Disclaimer: Standard ones apply.
Author's Note: This is a Dragon Ball fanfic despite the fact that it may not seem like one most of the time. In Part Two things become clearer so, if you can wait that long, I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. *** = scene change, ~*~ = time period change.
Warnings: Alternate universe, yaoi (not Goku & Vegeta... sort of), shounen ai (Goku & Vegeta), violence, and profanity.
Posting Note: Still not beta'ed.... =(
For the third day in a row, Vegeta and Goku resumed reading right after breakfast. They didn't spar, they didn't visit their children -- all energy was focused on a small story in their people's past.
"Whose turn is it?" Goku asked curiously. The second chronological book lay before them on the coffee table, its fascinating contents simply begging to be devoured.
"Does it matter, Kakarotto?"
He took a moment to consider the question. "Iie, I guess not."
Still, it was Vegeta who opened the front cover and paused to give his opinion on the entire story. "Saiya-jin are notoriously bad at relationships. I don't think they'll last more than a few months."
"Why are you being so negative? We lasted more than a few months, you know."
"Well, we're a fluke." Without any further conversation on the subject, he began to read.
While no relationship is perfect, this one seems to be closer than any I've ever seen. After leaving Crenix, Sen and Kilan endured many hardships and difficulties that would have torn apart an ordinary couple. They are special, they are blessed, they have everything we secretly want to obtain.
Allyn -- 30th Ryn, 1st year of King Vegeta's rein
The desert was a very unfriendly place. During daylight hours, the temperature soared so high one felt close to baking, while during the night it was so cold that it took all your effort not to shake uncontrollably. Sen and Kilan discovered quickly the merit of body-covering loose robes and traveling by starlight.
Thad had seen them off as soon as Sen was well enough to travel. Every day until that moment he'd begged and pleaded for them to stay just a little while longer, fearing that he would never see them again if they didn't. Sen told him with the utmost sincerity that he would definitely make visits back to his hometown. This was said in that new quiet way of his, mild and affable. He hadn't told a joke since before the disastrous wedding, hadn't laughed in so long they could barely remember the sound. Sen was changed forever. It was as if the events of two weeks previous had sucked all the life from his body.
As they traveled along the vaguely marked trail left behind by merchants, Kilan wondered how he could bring back the old Sen. He missed the cheerful teenager whose spirit was as lively as candle flame. This new Sen, with his subdued manner and ancient eyes, frightened him. He didn't know what to say or do to make things better.
"Where are we going?" his beloved asked when, in the past, it wouldn't have mattered. 'Let things turn out the way they want to,' he would have said. 'We'll be okay.' Kilan, who liked to have everything organized and well-planned, would have been the one to worry day and night.
"I don't know."
Now, things were very different. Sen was parent to Kilan's child. As he limped along on a leg that may never be fine again, he wondered how his life would be from now on. Was he promised many happy years with his Kilandreau? The way he felt, he wasn't sure if he would survive another few hours. His body hurt all over, a wave of perpetual pain that never ebbed. Complaint never passed his lips nor did misery show on his face. For all the pain he felt, he would surely hurt more if Kilan rejected the burden he caused.
Days they walked, supplies dwindling and spirits low. Kilan had a vague notion of where the next nearest city to Crenix was located and swore aloud every few hours that it wasn't much farther. When the water skin ran dry he knew that they were going to die in the middle of nowhere.
"I'm so sorry," he sobbed in the dawning light. His barriers, weakened by fatigue and despair, crumbled. Never before had so much emotion poured forth from him. Kilan collapsed to his knees and buried his face in them. "We should have never left! Maybe, in time, they would have come to accept us."
"Maybe," was all that Sen said. He curled around Kilan and transmitted silently what he could not say aloud.
As the light grew brighter and the air more heated, they held each other tightly as Death crept closer to claim them. Not a word passed between them -- though none were needed -- and within a few hours, their throats became too parched to form them.
By the dawn of the fifth day, Kilan felt his life fading. Sen hadn't moved in several hours -- whether merely sleeping, unconscious, or dead he didn't know -- and his own body was deadening, his vision growing dark. He didn't try to hold onto consciousness, instead welcoming the peaceful oblivion that would later bring death.
"I love you, Sen," he mouthed before slipping into the darkness.
"Oh no, oh no," Goku repeated continuously in a stricken voice. He broke off mid-phrase and grabbed Vegeta tightly by the shoulders. "Please don't tell me that they died!"
"Everyone dies eventually, baka." He rolled his eyes and then smiled very slightly. "Kakarotto, has there been any mention of Allyn beyond the foreword?"
He blinked, the words taking several seconds to penetrate the thick fog of grief surrounding his brain. "Well, no..." Then he allowed himself fragile hope. "Th- they didn't meet him yet?"
A larger smile was his answer.
The fragile thread of hope grew stronger and solidified into a thick rope. With a happy laugh, he enfolded Vegeta into a hug so fierce it stole his breath away. "Thanks for calming me down," he said sincerely. "I don't know what I'd do without you sometimes."
Vegeta, truthfully, didn't see how he was so important to Goku -- if anything, it was the other way around. He didn't say a word, however. Silently the book was handed to Goku who dutifully began exactly where his mate had left off.
