“I was waiting for you to attack me.”
“You’re the one who wants something. You should be attacking me.”
“You don’t want anything?”
“I want you to leave my brat and me alone.”
“No can do.” Goku disappeared and reappeared behind Vegeta and swung his leg around, dealing the unsuspecting man a hard kick to the side of the head. The on-looking guard cringed and thought to himself how dead Goku would be as soon as the Prince got to his senses, as Vegeta whizzed past him and collided with the boulder the guard had been hiding behind only a few minutes ago.
Dust swirled around the site of the demolished stone. Not even giving it time to settle, a very pissed Vegeta flew out of the dust cloud and swiped at Goku with his fist, missing at first, but then nailing him in the abdomen with a well-timed kick.
The golden-orange warrior flew back a few meters and held his stomach in pain, coughing and making an effort to breathe. Meanwhile Vegeta wiped at a rivulet of blood flowing from a cut on his temple, close to the eyebrow—a result of being kicked in the face.
After a brief moment of recovery and assessment, they were at it again full force, kicking, punching, blocking, dodging, kneeing, pounding, jabbing, and everything else you see in a high-flying, super-powered martial arts battle fifty feet or so in the air.
Their Super Saiyan movements were too fast for the remaining guard to keep up with. They were moving at such incredible speeds that he couldn’t even see them. Every now and then he could momentarily spot a foot or a fist or he could feel a quick, unnatural breeze, but otherwise he was entirely unable to keep up. Never in his life had he witnessed such incredible power. He had heard the rumors of the warrior who killed Frieza, a fighter with incredible, unmatched strength, but nobody seemed to know who it was exactly. The guard guessed it could easily have been one of these two fighting before him right then.
The battle continued for hours until dusk came and the two suns in the maroon-magenta sky were on the horizon, one already half-disappeared into night.
It appeared that the two fighters were matched—punch for punch, kick for kick. They could not defeat each other and the battle was bound to go on until both were too tired or injured to continue. Who, if anyone, was destined to be the victor?
Vegeta stomped on Goku’s shin, crushing the bone and provoking a pained cry from the injured warrior. Vegeta laughed cruelly, and crushed harder, resulting in an even louder, more agonized screech. Vegeta was so frustrated that he was becoming ruthless, wanting to end the fight and his nemesis for good as soon as possible.
The battle and its two participants had slowed down considerably to the point where the guard was able to watch and see what was going on.
Both fighters were bloodied, broken, and bruised from head to toe as a result of the long day’s battle. Their clothes were torn, shredded, and stained. Goku’s outer gi shirt was entirely gone and all that remained was the dark blue undershirt. Vegeta’s left boot was ripped open and the toes were showing. The golden boot tip had long since been torn off during the brutality of the battle.
He flew back a few yards from the man with the broken leg, seemingly to give the injured fighter time to recuperate.
Vegeta was considering using his tail when he recalled that he had one more trick up his sleeve that he hadn’t thought of before—his big attack. He felt that going ape at this point would make him seem like a coward or quitter.
Goku hadn’t gained the upper hand like he had in their first fight and Vegeta still felt ashamed from the last time he’d resorted to his tail. He didn’t want to take the easy way out this time. His pride wouldn’t allow it.
Instead, Vegeta was secretly forming a last-ditch plan to end the stalemate battle and perhaps his enemy Goku as well once and for all. Vegeta coughed, wiped his face, and spoke up, “Alright, Kakarott, I’m giving you one last chance to take back all those idiotic things you said and fuck off. If you don’t, it will mean your death, and that of your friends, family, and entire planet as well. I highly suggest you take the bargain—leave now and I’ll leave you and yours alone.”
“Only if you’re ready to return Trunks unharmed will I be going anywhere. Like I said before. I’m not going back on what I said.”
“Even though you’re endangering your entire planet? You’re a fool, Kakarott.” Vegeta taunted.
“Hand over Trunks and I’ll leave.” Goku asserted, still with determination.
“You are NOT taking VEGETA anywhere, idiot. How would you like it if I tried to steal your brat?” Vegeta snapped angrily.
“That’s different. I never stole him from his mother in the first place,” was Goku’s retort.
“I believe your mate is probably quite entitled to be the mother and caretaker of your brat. That blue-haired whore, on the other hand, has no such entitlement.” Vegeta hissed on the word ‘whore.’
Goku was not about to tolerate such insults directed at his lifelong friends. “DON’T call Bulma that name! And I thought you said all children belong to their fathers.”
“That is the law on this planet and I agree with it.” Vegeta stated with an air of certainty.
