Chapter 2: Misunderstanding
The rain poured moderately down upon him and the forest he was in. Even with the change in weather he didn't let it interfere with his training. Actually, he invited the change from his normal routine. His clothing was completely soaked and his hair dripped and sagged though it didn't completely fall back. His mind drifted from thought to thought, and he barely tried to punch and kick his imaginary foe. After all, imaginary enemies couldn't hit back, you could only pretend. 'It's just not the same without another person,' Goku solemnly thought, doing a few back flips, 'I wonder what Vegeta's up to. Maybe we could spar so I won't get out of shape. He likes the challenge anyway.' His fists punched at the air though his body stayed almost completely still. He succeeded in dealing a series of high kicks. The rain began to let up slightly, the darkness lifting a bit but not enough to see properly without lightning. 'C'mon Goku, just focus,' the Saijin told himself, gathering his breath and leaping into the air. He spun around quickly, jutting his leg out in a kicking motion. But the ground was his only rival and he slid several feet before he stopped. The only achievement was that mud was smeared across his orange pants. 'It's hopeless,' he sighed to himself, bowing his head and frowning, 'I need the challenge. I need Vegeta.' Goku sat down on the nearest patch of grass, one leg bent while the other was lazily stretched out. He held his arms around the bent knee, leaning backwards slightly and thinking. 'Vegeta...wow. It's funny to see how far we've come along,' he thought, looking up at the clouds in the sky, watching the lightning flash and travel every once in awhile, 'He used to want to kill me. Now he doesn't seem to care. Man...I can remember the day he died.' The Saijins features softened, and a curt frown appeared on his face.
'I've never seen him like that again..the way he looked after Freiza had shot him, the beam going straight through his chest..it probably hit his heart, or some part of it. He cried that day..' Goku remembered the scene clearly in his mind. Vegeta had been so broken and beaten. Blood was splattered and splotched across his face, even a a trail of the crimson liquid had been escaping out of the corner of his mouth, oozing down the side of his face and over his ear. Vegeta had reached out to him, tears flowing and following the stream of blood, as he told him his dying wish that he would never actually fulfill. The realization hit him. Hard. 'I...never killed Frieza,' Goku sat, eyes wide, his head cocked to the side. True, he had nearly beat him to death, but his remains were recovered and the alien had been reconstructed. Trunks was the one who had finally killed him. He would of gladly done it, if he had been able to make it to Earth on time. 'I..failed Vegeta,' the black-haired man felt anger boil inside of him. Anger than he couldn't even grant Vegeta's dying wish. Even though it was long ago. It probably didn't matter to Vegeta anymore. His mind continued to recall how he had to dig a hole on Namek and place Vegeta into his grave. It shouldn't have been that way. He shouldn't have been on Namek. He should of been buried where he was born, but that unfortunately, was impossible. Vegeta had been a bad person in life, but did he deserve to die? Goku had always believed in a second chance, and the prince was luckily given one, and with it he had shown that there was hope for him still. Gods, the look on Vegeta's face the moment he died...his hand falling to the ground with a light thud, his expression relaxing yet still marked with the scowl he wore. Vegeta...
Goku's head snapped up and his eyes widened just a bit as he sensed a familiar ki. The outburst had come from...the man he'd just been thinking about. 'What the...?' Goku thought, his eyebrows knit in confusion and wonder. He stood but stayed in the same spot for a moment, getting a feel for where Vegeta was located before flying off to investigate. He stayed relatively low to the ground and followed the dying traces of Vegeta's ki. It wasn't fading completely, but just down to normal level. At least that much was a relief. The rain and the wind didn't help Goku any, instead he started to get a chill. But he clenched his teeth and continued with his flight, trying to ignore the sensations that crawled over his skin, 'I can't stop. I've got to make sure Vegeta's okay.' It almost seemed like he was flying deeper into the storm. He probably was, but he didn't care. Within a few minutes he finally located the prince. At first he wasn't sure what to do, seeing Vegeta in his current condition. He didn't want to interrupt but he didn't want to leave Vegeta by himself either. He landed behind him silently, trying not to disturb the man, watching his backside heave as he lied beside the grave. The brunette's hair was down which was an unusual sight to see, and his clothes were torn a bit as well. What exactly was going on? If Vegeta was crying and he was at a grave...
