Pandora's Box: Chapter 6
aka The Relief of Mr. Suicidal Maniac

"Can we forget about the things/
I said when I was drunk/
I didnít mean to call you that/
I canít remember what was said or what you threw at me/
Please tell me/
Please tell me why/"

-Lit "My Own Worst Enemy"

The initial shock of what had transpired began to wear off, and questions were shot across the room before there was time to answer. Goku sat in the middle of the chaos, staring out of the door at the night sky, scanning and rescanning Vegeta's emotions. And every time he was surprised to find that the prince seemed to be completely and utterly calm. There was no turbulence anywhere that Goku could tell, which confused him even more. The frantic shouts across the room grated on his nerves, and finally he rasped out, "SHUT UP!"

The entire house went silent as Goku stood, walked over to the kitchen sink, and splashed his face with water. All eyes were on him, everyone waiting for an explanation. As Goku turned around he gazed briefly at all the people present before stating, "I'm not saying anything. There is nothing that I am at liberty to say. If you have any questions, ask Vegeta himself, otherwise, just leave me alone. I've had a long day and I'd like to go home and try to get some sleep. We can plan for another get together another day. I thank you all for your thoughtfulness." He turned towards Chi-chi, "Could you please gather everything up and take it home? Thanks." Before she could respond, however, he was already gone.

He reappeared at his house where he began to pace. He wanted nothing more than to go speak with Vegeta, but he felt that at the moment it wouldn't be such a good idea. Suddenly, the phone rang, causing the black-haired Saijin to jump a bit in surprise. With a sigh, he picked up the receiver and answered, "Hello?"

A quiet voice came across the line, "Goku?"

Goku took a seat and stretched out, the initial shock wearing off, taking with it his adrenaline, "Yes, Trunks?"

The purple-haired teen breathed for a moment before starting, "I wanted to tell you..I'm sorry."

Goku blinked slowly before lounging himself across the couch, wincing as he accidentally bumped some various injuries, 'Vegeta is so strong! I don't understand it.. He couldn't have been masking his power, could he?' The taller man leaned his head into a pillow, "I don't know what you mean, Trunks. Apologize over what?"

Trunks sighed uncomfortably, "I...What happened tonight..."

Goku interrupted him as he pulled off his boots, wiggling his toes in appreciation as his feet met fresh air, "Trunks, that was beyond anyone's control. Trust me, this was a long time coming, I can tell. Vegeta is..." Goku paused to think about all the events that had transpired, but he kept thinking of all the good times they had, like when they went to a club, or when they went to the flee market.

"Vegeta has been very careful about the way he acts around people," Goku finally said, frowning at the truth of the matter, "But he's not entirely at fault. Most of his problems seem to do with not only what had happened when he was a kid, but what's happening now. It seems that he's been..depressed, and I don't mean just recently, I mean for years. Even so, he's been very clever about keeping it a secret. And after putting up with everything that he has for so long...he just snapped. As anyone would in his case."

Trunks reviewed things over in his head, "So...you think that this is a long term depression?"

Goku sunk himself into the cushions of his couch, "Yes. Absolutely."

Trunks thought for another moment, "Could he possibly have a chemical imbalance?"

"You mean he's depressed because his brain tells him to be? The kind of problem you fix with a pill? No, I don't think so, Trunks. Vegeta's problems seem to be much worse and harder to repair," Goku said with a deep sigh as he closed his eyes.

"Goku? ..What, specifically, do you mean?" Trunks' confused voice came over the line.

"Self-esteem, Trunks," the full-blooded Saijin clarified, "Self-respect. Your father has little to none. He doesn't have faith in others because no one has faith in him. That on top of everything else - like his various..failures - leads him to believe he's better off dead for the sake of everybody."

Trunks breathed deeply for a moment, "Is he still suicidal, Goku?"

Goku paused, thinking about it, "I...I don't think so, but I'm really not sure. I can't really sense anything from him. It's strange. It feels like he's indifferent to everything."

Trunks agreed, "Yeah, that sounds like his way of handling it, but that's just my opinion."

Goku released a yawn, whining a bit as his jaw protested. He rubbed it for a moment, trying his best to soothe it, "Hey Trunks? I really am going to try to get some sleep, and you should too. If you see Vegeta....tell him..I have two tickets for the movies tomorrow."

Trunks blinked in surprise, nearly dropping the phone, "You're going to act like nothing's happened??"

Goku kneaded the sore muscles in his arm, "Yeah, well...you have a better idea?"

