Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Touketsu ❯ Exile ( Chapter 35 )

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


Goku sat cross-legged with his arms in his lap, Touketsu-Vegeta lying on the ground not far away. Both completely spent after the battle, they stayed in silence under the stars. Several brave crickets had re-emerged from their hiding places underground, their soft chirping the only sound around them. Touketsu-Vegeta hadn't moved from his supine position as he stared despondently up at the night sky. He felt like a man awakening from a fever dream. Like any nightmare, its memory cast a pall over his thoughts.

After everything he had gone through with them; the powerful emotions forged through forgotten memories, the all-consuming desire to avenge their agonizing loss…after all of it - he nearly threw them to the void in his despair. He had ceased to believe in them, pushing them away yet again to instead drown in his darkness. He wasn't thinking of them at all. Not just their lives but their very souls would have been lost. How could he let this happen? How could he let it happen again? That was the question he kept asking himself now. How?

Goku looked over to the prince lying listlessly on the ground nearby. Not since Namek had he seen him look so defeated. He followed his line of sight up to the star filled, moon-less night. "Hey," Goku finally spoke. Touketsu-Vegeta's ears pricked up at his voice but he otherwise didn't move. "They won't come back."

Touketsu-Vegeta's eyes slid over to him, his head barely turning. "What?" he asked tiredly.

"I destroyed the moon." Goku's eyes flicked to the ground. The weak starlight was too diffuse to cast a shadow. "No moon, no shadows." Touketsu-Vegeta just stared back with an unreadable expression. "Remember? On the mountain? Zhernobog-"

"It doesn't matter, Kakarot," he interrupted softly, a haunted look in his eyes. He remembered Zhernobog's last words to him. "What makes you think they need the moon at all? As long as there is a light source strong enough to cast shadow they can likely use it as a conduit." He looked away and draped an arm over his eyes with a sigh. "They just need time."

There was a pause. "You don't know that Vegeta," Goku said softly.

"Neither do you." They both fell back into silence. This time, Touketsu-Vegeta was the first to break it. "It's ironic. Shadow cannot exist without light."

Goku looked at him thoughtfully before standing up. "Come on, Vegeta, we're going to Namek. We'll use the Dragon Balls and set this right."

Touketsu-Vegeta didn't move, his brows drawing together beneath his arm. Vegeta had always prided himself in his ability as a Saiyan Elite to control the Oozaru transformation, but, looking back, did he EVER have control over the beast? As a soldier he surrendered to the madness again and again at Frieza's command, destroying planets and committing genocide. Again he surrendered to it when he fought with his rival a short while ago. He had every intention of sending Creation itself into oblivion. What if the madness returned? "Why in the hell did you bring me back?" he rasped.

Goku huffed through his nose. "Come on, I wasn't going to leave you like that. You may not believe it but there are people who want you in their lives. Bulma told me how much she and Trunks missed you. She asked me to bring you back to them. I promised I would."

Touketsu-Vegeta felt his heart fracture at the mention of their names. His eyes began to burn, but they were still thankfully hidden beneath his arm. He swallowed heavily, not trusting himself to speak yet as he felt the lump form in his throat. He didn't want the younger Saiyan seeing him like this. Damn that Touketsu…even after recovering his memories as Frieza's soldier, that emotional animal was still influencing him. Finally, he spoke as carefully as he could. "And when did she ask this of you?" He couldn't quite disguise the way his voice hitched at the end of his question.

Goku was watching the demon prince, his brows knitting together a little. "At the Lookout," he answered quietly. "After I-" Goku hesitated. He had left the prince with his demons. Goku had been trying to save an entire planet. He did the best he could, but he wished it had occurred to him to just reach out to the prince before he left. Just maybe they could have avoided all of this. "It was after our first fight, when Zhernobog arrived."

Touketsu-Vegeta felt his heart crumble. He squeezed his closed eyes tighter beneath his arm. "Things change," he said quickly, his rough voice barely above a whisper. His breathing quickened and he felt himself begin to lose the battle with his emotions. His thoughts began to unravel, and his tongue began to loosen. "I can't go back to them. Not anymore. My decisions dragged them down to hell." Goku's brows drew together in concern when the prince's face began to contort with grief. "I almost…I got them killed. He convinced me that they were the enemy. I wanted to believe that they were. Then he…" His mouth twisted into a rictus of agony. "He killed them in front of me-"

Goku dropped to his knees next to the prince. "That's over," he told him urgently. He knew to whom the prince was referring, and he now knew beyond a doubt what had happened to Frieza. "You defeated him, he's gone-"

"He won't ever be gone," the prince cut in, his voice hoarse.


