Things Behind The Sun

Everything Straight Lies

Bulma doesn't remember how or why she's there as she stares at the painfully blue sky – not a cloud in sight, suddenly it's a torrid summer afternoon.

She is lying on the dusty ground and the heat goes directly from the soil to her back, making her sweat – it's uncomfortable, but she has the distinct sensation of having been in that situation before, she has been in that rocky desert before – an august day of many, many months ago.

"Why are we here?" she says, turning her head to Goku, who's lying beside her with his arms crossed behind his head.

He turns his head and smiles a little, squinting at the fierce sunlight.

"I don't know," he says. "It's your dream," he adds, sticking out his tongue. "It's weird – like you."

"Hey!"

Bulma half-heartedly slaps him on one arm, because it's too hot to engage in their usual loving and silly banter, but she tries anyway and Goku laughs and rolls on his side, propping his head up on his arm to look at her.

"We've been here before," he says.

Bulma suddenly remembers.

"Yeah," she snorts. "You saved my life and cracked my head open on that rock."

"Hehehe, yeah, I remember that!" Goku replies with an amused giggle and Bulma eyes him suspiciously.

"You didn't do that on purpose, did you?"

"Aw, no!" Goku says with the big smile she loves. "I love your head!"

Bulma rolls her eyes and gets up, dusting her blue jeans off.

"Anyway, I should go," she says. "I'm not supposed to sunbathe too much – I'm pregnant, you know?"

"I didn't know," Goku replies and his face suddenly becomes sad. He stares at her with eyes black and soft, pleading and searching and Bulma lowers her head, thinking how fitting it is that she's back at not being able to hold his gaze.

She looks at the dusty ground and her voice sounds far away and empty when she speaks while the canyons start to tremble and fall around them.

"I'm sorry. I should have told you."


October, 765

Late at night, the only sound in Bulma's room was the rhythmic pounding of the rain outside and the only light was the blue glare of the computer as she typed away, deep in concentration, focused on light and magnetic fields, electricity and gravitation – the things that grounded her – without ever raising her head.

If she did, she would see the vanity table that Goku had once knocked over – the bed where they used to roll and fall – the bathroom where he'd kissed her against the white tiled walls of the shower and – she just didn't want to.

More than once, she had thought about leaving that room, the one she had occupied for as long as she could remember – she had thought about relocating in the much bigger one of the upper floor, the one that didn't have a balcony – but she had never been able to bring herself to do it.

It was because she needed the balcony, she told herself. To prop her legs up against it and smoke an entire pack of cigarettes watching the smoke curl in the sky above her head.

She loved to do that, she wanted to do that and – once that whole ordeal would be over, she could go back to that. She wanted so much to go back to everything she had been.

With a sigh, Bulma saved the document she was working on and switched off the computer. The room instantaneously fell into darkness. She let her head fall on the back of her chair and inhaled and exhaled slowly.

There was only one conceptual flaw in her grand plan to become Bulma Briefs again.

The baby.

Every day, she struggled with that flaw. Every day, she thought that the gentle words of the doctor, the ones that had made her feel strong enough to go through this thing were just that – words. Words a doctor said to all his patients because it was his job. Every day, she thought the decision of keeping the baby was the worst she ever made.

The baby from nowhere – the baby she had not been searching for.

She wasn't cut out for that – she wasn't soft, she wasn't nurturing – she gave up on people. Bulma Briefs was many things – a genius, an adventurer, she was beautiful and – every now and then, in the back of her mind – she thought she was a monster.

She had no idea about how she could ever be a mother, she didn't know where to begin, she just didn't have it in her – but then sometimes she looked at the black picture. The first picture of the tiny life that was growing inside her and sometimes she felt like she wanted to get to know that little seahorse – she felt something warm flare in her chest, she imagined sleepy newborn eyes and tiny feet and every now and then she thought she wasn't so sure she was a monster.

Bulma got up and went to sit on her bed, turning on the lamp on the bedside table. The small square of black photographic paper was there and she took it, holding it in a hand that trembled only slightly.

In her head, looking at the first picture of her child, she went over all of it – the things she had said and wished she hadn't. The things she had done and wished she could take back. She imagined a teenager kid with a face she couldn't see, a face that was vague and familiar at the same time, asking questions about a dad, what he was like and why he wasn't there. She imagined trying to think of an answer and not coming up with anything decent. The truth wasn't pretty, no matter how she tried to phrase it – Bulma thought that eventually a lie would come out, from her mouth to the ears of the tiny seahorse and she felt a pang of icy terror burn his way through her heart.

