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                                              CHAPTER SIXTY-EIGHT: OTHER MATTERS

 

 

 

 

 

            It is said that waiting builds character. It is said that through it, you can learn patience. Whoever said that did not spend an entire month with naive idiot-boy and his son, naive rage-kid- AKA Gokou and Gohan. Well, at least Gohan wasn't prone to rages- he just acted far too much like his father. Piccolo had made for good conversation at first, but after the first two and a half weeks, he had regressed into a growling, caveman-like being. Apparently, the Planet of the Saiya-jin wasn't doing too much for his temperament. Bardock pretended that nothing was wrong, but as Zarbon had pointed out, he and Seripa tended to keep away from all of the commotion. Everything would probably have gone perfectly well if not for the fact that King Cold had suddenly been delayed by another month, and Chichi had badgered everyone until she was shipped in to Planet Vegeta, too. That woman had been capable of scaring off Elite Class Saiya-jin warriors, and seemed to relish doing so at every given opportunity. Apparently, something had snapped inside of Chichi's brain when she had left earth, and she had been steadily taking it out on everything that moved or breathed ever since.

            Even Zangya had been showing signs of exasperation lately, and Zarbon had to sympathize. he himself felt like he had been put through the wringer every time that Chichi had so much as flung her gaze on him, and Salad visibly shrank away behind her husband. Chichi and Salad's first meeting was a rather eventful one, and one not happily remembered.

            "And who's this slut? As if having Bulma around night and day was enough- now we have THIS little tramp to deal with!" Chichi had shouted in her bitchiest tone possible.

            "That's my WIFE," Zarbon asserted, putting an extra emphasis on the WIFE part. "My WIFE, with whom I have been happily married for a few YEARS now, with NOTHING going wrong. Chichi, meet  SALAD, my WIFE." Somehow, Salad had kept a smiling, cheerful countenance for that first meeting. She lost it soon after.

            Now, the two women could be heard yelling at each other for up to several hours at a time... each and every day... and both of their husbands tended to lock themselves up in small, cramped hotel closets during those times.

            It was one of those times.

            And, due to a strange, small, twist of fate, both husbands were now currently cramped up in the same closet, listening in fear to the two raging demons carry on their argument from outside.

            "Who's winning?" Gokou whispered as quietly as he possibly could without being silent.

            "I don't know... and quite frankly, I don't want to know!" Zarbon whispered back just as softly.

            A sudden image arose in Zarbon's mind. He saw exactly what was going on, from a third-party perspective. he and Gokou were hiding like frightened rabbits from two PMS-ing women who weren't even directing their rages at them! Now it was Zarbon's turn to snap.

            Zarbon planned out his attack pattern- he and Gokou were going to just march out of that closet, stop the fighting, and take control of the situation, and they would do it like the self-reliant champions they were!

            Zarbon turned to Gokou to relay his plan, but one look in the Saiya-jin warriors eyes was enough to tell him that they both were ready and prepared to take command of things.

            In a flash of pure righteous power, the two of them burst from the closet, heads held high, chests out, eyes flaring with the fire of justice...

            "What do you two idiots think you're doing?!?!? YOU BROKE THE CLOSET DOOR!! YOU IDIOTS!!!"

 

 

***

 

            Five minutes later, both Zarbon and Gokou were out on the street.

            "How long do you think it'll be until they let us back in, Zarbon?" Gokou asked in a totally defeated voice.

            "At this rate... never. Someone once told me that when you're wife is going insane, you should visit someone whose wife is normal. Want to go see your father, Gokou?"

            "Sure!" Gokou exclaimed, and the two defeated warriors walked off and away from the chaos that was the hotel.

 

***

            "Amazing." Zarbon commented, arms folded. "Only five weeks and already it's showing a little bit. That's some baby you're going to have, Seripa."

            Seripa shrugged. "Bardock says that both of his other sons were like that, too- too anxious to get out to stick around the whole nine months."

            "Hey!" Gokou exclaimed from his vantage point on the balcony outside of the apartment, "I can hear the baby's heartbeat from here!"

            Zarbon glanced up at him. "Do they even have heartbeats at that age?" he asked.

            "Well, it's more of a sloshy sound, but I guess..."

            Zarbon waved his hand dismissively. "You Saiya-jin and your hearing. You can hear a month-old fetus' heartbeat, but a giant rock monster could sneak up behind you with ease."

            "Hey, I resent that!" Gokou half-shouted.

