She opened her eyes into a wizened green face filling her vision. The face smiled at her, and she grinned back before leaning forward and pressing her forehead to his. Her body shook slightly with laughter as she felt the antennae tickle her hair. "Mmm... what'd I miss," she mumbled before arching her back into a yawn that turned into a moan partway through, the bones of her spine audibly cracking in a manner that caused her companion to wince as the sound reached his large, pointed ears. She was about to stop, her own face making an expression of sympathy, until he wrapped his arms around her and started putting pressure on her back, sharp fingernails leaving scratches on bare skin and strong albeit wrinkled hands digging into knots and forcing out even sharper pops and louder moans than before.
The woman let out one last moan after he finally stopped his ministrations and then sagged forward so she was chest to chest with her viridescent companion, her brown-furred tail unconsciously reaching out until it was behind his waist, pulling him even closer. "Sorry," she finally told him. "Didn't mean to..."
"It's perfectly fine," he told her. "I know what sleeping while sitting upright like that does to you."
She nodded and reached over towards where her bra lay on the tile, pulling it on while still sitting close to him. "God's not supposed to sleep on the job though, is she?" she asked slightly timidly, frowning as she re-crossed her legs in an attempt to return to a proper Lotus, with her feet actually on her knees.
"My predecessor did," God answered, "just as, in all likelihood, your successor may." He smiled slightly at her. "More important, and more inappropriate, I suspect," he began gently but teasingly, "Is God attempting to work even while disrobed."
She blinked, then glanced at the scraps of her uniform robes, the Kanji "Kami" for "God" miraculously unmolested. "The full moon's so much closer up here," she whined with a pout. "I can't help it if the sacred mantle of the office can't stand up to it."
God smiled at her, then placed a kiss on her forehead before standing up, in turn making her scramble to her own feet to help him up only to be pushed away, even as his own joints made noises belying his age. "Maybe one of these days you'll convince me me to let you get that to woman modernize everything for you," he told her. She grinned back expectantly. "Not today," he told her. "Now, come, I've drawn you a bath, and laundered a fresh set of Earth clothes."
She blinked in confusion, before her eyes widened as she remembered the date on the calendar. The woman whooped with joy and shot forward, wrapping God in a hug before pressing her mouth to his, and then immediately zooming off into the depths of the temple.
Today was the day she would reunite with her family.
A loud crash in the mountains shook the Earth itself, and disrupted the
nap meditation of a certain round-bellied farmer. Grumbling, the farmer got up and headed around to the back of the tractor to pull out a shotgun, then waddled over to the crater of a falling meteorite in the middle of their field of crops.
The things I do for this fucking family, the farmer thought dourly, before cocking the shotgun, and raising it to aim down the sights, carefully inching forward with slow steps to peer over the lip. The meteorite was made of steel, or perhaps some other metal, and it opened slowly (definitely not a meteor, then) as a tall, broad-shouldered man with hair longer than the farmer's own slowly pulled himself out of the pod before bursting into motion and coming to stand in front of the farmer, who backed up out of instinct.
"So the creatures on this planet are still alive," the man growled with a grimace. "Kakarot, were you even trying?"
"Hey!" the farmer called out, blowing some hair out of the way and readjusting the overalls around their gut, "You're on my fuckin' property! Get your twunk-gigolo looking ass the hell outta here and back to whatever intergalactic playgirl cover you came from, or I'll— I'LL!"
To the immense confusion of the alien visitor, the strange, fat female's hair actually changed color from blonde to blue, and the irises of the eyes changed from green to black. For a moment, he was struck by the memory of tales he had heard at his mother's side, of a golden warrior born of pure lust for battle above all else, the greatest and most unstoppable force ever known in the entire universe in which they lived. He hesitated for a moment, wondering if the strange form would return, or if it could even be a threat to him.
Then the blue-haired being shrieked and fired her weapon at the man who instinctively moved to deflect it, only to blink in shock when his hand actually made contact with something. "Ballistics?!" he cried aloud. "Are these the best weapons your planet has!? How could Kakarot fail us so utterly?!"
The Farmer started to back away towards her tractor, keeping one hand on her belly as she hunched around it protectively, and with no small amount of contempt the alien flicked the slug back, expecting the projectile to instantly slay the weak native. Instead, to his surprise, the bulging and bulbous blue-haired
beauty being pointed a finger at the slug and yelled "DODON-PA!" causing a beam of Battle Power to vaporize the metal round and graze the side of the alien's cheek.
The device on the side of his head made beeping and whirring noises as he stared in shock, until he watched while the woman's expression and scent instantly went from determination back to fear, to the alien's delight.
"TEEEEENNNN!!!!!" she shrieked aloud, "HEEEEEELLLLPPP!"
The sound echoed around the surrounding countryside, and out of curiosity he elected to wait and see what the fuss could possibly be about. He wasn't too disappointed when a handsome and strong-looking three-eyed man appeared floating in the air with a serious look on his face. "Launch!" the man shouted down. "Are you hurt!?"
The man reached for his Scouter, hoping for a serious challenge, and was profoundly disappointed. "Only 250?!?" he cried aloud. "What the hell has Kakarot even been doing here?!" The Earthlings weren't providing him any answers, and in a moment of irritation he lost control of his tail, causing it to lash behind him with the fur bristled, causing the two to gasp in shock and... recognition?
He picked up the woman by the hair on her head, causing her to cry out. The three-eyed man rushed forward and threw a blow, but the spacefarer scarcely even noticed it. "Have you seen a tail like mine before?" he demanded. Five eyes glared at him in response, earning only a scoff in return. Before he could repay this slight however, the Scouter beeped and he tilted his head to look in another direction. "A power of 322?" he said aloud. "Could that be?" The man lifted into the air, pulling Launch by her hair, causing her to scream once more. Tenshinhan charged him again, but a single blow left him on the ground, gasping for breath. The man from the pod glanced at Launch for a moment, then grabbed her behind her legs, taking her with him even as she screamed at him. He was getting hungry, after all...
The Great Demon King stiffened in his meditation and then snapped to alertness. "W-what?! What is this power I'm sensing?" He shook his head, scarcely daring to believe it. "It couldn't be Son Goku or— It's too horrible!" The terrifyingly immense power took the form of a man, who in less than a moment landed on Piccolo's grassy knoll. Piccolo scowled when he recognized one of Son Goku's wretched friends struggling in the man's grasp. Even more sickening to the Mazoku was the fact that she'd quite clearly been bred in the manner of all other disgusting humans. Had it been by the stranger?
The man peered at him up and down, unsettlingly like he was judging how good of a meal he'd make. "You're not Kakarot," the man finally said.
"What do you want?" Piccolo demanded. "Who are you? You have some business with me?"
"No," the man answered, "I was just looking for someone."
"Then unless you're in a hurry to die," Piccolo told him, "Keep moving."
The man had the audacity to laugh at that. "Well aren't you the feisty one," he said mockingly. "I do like 'em feisty."
His blue-haired captive seemed to take this as a cue to bite down on his thumb, and Piccolo in turn saw that as an opportunity to unleash his most destructive Devil's Wave with a roar. He grinned to himself as the smoke rose into the air. Such was the fate of the insolent who—
Piccolo froze in horror as the smoke cleared and revealed the interloper not only still standing, but completely unfazed. Even the mortal woman seemed relatively undamaged, apparently the man had shoved her behind him. She coughed and sputtered on the ground, with a few minor burn marks, and a thin line of blood dripped from a cut across her cheek, but aside from that, she seemed fine. Even the energy of her babe seemed unchanged, he could confirm after extending his senses briefly.
"You call that an attack?" the man mocked. "Pathetic. Although it does seem effective at kicking up dust."
...Oh. That's which one of Son Goku's friends and Son Gine's adoptees this was.
