The Light to my Darkness

BY : SaiyanPrince541
Category: Dragon Ball Z > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 5402
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 33: Out of the fire and into the ice

Although the Namekians had informed their Earthling allies that their dragon balls would regain their lucency in another 130 days and could restore life to a person, regardless of how many times they'd been revived, any emerging smidgeon of hope was crushed, as Piccolo properly elucidated the situation.

"The problem is that Goku died on the planet Namek, but that planet was destroyed by Frieza." He informed. "Even if we can revive him, his body will materialize in the void where Namek once endured and since there's no air to breathe in outer space, he'll just suffocate to death."

"I- I see." Krillin banged his elbow to the ground, in frustration. It was just so unfair! Why did this have to happen?! Why to Goku of all people?!

"Bulma, are you still there?"

"Y-Yeah, I'm here, Yamcha." The heiress replied, wiping her eyes clean and getting to her feet. Gohan didn't let go of her and wound his small arms around her waistline, nestling his face into her petite stomach, as he wept incessantly. She placed a hand on the back of his head, gently caressing his dark hair. Her heart wrenched for the child, who'd become like a son to her, in the short time they'd know one-another.

"I know this isn't the best bad time, but we need to be prepared for Vegeta." Stated the scarred fighter. "There's no telling what he'll do once he-"

"What the hell is wrong with you?!" She seethed back. "Gohan just lost his father, for goodness sake! Can't you give us a moment?!"

"I know that, but-"

"I already told you, I'll take care of Vegeta!" She replied icily, before taking a breath and softening her tone. "He's no longer a threat, Yamcha. I know it's difficult to believe, but he's not the same person that attacked Earth."

"Bulma, you can't be-"

"I am serious! Dead serious!" She interjected loudly, whereby her ex cringed. "If Goku were alive, I can assure you that he'd vouch for him too!" Bulma paused a moment, then continued in an almost imperceptible voice. "And plus Vegeta, well- he- he- promised me he wouldn't be like Frieza."

Yamcha's eyes widened, mouth ajar and expression writ with sheer disbelief. Just what on Earth did she mean by that?! Why would a beast like Vegeta ever make such a vow?! Why to her?! An ugly, unsettling feeling began sprouting within the pit of his stomach. He needed to know what was going on and he needed to know now! As he was about to ask, however, his former lover cut him off.

"Look Yamcha, all Vegeta's interested in, is training and increasing his power." She stated unwaveringly. "He won't cause any trouble, trust me." The ex-bandit frowned at that.

"You say that like it's a good thing!" The scar-faced warrior was as unconvinced as ever. "If his power increases further, that only makes things ten times worse! Need I remind you that this is the same person that had me killed and took you hostage!"

"I know, but he also saved our lives on Namek, many times!" She countered emphatically. "And I understand that you resent him for what he did to you, but we're gonna wish you back, along with everyone else!"

"That may be so, but I still think it's too risky." The scarred man shook his head. "Right now, the only one who has a chance to stop him is Goku, but he's gone!" Yamcha sighed wistfully.

"There's gotta be a way to bring him back!" Bulma remarked, her lithe frame beset with staunch determination. "I'm not gonna let Gohan grow up without his father." She looked towards Krillin and Piccolo. "Come on guys! Just think for a second, would you?!"

The Namekian mused a moment, before a thought hit him.

"I've got it!" He hammered a fist against his palm. Gohan tilted his head towards his mentor, a glimmer of hope rekindling within his onyx eyes. "Namek's dragon grants us exactly three wishes, right?!"

"Right." Bulma nodded affirmatively.

"Then we'll use the first wish to bring Goku's soul back to Earth." He explained. "That way, when he's revived with the second wish, he'll return right here!"

"That's- that's brilliant!" The heiress beamed, relief flooding through her. "Great idea!"

The green giant smirked inwardly and was completely caught off guard when his tiny pupil glomped him, not a second later.

"Thank you so much, Piccolo!" The boy cheered, girding his arms around the big Namekian's face. "I knew you'd find a way! I just knew it! You're the best!"