            Bardock simply walked up behind his son and pushed him off the balcony.

            "Good! Resentment is what makes a Saiya-jin!" he shouted down at Gokou, after he landed in a pile of trash in the alley.

            "How strange," Zarbon said, turning around. "My wife did the same thing to me about a month back, right before we saw King Vegeta."

            Bardock smirked. "Yeah, but I'll bet she didn't do this!" he added before sending a weak, one-handed blast down at Gokou, who had just begun to fly back up. Saiya-jin and energy ball met halfway.

            "Lucky me..." Zarbon said, backing slowly away. "Are all you Saiya-jin families like this?"

            "No, but we're really close!" Bardock answered, sending another blast down at his son again.

            "I really should be going now," Zarbon commented, backing for the door.

            "Oh, really? Don't you want to stay for tea, or something?" Bardock asked, blasting his son again.

            Zarbon bolted out of the apartment.

 

***

 

            "This is great," Zarbon told Zangya, finally able to relax. "You can't hear either of the women from your hotel room!"

            Zangya smiled a bit. "All the same, I'd still like to get out of here."

            "Well, get used to it. We have another month left."

            "Is it just me, or are we really doing absolutely nothing with our mission?"

            "Yep," Zarbon replied, relaxing. "Be thankful for the respite. I for one am not looking forward to having to fight Bojack again."

            Zangya sighed. "You have a point there. I just want to get away from this stage in my life."

            "Yeah, I would, too." Zarbon replied absently. Zangya shot him a rather strange glare.

            Sensing the temperament of the room go down, Zarbon decided to change the subject.

            "Well, Seripa's baby is coming along nicely!"

            Zangya shifted slightly uncomfortably. Zarbon continued on.

            "She's only been pregnant for just over a month, but she's already showing! From what I know, with Saiya-jin, that's a good sign for the baby!"

            He didn't get a response.

            "Isn't that good news?' Zarbon asked, somewhat puzzled. Zangya looked a bit more uneasy. Zarbon didn't take the hint.

            "Well, isn't it?"

            He waited a few more seconds. "Zangya, are you all right?"

            "No, and please stop that!" she snapped at him.

            "Are you all right?" Zarbon asked, now wondering if the Chichi/Salad syndrome had spread to yet another female. "Is this a bad time? Do you want me to go right now?"

            Zangya sighed. "No, no, don't. Go ahead and stay if you want. It's more peaceful than home with the others, right?"

            "I... guess so... are you all right?"

            "Am I ever?"

            "Good point." Zarbon looked at her again. "You seem worse than usual, though. Something troubling you more than usual?"

            Zangya hesitated for a moment. "Nothing... just nothing that I'd want to share with you. It's none of your business, anyway."

            "Oh, really?" Zarbon said, leaning forward. "Are you sure about that? Whatever it is is troubling you a great deal, and you're both my team member and my friend. What's wrong with you ends up affecting me, right?"

            "Please stop," she replied.

            "You're really confusing, did anybody ever tell you that? You're like a really strange tragedy play, only you never tell us the plot."

            "Please stop, for my sake."

            "You keep saying that, sometimes I wonder if you really want to get past this."

            Zangya made eye contact with Zarbon, and gave an extremely hurt look. "Please."

            Zarbon, however, was too riled up to really stop anything. He had had too chaotic of a day to really stop his little rant.

            "What's wrong with you, Zangya?" he exclaimed, getting up. "You act like you want to get as far away from Bojack as you possibly can, but you just dwell on him all day long! I understand that you've been through a lot, but you simply can't seem to cope with anything- you say you want to leave it behind, but then you dwell on it every day! I swear," he continued, "You're going to get ME doing this soon!"

            "Please?" Zangya pleaded, her voice just barely above a whisper. "Stop. Please."

            "No, you stop!" Zarbon shouted, and Zangya recoiled. "I can't stand to see you like this, Zangya! You're one of my best friends, and look at you! You're a mess- no, more than that! You act like... like.... Gah! I can't think of it! The point is, if you keep this up, you'll-"

            "Please, STOP!" Zangya shouted, now in tears.

            "Normally, I would," Zarbon responded, more calm now. "I respect you a great deal, Zangya. I really do. I usually respect your wishes. I've basically made a campaign of keeping people from inadvertently offending you. But the fact is, I don't want to see you destroy yourself like this. Look at you! Just mentioning Seripa and her baby got you into another depression! What's next? 'It's a beautiful day today?' Is going to bother you, too? I like you, but it's really getting hard to communicate with you anymore."

