CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN: OLD FRIENDS
Settling in with accommodations for seven people wasn't too difficult, as Sauzaa had enough connections to provide the group with basically anything that they wanted, so five separate, large suites stocked with pretty much every creature comfort known to man was not that difficult. Not at all. In fact, he didn't even have to bribe anyone this time (A rare event when dealing with Saiya-jin). All that Sauzaa had to do to secure some of the best accommodations possible for the group was to flash his ID badge and give a little smile- Voila! 75% off the room fees!
The strange thing was, technically speaking, Sauzaa hadn't even met Gokou, Gohan, or Piccolo until AFTER they were settled into their rooms.Hhe had simply been going on his usual one-track pattern whenever he was rushed.
Although rushed wasn't the most accurate term. Busy as hell and in a hurry was closer. Supposed to be filing papers was a little more accurate. Making Doore and Neizu file them while you used your clout to give your friends biased preferential treatment was right on the dot.
"Okay, Zarbon and Salad, you have room 103," Sauzaa said absently as he passed the keys out. "Bardock, you have room 104. Zangya, room 105. Gokou and Gohan, room 106. And, you, Namek-"
Sauzaa looked up for a moment. "Oh. all right. And you, Piccolu.."
"Piccolo," Piccolo repeated.
Sauzaa shook his head. "Sorry. Anyway, Piccolon..."
Piccolo let out a low-pitched growl. Sauzaa just handed him the key to room 107. The namek took it with another growl. Gohan ran up and hugged him, apparently trying to cheer him up.
Piccolo gave a look that was both a mixture of embarrassment and compassion, and lightly patted the boy on the shoulder before turning him around and pointing him back at Gokou.
"I'll bet daddy needs a hug, too," He said in a more than sinister voice. Gohan smiled in a perfect little-boy smile and ran over to hug his father. Some random Saiya-jin from somewhere down the hall made a muffled laugh, and two seconds later was running as fast as he could to avoid the ki blast that Bardock sent after him.
"So, are you all set?' Sauzaa asked, adjusting his scouter. "I really have to go file some papers and-" He stopped abruptly as Zarbon took his hand and shook it.
"Thank you," Zarbon said, "If there's any way that I could repay you-"
"Trust me, it's okay. Doore and Neizu, though, might want some compensation."
Zarbon smirked. "How about a job babysitting an overly naive Saiya-jin, and his hyperactive son?"
Everybody laughed, even Sauzaa, who only half-got the joke.
Sauzaa checked his watch. "Well, I'd better be going now," he started, "There's probably still a lot of work left to be done, and I don't want to cheat Doore and Neizu THAT much."
Zarbon smiled and nodded.
Sauzaa waved. "Hey, on my next day off, I expect to see you all again!" he said as he walked down the hallway and left, followed by a loud "THANK YOU, MR. SAUZAA!" from Gohan.
"So, are you all set?" Zarbon asked the group from Earth from the door that joined the rooms together. Gokou nodded, smiling. Gohan followed suit. Piccolo just let out a sort of positive grunt, obviously still sore about the Saiya-jin armour thing.
Zarbon smiled at them. Salad looked up at him. "Well, then," he said, taking a theatrical sweeping bow, "If I am no longer needed, then I and my wife shall retire to our room." Still overacting, he bent down on one knee and took her hand. "Shall we retire?" he asked in what could only be called a Theatrical voice.
Salad giggled and gave his forehead a light shove, making him lose his balance. "I don't know, I think I have a headache," she grinned at him.
Zarbon snapped his fingers and put on a sarcastic expression. "Oh, well. I guess I'll just have to lounge around with the guys, then..."
She put her arms around his waist. "Of course, you COULD try to soothe it- it's not that MUCH of a headache."
"Will you two please calm down!" Bardock shouted from the other end of the room. "There are impressionable youths here!" he said, sweeping his hand toward Gokou, who just looked puzzled. Salad replied by sticking her tongue out at him.
"We'll be going, then. Right, Zarbon dear?"
"Right," he said, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. They both exited the room, closing the door just loudly enough to irritate everybody.
Bardock laughed out loud. "I hope they're not like that ALL the time..." he commented.
Zangya rolled her eyes. "Every time I've seen them together, they are. I think that Salad 's perfume drugs him, or something."
"Aye... Well, that's love for you!" Bardock responded, leaning back on the bed.
Piccolo just gave a confused look and said no more.
About fifteen minutes later, Zangya had retired to her room, so tired that she was almost completely out of it. Bardock watched her go, happy that she'd come at least somewhat out of her shell- and apparently it was all thanks to Kakarotto.
Bardock shook his head, thinking about his son. Gokouw as born with basically zero potential, yet he was already one of the most powerful Saiya-jin in existence. he was raised by idiots and numbskulls, yet he knew more about true Saiya-jin pride than about half of the planet.
And then there was Gohan. So innocent, like his father, yet deep inside like a raging demon, waiting for the perfect moment to spring out. As much as Bardock hated to say it, the boy's mother was about all there was that kept that raging demon from surfacing completely.
