CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: BARBEQUE

 

Bulma was satisfied with how all of the preparations for the barbeque went. She didn't really care about the fact that it was now nighttime and any hopes of cooking outside were gone. In fact, the "barbeque" was now only a barbeque in name.

While everyone else shared her sentiments, they were in no mood to casually stand there and survey it. They were in no mood to stand, period.

Kuririn was leaning against a wall, backened and bruised from helping Chichi in the kitchen. Chichi was so covered with ash, exploded souflee, cake bits, dough, failed sushi crumbs, and what was suppossed to be her award-winning meatloaf that she was barely recognizeable. Master Roshi's hands both had first-degree burns from when he had tried to fondle Lunch in the kitchen but had missed her by some inches and hit the stove burners instead. Lunch had simply passed out in a corner after she had sneezed and gone nuts for a while. Chaozu hadn't moved in three hours, and Tenshinhan was beginning to get worried. Piccolo was merely meditating in a corner. Gokou's stomach appeared to be three times its actual size, as was Yajirobee's. Bulma had not been successful in keeping them away from the hors d'oeuvres. Bulma herself had nearly lost her voice with all the shouting, but the way she saw it, it was all worth it.

If they were going to be meeting Gokou's father, they were damn well going to do it in style!

Bulma was just about to relax when the one little flaw in her designs just occurred to her.

"Everybody!" she shouted hoarsely, but still loudly enough to get everyone's attewntion, "We're not done yet!"

There were numerous groans from those who were still conscious as Bulma continued. "No, don't worry, you don't have to set up any- HEY, YOU! COME BACK HERE! I said, we don't have to set anything else up right now. All that we have to do now is clean OURSELVES up! They'll be here any minute now!"

"You said that two hours ago," Kuririn croaked out, "Although I agree with you this time. We DO look like refugees from one of Gokou's dad's conquests." The joke fell flat. No one wanted to be reminded of that.

"I wish there were some more senzu beans," Kuririn muttered as he picked himself up and went home to change into his OTHER best suit, tie, and fedora combo. His old one had had it.

***

Bardock, Zarbon, and Zangya finally arrived two hours later. Fashionably late was not the word for it. Of course, they had their reasons, what with everything going wrong like some sort of Rube Goldberg machine for them, too. Only theirs had fewer injuries in the end.

Bulma, who by this time had totally lost her patience, stormed up to the nearest alien (Zarbon) and began chewing him out, completely forgetting that just on the previous day he was going to extreminate all humans.

"I can't believe you people! We told you to come sometime this afternoon, not at night! What's wrong with you? You inconsiderate, annoying-"

"I can destroy entire races without breaking a sweat," Zarbon said, smiling cheerfully. Bulma quieted down. "Why, you're just on time! We've gotten everything ready for you!"

"It's nice to know that. What's your name?" Zarbon offered a hand to Bulma.

"Bulma Briefs. Yours?"

"Zarbon. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Say... you aren't going to... you know..."

"Transform? No. I only do it when I have to. It makes me look really ugly."

"You can say that again," Bulma muttered under her breath as she went off to make sure that everything was in order.

For once Gokou wasn't thinking about food. He was watching his father make his way through the group of people toward him. gokou was filled with many conflicting emotions. This was his father. his real father... a killer. He seemed nice enough now, but... will it last? gokou decided that now was not the time to confront him about it. He had nearly thirty years of catching up to do.

Gokou took a deep breath and prepared to meet his past.

***

"That's strange," Zarbon told Zangya, "They really stocked the table with food, but they really didn't make many hors d'oeuvres."

"Yeah. I noticed," she replied, "Oh, Zarbon, someone really seems to want to talk to you."

"Eh?" Zarbon turned around to see a rather pretty dark-haired human staring at him wistfully. Oh, great. Another one. /I've really got to watch the pheromone output,/ he thought to himself. "Umm, can I help you, miss?"

"I'm Lunch," she said rather blankly.

Zarbon clapped his hand to his face. Lunch. Drat. They always had food names. All of them.

"Okay, Lunch. My name is Zarbon."

"that's a wonderful name."

/Drat! How am I going to get rid of her?/ Bulma was much easier to scare off... wait... Bulma didn't like the transformation...

Zarbon gave up on the idea. he didn't want to make a scene or anything.

"So, Lunch, are you a friend of Gokou's?"

"Why, yes! I've been a friend of his since childhood. He's a really nice guy."

"Yeah, he seems that way."

"He's totally innocent-m like a child. Say, can't you transform or something? I heard Bulma talking about it."

"Yeah, it's a gift."

"I can do something like that too!" Lunch said in an overly cheerful manner, "Everytime I sneexe my personality just... changes."

"What do you mean by-" Zarbon began to ask, before a drunken Oolong ran by with a pepper shaker in each hand. Just enough of the pepper got into Junch's nose to make her sneeze.

Instantly the sweet little purple-haired girl turned into a mean blonde-haired girl.

"DIE, BASTARDS!" she shouted, pulling two semiautomatic weapons from seemingly out of nowhere. Lunch fired off all the rounds for about fifteen minutes, until she sneezed again and returned to normal.

"I'm sorry," she told Zarbon, "But whenever I sneeze, my personality just... changes!"

Zarbon simply stared in front of him. "WHAT KIND OF PLANET IS THIS?!?!?" he shouted.