Lightning struck close and Bulma jumped and looked up from the picture as the flash of white light illuminated the room, startling her, hurting her eyes – scaring her, because in the same instant she heard the light sound of knuckles against glass, Goku's muffled voice saying 'hey, you' – she thought she saw the outline of his shadow against the white curtains of the window.

Her heart in her throat, Bulma quickly put the picture in her drawer and leaped to her feet. She rushed to the window where she hastily pulled the curtains open –

There was no one on the other side of the glass, where the raindrops crushed rhythmically before trickling down in lazy lines.

Bulma narrowed her eyes. Great – it was all in her head. Her mind was playing tricks on her – maybe she was crazy. Or maybe it was time to get some sleep.

She drew the curtains, but then she saw a shadow outside – her heart seized and she immediately parted them again, abruptly–

Startled beyond belief, Bulma recoiled with a piercing scream – because someone was scowling at her across the window pane, clench-jawed, arms down his sides, hands balled into tight fists.

"What are you shrieking about, woman?"

Vegeta's voice came muffled from the other side of the window, but she could detect very well the drawl she didn't know she had grown accustomed to – Bulma scowled in turn and, her breathing under control, she went to open the french window. The chill air from the tempestuous night rushed inside the room.

"What are you doing here, Vegeta?" she said pointedly, purposefully ignoring his question. "I thought you were gone – for good this time. But I guess hope's for fools, right?"

Vegeta's expression didn't change and he made no move to get away from the rain. They stood there, each on one side of the window frame, staring at each other.

Then, he smirked. "Indeed it is," he said at last. "I'm here for the gravity room, woman. What else is there?"

Bulma frowned, resisting the urge to gawk at the immense nerve of the Saiyan before her. She had not seen him since that night of September – and now he was back and it was the same old story.

"Are you kidding me?" she snapped. " Enough! Enough with that that thing! I swear to Kami I'm going to smash it to the ground myself first thing in the morning!"

"There is no such thing as enough when it comes to training," Vegeta said evenly and his toneless voice made Bulma tick – Vegeta had that super power, the special ability of making her temper shorter than it already was – with his stony façade and the hard stares, the annoying smirks and his sharp edges – she could not stand him, she couldn't stand his foolish sense of entitlement, she couldn't stand the way he talked to her, like she was less than the dirt on his boots – especially after what had happened last time. Bulma had been mad, angry, furious a lot of times – she had shouted her head off a lot of times – but nothing, nothing had prepared her for the sheer frustration and the blind rage Vegeta knew how to ignite into her bones.

"WHAT?" she shouted as her face became of the brightest red – all the blood rushing to her head, making her lose every pretense of sense and composure. "WHAT? What do you think you're doing? You think you can come and go as you please?" she yelled and, at her piercing screams, Vegeta's mask slipped for the briefest moment. He scowled at the way the woman never seemed to back down, to shut up, to shut off. And at the way her constant defiance made him feel – Bulma was slamming the window close on his face but, abruptly, Vegeta stopped her, in a move that was like a reflex to him, a reflex he covered with an aggressive show of irritation.

"Yes," he seethed, effortlessly holding the window open with one hand. "But unfortunately, I keep running into you!"

"Oh, really?" Bulma said, not giving up on trying to pull the window closed, but it wouldn't budge – but she certainly wasn't about to stop trying. "Well,jackass… this is my balcony and there is a front door in this house – since you can't seem to stay away!" she taunted and she knew she had hit the right – or the wrong – chord, because all Vegeta did was stare, every single muscle of his body going stiff, his lips drawn in a firm, hard line because his teeth were clenched so tight they were surely starting to hurt.

"And you still haven't learned to watch your mouth," he said in a low, menacing hiss.

Bulma let out an indignant huff through her flaring nostrils. She lifted her chin up slightly – a dare, perhaps, and – once again, Vegeta did not move. He clenched his fist so hard he felt the nails scratch faintly his palms, a dangerous glint in his eyes. Without realizing it, his face had gone only inches from that of the woman – he could feel her steaming in front of him and he thought he hated her, he hated how she was holding her head up no matter what, he hated the physical magnetism that was holding him there, he thought that he hated his hands that were itching.

The silence grew heavy and corporeal, tense –soaked in the unrelenting pounding of the October rain.

At last, Bulma huffed again. She let her hand slide down, letting go of the window – she narrowed her eyes, reducing them to thin turquoise slits.

