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Being of Sound Mind and Body
Chapter 12: Epilogue
I thought I wouldn't be able to slip away from the battlefield. Thankfully an opportunity came up. We're waiting. For Kakarrot.
Kakarrot is alive. It's too good to be true. Of course, it doesn't help. Either Vegeta or Kakarrot will kill me—I doubt it'll be the Namek or the kid—and then Vegeta will kill Kakarrot. I don't know. Either way, the situation looks doomed.
Frieza's been monitoring our transmissions.
I haven't told this to Vegeta, but I heard his voice firefly on one of the channels. We shouldn't have been using scouters in the first place. We should have given them up, or at least remodeled them. This whole rebellion has been handled badly from square one.
I don't care anymore. I just can't care anymore. I feel my death drawing near, and I fear it will be Vegeta who delivers the blow. The humans haven't been a match for me. I've fought sloppily and left them huge gaping opportunities to kill me, and they've given it all they've got, even to suicide, but they can't kill me. I can't bring myself to lower my defenses. The Namek is only slightly stronger than any of the humans. The demi-Saiyan is just a child—he's too scared to fight. Although, from Raditz's transmission, he's a bit more spirited when pushed.
Vegeta wouldn't hesitate to kill me. Just like he killed that saibaman that lost to the big human. The more I think about it, the more I'm sure it will be him. I always said he'd be the death of me. And really, I'm comforted by that thought. I would be embarrassed to be killed by a human, or a half-breed. Even a third-class warrior. Humiliating way to die. Better to be killed by my prince.
Oh, crap, I've got to go. The three hours are getting close. Well, I'm off to die. I'm just glad I'll be able to see Bardock's youngest son before I die. Wish me luck.
The book closed, and a frown played on the reader's lips. He'd found the volume a long time ago, buried near the place where the battle of the Saiyans had taken place a little more than a decade before. Even though he had an idea what it was, and an inkling that he didn't have the right to hide and ignore it, the reader had set it aside for years, not even reading it. Just that day, he'd forced himself to read it. He still felt like he was trespassing, but he realized that Nappa had wanted someone to read it.
He knew the real reason he had saved it all these years. The one person who needed to read it hadn't been ready until recently. Only now did the reader feel like he could pass it on to who he felt was the rightful owner of the document. Nappa would have wanted it that way.
"Hey, are you coming? The party's already started at Capsule Corp."
"Yeah, I'm ready," Piccolo responded. He gathered up the book and followed the young god Dende off the Lookout. He would give the book to Vegeta. Vegeta needed to have it. Besides, Piccolo had a long-ignored promise to keep.
He slowly opened his eyes. The final words he'd heard in life echoed through his head. He squinted from the headache and sudden brightness of the place. He moved his hands over his eyes, only to be surprised that he could move his hands in the first place. Last he remembered, he'd been paralyzed—his back broken. As he got used to the light he dropped his arms, only to see the back of a green head.
Nappa watched bemusedly as the Namek slowly turned around. The Namek looked at him and shook his head. "Not you again."
Further ahead in line, three humans whirled around at the voice. "Nappa!" one of them screamed, dropping into a fighting stance. The other two followed suit.
Nappa just shook his head and crossed his arms. "No need for all that. We're dead. The battle's over for us." Then he stared off in realization. "It's finally over," he whispered.
It took a moment to get used to the thought. He really was dead. And there was an afterlife. Everything he'd thought—everything he'd written—had been true. But the knot of worry in his stomach hadn't been killed. Now all he had to do was to wait for more to join him in line—Vegeta or Kakarrot or the kid or the other human. He kept turning over events and probabilities in his head, trying to predict the coming battle. He hadn't had a scouter, so he didn't know exactly what Kakarrot's power level was, and he didn't know who would win when it came down to a fight between Vegeta and Kakarrot.