Also (NOT!) great was how insignificant Piccolo's power was to this stranger, who proceeded to rub it in. "I dare say your power is almost respectable, emphasis on the 'almost'. But if that's all you've got, does that make it my turn then? Shall I show you one of my moves?" The man raised his hand, and for a moment, as he prepared to meet his fate, Piccolo was struck by how familiar it was, the stance and the energy itself. It was almost just like...
Piccolo was spared when the strange device on the man's face began to beep loudly and shrilly, almost painfully to Piccolo's hearing. The man seemed to almost forget Piccolo entirely as he considered the machine. "Another new signal? It looks like another strong battle power..." almost distractedly, he easily reached out for the girl and lifted her by the hair, before slinging her over his shoulder, giving Piccolo an unfortunate perspective of her backside before she and the man floated into the sky with flight. "It's that way," Piccolo heard the man say, "Range twelve nine oh nine and closing. That must be the biggest power level on this puny planet. And if so... it must be Kakarot!"
The man shot off into the distance fast, and as Piccolo watched, the woman stared him down judgmentally, until eventually they were both out of sight.
Piccolo gasped and collapsed to the ground, gasping for breath. "He's miles away already... And I still can't stop trembling. Who was that?"
"He singed some of yer leg hairs."
The landscape below continued to rush by.
"Got mine, too."
The wind blew past them, but thankfully her hair remained out of her face, and, more importantly, her nose.
"I'm not scared of ya anymore, tough guy, wanna know why?" Hopefully, if she boasted enough, he'd decide she wasn't worth the trouble and just drop her, not knowing she could fly too.
The man chuckled and actually replied to her this time. "By all means."
Launch grinned to herself. "Because I know Son Goku, and I know that he's going to take you down, and even if he doesn't, then his—"
Suddenly, the man stiffened under her, before letting out a noise and holding her out by the shoulders and snarling at her. "What did you just touch me with?" he demanded, before his eyes widened in horror as he saw a kick distend out of her skin and almost touch him in his own abdomen, he was holding her so closely. "What's the matter with you?" he demanded. "Do you have some sort of internal parasite??"
Launch looked at him flatly. "...You have no idea where babies come from," she said aloud.
"Of course I do!" the man said indignantly. "They come from Incubators!"
The two stared at each other for a moment, and she considered trying a Solar Flare, only for him to put her over his shoulder again before she could make a move.
First time in ages she hasn't felt like she had to piss herself, and it just had to be right when she was kidnapped by a literal fucking alien. That would have been a perfect distraction, but no, now her body has to be cooperative. Fuckin' fantastic.
At least his butt still looked nice at this angle.
Gine rubbed her hair one last time with the towel, then started pulling on her tights and her bra and pulled on her T-Shirt and denim shorts. She sat in front of a vanity mirror in her room and started putting in her rings and studs, then clasped her choker around her neck. She was about to leave her room and fly away from the Lookout when she heard a noise and saw a light flash on her crystal ball, so after a moment's hesitation she decided to check what her notifications said. The moment she logged into her GodTube account, she checked her messages.
She wasn't surprised when she was immediately pulled into a groupchat, but she still hadn't expected it either.
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: W00T!!! Big G in the Hizzouse!
Onion Mom: hi chronoa.
KaioKinning: Did you see her newest video?
Onion Mom: not yet.
WhisKiTHOT: I quite enjoyed your most recent upload. Tell me, how did you do those special effects?
Onion Mom: i dont use special effects.
WhisKiTHOT: Oh? Then you and your "son" and "grandson" actually did transform into beasts?
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: Whoa! Not cool! No racism in the Team Universe 7 Group Chat!
WhisKiHOT: Oh, my apologies, it's just that if one didn't know any better, one might think you were actually a Saiyan.
Onion Mom: thats because i am.
Onion Mom: lol.
Shin: I thought you were the new god of the planet Earth?
Onion Mom: i am.
Onion Mom: i explained everything in my channel description and my first video.
Onion Mom: and in some of my collabs with chronoa.
KaioKinning: Have you seen her newest one?
Onion Mom: not yet.
Onion Mom: im supposed to be going to a party right now.
Onion Mom: so.
XxZaMaSumOrTaLsLaYeR420xX: What in the name of Zen'O is a Ningen doing here.
XxZaMaSumOrTaLsLaYeR420xX has been removed from the chat
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: Nope! The N-word is against the rules!
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: That goes for your hairless pussy too, Whis!
Shin: I apologize if this brings up any bad memories, but I thought the Saiyans were all nearly wiped out.
Gine closed her eyes, and forced herself to breath in and out for a moment.
Onion Mom: youre right.
KaioKinning: Watch Chronoa's new video Gine, don't make me order you as Kai of your planet's Galaxy.
Gine forced the chat away from view, and queued up Chronoa's channel and selected the newest thumbnail in the list. It loaded instantly, and Gine's breath caught when she saw the video load up. It was a scene from not that long ago, perhaps not even a month, of herself fighting a masked figure above a twilit castle.
Chronoa had warned her that a pair of demons sought to disrupt the timeline, and it was critical that Gine and only Gine be the one to stop them. Despite this, she'd received help from Kami and from her grandson in stopping the first, but the diminutive Kai claimed that their help didn't matter, as long as none of her actual sons or daughters were there.
The second demon had summoned a Saiyan in a mask, and something about the other Saiyan's scent had sent Gine into a blind rage. Until now, she'd had no idea what it could possibly have been. Despite everything she tried, she'd had no memory of the incident after the fact.
Looking at the video now playing in front of her, she was starting to get a suspicion. She put her glasses on just to be sure, before sitting back and shaking her head in disbelief. But there was no arguing with the truth she could plainly see with her own eyes. She recognized that hair behind the mask, and those scars on that body.
She didn't know how long she sat there, but at some point she must have closed the video, because now the chat was the main thing she could see.
KornyKitty: How the heck did a two-bit, fifth-rate Mazoku like him actually get help from her?
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: Apparently, she took over his whole plan. Originally he was going to take out Piccolo, then wish for immortality.
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: Before anyone says anything, yes, I know.
Onion Mom: thanks @KaioKinning, @Biggest-Bardock-Fangirl-of-all-Time.
KaioKinning: No problemo, sorry you had to find out that way :(
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: There was actually more in the scroll than I could put in the video, but I couldn't really understand what was happening, and the parts of it I did understand.
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: uhh.
Onion Mom: would have broken the sexual content restrictions in the terms of service?
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: ...Yeah, but. Not the way you might assume.
Onion Mom: oh.
Onion Mom: then i was with the demon, not my husband.
Kamiccolo: You remember that day better now?
Onion Mom: i remember a lot of blue.
She also remembered when the other Saiyan (her Saiyan, he was hers) grabbed and broke the arm of and choked whoever she was kneeling in front of. She remembered yelling at him to stop, and then...
Before he'd vanished again, he'd shook his head as he looked at her, then he'd looked at—
Onion Mom: wait.
Onion Mom: was gohan there?
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: He was actually asleep! Probably tuckered himself out from using all that energy.
Kamiccolo: And the apple.
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: And the apple!
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: Besides, I hear Earthlings can't remember anything from before they're three years old anyway.
Onion Mom: he turned 4 five months ago.
Onion Mom: and hes not a pure earthling.
Onion Mom: i actually remember a handful of sights and sounds from when i was still in my nursing capsule.
Onion Mom: if his mother finds out she'll kill me.
Bulma grinned as she stepped onto the tiny island again. It hadn't changed a bit. "Yo, anyone home?" she called, before slinking through the already-open doorway. "Long time no see!" the purple-haired genius called out to her friends with a grin.
"Bulma!" Son Krillin exclaimed while carrying some fresh food from the oven.
