We Were Angels - Part Six
Upon getting back to his depressingly cramped apartment, Kakarot slammed the door shut with enough force to cause the wood to splinter slightly.
Furious at himself for not being able to defend himself and looking weak in the eyes of Vegeta, he sank to the well-worn couch, letting the rough material grate against his marred skin.
“First day as a human and you’re all ready a wreck!”
“Who’s there?” Kakarot asked as he whipped his head around to look for the intruder. Materializing out of the shadows, a tall figure with hair to their knees stepped forward.
“Raditz! I should have known!” The exposed angel laughed heartily in answer.
“So, what’s it like to be human?” he asked, the curiosity in his eyes belying his uninterested tone of voice.
“Awful! It hurts and I feel so weak!” Kakarot said glumly.
“You are weak. I bet I could beat you in an arm wrestling match now!”
“Very funny, Raditz.” With a smirk, Raditz walked slowly around the small room examining its contents. He made several snide comments about the worn furniture and the cream colored walls with smudges about the height of a small child.
“Some place you have here, Kakarot. I think even cherubs have better homes than this.”
“It’s not like I picked it! It could have been worse,” said Kakarot defensively.
“Hai, but it could have been better too.” Kakarot tried to smack the unruly angel but, only managed to groan from the pain his bruised muscles caused as they tried to move his shoulder. “Let me take care of those wounds for you,” offered Raditz. Kakarot rolled his eyes before consenting to the healing touch. Using the arm of the couch, he lowered himself to his knees, before fully laying on his stomach on the nearly flattened carpet that smelled suspiciously like milk. Raditz kneeled over him and a warm glow began to emanate from his hands as he began to rub them leisurely over Kakarot’s body in small circular motions. The wounds seemed to melt away under Raditz’s careful ministrations and Kakarot let out a grateful sigh of relief as the pain left his body and his muscles relaxed.
“Arigato, Raditz, I feel great now,” he sighed contentedly. Raditz smirked as he rose from the floor to sit back on the couch, sinking in the pliable cushions.
“Not even Doctor Yamcha could boast such recovery time!” Kakarot groaned as he felt the much needed happiness starting to sap from his body.
“Not another Doctor Yamcha story, spare me the horrors!” he said as memories of surgery tales that involved much bloodshed and needles came to mind.
“Who do you think fixes up your Vegeta every time he gets in trouble? Hmm?” Raditz asked. Kakarot shot off the floor and grabbed Raditz by his course brown robes.
“Vegeta! Why didn’t you tell me before!?”
“I didn’t think it was a big deal, but you’re about to have a coronary over it!” Kakarot released him shakily and took a deep breath.
“Gomen, I don’t know why I got so upset,” he said as he raked his fingers through his stiff black hair. “Ever since I’ve gotten here, it’s been like someone else was in my mind.” He looked up to see the blank stare on Raditz’s face. Ignoring the expected response he continued on. “I know it sounds crazy, but I do get these thoughts sometimes, that I wouldn’t normally think.”
“Thoughts like what?” asked Raditz with concern. He leaned forward to place his hand on Kakarot’s bare shoulder. He could feel the muscles twitch slightly from the contact, but did not remove his hand.
“When I woke up in Vegeta’s room, I was confused at first, until I saw him. I don’t know what it was, but I had this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach, like it was doing some kind of flip-flop. Almost like when you’re waiting for your guardian critique and you’re not sure if you are excited or scared.”
“What do you mean?”
“It was like when I first saw him in the hospital, when he was curled inside his fuzzy little blanket like a tiny angel without wings. I looked at him in his house today and I didn’t see the bad in him anymore, it was like I was meeting him for the first time again, only this time he could see me and talk to me. He looked in my eyes and it was so different from just being an invisible person to him, only wishing he could see me.”
“That’s pretty intense, Kakarot. I guess because you’re human now, ne?”
“I guess,” he answered quietly as he looked at the floor without seeing anything but Vegeta’s eyes looking back at him. Raditz, unsure how to respond to his friend’s dramatic experience, shifted uncomfortably in his seat. The rustle of material against material brought Kakarot back from his daydreaming. “Gomen, guess I got a little carried away.”
“Well, I have to go now. Ja ne, Kakarot.”
“Ja ne, Raditz.” The broad-shouldered angel quickly dissolved into nothingness as he crossed realms and was gone from sight. Too tired and relaxed to walk to his empty bedroom, Kakarot pulled himself onto the couch. Grabbing one of the mismatched pillows to rest his head on, he drifted to sleep to dream of babies and angels.
The next morning, Kakarot awoke feeling groggy and stiff. His muscles, no longer relaxed from Raditz’s touch, protested as he stretched them over his head, pulling them until he was sure they would tear if he went on any longer. The bones in his neck and back popped noisily as he stood and twisted his body to rid itself of ache. His stomach rumbled loudly in its demand for substance, and he hungrily made his way to the kitchen to fill it.