He rubbed his head in thought, only to feel something he hadn't felt in a long time. Hair. On his head. His wild mane had completely regrown. And he had on armor. Not the hideous Kold Empire armor that had been destroyed in the battle on Earth. No, this was the Saiyan armor of a general that he had worn all those years ago. He even had the long-missed cape to go with it. Nappa smiled. Even though he was dead, he felt he had partially come back to life.
"Was it Goku?" came a growling voice.
Nappa looked up in confusion at the Namek—Piccolo, he believed the name was—for a moment. Then he comprehended the question. He smiled slightly. "Who, Kakarrot? Nah. He let me go."
"He let you go?" the shortest of the humans said, in a childlike voice.
"But you killed us!" growled the human with all the hair.
Nappa laughed—a sharp bitter laugh. "For the record, you were killed by a saibaman, shorty committed suicide—a lot of good that did—and three-eyes died of his own attack. Oh, and you just got in the way, Namek. I might've let you live if you'd have just stepped down."
"You were going to kill Gohan," the Namek said sharply.
Nappa rolled his eyes. "Look, I was just trying to push him a little. A strong boy like that oughta be fighting. Who was his trainer, anyway?"
Piccolo's eyes narrowed. "That blast would have killed him."
Nappa shrugged. "Tough. He wouldn't have been the first child to die."
Piccolo raised his hand, but then let it drop. What was the use when you're both dead? Besides, he saw a startling emotion in Nappa's eyes. As a self-proclaimed arch-demon, Piccolo had picked up a talent for noticing pain in others, so he could relish in it. And that's exactly what he saw in Nappa's eyes. An overwhelming sense of pain as he stared off into space, lost in the past and his own regrets. It made his own father's death and his loss to Goku, major tragedies in his life, seem like mere trifles. Piccolo shook his head. He didn't care. He was still a demon, and this Saiyan was still a murderer. "So, did Gohan kill you?"
Nappa crossed his arms and sighed. The pain seemed to intensify in his eyes, mixed with a sense of betrayal. But there would be no way to avoid the question. "It was Prince Vegeta."
Nappa ignored the general snickering and turned inward to his own thoughts. He didn't feel like any more conversation. Seeming to take the hint, the Earthlings ignored him and began to talk amongst themselves.
The line up to the distant pagoda moved slowly. Time itself moved slowly in the line – composed mostly of people he'd killed, Nappa realized with some discomfort. In fact, he'd heard a few high-pitched laughs from bodiless spirits here and there. Since there wasn't much to laugh about, the laughter was probably because of his own death. Nappa didn't mind. They were fully entitled to share in the irony. For Nappa knew that he'd gotten what he deserved. And there was more to come. Nappa didn't fool himself for a minute that he was going to a good place. Saiyans happened to have a concept of Heaven and Hell. Nappa knew all kinds of religious systems, and he was doomed no matter which way he looked at it. If he followed Xientlap's code of morals, he would be sent to Hell because of all the death he caused. If he followed the Saiyan code, he would be sent to Hell because he'd completely failed in his last battle. There was nothing redeeming about him. There was no honor in his death. And he'd failed to truly guide his charge—his prince. It was in morose fatalism that Nappa continued in line, dimly aware of the constant glares turned toward him. It didn't matter.
After what might have been hours, Nappa noticed that they were finally inside the pagoda. Various-colored demons with business shirts and clipboards milled about, checking off names and keeping the spirits in line. Nappa glared at the nearest demon, who was sneering at him and making notes on his clipboard. 'Rest in peace, my foot,' Nappa thought bitterly.
A booming voice caught Nappa's attention. Nappa looked up… and up. A huge demon in a pin-striped suit sat behind and massive desk. "Ah, yes," he boomed. "More from Earth. This time with bodies."
The human with the hair spoke up. "Sir," he shouted because of the distance, "do you know what's going on in the battle against the Saiyans on Earth? Has Goku, Gohan, or Krillen died?"
"Ah, Yamcha, I believe it is? The battle is over by now. None of those you have mentioned have died."
