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Thawing the Ice

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“I regret to inform you all, my stupid little brother has died again.”

Salza and the others laughed at that, though Cheppu did not. Frieza had already died once before along with King Cold. His return had been… Unexpected.

Cooler had not taken his place to rule the Force that first time. Why Cheppu had never known. He kept to his own planets. But the second death had made him take the reins and get everything under control. With out that Sorbet to try and hold things over it seemed like the force would finally collapse.

Kuriza was still young, and Cooler had declared him his heir. Cheppu was happy about that. Cooler kept his family close, or at least the family he valued.

She loved him so much. He truly was a better ruler then his brother. The empire quickly fell into a peace. Uneasy but profitable. With his father gone, Cooler could rule in a more economically stable manner and it was working wonderfully. After all, when every planet was theirs, where would they get more money?

“Cheppu come here.”

Cheppu fell into place by Cooler, smiling at him. He pulled her in for a kiss, in front of all the others. They had finally reached that point, Cooler not hiding he cared for her. His father was dead. Who was there to impress now?

“What do you say that once everything is smoothed over, I retire like father did, and you and I go someplace far away?” Cooler asked her quietly, his dark lips curling in a smirk.

“You retire? I doubt it.” She kissed him again, Dore making a mocking ‘daww’ from somewhere to their left.

Cooler chuckled. “Hmm. You are right. I do love taking over planets. I guess retire from being emperor of the universe will suffice.”

It was all going so well.

Until…

“What do you mean my brother is alive?” Cooler snapped, the soldier cowered.

“We don’t understand it either Lord Cooler, but he’s back. He’s here.”

Cooler spat. “Now? I thought I would be able to prepare.” He looked behind him to Cheppu and the others, “Very well, bring him in. We will meet.”

Frieza walked in not long later, smug smirk on his face. “My my you certainly took things in a new direction didn’t you?”

Cooler bowed his head. “Brother. You are back. Do tell me how you have graced the universe with your presence yet again.”

Frieza chuckled. “There was a tournament you see. For the survival of the universes. For my assistance, I was given new life.”

He went up to the charts up on the view screen. “I do expect you to step down though, despite your amazing work. You understand don’t you? Father wanted me to lead the force after all.”

“The Force is not running the way you left it. It’s a delicate balance.” Cooler said firmly, “One your selfish little hands would ruin.”

Cheppu folded her hands as she felt the hair on her arms rise. The static and energy was smothering. “Lord Cooler…” she warned him gently.

Cooler lifted his hand to her, and she grew quiet. “I’ve been preparing everything for your son to take over. I think you should retire, brother. All these deaths can not be good for you.”

Frieza’s smile fell. “I see.” He said it casually, and without even a thought he pointed behind himself and fired. Cooler took the hit to the chest, the death beam passing through him.

Cooler staggered, clutting his bleeding chest. Salza and the others stood, ready to defend.

“Come now. Surely you fine warriors can see that the only logical solution is to join me.” Frieza said boredly, finger armed and ready to send another strike, “You have one chance. Join me. Or don’t, and join my brother in death.”

“We serve with Lord Cooler.” Salza hissed, “Not tiny welps who-”

Salza was cut off, a blast going through his throat. Frieza scowled at him as he fell to his knees, clutching his throat as he choked. “Anyone else want to die with my brother like a bunch of fools?”

Dore, Neiz and Cheppu all got into battle stances, glaring at him.

“Fools it is then.”

The three of them split apart, Cheppu darting to Cooler’s side. Neiz and Dore both moved to strike frieza, who did not bother moving out of the way. Their fists connected with his face, and Frieza scoffed.

“Pathetic.” He blasted both of them away, sending them into the walls of the ship.

Cheppu turned to Frieza, blocking Cooler’s form with her body. He could survive the blow. His race was hardy and could survive being in pieces. But he was still injured. Frieza motioned to her with his hand, engulfing her with an orb of energy, and moving her away from Cooler.

Frieza grinned, his finger pointed right at her. Cheppu cast him the most withering glare she could through the energy field he had encased her in, and he laughed. “Finally you show some real emotion.” He looked back to Cooler, motioning him to stand, “Show me that final form again, brother. I want to show you mine.”

Cooler coughed, his elbows shaking as tried to push himself onto his feet “I see our promise to Father no longer stands then.” He said quietly, blood trickling from his mouth.

“You heard him. He would not allow fratricide as long as he drew breath.” Frieza smirked, “And he’s very much in hell right now.”

Frieza pouted as Cooler still did not stand. “Oh dear did I hit you too hard? Oh well. I suppose I can show you anyway.”

