Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball Z or the characters attributed to the series
Forward: Again this story deals with mature subject matters, sex, language, violence... you name it, you got it in this story. Do not read if you find such topics offensive. You have been warned.
Author's note: This is a special edition to Chapter nine and details only the time spent in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. I have attempted to do this in first person from both Trunks and Vegeta's point of view. Hopefully, I have been successful. Enjoy
CHAPTER NINE INTERLUDE
THE HYPERBOLIC TIME CHAMBER
Never had I experienced such a feeling of emptiness, not even with Frieza, though facing this was a slightly more pleasant prospect then anything I had ever been forced to experience in all my years under Frieza's control. Still, nothing in my life had prepared me for the vast, stark void that stretched before me in an endless horizon, leaving me nearly overwhelmed with the desire to get out and run as far away as I possibly could.
I shook the weak feelings off with a snarl of irritation and. I was the Saiya-jin Prince, this was a walk in the park for me and I would not show the boy that stood beside me any of the trepidation I was feeling. Had this planet eroded my might to such a degree that I could not even face this wonderous gift head on? A whole year of training with no interruptions or distractions. Irritably I brushed the self-doubts out of my mind. There was no time for such foolishness in here; besides the brat looked to have enough doubt for the both of us. Still a year alone in here, a whole year in this amazing nothingness away from her and left alone to face myself and my demons away from her touch , from her smell, from her very presence... I had become far to accustomed to such exquisite pleasures in my life and now it was time to reaquaint myself with the lonely existence that I had been used to before I had come to this planet. It was time to return to what I had been without her, to remind myself of that goals that had originally bound me to this planet in the first place.
A low growl of rage erupted from my throat, startling the boy who stood a few feet ahead of me. Dammit, I was a Saiya-jin Prince and a warrior. A warrior who would be going into a battle when I got out of this Godforsaken place. A warrior whose honor had been cast aside. I would do what I must to ensure my ultimate victory over the abhominations that had been unleashed on this stupid planet. I would prepare myself to destroy the bastard that had stolen my honor as well as dishonored my mate; then I would seek out the one thing that had first drawn me here to Chikyuu and that which had first bound me to stay: Kakkarot. And I would finally reclaim the pride that had been stripped from me by the third class bastard's defeat of me; I would not allow my feelings for her to stand in my way. Only in my sleep would she haunt me as she had from the first, I would be powerless to stop her from that.
"This place is so... so heavy, so overwhelming." The boy's quiet voice echoed through the vast, empty void that stretched before us, giving voice to his self-doubt and fear. He sounded... small--lost.
"What's the matter boy? Is it too much for you? Do you need to leave?" I smirked arrogantly into the blue eyes that glared back at me--her eyes. The slight narrowing the only indication that my words had hit home with him. So much like his mother and so easily goaded into action, actually a trait he seemed to share with both his mother and father. My smirk grew larger at that revelation.
"Of course not Father, it was just an observation, nothing more, nothing less." The brat stalked by me towards the living area. "I think I'll grab a bite to eat before I start training. I want to be at my best."
"Whatever," I remarked tonelessly. "I don't care what you do, just stay out of my way while I train." I know I had promised to talk to the brat, promised my woman that I would attempt to help him with what had happened to him, but I wasn't ready... not yet. First I needed to clear my mind of all thought, release my body from all tension. I took a deep breath, inhaling her scent and nearly collapsing at the reminder of the what we had been doing mere hours ago. As pleasureable as those memories were, I could not allow them here, now, when my mind must remain focused on the task at hand. Achieving strength and power were my main goals and right now, that was all I had left to live for in here--my strength and my vengenance, for both would surely be mine.
I made my way to the bathing area with the thought of washing her scent off of me and then slipping into an easy meditation, one that would clear my head and body of all but what I needed to survive in this empty existence for a year to achieve my goals. Only then would I be able to defeat that which must be destroyed and that which still haunted me: Kakkarot.
My mind reeled with the full import of what I had gotten myself into. I had never seen anything so completely measureless, so severe in its emptiness. Behind me, I heard a growl of rage and it startled me. Did my father feel the same way I did? Tentatively I spoke, remarking on the overwhelming aura that permeated through every cell of my body. I knew I wanted to train, that I had to get stronger, but still, there was a small, childish part of me that wanted to run away, to escape this hellish room and its oppresive atmosphere. Father must have seen it. He must have sensed the desire deep-within my soul, for he commented on it scathingly.
I turned to him, fiercely denying that I needed to leave, that I would be unable to hack it. No, he would not see me as a weak coward, not this time. I had a year to prove myself to him, to show him that I was his son in everyway possible. Before me he stood, bare-chested and arrogant, clad only in his blue battle pants and boots. The man had not even taken time to get himself a new set of armor, he'd been in such a rush to get into the room and begin training. I had heard his parting words to my mother, however and they had made me smile.
"Bring me some new clothes, woman, at the end of the day. It is unseemly for a Prince to run around half-naked."
I had watched her grace him with the slightest of smiles, remarking in some flip way that only my mother was capable of on how she rather enjoyed the view and what it led her to do. The remark, not meant to be heard by anyone other than my father, had brought a blush to my face and to his as well, for he had growled at her and brought her against him in a rough kiss before quickly pushing her away to leave. Still for a moment, I had seen something hot glow between them and it was evident by the way he had gripped her to him however brief the embrace had been, that he at least desired her. It had filled me with hope that I might mean something to him if he felt that way for her. Surely he would hold some emotions for the son he had gotten her pregnant with. I felt a moment of guilt over my casual observation of their private moment. They had believed themselves alone and no matter how much I wanted to know that he loved her, that he loved me, it had been wrong to stay and watch them. I knew he would never have touched her that way if he had thought anyone else was present to witness his moment of weakness.
I shook my head to clear my mind of its reverie and realized I was hungry--starving actually. I needed to eat before I even made the attempt to train. I mentioned it to my father who merely shrugged and dismissed me. Why was I surprised? Did I really think that he would change towards me once we got into this damn room? Had I been foolish enough to hope that because he seemingly held feelings for my mother that meant he had them for me as well? I was nothing to him... nothing but a weak fool that he had made the mistake of spawning. I clenched my fist in anger and frustration as he brushed past me and walked towards the bathing area. Damn him, I would show him that I was worthy of his affections, however small they might be. I would show him that I was worthy of being his son. I would prove myself to him once and for all.
My cleansing completed, I stepped from the bath, flaring my ki to dry; shrugging into my training pants and boots. I stepped out into the living area, searching for an ideal place to meditate. Looking around, I saw in the distance my brat, working out. What a monumental waste of time, just as Gohan was. Two boys so full of power, but too affected by the human blood that ran through their veins to ever reach the potential that either had. Why should I care if he wasted his time? I had myself to worry about. Silently I walked in the opposite direction, letting my feet carry me as far as possible away from the boy and his workout. I wanted no interruptions or distractions from my meditations. It was this that would sustain me through the torturous hours of training I planned on inflicting upon myself in the year that I would be in here.
I walked along, stopping only when Trunks was nothing but a mere dot on the horizon. I sat down, attempting to banish all thought from my mind as I did so. Surprisingly I had little trouble banishing Bulma's image from my mind. She was reasonably safe and I knew she would be waiting for me to exit this place. My peace of mind over her and the relationship we now shared allowed me to push her to the furtherest recess of my mind.
Now I was faced with the more difficult task of clearing my mind of all the anger that still roiled dangerously beneath my carefully shielded surface. Anger that I still held bitterly within me at Frieza and the Saiya-jin third-class who had defeated him. Unconsciously I clenched my fists in rage at the thought that my entire life had been given over into forced servitude to a sick, bastard lizard and the one thing that had kept me going, that had fueled my existence and my continued will to live had been stolen from me by Kakkarot. I had been unable to defeat Frieza and I had been destroyed for my efforts as if I was a mere bug troubling him, only to see my greatest rival, the man who had handed me my greatest defeat step up and ascend to what should have been my legacy--Super Saiya-jin. The final humiliation in a life already chock-full of so many disgraces.
Glancing up, I noticed the distant dot on the horizon--my son. My own father had given me up into a hellish bondage full of pain and despair and gut-wrenching hate and shame. I had come to despise him for that, for leaving me at the age of five to suffer the abuse that I had been forced to endure. Hatred had soon become the only emotion that had become easy and safe to feel, a sentiment I easily understood and welcomed for its familiarity. I hated everyone from my father and Frieza to all of his little underlings who had taken such joy in tormenting me. I had hated Kakkarot so deeply that the feeling had seeped into my blood, raging like a bubbling cauldron threatening to spill over. The hatred had only grown deeper as I found my feelings shifting and warring with some other lesser emotion for him and the planet he protected and the woman that had given me a home. Feelings that I had not been able to fathom, let alone understand, until recently.