Goku felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise as a shiver ran up his spine. 'Oh no..please no,' the black-haired man pleaded, taking a step forward without really thinking. The noise of his boots softly padding the grass caught Vegeta's ears and he looked at his intruder, 'Oh shit...not Kakkarot. Anyone but him...' He wiped his tears away with his sleeve and leapt to his feet, still sniffling a bit, "What do you want?" His voice was in his normal demanding tone but there was a trace of strain in it. "I, uh..." Goku frantically tried to come up with his answer, "I felt your ki and...well...what exactly...happened?" Vegeta resisted his first impulse to push him away, but he realized that this was part of his business. He almost hated the thought. Almost. They stood silent for a few minutes. The brunette continued his relentless stare, his eyes red and his frown rough; he folded his arms still sorting through his thoughts. He opened his mouth to speak but it took several moments to actually produce words, and his voice unintentionally cracked while he informed Goku of the situation, "...Bulma died." At first all Goku could do was blink, then his face fell as shock began to set in, and then he wished to know more, "What?? When?? Why??" Vegeta turned, not wishing to face the taller man anymore, "Two days ago. She was in an accident." Goku bowed his head, his stomach twisting into knots over the loss of his long time friend, "Oh my god...I'm so sorry Vegeta." The Prince of Saijins gave a gruff snort, turning completely away from him, "Spare me your sympathy and pity, Kakkarot." The other warrior's eyebrows raised into a worried expression. He didn't want to leave Vegeta in a state like this. Maybe if he didn't know it was this bad, but...
"Just...go," the brunette said, pushing some of his hair away from his face. But Goku didn't leave. Instead he stood utterly still, trying to sort through all that was going on inside of his head. At first he thought of actually leaving, but his intuition told him not to. And so he stayed. Vegeta grit his teeth in frustration, 'Why is he staying!? I can't stand to have him see me like this! He wasn't meant to! Damn him!' The black-haired warrior ran his hand over the top of his head, forcing some of the rain out of it, allowing his hair to spike a bit more than it had in it's previous state. What was he supposed to say? What was he supposed to do? This was Vegeta after all..it wasn't like Yamcha, or Krillin, or even Trunks...this was Vegeta. He acted like he didn't even need comfort. He would have believed it..maybe...if it wasn't for the fact that he had seen Vegeta's tears with his very own eyes. He knew Vegeta was fighting inner demons, and he knew that he shouldn't be alone at a time like this. So he decided to take things slowly, one step at a time, but still treat him like he was one of his other friends. Of course he would do some modifying here and there, but even though, he needed a base, a starting point. "It's...okay, Vegeta," Goku slowly started, his tone indicating that he wasn't referring exactly to Bulma's death. Vegeta looked over his shoulder, his expression blank, almost as if he was confused. He took a moment to assess and reply, "Why are you still here?" Goku breathed for a moment, rubbing his face with his hand to ease his stress. He looked up and into Vegeta's eyes as he repeated, "..It's okay." The shorter Saijin narrowed his eyes, his eyebrows scrunching together; he nearly stuttered a response, "W-hatever, Kakkarot."
"No, it's true," the black-haired man continued before reminding himself to slow down. He took a breath and a step toward Vegeta, "If you want to cry...cry." Vegeta growled lowly, emitting the sound from his throat, he grinded his heel into the ground as he turned towards his long time rival, "Saijins don't cry." The statement was made as if to try to convince Goku that he hadn't done the act in the first place. Goku shook his head slightly, noticing that the storm was starting to pass. "Look, if you don't want to that's fine too," Goku replied hesitantly and carefully, shrugging slightly to show that he didn't mind. Vegeta turned his gaze away, tilting his head, "What is the point you are trying to make? Hurry it up and spit it out, Kakkarot, I don't like playing games." The taller man winced but it wasn't visible to the other fighter, "I guess I just want you to be yourself." Vegeta rolled his eyes and glanced back at Goku, "Who are you to decide when I'm being myself?" Goku held up his hands in a gesture that meant he was backing off, "I didn't mean anything by it. I was just saying-" Vegeta interrupted him and spoke harshly, "You were just saying that I should be myself. How are you to know when I'm being myself, Kakkarot?" The black-haired Saijin gave a sigh, wanting to give up as it seemed his attempts to help Vegeta were futile ones. Finally he conjured a response though, as Vegeta turned to leave, "I don't know. I assume. But still, I didn't say that you weren't being yourself. I may have eluded to it but I DID NOT say it." Their talk seemed to be slowly turning into a verbal argument...