Two different voices muttered quietly. Kilan could not make out the words but knew instinctively that they were conversing about him.
Strangely, he felt fine. His body lay upon the softest material he'd ever felt, covered by a blanket that gave him a layer of security and warmth. His body was not flushed with the unnatural heat of a fever nor was his throat as dry as the desert sand. Vaguely he wondered where he was (his very relaxed mind was reluctant to cooperate). In a more alert way he wondered where Sen was.
"Senneth!" he shouted as he sat up abruptly. The blanket slid down to gather in his lap. The two people in the room with him -- one male, one female -- spun around to face him nearly the exact moment he swung his legs around to the side of the bed. He shouted his love's name again as he rose too quickly. Dizziness overtook him and he sank back down.
"You shouldn't move so soon!" the man exclaimed. He was younger than Kilan with the look of someone fresh from the farm, so to speak. He tried to push his charge back down to the bed but the hand of the older woman stopped him.
"Riso, look in his eyes. Can you not see his determination? Even if we do not take him to this 'Senneth' he will find him. The very compound might be torn down around our ears." She smiled as Kilan steadied himself on his feet. "This is what love does, youngling. Hopefully you will know firsthand someday."
"Where is he?" the disoriented and confused young man asked worriedly. "Is he alright?"
"Dear, he's fine." Her warm brown eyes grew warmer as she saw the true depth of his concern. "I'll help you to his room."
Sen was next door sleeping as peacefully as a baby. Occasionally his right leg -- the one hurt most in the beating -- twitched, but there was no other movement beyond that. As quietly as possible, Kilan backed out of the room and shut the door.
"What happened?" he asked the woman. "The last thing I remember is feeling thirsty as hell and very, very tired."
They walked down the dimly lit empty hallway. The further the distance between Kilan and Sen, the more he noticed a cluster of voices. From time to time words were punctuated by the metallic clink of silverware. Kilan figured that they were entering a dining room and a meal was just getting underway. In one swift movement, the voices of everyone suddenly ceased when he entered the room, but after one long look from the woman beside him, they slowly began again.
She didn't say a word until after they both had loaded up plates from the buffet line. Suddenly, without warning, she started at the beginning.
"I am Iliza, this compound's only doctor at the moment. You were found by border patrol yesterday, very dehydrated and nearly dead. My assistant, Riso, and I had replenished your body's water supply within an hour of discovery but it was up to you both to survive."
They chewed thoughtfully for a while, each caught up in their own thoughts. Kilan considered how close he'd come to death and shuddered.
"So," he said, "is this a city or what?"
"Sort of." Iliza neatly stacked her empty dishes on the table and wiped her mouth. "This place is approximately halfway between Crenix Capital and Unari. We keep a sharp eye out for those unfortunate enough to be lost in the desert as well as refugees from Unari. It's a good thing you two never made it there."
He agreed wholeheartedly. "Yeah... Iliza? May I ask you a question?" She nodded attentively. "What do you think of joining ceremonies?"
The profound absence of Kilan's familiar presence roused him from a deep, peaceful slumber. Sen stirred restlessly for several minutes before waking completely. He glanced around the darkened room blearily, uneasily realizing that he recognized nothing.
"Ki?" he said in a plaintive voice. "Kilan, where are you?" His heart began to beat faster as panic infused him. Sen wondered distantly when his behavior did a complete 180º. Before, he wouldn't been so afraid of being alone. "It's his father," he sighed as he got out of bed. His mysterious healing power had further knitted the fracture in his leg so that it did not hurt when he put weight on it. Experimentally, he walked around the room and tested the limb. There wasn't hardly any limp left.
"I don't believe it!" he gasped. "I'm almost better!" A brief, bright smile spread across his face, bringing a ghost of the former Sen with it. He bounced up and down to further test his leg's strength.
The sound of the door opening startled him. Riso peeked inside, his bright eyes taking in the teenager in front of him. "Hi, Senneth. Did you have a good rest?"
"Uh, yeah. Where's Kilan?" More than a little unnerved at seeing a stranger be so familiar with him, he quickly shoved his feet into his boots. "Take me to him, please."
He followed the doctor-in-training to the dining room where his mate and Iliza were conversing quietly, heads close together. A spark of jealousy ignited within him when he saw them. "Who the hell is she?"
"That's-" Riso began. He cut himself off when he realized that Sen wasn't paying the slightest bit of attention to him. The small man muttered to himself, "Okay, that had apparently meant to be a rhetorical question."
Kilan stood as he noticed his approach and recoiled a little when he also noticed the angry look on his face. "What's wrong, Sen?" The background noise slackened as the confrontation caught the attention of more and more people. He was so confused by his mate's behavior that he almost didn't observe that the limp was nearly gone.
That was the moment Iliza intervened. "Good morning, Senneth. You misunderstand the situation. Kilandreau and I were speaking about something very important to him."
Kilan walked over to where Sen stood and took his hands. "I'm closer to you than any other person in the world and I wouldn't have it any other way. Senneth, will you be my mate forever?"
Tears of joy welled in his eyes and Sen blinked rapidly to hold them at bay. At length, he surrendered to the overwhelming emotion. "Really? I can finally be yours forever?"
"You were already mine, ki'chin¹. You were definitely already mine."
¹ Saiya-jin word for 'kitten'.