A/N: This is actually a pretty happy ending. I cannot tell you how much I hate the real ending of DBZ so it doesn't exist in this. Ok? Ok. Also, I was going to do a lemon but it didn't feel right with this kind of high emotion running amok. I figured after 7 years they would be more concerned with their kids and getting to know each other again and saying what they have to instead of boning.

Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Ball Z or anything affiliated with it.


You pierce my soul.

I am Half Agony and half hope.

{ Chapter the Fifteenth }

- Finale -

It had been so long since I last walked around the Martial Arts tournament. All those years ago when I had fought Goku; back when I was somewhat of a challenge to him and considered to be the strongest woman on Earth. I never missed that lifestyle, though. I was content with my destiny to live as the widow of Son Goku and raise our children, both of whom were unique and gifted like their father.

So many years had gone by before I was able to come to terms with my fate, and I had cried enough tears to drown in. It felt unfair that I was cursed to such a life and the struggle was insurmountable at times, drawing me to my knees and leaving my hands clutching my face. Yet I could press forward. I had the next day to confront with Gohan and Goten at my side and though they weren't their father, they kept his spirit alive in our home.

Goten skipped along beside me and my father walked on my opposite side. Papa had supported me, too. He checked on me constantly during the times Goku couldn't come home, and he was tirelessly devoted to the happiness of his grandchildren. I had been so absorbed in myself that I failed to notice such things until I was nearly 40 years old. Where had the time gone?

Videl and Gohan walked in front of us and my son chatted avidly while she listened. I'd worried his strange outfit would frighten her away but grew more and more convinced that Videl Satan wasn't leaving my son's side any time soon. I smiled to myself. They would be very happy together: Videl would provide the same anchoring normalcy that I did to Goku and root Gohan in reality.

We paused under a tree. I was wearing a new outfit I had bought shopping with Bulma for the occasion, and I hoped Goku would appreciate it. My palms were sweating terribly and Goten pulled his hand away from mine with an offended glance. I patted him on the back and he stuck to my side, clutching the edge of my pants and looking around with wide eyes. Papa chuckled.

The others were there, of course. I wasn't the only one who wanted to see Goku. Krillin had arrived with Android 18 and their daughter, Marron, and Yamcha was waiting with Puar. Bulma's family was around as well, though Vegeta and Trunks were both standing off to the side with matching irate looks.

Gohan scratched his head. "Maybe dad got the wrong time?"

"I hope he gets here soon," I blurted, holding a hand over my heart. It was racing a mile a minute.

Everyone had begun to talk when the first flicker of orange appeared, preceding my husband. I turned excitedly, holding Goten tightly to my side as Goku materialized before us with two fingertips pressed to his forehead. He had an unfitting halo over his head to remind us that his visit was temporary.

It had been seven years. I wasn't sure of how to feel.

"Hiya, everyone!" Goku said cheerily.

A moment of silence passed before the crowd convened on him. Oolong and Yamcha were there first but promptly followed by Gohan and Krillin, who all nearly toppled my husband over. I flinched forward reflexively—was he fragile? Could he be taken away from me in another flash? They needed to be careful so we could keep him on Earth for as long as possible.

Goku laughed and ruffled Gohan's hair but his dark eyes roamed across the group until they settled upon me. I smiled at him weakly, feeling tears brim in my eyes, and felt Goten slip behind me nervously. My husband furrowed his brow quizzically and gently pushed aside the group to step out. He rubbed the back of his head in the way I had missed so much and awkwardly pointed at Goten.

"Uh… I think there's a little me behind you, Chi-Chi," he said.

I'd practiced their meeting with Goten several times. I knew he would be nervous meeting his father. I turned to touch my youngest son on the back and he peered around the edge of my leg.

"I'm… I'm Goten," he managed.

It didn't matter to me if Goku felt guilty for leaving me to take care of our second son alone. Goku politely introduced himself and waited tensely for Goten's reaction, afraid to approach and frighten him away. Goten's grasp tightened minutely and he suddenly dashed the short distance to his father, leaping into his arms with a familiar, 'Daddy!' I heard several times from a younger Gohan.

It would've been prudent to take a picture and capture that moment. My husband held Goten for a few minutes, pressing him close and hiding his face in Goten's matching training shirt. I knew I would never understand how Goku felt. It was better to stand away and allow him to feel as he needed to.

Of course, they had a tournament to compete it. I relegated myself to the stands to watch the fight and soon, another threat to Earth arrived. It was a vicious cycle: I understood why Goku had refused to return. Videl was injured terribly during a brutal fight and my poor Gohan was hurt as well, and I was helpless as all of my loved ones left me sitting alone beside Bulma. She only rolled her eyes because she had all the time in the world with her husband.

Death was all around with Majin Buu. He existed to destroy and proved too much of a challenge for Gohan. The Earth was obliterated of life only to be brought from the brink again, and I was too terrified for my living sons to worry about reuniting with their father. I worried. I panicked. I hoped Goku would be the one to protect us again. It couldn't be the end… not yet.

The dust settled when we were all gathered on Kami's Lookout. I held my hands together as I looked at my bruised and war-worn husband in awe. The halo was gone. He had left in the midst of battle, leaving Goten a sobbing mess and myself a poorly concealed sobbing mess, and I thought he was gone.

Was it safe to feel hope? Could I allow myself such a breakable emotion or would I be left permanently paralyzed? If Goku vanished again with no fanfare, I didn't know what I would do.

"You're…" I began, "you're… are you…?"

It was our moment. I didn't have to share him with the others this time. Goku's radiant smile and his open arms were all mine for the taking for the rest of my life. And there was no regret in his dark eyes that left me clinging to my fears. He was happy with the life he had been given. My husband did not want to escape from his existence by my side after all.