“Then why would Chi Chi have any rights like that?” Goku inquired, not understanding why Vegeta would discriminate between Chi Chi and Bulma.
“Who’s Chi Chi?” Vegeta raised an eyebrow, having no idea to whom his foe was referring.
“My wife.” Goku replied bluntly, thinking it should’ve been obvious.
Vegeta looked confused at Goku’s use of the word “wife.”
“Gohan’s mother.” Goku added to clarify.
“Oh,” replied Vegeta in realization, “yes, I believe she may be more entitled to motherhood than the blue-haired wench.”
“Why?” Goku asked again.
“That’s not really any of your business, but I suppose I might tell you anyway. Did this ‘Chi Chi’ want a brat before she had one?” Vegeta interrogated.
“Uh, I think she did. Why?” Goku had no idea what the aim of Vegeta’s question was.
“How about you? Did you want one?” Vegeta added, curiously.
“I never thought about it. Why?” Goku asked again, this time with more irritation apparent in his voice at Vegeta’s refusal to answer his question.
“So was your brat an accident, or was he on purpose?” Asked Vegeta, prying into the other man’s personal affairs.
“What do you mean?”
“Did you have him intentionally or not? And what about your mate? Did she have him intentionally or not?”
“I think Chi Chi was probably trying to get pregnant. For me, he just showed up. Not that I regret it. Why?” Goku began, starting to get suspicious of where the interrogation was leading.
“So do you think your mate is more entitled to parenthood than you, the father?”
“Huh?” Goku’s brow crinkled in confusion.
“Let me put it this way: if you and your mate were to break up for whatever reason, who would your son live with? You or her?”
“I’d never survive without her.” Goku replied with honesty.
“JUST THINK THEORETICALLY FOR KAMI’S SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” A vein on Vegeta’s forehead looked like it’d explode.
“Ok, ok… I guess with her.” Goku said, giving in to Vegeta’s cross-examination.
“Why?” Inquired Vegeta.
“Because that’s what our laws say—when a husband and wife break up, the kids go with the mother…usually.”
“Ok, and is that morally just in your opinion? Should the brats go with the mother?”
“Yeah. Why?” Goku replied after a short pause, uncertain.
“How about if the mother didn’t want them in the first place and the father did. Then who would it be right for them to live with?”
“Vegeta, I’m confused. I’m not sure what you’re getting at.”
“Just answer the question, you idiot! I can’t tell if you’re living by what you actually believe is right or by what the laws on your planet are. There is almost always a degree of separation between legality and morality, on all planets with advanced beings.”
Vegeta slapped his forehead, chastising himself for using such complex sentences to communicate with a simpleton. “Ah, forget it! You’re obviously too stupid to understand anything by any means even remotely intellectual. Yet you have no problem forcing your fucked-up, hypocritical beliefs on others. You’re nothing but a self-righteous nitwit.”
“There’s nothing self-righteous or hypocritical about thinking kidnapping is wrong.” Goku replied decisively.
“That’s another problem, there. You see the world as being black and white. You think everything is so simple, but it’s not. You appear to be completely incapable of seeing any type of complexity in the world.” Vegeta said, growing more critical.
“I’m not incapable of seeing complexity, Vegeta!” Goku replied, obviously offended.
“Yes, you are, if you think it’s wrong to separate a mother and child period. So in every case that that’s ever been done, you think it’s wrong, don’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Is separating a mother and child always wrong, regardless of circumstance?”
“Yeah, like if the mother tries to harm or kill the brat, is it still wrong to separate them, even if it saves the brat’s life? Like I said, you think everything is black and white. You’re nothing but a simplistic lout.” Vegeta was becoming incredibly defensive and infuriated now that they appeared to be getting nowhere in the discussion. It was time for Vegeta to end this, he thought. He readied his final attack and gathered all the energy he had left into the palms of his hands. “I’m sick of this, Kakarott. It’s time for you to die.”
Goku was visibly confused by Vegeta’s argument and he was still trying to recover from the last attack when Vegeta threw his final blast.
“BIG BANG ATTACK!!!!!” Vegeta screamed at he released an enormous amount of energy.
“V-V-VEGETA!!!!!” Goku’s eyes went wide in panic, as he turned to escape.
The blast would’ve gotten a direct fatal hit if Goku hadn’t attempted to get out of the way in time. Instead it only impacted his lower body and sent him flying at light speed into a section of forest, leaving a large crater where a group of alien trees with strange foliage had been.
