Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Touketsu ❯ Fire ( Chapter 26 )
The three entered the immense underground lab. When Frieza and his father had first landed on Earth, his at the time cybernetically enhanced senses had replaced the need for a scouter. He had detected a small handful of powerful fighters nearby, though none of the little cowards had ever shown themselves before that unknown Super Saiyan made his appearance. It was highly likely that at least some of those fighters were still residing on the planet. Doubtless they would come looking for him. Well, he was more than ready. With any luck, the purple-haired Saiyan would show up too. Then he could have his revenge.
Bulma glanced at the stoned-faced demon prince gripping her by the arm. She felt every bit as betrayed as he did. Not only did Vegeta literally revive his hellish past, he had dragged her into it. On top of it all, he seemed to hold Frieza's words in higher regard than her own. After the way he had threatened the life of their son she didn't think he could possibly regress anymore. It was his bewildering protectiveness of her in front of Frieza that had rekindled the slightest hope that the man she loved was still in there somewhere. He was completely cold to her now, a stranger.
Frieza took in the expansive surroundings. "Capsule Corp, hm?" He mused, noting the company name emblazoned on some of the near complete vehicles in development. "Most impressive, for a backwater little planet." He turned to the prince. "Touketsu, I am charging you with this woman's supervision. Put her to work. Once she has made contact with the Galactic Army you are to notify me immediately. The woman is also to activate surveillance around the perimeter of this compound. If anyone approaches who would interfere I am to know about it, understood?"
"Yes, Lord Frieza."
Frieza smirked. "No doubt company will eventually arrive. Every moment is valuable, Touketsu. Use this time to prepare for a confrontation. Meditate on your successes and what your state of mind had been in at the time. Focus on duplicating it, and learn to channel your energy into an objective such as an attack. Reflect on what if any information your enemies have revealed about themselves, and mentally develop attacks that would effectively counter their own. But, do be mindful of the woman, yes?"
Touketsu bowed his head respectfully. "Of course, my lord. Thank you for your advice. I will practice."
"Very good." Frieza clasped his hands behind his back as he sauntered away. "In the meantime I'll acquaint myself with these facilities and see what if any other resources are available here," he spoke over his shoulder. "Dismissed."
Touketsu nodded and turned to the woman he held tightly by the arm. "You know what to do, and you'd best do it if you want to stay alive," he growled before shoving her away. "Find what you need and get to work."
Bulma stumbled forward a bit before regaining her balance. Biting her tongue at the order, she did as she was told, Touketsu close on her heels. She could feel his cold indifference emanating from him, penetrating her skin to feed the growing cold in her own heart.
They walked to a large, separate wing filled with monitors and various communications equipment. This branch of Capsule Corp, first conceived after the Saiyan Invasion, was used for the express purpose of monitoring the Earth and protecting it from any extraterrestrial threats. Since Frieza's planet fall, the sophistication of the equipment had grown exponentially. Still, establishing contact with alien army outposts wouldn't be immediate, a fact that provided a convenient excuse to buy time. She couldn't fake activating the compound's security cameras and monitors, however; Frieza would be fully expecting her to perform that simple task in moments. She fed the security surveillance directly through the myriad monitors throughout the lab.
Frieza stepped into an impressive lab, larger than some of the others he had visited. He immediately noted that it must have been where the woman primarily worked, for it contained all the touches of a home office: family photos, framed diplomas and awards proudly displayed on the walls, used ashtrays and a couple cups of cold, unfinished coffee on the desk and drafting tables.
The monitors in the large lab flickered to life, and Frieza glanced over his shoulder at them with disinterest before returning his attention to the myriad objects and equipment in the substantial space. He rounded a corner and discovered a heavy sliding door. It was locked with a series of security access codes, a voice and retinal scanner among them. Frieza stepped back and destroyed the security locks with a well placed blast of concentrated red ki, disabling the alarm system in the process. He then melted a hole through the door and stepped in.
At the Lookout, the others were weighing their options before confronting Frieza.
"We don't have to spend an entire day in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber," Gohan mused to his mentor. "I don't know that any less time would be worth it, though. I may not achieve any significant breakthroughs within that time."