Muten Roshi pushed himself to his feet carefully while carrying a frothing mug full of beer. "Wasn't sure you'd make it, it's been way too long, huh? Ya don't always have to wait for an invitation, y'know?"
Bulma smiled fondly. "I'm here now, aren't I? And with goodies too," she said as she raised a box of tea cakes, nearly hitting Roshi with it in the process. "Aren't I sweet?"
"You didn't have to go to all that trouble," Roshi told her while blushing and rubbing the back of his head awkwardly, "you could have just..."
Roshi froze for a moment like a deer in headlights then turned away from Bulma and forced Krillin to step in. "Hey, I, uh, notice Yamcha isn't with you," he began, before shrinking back when Bulma exploded at the name.
"Yamcha?!" she practically hissed, "That jerk?! How should I know?! I make a wish for him and this is the thanks I get?! Uh uh, no way!" She took a pose with her hands in the air and a manic look in her eye. "I'm better off without him and so are you!!"
Roshi sighed. "Guess nothing's changed for those two either," he muttered.
"Anyway," Bulma said while blatantly trying to change the subject, "Why isn't Launch here?"
"GAH! What is this liquid you're leaking onto my armor?!"
"I thought that was the name of this Son Goku's wife!"
"Hey, who told you about that?"
"Haven't seen her or Ten in a while," Krillin mused. "Apparently they're training somewhere."
"WE'RE BAAAAACK!" a familiar voice called from the front of the house.
Chi-Chi let out a frustrated huff as she stepped off the Nimbus cloud. "I'm here too!" she called brightly, before sighing, and burying her face in the hat on the head tucked under her chin. "But none of ya ever want to see me," she muttered.
"Sorry sis," Krillin said, taking the small monkey-tailed boy in a ridiculous Chinese Emperor's costume from her as she knelt down for the child as the boy made grabby hands at the bald monk. "Oof! Gettin' pretty big there, buddy," Krillin said as the child latched on to him.
"Ya look ridiculous," she hissed under her breath, "he's already almost half yer size."
"Yeah, and Goku's like half of yours," Krillin whispered right back, "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you have a micro fet—"
"What're you guys whispering about," Goku said as he leaned down, wrapping an arm around his brother and his wife.
"NOTHING!" the two insisted, standing back to their full heights, with Krillin up to Goku's chest and Chi-Chi only a head taller than him, not counting her bun.
Bulma blinked, struggling to parse the conversation. "Wait, NO WAY!" she shrieked.
"IS THIS KID YOURS, KRILLIN!?" she yelled, causing Chi-Chi to face-fault, and Krillin nearly did the same if not for Gohan wrapped around his shoulders and neck like a baby monkey.
"He's ours," Goku said, pulling Chi-Chi against him with a grin, which looked absurd when she tried to lift her leg and swoon like a romantic heroine; while with Son Goku's strength he was easily able to lift her and carry her weight, the proportions would remind anyone watching of, well, a cow and a monkey.
Bulma and Roshi gaped. "YOURS!?" they cried aloud.
"Yup!" Goku said, before looking down at the boy as he squirmed in Krillin's arms, before finally getting out as the monk set him down. "Say hi," Goku encouraged gently.
"Um, hello!" the tiny boy squeaked before bending at the waist, forcing Bulma, Turtle and Roshi to bow back out of courtesy.
"His name is Gohan," Chi-Chi said proudly.
Roshi nodded somberly. "After your Grandfather, eh," he noted.
Bulma blinked. "Doesn't that get confusing with both of them around?" she asked.
The three Son family adults stiffened, as did Roshi at Bulma's side. "Grandpa passed in his sleep the week after the wedding," Goku finally explained.
Bulma covered her mouth with her hands and paled. "Ohmigosh" she said, "I had no idea."
Krillin sighed. "Mom took it the hardest, I think," he confided. "I'm so glad that we decided to have this little meet-up, even if not everyone can make it."
"Do gods even get days off?" Bulma snarked before crouching down to be closer to Gohan's level. "So, cutey, how old are you?"
Gohan startled, and seemed to attempt to get closer to his father's leg. "Oh," he said, holding up first three fingers, then adding his pinky and saying "I'm 4, miss!"
"Wow, a little gentleman," Bulma remarked, shooting a glance up at the boy's parents. "You sure he's either of yours?"
"Of course, don't know whose else's he could be," Goku replied in confusion.
Chi-Chi huffed. "I am a dignified princess," she said, her accent only making itself slightly noticeable, as she attempted to enunciate clearly.
"Grandpa and Nana say I should learn all my manners from my uncle Krillin," Gohan said to the world, making Goku giggle like it was the best thing he'd ever heard, Chi-Chi to turn red with rage and Krillin to blush briefly in embarrassment before turning pale when Chi-Chi loomed over him. Eventually Krillin couldn't take the pressure any more and dove right between Chi-Chi's legs and under the purple skirt of her dress, making her squeal in embarrassment and leaving her so shocked she actually let him keep running for a full second before she gave chase, until the two of them were on opposite sides of the island, trying to copy each other's movements.
Bulma shook her head, even as adults it seemed, those two never changed. "So, Gohan," she said, looking back at the boy, "what do you wanna do when you grow up?"
"I'm gonna be a great scholar!" Gohan said, like it was rehearsed, but Bulma couldn't really tell how genuine he really was. There was definitely a spark in his eyes, but it reminded her more of the spark in his father's before a fight than it did the spark in her own before conflict of a more cerebral sort.
Then her eyes widened as she finally took in the brown furred limb emerging from his backside and through a slit in his pants. "Oh," Bulma said, "A tail."
"Yup," Goku nodded, "I've still got mine, see?" He demonstrated by waving it around, eventually tickling Bulma's nose with it as he grew a mischievous grin.
"Transformin's funny," Gohan mumbled, "An' I don' think I like it, but sometimes I get to spend some time every month with Nana and Mr. Kami, or we all go camping and sleep outside with the animals under the stars."
"So, when's he going to start training?" Bulma asked with a giggle, causing Chi-Chi to freeze mid-attack, and turn back to where the rest of her family were on the beach.
"The world's at peace," she insisted firmly, "and the last thing any son of mine is going to be is a dummy who can't provide for himself, or even worse, a bully who takes things from others!" Chi-Chi sniffed haughtily. "Tail' trainin' and self-defense to take care of himself are fine and good," she continued, causing Krillin and Goku to roll their eyes like they'd heard it all before, "and learnin' to control that transformation is going to help keep him and everyone around him safe."
"What about flying," Krillin pointed out, "that's useful too, right?"
Roshi scowled, and then finally spit. He spit on Krillin's shiny head, then he spit on Goku, then, after a moment's hesitation, he spit on Bulma and Chi-Chi. They stared at him like he'd finally gone senile, and it made him want to spit all over again. "You call yourselves turtles, and you've all taught yourself how to fly?!" he yelled at them, thunking his staff against one of Chi-Chi's giant shins as he did so. Brute of a gal didn't even seem to notice. "None of you understand anythin' about Martial Arts, and I take back everythin' I ever said about retiring! Next tournament, I'll show you all how it's done!"
Everyone laughed at the old man's antics, except Goku, normally the first and loudest to laugh along. He stiffened, then turned to look at the horizon, his whole body tense.
"EVERYONE! GET BEHIND ME!" Goku called, taking a stance to shield the others with his body, feeling relief when he felt the others (even Bulma!) take their own stances.
Except, he realized, Gohan, who simply crouched and hid behind Goku's leg.
Before he could force his son back further, however, the immense, terrifying power was in front of him with arms crossed. It was a man with long, familiar dark hair, wearing a strange sort of armor with large shoulder-pads and hip-pads.
He also seemed to be wearing a pair of black panties and had red garters around his thigh on bicep, reminding him vaguely of that "bachelor party" Krillin had tried to throw him.
