Disclaimer: I do not own DBZ. I just like to watch it and dream about it.

How to Carry On

By Catherine D. Kobasiuk

Prologue: 5 Years after the Cell Games

Swish, scrub, scrub, swish, scrub, and scrub. The soap and water swirled on the hard wood floor of the little kitchen. Chichi moved the bucket with a big slosh and continued washing the floor. She was almost blinded to the foaming eddies around her hands by her tears which fell uncounted and were lost into the soapy water.

~Cleaning, cooking and cleaning are all I'm good for. ..And I can't even get that right. ~, She thought.

She sniffed back the snot and wiped her eyes on the shoulder of her dress.

~I'm going to spend the rest of my life alone, cleaning a house no one wants to come home to. ~

Chichi stopped scrubbing. The silent sobs causing her to lean forward on both hands and tremble. She wanted to stop crying. She felt as if she would cry forever.

Suddenly she heard voices outside. ~Oh no, not now, please stay out side. Go away! ~

The kitchen door swung open and in bounded 4-year-old Goten. "Hi, Mom!" he shouted as he ran through the room. Turning to shout over his shoulder, "thanks for taking me home Vegeta-san." He then ran upstairs to his room.

Chichi was still on her knees, head hanging low, face hidden by her hair.

"Hn. Brats." Was all Vegeta said standing in his habitual pose, arms crossed over his chest. Entering the room behind Goten and Vegeta were Goten's brother Gohan and Gohan's teacher Piccolo. Gohan had spent the afternoon with Piccolo and Goten had been over at Capsule Corp. playing with Trunks, Vegeta's 5-year-old son.

"Ya , hi Mom." Smiled Gohan. When Chichi didn't respond he knit his brows and looked at Piccolo and Vegeta. "Um, thanks for bringing Goten home Vegeta." The 15 year old said trying to fill in the unusual silence from his mother. Something was wrong.

Piccolo and Vegeta were aware of the tension too. Vegeta caught the scent of tears. ~Now what the hell is going on with that woman? ~ He could see her tremble but then she stood up, not looking at any of them.

"Do you need any help with that Mom? "

"Dinner is going to be late tonight Gohan." She said simply. ~I don't want to do this. Not now, not with an audience. ~ The Woman stood there feeling the explosion building deep inside, at a loss at how to stop it.

" Where's Yamcha? Did he run to the market or something?" Gohan tried cutting through his uncertainty with questions.

Chichi mumbled almost unintelligibly," Excuse me." Then she bolted. She ran up the stairs. She ran into her bedroom. She shut the door with an audible bang. Chichi threw herself on the bed. Burying her face in the pillows she sobbed. The sobs shook her body causing the bed to tremble. Chichi cried so hard she could feel her stomach turning and the nausea rise. Even while Chichi cried she couldn't keep from thinking.

~Kamisama, how did I come to this? When did I become so warped and wicked? Five years without Goku and my life is turning to trash. Oh Kami! What kind of mother am I?! Where did I go wrong? ~

TBC