what it was.

It was so convenient. How you sent me away when you did, I mean. I knew you were up to something when you said, "Oh Zarbon, let the boy be. He doesn't mean any harm."

That was a boldfaced lie. You knew I meant harm. You knew I was insulting you discreetly. I said "This is lame," didn't I? But you wanted me off-world when you blew up my home. You wanted me off the ship so I wouldn't see you float to the top and sent a moon-sized energy ball into the core of Vegeta-sei.

You thought you were standing beside me
You were only in my way
You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

I wasn't a natural born killer.

No, I was a fighter. I was a warrior, bred to love the adrenalin that flows through one's veins when they are in combat. I wasn't supposed to be a destroyer of worlds. The Saiyans were not conquerors. But you saw that love of the fight in my eyes, and it was good enough for you. It was a fresh piece of clay ready for shaping. You could do whatever you wanted with me. You could make me into pottery with deadly beauty, or you could squash me flat and leave me with nothing.

You chose the first, and that was your mistake.

I bet if you'd killed me, you'd still be alive. You wouldn't have known what Earth was, or what Dragon Balls were, and you never would have found Namek. Or if you had, you'd have simply destroyed them without a second thought. But you didn't, and now you rot in hell, where you belong. It was me who let Raditz go to Earth, me who found out about the Dragon Balls. It was me who found out about the Namekians. It was all me. I was the catalyst for your death. That amuses me.

You thought you were there to guide me
You were only in my way
You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

I remember the first time you broke my tail. I remember that slight surprised look on your face as you watched my body freeze and shake. I remember when you blinked suddenly, and ordered me to be taken to a tank. You realized you could have paralyzed me for life. You'd have to kill me then, and that just wouldn't do. Like I said, you needed me.

No, you couldn't bear children. Even if you'd been able to, you'd have killed your mate before she gave birth. I heard the rumors. Don't think there weren't any. You couldn't have children, and you had no heir. Everyone was just waiting for that fateful day (century?) when you finally keeled over from old age.

That's why you chose me.

I was destined to be a king, a great ruler. Politics and tactics were in my blood. I was bred for it. Everything about me was royally groomed to perfection. I had that arrogance and that pride that you were looking for, that fearlessness that no one else on that miserable ship had. I was smart, careful, calculating, just like you wanted. I was perfect.

You wanted me to be your heir.

I don't know quite when I figured that out. But all the signs were there. If you weren't hurting me just for the sake of seeing pain, then you were doing it to toughen my hide. You brought me along to observe the political meetings you had, claiming that I was there simply for show, as your pet. You knew I was learning as I watched. You knew that everything I heard would forever be engraved in my mind. You knew that was just the way I learned things. It was yet another thing I was bred for.

It would have taken the universe by surprise, you know. That's what you were counting on. Just think of it. A Saiyan, whom you made sure had the worst reputation possible, taking over the largest galactic empire in the universe? It wasn't expected. It was radical. Something that would allow me to take the universe by storm. That's why you sent me on all those missions. You could see that everyone who stayed on the ship got lazy, and you couldn't have that for me. You needed me to be strong, stronger than anyone else. I needed to be second only to you in order to take over when you were gone. And since you knew Saiyan anatomy, you sent me out to the front line, giving me the most dangerous of assignments. You were training me.

I was young. A child. You knew that the minds of children are the most vulnerable. You did not count on me being as stubborn as I was. You did not count on my persistence to put even my father to shame. You expected me to shut down after my planet was destroyed. You did not, in any way, think that I would only try harder, if just to show the world what the Saiyans would have been capable of in the end.

I think you liked that about me.

You thought you were there to guide me
You were only in my way
You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

It amused you to see me trying so hard. It irritated you that I wasn't trying hard to please you. You never really knew what to do with me, did you? It baffled you, my uncontrollable spirit. I was a woven tapestry of complications, with so many tangled threads that it took you years to straighten me out. You had no methods of untangling me. No matter how much you tried to break me, you couldn't do it.

I think I was twenty when it happened, wasn't I? I don't remember. Sometime around my early adulthood, I realized it; I was going to die if I didn't obey. No matter how much you needed me, there was only so far I could go. Now, obedience was never really my thing, but I was even less excited about the prospect of dying. It was one or the other.

I chose obedience, obviously.

Do you remember the example you gave me? It was a real heart stopper. It pissed all three of us off, but at the same time, it ensured our loyalty. It was just enough to instill that fear in us, to make sure that we absolutely knew the consequences of refusal. It was enough to make us hate you unconditionally, and enough to make us just afraid enough to stop fighting back.

You killed Raditz's mate.

She was a pretty little thing, that one. Dark skin, much darker than ours, pointy ears, short silver hair and eyes. Very Saiyanoid. She was small, almost dainty, and Raditz was probably four times her size. She was weaker than us, but she was still a pretty kickass fighter, especially with those teeth and claws of hers. Raditz adored her.

And you made him watch while you murdered her.