"What are you, some kind of space-stripper?" Bulma asked sarcastically.
There was a cough from besides the man, and Goku's eyes widened when he recognized the energy and the scent of one of his friends. "Good one, B," Launch said, with her hand on the side of a large belly, and Goku felt a chill run through him. He knew what that meant now as well.
"You're all grown up," the man began with no preamble, as if continuing some other conversation, "but I can tell that's you at a glance, Kakarot."
Goku frowned, that name was familiar, somehow, in a way that made his brain itch. Krillin, Bulma and Roshi all shot each other a glance, suddenly remembering various incidents where they'd heard a certain mother finally grow impatient, or whisper a name sweetly in her sleep as if it were a lullaby to a newborn. Only Chi-Chi and Gohan seemed to have no clue what the stranger could possibly mean.
The stranger smiled, and suddenly everyone present except Goku turned pale, because they recognized those facial features making that expression, especially with the long, messy hair accompanying it. "My," the man said, "you look just like our father."
A pin could have dropped in the silence that ensued. Instead of giving everyone a chance to soak it in, however, the man continued. "What the fuck have you been doing here all these years? Your mission was to terminate every native life form on this planet! Why haven't you carried it out!? The pod should have told you on the way here, the same message over and over, with your name, your orders, to wipe out every life form here," and suddenly Goku was struck by his earliest memories, voices that not even mama and grandpa could completely drown out, as Bulma was reminded of the machine in her garage and the sounds it played in some alien tongue that she had only been able to 'override' by dismantling it completely.
The man scoffed and shook his head. "Did you take a blow to the head? How are we supposed to sell an inhabited planet, Kakarot?" he wondered aloud, and Goku stiffened. Sometimes he couldn't recognize people after a haircut, not if he didn't already know their energy signature and their scent beforehand, and maybe he couldn't always make numbers add up right, but there was nothing wrong with him.
Although, speaking of, the man's scent... It was obviously foreign from Earth, and didn't smell like the breeze and dirt and seas that surrounded everything Goku had ever known, but some part of it reminded Goku of the way his dirty clothes were immediately after a workout, or the way he could recognize the scent of his mother if he hadn't seen her in a long time. And that hair... it was almost like mom's, but longer, with the pointy widow's peak she and Gohan had whenever they turned into Apes.
"If you're really my brother..." Goku began, "then why didn't my mother ever mention you to me?"
Raditz stiffened, and looked at him with shock, before a frighteningly blank expression came over his face. "You have a mother," he said flatly.
"Yes," Goku replied, "and her name is Son Gine."
The man reacted to the second name like he'd been slapped and staggered forward and looked down at the ground, his eyes wide with shock. "But," he stammered, "how... why wouldn't she..."
"I know why," Chi-Chi said as she stepped towards the man even as he began shaking. "What mother wouldn't be ashamed of a long-haired, delinquent-looking drunk like—"
"CHI-CHI!" Goku yelled at his wife, "GET BACK! DON'T!"
Chi-Chi saw movement in the corner of her vision too late, as a hand rushed towards her cheek and grabbed her skull before, with a sickening snap and a loud crack, her head was turned all the way around and she fell to the beach with wide, unmoving eyes.
Biggest Bardock Fangirl of all Time: Listen, I'm just saying, in the original print of the manga he only said he was three years old, and if you look at the panels you can still see he's drawn only holding up three fingers.
Gine felt a chill and her breath caught as an energy signature close to her suddenly vanished. She also realized she had been so wrapped up she hadn't noticed the power level stronger than her own. She didn't recognize it, (But something about it was achingly familiar) but she knew that anything that powerful could only have one source. And where one came, if they failed, another would be along in due time.
So she grasped the soul as it passed by her Lookout, and found herself standing, for the first time, in front of Enma Dai-Oh, with a confused and shaken Chi-Chi by her side.
"Gine?! What's going—!?"
YES, I WOULD QUITE LIKE TO KNOW THAT AS WELL.
"Son Chi-Chi requires training, to protect our world from incursion by a threat greater than any it has ever known," Gine said humbly. "Does she have your permission to proceed to King Kai, King Yemma?"
Yemma stared for a moment, his gaze briefly lingering on each of the two women and then 'Hmm'ed and 'Hah'ed for a moment, as he looked about his massive desk, and Chi-Chi found herself wondering if she had dreamed up the entire day so far, as she looked to the desk, to the lines of clouds waiting behind her, to the— the—
The halo floating above her head.
AH, SON CHI-CHI, LET ME SEE HERE... Yemma said as he pulled out a book with the characters for Chi-Chi's name on it; it looked small in his massive hands, but was in actuality the size of her entire body!
Chi-Chi turned to the woman at her side, and threw the hardest punch she could.
And for her trouble, she felt her knuckles crack the instant they reached Gine's face.
"Take me back to my son, right now," Chi-Chi demanded through the pain.
Gine looked at her with a flat expression, one Chi-Chi thought she had grown used to, speaking as it did of loss, until she had seen its twin in that man, that monster earlier that day. "If I could, Chi-Chi," she said calmly, "we would both be with our sons right now."
"Which son do you mean?" Chi-Chi demanded, grabbing Gine by the T-Shirt and lifting her up to Chi-Chi's eye level. "Do you mean the monster from space that murdered me?"
Gine froze in shock for an instant, then closed her eyes and took a breath. "What would you do," she finally said, "if it was Gohan."
Chi-Chi slapped her for the suggestion. "My precious baby boy would never—"
"MY SON WAS TAKEN FROM ME, CHI-CHI!" Gine finally erupted, her aura flaring, making all of the ogres nervous; people this powerful were not meant to have their bodies in this place. "HE. WAS. TAKEN." Gine calmed down for a moment, before continuing. "He was taken, at five years old, but I knew, I was told, I had to expect that it was going to happen beforehand." She shook her head, and a wild look came into her eyes. "I was expected to be proud of him— Except, no, what was actually expected of me was to not want anything to do with him at all!" Chi-Chi shook her head angrily, she'd never heard the other woman talk about any of this before. If she thought a sob story now was going to—
"What would you have done, back then, Chi-Chi, if you were me?" Gine asked her, sincerely, pleading with her eyes shining with tears. "I had been there myself, so I tried to teach him what I knew, combat-wise and skill-wise. More than that, I wanted him to survive, so I tried, as best as I could, as best as I knew how, to teach him how to be ruthless, more ruthless even than I was capable of being myself."
Chi-Chi stared, and Gine's dark eyes stared right back. This wasn't the woman Chi-Chi knew, and she was beginning to wonder if she had ever truly known her at all. "If you want to blame a monster, Chi-Chi," Gine told her, "blame me."
WITH RESPECT, I BELIEVE CASTING BLAME IS MY JOB. Yenma interrupted with a glare at Gine. NOW, SON CHI-CHI, YOUR RECORD IS COMMENDABLE, AGAINST THE RED RIBBON ARMY AND THE DEMON CLAN YOU HAVE FOUGHT WELL, AND GIVEN AID TO OTHERS. SUCH WOULD GUARANTEE YOU A PLACE IN HEAVEN.
She was confused by the soft tone in the giant's sepulchral voice, until the red ogre swiveled to look at Gine again, and Chi-Chi gasped as she finally noticed the incredibly familiar horns on the sides of his head. YOU WOULD HAVE HER RISK HER ETERNITY ON SNAKE WAY TO SEE THE LORD OF WORLDS? A PURE, INNOCENT WOMAN DEAD THROUGH NO FAULT OF HER OWN? Yemma's eyes narrowed. THROUGH FAULT OF YOUR OWN, RATHER?
