The Light to my Darkness

BY : SaiyanPrince541
Category: Dragon Ball Z > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 5403
Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN DRAGON BALL Z, OR ANY OF THE PRIMARY CHARACTERS IN THIS STORY!! THOSE ARE ALL TORIYAMA'S!! THIS IS A NON-PROFIT, FAN-MADE STORY!!!

Chapter 32: A new race

Goku set his deathly glare back upon Frieza and the lizard could do nothing except tremble in sheer disbelief and apprehension. The Saiyan roared and sprang straight towards his detestable foe, relentlessly firing punch after punch, kick after kick, holding back absolutely nothing. Frieza was having difficulty blocking his attacks and several managed to slip through his guard. Eventually his defense broke temporarily and Goku landed a ferocious right hand on the lower left vertex of his opponent's chin, propelling him about two dozen yards back. Just as the younger Super Saiyan was about to continue his brutal assault, however, his older counterpart suddenly materialized in front of him.

"Back off!" Vegeta warned, eyes narrowed dangerously.

"Move!" Goku met his glare with one of his own.

"This is my fight, not yours!" The Prince stated unwaveringly. "I don't need your help!"

"And I don't need yours!" The younger Saiyan shot back, grabbing Vegeta by the front of his lycra shirt. "You're the one who let him reach full power! Gohan's dead because of you!" He seethed, accusingly.

Vegeta instantly reciprocated Goku's move, roughly grasping the collar of his Gi and pulling him down forcefully, so they were eye-to-eye.

"You've got some nerve, pointing fingers at me, you sanctimonious halfwit!" He spat. "I told you to take the others and escape while you had the chance, but you didn't listen, did you?!"

The legendary duo stared hatefully at one-another, before Goku's face sagged with guilt, as he properly took in Vegeta's words. He was right! Even if he didn't leave, he could've at least had Gohan and Piccolo get to safety, but he hadn't! He'd been caught up in the moment and his little boy had paid the price for his foolishness! Goku let go of the Prince's shirt.

"I- I'm sorry." He muttered in a subdued voice. Vegeta released his peer and scrutinized him for a moment, before averting his gaze.

"Tch, forget about it." He replied impassively. "He can be wished back, anyway, just like you said."

The pair looked around a moment and only now did they realize that while they were arguing, Frieza had craftily used the opportunity to flee, knowing he stood absolutely no chance against the overwhelming might of two Super Saiyans.

"Fuck!" Vegeta snarled in exasperation. "Dammit! Shit! Shit! Shit!"

"Calm down!" Goku chided, promptly shutting his eyes and focusing his Ki. "He went that way!"

The duo immediately shot forward, flying at full speed and catching up to Frieza within a few minutes.

XXXX

Piccolo was fast approaching the ship, carefully cradling his tiny pupil into his arms. His heart clenched, upon seeing the boy's innocent features contorted with such bloodcurdling agony. Before the whole Raditz debacle, his soul was nothing but a putrid pile of the ashes left behind by his father and predecessor, the cruel and demonic tyrant, King Piccolo. He cared about no one and no one cared about him. Everyone viewed him as a heartless monster out for hellbent conquest and bloody retribution. But in Gohan's naive and credulous young eyes, he was a living being with a conscience, just like any other and over the months they'd trained together, a formidable bond had unwittingly developed between master and student, which suddenly manifested outwardly the moment he saw Nappa fire a deathly wave of Ki meant to vaporize the demi-Saiyan. Staunchly defying the underlying foundations behind his very existence, he courageously moved in its path and let it consume him, knowing then that he had to safeguard the boy who'd become his foster son, no matter the cost. Now, it was little Gohan who'd so bravely laid down his life, for him.

As he neared the intergalactic transportation, he stopped a few seconds to wipe away the grief-swamped tears of sorrow that cascaded from his eyes, down to the hem of his steely mandible.

Krillin sensed Piccolo's Ki nearing.