"Kill me."

Goku scowled. "Get up, Vegeta," he said sternly, grabbing the prince by the arm and hoisting him to his feet.

Touketsu-Vegeta suddenly came alive, his eyes flashing as he grappled with the other. "You fucking idiot, how about you use your ki the RIGHT way!" He shouted, grabbing Goku by the wrist. They stared each other down for a moment. "Do it," the prince said heatedly, putting Goku's palm to his chest. He held it there even as his rival angrily tried tugging his hand away. "DO IT!"

Goku shoved him away, and the demon prince fell to the ground on his back. Goku stood over him. "You can't force me to do anything, Vegeta," Goku growled as the prince sat back up.

Touketsu-Vegeta glared up at his rival before angrily looking away. He hated it. Hated that Kakarot was seeing him this way. Namek was bad enough. His eyes now bleary with tears and flashing in rage, his head snapped back up to Goku. He scrambled to his feet and shoved the younger fighter hard in the chest, making him stumble back a bit. "DAMN you and your mercy, you FOOL!" he shouted, his tail lashing behind him. "This could have all been over if it weren't for your blasted weakness!"

"Damnit, Vegeta it's not all about you!" Gokue shouted back. "Your family cares about you!"

"You have no idea what you're talking about!"

"You don't have to believe that for it to be true! You think they want you dead?"


"Stop being so damn selfish and think about them!"

"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK I'M DOING?!" Goku faltered. "Do I need to spell it out for you, you idiot?! If I didn't succeed in destroying the multiverse, the Kagemazoku would. If it's not me, it's Zhernobog. My very existence threatens Creation! They're not safe as long as I…" He trailed off. Touketsu-Vegeta looked away, his features tight.

Goku studied the demon prince for a moment. The Kagemazoku weren't the only enemy that Vegeta was seeing. "…You don't trust yourself," he said softly.

With some difficulty, Touketsu-Vegeta wrestled his emotions back under control. He took a deep breath. "Zhernobog. Me. We're conjoined. I wasn't free of him even when I thought I was." He shook his head. "Even if you're right…even if they still wanted me in their lives, I won't be a part." He looked back to Goku. "I won't. My very existence threatens their safety."

"Vegeta," Goku implored as the prince turned away again, "We may be able to wish you back as you were. If we do that it could all be over. What he turned you into can be undone - Zhernobog can be stopped-"

"Then what are you going to do, Kakarot?" Touketsu-Vegeta asked, barely looked over his shoulder. "Are you going to purge their memories? Mine?" He let out his breath and gave a terse shake of his head. Would that I knew how to go back in time without Zhernobog in command. He sighed. "I can't go back. I can't go back to them knowing what I've done, what I've done to…them. I will not have my memories erased, do you hear me?" He demanded as he made eye contact with Goku. "I came here with no memory of my past, yet…the past left its mark on me nonetheless. It should have been enough. It SHOULD have been enough to prevent me from making the same mistakes, and it wasn't. If I go back in blind, it will happen again." His eyes narrowed. "You're right. I don't trust myself."

Touketsu-Vegeta turned away, and Goku felt a little more of his strength leave as he began to lose this battle. The prince had changed, his very appearance underscoring that fact. Nonetheless, this wasn't a side of Vegeta that Goku could easily accept. He seemed to have given up. Then something occurred to Goku, offering him the faintest ray of hope: Vegeta's motivation was not a selfish one.

"Vegeta…do you remember what the Supreme Kai said?" Goku was looking at the demon-prince's back, but he saw how he slightly turned his head. "He said you can serve them. Your reasoning is…kinda misguided, but you're thinking of them. You want them to be safe." There was silence for a moment before Goku continued. "Can't you see, you're on the right path already! Right now, right this moment!"

Touketsu-Vegeta mulled over Goku's words, recalling what the Supreme Kai told him.

"You must trust in yourself. If your decisions are motivated by selfless service to those you truly care about, then they are the right ones. Serve your family and the people of the planet you have come to call home. Stand by your partner's side and guide your descendants together. Lead them."

Touketsu-Vegeta stared sightlessly out into the darkness. I am no longer worthy of leadership…I'm not worthy of my family. A different voice, deep and cool, whispered through his mind. Although he couldn't recall when the words were spoken, he knew that voice very well.

"You care for them, don't you, Prince Vegeta?"

Touketsu-Vegeta continued to stare out at the dark, ravaged land. "Yes," he whispered, so quietly Goku couldn't even hear.