Everything that I had held onto, everything that had been familiar to me had been ripped away with agonizing slowness first as a child, struggling to survive amongst aliens that had wanted to break me and my pride and they had all nearly succeeded leaving me painfully alone and confused and determined that I would surpass them all and prove to any who would question me that I was the greatest warrior in the universe. And just when I had been able to reclaim a small bit of pride back and begin the quest for my own immortality and greatness, I had come to this miserable planet in search of the dragonballs that would aid me in this quest... and found Kakkarot. I sneered in contempt, unsure if I was directing it towards myself or the third class bastard. Nothing I did, no amount of training or sacrifice, brought me remotely close to equaling him in strength. For him it was nearly effortless and for me, any it was hours of backbreaking, harsh training; pushing my mind and body to places that I was certain they had not been meant to go.
Certainly I was the stronger of the two now thanks to the heart virus; I could easily end his life and be done with him but... I clenched my fists together tightly, squeezing them together in impotent fury and frustration. How could I kill him now? What would be the point? Anyone could kill Kakkarot now... even my woman as weak as she was. No, I couldn't battle him, couldn't claim my pride back until he was at full strength and up to the challenge. There would be no honor or satisfaction in doing anything else short of that and if I had nothing else left to me in my life, I still had some sense of honor, more so since I had come to this damn planet and contaminated myself with its aura of caring and--I swallowed hard--strong emotions.
To be sure I had no real thought towards the rest of the planet or its population one way or the other, let alone their thoughts towards me, they could live or die for all I really cared, but there were two... I glanced up to stare at the boy on the horizon, no not two people, but three that mattered. Bulma and my son... and Kakkarot. When I defeated Kakkarot, when I had pounded him into the ground and stood looking down at him, he would understand who and what I was and he would know that I had defeated him by my own merits, not opportunity or luck and he would acknowledge me as his Prince and as the strongest warrior in the universe.
I would be unable to destroy him, Bulma would never countenance me destroying him in any way, nor would my son apparently and to my immense frustration and disbelief their feelings meant enough to me that it stayed my hand from just ending Kakkarot's miserable life and being done with him. That damn woman brought out honor in me that I had thought lost for good, banished forever by dishonorable hands. My life had been much easier when I had not had any honor left to speak of. It had been far easier to simply kill and be remorseless than it had ever been to do what was right and consider other's thoughts and feelings. The whole concept of doing what was right was still very foreign to me and I was unsure, even now, that I had any idea what the right thing to do was. The Saiya-jin were not a particularly fair race and I was a Saiya-jin to the core; yet, still... beneath my carefully erected surface of uncaring, bored Prince I found myself considering things on a far deeper level than I had ever done before this planet and it scared the hell out of me.
Killing those weaker than me, those who were beneath me should be something I did easily and with no thought, yet here I sat attempting to save a planet full of weaklings who mattered little to me in the long run all because of a woman. Once I would have easily destroyed this planet and all the life that existed on it with little thought, including the woman that I had come to love; now I couldn't even fathom the idea of it.
Lifting my finger, I stared at the small ball of ki that I had easily flared to life. It was this simple, a mere beam and everything would be completely over and yet here I sat held enthralled and in check by weak feelings for a mere Chikyuu-jin woman and the desire to prove myself better than a third class idiot who, right now, could barely fly in a straight path. What was happening to me? Extinguishing the energy, I lowered my hand, finding the anger gone, abruptly replaced by feelings of confusion and fear. Growling in irritation, I pushed them away. No, I would not deal with this now. I had come here to meditate and clear my head and I would fucking do so, feelings be damned. The only thing that mattered right now was getting stronger and I would do so. I would clear my head of all thought and then I would prove to all why I had been born the Prince of the Saiya-jin race.
I had started out with push-ups, moving to one-armed and finally one-fingered push-ups, doing so many that I thought my arms would fall off before I took to the air, battling the overwhelmingly heavy gravity and oppressive air to practice every fighting move that I knew. I lost track of how many punches I threw against imaginary foes or how many kicks I directed towards the demons in my mind: Juuhachigou, my father, my own fear of letting him down, of failing my mother.
From the corner of my eye, I could see my father stalking away from me in search of some place to begin his own training. Apparently he had no desire to train near me. What I wouldn't give for him to take an interest in me and my training, that he would have the desire to teach me. How good it would feel to know that I meant enough to him to be worthy of learning under him. All I had ever known of an instructor was Gohan who had been taught by Piccolo. His father had been dead before the artificial humans had shown themselves and Piccolo had been gone in the blink of an eye in his own battle against them. Gohan had been left alone to train himself and take up the fight to free the world we knew of their terror; finally, perhaps realizing that his own time against the artificial humans was nearing an end, he had sought to train me and he had done so well. As much as I loved and respected Gohan, the need for my father's interest and attention overshadowed everything I had already been taught.
So what did I have to do to prove myself to the bastard? I had come to this damn time some three years before the artificial humans had first arrived with the express purpose of warning Goku and my father of the fates that destiny held in store for them if they did nothing about it. I had waited in the desert for Goku's arrival with the rest of the warriors that I had heard so much about from my mother, but my interest had been held by only one... my father. I had watched him sitting haughtily on a rock in complete and utter awe, happy to study him and see what I might have inherited from him. I had watched him as he alternated between glaring in anger at the people that sat around him and stealing glances at the young woman who was to become my mother. I had certainly been young, but I had been man enough to recognize the look of blatant desire mixed with obvious distress at the sight of her. I had been thrilled to see the look, taking it to mean that the interest that would soon result in my life was already taking shape and believeing, however naively, that he gave a shit about her life. I had told my story and gone back home to the future relatively happy that I had finally been afforded the chance to see the man and speak to him, no matter that he had been terse and rather mean-spirited. He was my father and if my mother had seen something in him worth giving herself over to, then I would strive to see it as well.
My bubble had been burst the moment I had come back to this time to aid them in any way I could only to find the disaster that had unfolded since I had first been there. The Z warriors had been presumed dead, Goku lay, bedridden, struggling to survive the heart virus that had manifested itself much later than it should have and my father, while still alive, was ugly and cold--most especially towards my young mother, saying and doing the cruelest of things. I had no sooner arrived when I had been engaged in my first real scuffle with the two demons of this time period, only to be quickly shown just how incredibly strong they truly were, much stronger than they had been in my own time. I had watched in horror as my time machine, the only way I had to get back home to my mother, was destroyed in a matter of seconds by the fucking artificial humans. They had beaten me within an inch of my life and then they had destroyed my capsules, seeming to know what it would mean to me if they did so; taking great pleasure in the action before they flew off, leaving me to lay there and die in agony.
I had been stranded and left to die and my father, who had arrived shortly after their departure had done nothing to help me. I had lifted my hand to him in a silent plea for his help and watched as he had turned his back to me with a sneer of derision. I had felt my heart shatter at the look of cold contempt on his face and I struggled like a lost child to think of anything to say that might appease him and show him that I was worth saving, that my life meant something. I had felt my throat burn with tears that I had barely been able to hold at bay. My mother had told me not to get my hopes up regarding my father, to not expect to much from him, but I had never expected that he would actually turn his back on me while I lay on the ground, my life's blood-- his blood, spilling from my body. Mercifully I had been lost to the sweet oblivion of unconsciousness, believing myself dead, only to wake in a warm bed with my mother's angelic face staring down at me, lined with concern. He had brought me to her, it had been the only way I could have gotten back to Capsule Corporation.
I brought my leg around in a roundhouse kick, envisioning my father's body at the receiving end of the blow. Slowly I lowered myself to the ground, exhaustion beginning to sink into the very marrow of my bones. I needed to rest and recoup. I had already been at this for hours and my body was still adjusting to the gravitational differentials of the room, not to mention the stress of the hell of Gero's captivity.
Tomorrow would be soon enough to gather myself together and force my body to do all the things that would show my father that I was as Saiya-jin as he was.
I trudged in silent repose back to the living area of the chamber. I had turned my own contempt towards him after that day, making sure that I was always near by my mother, whom he loved to taunt. I had been witness to more then one of their altercations and he had seemed to have lost all sense of honor when it came to dealing with her, insulting her and treating her as if she were a piece of garbage under his shoe. He spared few words for me, preferring to let his expressions of say what needed to be said, usually a sneer of cool contempt. It had remained nothing more then that, until I had finally had enough of his attacks on my mother and had stepped in to end his viscious words. The first time I had done so he had been berating her for daring to ask him if he needed her to tend to his wounds; telling her how he would never allow someone such as her, someone so beneath him to touch him.
She had snorted in contempt, reminding him that he had not turned her touch away when he had come willingly to her bed. I had not really wanted to hear such details out of them about their sex life, but I had felt compelled to step into the room, if nothing more then for silent support of her. He had seen me staring at him, silently daring him to continue his assault against her and continue it he had. I had been unprepared for the lengths he was willing to go to cause pain. His eyes never leaving mine, he had smirked arrogantly, remarking that her talent as a whore and her desperation to have anything in her bed, even a killer such as himself, had been hard to resist to a man that had needed a physical release.