"I'll be back in a minute, okay?" He told Bulma's body and went upstairs, only to gasp in horror, as he saw the giant Namekian warrior holding the small and flaccid carcass of his child companion.

"GOHAN!" He immediately ran over and Piccolo laid the boy's body on the ground. Krillin clamped a hand over his mouth, as he gazed upon the bloody perforation in the centre of the little demi-Saiyan's heart. "N-N-No- th-this can't be." He grit his teeth, kneeling down and placing his hands on the boy's drooping shoulders. He continued looking down upon Gohan with a hefty heart, face dampened with tears. His watery eyes shifted up towards Piccolo. "H-H-How?" Was all he could ask, expression marred with newfound pain and anguish.

Piccolo grievously relayed the events, which had come about, before explaining that, like Vegeta, Goku had broken past his limits and stepped into the realm of legend.

"There's no way that bastard Frieza stands a chance against the two of them." The Namekian furrowed his eyes, tone beset with firm conviction. "It's only a matter of time until they eliminate him and return here. Then we can all make our escape. This planet's about to blow, so they need to work fast."

The bald human gasped, staring wide-eyed at Piccolo.

"We can wish Gohan, Bulma, Dende and all the other innocent people Frieza and his soldiers killed, back to life."

"Right." Krillin concurred, upon gathering his bearings. He mused for a moment. "I have an idea. I'll try and get in touch with Dr. Brief and tell him to collect the dragon balls and make the wish just like you said- but we can't let them know about Bulma and Gohan. That's- uh- better left unsaid."

"Agreed." The Namek nodded his head, in assent. "They'll be wished back anyway, so all's well."

"If we do this, however, we can't wish Tien or Yamcha back." Krillin stated. "Chiaotzu's been revived once already, but-"

"We don't know that for certain." Piccolo interjected. "If all the Namekians are revived, surely one or two of them will have the ability to create new dragon balls."

"I- I see." That in mind, Krillin took Gohan's body downstairs, gently laying it down next to Bulma's and releasing a lengthy crestfallen sigh, before heading back up and looking over the ship's central console, in an attempt to try and figure out how to send a transmission that would reach Earth. Lo and behold, it took less than a minute to patch a communication signal through to Capsule Corporation, thanks to the straightforwardness of Dr. Brief's control panel design! Bless the good doctor's remarkable ingenuity!

XXXX

Goku quickly appeared in front of Frieza, halting his trek, while Vegeta was behind him, effectively trapping the evil overlord.

"Thought you could escape, did you?!" Vegeta sneered. "Coward!"

The lizard whirled around, snarling at him, before abruptly launching himself his way. The fight started out relatively even, destructive blows exchanged between the two mortal enemies, as the ground exploded around them. After a good minute or so, however, the tide slowly but surely began shifting Vegeta's way. Frieza's energy was fading fast.

'Goku! Goku!'

'Wh-What?! Who?! What?!' The young Super Saiyan mentally answered the voice in his head. 'Is- is that you King Kai?!'

'Yes, it's me!' The god confirmed. 'Listen, why aren't you helping Vegeta?! You don't have time to just sit back and watch! This isn't a game, you know! The planet's about to blow!'

'You know I would King Kai!' The Saiyan replied, teeth grit. 'But he's too stubborn to accept my help! If I go in there, he'll just start fighting me and that'll only make things worse!'

'Darn it!' The deity huffed in frustration. 'Look, I know this is going to sound horrible, but if he's not going to let you fight, then you need to escape, before Namek explodes!'

'Never!' Goku responded, fervently. 'I'm not just gonna leave him here to die!'

'I don't want it anymore than you, but-' King Kai cut off his words. 'Wait hold up, I'm getting a call from Kami. Be back in a moment.'