The humans started jumping up and down, celebrating the apparent victory. Even Piccolo smiled at the news. Nappa sighed resignedly. He didn't know how the Earthlings pulled it off, but if they were alive and the battle was over, that meant they would have had to kill Vegeta. But Nappa was sure he would have heard Vegeta by now. "What of Prince Vegeta?" he broke in, feeling a wave of déjà vu as he asked the same question he'd asked Frieza so many years before.
The great demon frowned down at him, giving him the look he only gave damned souls. "This Vegeta is still alive as well. Last I checked, he was escaping in one of your space-ships."
Nappa let out a big sigh of relief, ignoring the glares that surrounded him. He didn't care. As long as Vegeta was still alive, there was still hope. Nappa felt a great weight lift from him, and he could finally accept that he was dead.
The huge demon began reading over and shuffling papers. "The humans Yamcha, Chaotzu, and Tien will be going to King Kai's across Snake Way to train. It seems that King Kai was impressed with your performance. And I overheard plans on Earth to revive the three of you with some other dragonballs, so you may not be staying all that long. Good luck. Snake Way is long."
The humans began grinning at each other. They looked eager to be on their way, but they hung back to watch the rest of the judgment. Nappa smirked and thought, 'Good guys nothing. These are as vindictive as hell.'
"Piccolo," the great demon continued, "you have been called demon in the past, but for the past year you have changed. King Kai seems to think that your last actions have vindicated you of past crimes. You are also allowed to journey across Snake Way for training."
Piccolo started in surprise, but didn't argue. He joined the humans, who looked a bit uncomfortable to have him in their company, and all four remained to watch the next judgment.
Nappa stepped forward, banishing any fear or apprehension from his visage. He wouldn't give those watching the satisfaction. Plus, he didn't even feel fear. Hell couldn't be much worse than working for Frieza. He felt the intense stare of the great demon, who seemed to be wanting to see the Saiyan sweat. Nappa finally lost patience. "All right, already! Just point me toward Hell, and I'll be on my way."
The demon cleared his throat. "General Nappa, you are correct. You are sentenced to Hell. I'm just waiting for your guides to get here. They should be here any minute."
Nappa was about to make a snarky remark about the efficiency of the afterlife, when he was cut off by a shout. "Nappa!"
Nappa had been halfway facing the Earthlings when he heard the familiar voice shout his name, so he could see the shocked reactions on each face. Slowly turning around, Nappa grinned at what he saw in front of him. "Bardock!"
The dead Saiyan scientist sauntered forward, grinning like Nappa had never seen him do before. Nappa laughed as he realized the cause of the shocked expressions on the Earthlings' faces. It was just as he'd remembered. Kakarrot was the spitting image of Bardock, with only a scar and a tail to tell the two apart.
Another familiar voice came from somewhere behind Bardock. "Hey, dad, look! That's the guy who killed me."
Nappa's pulse quickened as he saw Raditz join his father, pointing at the Namek behind Nappa. Bardock grinned at the astonished Piccolo, who seemed to be floored by the strange scene. All the Earthlings seemed to be preparing for some sort of conflict, but none was forthcoming.
Nappa stared at his old friends. "So, you're my guides to Hell that we were waiting for?"
Bardock looked behind him. "We're not the only ones," he said as he stepped aside.
Immediately Nappa went to his knees to scoop up the child in front of him. In a strangled whisper, he managed to get out, "Baen."
Realizing what he was doing, Nappa collected himself. He straightened and stared down at his son, who was grinning madly. Nappa could never remember seeing Baen so happy. "Hey, Dad," Baen said quietly, both embarrassed and relieved by his father's initial reaction.
"Well," Bardock broke into the reunion, noting King Yemma clearing his throat deliberately, "we'd better get going to Hell. Can't keep King Vegeta waiting."
"Wait a minute," Nappa said, turning back to the Earthlings. The humans, disgusted at the cheerful greeting for their killer, were turning to leave. Nappa approached the Namek Piccolo. "Hey, Namek. It sounded like they were going to try to revive you with the other dragonballs."
