Just a Nightmare: Distant Dreams
A/N: Majin means "devil" in English. Just thought you'd like to know. =)
"I can't believe I let him talk me into this,"
Vegeta grumbled to himself as he shoved yet another batch of cookies into the
oven. "Worse yet, I can't believe I'm baking!" He removed the oven
mitts from his hands and thought back to Goku's words of just a few hours ago.
"Can you cook for the party today and tomorrow, 'geta? Your food always tastes so good."
"One word from that baka and I'm mixing up cookie batter."
The kitchen door silently opened and a small figure tip-toed across the kitchen floor. She was just a foot away from the table when her papa caught her. "Bura, if you lay one finger on those cookies I'm going to hit you."
She grinned. "No, you won't! You know that threats don't mean anything when the person you're threatening doesn't believe you." Snatching a cookie, she skipped from the kitchen. "Ja, Papa!"
In the family room, Trunks and Goten were arguing about the placement of the six-foot tall Christmas tree. "It needs to be over just a little bit more to the right, Chibi!" the older demi-Saiya-jin said.
"Iie, Trunks! It should stay right where it is!"
"Leave it alone!"
"SHUT UP!" Bura shouted. Both of her brothers stared at her in mute shock. "That's better. I think the tree should be moved an few inches to the left." They did what she said and, smiling, Bura went to find more wrapping paper.
"When is everyone coming over?" Goten asked curiously. He wondered how much time he had to run back to the mall for Trunks' gift. It would be crowded on Christmas Eve, but the sale prices would be worth it.
Trunks came from behind the tree and dusted the pine needles from his clothes. "They'll probably start arriving around five this evening." 'That'll give me enough time to get his gift. It should be ready by this afternoon.'
Vegeta cooked all morning and afternoon with the others helping him along the way. By four o'clock he felt that there was enough to feed two full Saiya-jin, four demi-Saiya-jin, a quarter Saiya-jin, ten ningen, two animals, and two others (Buu and Chaozu).
"It's almost five o'clock, is everyone ready?" Goku called.
Bura hopped into the room on one foot, struggling with her shoe. "I'm ready."
"Us, too," Trunks examined himself in the hall mirror and gently moved a strand of hair into place. "Looking good," he told his reflection with a smile. Goten promptly moved it back with a flick of his finger and took the comb from his boyfriend's hands.
"You can't reach it! Nyah-Nyah!"
He hopped and hopped, but Goten's arm was just a little too high. "DAMN MY SHORT GENES!"
"If either of you break anything in there, I'm kicking your ass!" Vegeta called from the kitchen. Goten immediately stopped playing around and straightened Trunks' hair.
"There you go," Goten said with a smile. He kissed Trunks on the nose just as he opened the door.
Marron grinned at them. "You two are so lucky that it's only me." She pushed a bag full of gifts into Trunks' arms, one into Goten's, and set her overnight bag next to the door as she removed her outerwear. "Does anyone else besides me know about you two?"
"Well, not anyone outside of this house..." Trunks replied as he deposited her presents in the family room. "You wouldn't have known if you hadn't bumped into us."
"The right place at the right time." She lowered her voice. "Does Vegeta-san know? He's usually not the most accepting of things..."
Goten burst into laughter and covered his mouth. His boyfriend elbowed him in the side. "Let's just say that I don't think it'll be a problem."
"Konban-wa, minna," Kuririn greeted as he and Juuhachi-gou entered the house. "It looks like we're early."
"Hai, Tousan. We're the first." Marron walked into the other room and just stared at the tree. "Nice, but don't you think it's a little bare?"
"We're gonna trim the tree when everyone gets here," Bura answered as she entered. She ran over and gave Marron a big hug. "Hi Marron! What did you buy me for Christmas?"
The blond teen smiled. "You'll just have to wait and see like everyone else."
"Kakarotto you baka! It says to add a teaspoon of salt, not a tablespoon! What the hell do you think tsp stands for?!" Vegeta shouted from the kitchen.
"Oops, gomen nasai 'geta." The six of them just stared at the kitchen door and, a few seconds later, Goku ran out of the room. "Wow, he's real protective of his mixing bowl."
Kuririn just stared at him for a minute. "Are you saying that Vegeta's really in there? And he's cooking?!"
Bura nodded. "Hai, Kuririn-san. Papa's the best."