"I'm home, Chi-Chi," he said.

Goku was home, Goku was home. I was free to cry into his chest and feel his shirt in my grasp; free to cook his dinner and no longer watch as it turned cold; free to chastise him for bringing mud inside after rolling around outside like a dog. I would wake to his eyes on mine and fall asleep to his slow, quiet heartbeat beneath my ear, the soothing melody I had promised I would never forget.

So we went home.

Gohan was ecstatic to have his father back but even more enamored with Videl and he left to see her before we had reached the doorstep. Goten followed soon after to play with Trunks, who was constantly getting him into trouble, and I found myself alone with my husband of nearly 20 years. The years apart still added up in my heart. Goku was always there, warm and comforting no matter how dark the night seemed to become.

Dusk had settled on Mt. Paozu and the cicadas were singing to one another. I leaned my head on Goku's arm and closed my eyes, content to stand outside with him for a while. He was so warm.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly.

"It's been seven years, Goku. I think apologies aren't necessary."

He paused. "There's no excuse for me leaving you alone and pregnant."

"Oh. Well Goten turned out just fine and he's a strong boy just like you were." I tried to push the frightening memories away and smiled up at my husband's vacant eyes. "He can even turn into a Super Saiyan! Can you believe that? After all the hard work you and Gohan had to go through."

"…Yeah. He's a strong kid."

"He sure is. I'm very proud of him, his older brother, and his father, no matter where they may go or how long they leave. I will always be proud to call all of you mine."

The daylight was dying. Goku smiled at the sunset, still refusing to meet my eyes.

"Even though I made you cry all those times?" he asked.

"Yes. There's no victory to be had in holding an old grudge."

We went inside and Goku sat at the table, touching the wood to relive old memories. I puckered my lips and searched the cabinets to find something good for our first dinner together in seven years. Gohan would undoubtedly eat at Videl's house and I assumed Goten would do the same at the Briefs's gargantuan mansion. I leaned on my tiptoes to grab a sack of rice. My fingers brushed the edge—I only needed a few extra inches to grab it…

The chair's legs suddenly scraped on the kitchen floor and I heard my husband's footsteps rapidly approaching. I wriggled my digits desperately in a vain attempt to get the rice myself but presently felt Goku's warmth behind me and gave in with a sight. I dropped back to the soles of my feet and turned to face him, smiling and preparing a funny anecdote about height.

I only saw a glint of light off the tears streaming down Goku's cheeks before he pulled me into a fierce embrace and hid his face in the back of my neck. I'd never heard him cry before. The most I had been privy to were a few trickles of his sadness and I felt as if I was missing an entire half of him because of that. Was it because he couldn't trust me? Did he think I was that weak?

Maybe Goku was finally able to cry because I was finally able to forgive him.

He held the back of my head and sobbed into my shirt, holding me tight enough to splinter a lesser women's bones. Of course I couldn't restrain myself and I started crying as well, reflexively clutching the back of his shirt to hold him as close to my body as possible. Don't ever leave me again, Goku.

"I'm so sorry," he whispered. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."

"Me too."

"For what? All this time, you didn't do anything. It was always me making things bad or worse." He was shaking. In a fluid motion, he had pulled me to the floor and had me in his lap. His grip did not loosen. "I left you all alone with Gohan and then you had another baby. I hurt you all the time when we first got married and…" He choked. "I'm so sorry, Chi-Chi. I promise I love you."

"I… Goku, you can't—"

"I was wrong. I'll never hurt you again."

His words shook me to my bones.

We eventually detangled ourselves and I made Goku a big dinner before bed. It wasn't his usual routine because he liked to burn the food off before sleeping but he was far more interested in spending time with me for once. He helped me wash the dishes, laughing while I told him stories about the nonsense Trunks and Goten got themselves into, and the reddish tint of his tear-stained cheeks made conversation even easier. He was human for that moment, not an emotionless Saiyan. He would pause in the middle of scrubbing a pan to watch me talk.

Goten came running through the door as we were finishing up drying the dishes. He dashed through the kitchen, knocking over a chair in the process, and leapt into Goku's arms with the some vigor from the day they had first met. Goku hugged him tightly and looked at me. I smiled.

"Trunks wants to see you be a Super Saiyan 3 again!" Goten said, eyes sparkling with excitement. "You make it look really cool and I promised you would! Can you?! Please?!"

"We'll see about that tomorrow," Goku said. "I think it's time for you to take a bath and go to bed." He glanced at me again, grinning. "What d'you think, mom?"

"I wholeheartedly agree. No more late nights for you, Goten."

"That's okay! Now I can take baths with daddy!" Goten was practically luminescent with excitement. He could hardly contain himself. "C'mon dad, let's go before Gohan comes home from Videl's house and tries to hog you. I'm gonna tell you all about how I beat Trunks this afternoon!"

It wasn't quite time for me to spend the hours I needed with Goku. Goten needed him more. Gohan perhaps needed him even worse. They had years to catch up on and stories to tell. I would have my quiet evenings with my husband as the boys grew and began their own lives with girlfriends and wives and children of their own. I would hold my granddaughter, Pan, in my arms and Goku would quickly volunteer to train her.

Gohan walked in the door as Goku and Goten were heading up the stairs and they were arguing within seconds over their father. I watched Goku effortlessly break up the fight and reprimand them with a stern kindness I had never mastered. He ruffled his older son's hair and turned to look at me.

Twenty years and I had never solved the mystery in his black eyes; the stirring of duty and the conflict of his love for his family and his love for fighting. Goku was a dark paradox, but I was pleased with coming to terms with that fact. I would never know the corners of his heart that the light didn't reach. He was a concept that was beyond even my years of weathered pondering.

But I was Son Chi-Chi, and I would remain steadfast at my husband's side.