Gine bowed, before straightening and looking up at him and meeting his gaze. "With respect, honorable Lord Yemma, I think that neither of us can pretend to be impartial or unbiased about this death, or this woman's soul. Perhaps it is best, in this case, to let her do as she will."
"...You think Goku's going to die." Chi-Chi finally realized aloud. That was what Gine wasn't saying.
Gine didn't look her in the eye. "Nobody knows the future," she said.
YOU WILL NOT LIE TO MY GRANDDAUGHTER, Yemma said sternly in rebuke at Gine, OR I WILL SEND GOD HERSELF STRAIGHT TO HELL. The red Ogre turned to Chi-Chi. A GOD KNOWS THE TIME OF HER OWN DEATH DOWN TO THE SECOND, FROM THE MOMENT SHE TAKES THE POSITION. YOUR PREVIOUS GOD IS FATED TO DIE IN A YEAR'S TIME, THE CURRENT ONE A MONTH AFTER.
Gine shrugged. "I'm going to die on Christmas Eve, my favorite Earth holiday," she said. It had the cadence of a joke, but there was no humor behind it.
YOUR PLANET'S GODS DYING IN SUCH SHORT SUCCESSION, SO SOON AFTER THIS CALAMITY IS NOT A GOOD SIGN FOR ITS FUTURE. Yemma admitted, before sighing, a noise which sounded like a wind through a graveyard. SHE HAS PERMISSION TO CROSS SNAKE WAY. AS WILL ANYONE ELSE YOU MAY NEED.
Gine floated up and kissed Chi-Chi on the head, wrapping her arms around her in a hug. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, and when she pulled away, Chi-Chi could see that the other woman's tears were falling freely now. "I promise," Gine continued through her own tears, "I will keep Gohan safe."
And then she vanished, leaving Chi-Chi standing alone in the check-in station.
The real reason that Gine knew for a fact that her youngest son was going to die, was that she knew what her Goku would do when faced with an opponent 5 times stronger than himself, and she knew what she herself would do if a stranger had just killed her wife in front of her and was threatening her son. There would be no hesitation. Divine foresight wasn't necessary.
What she didn't know was what she was going to do herself, as she sped towards Kame House as fast as she could, hoping against hope that she made it in time. Her eldest son wasn't a stranger, no matter how precious her daughter-in-law was to her. She was responsible for him, and she had failed him. She had thought she could remain safe on Earth while he was still out in the stars, and in all this time she hadn't once thought to free him from that fate. Not once, not even for an instant.
...She wasn't entirely sure what, exactly, her eldest son would do, because it had been nearly a quarter century since she'd last seen him, and that was time enough for anyone to change, just look at what it had done for her. She couldn't say if whatever changes he had made were for the better or for the worse (a dead daughter-in-law certainly pointed one way, but if there was one thing her training to become God had taught her, it was the danger of assumption) but regardless, even if she knew him, that didn't mean she knew who he was now.
Which meant that all her hopes and her trust had to fall to her middle-son, the one not of her blood or even her race, whom she loved all the more dearly for that. She thought she knew exactly what her Krillin would do when one friend was lost, and a threat was bearing down on them.
She grinned like a Saiyan was expected to, her teeth glinting into the rushing wind.
...Unless Bulma screwed everything up even worse somehow.
Gine started pushing herself to fly faster.
Krillin glanced at Chi-Chi's body and immediately scooped up Gohan, turning the boy's face away from the sight. He didn't have to for long, however, as the body soon vanished, fading like it was never there to begin with. Convenient, and not a little spooky. Alright then.
"Hey!" Krillin called at the strange alien, "Are you Raditz?"
The man looked up in shock, and asked "How do you know my name?"
"Mo— Your mom told me," Krillin said, thinking fast, a mile a second. She'd told him the names Raditz and Bardock, but she'd really avoided telling him much else, he only knew she was an alien at all because of Bulma and her sister, whenever Gine talked about her past she got a far-off look on her face.
Considering that Raditz currently looked like he was at a four-way crossroads between hyperventilating, puking, crying, or killing everyone else on the beach and eating them, Krillin wasn't sure if he should begrudge her reticence or not. She'd always tried to help others and talk them through their issues, but when it came to herself, she always seemed to prefer suffering in silence. If she'd spoken up, maybe they could have been better prepared for this, but...
There was no point dwelling on what could have been. All they could do now was survive, and then talk it out later.
"Krillin." Goku barked out sharply, finally snapping out of a daze. The wind was howling around them, dust flying through the air, and Krillin hissed through his teeth.
"Goku!" Krillin barked back, taking on the sharp, harsh tone tone he hoped would cut through the other man (his brother's) thick skull. "Chi-Chi's fine, she can be brought back with the Dragon Balls."
Raditz seemed confused by that. "The... the what?"
"The Dragon's what now?"
Krillin stared. Did that monocle just talk?
"You can't be, Krillin!" Goku said sharply, "Shenron can't grant the same exact wish twice! You and Master Muten have already been brought back before!" He looked back, and Krillin couldn't tell if the next statement was a warning, or a threat. "Death means death!"
Krillin gulped. Well, that was good to know, before he did something stupid. At this rate, he was going to die single twice. Great.
"Uncle Krillin!" Gohan finally cried, "I'm scared!"
Raditz's eyes sharpened at the word 'Uncle', dashing Krillin's hopes that they didn't have the word in space. Raditz stared him down, and Krillin swallowed. "Chi-Chi had, has it all wrong," Krillin tried to explain in a hurry, going for broke. "You're the only thing she talks about sometimes, how clever you were, how quickly you learned, how strong you are—"
"What attack did she teach me before I joined the Saiyan military," Raditz said urgently in a strange, unreadable tone, making Krillin grin because there was really only one right answer.
"The Sunday!" Krillin said, extending one arm to his side and then throwing it forward like he was throwing a blast, just as she'd taught him.
Krillin realized he'd made a mistake when he saw the betrayal flit across the other man's face. "She taught you." He said, glaring at Krillin. "You, a pipsqueak, an alien freak!" Raditz grabbed at his hair and tugged on it like he was going to start pulling it out. "What kind of sick joke is this?! Are you supposed to be some sort of... replacement for me?"
Krillin didn't say anything, hoping he could still think up some way to diffuse the situation. "Gohan, go behind the house and summon the Nimbus and get it to take you home," he told the boy, and was grateful both when his nephew did as he was told, and when Raditz was too caught up in raving and ranting to notice.
His gratitude towards the universe for this stroke of fortune lasted only until the point where Gohan screamed, and as he turned he caught sight of Piccolo of all people as he stepped out from behind the house.
Fuck the universe.
"You stay out of this, green man!" Raditz growled, sweating slightly, and his nervousness only seemed to increase as Piccolo took off his turban and cape, causing beeping noises from his machine.
Krillin frowned, this still hasn't escalated to a fight yet, if they all stayed calm, then maybe...
"GIVE MY MOMMY BACK!"
Krillin stared as Gohan moved faster than he could even see and headbutted Raditz right in the sternum, visibly cracking the armor and making him stagger back. Unfortunately, the moment after the hit, all of Gohan's power seemed to leave, and in frustration Raditz swiped the boy with his tail. Krillin saw Gohan go flying and immediately moved to catch him, only for Raditz to come flying into the air towards him. Before Krillin could defend himself, Goku moved in front of him, barely halting Raditz in his tracks with a scream.
"TAKE GOHAN AND GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!" Goku roared, even as his joints (or maybe his bones) seemed to crack under Raditz's strength. Krillin flew back and grabbed Roshi and Turtle, and fled the island, cursing himself himself and his weakness.
Coward, he thought with self-loathing.
"You did a fine job, son," Roshi said, cutting through his pessimistic thoughts. "A very fine job indeed. You've bought time, and sometimes that's all you can do."
