Chapter 9: A Change of Plans
"Do you know how many nights you've caused me to wake up to sticky sheets?" - Goten to Trunks
The first thing Goku was aware of was intense cold. After that, he was too busy trying to draw air into his lungs to worry about getting frostbite. The feel of Chelsia shaking against him was all he needed to figure out that she was having the same problem.
'What is going on?' Goku panicked as he frantically looked around for a clue. Everything was dark, so dark that couldn't see a thing. In the distance, however, there was faint light, but it was more of a reflection than anything else. Then he took a quick, closer look at his surroundings and realized that they should probably return to Chikyuu before they both asphyxiated.
Linaga was no more.
Grabbing tight to Chelsia, he locked on to Vegeta's raised ki level and removed them from the dangers of the vacuum of space. The sweet, sweet sensation of breathing made them lightheaded and they collapsed to their knees upon the living room floor, coughing harshly, chests heaving with the frantic effort of drawing in precious air.
"You baka!" Vegeta shouted the moment the two of them appeared in front of him. He was so relieved that his mate was alive that he was alternately yelling and (though he would never admit it later) sobbing. "What the fuck were you thinking?!" He kneeled beside him and grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him roughly as if trying to knock sense back into his head. Nearby, Trunks and Goten were attending to Chelsia, making sure that there was no lasting damage from wherever she'd gone.
"I didn't think-" He cut himself off with another round of coughing.
"That's right -- you didn't!" The small Saiya-jin grabbed hold of Goku once more and held him close. "You could have died, Kakarotto, and your body would have floated out there forever. We don't know where Linaga is -- was --, not really."
Sighing, Goku rubbed soothing circles on Vegeta's back. "Gomen nasai, 'geta. I had no idea that the Naghani had destroyed Linaga like Furiza destroyed Vegeta-sei." He could have slapped himself when he realized how tactless he sounded. Even though he was sure that Chelsia had no idea that there were very few Saiya-jin survivors, the thought of her entire race being pretty-much wiped out was saddening. "Chelsia..."
"It's okay," she whispered brokenly. "Nothing anyone can do about it now, right?" Gently pushing the two boys' hands away, she stood shakily and wandered out of the small home. "I-I need some time to think."
The four of them sat quietly for a long time, contemplating the young woman's fate. "Should we make a few wishes on her behalf?" Goku wondered. "We're not using them, so it wouldn't be a problem, but the Naghani are still out there. We would have to hunt them down and take care of them first before wishing her planet and people back."
His eyes gleaming at the prospect of a battle, Vegeta wholeheartedly agreed with finding the transgressors and even went as far as to start planning the battle. It took his mind off his mate's near-death experience, anyway.
Chelsia returned late into the evening when the four Saiya-jin were watching television in an attempt at diversion. All of them dreaded the moment their guest would return because none of them knew what to say to her. She came in quietly and took a seat in the closest chair to the front door. Until the show was over, no one said a word. Then Goku shut off the tv and sent everyone but Chelsia out of the room.
"We have a plan," he began without preamble, "but we need more information from you in order for it to work." The young woman looked up hopefully, even though she wasn't sure what he was talking about. Goku told her about the dragonballs and Shenron and the great power that the Eternal Dragon possessed. He then told her that they could bring back her planet and her people with little effort. "First, however, I need you to tell me all that you can about the Naghani. We have to stop them from coming after you again if we resurrect your people. Can Vegeta and the boys be present for this, or would you rather it just be me and you?"
"If they are willing to risk their lives for me then I can't, in good conscience, deny them something so minor."
Goku nodded and smiled at her approvingly. 'You can come back in here now. 'geta, bring Chelsia something to drink.'
'Well, you don't keep any hard liquor in the house...' his mental voice was amused. 'If I was the girl I would want to get drunk off my ass.'
'I was thinking more along the lines of lemonade or iced tea!'
'When you treat me like a servant boy, you get backtalk. It's the way of life, Kakarotto.'
Goku chuckled and jumped slightly when he noticed that Chelsia's purple eyes were focused on him. "They'll be here in just a sec." She nodded and favored him with a small smile.
"You were thinking about Vegeta, weren't you," she said softly.
"Something like that."
"It must be nice to have someone to put a smile on your face. You look so happy and peaceful -- you both do." Chelsia sighed. "When I chose military service, I did so to get out of an arranged marriage. I figured that if I had more time to think that I would eventually come up with a way to completely separate myself from Grenan honorably. He's not a bad person, but he just doesn't feel right, you know?"
Oh he knew, he knew very well. ChiChi had not been right for him, either, but he'd stayed with her for the sake of his children until he was widowed. Then he felt relieved that he no longer had to endure a charade, but that in turn made him feel guilty. When Vegeta somehow summoned him from hundreds of miles away, it had felt entirely natural to answer the call. And when they'd consummated their new relationship, it had felt as if everything was finally right after countless years of being wrong.
"You can find someone special as well, Chelsia, and the first step is to stop the Naghani so that they don't blow up your planet again after we wish it back." He paused a moment to allow the other three Saiya-jin to get comfortable (and for Chelsia to have a moment to enjoy her beverage) before continuing. "Now, where did the Naghani come from?"