"I don't believe it." He shook his head. "That's the man who came to Chikyuu to kill us and steal the dragonballs."
The little girl opened her mouth to respond when she saw the anger on Goku's face. Wisely getting far away from the short man as fast as possible, she watched the confrontation on the other side of the room.
"You don't know him, Kuririn. Vegeta changed a long time ago."
"Into what?" he asked with a laugh. The humor faded from his face when he realized that his best-friend was less than amused. "Okay, Goku, okay. He's changed. Since when are you his guardian?" The large Saiya-jin declined to answer.
After a moment of awkward silence, Juuhachi-gou pulled Kuririn towards the family room and Vegeta called Goku from the kitchen. "Kakarotto, could you come in here for a moment?" His voice was unusually soft.
Bura smiled and moved to stand guard by the door. No one would be interrupting her fathers' special moment, not if she could help it.
By six, nearly everyone had arrived and there were at least two hundred presents piled in the family room. Bura was helping Trunks and Goten retrieve the decorations from storage while Vegeta and Goku arranged the baked goodies on serving trays.
"Goku-ojiichan!" Pan called out as she ran across the room to wrap herself around Goku's legs. "What did ya get me?"
Bura grinned at her. "A lot. You see that huge pile of presents over there by the window?"
"That's all mine?!"
"Tousan," Gohan immediately protested. "You're spoiling her."
Goku placed the his tray on the coffee table where it was descended upon by a ravenous dark-haired demi-Saiya-jin. "She's my grandchild, son, and this might be my only chance to do this."
"There's still Goten."
The teen lifted his head at the sound of his name and made a "Huh?" noise around a mouthful of cookies. He swallowed and said, "There's still me what, niichan?"
"You have yet to start a family. When are you going to find someone to settle down with, Goten? You aren't getting any younger." Gohan had, whether he was aware of it or not, taken over nagging for his departed mother. Goten hadn't liked it when she was alive and wondered what he had ever done to deserve it after her death.
He glared at his older brother. "That's none of your business."
"I'm only looking out for you!"
"Well, I don't need you to do that anymore. I'm a grown man, Gohan, and I can make my own decisions!"
Goku decided to interfere. "It's Christmas Eve! Can't we just have a nice two-day party?" Goten gave in first and returned to his seat next to Trunks with a nod. Gohan's frown grew even fiercer, but he nodded as well.
Vegeta came into the room, folded his arms across his chest, and took charge. "Listen up, minna! Here's the plan for this evening. First, we will decorate that tree and put a huge amount of gifts underneath it, then we will decorate this house. Is this acceptable?"
Bura raised her hand. "Can we listen to music while we decorate?"
"Hai," he answered even as his right eye twitched. Holiday music was, in his opinion, the most annoying thing on Chikyuu next to ChiChi's voice. Or at least next to the people trying to sing along with it. He wished that he could make it a rule that only people who could carry a tune could open their mouth.
As Goten put on a CD, Trunks started twining lights into the tree's branches. Bura went behind him and undid his work with a smile on her face. When he reached the top of the tree, he let the lights go and watched them fall to the floor. "What the...?" He heard high-pitched giggling and followed it to the source. "Bura!"
"Gotcha!" she crowed. He lunged at her and she dodged, shrieking with laughter. While Trunks chased her through the house, Goten and Pan took over. Most of everyone else were sorting ornaments.
"These look like antiques," Videl said as she carefully examined a box of glass ornaments. Vegeta snorted. He could remember clearly the day they'd been purchased.
"Here, Vegeta," Buruma said as she handed him a box of Christmas adornments. "Bura broke most of the ones we had last year."
The prince frowned. "I don't see the point of this."
"This is the time of year to celebrate life, spread cheer, and spent time with your family. You could at least be a little more jolly for the kids' sake."
"745 zenni at Shop and Save," he smiled. He removed another string of lights from the box and shrugged at their guests' surprised looks. "Nani?"
Goku grinned and joined him. "Arigatou for showing them your soft side."
"Your friends are trying my patience, Kakarotto. You owe me big."
"Just wait until later. I promise that you won't be disappointed." Vegeta's mouth transformed into a grin to rival his mate's.
Yamucha scratched his head. "Did I miss something? Usually the only time you see a look like that on Vegeta's face is when he's about to kill someone."
"And I know who I'll be starting with if you don't shut up, weakling."