"I could take the two boys in for training," Piccolo suggested, latching onto the boys' ki to track them down and do just that. "I may be able to help them reach Super Saiyan 2 in less than a day. It would help even the odds…" He trailed off.
"Piccolo?" Gohan asked, seeing the distant expression on his mentor's face. Then it dawned on him: Goten and Trunks were nowhere in sight. He latched onto their ki, and he was confirmed in his suspicions when he felt them growing further and further away.
"Damn it, those little brats!" Piccolo snarled as he whirled around, his white cape snapping behind him. He turned to his protege. "Gohan, they're heading back to Capsule Corp. We have to go after them."
Gohan nodded urgently. "You go on ahead - I'm going to Korin to see if he has any more senzus. I'll be right with you guys. Gohan ran up to the edge of the Lookout and dropped down to Korin's level. Tien had overheard what was going on and came jogging up.
"I'm coming too," the Triclops announced.
Piccolo nodded. "We'll need you. We need all the help we can get." He turned to Krillin who was standing behind him next to 18, Marron cradled against her hip. "Krillin, 18, we'll need you too."
Krillin looked apprehensive. He would never forget the manner in which he had died at Frieza's hands. He felt no more ready to face the tyrant now than he did then. He had only just picked up again on his training in preparation for the World Martial Arts Tournament, not a life or death battle against Frieza. But he also knew that his presence there could make a difference. He looked to 18 and his daughter. If he didn't give it his all, his family could be lost. 18 caught the fleeting look of fear in his eyes.
"Krillin, it's ok. Stay here with Marron."
Krillin gave a short shake of his head. "You misread me, babe," he said, giving her a little smile. "Yeah I'm scared, but I'm more scared of losing you two. You're way stronger than me, but Frieza's power is incredible now. If we're going to have any chance against him we have to face him together."
Chi-Chi stepped up. "Here I'll take her," she said uncharacteristically softly. She was terrified for her boys. Unbeknownst to little Marron, holding the toddler was comforting Chi-Chi and helping her maintain focus. "You two go ahead."
"Thank you, Chi-Chi," 18 said sincerely. She gave her daughter a kiss on the forehead. "Mommy and Daddy will be back soon, ok sweetheart?"
Krillin gave his daughter a kiss on the cheek. "You be good now, ok?"
"Ok, Daddy. Bye-bye," Marron smiled.
18 took her husband's hand and gave it a squeeze, giving him a little smile of encouragement. "Let's go."
The four of them took off in a blaze of ki, hot on the boys' heals. Meanwhile, Gohan was hastily stuffing five senzu beans into a pouch.
"Thank you, Korin," Gohan said breathlessly. Without another word he turned and blasted into the air, quickly catching up to the others.
Frieza stepped into a storage area of sorts, myriad capsules and unfinished equipment filling the space. Personal projects, no doubt. He picked up a metal box; It was secured with a digital fingerprint reading lock. He melted the titanium hinges off and removed the lid. Inside was a capsule, tucked away with a journal of sorts. Setting the box down as he picked up the journal, he flipped through the notebook to find sketched schematics along with notes and calculations that even he couldn't comprehend. He arched an eyebrow at the words scrawled here and there: "Time machine?" he muttered. He looked down to the box and picked up the capsule within, regarding it with renewed interest.
Stepping out into the main area of the lab, Frieza depressed the switch and flung it a short distance. It was some sort of vehicle, old and damaged; its exterior was encrusted with rust and vegetation, and a large hole was melted through the glass dome at the top. He leafed again through the journal he still had in his hand. The notes made were analyses of the damaged craft in front of him. The woman appeared to have been attempting to understand and repair it.
"My, she IS an ambitious one, isn't she?" Frieza mused as he walked around the vehicle. He stopped. There on the side of the vehicle, still visible beneath some vegetation, were the words "Capsule Corp": her company's name. He glanced up at the monitors on the wall, his eyes narrowing as his attention went to the woman at her work station. He turned the volume up.
Bulma meanwhile had tapped into the Earth's satellite system. "It will take me some time to establish contact with anyone. The Earth's satellite system isn't optimized for alien communications," she said woodenly.