The air rippled, and with each step towards Cooler the number on Cheppu’s scouter rose until it glitched out and was unreadable. When Frieza was before his brother, his white skin was gold.

“Impressive yes? Shame, if you trained harder you might of reached this too.” He looked over his shoulder back to Cheppu, who kept glaring.

“Now what should I do with her?” Frieza rubbed his chin in a dramatic fashion, “She’s not like the others is she brother? You love her don’t you?”

Cooler only wheezed, glaring up at Frieza.

“Don’t worry. I won’t kill her. You see, unlike the others, she has something they don’t. A loyalty to the family. Not you. The family.”

Cooler chuckled. “You see it as it is, brother.”

No. No! She was loyal to Cooler. And only him. She opened her mouth, but then Cooler looked at her. A silent stare. An order to behave and be quiet. Cheppu closed her mouth, looking down and away from him.

So she was going to live then?

Cheppu closed her eyes tightly, It was quiet. Just whistle of a blast, and a wet thud. When she opened her eyes again, Cooler was dead, Frieza looking at her with a grin. “You’re lucky you know. If it was not for my grandfather’s training I would kill you too.”

He pointed to the floor and Cheppu kneeled, a fury burning as hot as the sun filling her. But she closed her eyes, a pleasant smile on her face.

“Swear your loyalty to me, like a good soldier. Just like you were taught.” Frieza looked at his nails, his golden skin shining under the lights of the ship, “You are simple one after all. Vapid and empty. Loyalty conditional. My brother was a fool to think that you could be in love with him. So soft like our mother… Well, his mother.”

She felt bile in her throat at the thought of doing what he asked, but she lowered her head. “I swear to serve you, Lord Frieza.” She said pleasantly, her words hollow and meaningless.

“Good. Now let's go see my boy. I have not seen him in seven years.” Frieza snapped his fingers pointing to the soldiers who had gathered at the door, “Toss this mess out, and burn Salza’s corpse. I need to address my men.”

Cheppu got up, following Frieza out the door. She didn’t look back.

She couldn’t.

The hatred festered inside of her like nothing else. Cooler had taught her to express herself, how to enjoy things. She could never be loyal to Frieza, never. No matter what Frieza thought, no matter how much Cooler wanted her to live, she wouldn’t let this act pass.

But she had no idea how she would take revenge, or undo what he had done.

Cheppu had been left with Kuriza once the family reunion was over. Despite her now practically being the strongest living soldier in the force, Frieza saw it fitting to leave her behind. Perhaps he did not really trust her at all.

No matter, she was happy to be out of his sight.

The days went about in a monotony of training and other mundane things. Though there was talk of Kuriza starting his own collection of planets. Cheppu would not mind fighting again. Anything to not dwell on the feelings in her gut that put that mask of happiness back on her face.

Then the rumors hit. Talk of two new Saiyans, talk of Frieza returning from earth. Rumors of wish granting dragon balls. Three months before Frieza had gone to Earth to get the dragon balls, with him, two saiyans. When he returned, the Saiyans were gone, and Frieza was furious for one reason or another.

News didn’t travel as fast as it once had in the force, unfortunately.

Cooler had never looked into the rumors of wish granting dragon balls. Namek had very nearly wiped out every member worth anything to the Force. Zarbon, Dodoria, Even the whole Ginyu Force was wiped out.

Cooler had deemed them bad news. Tempting low hanging fruit that spelled an end to anyone wanting them for selfish reasons. Immortality wasn’t worth the risk of getting killed like Frieza had twice over.

But her need was not selfish. Not at all.

That night, four months after Cooler had died, she tossed off her scouter, going to a pod and ripping out the tracking system. Her face was blank and her eyes intense. She shoved rations inside, not stopping as she felt like someone was watching her.

“What are you doing?”

Cheppu turned to look at Kuriza, who was looking at her concerned.

“I am leaving.” she said, going back to stripping out anything that could of been used to track her.

“Do you not like being here?” Kuriza frowned. He looked sad. The child was so blind to what others felt. To what they wanted. Just like Frieza. At least he had a heart.

“I love serving you, Prince Kuriza, but Lord Cooler is the one I gave myself to.”

“My uncle is dead.”

“Yes. Your father saw to that.”

Frieza had omitted that part. But now Kuriza knew. Good. Let Frieza try and explain that. Though she wondered if Frieza was evil enough to kill his son… She hoped not.

Kuriza was silent, but did not stop her. He turned away, acting like a child who was trying to not see the mess a parent was pointing out to him.

Cheppu tossed in water rations finally, getting in. She lifted off, typing in Earth’s coordinates. It would be a three month journey. She would have to make pit stops to resupply in between. It would increase her risk at being caught.

But she didn’t care.