Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Touketsu ❯ Choices ( Chapter 20 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]


Touketsu's right hand now bandaged with Bulma's help, the two of them left the bathroom. He stared at her back as they walked, ruminating. The longer he was around this woman, the more she was undermining his convictions. Conversely, the agonizing emotions associated with the boy was enough to repel him from Vegeta's former life completely. To think he had been curious about the blue haired woman and her cub; he was beginning to wish he had left the mystery alone.

I don't have to repeat Vegeta's mistakes. I know enough about him now. In order to start with a clean slate, I just need to do the opposite of what he did. He defied Frieza. Therefore I won't. He was controlled by his family, much like I was before I discovered they were a lie. I won't let that happen. Once this woman has served her purpose, all I have to do is walk away.

They neared the kitchen and Touketsu stopped dead in his tracks. "I'm not going in there. I don't want to be near those people" he said brusquely.

Bulma looked over her shoulder. "Vegeta, we're going to be traveling with Goku and Yamcha anyway."

"Exactly. That's enough," he scowled, crossing his arms. He dropped his voice to a low whisper. "I won't be around these people anymore than I have to, understand?" Twice now these strangers had witnessed his weakness; he was definitely not ready to face the boy again and risk that happening a third time. In fact, all these people were stirring up dizzying visions and emotions, and he was tired of it. He needed some time to clear his head.

Bulma's eyes softened. He obviously needed a little more time alone. She could give him a few minutes. "Ok, I'll tell you what. I'll take you to the hover jet first. You can have some time to yourself while I gather a few supplies, then we'll all meet you there. Sound good?"

He considered the offer for a moment and nodded. "Fine."

"It's in a hangar at the other end of the compound, but we can reach it through Capsule Corp's underground lab. There's a lift down there that will take us up right next to the hangar. Come on." She reached for his hand when he quickly pulled away.

"I don't need you to drag me around like a dog on a leash," he growled. "Just walk." He did not want her touching him anymore.

"Oh. Ok." Bulma turned and headed in the direction of the subterranean lab. Touketsu followed behind, berating himself for the guilt he felt at the disappointment in her voice.

A few minutes later found them walking through the halls of the lab together. Bulma pointed out the open computer center of the research and development wing and the communications prototype testing area before reaching a broad catwalk. It stretched over an immense arena where different sections were devoted to the assembly of vehicular prototypes. They walked across, Bulma enthusiastically pointing below at the space faring vehicles under construction.

Touketsu couldn't make any sense of the scientific jargon she was using and largely tuned her out, focusing more on his surroundings. He peered over the side of the catwalk as they walked side by side. The technology she had shown him was admittedly interesting, but he found himself much more intrigued by the spaceships in development.

Bulma snuck him a few glances as they walked on, noting his expression of intrigue as he took in the company's inventions. She would have liked to have shown him the time machine. She was quite proud of it and considered it one of her greatest inventions, even if she didn't know how she even did it. She supposed though that it was best that it was encapsulated away in storage. It was probably not a good idea to dive into the subject of their time traveling teenage son; his jumbled memories were confusing him enough as it was. A thought suddenly occurred to her.



For all his protests earlier he was responding a bit more to his Saiyan name, if on an unconscious level. "At the Lookout, Trunks told me how you and those demons emerged through what looked like a giant opening in the sky."

He nodded. "I was the Kagemazoku's means of travel, but it was Zhernobog that directed where I take them," he replied matter-of-factly. "Not until I got rid of the bastard did I become aware that I could perform the technique on my own and start using it for myself."

"Your teleportation technique," Bulma said in wonder. "It was you. It wasn't the Kagemazoku that created that wormhole, it was you."

Touketsu stopped walking and looked blankly at her. "Wormhole?"

"Yes. A wormhole is essentially a shortcut between two different points in time and space. Vegeta, you can actually warp space-time!"

He didn't understand what the hell she was talking about, but judging by the tone of the woman's voice it was an impressive ability indeed. He tamped down the pride that was beginning to well up again at the knowledge that he could do something that the Saiyan Prince could not. Who the hell cares what she thinks anyway? He wondered if he'd ever be able to use it at its full capacity. It may not be possible without being this Oozaru they were talking about. Hell, it may not be possible without Zhernobog's aid; even with the ability, he didn't know where he was going unless his old master gave him direction.

He was pulled out of his musings as Bulma continued her inquiries. "You must be able to warp space time to a such a degree that you can cross into another universe! You mentioned a multiverse, right?"