He said nothing to her, instead walking a short distance away while still keeping her in his sights. To think he had been scrambling to have her life spared, appealing to Frieza by selling him on her technological skill. It had taken all his discipline to shackle the shadow and not slaughter her on impulse after Frieza revealed her true nature. The passionate fury that had threatened to rise was now replaced with something completely opposite: Cold emptiness. Thanks to Frieza, his feelings for her were dead at last, their bond broken. Touketsu was grateful for Frieza's tough lessons, brutal though they were. Continue down this path, and Touketsu's power would only increase.
"What power can I possibly wield when I'd be serving you?"
Chilling anxiety spread through his limbs as that phrase again pushed its way into his head. Frieza now had a power that completely overshadowed that of even Goku at his best. What good was power if there was one stronger? Would this be Zhernobog and the Kagemazoku all over again?
He scowled. Nonsense. This is completely different. This is temporary. I've already gained so much power - more than I could have without Frieza's assistance. He's shown me so much…His eyes hardened as he continued to rationalize. He needs ME, and I still have use for him. This is the path. He'll divulge ALL his secrets to me, and I will make them mine. NO ONE will rule me.
He sat down cross-legged on the floor and, crossing his arms, leaned up against the wall behind him as he closed his eyes. He would take Frieza's advice to heart. He would analyze his past performances in battle and practice every moment he could. He should have been doing this from the very beginning. No doubt, he would have been further along if he had.
He reflected on how he managed to summon his energy against the scar-faced one before experiencing that breakthrough that gave him the upper hand. As always, the power was heralded by a chaotic firestorm of enraged emotions. He then felt that familiar inward pull before tapping into his power. Suddenly, it had plunged in an instant. The gray shadow darkened to black, the pull becoming so great it sucked away his enemy's life-force along with his own whirling maelstrom of emotions. In their place was a dispassionate coldness the likes of which he never felt. Touketsu recalled how his energy changed; it had become a deep, icy blue, the fires growing so cold they…burned…
He frowned, his thoughts straying. Why was the intense, burning cold that always heralded his power so different from the way that felt? In fact, why was it so different from the chilling cold he experienced when he faced Frieza, or the icy fear that Zhernobog had been pumping into him before Goku intervened? The burning sensation of the approaching shadow seemed to have more in common with other things he had experienced while navigating his path in this form: the ki that Yamcha had threatened him with, then later used to try to kill him; The fires surrounding him in the woods; the energy pouring off of Goku as they stood back-to-back in battle.
His eyes slowly opened, his brows drawing into a thoughtful scowl. Those things were similar to the alien warmth that rose to his face when that idiot Goku said something stupid, or when the woman laughed. It was similar to the warm feeling of pride he felt for the boy. He recalled the warmth of Bulma's body close to his, the heat of her tears…his own burning eyes…
His eyes widened in realization. Did he simply not recognize it for what it was the few times he tapped into that power? As Zhernobog's slave beast all he had ever known was coldness and nothingness. After spending some time on this planet, recalling Vegeta's memories and interacting with the people from his life, he finally made the connection:
The burning sensation of his approaching power wasn't that of extreme cold. It was heat.
He glanced haltingly over at the woman, his expression becoming thoughtful. It was odd that the shadow and its power seemed to manifest when he became consumed in the heat of those fires…when he lost control of his emotions. It was completely contradictory to what Frieza had taught him thus far. It was also strange that his emotions seemed to all but disappear when the shadow had grown dark enough. There must have been some tipping point. Obviously there was much more to learn. His eyes lingered on her. After all, he reasoned, he had to monitor her.
His pull towards her had once been as powerful and heated as the hatred towards his enemies. Yet, it felt different. How? The coldness gripped his heart tighter, squeezing it painfully. Did it matter anymore? She was dead to him. As he watched her his heart sped up in reaction to the increasing pain, and he felt something within ignite to replace the coldness. He recognized it immediately: It was rage. He quickly looked away, overwhelming dismay filling his senses as realization set in. The bonds remained. They had weakened and changed, but they were still there. DON'T look at her again. Focus on your power, fool! He closed his eyes to resume his meditation, but the heat continued to rise. Remember what Frieza said. Channel it. Control it.