"Now that's the Vegeta we all know and love!" He grinned despite the threat he'd just received.
After the lights and tinsel were on, everyone set upon the task of placing ornaments. Pan and Bura did the lowest branches, the three Son males did the highest, everyone else filled in the middle, and Piccolo stood in a corner and watched.
"Come on over, Piccolo-san," Gohan coaxed. "You do this every single year."
"I'm not a Christmas person, you know that."
"Even Vegeta's helping!" he handed his wife the box he had in his hands and moved over to stand by his former sensei. "It's not just that, is it? You're staring at Vegeta-san pretty intensely, Piccolo-san."
Piccolo relaxed his facial muscles and blinked. "You don't feel it? I thought I taught you better than that."
Gohan concentrated and sensed something in Vegeta's ki he'd never felt before: contentment. "Who is he and what has he done with Vegeta-san?"
"It is startling... until you turn your senses toward your father, that is." Piccolo watched his face closely and hid a smirk when the demi-Saiya-jin eyes widened.
"What's going on here?! First Vegeta-san's cooking, now he's content!" Gohan gasped as he nearly felt the affection both Saiya-jin felt when their eyes locked for a brief second. "I'm dreaming. This is all a bad dream."
The Namek-jin rolled his eyes at the young man's obvious aversion. "That's obviously only in the eye of the beholder. Vegeta and Goku appear to be very happy."
"Who's ready for dinner?" Trunks asked from the entrance to the dining room. He quickly flattened himself against the wall when thirteen people rushed past him. The Saiya-jin because, well, they were Saiya-jin and the ningen because they at least wanted one serving of food. The lavender-haired young man laughed at them and took his seat next to Goten. "Papa cooked all day, you guys. I'm sure there will be enough for everyone." Many of the guests exchanged glances, but no one said anything until...
Hannah, Yamucha's newest girlfriend, complemented the chef. She was a curvy beauty with red-gold hair and green eyes. "Vegeta-san, this is fantastic. Where did you study?"
Vegeta all but glowed with pride. "In outer space. When there's no choice other than Nappa's cooking, you learn how pretty quickly. It's either that or die of starvation."
"Couldn't Raditzu cook?" Goku asked after he'd finished chewing and swallowing. He'd learned over the years that it was better to remember to do the right thing the first time and avoid ChiChi's wrath.
"Your brother? Cook? Ha!" The ouji shook his head with an amused expression on his face. "I was lucky if he knew how to work the shower! Raditzu wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer by a long shot." He pushed his plate away. "Who's ready for dessert?"
"ME!" all the Saiya-jin except Gohan shouted at the top of their lungs.
Vegeta nodded to Trunks. "Bring it in, boy."
"Aw, why do I have to do it?" he complained.
"You're the closest to the doorway and, if that's not a good enough reason, because I SAID SO!"
Trunks jumped to his feet and all nearly ran from the room. He returned a few moments later with a very large tray covered with sugar-filled treats. There was a cake, the remainder of the cookies, a few pies, and the batch of brownies that Goku had almost ruined. Vegeta placed the chocolate confection in front of his mate.
"I've tasted these. They're all yours, Kakarotto."
"Really? Domo arigatou, 'geta!" Goku dug in and Vegeta snickered.
"Oh, I wouldn't be thanking me just yet." Everyone started laughing when the younger man's face scrunched up. "I tried to take some of the salt out and couldn't get it all. It's like they've taken a dip in the ocean."
Goku nodded. "Oh yeah, they're pretty bad all right."
"Never thought I'd live to see the day when Goku refused to eat something," Kuririn laughed.
During the clean up portion of the meal, the doorbell rang. Bura was the first out of her chair and ran into the entry hall. "Meri Kurisumasu, minna-san! Santa Roshi's in the house and I've brought presents!"
"Just put them by the tree, Kamesennin," Bura called as she and Pan went up to her room. Roshi went into the family room and made a startled noise.
"You're the ones who robbed the toy factory!"
Goten chuckled. "Looks like it, doesn't it? Would you believe that a large portion of those gifts belong to Pan and Bura?"
"Oh, I believe it. They're the two most spoiled little girls in the entire world."
"Can I speak to you for a minute, Tousan?" Gohan asked once the table was cleared. "In private," he added when the older man didn't move.