Piccolo crossed his arms. "Wouldn't surprise me one bit."
"Well, if you see Vegeta in life, tell him that I forgive him. And that I'm sorry I couldn't protect him better." Piccolo's eyes widened as the same deep pain crept into Nappa's eyes. The Saiyan started to turn around and walk off. "Oh," Nappa turned around in an afterthought, "Sorry about the whole killing you and stuff."
Baen grabbed Nappa by the arm and started hauling him off, talking excitedly. "Just wait, Dad. Hell isn't all that bad. The Saiyans have taken over a portion of Hell, and no one messes with us, not even the demons. They weren't expecting ALL of the Saiyans to show up at the same time, so we showed 'em they couldn't mess with us. It's just like Planet Vegeta, except no Frieza. And, you know what…"
Baen's voice trailed off as he led an amused Nappa into the shadows, but Bardock and Raditz remained, staring at Piccolo. Raditz's mouth quirked up. He nodded his head to the Namek, and said, "Thanks for killing me. I needed that." Before Piccolo could respond, he sauntered off after Nappa and Baen.
Bardock remained, his arms crossed in consternation. This time Piccolo found his voice. "You're Son Goku's father, aren't you?"
Bardock smirked. "I heard that's what people are calling Kakarrot now. Yes, I am. Is it true, what Nappa said? Are you really going to be wished back to life?"
Piccolo nodded his head. "Probably."
Bardock shifted in discomfort. "If you see Kakarrot, tell him… tell him I'm sorry it couldn't have been better for him." And with that, Goku's father turned and melted in the shadows, leaving a confused Piccolo.
"Hey, Piccolo!" yelled Yamcha. "You coming?"
Piccolo shook himself out of the spell that the whole scene had cast him under and followed the humans down the winding road. Piccolo gazed down the road, undaunted by the seemingly endless path.
Tien regarded the moody Namek, for once suspending the ever-present thought that he had been an enemy not too long ago. "So, you gonna deliver all those messages?"
Piccolo snorted in disdain. "I'm not a messenger boy. Nappa can deliver his own message after I go back and kill Vegeta."
Yamcha laughed at the death threat. "Sounded like that killer Nappa was going to a better place or something. Meeting his family and friends… grinning like it was his birthday… didn't seem fair."
Piccolo was about to agree… until he remember the pain in Nappa's eyes. And the bitter tone he used when he revealed the identity of his murderer. And the outburst of joy when he saw his son. And the strangely humble request he'd made to someone who didn't even like him. If his years as a demon had taught him to recognize pain, his year with Gohan had taught him empathy for that pain. "Might be fairer than you think," he whispered, too low for anyone to hear.
Nappa noticed the change instantly. The rest of Hell was all fire and lava lakes and deadly spikes. This section of Hell began to look more and more like the Planet Vegeta that Nappa remembered from so many years ago. He started seeing so many Saiyans, some he even vaguely recognized. The Saiyans saluted him as he passed, occasionally shouting, "All hail General Nappa!"
Baen smiled at his father, who was looking around in wonder. "We've been waiting for you for a long time."
Nappa looked down at his son. The last memory he had of him was one of anger. He didn't know if Baen had forgotten, or was just postponing. Nappa just wanted to know where he stood. "Baen," he began, "about what happened…"
Baen smiled up at him and gave him a knowing glance. "Dad, I understand now. I've been watching you from time to time, and I know how important what you were doing is now. I was just young and stupid at the time."
Hearing wisdom pour from his young son, Nappa realized that, while the boy had not aged, he was actually somewhere in his thirties. He had a life experience in Hell to teach him a few things. Nappa smiled. He was looking forward to getting to know his son all over again.
The concentration of Saiyans got thicker and thicker, and people began hailing him more and more. Bardock, Raditz, and Baen escorted him up a wide stairway into a building, which Nappa slowly recognized as the royal palace on Planet Vegeta. He looked at Bardock questioningly.