Bulma glanced over her shoulder when she heard the soft whoosh of ki energy. Her eyes widened slightly at the sight of Touketsu's now darkened body, his charcoal gray form again encased in the aura of blue and purple energy. This was only the second time she had witnessed the strange transformation. Whereas Vegeta's aura had once flared up and outward like those of any fighter trained in using ki, it now flowed down. He looked as though he was being doused with fiery water.
Eyes closed, Touketsu scowled in concentration. The darkness dissipated from his body while the strange indigo aura remained, and his expression relaxed. Still watching, Bulma caught her breath with some alarm when the flames began to spread out from around him, creeping slowly outwards to the surrounding lab equipment. She glanced up at his face. His eyes closed, he seemed oblivious. She cleared her throat.
His eyes snapped open and he looked in her direction, his aura waning somewhat. At that precise moment Touketsu realized he had made a mistake.
She held his hard gaze, her own eyes cold as she spoke in a clipped voice. "If your meditation practices are combustible in nature, you'd better take it outside. There's sensitive equipment in here." She scowled at him. "I'd also rather not be burned to death."
His eyes narrowed and his aura extinguished as he smoothly got to his feet. "That option is not yet off the table, female," he answered coldly. "And if you think for one moment that I'm leaving you unguarded then you are not nearly as intelligent as you claim. Get back to work," he growled, turning away. Do not look at her agai-
"You actually believe him over me."
Touketsu stopped, his hands clenching. He felt the fire within growing, the bonds reforging to pull him back in. He slowly looked over his shoulder and regarded her coldly. "And why not?" He asked, the question coming out like a statement. "After the familiar way you and that scar-faced idiot interacted?"
Bulma swallowed, tears creeping into her eyes at the thought of Yamcha and his abrupt death. "Vegeta," she spoke, her voice level but intense. "I told you we were friends-"
"Were you fucking him too, while you were mated with Vegeta?" He accused as he turned around to face her fully. "You told your fool husband that you and that sniveling Yamcha were "just friends now" and he bought it, didn't he?" His voice rose, his eyes suddenly blazing. "Now Frieza tells me that he was killed by some purple-haired Super Saiyan that looks JUST like your SON?!"
He stalked right up to her. "That's it, isn't it?" he accused. "Your cuckold of a husband stupidly raised that boy thinking it was his own while you LIED to him and screwed around with other males!"
Bulma began to back up. "Vegeta that is not true," she reasoned, desperately try to keep her voice down so as not to exacerbate the rapidly escalating situation. She nearly stumbled into a swivel chair as he continued to advance on her until she was literally up against the wall.
He cornered her. "Vegeta trusted you, and you betrayed him." His skin darkened, and the light of his ki began to strum throughout the markings on his body. "I trusted you!"
"DAMN it Vegeta, you're letting your goddamn jealousy color everything you see!"
"Now you're trying to get me to doubt myself! You manipulative BITCH!" He leaned down, almost nose to nose with her now. "I can read you too, wench," he hissed. "I saw that look on your face and I see it now. You know of this purple-haired Super Saiyan Frieza spoke of. You had a relationship with him." His voice dropped to a dangerous whisper. "Now, you look me in the eye and tell me Frieza is lying about what he said."
She met the hard, red gaze of the shadow. Her heart was pounding so hard she was certain he could hear it.
She flinched in fear. Then, after a moment, she took a deep breath to calm her nerves as best she could. "All right then," she responded quietly. "I'm going to look you in the eyes and tell you the truth: Frieza was killed by a purple haired Super Saiyan, that's true. That Super Saiyan was Trunks." Touketsu blinked. He straightened, completely taken aback as the shadow over his body receded. "Our 8 year old son and that teenager are the same person. He came from the future to warn us about a new threat - about the Androids." Touktsu was shaking his head in denial as Bulma continued. "It was my future self that built the time machine and made it possible. Frieza wanted revenge against Goku for defeating him, and he arrived on Earth to destroy it. Trunks killed him before he had the chance."
In Bulma's private lab, Frieza's eyes were wide in shock. He didn't even realize he had stopped breathing. The time machine…that punk had traveled from the future! He blinked in disbelief. He and his powerful father King Cold met their inglorious ends at the hands of Vegeta's bastard MUTT!? His hands curled into tight fists as he grappled with his rage. If he had known this was how things would have played out he would have executed Vegeta as a boy rather than let him live long enough to sire his murderer. He seethed - the ridiculous thing was he HAD executed Vegeta back on Namek! Those damn Dragon Balls. That traitorous monkey should have stayed dead!