He didn't like the emotion he sensed from his son, but consented anyway. 'Goten was right about his niichan. This isn't going to be pleasant.' They went outside near the place where Vegeta's gravity chamber used to be. After the last time he destroyed it, Buruma refused to repair it. She used the remains on other projects instead. "I know what this is about."
Gohan's eyebrows rose. "Oh, really?"
"Hai. Somehow you sensed the change in Vegeta and searched for the reason why. I am that reason."
"I wouldn't have noticed if Piccolo-san hadn't told me about it." He seemed a little upset by this, but that was one of the consequences lapsed training caused. "Why Vegeta, Tousan? If you had to find another so soon, why couldn't it have been someone who didn't have homicidal urges towards us?"
Goku sighed. "I've questioned myself more than once about it. Why Vegeta? Why a man? Why someone who claimed to hate me for so long? There is an answer, but I don't know if you'll understand."
He looked upward towards the heavens as if silently praying for the strength to handle the talk. He received an answer in the form of reassurance from Vegeta through their connection. "Ever since the day I met him it was as if I had been pulled towards him by an invisible rope. No matter what he did to me, my family, or my friends, I still felt the pull.
"When we fused for the very first time, it developed into something greater. I came to understand his seemingly overbearing pride and dark ambition. That must have been when the bond began to develop."
Gohan blinked in confusion. "Bond?"
He nodded. "Hai. If Goten hadn't mentioned what Trunks told him several years ago, I would have never known it existed. The bond is something that forms between two members of the Saiya-jin race and is cemented by the bonding ritual. You form a psychic link with your partner and mark them as your own."
"Did you do the ritual yet? I want to make a formal protest." Gohan turned away from his father when he nodded. "I can't believe this! And Goten not only knows, but he accepts this as well?"
"Hai, he does. Look son, I don't expect you to support us, but the least you can do is accept our relationship. I'm going to stay by Vegeta's side no matter what so things would be better if you did." Goku placed his hand onto his shoulder. "No matter what you decide, I'll still love you." He went back inside the house to allow his son the time to think.
While he was engaged in tense conversation with Gohan, more people had arrived. Satan-san, Buu, Yajirobi, Oolong, Tenshinhan, Lunch, and Chaozu added their gifts to the mountain and went into the kitchen for something to eat.
"I apologize for the lateness, but I had several appearances throughout the city. Christmas Eve is a very popular day for the savior of the world." Satan-san puffed out his chest and attempted to look regal. He failed miserably.
Vegeta muttered to himself about just how regal the man was and Goku elbowed him. "We're taking ideas on what to do."
"Play games?" Yamucha suggested. "The kids could do one thing and the adults something else."
"There are only two children, baka," the ouji informed him. "Bura and Pan. Personally, I think people should split up based on what they want to do. If you want to play cards go off with Trunks and Goten, if you want to play Monopoly find Bura, if you have no clue then Kakarotto's your man."
Goku frowned at him in mock annoyance. "Was that an insult?"
Everyone laughed and Vegeta answered, "Only just."
They all split into different groups: Trunks, Goten, Marron, and Videl in one; Bura, Pan, Oolong, Puar, Chaozu, Yajirobi, Satan-san, and Buu in another; and Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Kuririn, Juuhachi-gou, Tenshinhan, Lunch, Yamucha, and Hannah in a third. Goku brought Trunks and Bura's game collection into the living room and they all decided on something called Discoveries.
"I don't really like the sound of that," Kuririn said. "How do you play?"
Goku opened the game board and placed it on the coffee table. "Someone picks a card and you move your token forward a space if you get the answer right. First one to cross the finish line wins. We should probably play teams since there are so many people. Piccolo, can you team up with Gohan?"
The Namek-jin gaped at him. "You want me to play this?!"
"If you don't then I can't play," Gohan smiled up at him. "Onegai, Piccolo-san."
"Oh, alright," he grumbled as he sat down cross-legged next to the young man. "But I do so under protest."
"Great! Who wants to go first?" Goku looked around at the group and most of the players all shook their heads.
Yamucha grinned. "I will." He shuffled the cards and drew one. "What's my favorite color?" The team members consulted with each other for a moment. Team Goku was the first to respond.
"Blue," was Team Gohan's response.
"Purple," Hannah said. "Nani?" she shrugged at his raised eyebrow. "I've only been dating you for a few days."
"None of you are right; it's green." He replaced the card in the bottom of the stack. "Do I draw again?"
