AN:My long-awaited (or not) attempt at a Goku-meets-Bardock story. I really couldn't think of a way to bring Bardock back to life, so I twisted it a little bit. If you want to know what I mean, read on. And if I have to say I don't own DBZ one more time…
Laid to Rest
"Daddy!" a tiny voice squealed as something landed on Goku's stomach.
"Wha' Wha' happened?" Goku sat up and blinked owlishly, having been rudely dragged from a particularly pleasant sleep. In the faint light from the stars shining in through the window, he could barely make out the outline of a small figure sitting on his stomach. "Goten? What's wrong?"
"I had a bad dream," the seven-year-old tugged on the front of Goku's shirt to accent his words. "Gohan has a really big test tomorrow and said nobody'd better wake him up. I think he said something about torture. Can I sleep with you?"
Goku sighed. "All right, climb in. Just don't wake me up again, okay?"
"Yeah!" Goten chirped happily as he clambored over his father and into the bed. There was plenty of space, too. When Bulma had to go out of town on business, ChiChi had decided to accompany her, so the three Saiyan guys were on their own for five days. It had been nothing less than interesting, espeically when it came to food. "Goodnight, Daddy!"
"G'night," Goku answered, dropping right back into slumber.
"Huh?" Goku opened his eyes and looked around. The last thing he remembered was Goten crawling into bed with him. By all accounts, he should have been in his bedroom. He didn't recognize his surroundings at all. Or rather, he couldn't see his surroundings at all, due to a heavy fog that rolled in around him. It was so thick he could actually hold it. But it was keeping him from seeing anything.
Instead he used his mind, reaching out to try and sense anyone—or anything—that might have been present nearby. Surprisingly, he picked up a very familiar ki a short distance away.
Holding his hands out in front of him to keep himself from ramming into anything, he stumbled through the mist, following his senses towards the energy signature. Suddenly, the fog—well, ended was the best word he could come up with. There was a definite line where the fog ended. Now he was standing in what appeared to be a thick forest. It was dark, yet he was having no trouble seeing.
A form moved out of the trees; it was the owner of the ki he'd sensed.
"Vegeta!" Goku called, thankful to see someone familiar. "Where are we? Is this Dreamland?"
The Saiyan Prince shook his head. "No, Kakarott. This is Dreamtime. There is a difference."
"Why are we here?" Goku looked around in confusion.
"My purpose here is to tell you where to go. Follow me," Vegeta turned and walked into the trees.
Goku hesitated for only a second before jogging to catch up. They wandered through the forest until suddenly Vegeta stopped and turned back to face him.
"There," he pointed to an opening between two trees. Beyond that opening Goku could see a small, well-lit clearing. "Through there. There's someone waiting for you." His mission accomplished, Vegeta turned and disappeared into the shadows.
More then a little nervous and quite a bit apprehensive, Goku stepped between the trees into a round clearing. True to what Vegeta had said, someone else was already standing there; the person's back was to Goku. The first thing Goku noticed was the person's clothing—Saiyan armor. That usually meant trouble. The second thing he noticed was that his hairstyle was on the other person's head. How odd.
"Umm…" Goku's muscles tensed and prepared to react to any sudden attacks or anything. He wasn't sure what to expect at that point. "Excuse me?"
A dry chuckle from the person. A rich baritone voice answered. "Well, it looks like you found me. I was wondering if this would ever happen, Kakarott."
Goku couldn't conceal his surprise. "Excuse me, but—" his words were lost when the other figure turned around. Goku's jaw disconnected itself from his skull and fell off his face. He was staring at…himself?!?
No, not himself, but someone who looked remarkably like him. His second look proved that there were minor differences. This man was darker somehow, and several scars decorated the side of his face. In addition, this man's face, though it was almost identical to Goku's, was different. Older…harder…
But his expression changed when he saw Goku. It changed first into surprise, then confusion, then softened into something strangely akin to fondness.
"How long has it been since I last saw you?" the man said amiably, folding his arms across his chest in what Goku took to be a typical Saiyan stance. "You were just a baby, sent on your first mission. Sent to Earth, if I recall." He paused and his eyes became distant. "That was just before that tyrant Freiza turned on us, destroyed our world."
Goku almost felt guilty about interrupting, but he had to. "Sir…who are you?"
The man looked at Goku curiously, then smiled. "So it is true what Radditz said. You really don't remember, do you?"
"Remember what?" by now, Goku was completely baffled.
"What happened to you after you landed on Earth?" the stranger leaned against a tree in a very Vegeta-esque pose.
For some reason, Goku felt compelled to answer. "Well…I was taken in by an old man named Gohan after I landed. To make a long story very short, I ended up falling over a cliff and hitting my head really hard. I still have the scar from it. When I woke up, I couldn't remember anything, and according to the man who raised me—the man I knew as my grandfather—my personality completely reversed as well. So I grew up on Earth, never knowing what I was. I didn't know until Radditz showed up after all those years. And let me tell you, that was the biggest shock I ever got!"
The stranger smiled again. "So that's what happened to you. Strange how those things work out. And now you have a son, if Radditz told me correctly?"
"Actually, two sons now. Gohan's eighteen and Goten's seven," Goku answered, then paused. Why was he telling this stranger all this? "Wait a second. You obviously know me, but I have no idea who you are. What's your name?"
