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      CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE: EN ROUTE; LATE AT NIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

                        Zangya poured herself a small drink and sat down on one of the more comfortable chairs in the "main room" of the ship, attempting to enjoy the more peaceful part of the day. To her knowledge, everybody was at the moment busy, or asleep. She loved late nights for that reason alone- nobody else was around, meaning that she could relax for at least a few hours before she went to bed. Zangya had started doing this shortly after the Majin incident, when she first found that she could spend time alone without being totally haunted by memories of Bojack.

            It was in times like this when Zangya wished that she had brought a book or two with her. Zangya closed her eyes as she took a sip from her drink and slowly began to relax, and think about things. Trying to figure out where she'd go and what she'd do in the future was one of them, and that was the most difficult. Really, she saw no future apart from this small circle that she was in, if only because she had nowhere to go. Zarbon was probably the only person who she could accurately call a friend so far, and he and his friends were the only people who Zangya could remember who had actually treated her like a real, living being. She did recognize, though, that his loyalty to King Cold was far greater than any friendship- except maybe the one between him and Salad. If Cold were to tell him to kill everyone right now, he'd probably argue a bit, but then go and do it in the end, anyway. Such was life. Your best friend could end up being your enemy- she never forgot Bojack, and how he changed, although "Change" isn't the right word for it. How he took off his mask and revealed himself was more like it. Things like that gave a very simple message: Trust was bad. Trusting people was bad. People were, for the most part, evil, cruel animals, and there was no way around that fact. There seems to be no real way to go through life without trust, but that is also the only way to do so at times.

            Her quiet thought was broken when Gokou wandered in, obviously not in the least bit tired, and just as obviously looking for the refrigerator. he stopped and regarded her for a moment, in his typical lost way.

            "You're still up? Are you having trouble sleeping, too?"

            She smiled at him. "You could say that."

            He smiled. "My grandpa always told me that warm milk was best for you if you couldn't sleep. Want me to get you some?"

            Zangya smiled. "No, thanks. I already have something."

            He waved a hand. "Ah, I'll get it for you anyway. You can drink it when you're done with that. It won't stop being milk, or anything!"

            /He's just like a ten-year-old boy, in some ways. How can such a serious fighter be so innocent and kind?/ She thought as he went into the kitchen. Zangya smiled and finished her drink. She hadn't had warm milk in... in years, and it sounded very good right about now.

            He came back out with two glasses of milk- it suddenly occurred to Zangya that she didn't even know that they HAD milk in the ship, and that it probably came out of the incredibly huge amount of supplies that Gohan's mother had packed for the boy.

            "Here you go!" He said, handing her the drink. Zangya smiled and took the glass from him, giving Gokou a gracious head-nod. Gokou sat down on a nearby chair.

            Neither one talked for a while. Gokou finally broke the silence.

            "Why are you always so sad?"

            Zangya started a bit and looked at him with a curious look. "What?"

            "I said, why are you so sad?" he asked again, "I mean, you have friends who care about you, and I can't se anything that could be wrong."

            She smiled at him. "friends? Gokou, I could count the people who I actually consider to be friends on one hand and still have enough fingers left to drink this milk."

            He waved a hand at her. "Then your standards are too high. And besides, I lived for a long time without any friends as a child, and look at me! You shouldn't be so sad!"

            "Oh, Gokou." She shook her head and smiled at him. "If I were to start telling you about all of my problems, you'd die of confusion. let's just say that I had a bad past."

            Gokou shook his head. "My father tried to kill me once. I was hit on the head as a baby. My grandpa died when I was a little boy- and from what I know, I was the one who killed him! My entire life has been one big fight after the other. I've seen friends die, and get resurrected. You've had a hard life? Everything I have I've had to fight for, including my wife and son, who I love. What could have possibly happened to you that's any worse?"

            "A lot. Believe me, a lot."

            "But is any of it still happening right now?" he asked as he took a sip of his milk.

            Zangya thought about that for a moment. "No, I guess not," she said with a sigh.

            "Then why do you even care about it? I've found that if you think too much about the past, it can eat away at you like a monster. I don't want a monster to eat you! You're too nice!"

            Zangya couldn't help but laugh a bit at that one, with a girlish giggle that she hadn't used in... in more years than she had had her last glass of warm milk.

            "I don't think that any monsters are going to be eating me anytime soon, but thanks, Gokou."

            "You're a really great person," he said. "You should show it some more."

            She smiled at him, and it suddenly occurred to her that Gokou was probably the single nicest guy on the face of the earth. "You really think so?" she asked him.

            "Yes, I do. You don't show it much, but I can tell just by looking in your eyes what a wonderful person you are."

            "You do know that that sounds like a pickup line, right?"

            Gokou scratched his head and gave an extremely puzzled expression.

            "What's that?" he asked.

            Zangya laughed quietly at Gokou's naivete, not the first to do so, nor the last.

            "You're really amazing, Gokou. I've never seen anyone as innocent as you."

            "Really?" he asked, still confused."

            "Really. If I had met you earlier, my life might have taken a different turn. Does this happen a lot?"

            Gokou took a second to think about how many of his friends used to be his enemies, and decided to just give a head-nod instead. Zangya decided at that moment that she had at least two real friends in the world, and Gokou was one of them.

            "Who are you, Gokou?"

            "what?" he asked, now totally confused.

            "I mean, what happened to you in your life that turned you into what you are> I've never seen anyone like you, Gokou. And I don't think that I ever will again, either."

            Gokou smiled. "Oh, you want to know my life story! Well, sure!"

            She took a sip of her milk. "Yes, please."

            Gokou smiled again, a warm, cheery smile that was as devoid of corruption as it was when he was only a little boy.

            "Well, I remember my grandpa, although Roshi said that he found me in the woods so I guess he wasn't really my grandpa. He taught me a lot about life, and kept this wonderful little ball with four stars on it- he called it a dragon ball. I loved him a lot. One day, he told me never to look at the moon, because if I did, a gigantic monster would come out of it, and..."

            She smiled and drank her milk as Gokou talked on about his life.

            "...And then Bulma fed Oolong the candy that made oolong have to go to the bathroom..."

            "...And then Emperor Pilaf locked us all up in a big glass case..."

            "...And then master Roshi told me and Kuririn that martial arts are not to be used to bully others or impress girls..."

            "...And then Kuririn and I made it into the finals of the Tenkai-ichi Budokai..."

            "...And then we met the Red Ribbon Army..."

            "...And then one of Piccolo's evil henchmen killed Kuririn..."

            "...And then I got to train with Kami and Mr. Popo..."

            "...And then Chichi asked me to marry her, I didn't even know what marriage was..."

            "...And then Gohan was born, and my life changed forever..."

            "...And then Toma the Saiya-jin came and kidnapped Gohan, and we had to fight him off, and I  think you know everything that happened after then, right?"

            She nodded. "I think so. Gokou, would you mind getting us some more milk? I'd like you to talk about what happened since Toma, anyway."

            Gokou smiled and took both empty glasses back to the kitchen.

            Zangya relaxed completely for the first time in years while listening to him speak.

            She learned how to trust again.

            They talked the night away.

 

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