Through the red haze of my anger I had heard my mother gasp and I had known that even for him this was extreme. I heard myself growling in fury at him, perhaps I had even lunged towards him, but my mother's hand had firmly caught the collar of my jacket, halting my progress. I had turned to her in confusion, my heart pounding in fury at the look of pain that I saw shining from her blue eyes, replaced quickly with the familiar flashing anger that I seen in her eyes before, even in my own time. She had smiled at me gently before showing me the door, reminding me quickly that while she appreciated my efforts on her behalf, she would fight her own battles where Vegeta was concerned.
I had reconciled myself to the truth of his feelings for us after that, finally realizing that to him, my mother and I were mere inconveniences and far beneath his notice. He had used my mother as if she were a whore and then he had carelessly discarded her once she had turned up pregnant with me, an unwanted distraction. Yet even with this painful knowledge, I still wanted the man to notice my existence, to admit that we were more than problems to him.
Clenching my fists in pain and anger, I banished all thoughts of the man from my mind. I needed to sleep now, to prepare myself for the rigors of the punishment I would put my body through tomorrow. I had a goal to destroy the artificial humans and I would never achieve it by slipping into a depression over the fact that my own father hated me or the shameful realization that I needed him, no matter how cruel he was, to show me some kind of affection and to validate that my life meant something to him, that I was more than some careless mistake. I would show him myself that I was worth something and I would earn his respect no matter what.
My eyes snapped open to awareness, my body primed and ready for action. My meditations over, I was now prepared to take on the task of ascending to a new level of power... the level that I would need to defeat the artificial humans and their creator--Gero.
Costa was of little consideration to me. He would be easily beaten when he made the fatal mistake of showing his face and the more I considered her words, the more I realized that Bulma was right, Costa was insane and just stupid enough to chase after me. I felt my mouth curve up in a chilling smile at the prospect. There would be drug to grant him a reprieve from my wrath and he would certainly regret the day that he had ever heard my name cross his brother's lips. He would feel my rage on a level that no one had ever felt it before, not even Kakkarot.
Standing up, I glanced out towards the horizon where I had last seen Trunks and noticed the boy was not there. How long had I been in meditation? My stomach growled, alerting me to my need for nourishment. I sighed, resigning myself to taking a moment for food before beginning the rigors of my training. While I was there I would see what the brat had managed to accomplish and for that matter find how long I had been meditating. Here in this vast wastland of white nothingness one easily lost track of time.
I arrived back at the living area to see my son rummaging through the fridge for food, completely oblivious to all that was around him. "Brat." I spoke sharply, smirking as he lurched upwards in surprise and hit his head on one of the many shelves that contained food.
"Father!" The boy spun around, looking more than a little surprised.
"Lesson one boy, never let your guard down. What if I had been some nameless enemy come to destroy you?" I glared at him, hoping to get my point across. That a brat of mine would be so careless left me burning with rage.
I watched the boy flush and glance down at the floor guiltily.
"I'm sorry father, I was just used to being alone and I wasn't expecting anyone else..." His voice trailed off as he saw that there was no excuse that would placate me. "I will not be so careless in the future father." He met my cool regard squarely with his blue eyes, impressing me with his strength. Not many people could look me in the eye for the length of time he had managed to. There were only three that could, his mother being one of them, Kakkarot the other.
Sighing, I looked away, not wanting to be reminded of either Bulma or Kakkarot at this particular moment. "How long have I been meditating?" I asked him coolly, moving towards the fridge to seek nourishment for myself.
"Is that what you were doing all this time?"
I cringed at the question. The brat was more like his mother than I had previously thought, not only hadn't he answered my question, but he had asked one in response. I raised my head and glared at him.
"I didn't come here to chat boy, I came for food, then I will go back to my training. Now answer the damn question." I snapped, ignoring the look of pain that flitted across his features.
"Fine." The brat snapped back at me. "I have been training for four days now... this is the first I've seen you." I watched as he turned away and began preparing his own dinner.
I growled in irritation. Dammit, I hadn't meant to alienate him, I had only wanted an answer to my question. Why did everything have to be so fucking complicated with humans and their sensitive feelings? The boy was definitely his mother's son.
"I always meditate before I begin any lengthy period of training." The explanation was the best I would do for him. "It clears my mind and prepares me for the rigors of what I put my body through."
I watched the boy turn and look at me, his face holding the barest hint of surprise. "I see, I do it myself from time to time. Gohan taught me how to."
"Hmpph." I growled in irritation at the reminder that Kakkarot's brat had been the only person around left to train the boy. No wonder he was so soft.
"Mom knows how to do it as well. She was the first person that showed me how to meditate, but I was too young to fully appreciate the benefits of using it." He spoke softly, making me strain to hear the words.
I felt my mouth drop open in shock and promptly shut it. Bulma knew how to meditate? Why had I never seen her doing this? Perhaps the brat was mistaken, or it was some useful tool she would aquire later in life... I couldn't imagine the loud woman that I knew having the calming capabilities to do something such as meditate. I rose up to meet his eyes. "You're mother knows how to meditate?"
"Sure, she said she learned it from Master Roshi when she was much younger. He taught her and Goku both how to meditate. It was before either of them met you. She once told me she used to meditate alot after you came to live with her."
I felt my face flush at the sight of the boys self-satisfied smirk. I resisted the urge to slam my fist into his face to wipe it away. "Funny, " I growled, "I could say the same damn thing about her." I turned back to the sandwich that I had been making, more impressed with the woman than I had been when I had first come into the damn room and I was already pretty damn impressed. She knew more than I had given her credit for.
"Mom knows alot more then you give her credit for and she taught me more than anyone else has."
My head jerked up at the hint of defensiveness in the boy's voice. What was this about? I stared at his back for a moment, watching as he methodically put together his own sandwich. Whatever it was I could not be bothered with this right now. I had promised my woman I would deal with his problems and I would, but it would be later... much later in the year before I was even ready to broach the subject with him.
"Whatever, I've wasted enough of my time here." I growled, shoving the sandwich I had made into my mouth, chewing and swallowing quickly. I watched him turn back to me and stare at me with obvious resentment. I met his eyes unwaveringly, staring into the blue depths for the briefest of moments before turning my back on him to return to my training.
It had been four days since we had first entered the time chamber and I had trained my heart out harder and harder each day, pausing only long enough to eat and catch a few hours of sleep. I had not seen or heard from my father in all that time, but I had not given up on the idea that eventually he would be forced to see me as the man that I was becoming and that he would recognize me as his son.
I had just drug myself in from another tortuous day of driving myself to new levels of power and I was starving, damn Saiya-jin stomach. Dragging myself to the fridge I opened it and dropped to my knees in exhaustion, searching for something to eat. I would need to sleep tonight. I had not slept in two days, pushing myself to the extreme limits of what my body could handle and it had caught up with me. I had not been lying when I had told myself I would prove myself to the bastard. I would show him I was every bit as good as he was and that he could be proud of calling me his son. I would not relent until I got some acknowledgement of our relationship... one way or the other.
A sharp voice broke through the heavy cloud of exhaustion my brain was wallowing in, startling me. I jumped up in surprise, banging my head in the process. Grimacing in pain, I whirled around only to see the object of my thoughts standing before me, glaring in irritation.
"Father!" I managed to grate out, even as I turned to face him. What in the world was he doing here now? Had he finally gotten hungry enough that he was willing to taint himself with my presence to obtain the neccesary food? I listened to him berate me over my lack of awareness, pleased that he was taking the time to say anything to me at all, though his stringent words brought a flush of embarrassment to my face. Truth be told I had gotten used to the solitude of my own company and I had grown lax. I had not expected anyone else to be anywhere near me, least of all him. Normally he spent as much time away from me as he possibly could, showing me just how much I was worth to him. I struggled to make an excuse for my actions, mindful of the piercing black eyes that never left my face, finally placating him with carefully chosen words.
I watched as he turned away from me and looked through the fridge for something to eat.
"How long have I been meditating?"
The question caught me off guard. He had been meditating all this time? My father knew how to meditate? Without thinking I fired a question back at him. "Is that what you were doing all this time?" I watched as he tensed and turned, leveling me with a scorching glare before snapping at me that he had not come to chat, merely for food and ordering me to answer his question. I swallowed back the hurt and anger that his sharp response had provoked within me and answered him curtly before turning my back to him and mechanically reaching for the neccesary items to make myself some kind of sandwich. Damn him, I had asked an innocent enough question. Was it so hard to answer a damn question without making me feel as if I were somehow bothering him with my very existence?
To my surprise he spoke again, less harshly, mentioning that he meditated to clear his mind for the upcoming training sessions he would be going through. I turned back to him and studied his proud visage for a moment, unsure what had brought this change of heart about. Finally I spoke of my own meditations, though I had not bothered to do them in here. I had been too preoccupied with proving my self-worth to him to take the time to properly relax and accomplish it.