Just then, movement occurred on one of the adjacent monitors, momentarily breaking Frieza out of his murderous train of thought. Trunks and Goten had touched down on the periphery of the compound, transforming to Super Saiyans a moment later. Frieza blinked in surprise and outrage before glowering. "And there he is," he hissed. "And a Super Saiyan? At this age? His lip curled back in disgust. What's more, the brat was accompanied by a miniature doppleganger of that Goku that defeated him so humiliatingly on Namek. These fucking monkeys were like cockroaches. Well, he would put Vegeta to work right now. No better means of revenge than to have father and son kill each other.
Touketsu stared at Bulma in disbelief before anger rapidly replaced his bewildered expression. "What the fuck?" he hissed incredulously. "You actually expect me to believe that?!"
"IS THAT SO HARD, MR. I-CAN-PUNCH-THROUGH-SPACE-TIME!?" Bulma finally blew up at him. "Remember that I'm A GENIUS! Why wouldn't I be able to build a time machine?" He was opening his mouth for a rebuke when she poked him in the chest. "Now you tell me you don't see yourself when you look in Trunks's eyes!" She demanded. "You're fooling yourself! You don't remember SHIT, but when you look to fill in the blanks you turn to Frieza instead of me? Why IS that, Vegeta!?"
Frieza burst through the doors, capturing the pair's attention. "Touketsu! Are you blind?"
Touketsu followed Frieza's line of sight to the monitors behind him. Trunks and the other boy - Goku's son - were on the property. His jaw clenched. The pride he had felt for Trunks…
Frieza quickly reigned in his simmering rage. "The best way to practice one's skills is to use them," Frieza spoke smoothly behind him. "You can handle two boys, can't you Touketsu? Take care of them." After a moment, Touketsu turned back to Frieza. He was going to break these bonds at last.
"Yes my lord, " he nodded. He looked sidelong at Bulma, growling, "With pleasure." He turned and stalked out of the room.
Horror stricken, Bulma attempted to go after him. "Vegeta! No, wait!" Frieza immediately stepped in front of her.
"I don't believe I gave you permission to leave, my little genius," Frieza spoke in mock politeness as he took her by the arm and turned her back around. "You have work to do here yet. It will be interesting to see if Vegeta can figure out how to tap into these new abilities of his. I would be most delighted to see him kill his own son. For siring the boy that sent me to Hell, I'd say it would be justice well served to the both of them."
Bulma looked back at him, her expression a cocktail of shock, fear, and anger.
"Yes, I heard your little exchange. Take heart, my dear. Your beloved husband may not believe you, but I do." He held up the capsule containing the time machine. "You are indeed as talented as Vegeta claimed." He chuckled. "If it's any consolation, in your little union it was you who lowered your standards, not that deposed monkey prince."
Frieza looked back up at the monitors, watching as Touketsu exited the compound in search of the boys. Bulma followed his line of sight. "This should be very interesting. While just a boy, your son IS a Super Saiyan. That's more than I can say for Vegeta at this point. He's barely a step above plucking lice out of his hair!" He cackled. "If your Super Saiyan son does manage to kill Vegeta that will be all fine and good. I don't need him and his tenuous ability to create wormholes when I have someone as intelligent and talented as you. So long as you cooperate, the boy won't be harmed. In fact, he'll make a good addition to my restored Galactic Army. It's such a fine, royal Saiyan family tradition, after all!"
Weak daylight was beginning to break through the supernatural cloud cover that still lingered from the Kagemazoku's influence, casting the earth in shades of gray. Trunks had sensed his mother in the subterranean lab, and he and Goten raced towards the lift that would take them below. They barely made it there before something barreled straight into Trunks, sending him flying away from his friend to hit the ground. Goten whirled around in shock to see Touketsu on top of Trunks, his clawed hand drawn back to strike.
"Dad!" Trunks cried out in surprise. "What are you doing?!"
"Now you tell me you don't see yourself when you look into Trunks's eyes!"