"We don't know. At least, I don't know. Most of the information concerning them was kept only to the king and his closest advisors. The commoners didn't have much information to go by, only that 'things would be better soon'." She snorted bitterly. "Their definition of 'better' leaves a lot to be desired."
"Tell me about their abilities. How did they attack you? Can they use ki? Can they fly without the aid of a machine?"
Frowning, she said slowly, "They usually attacked on foot in neatly organized squads. They did use ships on occasion, but it was always because our own military were using them first. I don't know what you mean by 'ki' and I've never seen them fly under their own power."
It was highly probable that the Naghani were ki users. The amount of life energy Goku had sensed from them had rivaled Kuririn's, but over the years he'd become adept at sensing when someone was not displaying all of their true power. It was as if ki protested being dampened and beat its metaphorical fists at the invisible wall holding it back. The minute fluctuations in someone's life energy caused by the restrained ki trying to break free could be detected by Goku without much effort.
"How did they usually attack?"
"Laser weapons. Martial arts. By using stealth. They were trained far better than our own forces and were well known for being able to slit the throats of an entire squadron in the night without ever being discovered. We couldn't hope to match them when it came to skill and were outclassed practically from the beginning. But we did try and, when it became apparent that we couldn't defeat them alone, the king sent me and the others for help."
'Why did they have to go so far? Weren't there any places nearby where they could have gotten help? Or were they isolated like Chikyuu?' Goku wondered. Sometimes he forgot that not all planets were as fortunate as Chikyuu. Not only did it have its own group of powerful defenders, but they could also always obtain help from the spiritual plane if they ever happened to need it. "No nearby allies?"
"None." Chelsia looked embarrassed. "Linaga doesn't have a history of cooperation with other planets." Eyebrows rose at this admission and another piece of the puzzle began to fall into place.
"If the Naghani weren't personal enemies, is it possible that they were the allies of one of your enemies sent to do their dirty work?"
She flinched. "None of the places around us hated us so much that they wanted to kill everyone! They might not have liked us, but they didn't wish us dead."
"Are you sure about that?" Vegeta asked. "Did your planet have more power than the rest?" The young woman nodded. "Then, there you go. They were all too afraid to behave hostilely toward you so they masked their true feelings so well that you all thought you were safe. I bet the Naghani were hired by one of your enemies, maybe even a group of them, to take you down a notch."
Chelsia looked as if she didn't want to consider the possibility. It was true that Linaga was aggressive at times (especially when it came to new political agreements), but she never thought that the people she'd trusted not to lead her astray were that bad. "Perhaps you're right," she whispered. "Perhaps we asked to be murdered so ruthlessly. I don't really know what Linagans do when not on Linaga, but I know it has to be awful for them to hate us so much."
"And maybe not," Goku said after a moment. "We don't really know. All we can do is guess."
"Look," Vegeta said, impatient with the discussion, "we will kill the Naghani for you no matter how powerful they are. No one is stronger than Kakarotto and I, after all. Do you still want us to do this for you now that you've considered another side of the situation?"
"Yes," she said firmly. "No matter what our government has done, or what Linagans on other planets have done, so many people died that didn't deserve it. Most of us had nothing to do with the numerous insults against other planets or with the atrocities that were being committed."
Recognizing the unbreakable determination on Chelsia's face, Goku nodded once in acknowledgement and said, "Then it will be done."
Trunks continued work on the ship and it was simpler now that he knew that he didn't have to somehow do the impossible and create an engine more powerful than any before. Well, it really was possible -- the Linagans had done it, after all -- but Chikyuu-jin just didn't have enough knowledge to follow suit as of yet.
If his mother hadn't still been so angry at his father and Goku, things would have gone a lot faster. It was true that he was good at engineering, but his mother was better. But Buruma, no matter how good she was at science and at running an international business, had a lot of glaring faults and bigotry was just one of them. She was also unabashedly conceited and overbearing, the type of person who had to control everything and everybody to be happy. Trunks grew up with her constantly telling him that he was wrong whenever he tried to do things his own way and, without his father around to counter, he would have easily started to despise his mother and what she'd tried to mold him into. As it was, he didn't think she would willingly spend time in the same room with him when he told her the secret he'd been hiding from her for years. It would hopefully stop her from bringing up the single daughters of her business associates, empty-headed and/or gold-digging young women who wanted nothing more than to form a parasitic relationship with him that would probably leave him poor and destitute upon his death.
Unfortunately, he had a feeling that it would be the exact opposite. He would tell her that he was gay and she would try even harder to force him to marry, studiously ignoring the fact that he'd never been able to get aroused enough around a girl to have sex with her. Wouldn't his friends from college be surprised if they discovered that he'd never gone beyond "second base" with any of his so-called girlfriends.
But none of that was really important at the moment. He had a job to do and had to make sure that it was done as well as possible to prevent a horrific untimely demise in the form of a fiery explosion.