I watched as he turned back to the fridge, snorting at my reference to Gohan. He didn't know that mother had been my primary teacher in the meditation department. She had done it often, finally showing me how to fully accomplish it when I was ten years old. Gohan had merely helped me perfect the technique. My hand flinched in curiousity. What would his reaction be to learning my mother could actually do something he did? I had to find out. "Mom knows how to do it as well." I spoke softly, so that he would have to strain to hear the words. "She was the first person that showed me how to do it, but I think I was too young to appreciate the full benefits of using it. Gohan merely helped me focus."
He lifted his head and stared at me, disbelief written plainly across his face, before he had carefully masked it and asked me how my mother could know how to meditate. Did he think her so inferior to him that she would not know how to do something so simple as meditate? Why had she fallen for someone that so belittled her capabilities? Pushing my anger down, I carefully explained that she had learned it from Roshi long ago, with Goku. I was unable to resist the childish urge to put him down with a small piece of knowledge that my mother had once shared with me long ago: That she had perfected the art when my father had come to stay with her. I was unable to hide my smirk as he flushed and growled out a response. For a moment I thought he might actually punch me... he looked like he wanted to. The idea that I had managed to get to him only made the smirk wider. The bastard deserved it and that had been tame in comparison to some of the stuff I could throw in his face.
Instead of decking me, which I knew he wanted to do, he turned back to his own food. For some reason I felt compelled to speak of my mother, to defend her against all the things I had heard him say to her in the course of time I had been here with them, to show him that what I had grown into was a direct result of her teaching and guidance and that I was proud of the man I had become because of her. I knew something had changed between them after the whole ordeal with Costa and Gero, yet I still wanted--no needed to hear him say something kind about her to me. I needed to hear that he at least respected her.
I waited for his reply, somehow not surprised when he proceeded to dismiss me, my words, and my mother yet again. I turned to stare at him, unable to completely mask the resentment his careless words had caused to bubble up in me. He met my gaze for the briefest of moments, eyes devoid of any warmth or emotion. Why was I actually surprised at his damn response? Shouldn't I be used to it by now?
Sighing I watched as he turned on his heel and left. What in the hell had caused him to be such a damn bastard? Was it all because of his Saiya-jin blood? I had seen his reaction to my mother's ordeal with Costa, I had witnessed them in several private moments... the man could run hot-blooded when he wanted to and I know I had not imagined the rage and anguish in his eyes when he had been held back from helping my mother. He cared for her and I would say he cared for her far more then he was able to admit. Perhaps he had admitted it to her, maybe that was what kept her around, the private knowledge of what they shared. The problem was I wanted him to admit it to me, that she was something special, that they shared something special, that I had been a result of that bond between them and not some foolish, passionate mistake. I wanted to know that he would never turn his back on her, that he would raise his son, this time's version of me, to be a man. I wanted him to teach me and my counterpart, to tell us both that we made him proud. Why couldn't he just accept that I was a part of him and deal with it? Why did he have to try so hard to push away everything that might be good in his life?
I looked up and watched the man as his figure grew distant against the horizon. "Eventually father, you will have to tell me something. I will not let up until you do."
How many months had passed in this place, three? I grunted as I pressed myself down for yet another push-up, sweat rolling off of my face. I had trained myself into the ground, giving no thought of anything else save growing stronger. I would achieve a new level and I was so close... I could feel myself hovering on the brink of ascension. The brat was right behind me in power, though I had made no effort to help him. I had blasted him once with my ki as he had approached me, thinking to train with me. I had in no uncertain terms told him that I trained alone and that I would not tolerate any interference in my daily routine. I had turned away from him, swallowing back my guilt at the look of hurt and pain that I had seen on his face. I couldn't train him, I wasn't ready to do something like that. I wasn't teacher material and he had to understand that. Still I had seen the same look on my woman's face once when I had carelessly hurt her with some scathing remark and thinking of her and all the things, good and bad that lay between us, always distracted me from my goal.
I had not been mistaken in thinking that she would haunt me in my sleep. How many times had I awoken from my rest, with her taste in my mouth, her scent clinging to me as if she had been there pressed against me? I had finally stopped trying to sleep and had concentrated all my time training--not unlike when I had first moved into her damn home after I had first come to this planet, until my body could tolerate no more abuse and I would be forced to drop into a fitful slumber, a sleep to rival the dead, only to awaken hard and ready for a woman that I would not be able to see for several more months. Seeing her eyes staring out at me from that damn boy was not helping.
Standing up, I considered letting down my mental shields and contacting her through our bond, but I refrained. It would only make things worse for me. She had a day to get through. I had a whole year and I was too close to my goal, to throw it away now. I would have to add abstinence to my list of training torments.
Snorting in amusement or perhaps disgust at myself, I threw a quick punch, followed by two more rapid right punches, swinging my leg around into a roundhouse kick. I really needed someone to spar with, someone to take out my aggression on. I had trained all I could for now, it was time to test myself and the only person available to me was my brat. Searching out his ki, I found him meditating not too far from the living area, and made my way towards him.
I stood silently watching him, listening to the ominous silence of the emptiness that surrounded us, again struck by the vast lonliness of the place. Here there was nothing.... nothing to interfere with me, not even my woman. The thought brought another sharp pang to my heart. She was all of the normal world I missed and I could admit that the desire to be with her grew stronger each day, which was precisely why I had decided against contacting her through the bond. It would really only make things worse and I had already become too weak where she was concerend. I glanced down at my son meditating in complete silence, taking the opportunity to study him.
The boy was an almost carbon copy of myself, save the purple, human hair, yet the steel and Saiya-jin pride were tempered by a human compassion that could have only come from Bulma. It amazed me that the boy had known nothing but war and death and strife in his short life, something that I understood far too well, yet through it all Trunks had remained calm and steadfast as he faced it; had not turned from who he was and had not sold his soul to escape his destiny or defeat the enemies that had turned his life upside down, unlike his father.
Was this the woman's doing? Had Bulma's influence helped keep Trunks from walking down the path to utter damnation as I had done? She had saved me as well, though. I could easily admit that here, in the silence that surrounded me at every turn, no matter that I cursed her for it and feigned the desire to be the lost, pathetic man I had once been.
I had been a crazed animal when I had first come to this out of the way planet, hellbent on destroying it and taking the dragonballs in order to gain more power to defeat Frieza. Yet I had been met by inferior beings, beings who should have had no chance to defeat me at all, but they had. I, the Saiya-jin Prince Vegeta, had been defeated by weak humans and a third class Saiya-jin who couldn't even recall his Saiya-jin heritage. It had been the single greatest defeat I had ever experienced, short of Frieza, and I still burned with the memory of it. Watching him surpass me in strength and avenge our race, this man who cared noting for the Saiya-jin way of life, had nearly killed me.
I had wanted revenge, still wanted revenge and eventually I would have it, yet I couldn't kill the bastard that had defeated me anymore than I could kill the boy who meditated across from me. She would not allow me. As much as I wanted my victory over the third class Saiya-jin, as much as I burned with the desire to gather back the pride that had been blown away at my defeat a this hands, the idea that I would cause her pain, that I would cause harm to our tenuous relationship stayed my hand from inflicting any serious damage to him. Kakkarot had suggested a tournament if we ever managed to defeat the artificial humans. It would have to be enough and I would make sure that he paid for his transgressions against me, his Prince, in full.
I smirked, looking down at the brat who sat cross-legged on the ground. How long had he been meditating? I had not seen him since the altercation about the training, though I had kept track of him... and I had felt his strength growing day by day. I felt an unfamiliar tightening in my chest at the progress he was making. Was I actually proud of the brat, was pride the feeling that invaded my senses whenever he was around? He had held up much better than I had expected him to, and had fought alone to accomplish everything he had managed to obtain. He had lived up to his Saiya-jin blood in this room and now it was time to see what he could do with it.
I reached out a booted foot and nudged the boy in the leg, taking pride in the immediate reaction that I had gotten from him. He managed to execute a rather graceful flip and now stood alert, and battle ready, facing me. He relaxed marginally as he saw that I was the one that had interrupted his mediations.
"Father?" He stood, straightening from his battle stance to face me.
"Don't relax yet, boy. I'm here to spar." I smirked at the look of surprise that had crossed his face.
"I thought you only trained alone."
"This isn't training boy, this is a test of my abilities. Now are you going to ready yourself to fight back or do I kick your ass and be done with it?"
I watched Trunks grimace before shrugging out of his tattered black Capsule Corporation jacket. He kicked it aside and readied himself, slipping into his defensive battle stance, face devoid of any emotion.
"Is that all you're going to do?" I made my power-up to Super Saiya-jin, smirking as I stood before him, glowing yellow and filled with my Saiya-jin pride and power. By the end of this, the boy would share my Saiya-jin pride. I would see to that. I was tired of seeing his face looking haunted and depressed, as if his options were running out. The time had come to begin working on the boy.
He powered up himself, his lavender hair lifting and flaring to golden yellow as he powered up. God the boy needed a haircut. His hair, so obviously human, was nearly down to his shoulders. His mother's genetic trait, for it was most assuredly not mine. Still, I couldn't deny it lent the boy a more manly appearance and surprisingly I approved of it. It suited him well.