A short pause ensued before Trunks replied, "Uh..no. I guess it is best that we act like nothing's happened, at least for now. Alright, then..goodnight, Goku. I'll speak to you tomorrow. I'll be sure to relay your message if I see father."

Goku gave a small smile as he stood, "Okay, Trunks. Thanks. Goodnight, and sleep well." He placed the phone on the hook and gave a heavy sigh. He hadn't let Trunks see exactly how upset he was, which was good. But now that he was alone, he felt the familiar discomfort returning.

He padded silently into the bedroom, climbing on the bed, not even bothering with the covers. 'Vegeta...how can I make you see? You mean so much to me. I just want to make you happy,' Goku blinked his eyes slowly, staring off into space. 'I'm sorry if I mean nothing to you, but I can't help what class I was born into,' Goku thought, his eyes closing as he began to drift off, 'I won't hurt you, Vegeta...'

His breathing steadied as he fell into a deep, yet restless, sleep. It held visions of times he had tried to forget, places that he hadn't been to in years, and actions that no one knew of except for himself. He dreamed of a figure smirking at him in satisfaction, but it was a cold, cruel satisfaction, like when your enemy smites themself. He would wake up and not remember this.

***

It was odd for the Prince of Saijins - not wanting to drink. He had used drinking as his means of escape for years now, and suddenly, he didn't wish to touch a drop of alcohol. He contributed this to the fact that he no longer wanted to run away from his problems. He had just done that, and look where it got him - nearly killing the last of his kind and letting everyone see him for who he really was. He had nearly killed himself.

He sighed and wrapped his arms around his torso in a vague attempt to give himself comfort. He felt dead to the world, as one would when they had accomplished all that they could. In this case, however, he had failed at all that he could. Interesting how it had the same results.

No longer able to fly properly, he landed on the ground shakily, stumbling before completely falling over. The brunette collapsed, inhaling deeply as he rolled onto his back so that he could stare up at the night sky. Now everyone knew the truth about him, and there was nothing that was going to change that. Vegeta closed his eyes for a moment to clear his thoughts.

It was...a relief.

To finally have to stop worrying about whether or not those stupid earthlings would see him for who he really was. To finally be able to stop being so subtle, so defensive. On the other hand, he couldn't stand the fact that they would never look at him the same. He hated how he ruined any remote chance of ever gaining anyone's trust. Overall, he supposed, it was for the best. He wasn't to be trusted, he knew that much. Even with someone who was completely loyal to him, he eradicated.

With a sigh Vegeta sat himself up, over-viewing the night's transactions. 'I can't go back,' he thought to himself, 'I wasn't even supposed to be here in the first place.' He gathered himself and got upon his feet, looking around to regain his sense of direction. 'I'll leave in the morning,' he decided, lifting into the air and blasting off.

***

In the early hours of the day, Vegeta entered Capsule Corp, keeping his ki masked so as not to alert anyone that might be around. Walking silently, he entered the kitchen and began looking through the cabinets. When he didn't find what he was looking for there, he turned towards the closets, but he still was unable to find anything. Sighing, he stealthy made his way into the lab, being extra cautious. After looking the place over and finding that neither Zarbon or Bulma was there, he stepped inside and approached the figure that was present.

"Oh, hello, Vegeta," Mr. Briefs greeted, glancing up from something he was working on. The prince looked over the older man's shoulder in idle curiosity, waiting until he was the full center of attention. Mr. Briefs fixed up a few things before turning to the brunette, "What can I do for you, lad?"

Vegeta looked at the ground for a moment before he made a few hand gestures. "What?" Mr. Briefs said in confusion, not understanding that the prince was getting at. Vegeta repeated the gestures, but the older man still didn't understand what he meant.

Sighing, Vegeta made a shape of a box with his hands. "You need a box?" Bulma's father asked, blinking a few times. Scratch crept up onto his shoulder and mewed, Mr. Briefs scritching him behind his ears. Vegeta gave a nod. "Oh, ok. Why didn't you say so?" Mr. Briefs inquired as he reached around under the desk until he pulled out a cardboard box that contained a few screws, nails, and washers. Vegeta said nothing in response, merely nodding as he took the box. Once he was out of the room, the man looked at his cat, "I wonder what that was all about."

The prince made it to his room without any trouble and he set the box on the bed. He saw the box of cigars that Goku had given him and he picked it up. He stared at the box, his mind going blank for a moment before he zoned out completely, remembering the many things Goku had done for him. Snapping out of it, he quickly put the cigars into the cardboard box and resumed his search around the room. He found a few partially empty bottles and he put those away as well. Next he opened his closet, which he did with slight difficulty, but nothing a Saijin couldn't handle.

