CHAPTER SIXTY-TWO: MOMENTS

 

 

 

 

 

            "So, how long do we have?" Zarbon asked in Bardock's General direction.

            "One week," He replied, looking up. "Considerably less time than it'll take to get to see Cold."

            Zarbon nodded. "So, he was impressed by your Power level, was he? I wonder what he'll say when he sees the boy."

            "So do I," Bardock commented, angling his head a little. "Gohan may be strong for a kid- but it only surfaces when he gets mad. Otherwise, he's weak and worthless."

            "I wouldn't say that," Zarbon folded his arms, "Intrinsic worth is not determined by fighting skill."

            Bardock smirked. "You sound like a damned ethics textbook. You know that?"

            "I only do on my good days," Zarbon retorted, arms still crossed.

            "You've changed since I met you," Bardock gave a slight glance back. "You're a lot nicer- a lot more "Noble." You don't even curse as much."

            "Neither do you, my friend. People change over time."

            "I've known you for about a month. That's not 'over time."

            "Time is time. I don't know- maybe I'm hanging around Zangya too much."

            Bardock grinned. "She curses less too- in fact, not at all. Maybe she's been hanging around YOU too much."

            Zarbon shook his head. "She's steadily been getting better since she left Bojack. And she's been much, much more, well, like a real person lately. Especially since we landed here."

            "You mean, since she had that long talk with Gokou."

            Zarbon gave Bardock a strange look. "What? What does he have to do with this?"

            Bardock shook his head. "My son is everything that I am not. He is pure, kind, noble, just... the only real fault that I can find in him is his complete and utter lack of common sense. He's like a young child, only more dense."

            Zarbon smirked slightly. "I know that. Everyone who's been within three miles of Gokou knows that. What's important about it?"

            "It rubs off on people," Bardock said, turning his head over more toward the sky. "You can't be around someone that... that innocent without inheriting some of it. That is, unless you're a cruel demon."

            "Not all demons are mystical spirits that possess people," Zarbon said distantly. He was thinking of Bojack, whose real character Zarbon had only gotten a small taste of before, but that taste was enough. "Most are flesh and blood, like you and me. Most are just like you and me. Are we demons, Bardock?"

"Don't go getting philosophical on me," Bardock commented with a sideways glance at Zarbon. "Or I will kill you."

            The two shared a brief, but worthwhile laugh.

            "Think about it, Bardock. What's our line of work? Genocide. It doesn't seem so bad when you're destroying people you've never even heard of, but what if Cold were to order the destruction of the Saiya-jin race?"

            Bardock made a short grunting noise at that. "Cold and Vegeta are merging their empires. I highly doubt that they'll be blasting each other to smithereens any time soon."

            Zarbon looked Bardock in the eyes. "King Pineapple and Vegeta XVII."

            Bardock stopped and glared at him. "That was a special case. Pineapple and his people deserved what they had coming to them."

            "That's just what the history books say," Zarbon commented wryly, "The Saiya-jin history books. And you know what they say about the winners re-writing history."

            "All of the historical facts list Pineapple's people as having been..."

            "The Reports written by the WINNERS, my friend. The winners."

            Bardock glared at him.

            "What? Are you saying that we should quit?"

            "No, I'm not. And I'm not saying that we should stay, either. That's the problem with being raised with a certain set of beliefs. You can never totally think independently of them. I'm just asking this. What would you do if King Vegeta told you to kill your son and your grandson?"

            For that, Bardock had no answer.

            Zarbon decided to change the subject. "We have a week until we see Vegeta. Shouldn't we be training the boy until then- try to raise his power level a bit?"

            "You go right ahead," Bardock said, shaking his head. "I have some business of my own to attend to."

            "Seripa will get pregnant when she gets pregnant," Zarbon retorted, throwing all subtlety out the window. "In the meantime, let's make sure that when she does, her baby will have an older nephew. Shall I get the kid?"

            Bardock grinned. "I'll get the training room ready," he said.

 

***

 

            Gokou smiled and stared at the ceiling of his hotel room. He wasn't thinking of anything in particular, although occasional images of Chichi or Gohan flashed through his head. He was relaxing. For some people, relaxing meant shutting yourself out from the world and eating. For tohers, it meant playing a musical instrument. For Gokou, relaxation simply consisted of lying on his back and smiling at the ceiling.

            Life was good.

            His peace and quiet was interrupted when from out of nowhere came a flying boy- his son. Gohan had apparently decided that zooming around the ceiling at breakneck speeds was the best possible way to use up that boundless energy that little boys always seemed to have.

            He was shouting something along the lines of "SUPER GOHAN!!!!!!" as he careened around the room, flying into whatever was in his way.

            Gokou smiled, hopped up, and decided to join his boy. Taking his son by the hand, Gokou opened the window to the outside, and both of them went soaring off into the horizon. The feeling of the air as you passed by was like a refreshing breeze. For a moment, they almost forgot that they were on a desert planet filled with barbarians. They soared over the great Capitol City of the saiya-jin home planet, and of half the galaxy, taking in the fresh air and marveling at the way that the sunlight shone off the skyline and made it seem to glow.

            They stopped suddenly, hovering in the air. Gohan hugged Gokou and held on tight. "I love you, daddy," He said as if he had just lost his father and found him again. It was moments like that when Gokou started thinking about what either one of them would do without the other. Gohan had become such an integral part of Gokou's life that he really couldn't imagine existing without him- but he knew that he would, if he had to. On the other hand, how would the boy fare without his father? Gokou returned the hug and decided not to think about that.

            They stood there and watched the daily hustle and bustle of the city before returning home to the hotel room.

 

***

           

            "So, Seripa, what do you think?" Bardock asked his lover while knocking on the wall of the training room.

            Seripa leaned on the other wall. "I don't know," she said, "It looks just a little cramped to me- how many people did you say would be training in here? This room's only good for two. Besides, it doesn't have a gravity machine- and you know how important THAT is."

            "Good point. Are you sure that it's too small?"

            "You're the soldier," she smirked. "We both are, but you've had a lot more experience. What do you think?"

            "I think that it's a lot more interesting when you have eight people in a room built for two."

            "Well, I don't," She said, putting her hands on her hips. "I prefer having a lot of space. It gives more freedom of movement."

            "And freedom of movement is what's important, isn't it?" he retorted.

            "Yes, very."

            "Then it's settled? This room is too small?"

            "Not at all."

            He glanced at her. She was grinning.

 

***