The young Saiyan shook his head and once again observed the battle before him, jaws and fists clenched, as rage boiled through his bloodstream at the sheer injustice of it all! Damn that self-oriented scumbag, Vegeta! This was so unfair! If the situation wasn't so perilous, he'd plough right through him and Frieza both, that's how pissed off he was! 'Probably couldn't do that though.' He thought to himself mirthlessly, all the while watching the now one-sided exchange. Another ominous minute raced by.

'Goku, listen up, I have good news for you!' The familiar voice returned.

'What is it, King Kai?'

'Kami's just informed me that Mr. Popo has gathered six of the seven dragon balls on Earth.' He answered. 'He suggested using them to revive your friends that are here with me, but I asked him instead to bring back to life, the innocent people killed by Frieza and his henchmen. Tien, Yamcha and Chiaotzu have all given me their blessing. I won't explain the details, but if this thing goes like I hope it does, Guru will return as well and there's still one more wish left on the Namekian dragon balls.'

'Right, go on.'

'We'll use that wish to transport everyone on Namek back to Earth, except for Frieza!'

'No!' Goku objected.

'N-No? Why not?!'

'Make it everyone on Namek, except for Frieza and me.' Goku's heart thudded a moment in ambivalence, but his shoulders finally slumped, as he went on, in a softer, yet more reluctant tone. 'And Vegeta.' He figured that if the Prince found out that he was teleported to Earth and robbed of his only chance at victory, he'd be more than a little nettled and that wouldn't be too healthy for anyone nearby. The young Saiyan let go of his thirst for battle and decided to do what was best for everyone, albeit begrudgingly. He'd be sure to get Vegeta back for this, someday!

'Goku, I don't understand you!' King Kai protested.

'Look, King Kai!' The Saiyan argued. 'If we leave Frieza here and he survives, he'll continue terrorizing the Universe! I must see this through to the end, with my own two eyes! I need to know that he'll no longer be a threat!'

'But you're already short on time!' The portly god countered. 'You can take Frieza out later! For now, you have to survive!'

'I'm sorry, but this is the only way!' Goku's resolve was unshakeable. 'If you have us wished back to Earth, I promise that I'll never, ever forgive you!'

King Kai trembled in indecision. Why did this younger generation have to be so damn obstinate?! Seriously, no respect for the elderly, whatsoever! If Goku was this recalcitrant, he couldn't even imagine what a hard case Vegeta would be! Hopefully, he'd never ever have to disciple someone like that! His shoulders fell and he let out a dejected sigh.

'Fine.' He groaned. 'By the way, Earth's dragon balls are now ready.'

'Perfect, let's do it then!' Goku smiled. 'You're the best, King Kai!'

'Yeah, yeah, just shut up already, idiot!' The god replied, indignantly. 'You better not end up dying, or I'll personally tell King Yemma to send you some place else, got it?!'

'Aw come on, that's not very nice.'

XXXX

"Hello, Dr. Brief, do you read me?"

"Oh, Krillin, hi there." The good doctor replied, tone as carefree as always. "How are you, my boy? It's been a while. Have you rescued my little darling, Bulma, yet?"

"Uh- yeah." Replied the bald warrior, successfully concealing the guilty undertone to his voice. "She's uh- safe and sound. Anyway, listen up, I have a request."

"Gimme the mike, now!" Piccolo and Krillin flinched, as they heard a deafening voice on the other end, followed by a few gruesome bangs, thuds and clangs. "Krillin?! Where's Gohan?! What did you do with him?! TELL ME!"

The Namekian and his bald companion tightly clasped their ears, as they were assaulted full force, by Chi-Chi's ear-piercing shriek.

"Oh God, now I know why Goku was so eager to die, fighting Raditz." Piccolo wryly mumbled to himself, placing a hand over his eyes and slowly shaking his head.

"I-I-Is th-that P-P-P-Piccolo?" The raven-haired woman stammered, tone laden with horror, upon hearing the muffled and barely audible, yet all-too-familiar voice of the beast that'd kidnapped her only son.