"Are you getting in or what?" she said.

Vegeta held her indecipherable glare with one of his own. "Actually, I'm thinking about killing you," he said and it was the truth, but Bulma didn't seem impressed nor agitated anymore.

"Sure," she said. "But it's freezing. So until you can make up your mind…"

Bulma didn't wait for Vegeta's reply, she just turned and stepped away from the window. In fact, she knew better than expecting an answer – in fact in fact, Vegeta said nothing but removed his hand from the window as well and after a moment he followed her inside, never taking his bloodshot gaze away from her.

Bulma rolled her eyes and went to close the window behind him. The sound of the rain became subdued at once. She let her hand linger for a moment on the handle – the faint feeling of having been there before was creeping all over her, it was like having a thousand of ants making their way up her arms – up her chest. There were things – when it rained in West City. Small things she would never forget, things that she wanted to relegate to nothing but that stayed instead, with more strength than anything else.

She swallowed and turned around to face him, and her face was hard and fierce as ever.

"You know the way," she drawled. Vegeta narrowed his eyes and nodded curtly.

"Yes, I do."

Bulma raised her eyebrows, gesturing with her head towards the door. "Enjoy."

Vegeta stared for a second, then he turned on his heels and left slamming the door behind him. Only then, Bulma allowed herself to acknowledge her trembling legs. She lowered her head and took a deep breath.

She felt her heart drop.

He was back.


Hours later she was curled up under her blanket, on her side, her cheek is pressed on her pillow and her eyes wide open staring at the red numbers of her alarm clock.

The white curtains were closed – she thought about keeping them that way forever.

She could feel the presence of the black picture in the drawer next to her – somehow she could also feel Vegeta's presence in the gravity room – she didn't know if it was her imagination, but she could hear the low humming sound of the gravity device she had fixed after the accident – it traveled through the walls, it seeped through her skin – Vegeta had been back for what, two hours? And her nerves were already mangled beyond repair. With an irritated sigh, Bulma closed her eyes – but she was restless.

He was back. For real.

Why?

After what had happened between the two of them – maybe his feud with Goku ran deeper than what she thought was possible if in order to use the gravity room he was willing to face her even after… that. Or maybe there was something else going on – something else – was it possible?

Bulma rolled on her back and stared at the ceiling. She didn't want to care, she closed her eyes and tried hard – hard – not to care and to sleep –

With a frustrated growl, she threw the covers aside and got up, ready to start round two with her insufferable guest.

She slipped inside her deep blue robe and stalked all the way to the gravity room. The red light above the door was on of course. Growling, Bulma opened the panel on the wall and she hastily entered the code for the manual override – the panel flashed green, the light above the door started to flash on and off and the door finally swished open.

She took a few steps inside and at first Vegeta was nowhere to be seen – then he swiftly landed in front of Bulma, making her jump back with a shriek for the second time that night. Vegeta's expression, as always, didn't bode well – but that time around it seemed he had reached a higher level of pissed-off altogether.

But then again – so had Bulma.

"What do you want?" Vegeta hissed. "I thought we said everything we needed to say."

Bulma looked at him, glowering. What she wanted to say was 'why are you back? where have you been?' – but her mouth had different intentions.

"You wish!" she said. "Do you mind?" she then snapped. "It's four in the morning!"

Vegeta merely raised an eyebrow. "And?"

"And you're keeping me awake with your stupid after-dark training session!" she said, her voice growing more exasperated by the second.

Vegeta stared at her for a moment, his eyes narrowed, his mouth hanging open just slightly.

"That's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard," he said at last. "And I have heard stupid things in the past two years."

He knew he had a point – he had often trained late at night or early in the morning, with no one ever complaining – the gravity room had soundproofed wall, the woman herself had installed them – there was no way the noise could spread that far.

Bulma glared. "Yeah, well, cut it out."

"Or?"

"I made this machine, I can tear it down as well."

Vegeta crossed his arms on his chest, meeting Bulma's eyes with a stony glare.

"Why don't you shut up, woman?" he said. "You never have anything new to say, anyway."

Bulma's eyes sparkled wild. "Look who's talking," she countered, her face distorting into an unpleasant grin.

"At least I have good reasons," Vegeta huffed, indignant, and Bulma found herself unable to rein in a nasty chuckle. When Vegeta's eyes flashed furiously at her laughter, she leaned forward only slightly, as though as she wanted to whisper in his ear.