"Alright father, let's see what you've got." The boy lowered his body and waited for my attack. I did not keep him waiting long.
Lowering my shoulder I flew at him, fist cocked back to land the first punch. He blocked it easily and I flipped away, landing a few feet behind him. I smirked, realizing that I was going to have to encourage him to fight back. The boy's sentimental feelings would be the death of him.
"That was a pathetic effort boy, your weak mother could fight better than you do." To his credit he kept his cool, smirking in return and flying at me, managing to land a well-placed kick to my jaw.
"Is that what you're looking for father?" He flew back towards me, fist raised to throw a punch.
I flew upwards, launching towards the sky. I could feel him blazing up behind me, hot on my trail and smiled, relishing the battle. I flashed out of his view and reappeared behind him, slamming my knee into his back. I watched as he flew forward, only to run straight into my fist as I appeared before him in a blur of light. He doubled over as my left fist came crunching into his stomach.
"Dammit boy, you are an embarrassment to the Saiya-jin blood that flows through you. You are a disgrace." I drove my elbow straight into his back and watched in disappointment as he flew downwards towards the floor. Maybe he wasn't as worthy an opponent as I had first thought. "Weakling." I muttered to myself as I lowered myself to the floor. To my amazement the brat was nowhere to be found. I smirked. Maybe he wasn't such an idiot after all.
I watched my father search for my ki as I hovered high in the air above him. He had not seen me flash away from the ground, I had done it so quickly. I shut my eyes, keeping my energy deliberately low so that he would not be able to sense it. This was my one chance to prove my worth to him, I would not pass it up. He wanted a fight, he would get it. I fired a ki blast at him, smiling as he turned in disbelief to stare at it.
He dodged it in time and flew upwards towards me, face set with an arrogant smirk, hands together as he yelled "Final Flash" and fired at me.
I flew downwards toward him, narrowly avoiding the blast and launching myself at him, fists flying. It wasn't that hard to get worked up into a temper. All I had to do was think about the times he had put me or my mother down in some completely inconsequential manner as if we didn't even warrant a decent response, how he had discarded both of us as if we were meaningless trash, how he had avoided me for months in this white, barren, wasteland and left me to my own designs, telling me as I had gone to help him that he trained alone and abandoning me to battle all my fears head on alone.
"Damn you, father." I felt my fist connect with his jaw and I unleashed a flurry of punches and kicks, hitting the stunned bastard as he hovered in the air, too shocked at my anger to defend himself. I pressed my advantage and landed a hard punch to his mouth, smirking in satisfaction as a thin trail of blood slid down the side of his jaw.
"What's gotten into you boy?" I heard him yell. I backed off and watched as he wiped the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Father, I--" I struggled to say something. Truth was it had felt good to knock the shit out of him. I had enjoyed the look of shock on his face as I had connected with him over and over.
"Stupid boy." I heard him growl as his fist connected with my stomach. Too late, I had been lost in my thoughts and I had foolishly given him the opening to attack me. I doubled over, coughing up blood from the force of his punch. "You are as weak as your mother--though at least she has an excuse. What's yours? It's no wonder Juuhachigou found you so easy for the taking. Something tells me that you didn't fight too hard to save yourself."
I growled in fury at the viscious words he had snarled at me. Damn him, what did he know? I had fought with everything I had to keep her off of me. I had only fallen when she had shot me with that stupid drug. I swung around, leveling a kick at him. He raised an arm to block, grabbing a hold of my leg and swinging me away with a low growl.
"You know nothing of what I went through, father, with Gero or Juuhachigou." I raged, flying back at him, meeting his fury with my own. How dare he speak of things he didn't know anything about. "You know nothing of me or my life." I fired a blast at him, growling as he batted it away.
"Is that right, boy?" His deep voice sneered in contempt. "I know you are weak. Your mother's influence no doubt."
I was in his face in a minute, slamming my fist into the rock-hard muscle of his stomach; bringing my other fist around to slam into his face. He captured it and smirked, infuriating me. "Don't speak of my mother like you know her. You know nothing about her."
"I know more about your mother, than you could ever hope to, brat. She is my wife." He sent a low blast into my stomach, sending me flying. He was on me in a second, grabbing me in a choke hold and holding me against his body.
"Did you enjoy it boy, when she had you? Did you enjoy what she did to you?" He growled the words into my ear, increasing the pressure around my neck even as I struggled to free myself.
"No," I gasped, "I hated her, I hated everything." The memory of her body against mine flickered through my brain, setting me to tremble. "She forced me to feel everything, she wouldn't let me alone until I..." I broke off in a hoarse sob, only vaguely aware that his hold on me had lessened.
"Use that hate Trunks, use it to kill her." His deep voice penetrated through the wave of sickening memories that were threatening to drown me, calming me. "Do you want to kill her?"
I nodded wordlessly. Kami, help me I wanted her dead for many reasons, one of them being that she was a ruthless killer who slaughtered mankind for fun, but mostly I wanted to kill her to get back some of my tattered pride. I needed to reclaim the honor and self-respect she had stolen from me.
"You will never be able to kill her until you lock you emotions away and fight with your mind and your instincts. Kakkarot can proclaim that your heart is the key until the day he dies, but he knows nothing of this. He doesn't know what it is like to have your will stolen from you, to have your pride ripped from your body, to be humiliated."
"What would you know father and why do you care?" I pulled away from him in anger. "You have never given a shit about me before, why are you bothering to now?" I backed up and hovered before him, staring into the teal eyes that never wavered from mine. "Since I have been here you have never had one decent thing to say to me or my mother for that matter. You treat us both as if we mean nothing to you."
"Don't speak to me about your mother. You have no idea what is between us."
"I know what I see. What is it you called her... a whore? Wasn't that what you said? Have you ever said a decent thing to her? If she's a whore, than what does that make me?"
He was in my face in a second, snarling and spitting like an animal. "Brat," He growled threateningly, "You are treading on dangerous ground. Your mother is not something I will discuss with you." His teal eyes pierced into mine, full of pain and rage.
I stared into the blazing depths for only a moment before nodding my assent. "Fine, you've made your feelings clear." I lowered myself to the ground, not caring if he followed. I had done everything humanly possible to try to get his attention, to try to find out the circumstances of my life, that I was worth something to him and he just threw every attempt back into my face as if it were meaningless. I was tired of trying. I wold finish out my year in here in solitude and I would train until I dropped.
The deep voice penetrated my subconscious and brought me to a halt. I stopped, not bothering to turn around, and waited for whatever new insult would come my way this time. Would it be on my pride or on my character?
"Your mother is--is special to me." He stumbled over the words.
I stood silently for a minute in quiet surprise before turning to face him, only to find that he was gone.
"AHHHHH!!" I powered up to Super Saiya-jin, smiling in pride and reveling in the flow of power that continued to course through me, sending me further beyond to yet another level. I had done it, I had easily ascended to the next level and I was truly more powerful than Kakkarot. Finally I would be able to go out and demolish the artificial humans and then I could turn my attentions to proving to all that I was truly the strongest warrior in the universe, that I was the Saiya-jin Prince. I clenched my hand before me, staring, with pleasure, at the yellow glow of energy that surrounded it. Yes, all that should have been mine was finally coming to me, there was nothing that would hold me back now.
I looked about for my son, wanting him to see what I had managed to achieve, wanting him to see what the great line that he was descended from was capable of. I had barely seen the brat since our last run-in some three months before and I knew that I could not let things continue down the course they had been running. I needed to find someway to reach out to the brat and... and what? What was it that he and his mother wanted from me do badly? I sighed, knowing that Bulma and Trunks wanted me to be a father, something that I had absolutely no idea how to be.
We had passed six months in this place and already I had accomplished that which I had come in here to do, what had the boy accomplished? I couldn't say, considering that I had pushed him away and told him that I trained alone. The boy had taken my words to heart and now the only time I crossed paths with him was in the living area from time to time and he was always cordially distant. I shut my eyes and reached out, trying to get an accurate read on where the brat was at. My head snapped towards the living area where I sensed the boy's rather thready ki. What was wrong with him? Powering down, I made my way to the living area, wondering what in the hell the brat had managed to do to himself.
Reaching the area, I followed the ki signature to the sleeping area, my heart leaping up into my throat as I saw the ashen pallor of his normally tanned flesh, dark circles shaded the area below his eyes and even from where I stood, I could see the tremors that raced through his body.
"Shit," I muttered under my breath. The brat had let himself get sick. What in the hell was I supposed to do with him now? How did one take care of a sick person? My woman had only been sick once since I had known her, not counting the morning sickness that she had dealt with early on in her pregnancy. I had been mercifully away for both occurences, though she had certainly let me hear it all in graphic detail upon my return.
"Father," the brat's hoarse voice cut through my subconscious and I moved to stand beside him. "Father... water."