"Uh- Hello." Piccolo greeted awkwardly, never before having spoken directly to this harpy woman. Much to everyone's relief, Chi-Chi went blue in the face and immediately fainted. Dr. Brief breathed an alleviating sigh, before retrieving the mike.

"Well, anyway." He droned awkwardly, then continued. "What was it that you wanted to ask me, Krillin?"

"Umm- Oh right." The bald warrior furrowed his brows. "As you know, we wished Piccolo back to life and he's here with me now."

"Uhhh- okay." Dr. Brief remarked, an uneasy edge to his voice.

"Well, that means Kami's back as well and Earth's dragon balls with him."

"Right, right."

"We need you gather them, pronto, is that clear?"

"Sure thing." The doctor assented. Luckily, he'd built three spare dragon radars, just for insurance, so dragon ball hunting would be a cinch. "Is Bulma with you, by any chance?"

"Well- um- she's not with us right now, strictly speaking." Krillin answered in a slightly shaky voice.

XXXX

Bulma slowly blinked several times, before abruptly sitting up and taking a few ganders, here and there.

"B-Bulma?! Is- is that you?!"

She immediately turned her head left ways and her eyes widened upon seeing the boy next to her.

"G-G-Gohan?"

"Wh-where are we?" The boy asked, his voice innocent. "Are we dead? Is this otherworld?"

Bulma shook the daze out of her head and got a proper and thorough gauge of her surroundings.

"I- I'm not sure." She answered. "It looks like we're in a spaceship of some sorts. I don't understand."

Gohan frowned pensively for a moment, before an answer clicked in his head.

"Wait, I've got it!" He grabbed Bulma's hands, twinkling at her. "Someone wished us back to life! That has to be it!"

"Hold on, us back to life?!" She frowned in confusion, but gawped at him, as it hit her. "You- you mean you d-d-died a-as well?!"

"Yeah, uh- Frieza killed me." He looked down towards his chest plate and Bulma gasped upon seeing the hole in his armor, where Frieza'd fired a searing beam of Ki. Her eyes teared as she reluctantly ran her finger along the circumference of the bloodied orifice.

"Oh my God, that's horrible." She murmured weakly. What kind of hellish fiend could be so cruel to a sweet little boy like Gohan?! Who was she kidding?! This was the same heartless monster that had slowly pierced through her abdomen! She cringed at the severely painful memory, placing a hand on her midsection and feeling the tear in her clothing as well as the hoards of dried blood staining it. Thank God she was whole again, though! "Wait! What about Vegeta?! What happened to him?! And Goku?!" Bulma grabbed the half-Saiyan's arms.

"I don't know." Gohan shook his head. "Let me check." The boy closed his eyes and focused his senses. His face instantly lit up. "Hey, Piccolo and Krillin are nearby!"

"Th-they are?!"

"Yeah, we can ask them what's going on!"

"Right!"

The two of them stood to their feet and took a good look around, then made their way to the upper floor of the ship.

XXXX

"Krillin." An uncharacteristically dark edge laced the scientist's voice. "Where is Bulma?" He slowly articulated each word.

"She's um- downstairs- b-b-but she can't come up r-right now." Replied the bald warrior, knees quivering and heart racing.

"Get her up here, immediately." Dr. Brief ordered coolly, growing restless and suspicious.

"I- I can't- umm- she won't listen to me." He answered, with a half truth.

The doctor sighed wearily and shook his head. That sounded just like Bulma: too stubborn for her own good! Oh well, as long as she was safe and sound, that's all that truly mattered!

"Tell her to call me, whenever she's free."

"Right, will do." Krillin was about to cut the line, until he recalled why he'd made contact in the first place. "Oh yes, once you bring together the dragon balls, ask Shenron to restore life to all the innocent people killed by Frieza, okay?"

"Who's Frieza?" Dr. Brief raised an eyebrow, confusedly.