He looked at her warily. "Yes." Touketsu scowled as he thought of how to put the experience into words. "I have little recollection of the places I've been, but through Zhernobog's connection with my mind I could comprehend what we were doing. We were visiting different planets at different points in time throughout the 12 Universes. Zhernobog directed me to those that would supply him and the Kagemazoku with the most energy to expand the army.

"Twelve universes?" Bulma breathed. Wow, that's fascinating. Scientists have theorized about the existence of multiple universes, but there's been no way to prove it." She cleared her throat. "There are also…theories…that if one could travel back in time within our own universe and alter the course of history, doing so would result in an alternate timeline. Essentially, it would create a whole other universe. And if that happens, then that would mean the multiverse itself is expanding - just as our own universe is. It's even been postulated that every little decision we make results in a divergence of realities that constantly spawn new universes.

Touketsu blinked. He only knew of the multiverse, but he did not know how it worked. Nor did he care. "Is there a point to your rambling?"

"Well, It would mean that our decisions literally shape existence. It would mean…that everything we do is making the multiverse grow."

Touketsu snorted and shook his head. "I'm sure that doesn't apply to the actions of a god. Zhernobog's primary goal was to freeze the multiverse in perfect balance before taking his campaign to Otherworld.

"Sounds like he would have had a never-ending job on his hands then," she said a little sarcastically.

Touketsu was appalled. How arrogant was this woman? Questioning the strategy of one of the old gods? He hated Zhernobog but he had respect for the ancient deity. It was all the more reason why destroying him had been such a coup. "What the hell do you know of gods, Earth woman?" He sneered. "Zhernobog and the Kagemazoku were destroyers. You're telling me that by destroying worlds they were in fact creating new universes?"


"That's nonsense! Disrespectful wench. You 'scientists'," he snorted, shaking his head in disgust as they resumed walking. "Do you all believe you know everything? If that bullshit is true then the Kagemazoku have been trying to execute a fruitless campaign for eternity."

Bulma faltered. She looked to her husband, but he was looking straight ahead as they continued on. Time was relative, and Vegeta and the Kagemazoku had been traversing throughout space-time for who knew how long. To Bulma and Trunks, he had been gone from Earth for a year. But how long had it been for Vegeta? How long was he enslaved by those creatures?

They approached the lift that would take them back up to the surface. Now uncharacteristically subdued, Bulma stepped onto it and beckoned Touketsu to join her. After a moment's hesitation he did, and Bulma activated the lift. As they began their ascent topside, she finally asked the question that was plaguing her.

"Vegeta? H-how much do you remember being with the Kagemazoku?"

He gave an indifferent shrug. "They were always a part of my life. From as far back as I can remember I believed they were my family. Then we came here and…" he shook his head, scowling. "I don't know what to believe anymore."

They reached the surface and exited the lift. "All right, Vegeta," she said quietly, preoccupied with the disturbing thought of how long he could have been living as that mindless animal. "I need to gather a few supplies, some extra vehicle capsules for different terrain, provisions, outerwear. We'll all meet you out here, ok?"

Arms at his sides, he looked away and simply gave a terse nod of his head. Bulma didn't leave, however. She just stood there looking at him, a sense of inextricable loss filling every fiber of her being. After everything they had built together, after all the walls she had torn down to reach him over the years, he was cut off from them again. Cut off and alone. He had been separated from her and Trunks for so long that he no longer remembered them, let alone his own life. Tears began to well up in her eyes.

She walked over and wrapped her arms around him, laying the side of her face against his chest.

Completely caught off guard, Touketsu's back went rigid. "Woman, wha?-"

"I'm sorry, Vegeta," she whispered against him. Touketsu swallowed heavily at the sensation of her lips tickling against his skin as she spoke. "I'm sorry you were alone with those things for God knows how long. I'm sorry for what they did to you." Her voice began to crack. "What did they do to you?"

His arms were pinned to their sides only by her gentle embrace, yet he found himself unable to break away. Her lashes fluttered against his bare chest like a moth's wings, and his breath caught in his throat when he registered the wetness of her hot tears on his icy skin. Everything about her was so warm. He felt a familiar feeling stirring within him, and his arms began drifting up to return her embrace.

What am I doing?! He clenched his fists to his sides and looked away, his eyes going skywards. With enormous discipline the likes of which he had never exercised before, he drove down the powerful feelings that the woman's physical contact was eliciting. He finally found his voice. "That's enough, woman," he said gruffly, his voice strained. "Unhand me."

Bulma pulled away a bit, her hands on his arms. "Sorry," she sniffed, self-consciously wiping the tears from her cheek.

"You certainly do apologize a lot, don't you?" he ground out, giving her a withering look.