The lavender-haired young man blinked and looked over his shoulder. "Hmm?"
"I can hear your stomach complaining. Maybe you should take a break and get something to eat?"
Tired blue eyes scanned the data displayed on the monitor. "But I'm almost finished, I think. At least, I'm almost finished with this part..."
Goten grabbed him gently by the shoulders and forced him to stand. "I think I should have phrased it as an order instead of a request."
"Yes sir, Go-chan sir!" He mock saluted and Goten hit him playfully on the head.
Buruma was still at the office, but Pan and Bura were in the house, apparently watching television by the sounds filtering down the hall. Pan made a comment about something silly, Bura responded in kind, and a third voice laughed. The presence of Chelsia in the Capsule Corporation was surprising to Trunks, but he assumed that she'd come with Goten. There really wasn't anything to do back at the Son house except for watch horrible local television or listen to the two resident full-blooded Saiya-jin have sex. Trunks suppressed a disturbed shudder at the thought. Thinking of that was enough to give him nightmares.
"Something wrong, Trunks?"
"I'm okay. My brain just decided to give me images of Papa and Goku-san screwing, that's all."
Goten made a disagreeable face. "Thanks a lot for sharing!"
"No problem." They entered the kitchen where they proceeded to ransack it immediately. "How is Chelsia getting along with the girls?"
"Well, you do know that she's more around our age that their age, right? But it's not too big of a problem. Most of the time Panny and Bura-chan act more adult than we do." He buried his head deep into the large refrigerator to get something from the very back that looked tasty. Trunks stepped back from a nearby cupboard holding two plates and nearly dropped them when he saw the position his friend was in. It was only for a brief moment, but he almost couldn't stop himself from groping Goten's behind.
Coughing nervously, he took several steps backward.
"Oi, Trunks, do you think Buruma-san would mind if I ate this left over pasta salad?"
"I don't know, but you probably shouldn't. She's pissed off enough already."
A disappointed face pouted at him. "But it looks so good!" The kawaii look on Goten's face made Trunks' brain go temporarily off-line. However, it made his manhood do the exact opposite. He tried to casually lower the plates down to cover his groin, but knew he wasn't fast enough. Goten's eyes had flicked down before he was covered and there was a questioning look in his eyes... as well as something else. Trunks was half afraid to know what that "something else" was considering the fact that he'd never seen that look on his friend's face before.
"Go ahead, Go-chan," he said softly, so many meanings hidden in the words. "Be my guest."
Would he understand? Would he take him into his arms and kiss him, something that Trunks had been secretly longing for ever since puberty had kicked in and his hormones started going haywire.
"Arigatou!" Goten said cheerfully and retrieved the plastic container, kicking the door of the fridge shut with his foot. Trunks rolled his eyes and groaned softly. His friend could be such a baka sometimes!
Trunks set the plates down on the table and turned to get the two glasses he'd set down on the counter when a firm body wrapped itself around his own. He froze, blue eyes widening in disbelief. "Goten...?"
"Shh," the young man breathed behind him. "You thought I didn't notice, didn't you?" Trunks nodded. "Do you know how many nights you've caused me to wake up to sticky sheets?"
He gasped and choked slightly when Goten lifted him up from the floor and began to kiss his neck. Trunks knew that, usually, he would have felt like a small child cocooned in Goten's arms, but instead it made him feel safe and loved. "You're all I can think about most of the time, Trunks. I have dreams about you and I living together, about the two of us having a family."
His heart wanted to give up happily to Goten's confession of love, but brain forced him to consider the entire situation before making a decision. "Chibi, do you know what you're saying? We haven't even dated and you're already planning our lives out!"
Goten's response was to suck tenderly at his neck, then hard enough to live a sizeable hickey. "I know you can feel it, too. I know we're like Tousan and Vegeta-san."
"Okay," he breathed as the young man behind him slowly began to grind himself against his leg. One by one, all thought processes were shutting down to the point that nothing mattered beyond the press of Goten against him and the feel of his lips on his skin.
"Niichan!" Bura called from the living room. "Are you nearby? Can you bring us more snacks?" And the mood was completely broken.
"Later," Goten promised, separating from the lavender-haired demi-Saiya-jin with one final kiss. He then pulled the lid off the pasta salad container, grabbed a fork, and went to town. Trunks rolled his eyes before grabbing a large bowl and a bag of potato chips to serve the girls. 'Has to be a Son thing,' Trunks thought, 'to be able to switch to something else so fast.'
But as he went out the door, he glanced at Goten from the corner of his eye, and was both startled as well as pleased to notice that his friend's mind wasn't as far away from sex as he'd thought.
A/N: This is the end of the first movement, but it's not the end of the story. I know it's been a long time since I posted the first seven chapters of it, but I was trying to finish the second movement before I did. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and it's still not finished (as of 10-8-05). I was side-tracked (as usual) by another story, which is complete and will be available for public scrutiny shortly. Once I take Passport to Paradise through its final edits, I'll return my attention to Metamorphosis Resurrection. Thank you for hanging around this long and I hope to see you again when I post part two.