Bardock laughed a bit. "It took me a few years, but I was finally able to get the Saiyan Quarter looking as much like home as possible. As Baen said, Hell really isn't all that bad. At least, it won't seem like it after all you've been through."
Before Nappa could utter a syllable in response, he realized he was in the throne room already. At one look at King Vegeta, Nappa fell to his knees in a sudden surge of loyalty and happiness. He looked up slightly, and there was Queen Okakra, looking as beautiful as ever. Okakra smiled down at him and said, unabashedly, "Thank you for taking care of my son."
Nappa got to his feet, a wave of peace flowing through him. What he had thought was a death had become a revival. After years of Hell, Nappa had finally found what he was looking for. With all signs of mourning and slavery taken away, Nappa stood amidst his fellow Saiyan, his son at his side, his king and queen before him, and became complete.
King Vegeta stood from his throne and nodded his head toward Nappa, the highest gesture of respect you could get from the king. "Welcome home, General Nappa."
Notes: This is the end, I'm afraid. I just couldn't wait to get the last
chapter out on this. It's been a learning experience for me. I may have started
this as a way to work through writer's block, but I have been completely stunned
at how well it's been received. I want to thank all my readers for encouraging
me through my first long completed work. I couldn't have continued writing
without knowing that you were all waiting for the next chapter. I hope that,
with this story ending, you will all read some of my other stories, and the new
ones I'll be working on this summer.
Thanks to all my reviewers: aqua-illusion (I've been enjoying your steady reviews since Chapter 6. heh-heh. No one was able to guess the reader, because I gave no hints beforehand. Don't worry, Vegeta will read it. At least, that's the implication. And I was able to include the fact that Vegeta gets better.), Steven P.P (I may be forgetful for everything else, but I have a photographic memory for useless information. Most of this is centered around various forms of entertainment. It really works well when I'm trying to compile information for a story. I had to watch the episode for the exact words and just to refresh my memory, but I remembered which episode that scene was in. It's one of my more scary qualities.), princess Frieza (As I've said before, I hated to do that to Vegeta. Vegeta really is one of the more tragic characters in DBZ. Could be why he's so popular. Oh, well. We know he gets better.), Lil Shady (I'm kind of disappointed that the story is ending too. It was so much fun to write, and I had the pleasure of knowing that I was writing something completely original. Looks like you have a memory for pointless details as well, what with remembering the planet name. I DO give the implication that maybe Nappa can see how Vegeta turned out. Notice that Baen said he would watch Nappa from time to time. What to stop Nappa from doing the same thing. And who's to say that Frieza, Cell, and Co. were the only ones in Hell to watch the Buu fight. Nappa and the rest of the Saiyans probably watched along with everyone else. So he could see Vegeta turning into a hero. And, for the record, I finally got the episode of GT with THAT SCENE. I couldn't believe. Here I was, trying to change people's perspective on Nappa, and GT shows him to be a complete villain. I just have to remind myself that Toriyama did not write GT, and go with that. I have issues with GT, let's put it that way.), Nasiya (Welcome to my story . . . just as it's ending. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope to see your reviews on some of my other stuff.), and anonymous verdi_monster (I knew someone was watching me. I just had that feeling. I'm glad you left a review. And being compared to Sholio?! I've never read her Trigun fics, but I adore her DBZ fics. I feel honored for the comparison. I know that I could have elaborated more on Vegeta's training under Frieza, but that gets incredibly dark and violent in my mind. I may hint at such things, but I just don't feel like writing it. Glad you reviewed. I hope you leave a final review. Oh, and if you haven't read it, read my story "Meeting of Rivals". I detail another scene in Vegeta's early life.)
Well, I believe that's all. I'm not planning a sequel to this, but you may see elements of this story in some of my other stories. Like, whenever I mention Nappa. I can't help it. This story has completely formed the way I think and write about Nappa, as well as chibi Vegeta. Again, my thanks go out to my many readers and reviewers. C'est tout.