"Gohan, let go of me!" He chided, face flushed, as he unsuccessfully tried pulling his disciple away. Bulma giggled, her heart warming at the tender scene playing out. It was kind of cute seeing this other side to Piccolo. He wasn't anything like the big, bad super scary monster she remembered! Krillin lay flat on the grass and smiled up at the sky, hope and joy filling him to the brim. He couldn't wait to see Goku again! Hell, strange as it may have been, he was even sort of looking forward to the reunion with Vegeta!

'Haha, what on Earth's happened to me?'

The celebrations didn't last long, however, as the Grand Elder of Namek, content as ever, announced that his time had come, at last.

"You must remain strong, my children." Guru instructed kindly, in a serene and comforting lilt. "Live in harmony amongst one-another, help those in need and never shed the blood of the innocent. You are a race of paramount knowledge, who carry a prestigious legacy that shall persevere throughout the ages: the dragon balls. Use them wisely and safeguard them from the hands of evil, as though they are your own children." He then turned towards the oldest of his offspring. "Tsuno."

"Y-Yes Elder." The Namek approached. Guru gently gripped his hand and imparted to him all the knowledge he'd acquired over the course of his lengthy existence.

"You are the Eldest now, my son." He smiled and looked towards his people one last time, as he slowly disappeared away. "Goodbye, my dear children. You've made me- so very proud."

Tears were shed and hearts, ground to pieces, as the revered father of the Namekian race, loved by so many, made his peaceful passage into the next world, never to return.

As the mourning finally died down, Bulma called her father and explained that her and the rest of the crew had been teleported straight back to Earth. She promptly invited the horde of Namekians to stay with her at Capsule Corporation, while they still resided on Earth, in exchange for the use of their dragon balls.

And so, an hour later Dr. Brief arrived on scene along with a highly unsettled Chi-Chi, who was resolved more than ever to see her child and ascertain the truth from Krillin and that dastardly Piccolo, even if she had to beat it out of them! The mad mother dashed out of the plane, the moment it landed. Her eyes watered as she caught sight of a little boy clad in Saiyan uniform, craftily hiding amidst a group of green aliens, whom she could safely assume were Namekians. Carelessly sweeping her way right through the astounded aliens, the Ox Princess got on her knees and squeezed the living daylights out of her son, in an air-constricting embrace.

"Oh, my poor little baby!" She mewled. "Mommy was worried sick about you!" Chi-Chi continued puling cacophonously, unaware of the multitude of eardrums that were a mere inch away from bursting apart.

"H-H-Hi m-m-mom." The boy stammered sheepishly, a profuse blush smearing his face.

"What's the matter Gohan?!" The woman withdrew, louring at her one and only child. "You don't look all that happy to see me!"

"W-Well, i-it's not that." He replied. "It's just-"

"Just what?"

"I- I forgot to do my h-homework." The demi-Saiyan admitted abashedly, tapping his index fingers together.

Chi-Chi paused a moment, frowning at her child, before grinning.

"Well, that's okay!" She shook her head. The gleam of hope that lit the demi-Saiyan's eyes vanished away, with his temperamental mother's next words. "That just means you have a lot of catching up to do, since you're going to stay at least three grades ahead of your peers."

"But mom, I don't even know any of my peers-"

"Don't 'but mom' me, mister!" She snarled back. The hapless child winced. "From now on, I'm going to keep my eye on you at all times, are we clear?! No more larking or fighting for you ever, period!"

That last word continued ringing throughout Gohan's mind like a plaguing bell. Strange as it may have been, he kind of enjoyed the time he shared with his father, Piccolo, Krillin, Bulma and heck, even Vegeta! Nonetheless, he supposed his mother was right. He understood that he needed to be a responsible young man, since peace had now prevailed and the Earth was no longer under threat. He looked up at his mother.

"Okay mom, whatever you want." The boy smiled kindly. "And it- it really is good to see you again- too."

Chi-Chi's expression immediately softened and she embraced her son once again, albeit gently this time.