Goku's forehead wrinkled in thought. "What's your second favorite color?"
"Then someone from Team Gohan goes next."
Piccolo suddenly found everyone staring at him. "I'm supposed to draw a card, eh?" He did so and snorted. "My favorite thing to eat."
"Water," everyone said in unison except for Hannah. She said "pizza".
"Wait, wait," she said. "How can the answer be water?"
"That's the only thing we need for sustenance."
Hannah didn't really believe him, but she nodded anyway. "Oh..."
"I'm thinking of a number from one to ten. Guess it and the turn is yours." It was the only thing Piccolo could think of to end his turn.
"We should cheat, Kakarotto. You could read his mind and find out what he's thinking."
Goku shook his head. "That's dishonest."
"And? I would do it, if I could."
"You just hate to lose."
So Goku did, in fact, read Piccolo's mind. He was really upset about doing so, but Vegeta sulked when he didn't get his way. "Six."
"Goku's exactly right," Piccolo told them.
When the large Saiya-jin read the top card, his face lost all of its color. 'Someone up there has it in for me.'
"What does it say?"
"What's the biggest secret you've ever hidden from your friends."
A wave of sympathy came through the connection. "Oh... Remember, Kakarotto, I'm here for you if you decide to tell them."
"I think I'm going to. Perfect opening for it, anyway."
"What does it say, Goku?" Kuririn asked. He told them and Gohan winced slightly. "Okay, then. I say that you don't have any secrets. We know everything about you."
Yamucha nodded. "That's our answer, too."
"It's not for me to tell," Gohan said. "I respect his privacy."
Vegeta shrugged. "He's not keeping any secrets from me, so I have no idea."
"I, um, have a secret. It's the biggest thing I've ever hidden from anyone." Goku stood up and went to the doorway. "Wait a minute, okay? It's better if everyone hears together."
"Sounds serious," Yamcha commented. Vegeta, Piccolo, and Gohan all looked away at the same time. "You three know!"
Gohan glared at the Saiya-jin no Ouji. "Piccolo and I may know, but a certain someone is a part of it!"
Vegeta gave him an equally venomous look. "If you open your big mouth and tell everyone, I'm going to hurt you!"
"I knew that you weren't going to take it very well," Goten said sadly as he kneeled next to his second father. "Why can't you be happy, niichan?"
"Nothing about this makes sense! I personally think that he's done something horrible to Tousan."
Kuririn exchanged bewildered looks with majority of the people crowded into the room. "I wish someone would explain what's going on."
Goku nodded. "You're all my friends -- well, at least most of you are -- and you deserve to know. Many, many years ago, when Gohan was still a little boy, a Saiya-jin warrior came to Chikyuu..."
An hour later....
"I showed up just in the nick of time to save Gohan from being crushed by Nappa...."
Vegeta yawned, more than a little bored with the retelling of history. "Kakarotto and I are in love and we bonded last week."
His announcement caused the few that were still awake to go, "NANI?!" Their outburst was what caused everyone else to regain consciousness.
"I was going to get to it eventually, 'geta," Goku whined.
"Hai, but you were taking forever. No one wants to sit here and listen to the entire story. I know that I don't."
Pan squealed with delight and threw herself into a startled Vegeta's arms. "I have three ojiichans now!"
Yamucha was stunned. "May I be blunt, Goku?"
"I guess so," he said warily.
"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! That guy's the enemy! No matter how long he stays here, he's still gonna be nothing more than pure evil! I agree with Gohan, that little ape's done something to you."
Shaking his head at the older man's obvious anger, Kuririn sided with his best-friend. "I may not understand this, but if he makes you happy then you have my blessing."
Goku smiled. "I'm very happy. Arigatou, Kuririn."
"How can you accept this?" the former desert bandit asked.
"The answer is very simple," Tenshinhan said. "Goku wanted us to know, correct? It took a lot of courage to even begin to explain knowing that some of us wouldn't like it. Why condemn him for this? I can't. He'll always be my friend no matter who he falls in love with."
Vegeta glowered at each and every opposer in the group over the top of Pan's head. "If you say anything else to hurt his feelings, you'll have to answer to me. Trust me, you don't want that. Now, can we get back to the damn party?"
Groups one and two filed out of the room, many of the guests pausing to congratulate the happy couple. The sullen members of group three kept their nasty comments to themselves and peace reigned for the remainder of the night.