"Look, it's complicated and I'll explain later, but for now, you need to gather the balls, understood?!"

"Umm- Right, right." The doctor paused a moment, before remembering something else. "What about Vegeta?" His tone flooded with venom towards the demon spawn that had dared kidnap his little girl.

"Well, let's just say that he's no longer a problem."

"Oh." Dr. Brief commented, brows raised in bona fide surprise. "Well- um- okay then."

"Piccolo! Krillin!"

The Namek and the bald human instantly turned in the direction of the voice, only to see- Gohan?! And Bulma?! Alive?!

"G-G-G-Gohan?!" Krillin stammered. At that moment, Chi-Chi abruptly shot up, as she heard her son's name.

"Gohan?!"

"Mom?!" The boy looked around apprehensively, knees shaking very visibly. "Wh-Where a-are y-you?!"

"Oh Gohan!" He heard the mewling voice of his mother, as she forcefully grabbed the mike on the other end, having shoved aside Dr. Brief. "Mommy was so worried about you! Oh, my sweet little sugarplum! I'm so glad you're okay!"

Gohan's cheeks tinted a good seven shades of crimson at the corny manner in which his mother was addressing him. Krillin and Bulma barely restrained themselves from bursting open in a fit of boisterous laughter. Seriously?! Sugarplum?! The abashed child was about to answer, until he saw Piccolo kneeling down in front of him, hands on his shoulders.

"Gohan, what happened?!" The Namekian asked gravely, yet with a soft and alleviated undertone to his voice. "How're you still alive?!"

"I- well- I'm not sure." The boy replied. "I was gonna ask you the same thing."

"Someone must have wished you back!"

"I was thinking along the same lines."

"YOU MEAN YOU WERE DEAD?!" Chi-Chi shrilled, nearly rupturing everyone's eardrums. "Oh, my precious little Gohan was deeeeaaaad!" She wailed a moment, before a loud thump was heard by all those on the spaceship, as the raven-haired mother once again passed out, struck with overwhelming shock.

"Riiiggghhht." Krillin drawled and looked towards Bulma, brows furrowed. "But how could anyone have wished you two back? That makes no sense."

"And now that I think about it, all the Namekians have returned to life as well." Piccolo added.

"You're right!" Gohan beamed, hammering a fist against his palm. "This is great!"

"This whole thing seems a little fishy to me though." The Namek remarked.

'What in the blazes is going on?!' Dr. Brief thought to himself, thoroughly perplexed. Wait a minute! Did Krillin just say that Bulma was "wished back" too?! Did that mean she was dead?! Is that why he sounded so nervous?! Not a second later, all those aboard the ship, along with everyone on the planet were abruptly teleported straight to Earth, all except three super powerful entities. Capsule Corporation's president repeatedly demanded answers from his audience, but much to his chagrin, no one was there to provide and after many long moments, he gave up, huffing peevishly and walking away, while poor Chi-Chi remained unconscious on the floor.

XXXX

Blows were traded from one adversary to the other, in the now blatantly lopsided battle. Frieza shot his right fist towards Vegeta, but the latter sidestepped, grabbed his wrist and quickly positioned himself behind his opponent, holding him in a rear armlock, while getting a vice-like grip around his neck with his other arm, all in one rapidly swift move.

"So tell me something Frieza!" The Prince continued tightening his hold, as the lizard cried out in pain. "How does it feel, being bested by your pet monkey?!"

Frieza gnashed his teeth together, every part of him cursing the Saiyan. He howled in severe excruciation, as Vegeta pushed his arm up so hard that he dislocated his elbow joint. He abruptly released his foe, who gawked at his limp appendage in absolute shock and alarm, dumbstruck and not able to mouth a single word. The pain was bad enough, but the sight of his wilting arm right in front of him made it at least three times as horrendous. All hope was lost and he knew it now, as abject hopelessness swathed his quivering figure. He was soundly defeated and there was nothing at all he could do about it.

