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                                                  CHAPTER FOURTY-SIX: HERITAGE

 

 

 

            Violence. Rage. These were the only two things going through Gohan's mind. Violence, and rage. The need to kill. The need to spill blood. The need to destroy. All of it. All of everything.

            All of himself. All of his essence was now dedicated to destruction. All that remained of the cute, funny son of Gokou were the tattered remnants of his blue pajamas lying in the dirt.

            The moon. The moon shone brightly in the sky. It shone with a cold, white light. The light of a cruel complacency. The moon didn't care who lived and who died. It simply was, for it was the moon, and Gohan was being driven by it.

            There was something else, too... Ape-Gohan could not figure it out, but there was... was SOMEONE there with him- he could FEEL IT. This someone... whoever it was... was behind him, taunting him, but everytime Gohan turned around to find this, this LIVING THING, and crush it to death, it was gone, and behind him once again. Gohan howled in a meaningless destructive rage and uprooted a tree, flinging it across the forest. His small, ape-like mind slowly realized that he was not going to find anyone to kill unless he went to them first.

            Gohan started off, walking in the hopes that he'd find someone to crush, someone to squeeze until their bones were nothing but dust.

 

***

 

            Bardock watched his grandson head off into the distance and smiled to himself. If the boy didn't turn Saiya-jin after this, he... but that wasn't the point, now, was it? The point of the whole operation was to try to force Kakarotto to return to his roots. And where was that man, anyway?

            Bardock reached up to turn his scouter on, then stopped. He wasn't wearing one. Of course he wasn't wearing a scouter! Kakarotto had taught him to sense ki manually about a week ago. Bardock trained his senses on the horizon, focusing, trying to sense any nearby ki readings besides the huge rampaging one nearby and to his right.

            Bardock's face brightened up as he felt one to his left- 30,000. It wasn't Kakarotto, but... who was it? Zarbon and Zangya weren't back yet, that was definite, and last Bardock had remembered, he hadn't read anyone at thir-

            Bardock abruptly stopped thinking as a fist appeared from out of nowhere and socked him across the jaw, sending him tumbling.

            Bardock manipulated his fall so that on the third roll he ended upon his feet, in a fighting stance, and looked his opponent in the eye.

            Piccolo.

            For some damned unknown reason, Piccolo was at 30,000. That's nice. Bardock was at 65,000. More than twice the Namek's level.

            Bardock wiped the small trickle of blood from his mouth. "I see you've learned a bit, Namek."

            "You're not the only guy who trains," was Piccolo's response as he threw aside his turban and mantle, letting them both crash on the ground with a surprisingly loud sound.

            "You are aware that you're not even near my level, aren't you?" Bardock asked, grinning.

            Piccolo cracked his neck and got into his own fighting stance. He pointed at the rampaging ape behind him. "Is that Gohan?"

            "The one and only."

            Piccolo's face hardened. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" he asked.

            "Being a Saiya-jin, of course."

            "You didn't want to do that, trust me," Piccolo responded grimly.

            "What do you think you can do, Namek? I'm way above you in power!"

            Piccolo smiled, showing off his fangs. "We'll see about that," he answered, "We'll see."

            Piccolo clenched his fists and let out a loud, almost bestial roar and his ki exploded, making a small crater into the ground.

            Bardock just watched, mentally gauging the Namek's strength. 35,000. 40,000. There was another small explosion behind him. 45,000. 50,000. So, he WAS training, after all!

            55,000 was where it ended up. Bardock clapped lightly, and slowly, somehow giving it a sarcastic air.

            "Very good, my friend. Now let's see if you can match that little display of yours, eh?"

            Piccolo grinned again. "We'll see about that," he responded, and then the two began to dance.

 

            Gokou stopped flying as it hit him. There was another ki level in the danger zone now. One that matched Piccolo's, but was much higher.

            /Piccolo!/ he thought to himself as he started flying again, careful not to use the Kaiou-ken for fear of wasting any of his ki before.. before what? Before he had to fight and kill his son?

 

***

 

            Bardock and Piccolo's fists met with a single punch. They both glanced at each other. Both were smiling. They let go and followed it up with another simultaneous punch, their fists locking again. They grinned at each other and the ritual was repeated again. And again. And again.

            It finally ended when Piccolo changed the pattern with a kick that Bardock dodged and countered with one of his own that also missed.

