Disclaimer: Don’t sue me because I don’t have any money. I’m not writing this for profit. I’m only doing this because I’m a nut that’s seriously addicted to a cartoon.
Here’s the story…
Chapter 6- Secrets
Goku blocked the onslaught of laser fire with his aura and fired off attack after attack trying desperately to keep the machine busy. Although he was honed in on the battle he allowed his mind to reach out to his friend and his son. He was pained to find Gohan's ki slipping away. He fought back his fear and frustration at not being able to reach him. He looked over at Piccolo knowing that he must sense it too. Although he did not quite understand the bond that had arisen between his son and the Namek he knew that his grief must closely match his own.
He could feel the fight as a weakened Krillan tried to strengthen Gohan's Ki with his own. He knew his friend would do his best to keep his son alive but he felt that he should be the one with Gohan now and his anger rose against the machine that was keeping him from protecting his boy.
Goku powered-up, with a shout, until he felt the energy of his Ki coursing through his body. "KIAO-KEN ATTACK!" He shouted as he barreled towards the machine.
"GOKU!" Piccolo shouted in alarm as he saw his friend hurtling toward the probe.
Goku blocked out Piccolo's warning. His instinct told him that this was the best attack against the probe and his instincts in battle had never failed him. When Goku reached the probe he leaped into the air, tucking his legs into his chest, flipping up over the probe's domed top. When Goku opened up from the tuck he kicked both his legs downward toward the vulnerable top of the machine. When he hit the probe, driving it into the ground he barely felt a shock. As he had hoped, he already had so much energy coursing through his body a little more made little difference. He rose into the air above the felled probe and pulled his hands to the side gathering all the energy he could into them. "KAMEHAMEHA!" he shouted throwing the energy ball at the machine.
Goku struggled to steady himself against the wind created by the explosion and shielded his eyes. When the smoke cleared he looked down to find the probe still lying there only in a deeper crater. At first he thought it was finished and then it began to move. Although it was seriously damaged it still moved.
"No Way!" Goku shouted in disbelief.
"WATCH OUT!" Goku heard Krillan call and he looked up in time see the cylinder begin to topple over toward him.
Bulma slowly became aware of the distant sounds of a battle and a fiery pain burning in her right arm. As her senses slowly returned she opened her eyes and found herself in a cave. Suddenly she remembered how she got there and why she ended up in the cave. She slowly propped herself up with her left arm and rolled over. Her whole body seemed to ache with every movement.
"Oh " she thought to herself as she sat up "I wonder how long I was out. I wonder how Vegeta is doing against that mechanical monster?" She looked out toward the entrance to the cave and listened to the sound of laser fire and explosions. "I know he said not to come out until he said it was alright but it won't hurt to peek, just to see how he is."
Using the help of the cave wall and her one good arm she managed to get to her feet. Slowly she made her way toward the mouth of the cave. Upon reaching it she stood off to the side and cautiously looked around the corner. Vegeta stood in the middle of the canyon with his back to her shielding himself from the probe's volley with the fiery aura of his Ki. He looked ragged and somewhat charred. His hair seemed to be standing even more on end, if that was possible, but he determinedly stood his ground against his foe. She couldn't help but admire his courage.
His head turned to the left and Bulma turned her head to see what he was looking at. There was a boulder hanging precariously on the edge of one of the surrounding cliffs. Vegeta sent several shots into the cliff just below it and the boulder began to totter. She watched as the large boulder fell down on top of the probe knocking it over and smashing it into one of the canyon walls with a bang. She watched in fascination as the battered machine tried to no avail to dislodge itself.
She turned her attention back to Vegeta when she heard him speak. "And now we finish this!" he yelled. She saw all his muscles tense and watched as his ki grew in intensity. Small debris and rocks began rising from the canyon floor around him.
Suddenly the ground shook with a tremendous force. She braced herself by hanging on to the lip of the cave with both hands although the pain, which shot-up her right arm, was almost intolerable. She winced as the small rocks, dislodged from the ceiling by the shaking, hit her in the head. Despite pain and discomfort she could not take her eyes off of the scene which was unfolding in front of her.
Vegeta's Ki was now a fiery red and it was difficult to see the Saiyajin in the middle of it as he powered-up. Suddenly he screamed a mighty battle cry and he was enveloped in a golden light so bright she was forced to look away. The ground had stopped shaking and she looked up and caught her breath in astonishment to see a golden-haired figure standing where Vegeta had stood only seconds before.