Looking down on him, I could see that while his skin was unnaturally pale, the boy had a flush to his cheeks that could only signify a temperature. I laid my hand down on his forehead and cursed as I felt the burning skin under my flesh.
"Dammit boy, can't you take of yourself at all?" I took in the sight of his parched lips and straightened. "How long have you been this way?"
"A c-couple of days." He stuttered out through clenched teeth. "Please, I need a drink." He made to swing his legs off of the bed, but I halted him.
"Stay there brat." I growled. "I'll go and get you a drink." I made my way to the kitchen, cursing the entire way. I was a Prince, a warrior, not a nursemaid or a servant, yet here I was fetching the boy a drink of water like I was the hired help.
Grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge, I stalked back to the room, stopping at the bathing area to grab a wash cloth and soak it in cool water. I has actually seen my woman's mother do this when she had been ill and incapicitated in the living area. It should do something to cool the brat down.
I made my way back and sat beside him, seeing for a moment the tiny face of the baby that I had so often watched with rapt attention as he had lain sleeping peacefully in his cradle. Uncapping the lid, I lifted the boy's limp head and brought the bottle to his dry mouth, watching as he drank the cool liquid down greedily. When he had drank his fill, he collapsed back down on the bed, staring up at me with cloudy blue eyes.
"Thank you, father."
I grunted in response and watched the blue eyes close as he slipped into unconsciousness. I sighed and laid the cloth across his head before moving to lay down in the other bed. If I was stuck here, I might as well get some rest. Damn the brat for being so weak. Imagine me, the Prince of all Saiya-jin, a nursemaid. Snorting in disgust, I laid down. What choice did I have? The boy's mother would not let me turn my back on him and I found, to my horror, that deep down in my depths I had no desire to leave him to his own devices. I was his father so to speak, just as the woman who waited for me was his mother... just in a different time.
I turned my head and stared at the boy who lay sleeping fitfully in his bed. My own father had sold me to Frieza, uncaring of the hell that he was sending me to. Years of suffering under humiliations, beatings, and finally my death had helped to forge this man that I had become, the man that I was still struggling to become. I had no idea how I had gotten to this point where I had a son and a wife, but I had them and somehow they meant more to me than anything else in the universe. I no longer sought to rule the universe, or even leave this planet and I wouldn't leave, unless she was with me. The only thing I gave a damn about besides Bulma and our son was defeating Kakkarot and anyone else who sought to unsurp my title as Prince of the Saiya-jin and strongest warrior in the universe. Strength was all that I had to define myself and my accomplishments, it was all that had gotten me through my years of torturous abuse at Frieza's hands, and in the end it had been all that had helped me survive my humiliation at Frieza's hands so many years ago. It was my strength that would keep her and the brat safe.
"Woman." I breathed the word into the air lightly, wondering what she was doing. It had been six months since I had last seen her, since I had last touched her skin. How many other nights had I lain, painfully aroused at the mere thought of her, knowing I needed to sleep to recharge my energy, yet unable to because all I could think about was her? I had battled the horrible lonliness that filled me without her presence around me and I had been fairly successful--sustained by the idea that she would be waiting for me when this was completed and that I would be the strongest warrior inthe universe. The brat's words to me so many months ago had struck a nerve, a painful nerve, reminding me of the cruel things I had said and done to her, all in an effort to drive her away from me before the damage was done, yet even then it had been too late. I had grown too used to her presence in my life, had become receptive to the idea that there was someone who I could share myself with, however small that might be. I had felt compelled to say something to him, to tell him that she was more than a one-time fling, that she was my wife and would remain so forever, yet I couldn't form the words to tell the boy how deeply I did care for his mother. In the end I had settled on telling him that she was special and had left it at that. What I shared with my woman was intense and private and not something I would or could discuss with others, not even my son. I just didn't have such capabilities in me.
I trailed my fingers over the mark she had put on me, smirking as I recalled the trip back from the planet and all we had done and said. She had claimed me completely, as if she were a Saiya-jin woman, fiercely and possessively, taking me as if she were the fiercest of Saiya-jin warriors. She had erased the horrors of my ordeal with Frieza and covered the scar that signified his capacity for cruelty, saving me from the horrors of my memories as surely as she had piloted that ship to Maordi Prime and tracked me down. I grimaced at the idea that my woman had been forced to save me yet again and I felt my fist clench against my neck in anger. Costa would die a slow, painful death for what he had dared to do to me and to my mate. It would only be a matter of time before he showed his face on this planet again and when he did, I would be waiting for him, waiting to take back my stolen pride and waiting to avenge her honor.
I awoke with a start, my mouth dry, though the pounding in my head had thankfully eased. I sat up, looking around the sleeping area, memories of my father pouring water down my throat dancing before my eyes. Had he really helped me? I sat up, hardly able to fathom that the Prince of the Saiya-jin had lowered himself to actually help me.
It was that or let you die, brat, and I didn't feel like listening to your mother howl at me for allowing that to happen. My father's voice echoed through my head.
Father... thank you. I didn't know what else to say. He had spent so much time shoving me away, I just wasn't certain how else to proceed with him. He was a walking contradiction, yelling and cursing me a failure in one breath, yet taking care of me in the next.
Don't thank me yet, boy. Get your ass out of bed and get in here to eat. After that we are going to train and you will show me exactly what you have accomplished in the six months we have been here so far.
The harsh voice made me cringe, yet I felt an elation the likes of which I had never known sweep through me at the words. He wanted to see what I had accomplished, he wanted to train with me... all of this followed by the heady rush of knowledge that he had cared for me when I had been too ill to care for myself.
Don't get too excited brat, I didn't have much of a choice and I was forced to give up valuable training time. I'll be working it off you shortly. His deep voice held the barest hint of amusement.
Kami, can you hear every thought? I wasn't certain this was a good development. He had always been able to communicate telepathically with me, but this was something he had never done before.
Only when I choose to and when you are to weak to keep up the proper barriers. It is worse that we are connected by blood. Now get your ass in here and stop asking me questions. He growled into my brain.
I swung out of bed, lightheaded but starving and staggered to the kitchen, amazed when I saw that he had prepared dinner. He smirked at my look of shock.
"How long have I been out?" I sunk into a chair across from him and reached to fill my bowl full of rice.
"Two days since I found you. How did you become so ill, boy?" His black eyes pierced into me from across the table.
I shrugged, not wanting to admit that I had not taken good care of myself. "I guess I just got wrapped up in my training father." I avoided the baleful glare that he shot my way.
"It is disgraceful that a warrior of your caliber would allow himself to get so ran-down. You know better than that brat." I watched as he reached for a second helping of food.
Had he just given me a compliment? It was hard to tell when compliments were woven into the middle of an insult. Still he was right. It was an unforgiveable mistake and one that could have cost me my life had he not been here to help me. I flushed in embarrassment. Why is it in my zeal to prove myself to him that I continually kept screwing up.
"You're right father, I won't let it happen again." I shoveled more rice into my mouth, followed by some beef. Whatever he had prepared was delicious. I was famished, having not eaten in at least three days and this was excellent.
"Slow down brat, I won't have you share Kakkarot's deplorable, third-class, eating habits. You are the son of a Prince, conduct yourself as such." He spoke sharply.
Blushing, I slowed my rate of consumption down, making sure that every bit of food ended up in my mouth and no where else.
How do you think mom and Goku are?" I spoke in an attempt to break the strained silence that hung between us.
"I could care less how Kakkarot is doing, and your mother had better be safely hidden in her shelter. I told her not to come out until I was done in here."
"Eriadne is with her, hopefully she will stay out of sight as well." I took a drink of water and watched as he snorted. He seemed rather open right now, maybe this was the time to get him to tell me things. "So you're worried about mom?"
I watched as he shrugged and looked away, feeling somewhat disappointed. So much for opening up to me. Well I could at least be satisfied that he had helped me get back on my feet and that he wanted to train with me. That was something in itself right there.
"I have learned, Trunks, not to underestimate your mother. She will do fine while I am not with her."
His voice was surprisingly soft and when I looked at him, I was surprised to see an almost wistful look cross his face. He glanced at me and for a moment, as my eyes met his, I saw the love he held for her shining in the black depths, before the mask of coolness quickly slid back into place. I spoke quickly to keep him from shutting down.
"She did remarkeably well with Doctor Gero. She told me how he took her down to his laboratory and showed her all the cyborgs he has ready for action." I shuddered at the thought of their inanimate faces staring up at her... people who had once been full of life and energy... people with souls. " He told her whether she came willinging or not he would take what he wanted from her. It shook her up."
"I will kill Gero if he gets anywhere near her. " His voice held the barest hint of danger in it.
"Thank Kami, she didn't have to be hooked up to that machine of his." I shuddered again at the memory of that machine and of the complete emptiness that is had forced me to feel. "Though I guess Costa wasn't much better." My eyes met his and I was shaken by the look of rage that flickered in them, understanding very clearly why his name could inspire fear into people who had the bad luck to be on the receiving end of his wrath. I had been right in my initial judgement of his feelings. He loved her very much and Costa was a dead man.