Thrown all about was the clothing he had managed to make his own, which wasn't much, and hard to come by. His old armor was in there along with some plain shirts and jeans. A variety of battle suits also were stuffed into a small heap, and not bothering to sort things through, he grabbed it all and jammed it into the box. He paused momentarily, but only to consider where he was going. Taking one last look around, he picked up the box and headed downstairs. He walked towards the front door when Bulma came in. She was alone, which was good in a way because Vegeta didn't wish to see Zarbon anytime soon, or ever again for that matter.

"Where are you going?" she asked, her voice not extremely harsh. He blinked, waiting for her to move out of his way. "Well?" she spoke loudly as she put her purse away in the nearby closet. Still he said nothing, merely watching her and blinking. She looked up at him and then she carefully examined his features. With a sigh, she opened the door and held it for him, "Alright, go on." He raised an eyebrow at her, fairly amused by her actions. "Look Mr. Suicidal Maniac," Bulma said, her voice growing stern, "If you want to go, then go! Don't just stand around like an idiot!" A light smirk appeared on his features, his eyes narrowing, 'I think she's afraid of me.' The blue-haired lady watched nervously as Vegeta's expression grew dark. He watched her through his peripheral vision as he walked calmly out the front door, lifting into the skies only seconds later.

Flying through the air, he noticed that he was begining to relax. The prince felt like he was leaving all his worries behind, and in a weird sort of way, he was. He let himself go in whatever direction his soul yearned, closing his eyes as he sighed deeply. Within the hour, he found his newest temporary home. Every place was temporary. His home, he could never return to.

The place was far away from other people where even life did not exist in great numbers: the northern ice cap. The air was deathly cold, but merely felt brisk to him. Something about this place seemed tranquil. He set down, earning a soft crunch from the snow. He set the box down and scanned the horizon, for what, he wasn't sure, but the place seemed to please him. Nothing but snow and ice around for miles. A smile came to his lips, 'It's so quiet here.' He listened to the wind approach from the distance and shivered delightfully as it passed. His blood flowed unlike it had in a long time.

'I think I'll go for a swim,' he decided, stripping himself of the outfit he was currently wearing. He dug through his box and was surprised to find the pair of swimming trunks that Goku had picked out for him. He quickly slipped them on and dashed for the "shore". He paused at the edge of the iceberg he was on to look down into the glittering depths of the ocean. With a large breath, he dove in and swam down.

The water was as cold as the ice, but with the help of his ki, it felt comfortably cool. Deeper and deeper the brunette swam, not understanding why he felt the urge. He glanced back to see the small dot of the sun, pausing to look at the murkiness that surrounded him, before he dove down once more. When the pressure increased Vegeta increased his ki, to make certain that he wouldn't feel discomfort. Soon he was swimming in blackness, so deep that light didn't even dare seep through. Within a few more seconds, he touched the ocean floor.

He sat for a moment before gathering his ki, a small ball radiating soft light into depths that had probably never seen light. He turned around and was surprised to see something lying there. It was the size of an average Orca whale, though it looked nothing like the other animals on the planet. One large eye was fixed upon him, though it seemed to be in pain because of the light. Vegeta gave a nod and almost diminished the ki ball, leaving just enough glow to see. The large animal stirred and turned towards him, quite unsure on how to regard Vegeta. It made a few stretching movements before approaching the Saijin.

The thing looked like a cross between a dragon and an aquatic animal. Its large snout extended towards Vegeta and seemingly sniffed him for a moment. Carefully, the prince reached out, trying not to frighten it. The animal shrunk back slightly, but Vegeta very gently ran his hand over the creature's forehead, amazed by the smooth texture of the skin.

'I won't hurt you,' Vegeta sent to it telepathically - whether the animal understood or not was another thing. But it seemed to because it relaxed again, taking up its spot at the ocean bed once more. Now known as a benign presence, the prince turned his attention elsewhere.

He moved out of sight of the creature, and examined the dark ocean floor. It was like being in a liquid tomb. He observed the strange feel of the ocean bed against his feet, but he was gradually losing interest. His lungs now ached for air, and he fell into a momentary lapse. Like an aftershock, he felt himself snap again. A tempest of rage exploded within him, frustration escalating till he simply let it over come him.

He inhaled, punishing himself - for what, he wasn't sure. He was only aware of the sharp stab of pain in his lungs. He convulsed, trying to convince his body not to accept anymore fluid in. His vision blurred, and irritated, he flew up to the surface. He flung himself over the edge of an iceberg as he coughed up sea water. He heaved, pushing his hair away from his face, and finally, he pulled himself out of the ocean. As he rolled over, looking up at the sky, he could only sense one thing:

This wasn't over yet. Last night was only the beginning.