"Hey, uh- Chi-Chi." Bulma headed over to the raven-haired woman.

"Oh, Bulma, I forgot all about you!" A broad smile lit the Ox Princess' face, as she stood up and took hold of the blue-haired female's hands. "I never did get to thank you, for what you did! It was really brave of you, saving us all from that godawful Saiyan!"

"Uh- yeah- well- um- I guess- that's what friends are for hehe." She let out a strained chuckle. None of them had an inkling that she and that godawful Saiyan had twice engaged in the steamiest sex she'd experienced, all her life! Searing heat rushed straight to her face, her legs weakening, as she was mentally reminded of those enthralling moments.

"What's wrong Bulma?" Chi-Chi asked inquisitively. "You look like a red pepper."

"Sorry." The heiress responded quickly, getting ahold of herself. "Just a couple of side effects- from- uh- being teleported here I guess, hehehe."

"Oh right." The oblivious mother nodded. "Your father told me all about that. Must've been pretty awkward, huh?"

"Uh- yeah, it sure was." Bulma scratched her head, laughing sheepishly.

'I don't think that's true.' Krillin thought inwardly, listening carefully to the discourse between the two females. 'It's pretty obvious now that something went on between her and Vegeta.' He recalled her final words to the Prince, right before she'd died. 'Great! Just what has Bulma gotten herself into?! How on Earth is she going to explain this to poor Yamcha?!'

"Anyway, Chi-Chi, I just wanted to let you know that you and Gohan are both welcome to stay with us at Capsule Corporation, until we wish Goku back." Bulma smiled. "You can invite your father over as well."

"Oh no, Bulma, I- I couldn't-"

"Please, it's my pleasure." The heiress prodded. "Plus, I can help with Gohan's homework, whenever I get the time."

"I don't know." Chi-Chi sighed. "You've already done so much-"

"I insist." She said fervently. "This is the least I can do, for all the times Goku's saved Earth. Think nothing of it."

"Oh, alright." The Ox Princess relented, smiling at her. "I owe you Bulma."

"No biggie." The heiress winked, before facing the Earth-born Namekian. "What about you, Piccolo? You can come too."

"Tch." Piccolo snorted, averting his gaze. "Forget it." This vivacious little female was acting much too familiar for this taste! He decided he didn't like it!

"Oh come on, don't be like that." The blue-haired woman pressed. "I'm sure Gohan would really appreciate having you there."

"Bulma!" Chi-Chi hissed in a low voice. "Are you out of your mind?!"

"Yeah, come with us Piccolo!" Gohan beamed at his mentor. "It'd be great to have you around!"

"What's the matter with you two?!" The raven-haired woman seethed.

"Chi-Chi, get with the program already!" Bulma rolled her eyes, at her cantankerous friend. "Piccolo's not a bad guy anymore!"

"I'm right here, you know!" The Namekian growled, indignantly.

A short moment of bickering later, it was agreed! All those present elected to stay at the Briefs' household, save Krillin, who flew back to Kame House to fill in Master Roshi about the craziest and wildest adventure he'd ever had.

Several days rolled by and Capsule Corporation was more lively than ever before.

XXXX

Elsewhere in the heart of space, a comatose Vegeta was completely oblivious to the true extent of damage his pod had endured. The oxygen concentrator was slowly leaking and not a week since he'd departed Namek, supplies were drastically low. Loud Sirens abruptly woke the hapless Prince.

"Code red! code red!" The pod's computer suddenly blurted out loud. "Oxygen level: near zero!"

"D-D-Dammit!" Vegeta cursed. What in the blazes was going on?! He turned off the alarm and checked the oxygen gauge. Shit! Given the leakage, there was scarcely enough to last him a half hour. The Prince switched screens twice and every bit of color left his face, upon seeing the ETA: 27 days! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! If only he'd taken time to observe the detriment his pod had taken from the very beginning! He could've gone to Planet Frieza No. 79 and either have this pod repaired or scrapped, in favour of a new one! No! He could not let this deter him! He needed to find a way out of this jam, before he suffocated to death in his own pod!