"Costa will die by my hand... he has taken my honor and that of your mother's. He will pay for everything he has done to her." His voice shook with barely contained emotion.
"He is a coward father. He has no understanding of honor or what it means to a warrior." I leaned forward, meeting his eyes as they pierced into me. "What he did or attempted to do to my mother is proof of that."
"He will pay boy. All my life I have strived to gain strength and to have it stolen from me in such a cowardly act..."
I watched as he struggled for words, something that was unusual for my father, and I came to an understanding just how big a deal this was for my father. My mother had given me the barest details of his life with Frieza, once... long ago and I had known without her telling me that the only thing he had really been able to hang onto was his strength and his honor as a warrior, something he took very seriously.
"You never mentioned how you overcame that drug father and got loose." I watched as he shoved back from the table and scowled. Apparently he had run out of patience.
"Enough with the questions brat. Get this place cleaned up and then find me. We train together today." He stood and I watched as he stalked out of the living area and into the vast area that surrounded the place.
I sighed and pushed back from the table. What had happened to change his mind about training alone? Was the time alone in here starting to get to him or had my being sick given him time to think about our relationship? I methodically began to clean the dishes, a small sense of pleasure beginning to sweep through me. He had actually invited me to train and whatever the reasoning behind it, I was not about to pass up the opportunity to learn under him. I had avoided him for three months, had not sought him out for any reason. I had trained very hard and my strength had grown and now was my chance to show him exactly what I could do
I watched as the brat practiced my final flash technique... the one I had worked so hard on during my three years of preparation for the artificial humans. The boy had learned it easily enough. I had not told him, but I was impressed with his stamina. We had been training for hours and he had matched me blow for blow consistently, not once backing down or taking a break. The boy was more Saiya-jin than I had given him credit for. I had taught him Final Flash with the thought that it was a technique he could use to finish the artificial humans off in his time. I had little doubt that his mother would figure out her own work and send him back. He would have his own battle to fight then.
Watching him, I realized he had come far in the six months we had been in here and he had done it all without my help. Not even his illness had set him back. I shook my head at the memory of taking care of him. What level had I sunk to that I would nurse my sick son back to health? This was her doing... and while I had sat there and watched over him I had cursed her in every way I knew possible for infecting me with her softheartedness. I had sat and stared at the boy, watched as he slipped into the throes of fever induced nightmares, listening to every memory that had affected him on some profound level and I had been moved. Moved that the brat and I shared so many similarities of a damned childhood and moved at the experiences that had forged the haunted, serious man he was fast becoming.
I had felt rage course through me as he relived his time with Gero, hooked up to that machine and tortured with his own mind... followed by a round with that bitch of a tin can who had drugged him and done things to him that no-one should have to experience. My chest had hurt as I listened to his low moans of pain and anguish, it had hurt for this boy that I barely knew, that had come from me and who carried on the royal line of Vegitasei. The feelings of paternal protectiveness had taken me by surprise. I had never thought I would have them... at least not for this boy whose pained, haunted eyes I could never quite escape. I had decided as I sat there and tried to ackwardly comfort him in his delirium that when he awoke from this and was well I would take the time to show the boy some of my moves that might just help him take out the artificial humans that haunted his own time. Perhaps then, he and his mother--my mate, could live in relative peace and safety.
I had listened to him as he called out first for his mother, then for me--the father that turned from him and beat him down at every turn and I had finally broken down, infected by the weak aura that seemed to permeate everything on this planet and held him like a small child against me, speaking to him as I had Bulma in the ship, speaking soothing words of my native language in hopes that it might relax him, even as I cursed myself for this disgusting weakness that would not leave me. After what seemed an eternity, the words had calmed him and I had left, shaken and disturbed by the feelings I had just experienced and wishing that my own father had been around, that he would have done the same thing for me. I knew he wouldn't have. He was probably laughing at me from his spot in Hell that I would stoop so low as to comfort a weak woman and a brat, but when I thought what it might have meant to my future, to my sanity to have him around to train me and to guide me--protect me even, I wanted to weep like a weak baby for all that I had missed out on and all that I would never know. Still I had made up my own mind, when I had first laid eyes on the son that Bulma had given me, that while I might not be father material, I would rather die, than ever give him over to something as monstrous as Frieza or Gero and I had meant it. He was my blood and hers and I valued hers as much as I valued my own. The boy--both versions of them--were to be protected. I could do nothing less.
Now I stood staring up at the brat as he flashed from one point to the next, throwing blasts and punches as if he had not been sick for a week. By his own admissions he had been sick even before I had found him and it made me ill that he had chosen to collapse and die then seek me out for any aid. He had clearly inherited his pride from me, not that his mother didn't have her own fair share of pride... more than she should, though this was one of the things that had attracted me to her, still, the more time I spent with him, the more of me I saw... if only that he was a much better person than I could ever claim to be. His strength of character was impressive and even in the few short hours that we had spent training together I was impressed with his determination and his dedication to perfecting these moves and showing me everything that he was capable of. He was a fine heir and son... one to take pride in, though how I would ever be able to communicate this to him was beyond me.
I watched as he lowered himself down to my level, clearing my face of any emotions that might communicate something that I was not yet ready to talk about. We had yet to deal with the issue of Juuhachigou and I was at a loss for what to say to him. I had been given far more insight into what had happened through the dreams he had been cursed with in his fevered state, yet the enormity of broaching this topic, of telling him that I had some idea of what he had been through, without going into any details that I didn't want him to know, was nearly overwhelming. I could handle any foe, welcomed any challenge, yet the idea of doing this was enough to make me want to go be ill. I had attempted to get him worked up over it when we had last sparred, trying to tell him that he needed to clear his mind and get into the mindset of killing her and nothing else, that there could be no room for compassion or sorrow over what had happened to him, only the clear-headed knowledge of what must be done. It was a message I had failed to communicate to him. I supposed it was time to try again.
"How was that father?" I watched as he powered down before me, eyes seeking mine, full of hope, yet tempered with wariness.
"Passable, though you still have much to learn. It will take time to perfect the blast. You've made a decent start, boy." This was my way of telling him he had done a fair job and I could see that he understood this as he smiled softly and nodded to me in assent.
"Trunks," I began, unsure of how to broach this subject. Should I just be blunt and come out and say something to him, or should I lead up to the subject. I shook my head. Conversation was not my strong suit, bluntness was--best to come to straight to the topic. " We need to speak of what will happen after we leave this room." I crossed my hands over my chest and stared at him intently.
"What do you mean?" He frowned slightly. "I thought we were going to go after Gero and his army."
"You will have to face Juuhachigou." I spoke bluntly, keeping my voice low and cool. "Will you be able to handle that?" I watched his face blanch as I spoke her name, saw the shadow of shame and hatred that stole over the blue eyes. I sighed, knowing I was going to have to say much more than I wanted to... still I owed this boy something, best to start here.
"If you're asking me if I can kill her, I don't think I'll have too much of a problem." He turned his face away from me.
"Boy, she took something from you that you valued highly, something that you and only you can get back. When you face her, you had better be able to deal with everything that has happened to you by her hand... or you will suffer in the long run."
"How would you know, father, what I've gone through or what I am capable of doing? That bitch shamed me and stole my honor and my pride so that I can't even look people in their faces anymore." He spun around and clenched his fists. "Oh why do I bother. You don't give a shit about me or my life or anything that's happened to me. You might care about mom, but that is it and I wonder if you would be so loyal to her if you had something better to go to... if your precious Saiya-jin empire still existed. We would be nothing but a distant memory to you wouldn't we--if that?"
"Watch your mouth, you insolent brat. It's you that knows nothing of me or my honor. If you did, then you would know better than to speak to me that way." I watched furiously as he spun around to face me, his eyes narrowed in a near mirror image of mine.
"What honor?" He spat. "Did those people on Maordi Prime want to kill you because you had honor? How many of their people did you wipe out?"
My fist collided with his jaw, knocking him back a good ten feet before he stopped flying. I was on him in an instant--too far gone to realize that he was lashing out in pain and anger. All I could see at that moment was my own red-tinted fury, all I could feel was the desire to kill him for speaking to me the way he had. I formed a ki blast in my hand while I hauled him up by his tattered shirt.
"I could kill you now, you little shit." I clenched my teeth in fury at him, meeting his defiant blue eyes with my searing black gaze. "You know nothing of me or my life... don't you ever speak to me as if you do." Bit by bit I felt the fury at his words recede until finally I threw him from me in disgust and turned my back, speaking to him harshly. He wanted my life, he was going to get it.
"Frieza humiliated me in more ways than I care to share with you, and I was left with little choice but to follow his orders--he held me in bondage, Trunks, because I was not strong enough to do defeat him. I was forced to act and do things far below my station in life, things that were shameful and despicable. I was belittled and humiliated from the time I was a child until the day he finally ended my life on Namek... not to mention numerous other things that I will never share with you. When I tell you, brat, that I know what you have gone through, I fucking mean it. I learned early in in my life that the only thing that mattered was achieveing strength... that it was the only thing that would make me important and get me out of the hell that I was sold into by my father when I was a child."