"Always trying to catch up with him, are you?" she said huskily and even though she couldn't see the dangerous glint making its return in Vegeta's eyes, she was ready for what was coming – with a quick, sharp move, Vegeta roughly grabbed her from her waist and made her spin – pinning her face-first to the wall, pressing hard on her with the weight of his body, and even though Bulma had willingly walked into that, she couldn't help but let out a choked yelp.

Vegeta's breath was tickling, hot and wet in her ear as he spoke. "You should really watch what you say," he hissed and Bulma smirked, her cheek pressed against the padded wall. He was impossibly hot against her back, impossibly smothering, his heavy, furious breath on her neck was maddening.

"Or what?" she gasped.

Vegeta harshly made her turn around again and their eyes met, a hard clash of black and turquoise, their inhale-and-exhale hot and somehow intimate.

"You don't know what you're in for, woman," he said.

Bulma swallowed her breath. "Neither do you," she whispered and lifted her chin again – Vegeta accepted the challenge.

He dived for her throat, mouthing it, mouthing her jaw – she grabbed a fist of his hair to keep him suffocating close – she hazed out as she felt his fingers grasping forcefully at the skin of her thigh, as he slipped a hand under her nightgown –her hands were flexing compulsively over his back – she moaned, losing her senses completely, everything else became nonexistent – except for a small, distant voice in the furthest, deepest recess of her mind that was asking her a simple question she wanted to ignore – are you sure you're not a monster?


After that, Bulma made a conscious decision.

The morning after Vegeta's return, she left forever her old room – she packed her stuff, she shut the blinds and drew the white curtains. They would never again dance in lazy patterns to the wind. She locked the door, she put the key in a box full of other junk that went in the basement.

She moved to the bigger room of the upper floor, where the bed was bigger and she choose jasmine-colored sheets and there was no balcony, but a nice, wide window that allowed a lot of light inside and the floorboards were shining and polished and smelled like something new.

Everything was new – she made the conscious decision to leave Goku behind, she put a lot of conscious effort into quitting him.

Her subconscious mind couldn't care less about her conscious decision.

In dreams, she saw him turning away from her quickly, a flash of orange and blue. She saw his back as he walked further and away from her – the old Turtle School kanji getting tinier and tinier and tinier until she could not see it anymore – and she never tried to reach out to stop him because in her dreams she was frozen.

Bulma never let the dreams get to her – she locked them in her heart along with him, never dwelling about them, she kept her brain safe from the orange and blue flash.

A month after Vegeta's return, when it was clear that he wasn't going anywhere and when she knew she couldn't hide it for much longer, she told him – laughing inwardly at the time he had said 'you never have anything new to say'.

She wasn't surprised by his reaction – their disconnected relationship was made of silences and stares and voids and avoidance so when Vegeta said nothing, staring off into the distance, lips pursed, she knew it was to be expected. And she wasn't surprised when he silently walked away from the room like a ghost – it didn't even hurt. She was frozen in dreams and in reality.

But later that night, he was back.

Silent, in Bulma's room with the jasmine-colored sheets.

"Another Saiyan," he said at last.

Bulma nodded.

It was done.


Many days later, she was lying in bed beside Vegeta because sometimes he actually spent the whole night with her. He was on his side, giving his back to her and she made an experiment for which she didn't need to go down to her lab. She tried to think about the last time Goku had kissed her – and she couldn't remember.

She insisted, she searched and searched her memories – but she couldn't grasp their last kiss.

Moving on was not a utopia then, she told herself.

She went as far as to think that if she were to meet him again, she would not crumble and fall.

She wished badly for a cigarette.


March, 766

Hands on his knees, Goku was doubled over, heaving strained breath after strained breath, every fiber of his body aching for the lack of the right input of oxygen.

His head bent, he was focusing, trying to regain control of the mutinous ship that his body was becoming – in his throat, he could practically feel the fluttering palpitation of his heart – black and yellow spots were crowding into his vision and he immediately squeezed his eyes shut, because he knew that, after that – the blue shadow would come. The flashes of blue that reminded him so much of her.

He didn't want to see it if he could avoid it.

The day was sunny and warm at Kame House and he had been sparring with Krillin for the last thirty minutes, while Master Roshi lounged in his deck chair busy with his magazines – by all accounts, Goku thought he was supposed to feel hot. But he was shivering under the sun as icy sweat made its way under this shirt and down his back – it was as tough someone was having fun injecting iced water into his veins.

It was happening more and more frequently – the creepy hand that tried to squeeze the life out of him, the piercing pain in the middle of his chest that made his arms go numb and his knees go weak.