I was against them being together, at first. I told Raditz what would happen if he got her pregnant. He knew the penalty for having a cub. They tried really hard to make sure it didn't happen. And it didn't.

But you still found out about their courtship, and you still had her killed. You made him watch as you wrapped your tail around her neck and strangled her, the same way you did to me so often. But she was not as tough as I was; she didn't last as long. She died.

You killed her.

Did you know I'd come to think of that girl as my sister? A stupid little low class girl. I bet you find her death twice as amusing now. But she was, as Raditz often said, adorable. I liked her. To be perfectly honest, her death probably upset me just as much as it upset Raditz. Do you know how hard it was to hold him back? A low level soldier, who couldn't hold a candle to me before, nearly overpowered me to get to her. It drove him insane. Watching you attack her brought out the animal in him that should have laid dormant.

Raditz was never the same after that. He wasn't as careful during his battles. He didn't watch his back or his tail. He was vulnerable. That was what led to his demise on Earth. I was surprised he lasted that long.

After the death of Raditz's mate, you really began 'sculpting' me. You started to humiliate me at every chance you got. Before, humiliation had taken no toll on me. Fighting back had balanced it all out. For every cruel word you spit at me, I had twice as many to give in return. But now, it was different. I had to take those comments without retaliating. I had to listen to you and Zarbon call me a monkey every day. I listened to you call me stupid and savage and brutish, even though I was not. Even though I was a Saiyan, not a monkey, even though I was intelligent and tactical, I endured it all in silence.

You were trying to fill me with hate.

I could be cold
I could be ruthless
You know I could be just like you

I wasn't really keen on hating people. It was a waste of my time. If I had time to despise a person, that meant I was beneath them, instead of vice versa. You could say it was against my religion. But, oh, how I hated you so much. I hated you with a white hot passion. I hated you and Dedoria and Zarbon and the Ginyu Force, all of them.

No, hating people was something that I wouldn't have normally bothered myself with. But you taught me how to hate.

That was your specialty, you know. Invoking unwanted emotions in people. It was some gift that Satan cursed you with, and you loved it, didn't you? You could say a few words and make a person wish they'd never been born. A single sentence could bring on bouts of anger fit for a child's temper tantrum. If you wanted, you could even look at your allies and make them feel protected.

Even if they did not want to be.

I could be weak
I could be senseless
You know I could be just like you

My life after that was complicated. I had to hold the three of us together when I'd rather have been alone. I knew what would happen to us all if we broke apart. I was not willing to take that chance. Perhaps if it had been others, or even if Raditz had not lost his mind, it wouldn't have been that bad.

As I said, I was not born to be a mass murderer. I was a fighter. However, at some point, I had forgotten that. I became ruthless. I no longer heeded the pleads for mercy. I no longer let some few escape. I was merciless. I killed anything that moved, anything that breathed.

And yet, I was still not how you wanted me.

I killed the children first, not because I wanted their parents to suffer, but because I wanted to make sure that they never had time to fear, or at least, as little time to fear as possible. I did not wish my childhood on others. I killed them quickly and painlessly before they even had time to scream, instead of torturing slowly and relishing in their cries. I was not like you; it did not please me to know that my reputation was built upon how efficiently I could destroy rather than how great a fighter I was.

I cut myself off from any emotions other than hatred. It was what you wanted, but it was the only way to protect myself. If I hadn't, I'd have surely lost my mind. But maybe you'd have been fine with that as well. After all, a broken mind is almost as moldable as a child's mind, is it not?

You would know the answer to such things.

You thought you were standing beside me
You were only in my way
You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

Earth was the tip of the iceberg, I think. You did not need me as an heir anymore, not when there was the possibility that you might live forever. Even so, I knew nothing of this at the time. These revelations would not come to me for years.

Learning about the Dragon Balls blinded me with hope. Do you know how long it had been since I was hopeful? I surely don't remember a time before that. It was such a new experience to me. I was unfamiliar with it. But I knew for certain that it felt so good, so amazing. I wanted it, needed it. It was like a drug to me, so tantalizing and addictive. I was hooked like a teenager on cocaine.

Hope was my drug, and I fought for it with my life.

My betrayal…that's what made you see that I was a lost cause. I would not be your heir. If you needed one after Namek, it would not be me. If you did not, then I'd have never been your pet, either. I would never tolerate such a thing again. Besides, I was the last Saiyan that you knew of; if, by the slim chance that I did return to the ship, if I did pledge my loyalty to you once again, I would still eventually die or go insane. I had no comrades left.

So you decided to kill me.

I laugh now, because you honestly thought you were putting me out of my misery. You were doing me a favor. You had opened my eyes, you thought; there was no such thing as hope. It was a figment of my imagination. Those are the words you whispered to me as you drew more blood with each blow, when no one else could hear you.

There is no such thing as hope.

Were you angry? Not just at me, not just because your wish was gone, but because your pet project had just gone down the drain? Were you thinking that I was ungrateful, that you'd simply wasted your time as you shot me through the heart?