Opening the stained wood cabinets, he was sorely disappointed to find an only a half-filled box with a large, black skull and crossbones painted on it.
Sniffing the box’s contents warily, he decided that the acrid smell and garish picture meant it was not something to eat. The small outline of a rat on the back of the box further confirmed his suspicions. Opening the refrigerator, the only thing inside was a pitiful moth desperately clinging to life by feeding off the cardboard on a baking soda box.
Groaning, he captured the tiny white moth in his large hands and released him out the streaked kitchen window. It seemed as though the angels were not being kind to him in this world and he hesitantly picked up the blue bank card that was lying inconspicuously on the cream-colored countertop that had several large scratches on it.
He made his way down the dimly lit metal stairs, unconsciously grinding his teeth at the faint buzz of the overhead florescent lights. In the warm and open lobby, he found the manager sitting at the large, oak, front desk littered with papers.
“You must be Kakarot, right?” asked the large man with Mohawk-like hair.
“Hai. Can you show me how to use this? I’m a little new around here and I’m really hungry,” Kakarot said as he displayed the credit card for the man’s inspection.
“Sure, why don’t you change clothes first though, you really stick out in those long robes,” suggested the manager.
“Demo, these are my only clothes,” said Kakarot as he glanced at his flowing orange toga-like outfit.
“Oh, maybe you can buy some after we go to the bank. My son can take over here for a while. I’ll be right back,” he said as he went to fetch his son. Returning a few minutes later with a boy who looked to be around sixteen, he led Kakarot outside, leaving his son watching at the desk. “By the way, my name’s Toma.”
Toma led Kakarot through the busy streets crowded with people hurrying to get to one place or another, to the local bank. There he showed Kakarot how to use the ATM and they withdrew one hundred thousand yen for Kakarot to start his new life with.
From the bank they traveled to a department store, where Kakarot brought several pairs of blue jeans, some plain shirts, a jacket and a pair of sturdy black leather boots. Not wanting to have the hassle of carrying all his bags around, he also bought an orange backpack to keep his clothes in until he got back to his home.
“Thanks for your time, Toma. Could you show me a place to eat?” By this time, Kakarot felt like he would faint if he didn’t eat something soon, his stomach was beginning to think his throat had been sliced open.
“Sure. There’s a little restaurant the next street over, you’ll get served fast. It’s called the Dragon’s Lair.”
“Arigato, Toma! Ja ne!” Kakarot waved as he walked off as fast as he could without running. As he came closer, he could smell the food cooking and was practically drooling on his new black t-shirt. The thought of food made his belly nearly leap for joy. He shifted the bag on his shoulder as he arrived in front of a building of medium size. A large green dragon had been painted over the two adjacent glass doors, but it seemed that years of wear were catching up with it. The windows were covered in blinds, making it hard to see in, but he could tell it was moderately crowded inside.
He pushed one of the doors open and it hit a hanging bell, which rang flatly to announce his arrival. He looked around the diner at the other people huddled in booths or sitting at the counter. The muted lighting and hushed clamor, along with the faded pictures of mythical dragons hanging on the pale green walls, gave the place a surreal atmosphere.
Smiling cagily, Kakarot took an empty seat at the laminated counter and put his bag down on the ground next to his feet. A blonde woman, who looked to be in her twenties, wearing bright-blue eye shadow and gaudy red lipstick, came to take his order.
“What will you have, cutie?” she asked in a sultry tone as she winked one of her glassy brown eyes at him. Blushing profusely, Kakarot hurriedly glanced at the paper menu in front of him and ordered the first thing he could focus on, without really reading the description of it.
As the waitress disappeared to relay his order to the cook, Kakarot took the time to study the grease smeared menu and find what he had ordered. ‘The number three special: Chili-burger with French fries. What the hell is that? But, at this point in time, almost anything sounds good. Almost.’
A few tense moments after successfully avoiding a rambling man beside him, Kakarot received his food. He stared at the concoction of food on his plate in wonder.
“Ano, Miss? What is this again?” he asked timidly.
“Looks like a chili-burger and fries to me,” she said flatly.
“Oh.” He studied the pile of meat sitting atop a bun, before covering it with the other half of the bun and slowly picking it up and taking a cautious bite. Chewing unhurriedly, his eyes lit up and he swallowed it down.
“Yum! That’s pretty good!” he exclaimed before taking another bite, this one larger than the first. The waitress, who had stuck around to witness his verdict, turned to call towards the back kitchen.
“Oi, Vegeta! I think we finally found someone who likes your chili-burgers!” Kakarot choked on the bite he had just taken. ‘Did she just say “Vegeta”?’ In answer to his question, and fears, a gruff and oh-so-familiar voice answered back.