'I have to stop this before it gets worse,' Goku told himself as he prepared for Vegeta's reply. "Fine," was all that was surprisingly spoken, Vegeta powered up slightly, a white aura glowing around him as he prepared to fly off. "Wait," Goku suddenly said, causing Vegeta to look back at him. He quirked an eyebrow and awaited an explanation, "What is it, Kakkarot?" Goku stepped closer to him, moving slowly in a way that looked as though he was purposely trying not to look intimidating, "Can't we talk?" Vegeta exhaled noisily, to emphasize his annoyment, "What is there to talk about?" Goku paused for a moment, letting his posture slouch as he thought about it. He looked back up at the prince and quietly offered, "I thought we could talk about..Bulma." Vegeta's face scrunched up and his fists clenched, but after a tense moment, he relaxed and sat down next to his wife's grave stone, his aura fading, "Fine, Kakkarot." Goku closed his eyes briefly, thanking the gods that he got through to him. "Tell me what she was like," the black-haired Saijin requested, sitting down on the opposite side of the tombstone. "You talk like you never knew her," Vegeta roughly answered, looking down at the ground as the now drizzling ran rippled the puddles nearby. "Well..." Goku began to explain himself, leaning back onto his elbows, "I don't know how she was like..with you, I mean." Vegeta froze then slowly turned and looked at the larger man, "She was..." The different memories he had of his wife began to flash through his mind. Her smile, her laughter, her anger, her scolding, her frown, her attempts to make him smile, her blush, her kiss..Bulma...
"She was strange, but nice," Vegeta summed things up but not exactly the way he wanted to. "Yeah.." Goku agreed quietly, looking down at the ground as well, wishing he had something to keep him occupied. Vegeta realized that he hadn't explained Bulma to Goku that well, but he cared more to say it out loud to himself than to his rival, "She was..understanding, though stubborn. She was.." He sighed, trailing off, unable to produce words for how he thought about her. "She was demanding, that's for sure," Goku added bravely, he looked at Vegeta for an annoyed expression but the Saijin wasn't even looking at him, "but she tried her best and was kind to everyone." Vegeta nodded, drawing his knees up to his chest; he looked at the half-dry mud that covered his scrapes and he began to brush it off. The prince's next words were almost silent, "She was the only one who..cared." Somehow Goku's ears caught what he had said and so he instantly insisted, "That's not true!" Vegeta looked up at him, eyes wide, an expression of vulnerability on his face. The look quickly passed and he merely said, "Oh...?" He sighed and let his chin rest between his two knees, 'I wish Kakkarot would leave me alone.' But some place deep inside of him knew that if Goku would leave him now...he would miss his company. "Yeah," Goku began to compose himself again, his tone becoming quieter. He waited a few minutes to reply, and he watched the clouds pass in the meantime. Thunder was barely heard in the distance as the storm traveled away from their current location. The clouds retreated, exposing the star-speckled sky that had been hidden above. A cool, still air overcame the night and the moon cast it's soft beams down upon the two Saijins. "I care," he told Vegeta honestly, turning to look at him, offering a hint of a smile. Vegeta merely glanced at him, 'I wish you wouldn't.'