And, of course, there was Piccolo, the boy's Namekian protector. Bardock knew full well that Piccolo hated him, and distrusted him, but he couldn't blame him. After what they had gone through, the namek had every right to be a little grouchy from time to time. Bardock respected him. He was a rare breed of warrior. Why is it that when somebody goes to earth, he becomes some sort of super-fighter? The answer may never be discovered, and that was actually how Bardock wanted it.
He was thinking these thoughts when there came a knock on the door. Bardock jerked up and immediately glanced toward the adjoining door between rooms, wondering who it was. When the knock came a second time, he turned back over toward the door leading outside, where it was coming from.
"Who could that be?" he muttered, getting up off the bed and moving toward the door.
Not bothering to check through the peephole, Bardock opened the door to reveal a large, hulking figure.
It was a Saiya-jin, incredibly huge, and so muscled that instead of rippling he almost looked lumpy. He was nearly bald, with a large scar across his sizeable forehead. The Saiya-jin's skin tone was a dim grey, and his face was just as dim and blank.
Bardock stood aghast. "Toteppo?" He asked loudly, recognition in his eyes, then repeated himself. "Toteppo!"
Toteppo opened his mouth slowly, as if to speak, when he was knocked to the side by somebody's jumping body slam. That somebody was an exceedingly fat Saiya-jin with a mustache. His armour was beaten and dented, and he himself had tons of lopsided scars all over his body. His sparkling brown eyes reeked of pure, unbridled personality.
"And what about me?" The fat Saiya-jin bellowed, slapping Bardock across the back hard enough to send him sprawling. "Don'tcha remember me, your old buddy Panbukin!"
Bardock regained his balance and gave the man an equally strong slap on the shoulder. he smirked. "Nothing short of amnesia would make me forget you, old friend," he said, shaking his hand.
Another Saiya-jin appeared behind Panbukin quietly. it was Seripa.
Bardock smiled and shook his head.
"How did I know that you were behind this?" he asked her.
Seripa smirked. "I heard that you were bringing some relatives here. Who am I to break up the old team?" she said as Toteppo lumbered back into view.
"I only wish Toma were here," Bardock said, looking over all of his old friends. He shook his head. "But that doesn't matter. Come on, meet my son and grandson!" he said, turning back to see all three of them in their respective fighting stances.
Bardock just stared at them for a moment.
"It's okay, guys. These are some of my old friends," he said. Gokou and Gohan relaxed completely. Piccolo just grunted.
Bardock brought his two relatives over to the door.
"This," he said, motioning to Gokou, "Is Kakarotto, my son. On Earth, he was named Son Gokou. Call him whichever you want."
Toteppo and Panbukin grinned as if they were the proud fathers themselves. Seripa actually bowed and took Gokou's hand.
"I have waited years to meet you, Kakarotto," She said. "I didn't care at all about your fighting potential, you are our race's future. You and all of the other Saiya-jin in your generation."
Gokou didn't quite understand what she meant, but he got the basic gist of it. "Thank you, ma'am," he replied to her.
Bardock put his arm around Gohan.
"This," he beamed, "Is my grandson. Son Gohan. he has proven to be almost as much of a source of pride as his father. Wave to the nice people, Gohan."
Gohan waved. Panbukin bent down to his level and grinned like a psychotic clown.
"Say hi to Uncle Panbukin!" he said in his loud, over-enthusiastic voice.
"Hi!" Gohan beamed.
"Where's his tail?" Panbukin said, straightening back up.
"There was a little incident on earth," Bardock said, looking a little nervous. "None of us have our tails anymore."
"Oh, really?" Panbukin asked, straightening up a little. "I guess this means that you're not really Saiya-jin anymore, doesn't it?" he asked.
Bardock noticeably tensed before Panbukin slapped him across the back again, this time knocking him completely over.
"HA! Fooled you!" he shouted, pointing at Bardock. "You're still as much of a Saiya-jin as you were when you left for earth!"
He offered Bardock a hand and helped him back up. "Hey, it's not TOO late at night yet... want to go out for a really late dinner? Catch up on old times?"
Bardock glowed a bit. "Sure! Of course!" he exclaimed, turning around to everyone else.
Gokou and Gohan were smiling and nodding. Piccolo was glowering.
"Oh, I almost forgot..." Bardock said, waving a hand in piccolo's general direction. "This is Piccolo, a namek. Don't mind him, he's been somewhat of a sourpuss ever since I tried to kill him a little over a week ago."
Panbukin laughed and slapped Piccolo across the back.
"Don't do that again." Piccolo growled back at him. The large Saiya-jin stepped back.
"Go ahead and go," Piccolo muttered, "It's not like I can do anything about it."
Bardock put a hand on his shoulder. "Come with us!" he said. "We'd love the company!"
Piccolo brushed his hand off. "No, thanks, I only drink water," he growled back.
Seripa walked further into the room. "Let's go before everyone closes," she said. "If the namek doesn't want to go, then too bad. Just because you tried to kill him doesn't give him an excuse to be a grouch."
Piccolo glared at her.
He finally cracked a smile. It lasted for all of three seconds.