He didn't know what to make of it – he didn't know what to think. Piccolo was the only one who knew something was up – Goku had been going out of his way to be inconspicuous, or altogether invisible, in Chichi's eyes and he had to say, it had not been hard at all.

Chichi didn't really wanted him in her hair – most of the time, she just ended up getting mad for something or other. All she wanted was just to be sure he was somewhere around – somewhere close.

And Goku could give that to her – he could do that for Gohan's sake. All he had to do was steer clear of the house whenever Gohan wasn't around – Goku roamed the forest around Mount Paozu, hunting, fishing, making wood – he got tired a lot sooner than normal, but it was okay. It was okay to get tired, he told himself. It could happen – it could happen to anyone.

Even at night, whenever he could – he liked to wander the woods – observing the way the leaves seemed almost black and how the moonlight seeped in all its whiteness through the canopy of trees. Sometimes his grandpa came to his mind – and it was bittersweet – but it certainly was preferable to what he felt when trying to sleep in his bed.

When Gohan was home, Goku felt better – he felt less caged, less like a guest in his own house. His son's excited bright eyes whenever he talked about something that had happened to him at school, or about something he had seen in the woods, or about something Icarus had done made Goku breathe a little easier and, in those moments, he allowed himself to really believe it was going to be okay. He didn't merely repeated it in his head like a mantra – in those little moments, Goku actually believed things would turn around for the better.

Even if, after what had happened with Piccolo, he had never again tried to go Super Saiyan.

But soon he would be able to put behind him those weird months of hazy, constant fatigue – he would try again, sooner or later. Stronger than ever – he had so many things to discover about that raw golden power that was still so new to him – he couldn't wait for that lingering hand to disappear altogether. Somehow, he was positive that the Super Saiyan was not the end of the road – new, higher things were beyond it and he couldn't wait to go and discover those new things and to conquer them one by one.

Soon.

When his breathing evened a little, Goku was able to straighten up – in time to see Krillin landing on the thin sand beside him.

"Hey!" Krillin said patting Goku's back. "Is your old age catching up with you, buddy?"

Goku rubbed the back of his head and chuckled. "What?" he said. "You're older than I am!"

Krillin examined his friend's face closely, squinting his eyes only slightly. "Yeah, but you don't see me doing the impression of a steamboat," he said at last.

Goku swallowed but merely raised his eyebrows in puzzlement. "The what of what?"

"Never mind," Krillin said with a small laughter before turning serious, eyeing his longtime friend with concern. "Seriously though, are you okay?"

"Sure," Goku said. He brought a hand to his stomach and smiled his biggest grin ever. "It's that I'm hungry!" he explained and Krillin shook his hand in mock exasperation.

"I bet it's been like – two hours since you last ate."

"Two and a half."

Krillin's merry laugh was interrupted by Oolong, Yamcha and Puar coming out from the front door – Yamcha and Oolong bickering about something.

"I told you the old man moved his secret stash!" Oolong was saying.

"But how can you not know where? You live upstairs for Kami's sake!"

"I'm right here, you know!" said Master Roshi from behind his magazine. "Ooh-ooh! Just look at this!"

Krillin cleared his throat. "Uh, guys?" he said, and Yamcha laughed sheepishly.

"Hehehe, sorry Krillin! We were talking about – uh, cigars!"

"Yeah, right," Krillin said with a skeptical glare. Then he turned to Goku, who had been following the conversation blinking owlishly. "Guess it's a good thing Gohan couldn't make it," Krillin said. "Where is he, anyway?"

Goku crossed his arms on his chest, turning to look at the ocean. "Uh, he had some afternoon stuff at school," he said. "Something about looking at dead frogs."

"What? Gross!"

Goku nodded in earnest. "That's what I said!" he exclaimed, glad that someone shared his point of view about weird school customs. "But Chichi says it's important."

Krillin barely held back a groan. "And she's okay with him flying all the way to Orange Star City every morning?" he asked, incredulous.

Goku shrugged. "Yep," he said. "Well, sort of – at first she wanted me to take him… the normal way, she said," he continued with a pout. "She even made me go to driving school!"

Krillin, Yamcha and Oolong stared in amazement mixed with terror. "What?" they said in unison and Goku nodded morosely.

"I know!" he said and then he paused for effect. "With Piccolo!"

"WHAT?"

"I know!"

Krillin shook his head, his mouth hanging slightly open as he gawked at the thought of Piccolo huddled up in a driver seat. "This has to be the best piece of information I've ever heard," he said at last while Yamcha and Oolong were giggling madly at Goku and Piccolo's expense.