***

"I'm amazed at you, Kakarotto," Bardock told his son, "You were born with an abnormally low power level, and right now you're one of the strongest Saiya-jin in existence. You were almost stillborn, and by all means you should have died here on earth, but... look at you! I can't believe this! Although, I was tested to have a low potential, too, and now I'm on a similar level, but still-"

"Dad," Gokou interrupted, "Please stop for a moment. You've repeated the same thing several times. I just want to know right now- what's my mother like?"

Bardock took a deep breath. "Your mother," he started, "Was a wonderful woman. She was the light of my life, and my utmost joy. She was a tad weak for a Saiya-jin, but that really didn't matter- in spite of the fact that power is one of the things that I value most. I wish that she had been around to see you- she would have been proud."

"Dad," Gokou asked, "You just referred to her in the past tense. What happened? Is she all right?"

"Gokou, there were some complications with your birth, and I said that Sash wasn;t the strongest Saiya-jin around-"

"Dad, just tell me, please?"

"She died giving birth to you. I'm sorry. I've had to live for almost thirty years without Sashoki, my mate, to give my life any meaning. Raditz, your brother, died some years ago on a planet raid when the inhabitants decided to destroy their home planet."

"What?"

"I'm the only pure Saiya-jin family you have left, Kakarotto. I'm sorry." bardock's last few words were a lot quieter, a lot softer than most of what he said. He seemed to still be mourning.

"I'm sorry, dad. I'm sure she was wonderful. Hey, have you tried Chichi's meatloaf yet? It's really, really good!"

Bardock started to laugh. "Kakarotto, you are definitely my son!"

***

Master Roshi was currently involved in his favourite game- babe-hunting. It was amazing, Gokou's father and all, but that woman who came with them... what a hot body! Since the new visitors seemed on perfectly friendly terms, and all, Roshi decided that it was now time to make his first move. Besides, he just couldn't wait. This girl- what was her name? Zarya? Zanya? Something like that- was not only beautiful, but EXOTIC, as well! This was definiteley the first chick with bluish-green skin that he'd ever seen!

Also, she was not involved with the blueish guy. He had subtlely asked earlier.

Wringing his gnarled hands together, Master Roshi plotted out his strategy. He wasn't the world's Dirtiest Old Man for nothing!

/Let's see now... she's standing in a corner right now... no one else is there... her back is to me... PERFECT!/

With a type of grace usually only seen in Ninjas, Kamesennin Mutenroshi sneaked up behind Zangya, and in one smooth move grabbed her rear. Then everything went wrong.

Instead of the tpyical female reaction (Scream, slap, scream again), Zangya simply flinched with such an utter look of fear that Roshi stumbled back and... felt guilty. He had only felt this kind of guilt a few times before. The way she flinched... the hurt, scared look on her face right now... Master Roshi had only seen that look twice before, when he had tried to fondle an abused woman.

then ROshi thought absolutely no more as a sizeable blueish fist connected with the side of his head, sending him into the wall.

Zarbon changed back into his normal form. "Perverted bastard," he muttered.

"I don't think you had to hit him," Zangya said, sheepishly- the poor thing was still trembling a bit, "You could have killed him!"

"He'll be fine. It's what he deserves. Besides, I can't let anything like this happen to you. You're worth too much, Zangya."

"Why?" she asked.

Zarbon hesitated. "Because I- I mean, it's because we need you for our mission! You're useful!"

Zangya nodded and straightened up. She decided not to ask what it was that Zarbon was going to say originally. She didn't want to.

Master Roshi dislodged himself from the newly made hole in the wall. He slowly walked up to Zangya, and offered out a hand.

"Ma'am, I just want to say-"

"She doesn't want to hear it, Hentai!" Zarbon shouted at him."

Roshi continued, "I just want to say... to say that I'm sorry, that's all. I was wrong. I really shouldn't have done that."

"You damn well shouldn't have!" Zarbon barked at him, "And whatever you do, don't let me ever catch you touching Zangya again! Do you understand me?"

"Look, just be quiet, will you?" Roshi shouted at Zarbon, "I want to apologize directly to her! You don't belong in this conversation!" Zarbon closed his mouth and fixed a stare on Master Roshi that would have spoiled milk.

"Look... I'm sorry. I really mean it," Roshi said, "I won't say that I didn't mean to do it, becuase that's who I am, but... but your reaction... usually when I try to touch or grab a girl, the worst reaction I get is a small shriek and a slap, no friendship lost, nothing new but a cheap thrill. But you... the way you flinched... the way you reacted... I've only seen that happen with certain women, and I'm sorry I ever did anything that was innapropriate to you. It'll never happen again. It should never happen again. I'm sorry."

Mutenroshi sounded so sincere that both Zarbon and Zangya were taken aback. After a few seconds, Zangya took his hand, in spite of the fact that she hated to be touched, and said, "I forgive you, old man. Thank you."

Master Roshi walked away.

***

A few feet away, Piccolo and Yamucha had seen the entire thing.

"What do you make of it?" Yamucha asked Piccolo.

Piccolo was silent for a moment. "There's a lot of healing that needs to be done," he said, "But I think that it's already started. Zarbon strikes me as very odd in the way he treats that woman. They're obviously not involved, but..." he trailed off.

Kuririn silently nodded. He understood perfectly.

The rest of the party went without any more significant events.