He forced himself to dress, digging out a pair of jeans and a Polo shirt from his box. Gazing at the contents, he extracted his drinks, mixing them all into one bottle. He lifted the glass as if giving a toast. He looked up, narrowed his eyes, and said, "Fuck those weaklings." Vegeta downed it all in one breath.

***

"Gone?? What do you mean gone??" Goku asked, puzzled and worried.

"Look, I'm just telling you what Bulma told me," Trunks replied, looking as unhappy as Goku, "and she said he just up and left."

Goku sat down on the bed next to Trunks, "Well, did she say where he was going?"

Trunks shook his head, trying to look sympathetic, "No. She said he just left. That's all there is to it."

Goku ran his hands through his ebony bangs, "I wish he would've told someone where he was going."

Trunks sat forward, resting his elbows on his knees, and his chin in his hands, "I do too, Goku. But can't you just find him by his ki?"

Goku tipped his head back and closed his eyes in concentration, "I...still can't get a clear reading. He doesn't want to be found."

The teenager gave a small sigh of relief, "Well, at least you can detect him."

Goku nodded, leaning back and pausing again, "I can't sense his emotions anymore."

Trunks tilted his head so he could look at the older man, "So you think he's not..you know..suicidal?"

The full-blooded Saijin seemed to ponder this for a moment, "I don't think so. Not at the moment. If he was, he'd already done something about it. I know that much by what happened yesterday."

Trunks cringed, his gaze falling, "Want to talk about it?"

Goku smirked a little, "You say it like it was me trying to commit suicide. You're curious as to what happened, aren't you?"

Trunks flushed a bit at being caught red-handed, "Uh...I won't lie. Yes, I'd like to know what happened."

Goku switched his position, lying down on his side with his hand propping up his head, "As you know, I went to check on Vegeta. When I found him, he was..had been drinking. He was very defensive, even began cursing and calling me names. I didn't know what was wrong and so I asked. He just..exploded with anger, telling me everything. He just snapped."

Trunks carefully interrupted, "He told you everything? What do you mean?"

Goku inhaled deeply before he continued explaining, "About why he was upset. He mentioned about our home world. How it was destroyed and everyone was dead. Then he went on saying how he hated being..the way he was? I'm not sure, it all happened so fast. Then he said he wasn't going to take it anymore." Trunks stared at the ground in thought, getting startled slightly as Goku finished.

"He went downstairs then," Goku's eyebrows knit together at the memory, "I called for him, but he didn't reply. I went downstairs and he had..stabbed himself. Told me it was for the good of everyone. I took him to Master Roshi's to get the senzu bean. The rest you already know." Trunks sat, absorbing all the information, his face pale. To break the silence, there was a knock on the door.

"Come in," the demi-Saijin called out.

Zarbon opened the door, "Hello, Trunks. Hi, Goku. Bulma told me to tell you to come downstairs. There's someone here to see us." Trunks and Goku looked at each other before they got up and followed Zarbon. When arriving in the den, they were pleased to see Piccolo standing there waiting.

"Hey guys," he greeted in his normal gruff voice, "Kami wants us to head up to his lookout. Said he's got some important news."

Goku nodded, a look of determination crossing his face, "Right. We'll be along in a sec."

Piccolo didn't avert his gaze from Goku's eyes, "And Goku? Could you tell Vegeta as well? This is a very serious matter and he needs to know. He's an extremely valuable asset to us."

The full-blooded Saijin blinked in shock, "Okay. No prob." Goku turned and swiftly made his way towards the door, 'If Piccolo says Vegeta will be needed, and it's of a serious matter, than this has to do with something threatening the Earth. So who has come to take it over now? Or blow it up. Sometimes they want to do that too..' He paused by the door, the handle in his grasp, 'But I don't even know where to start looking for Vegeta. The world is a big place to hide him in. Well, maybe....'

He closed his eyes and concentrated deeply, calling out with his mind, 'Vegeta? Vegeta, can you hear me?' He felt a response, but didn't hear one. That was good enough for Goku. 'Kami is calling a meeting up at his lookout. It's really, really important, I think you should come,' Goku said as softly as he could, 'Besides, Piccolo demanded that I tell you, as you are a "valuable asset", as he said.'

He felt Vegeta open up slightly, 'I'll think about it.' Then there was nothing.

Goku looked over his shoulder calling out, "Ok! Let's go!"

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