"Oh, Kami," Yamcha sighed at last, wiping away an invisible tear from the corner of on eye. He took a deep breath and continued. "Well, just wait until Gohan starts asking for a car," he said with a smirk.

Goku blinked. "But he can fly, why would he want a car?" he said.

"To impress the girls," Yamcha replied. "What else?"

"Oh."

Yamcha grinned and nodded. "And of course, when he grows up," he said, "uncle Yamcha will always be available for a wise advice!

"Wise he says," Oolong sneered, but Yamcha's grin only grew bigger.

"Don't worry, Krillin," he said. "There's room for you too in my class!"

Krillin blushed furiously. "Yamcha, shut up!"

"Aw, come on, I was just kidding!" Yamcha said with a smile and he let out a restrained snort when he saw Oolong nodding and motioning behind Krillin's back – clearly trying to convey the message that their friend could use a lesson or two. Krillin sharply whipped his head towards Oolong.

"What?" he said.

"What?" Oolong drawled.

Krillin rolled his eyes. "Ah, forget it," he said. "Anyway guys, leaving Yamcha's gross antics aside –

"Thank you."

" – this is so good!" Krillin continued. "It's just like old times! Really, Goku, can you believe how many years have passed since we met here?"

Goku raised his eyebrows. He actually remembered that very well – Krillin's little boat coming to the shore –and helping him out of the sand when he had fallen head-first into it. "Yeah, I guess," he said and Krillin rolled his eyes.

"My point is – we should do this more often!" Krillin said. "No one is allowed to disappear for months again – okay?"

Goku laughed sheepishly. "Okay!"

"Okay!" Yamcha said.

"Yeah!" Oolong and Puar cheered together.

"Yeah, yeah, that's nice," Master Roshi said, interrupting Krillin's inspirational moment. "But aren't you missing someone?" he said, a greedy smile widening under his mustache. "Hehehe, what about our beloved Bulma? What's she up to?" he asked.

Goku froze.

Because – it was actually the first time in a long, long time he heard her name out loud. The first time in long time that someone said the word Bulma. So casually.

Bulma.

He dreamt about her – lately, in his dreams, she railed at him. She shouted stuff at him, all red cheeks and wild eyes, she was close enough for him to touch her – he never did, but it was nice to know he could – in his dreams he merely looked at that crazy face because he hadn't seen it for a long time.

She wandered his mind like a ghost. Sometimes, he even thought he could see her in front of him – mercurial and agitated as she was in his dreams and as she always had been in real life, he could sense wafts of her trademark scent of warm rosewood and honey; he could hear her voice in the woods, when it was really windy – but he could never quite understand what she said. The wind carried her words too quickly for him to grasp them.

He was trapped in Bulma – but at least no one around him ever casually said her name. No one ever said 'what's Bulma up to?' as though they were talking about the weather.

No one other than himself had ever forced that blue ghost on him – Goku quickly whipped his eyes to the sea, trying to tune out the conversation – trying, trying, trying

"Last time I saw her," Yamcha was saying, "she was chewing a guy's head off because the giraffe he had painted on the wall apparently looked like her grandmother."

Krillin, Oolong and Master Roshi all fell silent.

" – she's into giraffes?" Oolong said and Yamcha laughed heartily.

"No!" he said. "For the nursery! Don't you guys know? Bulma's pregnant!"

Krillin, Oolong and Master Roshi stared blankly for the longest moment. "WHAT?!" they shouted, a disconnected choir of incredulous voices.

Krillin gasped. "Yamcha!"

"Hey, don't give me that face!" Yamcha said quickly. "I have nothing to do with it!"

"Oh, thank Kami."

Oolong smirked. "Well, in that case, happy non-father day, man!" he said, holding out a clenched fist against which Yamcha bumped his.

"Neat!" he said. "Oh, but wait until I tell you who's the father…"

Goku closed his eyes and exhaled slowly as he listened to Yamcha.

"NO WAY!" Krillin and Oolong both shouted.

"Well, there goes my chance with Bulma," was Master Roshi's comment – Goku twirled on his feet to face his friends who immediately looked up at him.

"Goku?" Krillin said. "What is it, buddy?"

"Uh, nothing, I just – I just remembered something," Goku said, placing two fingers against his forehead, ignoring his friends' puzzled expressions. "See ya, okay?" he said, as he found the life force he was looking for and locked onto it.

A moment later, he was gone.


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