Goku felt a bit uncomfortable that Vegeta hadn't even negatively replied to what he said. He just...sat there, looking dead ahead. He blinked a few times, looking over the prince, and he scratched the back of his head realizing that it was still wet. "You know..if you ever need to talk, I'm here," Goku said this line quickly simply because he knew Vegeta wouldn't really like to hear it. The brunette clenched his teeth, inhaling to reply, but after a moment's time he just dismissed it, letting out the air he had been holding captive. The black-haired man let his lips turn into a smile, but it wasn't a normal smile, it was a forced smile, like he was trying to reassure himself. He turned away for a moment to let Vegeta think on his own as he wrung out his hair in hopes that it would return back to it's normal state. He looked over at Vegeta whose hair was still fairly damp and down. But now that there wasn't rain to keep matting it down the brown strands had begun to dry and rise back into their normal position. "Why would I talk to you?" Vegeta finally said, his voice raspy as if he hadn't had enough air to ask his question. Goku lied back slowly, bringing his hands behind his head and interlacing his fingers, "Maybe I could understand something other people wouldn't." Vegeta almost laughed but he lied back as well, staring up at the night sky, "I doubt that. You still have your wife." Goku replied without thought, "Not exactly." There was silence and Vegeta looked over at him with a hint of confusion on his face as he sat up, "What's that supposed to mean?" The taller Saijin suddenly realized that no one besides the immediate family knew that Goku and Chi-chi were separated. It made him nervous for some reason and he closed his eyes, "Well..Chi-chi and I...are sorta not together anymore." Vegeta sat unmoving, waiting for more of an explanation. Goku sensed this and hesitantly continued, "We had a fight..sorta..and well, things haven't been working..." He sighed deeply trying to put his thoughts into words, "We're just better this way." Vegeta turned away, seemingly lost in his own thoughts. Goku took this time to breathe. Why was it so hard to tell Vegeta this? It wasn't likely that the royal Saijin even cared.
"You left your mate after all these years?" Vegeta questioned cautiously but menacing undertones lurked in his voice. Goku sensed something as the prince asked him this and he was careful on wording his response. "We were close, very close, that much is true. But have I ever been completely happy with her? Or completely in love? No...I've always felt something missing from our relationship...We both couldn't take it anymore so we thought it best to separate," the black-haired man said quietly, his legs switched positions uncomfortably. The swish of his pants threatened to drown out his voice, but Vegeta still heard him perfectly clear and the shorter warrior drew his knees back up to his chest again. 'I've felt a gap with Bulma too...' he silently concurred to Goku's story, applying it to his own life. He shook his head, gently pressing his eyes against the edge of his knees as if he was trying to hide, as if he was ashamed for it to be true. The brunette inhaled deeply, letting his legs fall into an indian style position; he paused before speaking, "Well, it's surprising I must admit." Goku gave an insincere smile, his hands starting to play with the grass beneath his body. The damp ground had let it's moisture be absorbed into both of the Saijins' clothes but neither seemed to mind or even notice. It was quiet again and Goku quickly scrambled to keep the conversation going and so he quickly spat out, "It's different to be on my own. I..feel different..." Vegeta looked at him from the corner of his eye, his eyebrows furrowing as he examined the larger man, 'He does seem different.' Goku, not hearing a response, lingered on about himself, "I don't have to worry much about anything at all, I get to relax, I get to train..." He stopped once he realized he shouldn't be talking about himself, that wasn't what he was there for. He was there to help Vegeta, not tell him about his day.
So he switched the subject back to the prince, "So...I haven't really seen you in awhile." He paused, knowing his next question was and was not obvious in a way, "How've you been doing?" Vegeta gave him a look that read 'You're either an idiot or just plain annoying - I haven't figured it out just yet.' and he folded his arms. "I suppose you are referring to how I was before this happened?" Vegeta questioned, closing his right eye which wasn't necessary for him to see his company with. Silently he rephrased what he had just said, 'I hope you are referring to how I was before Bulma died...I sincerely hope you're not that stupid, Kakkarot.' Goku gave a brief, small nod, turning in such a way that it looked as though he was shying away from the brown-haired man. Vegeta turned his attention away from Goku, looking out into space, "I had been training." The answer was brief. Extremely brief. It made Goku uncomfortable but he also noted that Vegeta was most likely pining at the moment and he didn't need to push him further. 'Why is he playing twenty questions?' Vegeta asked himself, tilting his head to the side, 'What is he aiming for?' Goku let Vegeta alone for a few minutes, just lying back and observing the night sky. He looked across the black and blue blanket at the glowing stars. He began to recall constellations, mentally collecting the dots to create shapes. The Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Orion's Belt, Aquarius, Cancer, Draco, Virgo...