"What's the closest planet and how far is it?!" He demanded.

"Planet 7063XW, Kizdar." The computer answered. "ETA: Forty two minutes."

"Make for Planet Kizdar, immediately!" The Prince growled.

"Re-setting co-ordinates to 7063XW."

Vegeta let out a string of foul profanities! Now he was truly fucked and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it! But he needed to keep his cool! Taking a deep breath, he sifted through the pod's computer for information on Kizdar.

'Purged by: Zarbon?!' He read to himself, frowning. Ah, yes, he remembered emerald-haired sycophant bragging about that little victory for weeks on end. Both Cui and Dodoria had failed, where he'd succeeded. The average power level of the natives was around 5000; not much, but they were known for attacking in large droves. His ex-superior was forced to employ his transformation technique in order to successfully wipe out the populace and after returning to base, he'd spent the entire day in a healing chamber. 'Tch. What a pansy. In my transformed state, I would have done away with them far quicker and with much less damage on my end.'

Luckily, the planet had a breathable atmosphere and- no buyers. 'That's strange. Why hasn't it been destroyed then?' According to the latest update, Kizdar was reaching the end of one of its notorious winters, where temperatures could fall as low as -45 degrees.

'Shit! This just isn't my day!' He shut his eyes and released the stasis gas once again, opting to rest for the remainder of the journey.

XXXX

A month and a half swam by pretty fast and Bulma was really beginning to fret. Vegeta should've been here by now! She hadn't yet informed Chi-Chi or her parents about the Prince's destined arrival. The heiress banged her fist against her computer desk, in worry and frustration.

"King Kai! King Kai!" She yelled out loud, in a desperate bid to try and ascertain that Saiyan's whereabouts! That little scoundrel better not have changed his mind, about coming to Earth!

"Stop shouting!" Came the god's reply. Bulma breathed an alleviating sigh. He'd answered her call! Thank God! The deity adjusted his shades. "Who is it?"

"It's Bulma."

"Oh, hi there." He greeted. "Can I help you with something?"

"It's about Vegeta." She replied, brows furrowed. "I don't know where he is."

"He's not on Earth yet?" King Kai asked incredulously. That was truly unexpected.

"No, he isn't." She affirmed, sighing dejectedly. "I don't know where he is. I was hoping you could tell me."

"Hmmm." The god tapped his chin thoughtfully. "I'll take a look." He shifted his antennae, so they were erected left ways. A few tense minutes passed. "It's strange but- I can't sense his energy. I don't understand."

"But that can only mean-" The heiress gasped, her sapphire eyes tearing up.

"I'm afraid so, Bulma, I'm sorry." King Kai nodded sympathetically. "But don't be too glum. You can revive him with the dragon balls, remember? Just ask Porunga to wish Vegeta and Goku's souls to Earth with the first wish, like Piccolo suggested. Then use the next two, to bring them both back to life."

"I- I see." Bulma placed her elbow on the desk, palm under her chin. So Vegeta must've died in outer-space. How horrible. Her heart was crushed. "Thanks King Kai."

"No problem." The portly deity replied. "But try not to make this a habit."

"Sure thing."

Bulma shut down the computer, stood up from her chair and decided to add the finishing touches to the new gravitron. She had set about working on it, the moment she'd returned home. Since the original unit employed a bulk of material from outer space, she'd recruited a team of experts to salvage whatever scrap metal was still workable from the remnants of Raditz' space pod. Afterwards, she had it melted down and coalesced with a whole lot of aluminum steel and ferrotitanium, along with several other alloys. As fate would have it, the heiress ended up producing material even more tensile, durable, and corrosion resistant than that used on the first model, not to mention less inflammable. Lo and behold, a month later and she was nearly done: a spaceship and a gravitron, all in one! She'd put a lot of effort into this! Vegeta would be most impressed!

'Well, he better be or I'll rip him a new one.'