"Father... I--" I heard the note of shock in his voice and cursed.
"Shut up brat, you have nothing to say that I want to hear. When I leave this room, I will prove myself the strongest warrior in this universe. You can choose to wallow in self-pity if you wish." I stalked away, needing to put as much distance between myself and the brat as I possibly could, grateful when he did nothing to stop me. He was smart, I would give him that, just too damn emotional--like his fucking mother. Was this my punishment for all the atrocities I had commited in my life? Why did I have to be saddled with a woman that drove me to distraction and a boy who was an exact replica of his father?
I sat silently, not bothering to call out to him as I watched him walk away from me in stunned disbelief. I had never expected him to tell me what he had of his life... let alone try to give me advice, even after I had said things that were by rights unforgiveable. I had only sought to hurt him as much as he hurt me with his continual denial that I was anything special in his life. I had overreacted to his mention of Juuhachigou and in my own shame I had lashed out at him, wanting him to just forget what he knew. How could my father ever respect me if I couldn't even defend myself from a woman. Kami, she had used my body in ways that I had never thought possible and I'd actually-- NO, dammit. I would not revisit what had happened to me, he was right, I needed to accept tha it had happened and move on and find a way to reclaim what I had lost.
I watched his figure as it disappeared into the white emptiness of the horizon and I knew that I would have to apologize to him. Unlike him, I was able to admit when I had said things that should not have been said. I would give him time to cool off and then I would make my peace with him, once and for all and when I left this place, I would seek out the path that I needed to travel down to reclaim my lost sense of honor. If that meant facing Juuhachigou again and ending her miserable existence than I would do so. She had taken everything from me that was important in this time and the future and I would see her reign of terror ended before there were more casualties.
I thought about Eriadne's words in the ship.
Perhaps they could be used against Gero.
Perhaps, but then they would have to be destroyed, no matter that they might have been human at one time. As sorry as I was that Gero had done what he had to all the innocent people he had so casually experimented on, I knew that their humanity had been stripped from them in a horribly violating way and there was no turning back for any of them. Hell if I wasn't careful, that might be my own fate.
I stood and prepared to walk back to the living area. Iwas hungry and still a bit tired from my illness. I would rest tonight and seek him out later, after he had been given a chance to calm down from my insults. I owed him an apology and a word of thanks for helping me see something that I had been to self-absorbed to see. It had been easier to feel sorry for myself and that was not who I was... and I wasn't about to start now.
Thank you father. There was no answer back, no well placed insult in my mind, yet I felt a soothing sensation at having said the words, perhaps the slightest brush of his mind. He had probably not heard me, but it had felt good to say it and I hoped in time he would be able to accept them from me.
It had been twelve months now since we had first come in here. Our year was nearly up and I was ready to leave. I had achieved what I had wanted to. The artificial humans would stand little chance against me. I glanced over at my brat who lay in the bed across from me and smirked. I had made sure that the boy honored his Saiya-jin blood. He had trained mentally and physically in ways I had never thought he would be able to handle, yet he had and I was proud. He brought honor to our family line.
I had forgiven him the words that he had spoken some four months before in anger. Even then I had know he had not meant them... at least not all of them. I understood well enough, the defensiveness and denial of what he had gone through, no matter how mad I might become over it. I had spoken to him no more about Juuhachigou and he had not asked a thing about Frieza, though I knew that he wanted to. Still the boy had shown me the respect of not pushing and in return I had taught him as much as I could about being a Saiya-jin warrior and about his heritage. While we were not close by any standard of the word, our relationship had grown slowly into a mutual respect for each other as warriors. I was proud to call him my son.
I turned my head back to stare at the ceiling of the room. Now, I only had to get out of here and go face the various artificial humans that Gero had created to destroy the planet. Then I would turn my attention to Costa, who could not be far behind. I smiled maliciously at the thought of what I would do to him once I had gotten my hands on him. He would die a slow, painful death... one that I would be sure to enjoy.
Perhaps after all of this was put behind me I could turn my attention to showing Kakkarot just how weak he really was in comparison to me and defeating him as I should have when I had first come to this damn planet. That was really all I dreamed of, reclaiming all that he had stolen from me. I just had to deal with all the distractions that kept popping up along the way.
I doubted that I could kill him, it would hurt Bulma and I had no desire to cause her any more pain. That I would even care brought another dull ache to my heart, but care I did and it was too late to even try to stop my feelings for her. I loved her, and I had taken her as my mate, end of story... whether I was ever able to admit that to her completely, who knew, but I could admit it to myself while I lay silently aching for her touch. Soon, we would be reunited and I could make up for lost time... after the artificial humans were destroyed. Perhaps I would take her back to that little island where I had stayed, someplace where we would be alone and where I could make love to her from morning till night. She should like that, insatiable wench. I wasn't sure which one of lusted after the other more, all I knew is that when we were together, time stopped and there was nothing but her and the heady rush of my raging blood as I took her over and over again and as our bodies melded into one.
I needed to end this line of thinking or I would be back in the shower again and right now I had absolutely no desire to stand under a stream of cold water. Perhaps I should train some more? One could never train enough or be too prepared for whatever was next. I had achieved what I wanted to in coming in here, but I knew I was capable of more. I swung my legs out of bed and slipped silently out into the vast, barren, wasteland. I supposed I would start with some push-ups and then move to practicing my blasts.
My head jerked up at the sound of his voice. I hadn't even heard him approach... an inexcusable lapse on my part. "What do you want, Trunks?"
"Are you going to train some more?" His voice was low and easy.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I had thought to, now go back to bed. I wouldn't want you getting sick again." I smirked at the look of irritation that flashed across his face--just like his mother--before it turned to a look of smug surety.
"Don't worry about my health father, perhaps you should look after your own... would you care to spar?"
I smirked again at the insolent tone and smart-ass words that had come from the boys's mouth. Yes, so much like his mother and father. I felt an enormous amount of pride in that one moment at what I had managed to create with Bulma... and gratitude that I had been able to see all the traits that we both shared rolled into one in this boy who stood before me, the epitome of the Prince that I might have been if Frieza had not gotten his hands on me--though without the soft feelings. I would never have had the soft human feelings.
I would have found her though, at some point. Bulma had been destined for me and I would have found her and this brat would have existed, though in a place far different from where he was now. What would he have been like on Vegitasei? What would it have been like to raise him up as the heir to the Saiya-jin throne? I would never know, but I could at least spar with him and beat his ass into the ground for his impudence.
"Bring it on boy." I growled through my teeth, preparing myself for the fight to come.
"Oh I will father, I will."
I stood waiting for the doors to swing open, our year finished, the true test of what we had accomplished about to come. I glanced back at the man who stood proudly behind me, remembering the last spar we had entered into just a few short days ago. It had been brutal and it had left us both in serious need of a senzu bean, something I knew father despised, though he would take them if forced to. I hope mom had some on her, though father hadn't seemed to worried about it. He only wanted a change of clothes. I needed a change myself and a haircut, though I had to admit, I kind of liked this long hair that I had managed to grow. I smirked at the memory of my father's disgusted face and his words to me.
The result of the human blood that pollutes your blood, a full-blooded Saiya-jin need not worry about cutting his hair.
I had smiled in reply, knowing that he didn't really mind the human blood that ran through my veins. When it came to my mother, I thought, my father didn't mind too terribly much of anything, though he would never admit that to me. I had only my few glimpses of them together and the things that I had seen and heard from him. It was enough to tell me that he cared for her and that she would be safe and reasonably happy... at least as happy as one could possibly be with my father as a husband. He would be there for his son, my younger version, as well. I knew that now. Besides the fact that he cared for my mother, he had honor and pride in who he was and what he came from and that pride and honor would never have allowed him to desert his son and leave him to be raised by the weak humans he thought so little of. Not to mention that I think my mother had wrapped him around her finger the minute he stepped off his ship and back onto this planet. He had been hers then, and I think he'd known it... he'd just been too damn obstinate to admit it. He wouldn't be running from her again, of that I was sure.
I blushed as I recalled a night not too long ago that he had called her name in his sleep. I had been shocked to hear my father in such a moment of obvious weakness, but yet I reminded myself--in this time he was still a very young man, just thirty and so was my mother and there had to be more to him then endless fighting and battles. I knew that being a warrior comprised who he was in life but that hardly kept you warm at night and I didn't care what he said, blood flowed through his veins and pumped through his heart and he could deny it until the moon returned to Chikyuu, but that made himjust as susceptible to weak human emotions as the rest of us.
As I watched the doors swing slowly open and prepared to step out, I thought back to all that I had learned in this place and besides the obvious neccesity of ascending and learning more battle moves, the most important thing I learned, to me, is that my father is everything a true warrior is supposed to be and there is no-one that he needs to prove anything to, for he stands head and shoulders among the rest in pride and honor and strength--he only needs to realize that for himself.
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