"At least one of us does," she said with a sarcastic smile. Her smile faded as she noted that perpetual, disturbing chill of his skin, and she began rubbing his arms in a vain effort to warm him.

He sighed in frustration when she failed to step away, not acknowledging to himself that he likewise wasn't moving. "You can go now," he rumbled dryly.

"Do want me to get you a jacket or something? All your clothes are still in the wardrobe-"

"Are they pink?" He sneered sarcastically, fixed her with a glare. "I'm fine. Stop fussing already, woman."

Bulma stifled a laugh. He was acting a bit more like the man she knew. "Well, ok. So long as you're comfortable."

"I'll be comfortable when you leave."



She smiled. "I'm glad you're back," Touketsu was fixed in place, captivated by her warm smile when she stood on her tiptoes and gave him an affectionate peck on the jaw.

He flinched away from her. "Woman!"

"Ok, ok, tough guy. I'm going," she laughed as she made her way back towards the lift. "I'll be back out with the others in just a few," she called over her shoulder.

Touketsu watched her descend back down to the lab. Idiot woman. What an enigma! He let out the breath he was holding and ran a hand over his mouth as he turned away. That so-called genius didn't seem to have a clue what she was doing to him.

Trunks had pulled away from the group to go up to his room. He was gunning for a snack and he had a few candy bars he had stashed away in his dresser. He overheard voices outside, and he looked out his window just in time to see his mother give his father a kiss. He didn't seem too happy about it, but his mother was laughing. She went back down to the lab, leaving his father alone.

Trunks hesitated a moment. Judging by the way his father was acting, he didn't want to see him. But they would be leaving soon, and Trunks didn't want him to leave like this. He had to apologize and make things right. The little boy climbed out the window and flew towards the hangar.

Touketsu crossed his arms and leaned up heavily against the hanger, relieved to finally be alone. He noticed something flying towards him from the corner of his eye, and he glanced over to see that it was Bulma's son.

Are you kidding me?! He tensed and grit his teeth. This time around he wasn't going to let these mysterious emotions get the better of him. He wasn't going to be rendered helpless and speechless by some eight year old brat! He tightened his crossed arms over his chest and stared straight ahead. Trunks landed about 3 feet away.

"I don't remember you, boy, all right? I'm sure your mother has already informed you of the situation."

That was the longest sentence his father had uttered since being reunited with them. "Yeah," Trunks responded quietly. His heart ached; his father almost sounded like normal. Yet, he was a complete stranger. "Dad? I'm sorry I said those things to you. You were gone for so long, and I was mad that you weren't saying anything and," Trunks trailed off, hanging his head in shame before looking back up to his father. "I just wanted to talk to you. I'm sorry."

Uncomfortable, Touketsu looked away a little and gave an indifferent wave of his hand.

"Mom said those things got you."

Touketsu looked back at Trunks and arched an eyebrow. "Things?"

"Yeah. Those shadow demons."

Touketsu didn't know what to say to that. He looked ahead again. "The Kagemazoku have always been a part of my life."

"How did you turn into that thing?"

He sighed. It was certainly easier to talk to the boy when he wasn't making eye contact. Nonetheless, he was getting annoyed now. He just got rid of the woman a short while ago! "What? My previous form?"

"Yeah. Did you look at a moon or something?"

"What? No. I always looked like that."

"No you didn't."

Touketsu growled. "I think I know what I looked like."

"No you don't."

"Well, as far back as I can remember I do!"

"Well you don't remember me and Mom and a bunch of other stuff, so you can't remember a whole lot."

"OH GODDAMNIT KID!" He whirled on Trunks, the plaguing guilt at last falling into the background as his irritation got the better of him. "You're as annoyingly persistent as your mother!"

Heartened that his father was behaving more like himself, Trunks continued. "You almost ate me and mom. Do you remember that?"

Touketsu straightened, and he was surprised by how unnerved he felt upon being reminded. "…Uh…yes. Yes, a little."

Trunks looked up at his father with an analytical air definitely inherited from his mother. "You used to tell me about Saiyans. You told me they had tails and turned into big monkeys when they looked at a full moon. You used to have a tail. I mean, a monkey's tail," Trunks corrected himself as he glanced at the reptilian one his father now sported. "My friend's big brother Gohan told me how he used to have a tail too, even though he's only half Saiyan. He turned into a giant monkey a few times and he could never remember what happened. Is that why you can't remember anything?"

Touketsu's eye twitched. This kid was talking his goddamn ears right off. "I can remember things, kid. I just can't remember everything."

"Oh. Well, that makes sense I guess. Both you and Gohan told me that you could control your monkey form. Like, you could still talk and remember who you were and everything. That other form of yours was really different…maybe that's why you can only remember some stuff."