While Bulma was working on that, she had her father study the armor and uniform that Gohan donned on Namek. Using chrome steel and aluminum bronze, along with a tiny bit of the original material and some fire-retardant, a new armor/uniform prototype was successfully manufactured. Though Piccolo adamantly refused to 'dress like a Saiyan', one of the Namekian warriors present, begrudgingly agreed and Bulma was able to procure a true gauge of the prototype's practicality and success on the battlefield. Though not quite as tough and durable as the original set, it came quite close and was just as pliable, if not more, which was a lot better than she'd hoped for! With time, she knew she could further improve on it, but for now, she decided to complete the gravitron. All that was left was installing the plexiglas windows, wiring up the engine and framing the central console, before she was good for the go.

XXXX

The moment he arrived, he exited his ramshackle pod to inhale some much needed oxygen. He didn't know how long it had been exactly, as he aimlessly roamed the icy terrain of the frosty planet, no destination in sight. Hours turned into days and days into weeks. Well over a month had passed, as the half-blind Prince continued traversing the knee-deep snow, body drained, fatigued, frozen and long since devoid of Ki. The perpetual blizzard of Kizdar refused to show even the slightest hint of mercy. How ironic it was that after realizing the greatest victory anyone could ever hope to achieve, he would die in a barren wasteland, not a soul to mourn him or sing accolades of glory, in his honor. He'd annihilated all of Frieza's soldiers along with their dreaded leader and now here he was: starving, freezing, exhausted and- afraid.

He knew what it was like to be afraid. He'd felt it over and over again, every time he knelt before his late tormentor, awaiting one merciless beating after another. Yet with sheer willpower alone, he'd learned to bury it underneath a thick and unyielding stratum of raw hatred. Hate, anger, pride, vindictiveness and entitlement were all he had, all that kept him alive, where any other miserable soul would've rushed towards death's welcoming doors. Now, no matter what he did, he could not rein in his fear, fear not for his inevitable doom, but at the idea that he would never again lay his dark irises upon a certain blue-haired creature of mercy, peer into her endearing orbs of endless and ever-so-bright sapphire, smell the blissful scent of jasmine exuding from every perfect pore in her lithe, fragile body, taste her soft, cherry lips and feel her glowing, ivory skin against his, instilling his entire being with overflowing warmth, light, acceptance and contentment.

In the past, fear alone would've driven him to his death within moments, yet it was now the only thing keeping him alive, when all else was lost. He needed to see her again, to know with his own two eyes that she was alive and well, to hear the serene lilt of her soothing voice, to drown in her flowery fragrance and to touch her one last time, before he was willing to take his final step through hell's blazing gates. His greatest weakness had become his greatest strength. And so, he waddled on and on, in a fruitless search for anyone or anything that could get him off this wretched snow ball.

Not long afterwards, he collapsed on all fours, his severely aching and exhausted muscles and joints, refusing to carry him any further. The Prince damned the Universe for giving him everything he had ever wanted, only to leave him with absolutely nothing but prolonged and unparalleled suffering, utter defeat and helplessness. In a fiery fit of fury, he slammed his fist down, unwittingly shattering the already weakened glacial surface below him and dropping 40 feet deep into an expansive icy cavern. He cried out in bloodcurdling agony, as a stout stalagmite skewered his lower leg, piercing right through his fibula. A horrid pool of crimson spread below his calf. All was lost. Even if the fall hadn't broken what little was left of his body, that accursed icicle had put the last nail in his coffin. If only it had impaled his heart instead of his leg.

He sighed wearily, as he lay on his back, staring up blankly, as unceasing droplets of snow continued descending upon him, more steadily now. At long last, his resolve was beginning to waver. This would be his final burial ground: a mound of hail to honor the mightiest warrior in the entire cosmos. He chuckled wryly and shut his eyes, as his thoughts drifted towards the passionate moments he'd shared with his feisty little enchantress. He allowed those warm memories to cocoon his trembling, freezing and fatigued figure, in a thermal layer of inner bliss, when nothing else could. A few hours passed by and the blizzard had belatedly come to a halt. Vegeta, however, was long since unconscious.


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