"Bardock," the man didn't even hesitate.
That name struck a chord in Goku's memory, and after a few seconds he had it. "When I was on Namek, I faced off against Frieza, and he said I looked a lot like a Saiyan named Bardock."
"Ah, so that did come to pass," Bardock looked strangely amused. "I had that vision right before I died. I saw you facing Frieza," he paused to give Goku a measuring look. "I take it that you won?"
"Yeah, I did. Believe it or not, Frieza managed to get himself cut in half by his own attack."
Bardock threw his head back and laughed at that. "You must be kidding!"
"No joke," Goku started to laugh too. "But you still haven't told me who you are."
"Can't you guess, Kakarott?" Bardock tilted his head to one side.
Goku stared at him in bewilderment, trying to make some sense of everything that had been said. Somehow, he knew. It just had to be…there was no one else it could be…but how…
When Goku didn't say anything, Bardock simply smiled and stepped forward. "I think you're getting it. Your face says it all." He walked over, standing an arms length away. For the first time during this conversation, they were completely eye-to-eye. He held up something small and golden, dangling from a chain. "This was your mother's. I never found her after our planet was destroyed, so it's all I have left of her. I want you to take it."
Any doubts that might have been flitting through Goku's mind were killed with those four words. He stared at the man, and whispered a single word. "Father?"
Bardock nodded with a soft smile.
Unable to say more, Goku looked at the small object. It was a gold necklace in the shape of a six-pointed star with a sun engraved into the center. He looked at the tiny piece of jewelry, and still could not find any words. Fortunately, Bardock had a few more.
"I think she would want you to have this," he commented softly. "She died on Vegeta with the rest. Radditz got more from her then you did."
"I…" Goku was embarassed that words still failed him. "I can't take that, but…thank you."
It was then that he felt a strange pulling sensation, like someone had grabbed the back of his gi and started tugging. Bardock glanced back over his shoulder, the necklace still dangling from his hand.
"I must go now," he said with a sigh as he looked back at his son and dropped the necklace into the palm of his free hand.
"But—" Goku choked out. "You—you just got here!"
"I know. But my time here was to be brief from the start. Now we must part ways. I will return to the Otherworld, and you will return to your family, to your wife and sons. Actually, Radditz is waiting for me to come back. He thought I was crazy to set up this meeting in the first place."
Goku managed a weak smile, though in reality he felt close to tears. There were so many questions he needed to ask, so many answers he would have given almost anything for.
As if he could read his thoughts, Bardock spoke again. "When you wake up, all will be laid to rest. I promise you that."
The tugging sensation grew stronger. Bardock glanced back over his shoulder again, then turned to face his son for the last time. "It's time."
"Wait, Father!" Goku cried, feeling that strange word come out of his mouth. "I have one question that I need an answer to!"
Bardock looked at him expectantly.
"Are you proud of me?"
Father looked at son with a sad smile. "Kakarott, you are more than I ever thought was possible in a son. I am very proud of you." Then he was gone.
Alone in the clearing Goku stared at the spot where Bardock—his father—had been standing only seconds ago. As the fog rolled in once again, Goku gave himself over to whatever force was pulling him away from—what had Vegeta called it? Dreamtime?—and back to what he could only assume was reality.
Goku sat up in bed, gasping for air. Beside him, Goten, who was still sleeping, was saying something in his sleep.
"…proud of you…" the child breathed, then withdrew back to the sanctity of his own dreams.
Startled, Goku stared at his younger son. What was that all about?
Slowly, he reached down and touched his son's hair, at the same time extending a mental hand to check for any other presences around Goten. He was beyond relieved to find nothing except Goten's ki, far lower then normal on account of the child being asleep.
He was just about to shrug the whole thing off as a dream brought on by exhaustion or something he ate or some such thing when something sparkling on the bedspread caught his eye. He leaned down and saw in the subtle light from the stars that it was something long and very, very thin. And it was coming out of Goten's clenched fist. He flicked on a light beside the bed and turned back to the mysterious object.
What the…Goku ever so gently pried his son's fingers open…and gasped. But…how…
Gripped in Goten's tiny fist was a gold pendant in the shape of a star with six points. Engraved in the six-sided center from whence the arms of the star sprouted was the shape of a sun. The star was imprinted into the flesh of Goten's palm, as though the child had had the thing squeezed in his hand for a very long time. Like it was a much-beloved treasure…
When you wake up, all will be laid to rest,his father's words replayed in his mind.
Goku sat there for a long time, just looking at his son. Finally, he reached over and turned the light off, and crawled back under the blanket, positioning himself so that Goten's head was resting comfortably against his shoulder. The child sighed happily in his sleep and snuggled up to his father.
As his eyes fell closed and he was lost to sleep once again, a hole that had been in his heart for as long as he could remember was suddenly gone.
AN:Okay, more then a little off the wall. I hope everyone understood what point I was trying to make with this story. If you don't, well…say so. Like I said, I twisted it a little bit. I like twisted fics, even if I'm not the best at writing them. Oh well. I hope you liked my little take on Goku and Bardock's reunion. Review if you like, I do appreciate it. Thanks a bundle!!!!!