"It's over." Stated Vegeta, in a nonchalant voice, yet with a clear undercurrent of pride to it.

Frieza swivelled around, giving the Prince a foul glare, teeth bared menacingly, as a new rush of hate-swamped resolve overtook him.

"IT'S NOT OVER!" He roared and fired a Ki disk with his left hand that Vegeta easily caught between his thumb and fingers, much to the lizard's disbelief.

"Tch." The Super Saiyan scoffed, hurling away the rapidly rotating fuchsia saucer into a mountainside, hacking right through it. "That's all you have left? You just don't know when to call it quits, do you?" Vegeta infused a considerable portion of Ki into his right arm. He suddenly appeared right in front of Frieza and used his blazing appendage to hack right through his midsection with a fatal horizontal slice. The tyrant could only sputter incoherently, as his top and bottom half fell to the ground, along with his left hand, that was also amputated as a result of Vegeta's Ki-inundated knife-hand attack.

"Vegeta!" Goku flew over to his rival. The Prince turned towards him. "I just spoke to King Kai."

"King who?!" Vegeta asked, frowning bemusedly.

"Never mind." The younger Saiyan shook his head and continued. "Anyway, he informed me that a short while ago, Earth's dragon balls were used to resurrect all the people killed by Frieza and his men. That means Bulma and Gohan are alive again!"

Vegeta looked at his rival incredulously, his heart hammering against his ribcage with an overwhelming sense of relief and jubilance and soul lighting up with new radiance. He couldn't feel a smidgeon of her Ki, but somehow, he knew she was alive and well.

"Namek's dragon also came back and a wish was made to transport everyone on this planet back to Earth, except you, me and Frieza!" Goku continued. "Everyone's safe now!"

The Prince was dumbstruck and took a moment to collect himself.

"I see." His lips quirked up, as he descended downward till his feet touched the ground, Goku in tow. He gazed scornfully upon his beaten and broken adversary. "I ask you again, Frieza: how does it feel?"

The tyrant tilted his head up, giving his ex underling the blackest of looks.

"How does it feel, knowing that even in your weakest form you had the power to destroy our entire race with just the tip of your finger and yet even at your very best, the two remaining Saiyans managed to surpass you in every way imaginable?!" The Prince smirked. "How does it feel knowing that you're about to die and that when the ages pass, you will be a mere footnote in the annals of history, a glorified plot device to showcase the true magnificence of the Saiyan race- or should I say, the Super Saiyan race?"

Palpable waves of raw hatred emanated off of Frieza, as he snarled furiously at the Prince, but lacked the energy to do anything further. Curse these bastards! He could've destroyed them both a hundred times over! He'd gravely underestimated them at every turn and in doing so, given them the means to heighten their powers to such cosmic levels! He'd been a fool!

Goku smiled inwardly. Super Saiyan race! He liked the sound of that. It gave him pride, knowing that his people had now evolved into a new race and would no longer be the brutal, bloodthirsty beasts that they'd been for much too long! No, they would begin anew! They would be a force for righteousness in every corner of the Universe!

"Don't answer that." Vegeta waved his hand. The tyrant frowned at him. "But tell me one thing: Was killing her really worth it?!" He smirked as he went on. "Especially now that she's been wished back to life?!"

"What?!" Frieza croaked out, eyes widened as another wave of shame and defeat coursed through him. "You lie!"

"It's no lie!" Goku responded. The lizard turned towards the other smug Saiyan. "Both her and Gohan were revived using Earth's dragon balls. So were all the other innocent people you killed. But it doesn't end there. Namek's dragon returned as well and a wish was made to teleport everyone here back to Earth, except the three of us."