            The two went at each other for a little while more, each one missing with the small, basically useless blows. A dance was the best way to describe this kind of fight.

            Piccolo led with a Makankosappo, easily dodged, and Bardock countered it with a flying kick, the first of his attacks to hit its mark.

            He knocked Piccolo back and brought both of his arms up "DOUBLE HAMMER!" he shouted as he fired two dual blasts which combined into one intertwining beam and hit Piccolo directly across the chest.

            ...Or would have had Piccolo not used the Zanzoken technique to get out of the way, and pop directly in front of Bardock with a hard punch to the gut.

            Bardock took the hit without flinching, or recoiling, or apparently noticing it at all.

            He smiled at Piccolo, who was still pressing his fist to Bardock's stomach.

            "Are you done now?"

            Piccolo looked up at him.

            "I'm a good ten thousand higher than you, you know," Bardock commented, grabbing Piccolo's hand and crushing it. "It's best that you keep that in mind." He let out a hard kick, sending Piccolo flying down to the ground and ripping his arm off, leaving it in Bardock's hand.

            "Oops. I think I broke him," Bardock commented to himself as he lowered down to Piccolo's level.

            Piccolo got up, and held the stub that ended at the elbow. He smiled quickly and started straining until a new arm popped out, covered in Piccolo-juices.

            Instead of showing surprise, Bardock simply shoulder-rammed into Piccolo; carrying him a bit, then blasted the Namek at point blank range into the woods.

            Bardock stopped and dusted his hands off. One down.

            He turned back to where Gohan was, noticing that the boy hadn't gone very far, when he got a sudden idea.

            Bardock looked up at the moon as Gokou arrived.

 

***

 

            Gokou finally made it to... to the nightmare. He looked in disbelief at what had to be his son, but at the same time couldn't be. A vague memory triggered in Gokou's mind as he saw the ape, although he dismissed it when he sensed Bardock's ki.

            He looked down to see his father transform into another horrific were-beast.

            Only, of all the strange things, Bardock's clothing seemed to grow with him.

            Gokou watched in horror as the Bardock-thing turned to face him. Only, the look that it gave was one of intelligence, definitely different from the one that the rampaging Gohan had on his face.

            "This is your heritage," he said.

            "What?" Gokou shouted at the giant ape, "What are you doing?"

            "I am returning you to our roots, my son. You lost your tail a long time ago, and it cannot be retrieved. But YOU, yourself, can. Embrace who you are! Embrace your heritage! Embrace your Saiya-jin pride!"

            "NO!" Gokou screamed, not all at Bardock. At the world. At himself. At Gohan. At Piccolo. At everything, he shouted.

            "What?" Bardock responded.

            "No," Gokou said, "I may have been born a Saiya-jin, but I'm not one now! Gohan and I are from earth!"

            "And since when has that made any difference?'

            "I was raised to believe certain things about what's right and what's wrong. I was raised to hate violence, even when it was necessary. I'm not like you, Bardock."

            Bardock started at the use of his proper name. What happened to Dad, or Father?

            "Is that really what you believe," he asked, "Perhaps you'll change your tune when you meet your son face to face." Bardock threw a small ki blast directly in front of him, lighting up the sky like a flare. The flash oflight caught the ape-boys eyes, and he lept over to the other ape and the small floating man, regarding them both.

            "Do you see him?" Bardock asked. "He is a true Saiya-jin. He has found his pride."

            "It looks to me like he's lost his mind," Gokou said, trying to keep the pure rage that had been steadily building up out of his voice.

            Gohan didn't wait for either of them to say anything before he fired a huge mouth-blast at Gokou, completely ignoring Bardock.

            "Oh, he's found it, all right," Bardock said quietly to himself. "Father against son. That's very Saiya-jin."

            Gokou was barely able to move before he was swatted out of the air like a fly. He tumbled, but was able to regain his balance before he landed, and easily avoided Gohan's next punch. Not only was the boy only about 1/5th of his power, as an Oozarou he was slow as well.

            Gokou quickly moved behind him and cut off hit tail with one quick, decisive, ki blast. Gohan's deep red eyes shone with rage when he realized what had happened.

            Gokou watched his son shrink into a little naked boy, and caught him before he could fall over. He took the outer shirt to his gi off and wrapped the unconscious Gohan in it. He held the boy tight.

            "You are my son, Gohan. This is your true heritage," he said as he held him closer. A single tear slid down his cheek.

 

***