"Is that still Vegeta?" she wondered. The sound of a massive explosion in the distance arrested her attention for a moment but she couldn't see anything over the canyon wall. She saw movement in the corner of her eye and turned once more to the scene before her.
The figure, still enveloped in a golden glow, shot straight up in the air, hovered over the top of the trapped probe and turned so that it was facing her.
"GATLIC GUN!" he shouted with an unmistakable lop-sided grin on his face aiming a concentrated energy beam at the probe.
"It really is Vegeta!" she said out loud in amazement.
She watched as the beam hit the probe and it began to glow first red-hot and then white. With one last cry he intensified the beam and the probe, and the boulder that had trapped it, exploded into a million tiny pieces filling the air with dust and falling shards of metal.
She coughed and ducked back inside of the cave and waited for the cloud to clear. She looked out again to see the golden version of Vegeta descend towards a large crater in the earth, which stood where the probe had been a moment before. The golden haired Vegeta landed on the ground, with his back to her. In an instant the golden transformation melted away leaving the normal Vegeta standing there once again. Her astonishment was replaced with concern as he sunk to his knees breathing heavily.
Goku barely had enough time to dodge the cylinder as it fell. The cylinder came down onto the probe crushing it beneath its massive weight. Goku hung in the air above the unbelievable sight with a sense of deep satisfaction.
"NO!" Krillan wailed snapping everyone back into reality.
With a sick feeling in his heart Goku rushed to his son who's Ki was almost gone.
Krillan looked up at Goku with tears in his eyes "I'm sorry I'm loosing him. He's just not fighting back and I'm not strong enough to do it on my own."
Goku placed one hand on his son's chest and one on his head. His aura began to glow and envelope father and son as Goku reached out for Gohan's ki with every bit of strength he had. When he at last found it he latched on to it.
"Gohan" he said silently reaching for his boy's mind with his own "Come on son you have to fight." The Saiyajin warrior felt the small boy's ki begin to slip away. "Gohan" Goku shouted telepathically "you can't give up. I'm here and I won't let you go but you have to let me pull you back. You have to fight son. I need you."
As the two helpless spectators looked on Goku's face became contorted with the desperate struggle as he tried to save his boy's life.
"I wish there was something we could do" Krillan said in almost a whisper.
"Maybe there is," said Piccolo kneeling down beside his pupil "we can give him the energy of our Kis as well." With that he placed his hand on Gohan's chest as well.
Krillan smiled and placed his hand on his young friend and added his strength. The glow around the boy increased in intensity with the added Ki of his friends.
Goku suddenly became aware of the Ki's of his two friends pouring into his son's unconscious body. "You see Gohan" Goku pleaded "We all need you and we won't let you go without a fight. Fight with us Gohan." At last he felt the tug of Gohan's ki as it reached out for the others.
"That's it son" Goku encouraged him "grab hold of us and we'll bring you back!" He felt the connection of the converging Ki's at last and Gohan's began growing in intensity until it stabilized.
Goku and his two friends opened their eyes and looked at Gohan as he began to stir. His eyes slowly fluttered open and he looked up at the three warriors in confusion. "Daddy? Krillan? Mr. Piccolo? What happened?"
"We almost lost you kiddo," Krillan said removing his hand "but your dad brought you back."
"I couldn't of done it without your help or Piccolo's, Krillan" he said returning his son's weak smile with his own happy grin.
BANG! An explosion rocked the ground. Goku instinctively bent over his son and raised his aura like a protective shield around them both. Krillan was thrown a ways before he found the strength to raise his aura to protect himself. Piccolo whose reaction was the quickest calmly surveyed the surrounding chaos amid his own protective aura.
When it ended they all turned to look behind themselves and found that the cylindrical craft and the probe it had pinned to the ground were no more.
"It must have had a self destruct" Piccolo commented absently.
Goku steadied Gohan as he sat up and Krillan weakly struggled to his feet. Just then the hair on Goku's neck stood on end as he suddenly felt an immense surge of power. The others felt it too and looked into the direction of the northeast in time to see a tremendous mushroom cloud rise into the air. Almost as quickly as the cloud vanished the power vanished as well.
"What or who was that?" Krillan asked.
"I don't know" Piccolo said, "the Ki was massive but it wasn't around long enough for me to get the sense of it."
Goku was surprised that the others didn't seem to know the source of the power. It was all to clear to him that the source was Vegeta. "I've never felt anything like it" he thought to himself " I wonder if I should tell the others?" He looked down at his son who had an even more confused look on his face.