“Very funny, onna.” By this time, Kakarot was pretty sure he’d be back in heaven soon, only not in the way he wanted to be. The waitress finally noticed his choking and blue face and quickly handed him a glass of water to drink.
“I take it back, I think you killed him,” she called to Vegeta. Taking personal offense, Vegeta came out of the kitchen to see the schmuck who dared to choke on _his_ food. He pushed open the kitchen door only to stop abruptly at the sight that met his eyes. There _he_ was. Of all the people who could have wandered in, it was _him_. The tall, muscular, handsome man he had helped yesterday. Looking at the man sitting there, gulping down water in such a way that made his adam’s apple bob up and down in his throat, Vegeta suddenly felt as though the room had gotten a little hotter. His traitorous eyes swept over the lightly bronzed-colored perfection in front of him, from the wide, innocent eyes to the way his t-shirt accented his muscles very nicely. Sensing something wrong with the picture, besides the fact the man was clothed, he noticed there were no marks or scars on his skin. ‘He left my house yesterday covered in bruises and now, there’s not a scratch on him!’
Kakarot stared back at the lean figure wearing a plain white t-shirt covered by a stained apron standing in the doorway, still holding a spatula dripping grease onto the tiled floor. Swallowing the water, he managed to stop choking and signal that he was okay. Just that moment, a slim figure dresses in pleated khaki pants and a button-up shirt waked in.
His face was obscured by the dark sunglasses he was wearing, but Kakarot could make out two scars on his face, one running over his right eye and the other on his left cheek. He sat down on a stool beside Kakarot before removing his sunglasses to look pointedly at Vegeta.
“You know, Vegeta, you shouldn’t be at work, you should be at home resting,” he said in a voice that brooked no arguments.
“Hai, I heard this speech already,” the cook said crossly.
“Vegeta…,” the man said warningly. Vegeta merely snorted. Kakarot eyed this newcomer guardedly, for some reason he couldn’t discern, he did not like this man. Who was he and where had Kakarot seen him before? And why was he acting so familiar towards Vegeta?
“Excuse us, Marie, Vegeta’s coming home. Doctor’s orders,” he said as he flashed a smile at the waitress, who responded with a giggle. The wheels in Kakarot’s head began to turn slowly before peeling out at breakneck speed. ‘Doctor’s orders?’
He flashed back to last night, ‘who do you think fixes your Vegeta every time he gets in trouble?’ Yamcha! This man must be Yamcha! Kakarot now began to choke on the water he was drinking. Dr. Yamcha looked at him in concern.
“Are you all right, buddy?” he asked as he patted Kakarot lightly on the back.
Seeing that he was no longer the center of attention, Vegeta slipped into the kitchen to hang his apron on a wooden peg and grabbed his light jacket, which was hanging beside it. He reemerged from the back and walked calmly out the door, leaving Yamcha scrambling to catch up.
Kakarot finished the rest of his meal quickly, not really tasting the food in his haste to be done. He looked at his ticket and threw some bills on the counter top, hoping it would be enough, before grabbing his backpack and leaving the restaurant. He stepped into the cool air and tried to remember the way to his home.
As he walked along, he thought about the recent happenings. ‘Why is Vegeta hanging out with Yamcha? Why didn’t I know anything about this?’
“I bet Raditz is in Heaven laughing right now,” Kakarot grumbled as he kicked an aluminum can on the gray sidewalk out of his path.
“He’s not in Heaven, but he’s laughing!” Kakarot jumped in shock at the sudden appearance of the baritone voice.
“Stop popping up like that! You know I can’t sense you anymore! And what are you doing following me? Shouldn’t you be watching _Yamcha_,” he asked irritably.
“I’m watching him. But it’s more fun seeing you so scared,” Raditz laughed. Suddenly, Kakarot narrowed his eyes at the chuckling angel.
“You knew about this all along, didn’t you!?” he asked accusingly, as he pushed Raditz into a dank, deserted alley.
“Knew about what?”
“_Vegeta and Yamcha_, kisama!” he spat out between clenched teeth.
“Hai, and you would have too if you actually paid _any_ attention!” Raditz retorted crossly.
“Why didn’t you tell me?!”
“It wasn’t my job. It was yours.”
“How long?” Kakarot snarled.
“I’d say about six months now.”
“NANI? Six months and I never noticed!?”
“Guess there’s a lot you don’t know about Vegeta, ne?” asked Raditz sarcastically.
“I guess,” said Kakarot in a daze. Six months!? Vegeta and Yamcha have been together six months? And I never knew? How could I have missed something like that?’ The two walked in silence back to Kakarot’s apartment. There, Raditz left Kakarot to wonder if he really was better than Vegeta.
Part Seven |