Touketsu was doing a slow burn, his teeth grinding together as the boy prattled on. Oblivious, Trunk's face lit up. "Oh hey!" He exclaimed, and Touketsu winced at the loudness of the boy's high-pitched voice. "Do you remember our fight?"

Taken aback, Touketsu looked awkwardly away as he scratched the back of his head. "…Maybe." His hand moved down a little to rub the base of his skull, his eyes growing distant. Truth be told, before Zhernobog lost control over his mind it was difficult to recall anything with clarity. Even then it was hazy.

Trunks looked disappointed. He had never been in battle before today, and he thought he kicked serious butt. Not only did he take out a bunch of those demons, he also held his own against his father's monstrous form. He thought his dad would be proud of him, but he couldn't even remember seeing him in action. He jammed his hands in his pockets and kicked at the grass a little. "Oh."

Touketsu's ears pricked up at the sound of disappointment in the boy's voice. He looked over to the boy, taking in his defeated posture. Much to his chagrin, that stupid guilty feeling began to rise again from within his chest. He planted his hands on his hips and sighed, compelled to say something to the boy. "Well…you were there, kid!" he sputtered impatiently, waving a hand. "Perhaps you should tell me what the hell happened."

Trunks looked up at him in surprise and a smile lit up his face. "I'll start at the beginning!"

"No, you don't-"

"When I saw what was happening I jumped out of the bus and I went Super Saiyan and I started blasting those things! I wasn't even afraid of you! When you were that big monster I mean. You shot a giant blast at me but I got up an attack and deflected it! It knocked me down, and when I got up I was surrounded by those zombie-ghosts so I shot up into the air and I blasted them again and again and I took a bunch out but then…"

Trunks continued giving his enthusiastic play-by-play. Eyes closed, Touketsu's hand drifted up to massage his temple before gripping a horn in growing irritation. Gods, what have I done. Does this kid ever shut up?

"…I noticed they kept coming back! So I thought, 'I'm going to take them all out at once!' So I charged up my Gallic Gun and blasted them away!-"

"Oh bullshit, kid," Touketsu shot over his shoulder, now eager to make the boy stop talking. "No ordinary weapon has any effect on the Kagemazoku."

Confused, Trunks looked up at his father before rolling his eyes. "Duh, It's not an actual gun, dad!" When Trunks saw the death-glare Touketsu was now giving him he backpedaled. "I mean, it's an attack - you know! The one you taught me!" When Trunks saw the confused look on his father's face, his voice softened. "Oh yeah, you forgot about that, too." His face quickly brightened. "Hang on, I'll show it to you! Maybe you'll remember."

"No - that's…it's…shit," Touketsu grumbled. There was no stopping this kid. The boy drew his hands back to his side and aimed up at the air.

"GALLIC…GUUUUUNN!" Touketsu's internal monologue of annoyance came to a crashing halt when Trunks released the enormous wave of purple energy straight into the air. Touketsu stared up in awe at the powerful display where it detonated, lighting up the sky and driving back the dark clouds in a radius. Touketsu had to shield his eyes from the ensuing explosion. When all was quiet and dark again, he looked down slack-jawed at the small boy standing proudly next to him.

"…I taught you that," Touketsu affirmed.

Trunks looked back up at this father. "Yeah," he answered lightly. "Do you want to give it try?"

Touketsu looked away. What the hell could some motor-mouthed brat teach him? He shifted uncomfortably on his feet.

Bulma had gathered her supplies and met with the others in the kitchen. She was just about to ask where Trunks was when they all felt his Gallic Gun attack shake the house. Alarmed, they all raced out. Without a word, Yamcha scooped Bulma up and they all flew to the hangar. They slowed as they neared before coming to a stop mid-air.

A smile tugged at Bulma's lips. "Let's give them a little space," she told the others. They all dropped down a short distance away from the two.

Their backs to them, Trunks and Touketsu seemed too wrapped up in their lesson to notice the arrival of the others. They were standing side by side, the latter trying his best to imitate the boy's posture.

"Just copy me," Trunks instructed. "First, cup you hands to your side. See?"

"Like…like this, correct?"

"Yeah, kinda. You gotta turn your hand a little. Hang on, I'll show you." Trunks came around and put his hands on his father's as he corrected his positioning. "There. Yeah, like that." Trunks resumed his stance, cupping his hands and pulling them back as he aimed skywards. "Then you pull your hands back, and you focus your energy."

"Focus my energy?" Touketsu asked as he looked sidelong at Trunks. "How the hell do you do that?"