            "Just be quiet. You don't even know why I was hurt, do you?"

            "How much does it really matter?"

            "A lot more than you'd ever know!" she shouted back at him, standing up. "You want to know what I was remembering? I got pregnant about five years back, Zarbon, and Bojack just 'happened' to beat me into a miscarriage. There! That's it! Want to know anything else?"

            Zarbon looked at her blankly. "Go on," he said. "You deserve a rant."

            "It's not that I want children, or anything," Zangya started to calm down, "Especially with Him being the father, but... but that child was a part of me. The bond between a mother and her child is possibly the strongest in the universe, and Bojack knew it. That's why he took it away from me. He would have loved to raise a little Bojack Jr. in his own image, like some sort of twisted pagan god... but he much preferred to hurt me where it would hurt the most."

            Zarbon nodded, and folded his arms. "Go ahead."

            "Look, I've been through Hell and back in the last ten years- maybe even worse, and the best that you can say is to just tell me to snap out of it?"

            "Yes."

            "Stop it! I can't take it... please?" her voice had faltered into that weak half-tone again. "When I met him, I was going through some hard times- nothing much, I was just out of a job, etc. Bojack seemed perfect at first- polite, suave- I know that it's hard to believe after you've met him, but he's an incredibly good actor- and when he knew that I was committed to him, he proceeded to destroy everything and everyone that I held dear. Then he destroyed me. I couldn't leave him- don't you understand that? I couldn't!"

            "Then why don't you do it now?" Zarbon asked. "You've left him physically, but Bojack still has just as much control over you as he had before we even met."

            "I..."

            "Look," Zarbon interrupted. "I'm not even going to pretend to understand your pain right now. I can't even understand him. In my lifetime, I've probably directly killed thousands of people, and I'm at least partly responsible for the deaths of entire races- Races! I'm guilty of genocide- and so are most of the people I associate with. And in spite of this, I can't understand why a guy like Bojack would systematically destroy a woman like you with such a cruel efficiency. But none of that matters. What matters is, it's over, and you have to let go."

            "Let go?" Zangya asked, backing up a bit. "let go?"

            "Yes, let go. Just put it in the past, and don't let it dominate your life. I don't care what kind of Hell you've been through, it's still your choice whether or not to be happy."

            "No, it's not."

            "Yes, it is!" he stressed. "Look, I'm sorry if I sound a little tense right now, but this has to be done. Just... just let it go, okay? I don't want every woman in my life to go psycho on the same day!"

            "You've never experienced anything like this, Zarbon," she replied, "And I don't expect you to. I hate that man- more than I've ever hated anyone else, or ever will. You can't understand the depth of that hatred. I... can't... let... it... go."

            "Apparently, you've never met my mother-in-law."

            "What?" she started, caught totally off-guard.

            Zarbon grinned at her jokingly. "Trust me, when compared to Salad's mother, a million Bojack's is nothing. What amazes me is that that woman seems to be capable of raising her voice into this kind of ear-piercing shriek that penetrates the terrain for miles around. I'd rather fight Bojack than hear her again. Luckily, she screamed herself into a heart attack a few years back, and now I'm free."

            "You're joking," she responded. "Please don't."

            "All right, I won't." He replied. "Just please- let it go. Let everything go. Do it for me, okay?"

            "I don't know if I can, Zarbon. I really don't."

            "Then at least let that one memory go- here, come with me and visit Seripa for yourself. You've never seen anything as wonderful as the look on her face when she talks about the baby. And besides, I really need to see if Gokou has gotten back up on the balcony yet."

            Zangya shook her head. "No, no thank you. I really don't feel like it right now."

            "All right, suit yourself," Zarbon said, heading for the door. "Look, Zangya, I'm sorry if I hurt you, but I really don't like seeing you like this."

            "it's fine, it's fine," she said dismissively, although her eyes said differently. "I've had worse. Much worse."

            Zarbon nodded, and started to leave. Before he went completely out the door, he stopped and offered one last comment.

            "Just don't become a lesbian, okay?" Then he shut the door to the hotel suite, and walked down the hallway.

            Zangya stared at the door after him for a moment, letting it sink in. Then she did something totally unexpected- she burst into laughter, and dashed out the door after Zarbon.

            "Wait!" She called out, trying to get his attention. "Let me catch up! I want to see how the baby's doing!"