"HEY! WHY AREN'T YOU SAVING ME!?" Bulma shrieked after Krillin's retreating form, before yelping as Goku was kicked into the sand beside her.
"Well, you haven't died before," Launch said reasonably, pulling off her suspenders and orange shirt and revealing a green gi underneath, the clothing sending up small plumes of sand as they hit the beach.
"YOU'RE PREGNANT!" Bulma yelled like Launch somehow didn't know.
"This baby hasn't died yet either, and neither have I," Launch said like she was discussing the weather. "If aliens kill everyone on Earth, we're all dead anyway." Launch took a stance like Tenshinhan at the last Tournament with her arms crossed and after a moment, her blonde form appeared beside her only much skinnier.
"Wait a second!" Raditz yelled, throwing Piccolo away from him like he was nothing and seemingly not even taking notice as Goku pulled off his undershirt, boots and wristbands on the beach.
"Are you surrendering," Piccolo panted out, but Raditz ignored him, instead pointing at where Launch's middle rounded out her uniform.
"That's what pregnancy looks like?!" Raditz cried in something akin to horror. "Just how primitive are you people?!"
"Huh," Goku said as he crept back to his feet and pulling the shirt of his gi back on, "You're a lot bigger than Chi-Chi was," he said to Launch.
For her part, Launch didn't seem too offended and didn't even bat an eyelash. "Chi-Chi's a lot taller than me," Launch pointed out. "She's probably got more room to grow."
"Are you sure we can't talk this out?" Bulma tried, pleading at Goku's brother with eyes as big as she could make them.
Piccolo rolled his eyes. "All of your allies are such cowards," he said, only to reel back and clutch his ears when Bulma started yelling.
"SHUT UP, PICCOLO! I'M TRYING TO TRICK THE DUMBFUCK!"
Raditz rolled his eyes. "I was willing to concede one small point. If Kakarot kills 100 Earthlings, I'll consider that close enough to a job well done so we can get off this rock and finish a job my allies and I have lined up."
Piccolo shook his head to clear the ringing. "Allies?" he asked, hoping he'd misheard.
"There are two remaining Saiyans in space I work with," he said, "both at least two times stronger than I am!" He paused and put a finger to his ear, as if listening to something on his machine, then grinned slightly, albeit nervously. "And they've just told me that they're already on their way, for those 'Dragon Balls' of yours."
Bulma gauged how bad things were by the expression on Goku's face.
Piccolo cracked his neck and adjusted his stance. "I bet you must be thrilled to hear news like that, Son Goku" the Demon muttered.
Goku shook his head even though only Bulma and Launch could see him. "Not at all," he said with a small tremor in his voice. "I'm terrified."
We're fucked. At Goku's words, Bulma's mind whirred into high gear. "Uh, do Earthlings Goku's already killed count?" she tried. "And, hey, Go— Kakarot here has already proved our species are compatible, maybe instead of wiping us out, you and your friends can just come here and... repopulate?"
Launch gave her a funny look, the expression of faint judgment and disgust looked out of place on her 'nice' form's face. Goku meanwhile tried to count on his fingers, seemed to be more hung up on her first statement. "Hey," he finally called out to Bulma, "how many people were in the Red Ribbon Army?"
"It doesn't matter," Raditz told them, "I prefer my meals fresh," he said blithely.
"Hey, Piccolo?" Goku said, "if you've got any tricks up your..."
"...If you can hold him off of me, and get him to hold still," Piccolo said carefully, "I've got something I made to kill you."
"That's good," Goku said. "It might not be enough, but it's a start. Got anything you could kill mom with?"
Piccolo didn't admit he had been hoping the despair of losing her family would do the trick. "Maybe," he said instead, "but the same conditions apply."
"HEY!" Goku shouted, "Guys!" he began, before second-guessing himself. "Uh, I mean, girls! Back me up!" He didn't wait for a response, and instead charged forward only to be knocked back again by a lariat to the chest.
"I've never fought anyone before!" Bulma whined as a last resort, even as Goku and Raditz fought in front of her, "I've never even been in your stupid tournaments! Having said that, Bulma noticed when Raditz's eyes landed on her, ignoring his brother entirely even as he continued to respond to every blow. "Fuck!" she swore, dodging away from a single lazy, almost half-hearted blast.
Piccolo held the fingertips of one hand to his forehead, and his other arm gripped his elbow, forming a conduit of energy that crackled visibly in the air. Bulma would have spent more time paying attention, but even her brilliant mind could be distracted by waves of energy pelting towards her!
Launch, meanwhile, seemed to be wincing and grasping her belly, but she stood up and put one hand to her back and yelled "Dodonpa!" sending a beam of her own to strike Raditz's outstretched hand. Goku took advantage of the distraction to try to get a couple hits in, only to get rebuffed almost immediately.
Raditz glared at Launch, and held out one of his hands. "Sunday!" he yelled, only for Goku to leap between him and his friend with hands already cupped to the side and bright blue light shining between them. Bulma blinked. Wasn't Goku just... when did he have the time to...
"KAMEHAMEHA!" Goku yelled, making Raditz yell in shock as his device (some sort of scope, perhaps? Bulma wondered) beeped shrilly and Goku's wave almost instantly overpowered Raditz's single-handed attack.
When the smoke cleared, Raditz seemed relatively unharmed except for the arm he attacked with, which smoked and seemed lightly singed and which he clutched tightly for a moment and then shook out.
Raditz growled. "I'd been hoping to show this to our mother, and I thought I'd finally have a chance now that you told me she was here, but it seems I'll have to ruin the surprise and give you a taste instead, dear brother." He held both of his hands to both sides now, and as they watched, he gathered shining pink energy in both. "DOUBLE SUNDAY!" Raditz roared—
Before grunting, the energy firing off harmlessly into the distance and dissipating as Goku's arms wrapped around his extended shoulders and clasped hands behind his neck. "What?! HOW!?" he cried. Raditz stared in shock as with a puff of smoke, the 'Goku' he'd been aiming at turned into a skinny version of Launch's blonde form. The blue-haired Launch waved from the sidelines, panting heavily. "Let go of me!" Raditz cried as he struggled. "Is this how you achieve your victories? Hiding behind deception, letting women fight in your stead?"
Goku chuckled in his ear. "You killed my wife and threatened my home. Whatever works."
Raditz blinked at that, then chuckled. "Father would have said the same thing," he remarked, before staring down Piccolo, whose energy continued to charge. "One thousand... one thousand two hundred?!" he read out, finally starting to struggle again. "You have to realize if that hits we're both goners, don't you?"
Goku just grinned and kept grinning, until Raditz continued struggling and finally hit his elbow against a sore spot in Goku's ribs shaped like Raditz's boot. For an instant, Goku's grip slipped.
Gine closed her eyes at the bright flash of light, and felt her heart break as two sources of energy instantly dropped to nothing.
She shot forward as fast as she could until she could catch the two bodies as they fell and bring them both together into her lap. "I'm sorry," she whispered, already feeling the tears fall, "I'm so sorry."
Raditz struggled, and she held him still. He looked pale when he saw her, even aside from the obvious bloodloss, like he thought she was a ghost. "Shhh," she told him, trying to remember the melody of a traditional war song she'd sang outside of his incubator, she doubted she remembered the lyrics, but if she could hum it, then maybe...
"Mother... I..." he tried, and she wanted to stop him, but he was dying anyway, so she let him speak. "Why did you... why weren't you...?"
Krillin came forward with Gohan in his arms, and Gine forced herself not to panic about how much was going on around her, how many things she needed to do. She looked up and acknowledged him, and struggled to find a way to convey that she was proud of him, that she loved him, that she would explain all this to him, but not now, that his brothers needed her attention the most, in this moment.