The smaller man flew over to the spot where Goku had fallen. He lay there unconscious and back in his original form, a complete mess of a warrior. Vegeta thought how easily he could finish him off at the moment, but he was plagued by a tinge of guilt that wouldn’t allow him to simply end his nemesis’s life. He floated there for a while, looking at the battered form, almost wanting to attack, but unable to find the energy, or perhaps cruelty, to do so.
After a few minutes of trying to decide what course of action to take next, Vegeta resolved to give Goku one last chance to leave. The larger man eventually roused, in an incredible amount of pain. Once his vision cleared he noticed the royal Saiyan hovering over him with a solemn look on his face.
“V-V-Vegeta?” He rasped, one of his eyes swollen shut. He started trying to push his torso up off the ground. The smaller, less injured man did not reply for a few long moments, and just remained there staring Goku down.
“All right, Kakarott,” Vegeta finally spoke up, getting Goku’s attention.
“I could easily kill you right now, but instead I’m going to be generous and give you one last chance to leave on your own and go back to earth. If you refuse, not only will you die, but I myself will return to earth after I’ve killed you and purge the entire planet. I highly suggest you take this deal. If you don’t, all your friends will die. All of them, including your brat.” He swore.
Goku cleared his mind and realized he couldn’t fight anymore. Not with everything broken like it was. He wasn’t even sure if his set-in-stone morals were right anymore, not after Vegeta had called him self-righteous and hypocritical. It was a new, unfamiliar emotion, but Goku was beginning to experience self-doubt.
There was just one thing that prevented him from doing what Vegeta said and going back to earth. “Bulma will be so angry. And so will Chi Chi. I can’t go back empty-handed, Vegeta.” Goku thought aloud, worried.
Vegeta rolled his eyes. How was he going to get Goku off his back now? Persuade him? That’s what Vegeta decided to try to do. “It’s not your fault, Kakarott. Can’t you just say you tried?” Vegeta recommended.
“That’s not going to be good enough.” Goku shot back, biting his fingernails anxiously.
“Why are you trying to impress the stupid woman?” Vegeta inquired, angry that a fellow Saiyan would do the bidding of such a weak being as a human. He knew quite well how little he could relate to Goku’s need to please people.
“It’s not just her. It’s all of them, all of my friends will think I’m a failure.” Goku added, eyes growing wide.
“Why are you so concerned about what they think? Is this really that important? You’re acting like the woman getting the brat is a matter of life and death. I don’t understand why the woman can’t just have another brat if she is so desperate for a brat.”
Goku shrugged his shoulders, not knowing what to say to that. “I’m sorry, Vegeta.” He finally whispered.
“Why?” Asked Vegeta, clueless as to where the apology had come from.
“I just realized I only came here worried about what they thought. They always expect me to be the leader. It’s like I’m supposed to take care of everyone. How did I ever get myself into that role in the first place?” Goku wondered to himself, aloud. He was starting to feel a tinge of panic.
Vegeta didn’t know what to say.
“I don’t know how I’m going to face them…” Goku whimpered.
Vegeta felt impelled to give some princely advice in response to that. “You need to change your attitude, Kakarott. Act like a Saiyan. You’re not around to do your friends’ bidding.”
“I’m still scared, Vegeta.”
“We all are whenever we have to do something we don’t want to. But we face it nonetheless. That’s what courage is.” Vegeta intentionally hid his surprise at Goku’s revealing so much vulnerability all at once, for some reason not wanting to alienate the other Saiyan.
“It’s not just me. I feel bad for Bulma.”
“I don’t. She deserves it, after what she did.” Vegeta lowered his head, remembering.
“Did what? What are you talking about?”
Vegeta slapped himself for nearly revealing that, and quickly covered up with a “Nothingdon’tworryaboutitKakarott,” in response.
Goku shrugged off the weird feeling he got. “Poor Bulma…” He lamented, trying not to imagine the pain she must be in.
“It’s not your problem.” Vegeta argued, trying to get Goku’s mind off it so he would finally go.
“I wish I could find a way to give you both what you want…” Goku sighed.
“What do you mean? You can’t please everyone.” Vegeta replied.
“It’s worth a try.” Goku supposed, finally sitting up.
“Are we done yet? Can’t you go now? I’m starving and I already missed dinner at the palace.” Vegeta rolled his eyes, getting impatient.
“All right.” Goku said, lowering his head in shame, “Bye…Vegeta.”
“Bye, Kakarott.” Vegeta replied, obviously in a hurry to get back to the palace.
Goku put two fingers to his temple and disappeared into thin air. Vegeta sighed and was relieved his heir was no longer under threat. Now he could finally get back to his life and plans for the future. He powered down to his original form. The remaining guard flew over and began to help the Prince back to the palace, lending the injured warrior support.