"What?" Vegeta asked, everything about the question seemed odd, but Goku took the easiest way out and the one he understood the most. "I'm looking at the constellations," he informed the Prince of Saijins, slightly nodding. "What the hell for?" the question itself was hostile, but Vegeta's tone was not. "Because...I think they're.." he searched for a word other than 'pretty' knowing from the depths of himself that he shouldn't sound juvenile, especially not now in front of Vegeta. He firmly ended his sentence, "..interesting." Vegeta looked up for a moment then he looked away again, "Hmph. Just a bunch of stars and shitty planets. Nothing much to look at." Goku brushed him off, not truly ignoring him, "...You wouldn't be able to see Vegeta-sai now...but maybe when I was a kid.." Vegeta closed his eyes, indulging in his thoughts, 'Damn him. He disowned the place from where he was birthed and yet he tries to speak of it as if he's a part of it. Damn the fool. He wouldn't know a thing about Vegeta-sai or..or me. My planet's called Vegeta-sai..and my name is Vegeta...I'm the Prince of Saijins and he's a third class soldier. How the hell has he become stronger than me? How the hell can he be stronger than me!? He was extendable and I, a prince! It doesn't make sense, damnit! Look what he's done to me! After all these fucking years of being second best he still lets me live out this pathetic existance! God, I hate you Kakkarot!!' A crackle of energy passed over Vegeta and Goku immediately turned to the brief flash, "Something the matter, Vegeta?" Vegeta clenched his fists, not uttering a word. Goku took a deep breath, inhaling slowly, looking over the man in front of him with confusion, 'He can be so stubborn at times, God! I wish I knew what he was thinking...I could read his thoughts but...it wouldn't feel right.' The larger warrior decided to let his gaze return to the skies and he relaxed slightly, still worried about Vegeta.
Vegeta-sai...what was it like? He couldn't even remember it. Sometimes he wished he could, he wished he could relate to Vegeta a bit more. 'He lost his whole planet to Freiza. He lost everyone he cared about..everyone last one. He was forced to start anew. He was trained since youth to be a killer. He had no choice..!' Goku felt his heart quicken at the sudden onslaught of thoughts and emotions, 'If I had lost everything. If I had lost Earth. If I had been kidnapped and taken away from everyone I had known and cared about when I was little....I'd be just like him too!' Goku looked down quickly, his face tensed in uncertainty, 'But I don't understand it...when he gets something he needs, he doesn't change or he changes very little! Why can't he change? Do I just not understand him enough? God, Vegeta, help me help you!' He suddenly wished he had something to keep his hands distracted with so he tore off a blade of grass and began to play with it. Subconsciously he noted the color and texture as he felt across the smooth piece of vegetation. 'He's so complex on the inside! But I guess no one bothers to look that deep,' the black-haired man continued to ponder, 'But they should because that's where he is, that's who he really is. He's actually a good person.' He stared intently at the strip of grass he held in his hands, slowly pulling it apart into two equal halves, 'I wonder if he'd kill me if he had the chance.'
'I'd kill that asshole if I had the chance!' Vegeta silently fumed, recalling all the times the larger Saijin had beaten him. On Earth with Nappa, on Namek against Frieza, and then he became a Super Saijin before him, his own son defeated Cell, he became Super Saijin level three....FUCKING ASSHOLE!! He was the prince, not Kakkarot! Kakkarot didn't deserve the power! 'He probably would,' Goku thought, dropping the tiny pieces of torn up green, 'He always let's power go to his head. I guess that's why he's calmer than he used to be. Because I'm here to restrain him if he tries to get too far. I wonder if he's crazy when he gets power or if he's crazy all the time.' Goku released a deep sigh, 'The world may never know...' By now the brunette's muscles were tense once again, 'It's not fair! I lose Bulma and he comes to talk with me!? What the fuck! Who does he think he is!?' Another crackle of energy flickered in the dark night as Vegeta sat, letting his emotions rise until they'd gush out. Goku's worry deepened as he looked at the older man, 'I wish he'd tell me what he's thinking about!' But still there was nothing spoken, only the occasional crackle that danced beside Vegeta. The black-haired Saijin sat up, turning towards the smaller man, debating whether or not he should attempt conversation. Vegeta's eyes were wielded shut, 'He's always got to be one step ahead! He's always got to have everything! He always has to be better! WHY, DAMNIT, WHY!? THE FUCKING ASSHOLE!!!'
Vegeta suddenly shot up, looking down at Goku with a glare on his face. His deep ebony irises exposed his burning anger as he stood still in silent rage, the adrenaline pumping it's way through his veins causing his flesh to tingle. His tone was thick and menacing when he spoke, as if his voice was spilling over his lips with the source being his very own emotions, "Kakkarot...Fight me."
Part Three |