"I'm so proud, of all of you," she said past the lump of her throat, looking directly at Raditz, at Goku, and then at Krillin, who looked uncomfortable, embarrassed, ashamed, and she also wanted to reassure him that she was proud of his quick thinking...
She thought he understood anyway, to her relief, when he matched her hopeless expression with a small awkward smile. "Hey, Goku," he said, trying to get into sight and walk closer carefully without disturbing anyone or anything. "Gohan's alright, just knocked out," he said, making Goku smile in her arms.
"That's... a relief," he said. "Chi-Chi will be glad to hear it." Suddenly Goku started to laugh, making the blood flow even faster, almost making her want to scold him for it. "Hey, Krillin," Goku said, still shaking, "Dying's... not very fun, is it?"
Krillin looked resolute. "We'll bring you back," he said.
Goku grinned as he let out his dying gasp and beside him, Raditz started to shake in his own form of laughter. "I'm sorry... This is very touching, but you're all doomed," he said, "My allies heard everything. Every living thing on this planet, in one year's time, they'll be here..." Raditz wheezed out his laughter and finally stilled, leaving Gine with two dead sons. She closed her eyes, took the Scouter off her eldest son's face, and an instant later was once more in Other World in front of Yemma's desk, with her two very dead and very stupid sons on either side of her.
Yemma raised an eyebrow and seemed about to get angry at and about Raditz specifically, who for his part looked around in shock and confusion, especially at the state of his chest, there not being a large and gaping hole in it any longer. As part of the shift his armor had even been restored, just as Goku was dressed once more in weighted training clothes he had previous removed.
There were a lot of things Gine wanted to say to her eldest son, she dearly, desperately wanted to comfort him and hold him and sing to him and tell him that he was her son, that she loved him and was proud of him no matter what. No matter what.
Instead she did none of that, simply grabbing him by the face and holding his mouth shut as she held up the Scouter, hitting the switch she knew would raise the volume settings to the max. She used her divine powers to force the channel to remain open, the Scouter and Gine herself were still on Earth, in a sense.
"Pathetic. If he can't handle a couple of puny fighters with battle powers less than a thousand." an arrogant voice said.
"So what now? Should we put this planet on hold and head for Earth?" a gruff voice responded. "A surviving Saiyan female's a hell of a find, no matter who it is."
"You can have the worthless warrior if you like," the first voice responded, making Gine close her eyes and force herself not to say anything. "The real prize, those things, the 'Dragon Balls'? That certainly sounds worth investigating." the first voice said, interrupted by what sounded like chewing.
"Maybe we can bring Raditz back to life," the gruffer voice said, to Gine's genuine surprise. Raditz grinned triumphantly at that, and she held up a finger, telling him to wait for the other shoe to drop.
"Is that a joke? Why would we waste a wish on that worthless scum?" the first voice replied, as Gine had expected. She felt Raditz's resigned scowl against her hand, making her grin sharply at him as the speaker continued. "How about immortality for ourselves? No death or aging! Only an eternity of combat!!"
She pushed the button and cut the connection, then for good measure sent the device back to Earth. She took a deep breath, counted to ten, and tried to employ every technique she had learned on Earth in order to remain calm.
She then proceeded to slap Raditz in the back of the head and grab him by the hair to force his face closer to hers. "...I'm going to have to ask why you decided killing your brother was a good idea," she finally said faux-sweetly. It was something she'd learned on Earth, and judging by his expression, Raditz must have found it as terrifying as she'd intended. "Better yet," she continued in the same tone before he could answer, "How the hell did you know he was there in the first place, but not know I was with him?" Raditz opened his mouth, and she interrupted before he could say anything. "Was it your father?" The look in his eyes said it had been. "Of course it was."
ARE YOU EVER GOING TO ASK ME WHAT I ALREADY KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO? Yemma interrupted, and Gine raised an eyebrow and glanced at the line of souls, which had continued proceeding since they had arrived. Yemma was effortlessly opening books and stamping them without even looking at the souls, keeping his focus on the Sons.
Gine turned to Raditz again, and this time, tried to call upon the authority and bearing of God. "I am the God of Planet Earth—"
"The what!?" Raditz asked incredulously.
Today was a really bad day for her patience, it seemed. Or a really good one, depending on perspective. It seemed even Gods needed to be tested sometimes. "You died on my planet," she explained finally. "Ordinarily, for your sins in life, you would be judged and sentenced to Earth's Hell." Yemma grumbled, but Gine knew exactly how to shut him up. "What I am offering you, my son, is a trial."
Raditz stared, and Yemma sat back, and Gine repressed a grin, because she knew she'd won over both of them. "A trial?" her son said, and he latched onto it like a lifeline, because that was certainly a Saiyan way to handle things. It just happened to also be a Godly way. Who said Gine couldn't learn a new/old trick?
"Our planet is in danger," she said. "If you vow to help us stop it, I will have you brought back to life to do so."
"...I think I'd still rather stay dead and go to hell than I would come back to life and fight Vegeta," Raditz finally said. "And what's stopping me from overpowering you all and fighting my way out of this place?" Raditz grinned fiercely. "I'm much stronger now than you ever were, mother."
Gine shook her head and smiled slightly, sadly, because that was her son alright. "You don't have a Scouter, so you have no idea how strong I am right now," she told him, before going for the coup de grace. "Also:" she said, before waving a hand across his form, turning him into a bodiless white cloud the same as all the other souls. "Your body here is only yours because of divine Providence. Any of the gods here, and Yemma himself can easily restore it or take it away from you."
She waved her hand again, returning him to normal. The shocked, spooked look was too much for her so she immediately hugged him, causing him to stiffen in her grip. She remembered, she had used to try to force herself not to give this much affection to him, to not make him weak, but even after all this time, even after all he'd done, she still couldn't resist.
"Hey, uh," Goku finally spoke up, and Gine and Raditz looked at him, Gine with a fond smile, Raditz with annoyance. "I was just wondering, is Chi-Chi here? What are we going to do about those other Saiyans?"
YOU HAVE BEEN GRANTED PERMISSION TO TRAVEL ACROSS SNAKE WAY, TO TRAIN WITH THE LORD OF WORLDS, IN ORDER TO GROW STRONG ENOUGH TO FACE THEM. Yemma explained, and Gine raised an eyebrow.
"He has permission already?" she pointed out. "Don't I have to ask it for him? You made me do it for Chi-Chi, your own flesh and blood." The Lord of the Dead's eyes narrowed at her, and she just shrugged in return. "I'm just saying," she said, "I'll have a hard time making a case for this one," she said jokingly while patting Goku's arm.
"But mom!" he whined, "I saved the world!"
Gine started counting off on her fingers. "You don't always listen to what I tell you, you always say that you'll write to me or come to visit but you never do—"
"But I pray to you all the time!" Goku shot back.
"And I keep telling you and Chi-Chi to stop saying 'God' or 'Kami' when you're having sex, but do either of you listen?" Gine turned back to Yemma. "Hey," she asked, "is it too late for us to get Chi-Chi back here? Because I've been meaning to ask her why she's started saying 'Oh Gine' instead. I have a lot of questions for her about that!"
"Only when she's mad at me, and doesn't want me to like her bein' mad at me, and she knows it'll make me stop bein' excited," Goku said, before actually turning slightly red. Anyone who knew him knew it took a lot to embarrass Son Goku. "And, wait, you can actually see that? I thought you were joking!"
"I can see everything under my area of responsibility," Gine explained for what wasn't the first time, "but I try to give people their privacy. But when people pray, I have to listen. I'm required to. People need and deserve a compassionate God that listens to their prayers and problems. But that also means that when people make certain exclamations, it gets my attention."
Raditz didn't know what the fuck was going on. "I still want to know why I should just die again to Vegeta to save some worthless mudball that's made both of you such disgraces to our people!" he said with the tone of a demand.