"Dad" Gohan said, "It was almost like when you fought Freiza and you…"
"Maybe it is Gohan" Goku interrupted before his son could finish "but what's important right now is getting you and Krillan to the hospital and to see if Bulma and Vegeta need any help." The realization of what his son was saying had dawned on him and he thought it best not to reveal his suspicions. After all the idea that kind of power in Vegeta's hands made him nervous even though his instincts told him that he could now trust the Saiyajin Prince. He didn't want the others to worry about something that he wasn't even certain of himself.
"I think I can manage to fly us both to the hospital" Krillan said to his Saiyajin friend "you and Piccolo can go help Bulma."
"I think I can handle it myself guys" Goku said "besides I think you and Gohan both need help more than Bulma and Vegeta do. I don't sense a battle going on right now." Goku stood up. "Piccolo, would you mind taking them?"
"No problem" the Namek said with a grin picking up Gohan under one arm and a protesting Krillan under the other. "Stop fussing" Piccolo snapped at the monk "you and I both know you're in no shape to fly after you gave your last bit of energy to Gohan."
Goku watched as Piccolo took off with a passenger under each arm and then he took off towards the Northeast.
Vegeta breathed in deeply to gather himself. The power was so massive and the rage so great that it was difficult to control and yet he had managed to maintain perfect control for long enough to destroy the probe and it pleased him. He still felt the exhilaration that the fighting had brought him and savored the pain from his injuries. It had been a good battle against a difficult opponent. Suddenly he felt a light touch on his shoulder and he turned to see Bulma standing behind him.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
"I thought I told you to stay in there until I told you to come out woman" he snapped at her rising to his feet. He hated being seen in a moment of weakness by anyone and the fact that it was Bulma who had seen him angered him still more for some reason.
"Well excuse me vegetable head" Bulma replied tersely "but after I saw you nearly collapse after blowing up the probe I was a little concerned about you. I have no idea what possessed me to care."
Vegeta's mind was torn for the moment between the surprises that Bulma would care that he might be hurt and that she had seen him destroy the probe. The later thought won out. "How much did you see?" He questioned.
"Why do you care?" Bulma snapped back.
"That is none of your business" he began feeling the anger rise. "Now tell me what you saw!"
"If it's none of my business why you want to know then what I saw is none of your business!" she countered.
"Listen woman..." he said grabbing her arm and was cut short by her cry of agony. He let go and she collapsed to the ground in tears clutching her arm. He was pained and confused. He hadn't grabbed her that hard and yet the fact he had terribly hurt her was perfectly clear.
"I didn't mean to hurt you," he said kneeling down beside her "I didn't think I grabbed you that hard."
It was difficult for Bulma to think straight or even talk over the pain but she could see he really meant what he said by looking into his eyes. "You didn't" she assured him "I think my arm's broken. I'm not really sure how it happened."
"We must get it looked after," he said gently helping her up being careful to avoid the injured arm. He was suddenly aware of feeling the need to protect her once again. The same feeling that had driven him to risk his life in her behalf when he saw her cowering before the probe not long before. He didn't understand why this stupid earth woman made him feel that way but he couldn't bring himself to step away from her either.
Bulma began to feel guilty about egging him into an argument. After all, even though Vegeta had been a bit short with her he had just saved her life. "I saw you change if that's what you wanted to know," she said quietly.
Vegeta looked at her face and saw her downcast eyes and realized the disclosure had been her way of apologizing. For what he wasn't exactly sure but, he did think he owed her an explanation because he had hurt her arm. "Don't tell anyone," he said, "I don't want anyone to know I can go Super Saiyajin."
"Super Saiyajin" she thought to herself looking up and into his face once again "that's what everyone said Goku became to defeat Freeiza. If he's that powerful why wouldn't he want anyone to know?" Bulma was about to ask him why when she thought better of it. He had a right to keep secret whatever he chose to. She had seen a different side of him that day. A side that seemed to care about her enough to risk exposing a secret he wanted to hide from everyone to save her life.
At first he was a bit disturbed by her searching gaze as she looked into his eyes but then she smiled at him and he was struck by her beauty once again. She was a bit ragged and dishelved from her ordeal but she was beautiful nonetheless.
Bulma was pleased as he returned her smile with his cock-eyed smirk but then something in the way he was looking back at her made her blush and turn away. "I promise I won't say anything," she said softly breaking the silence that had fallen between them.