"To put it simply, the only thing you accomplished by setting foot on this planet, was the destruction of your army and your defeat at the hands of a true Super Saiyan." Vegeta stated. He aimed his right palm a petrified Frieza's way, flaring a lethal sphere of brilliant blue Ki. "And now it's time I send you straight to hell!" He instantly fired a hole right through the middle of his lifelong tormentor's chest, despite his loud pleas for mercy. Frieza screamed, but immediately fell silent, eyes wide open, body limp and expression marred with transparent horror, in the aftermath of the attack. Vegeta let out an alleviated exhale. He'd done it at last! He'd killed the supposedly almighty and invincible Frieza with his own hand! He looked up into the sky, shutting his eyes and exhaling, as he took in the palatable fragrance of victory, lingering in the thickened atmosphere of Namek. He let it deluge every fibre in his body and every drop of blood flowing through his veins. A series of tremors and explosions immediately reminded him, however, that he hadn't a moment to celebrate! The Prince turned towards his rival. "I think it's time we leave. In less than two minutes, this planet's history." He promptly flew towards Frieza's ship, while Goku remained behind for a little while, looking disgustedly at the lizard's seemingly lifeless form, a bloody and gaping perforation in the centre of his upper thorax.

Though the younger Saiyan was deeply appalled by the savage and merciless display of his older counterpart, he'd kept silent on the matter, knowing that any objections would only waste precious seconds! If it were him, surely he'd have shown some mercy, despite all that Frieza had done. No matter what Vegeta believed, everyone deserved second chances. But now was not the time for regrets! He sighed and shook his head, taking off in the Prince's direction, without further delay.

Vegeta took a minute or so to arrive at the spacecraft. Knowing it was as good as useless, an idea clicked in his mind and he scavenged the area for the space pods of the Ginyu Force. They must have been nearby! Just as luck would have it, he located them quickly and went over to the closest one, opening the hatch, getting inside, closing it and setting the co-ordinates for Earth. He considered waiting for Kakarot, but ultimately decided not to take the risk, knowing that even if he didn't make it in time, his foolish friends could revive him. Not that he cared, or so he told himself, but he needed a powerful rival such as him, to stay strong, focused and determined. That in mind, he pressed the launch button, taking off immediately. As his pod was flying, however, a fateful explosion below impaired the hull of the vehicle. Vegeta cursed inwardly, but foolishly ignored the damage, powering down to his base form and wincing as a whole new set of injuries suddenly manifested themselves on every inch of his skin! Not wasting a moment, he pressed the yellow button that released the stasis gas, exhaling deeply, as he let some much-needed and well-earned rest, overcome him at last.

Goku had made it to Frieza's ship and was fumbling around with each and every button in front of him, but to no avail. Darn thing was completely busted! Frustration coiled through the young Saiyan, as the ground beneath the ship split and it began falling into the searing lava below.

"DAMMIT!" He roared aloud.

XXXX

A short while earlier, back on Earth, Bulma, Gohan and all the others were more confused than ever, upon finding themselves in the heart of a beautiful and spacious savannah. Questions were traded back and forth, until a giant Guru sitting on the grass explained the entire situation.

"As of now, the Super Saiyans are still on Namek."

"W-W-Wait." Bulma stammered. "S-S-Super S-Saiyans?!"

"What?!" Gohan exclaimed. "You're saying my father's a Super Saiyan now, as well?!"

"That's right, Gohan!" Piccolo affirmed, placing a hand on his pupils' shoulder and smirking down at him. "After he saw you die, he went insane! I'd never seen him so mad before in my life and it just happened. He transformed, just like Vegeta did."

"V-V-Vegeta d-did?" Bulma asked dumbly, unable to fit together the pieces. What exactly had happened?!

"Wow, he actually did it." The demi-Saiyan boy smiled with pride in his voice, tears of joy glistening his dark irises. "That's my dad."

"Wait a minute, time out!" The blue-haired female interrupted the child's moment of jubilance. "Aren't we forgetting something?! Why're Goku and Vegeta still on Namek?! Why aren't they here with us?!"