Touketsu faltered at the sight of those eyes. He was in the living room at Capsule Corp again, studying pictures of the boy.
Well, maybe there was something about those eyes. If he imagined those eyes were red instead of blue, he supposed they did look a lot like his own.
Touketsu was shackled and powerless, looking up at Zhernobog.
"My entire life has been a lie. This…family is a lie."
Touketsu's eyes flared with absolute rage. "ALL LIES!" he shouted as he prepared to strike.
"Uncle Vegeta! STOP IT!" Fearing for his best friend's life, Goten flew at his attacker. Touketsu backhanded him with a snarl, sending the boy flying.
"GOTEN!" Trunks screamed. Impulsively, he punched his father in the stomach with a ki-laced fist. Touketsu doubled over and Trunks landed a hard right to his face and knocking him off of him. Touketsu's body instinctively reacted, his skin darkening and the ultraviolet light strumming within. With a furious roar his body erupted in its heavy indigo aura, and he bounded back to Trunks.
"Dad, please stop! What's wrong with you!?" Trunks shouted even as he parried and countered Touketsu's relentless attacks.
"I'M NOT YOUR FATHER!" he shouted. Touketsu fell back on his feral, emotionally charged fighting methods, striking with clawed, open hands now dripping with dark fire. Goten pulled himself up and again attempted to protect his friend, this time throwing a ki blast at his attacker. Touketsu saw it coming; He batted at the attack with one ki-laced hand, completely dissipating it. His sights settled on Goten now, he bounded after him like a rabid animal.
With Touketsu's speed again reaching that of a Super Saiyan, the little boy was unable to dodge him. Touketsu barreled straight into him before grabbing him by the face to hoist him up. His screams muffled, the little boy kicked helplessly, barely able to peer out from between Touketsu's fingers.
"Little shit! I'll send you to the next dimension like I did your father!" Touketsu spat venomously, his red eyes burning like hell fire. The demon tightened his grip on Goten's head, his claws digging into his scalp. Rivulets of blood trickled down the sides of the little boy's face as he screamed in mortal terror. Touketsu's seething expression grew cold, his skin darkening to jet black as the flames dripping from his body burst into a frigid blue.
In the next instant, Goten's skin became ashen before his face rapidly blackened as though frost bitten. He lost hold of his Super Saiyan transformation, his hands falling limply to his sides as his life force was siphoned from him. A dark smirk crawled across Touketsu's previously expressionless face. He chuckled in amusement as he watched the boy die.
"GOTEN!" Trunks screamed, and he launched himself towards the two. He snapped a sidekick straight into his father's ribs, forcing him to release his grip on the boy and sending him flying. Touketsu recovered, backflipping and landing on his fours as his skin lightened back to gray, his aura returning to its original state. With a livid lash of his tail he stood, his eyes filled with murderous rage.
Trunks however was preoccupied with Goten, kneeling down and scooping up his unresponsive friend. Touketsu was about to charge the two boys again when he suddenly faltered, and in the next moment he was sent flying several blocks away from them before crashing into the side of a building.
Trunks looked up to see the back of a Super Saiyan 2 Gohan, his fist still thrown out after delivering the powerful punch. Gohan whirled around and knelt down to check on his kid brother. The blackness had receded from his face, but his skin remained ashen. He was barely breathing. Gohan quickly dug into his pocket and pulled out a familiar brown satchel. He shook a senzu bean out onto his palm and fed it to his ailing brother. Goten winced as he straightened, the color returning to his face. Gohan and Trunks sighed in relief before Trunks looked urgently to Gohan.
"Gohan, my mom is inside with that Freezer guy. We have to help!"
"We'll help your mother, but we can't well do that if you keep things from us! You two shouldn't have snuck off like that!"
Krillin and 18 touched down, Tien and Piccolo flanking them. The former monk jogged up to Gohan. "Gohan, I sensed Frieza inside with Bulma. Do you have some kind of plan?"
Gohan's mind raced. If they went in guns blazing, Bulma could be caught in the middle. They needed to take the battle away from the area and her. It then occurred to him: Why hadn't Frieza emerged yet? "Frieza's waiting for something. We have to lure him away from here-"
His words were cut off when they heard a howl of rage; Touketsu had recovered from the blow and was now bounding back up to them.