Gine frowned as she tried to think of what to say, then had an idea. She pulled out a capsule, and popped it open into a small cooler. She opened it and pulled out a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich she'd made earlier in the week for the party. "You're dead, so you shouldn't be hungry, eat it slowly, and try to taste it," she told her oldest son, and he gave her a look before snatching the sandwich from her and taking a bite.
His eyes widened further and further as be chewed, and Gine grinned to herself. There it was. "That's not even a very good sandwich," she told him.
"Can I?" Goku asked while reaching for the small morsel.
"No!" Gine and Raditz both snapped at him, Raditz actually pulling the sandwich towards himself protectively, and getting some of the jelly on his hands and his armor.
"Raditz, I love you," she said, making him react with horror at what was nearly a heretical statement, even from a Saiyan as odd as she was. "I love you so much I wouldn't even sell you for one corn chip. And when you have your first corn chip, you will understand how much that means." Gine was instantly overcome with relief the instant she saw the acceptance in Raditz's eyes that meant he gave in. She pulled him in for a kiss on the forehead, then did the same to Goku. "Now you two be nice, Raditz make sure you apologize to Chi-Chi before you come back to life, I've gotta get back to Earth. Love you!" she said, before leaving the Check-in Station and reappearing in front of Kame House. Krillin was standing there with his head bowed. Bulma was fiddling with the Scouter, but not really focused on it. Roshi seemed preoccupied looking at Launch, who...
"Does anyone know how to get me to Ten?" she asked, her hair frazzled with streaks of both blue and blonde in it, a three-eyed baby in her arms.
Gine pulled herself together. "Bulma, can you help fly Launch home?" she suggested, before turning to Krillin. "Where's Gohan?" she asked.
Krillin flinched, and she sighed. "Piccolo took him," he finally said. "There was nothing I could do."
"You've done enough today," she reassured, before scooping him up into a hug. "I'm so proud of you."
"All I did was one Solar Flare!" Krillin shouted at her.
"At the right time, when it was needed," she told him. "You made sure Goku didn't die in vain."
"Didn't he?!" Krillin asked. "Even if Raditz got away, you would have—"
"I might not have been able to stop him," Gine said, making Krillin look at her. "And I might not have been able to talk him down." She felt herself getting misty-eyed again, but when she tried to wipe it away, Krillin stopped her. Cheeky little monk. "...I was a very different mother with Raditz than I was with you and Goku," she finally explained, making him frown. "I was a very different person in general before I met Son Gohan here on Earth." Krillin looked skeptical at that, and Gine sighed. "Can I explain on the way?" she suggested, confusing him.
"On the way to where?" Krillin wondered.
"To get Gohan back," Gine replied.
Son Gohan stared at the pile of rubble in front of him. "I did that" he realized aloud in shock.
"Do you understand now?" the green man asked. "Your power explodes when your emotions are at their peak, even if only for an instant." Piccolo scowled. "In a real fight, practically worthless," he said derisively. "But if we can train you to use that power all the time, you may be the most powerful fighter ever."
Gohan shook his head. "But... I don't want to be powerful or a fighter," he started to whine. "I wanna be a great scholar."
"You aren't going to get the chance to be anything unless you survive the Saiyans on their way," the green man shot back. "There's not exactly a lot of room for great scholars in a world where everyone's dead, is there?"
"But..." suddenly, Gohan perked up and ran straight past Piccolo. "Uncle Krillin! NANA!"
Piccolo scowled. As Son Gine and the bald midget landed, he expected some sort of retribution or payback. As powerful as she was, she was just as soft if not worse than her sons or her worthless predecessor combined—
The look on her face stopped Piccolo in his tracks and made him reconsider his opinions of her. It reminded him more of that Saiyan from earlier, Raditz. This woman's sons were the most formidable foes Piccolo had ever faced. "You agree with me," he realized aloud, even as she rubbed Gohan's head as the boy clung to her.
She didn't say anything, but Piccolo noticed she seemed to stiffen slightly when Gohan started sniffing and poking her with his finger. Finally she lifted the boy away from her hip and held him to her eye level. "Gohan," she told him, "I'm sorry, but we might be in big trouble."
"But," Gohan looked taken aback. "You or dad," he began only to seem scared when she shook her head.
"We don't stand a chance," Gine told him. "Not as we are now." She sighed. "Your mother will not like it at all, and I don't like it much either, but we might need you, Gohan," she told him.
Krillin frowned. "Mom," he began, glancing at Piccolo before shaking his head. "Why am I here?" he finally asked. Gine glanced at Piccolo. "That last attack took a lot out of you," she told the demon. "If it had missed, Raditz might have killed you with his reprisal, and then the Dragon Balls would be useless. You owe my son your life," she told him.
Krillin blushed. "But I barely did anything," he finally said.
"Meaning you're at peak strength," she pressed on, "while Mr. Piccolo here could use a break before he gets into another big fight." She grinned and rubbed the shining top of Krillin's head. "Especially against the semi-finalist who nearly beat him at the last Tournament."
Krillin frowned at that, so she knelt down and put Gohan on the ground. "Everything I taught you," she finally said, "everything about how just surviving is a victory, about using your enemy's weakness against them... All of that is ultimately what I taught Raditz." She smiled proudly. "And don't tell him I said this, but I think you've learned it better than he did. Maybe even better than I know it myself."
Gohan frowned. "Then..." he began, drawing his family's attention towards him. "Then that awful bad guy was really related to us?" he said. Gine nodded. "And you and daddy're really from space?" Gine nodded again. Gohan seemed to consider this for a moment. "Then why can't you tell the other aliens comin' to leave us alone!"
Gine shook her head. "I was extremely low class, and always picked on by people stronger than me," she explained, before looking back up at Piccolo. "I know Saiyans better than anyone else on Earth," she said as she stood back up. "And I can tell right now that you going off and training alone will be more harmful than helpful."
Piccolo glared at her. "So what," he finally said. "I just join your merry band, pretend we don't all hate each other?"
"We might need your hatred," Gine finally admitted. "I'm not sure I know how to fight someone like I'm trying to kill them. I might be too soft for what's about to happen."
Krillin and Gohan looked at each other for a moment and gulped.
Later that night, Gine finally broke down. She'd spent half the day gathering everyone together, after deciding that Capsule Corp. was the best place, being more central, and having more amenities for everyone than the Lookout. Especially important considering Launch's baby.
Korin and Kami had come down, and for a moment, Gine had the irrational worry she was about to have her still somewhat new position taken from her. Instead, Kami got to work trying to help her plan what exactly they were going to do, and what they were going to talk about with the others. She tried to organize everything she knew, any information that might help them prepare.
Finally, it was night time, and while she stopped by Panchy and Brief's room for quick stress relief, after a shower she decided to room with Gohan, telling herself she thought he would need the affection and comfort. After his bath, he read one of Brief's science books on the bed while she sat in front of the vanity mirror and removed the jewelry from her face. It was at that point she realized her youngest son wouldn't get to eat the dumplings she'd made him, and Chi-Chi might never get the chance to enjoy the new weighted wristbands that matched her favorite cheongsam that the events of the day finally caught up to her and Gine found herself tearing up.
It was like a dam broke, and next thing Gine knew, she was cuddling Gohan on the bed, both of them sobbing, as he asked her why his mommy and daddy had to die, and she begged for his forgiveness, even as she knew she didn't deserve it.
Eventually, they cried themselves out, and the only sound was their slow, even breathing. For a moment, she wondered if he'd fallen asleep, only to look down and see his eyes shining in the darkness.
"What was it like," he asked her, cuddling his head against her chest, and she thought for a moment, and started to tell him.
"Well," she thought, brushing her hand through his hair, "when I was about your age, I heard the story of the legendary warrior Yamoshi."