"They chose to stay behind, in order to eliminate Frieza once and for all." Guru answered.

"But that's stupid!" She protested, heart heavy with trepidation. "What if they don't make it?!"

"I'm afraid that is out of our hands now." The elderly sage let out a weary sigh. "We can only hope for their well-being."

After a fraught minute or so passed by, Guru's face lit up with contentment, as he sensed Frieza's final defeat on Namek and relayed the message to the crowd encircling him. Those gathered around cheered in celebration, until another grim announcement hit them from afar.

"Bulma? Bulma?" An all-to-familiar voice sprung within the burrows of the heiress' mind.

"Y-Yamcha?" She asked, wide-eyed. "Is- is that you?"

"Yeah it's me." He replied. She could see the grin behind his voice all too well. "I'm on King Kai's planet. I'm speaking to you telepathically."

"Oh- uh- okay." Bulma smiled. "It's so good to hear your voice, Yamcha!"

"Likewise." He chuckled a moment, before getting down to business. "Anyway, I'm afraid I have bad news for you."

"Bulma, is that Yamcha?" Krillin asked.

"Yeah it is, now hush!" The blue-haired woman replied. "Go on, Yamcha."

Gohan, Krillin and Piccolo made their way nearby, ears perked up.

"Well, King Kai briefed us about what's been happening on Namek." The scar-faced warrior stated. "Vegeta escaped safely and he's heading right towards Earth!"

"Vegeta escaped?!" Bulma's face lit up in a beatific smile. She beamed at her friends. "Guys, Vegeta made it out alive!"

"That's great, but- what about dad?!" Gohan asked, heart thudding apprehensively.

"Yeah?!" Krillin too, was as edgy as ever. "Is Goku alright?"

"I don't know yet." She shook her head, then looked back up into the sky. "Continue."

"Umm- well- wait a minute, Bulma!"

"What?"

"Didn't you hear what I just said?!" Yamcha exclaimed, as though she were an idiot. "Vegeta's headed for Earth!" He enunciated. "That's bad news!"

"Dammit, it's fine Yamcha!" She frowned, rolling her eyes, even though he couldn't see her. "I'm the one who invited him here!"

"You what?!" The ex-bandit hissed. "What in seven hells would possess you to do something that stupid?!"

"Maybe you ought to use your pint-sized brain for just one second, dumbass!" She growled lividly. "We can't very well leave him in outer-space! He'll just continue wreaking havoc everywhere he sets foot!" True as that was, the heiress craftily managed to cover the primary reason why she chose to invite him here, figuring that she'd cross that bridge at a more convenient juncture. "Here on Earth, we can keep him in check!"

"Keep him in check?!" Yamcha fired back. "He's not some circus rhino! Vegeta's a fucking Super Saiyan and he just wiped out Frieza! As in, the terror of the Universe, Frieza! There's no one who can possibly restrain him, now that Goku's-" At that point the scarred warrior cut off his sentence.

"Goku's what?" Bulma asked in a soft, unsettled voice. "Did something happen to him?!"

After a tense pause, Yamcha released a despondent sigh and answered.

"I'm afraid so, Bulma." He rasped gloomily, face downcast. "He- he didn't make it in time. And it only get's worse." He took a deep breath, before hesitantly proceeding. "King Kai says that since Namek's been destroyed, he can't be wished back either."

Stunned silence followed for a good while, before Bulma imparted the tragic news to those beside her, heart laden with gut-wrenching grief. As expected, none of them took it well. She knelt before Gohan and let the lamenting little child weep against her shoulder, holding him around the neck and caressing the back of his head comfortingly, as her own tears spilled in an ocean of sorrow and bereavement at the altruistic sacrifice of her precious Goku. Piccolo's head drooped dejectedly and Krillin was on all fours, crying and slamming his fists against the lush grassy ground, making no efforts whatsoever to conceal his heartache at the loss of his dearest friend and companion.


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