Vegeta was aware of a strange feeling of satisfaction when he saw her cheeks color and turn away and a vague memory stirred in the back of his mind. It was that Yamcha said
something about Bulma finding him attractive and that pleased him even more. Vegeta's saiyajin senses became acutely aware of her smell and how close they were standing. He began to feel a strange desire to be even closer to her that he could not explain. If he still had a tail it would have been swinging back a forth.
Bulma was afraid to look at him again. She was keenly aware that he was still looking at her in the same way and she realized this wasn't the first time he had looked at her that way. She then vaguely remembered Yamacha saying that Vegeta was always "checking her out". "No that can't be right" she thought, "He thinks I'm ugly. He's always telling me that he does. It must be my imagination." Bolstered with this new thought she looked up again prepared to ask him to take her to the hospital but she suddenly found herself at a loss for words when she was met with the same look in his coal-black eyes. She was forced to admit that it definitely was not her imagination and she kind of liked the idea that he thought she was pretty.
When she looked up again Vegeta couldn't help but gaze deeply into her beautiful blue eyes. He was overwhelmed with a sudden impulse, leaned forward and kissed her. At first Bulma stiffened in surprise but soon she found herself leaning into the kiss as well and she couldn't believe how wonderful it made her feel.
All at once the reality of the emotions he was feeling hit Vegeta and he pulled away from her and looked down at the ground. "What in the hell did I think I was doing?" he thought to himself in disgust. "How could I allow myself to be weak enough to give into such a sickenly sentimental emotion? How could this pathetic human make me feel that way? I am Prince of the Saiyajin. I need no one and want nothing but to fulfill my destiny as the most powerful being in the universe. This was a mistake that cannot and will not ever be repeated."
Bulma watched Vegeta in confusion as he stared down at the ground and his muscles slowly tensed. When he looked up at her his expression was cold and she couldn't help but feel he was angry with her. She was trying to understand what had just happened but it had all transpired so quickly that it made her head spin. Try as she might she wasn't sure what she should think or feel.
Vegeta felt the tug of a familiar ki approaching. "Kakorot is coming," he said looking off into the distance "he will take care of you." With that he took two steps to the side and began to rise into the sky. Bulma was at a loss for words as she watched him go.
When Goku arrived he saw Bulma staring into the sky at a figure that's retreating ki told him was the Saiyajin Prince. He set down next to his friend unnoticed. "Hey Bulma" he said startling her "are you okay?"
"Goku I..." Bulma began not sure of what to say, "I guess I'm alright. I've been better."
Goku smiled warmly at her. He could see something had upset her but he had never been very good at saying the right thing to people without putting his foot in his mouth so he decided not to pursue the subject.
"I could sense a battle going on over here" he said, "You didn't happen to have a run in with a machine of some sort?"
"Yes" she said with a melancholy tone in her voice "it was a probe of some kind."
"I think we had a run in with one too" said Goku walking off toward the crater "Wow there's hardly anything left of it" he commented looking down into the hole. "Did Vegeta do this?" he asked looking back over his shoulder at Bulma.
Bulma didn't hear him. She was too absorbed in her own thoughts. "He kissed me" she thought, "Vegeta kissed me and I actually liked it. I didn't want it to end, but it did end. It ended with him running away. Why should I care that he ran away? I mean I didn't want him to kiss me. I've never thought about him like that…at least not seriously. I do care about him but not like that…at least I don't think I do. Oh Kami, I can't believe this is happening to me!"
Goku was concerned that Bulma seemed to have drifted away. Since calling her name didn't seem to work he came over and placed his hand on her arm to give it a gentle shake. To his surprise she screamed.
"Do you Saiyajins have some kind of built in radar that tells you where it will hurt someone the most to touch them! Didn't you notice I was holding it!" Bulma screamed doubled over in pain. She looked up to see the confused and upset expression on Goku's face and felt ashamed. "I'm sorry Goku" Bulma said feeling the tears pool up in her eyes "I guess I'm not in a very good mood. I haven't had a very good day."
"Maybe I should take you to get your arm looked at" Goku said in concern "it might be broken or something."
"You won't get any arguments from me" Bulma said attempting a small smile.
Goku carefully lifted her up into his arms and they flew to the hospital, the silence only broken by Bulma's quiet tears.
* * * * *
Was that the end of the mechanical menace or is there more in store for our heroes? What will Bulma’s reaction to Vegeta’s kiss be once the shock wears off? Answers to these questions and the return of Mirai Trunks in the next installment of the Probe Saga…
Chapter 7: Mysterious Objects