Well…you did. You did waste your time.

I guess I have to be the bigger person now and thank you for that.

Don't get me wrong, I still feel like flipping the bird whenever your ugly face pops into my mind. Believe it or not, that happens often. Does it please your rotting soul that I still have nightmares about you? For years after your death, I relived every horror, every torture you put me through. They only stopped when I found myself.

Yes, I suppose the nightmares stopped when I realized who I was. Who I wanted to be. When I realized there was a bigger picture. Something to hope for, to care about. Something that had nothing to do with power and everything to do with my strength.

You thought you were there to guide me
You were only in my way
You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

I have a mate, now. I bet you never thought that would happen. To be honest, I didn't either. I was stranded on Earth, and I wasn't looking for her. I guess she found me anyway; I was living in her house, after all.

The first time I saw her, she was of no concern to me. I saw that she was attractive, but nothing more. I had bigger fish to fry. I had you to worry about, wishes to make. But when I started to slow down from my seemingly everlasting adrenalin rush, it got harder not to look at her. It took more willpower not to pay her any attention.

I had sworn after the death of Raditz's mate that I would never have a woman of my own. I did not want to sell my soul to something…someone, who could be taken away. That would have been asking for punishment. But you were no longer there to tell me I couldn't. Besides, even if you had been, I had become a Super Saiyan. No one could have ordered me around any longer. I was a free man.

You thought you were there to guide me
You were only in my way
You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

It did not take me long to realize that she meant more to me than just a play toy. Despite my best efforts, I had marked her as mine by the third time I had lain with her. Imagine my surprise. This posed a problem for me, however. The nightmares, which had never left at all, attacked with a vengeance. That dark skinned, silver haired female that I hadn't given thought to in a decade kept appearing to me while I slept, each time with a thick white and pink tail around her neck. In each dream, by the time you had finished her off, her skin had paled dramatically and her hair had turned aquamarine.

What were you thinking, anyway? Did you really think I'd have been fit to take over your empire if insomnia drove me off the brink?

Insomnia: the chronic inability to sleep or maintain sleep often due to stress or traumatic experiences.

You had made me an insomniac. It wasn't surprising, but it sure was troublesome. I used to pace around Capsule Corp for hours in the middle of the night, paranoid and jumpy. The hairs on the back of my neck would stand up, and I knew that if I still possessed my tail, it'd have been bristled and stiff. I always felt like someone was following me, which was stupid because I had learned to sense energy, and I never sensed anyone near. It took me years to be able to sleep peacefully.

I used to be afraid I would harm her. I might have killed my own mate in my sleep, simply because you still had power over me even in death.

I guess I don't much worry about that now. My son, Trunks, the one from the future, had slaughtered you for good. I watched him. My son from my own timeline was strong enough to slaughter you a thousand times over by age 8. Even now, thinking of this makes me proud. He is 15 now, so powerful that fighting is more of a game to him than an obsession. In all honesty, though I do wish he would take it more seriously, I prefer it this way. This, I think is the way I'd have grown up if you hadn't stolen me.

My daughter is three.

You thought you were standing beside me
You were only in my way
You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

I'm watching her now, sleeping in her crib. She is the spitting image of my mate, with pale skin, blue hair and eyes.

Her name is Bulla.

Her sleep is uninterrupted by nightmares, and I intend to keep it that way. As long as I have breath in my body, I will never allow anything to harm her. She will not grow up seeing the horrors of war. My daughter shall never see a death if I can help it. Her childhood will be perfect.

I think I am spoiling her.

I pick her up and lay her small head on my shoulder as I stare out the window at the falling sun. The sky is painted like a canvas in oranges and reds and blues and soft purples. I will admit, Earth is a beautiful planet, a rare gem. Bulla does not stir, even when I move her. I have to be so gentle, like I am holding glass, or else I'll break her. Her hair smells of baby soap and vanilla, two scents that have quickly found their way into my favorites. She is a beautiful child. If there is one thing in life that I will admit, let it be this; my girl is my weakness. My baby girl.

I guess I have to thank you for forcing me here.

You thought you were there to guide me
You were only in my way
You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

I am not prepared for my daughter to ask me where all my scars came from. Explaining them to my son, who was exposed to violence early, was difficult enough. You were difficult to explain to him. He did not like the story, but do you know what is funny about that? He adored me even more for it. Is it strange that you are part of the reason my son adores me so?

It will be different for my daughter. I think if I tell her my story, she will cry. My mate cried. I don't enjoy seeing their tears. It is better, easier for me when their faces are dry and smiling. Maybe it will be years before I tell my daughter about my scars. Maybe I will not tell her at all.

You really thought you could change me for good, didn't you? You were wrong. You tried to destroy me, and yet, here I am, with a family and a home. I got lucky. You did not.

You thought that we would be the same in the end, didn't you? How wrong you were. How pathetic.

I could be mean
I could be angry
You know I could be just like you…

You were wrong, Frieza.

I am nothing like you.

I am free.