"Huh?" Trunks looked over to his father. He shrugged. "I don't know, you just do it." Touketsu huffed through his nose in annoyance, shaking his head as Trunks looked back up to his imaginary target in the sky. "So you focus your energy-"

"Easy Trunks, I think one's enough. Don't want to take out a satellite or something," Bulma chided, smiling as she walked up to them. She looked to Touketsu. "Ready?"

He snorted. "I've been ready."

Goku stepped up. "The three of us will ride with you. It would be a good idea for us to save our energy in case we run into the Kagemazoku." That was fine by Yamcha. He wanted to keep a close eye on Touketsu.

"Us four will go to the next continent over," Gohan said, gesturing to Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo. "We haven't seen anymore here, but these things spread fast and far on the onset. They're like a virus. The remnants of their army are probably still out there. Dad, let me know when you guys get the last Dragon Ball. We're going to make sure we get rid of the last of these things before you summon Shenron."

"Sure thing, son."

Trunks was a little reluctant to be going with Gohan and the others; he wanted to go with his parents and spend more time with his father. He barely got to see him! But, he respected Gohan and wouldn't argue with him over the matter. He was well aware that a Super Saiyan appeared to be the only thing that could take the demons out, and they had a whole planet to secure.

Piccolo looked to the two boys. "Trunks, Goten. You two will come with me. I don't trust the two of you to stay out of trouble."

The boys nodded, though Trunks rolled his eyes a little. "All right," he mumbled.

Touketsu was looking at Trunks, a thoughtful expression on his face. "You fought me, huh? When I was in my previous form?"

Caught off guard, Trunks looked up at his father. "Oh, uh. Yeah."

"Did you use that attack on me? That Galactic Gun or whatever?"

"Um, yeah I did - a couple times. You were really powerful…and scary." That was an understatement. It had been a terrifying life or death battle. He had barely managed to defend himself and his mother from that last horrifying attack. Trunks looked away and thought back on how he had been trying his best to kill the animal. He felt terribly guilty and more than a little unsettled. "I….I did't know it was you at the time. But, you wouldn't stop. You almost got me and mom with that blast and-"

"It's all right kid," Touketsu interrupted, crossing his arms. He looked down at him appraisingly. "We were in battle. You reacted exactly as you should have. Your skills are…noteworthy." Touketsu betrayed a smirk, admiration in his voice. "You're damn brave, too."

Trunks blinked in surprise as he looked up at his father, and he smiled at the compliments. Touketsu's easy expression darkened into a thoughtful frown, and he looked away. There was at last some other feeling pushing through the constant, plaguing guilt. It was small, but nonetheless familiar, and it ever so slightly eased the miasma of tortured emotions he experienced when he looked at the boy. It continued to well up in his heart, a blossoming, warm feeling. It seemed…it felt like…


Again, he felt torn between his desire to be free of the weakening feelings and the compelling draw to these people from his former life. He ran a hand through his hair. He was allowing himself to be distracted again. Ultimately none of these obsolete attachments mattered. He was a different being and they no longer fit into his life. The only thing that mattered in this new life of his was power, and he was going to get it. Only power would ensure his freedom.

He glanced back at Trunks. "Goodbye, boy."

Trunks smiled. "Bye Dad. I'll see you later."

Bulma knelt down and gave Trunks a hug. "We'll see you soon. Be careful out there, ok?" She gave him a peck on the cheek.

"Mom!" Trunks hissed in embarrassment.

Touketsu was watching them from the corner of his eye. Unbeknownst to him, Piccolo was likewise watching him.

"You three go on ahead," Piccolo told Gohan. "I'll catch up in a minute."

After Gohan and Goten said their goodbyes to Goku, the three half-Saiyans took to the sky. Bulma, Goku, and Yamcha filed into the hangar, Touketsu following. Piccolo blocked his path.

"Wha?" Touketsu looked up at the taller person and his features drew into an indignant scowl. "Get the hell out of my way, green man!"

"My name is Piccolo. What's yours?" Touketsu simply scowled at him, refusing to dignify his question with a response. Piccolo stoically held his gaze. "I could have been considered half a person, once."


"I was a cast-off: the embodiment of all the evil and hatred that the Kami of Earth wanted to expunge from his soul. His darkness took on a life of its own and ultimately became me. It was a long path for me, but through the good people that had become a part of my life I eventually found my way back to Kami. We reunited some time ago, and I became whole again."

"Is there a moral to this story?" Touketsu asked dryly.

"There are good people in Vegeta's life." He stepped aside to let Touketsu pass. "Consider letting those people in yours."

Toukesu stared at him for a moment. "Duly noted," he sneered. He walked past Piccolo and entered the hangar.