"Do they care for you?"

His eyes cast downward. That question was irrelevant now. All that mattered was them.

"You can serve them."

Touketsu-Vegeta slowly released his breath. Yes. Yes, he could.

There was a long pause before Touketsu-Vegeta spoke again. "You stayed dead to protect your family, Kakarot." When he was met with silence he continued. "Then you should understand why I'm leaving this plane." He looked to Goku. "My decision is made. Free will, and all of that."

He turned away and held out his hand. Gathering the few shreds of energy he had left, his skin darkened as the light strummed within. Even after the strides he had made in controlling the ability, it was still in its infancy. It was when he was lost in the throes of battle that the skill was effortless. As he was now it was a struggle, but he had to make it happen.

Goku tensed for a moment before he realized what the demon prince was doing. "Vegeta - where will you go?"

"Anywhere but here." He didn't know where he would be going; he only knew that he needed to be on a plane separate from this one - and he had to stay there. But, how could he go anywhere without knowing his destination? How could he summon the portal without absolute conviction? Even now he felt conflicted about leaving. He needed to, but deep down he wished it wasn't so. Then, the words of a powerful influence wheedled into his head:

"You'll just have to think of something you hate."

He failed his family. Without being fully aware, he had chosen to go down a path of ruination. He hated Zhernobog, yes. He hated that the demon king made him this thing. But, a potter can't create without clay. More than Zhernobog, he hated himself. He allowed that hatred to fill his heart.

Goku watched helplessly as Vegeta gathered his dark power. "Do you really believe this is the way? You can come back if you wanted, " the younger Saiyan persisted. "You have the power to do that."

"I won't, Kakarot." The shadow raced up his outstretched arm, the energy spinning around his hand and warping the atmosphere. The portal opened. Touketsu-Vegeta stared straight ahead through the portal, darkness spreading out before him on the other side. "You'll wish them back?" he asked, not looking to the other.

Goku's shoulders dropped. He accepted Vegeta's decision. "Yes. Yes, of course," Goku answered softly.

Touketsu-Vegeta nodded. "Goodbye, Kakarot." Not sparing the other a second glance, he stepped through. The portal closed behind him in a whorl of indigo fire before extinguishing completely.

Goku was left standing alone under the dark sky scattered with stars, the dust of the destroyed moon still slowly drifting to be lost among them. Its remnants continued to crawl across the sky and down towards a horizon that was lightening with the coming dawn.


Goku teleported to Dende's Lookout and reunited with a tearful Chi-Chi. There was a lot of damage that had to be undone. With the Earth's Dragon Balls now inactive for a whole year, they would need to rely on the Namekian Dragon Balls. Even so, it would take time; not one, but three enemies had attacked the Earth within the span of a night and a day. Additionally, Touketsu-Vegeta had wreaked havoc on entire worlds and wiped them out of existence.

Goku sat with Master Roshi and the others, Chi-Chi cradling a now sleeping Marron in her lap. Goku would IT to Namek, and with the Namekian's assistance they would gather the Dragon Balls. Before he made that trip however they would need to carefully plan what to wish for. They had considered reversing the Kagemazoku's damage to the planet, but one look at the dozing little girl in Chi-Chi's lap and they decided they needed to bring back their family and friends first. They would endure living on a planet partially consumed in ice and shadows for the next several months until they could again use the recharged Namekian Dragon Balls. Finally, they would wish for the damage on Earth to be reversed and those killed by the Kagemazoku brought back to life.

Goku stood with Moori and the Namekians of the last village to offer the final Dragon Ball, and Porunga was summoned.

"Moori, please ask Porunga to wish back the people that Frieza killed."

"Of course Goku," Moori answered. He turned to the enormous dragon hovering in the sky and translated the request.


Goku sighed with relief. Wishing back the worlds Vegeta destroyed would be necessary before wishing back the lives of those that lived there. However, the dragon would not have enough power to bring back all those lives, not when they were already down to two wishes. For now, they would focus instead on bringing back the lives that Vegeta took here on Earth.

"Moori, ask Porunga to bring back all the people that Vegeta killed on Earth." Moori nodded and relayed the request to the dragon.

Porunga's red eyes flashed and he rumbled deeply. "I CANNOT."

Goku's heart dropped. "What?! Why not?"


Goku stiffened, his brows drawing together. Finally, his eyes drifted closed. With a sigh he lowered his head and planted his hands on his hips. "Moori," he began quietly, "please ask Porunga to bring back everyone Touketsu killed on Earth."

"Ah…alright Goku," Moori replied, somewhat confused. He rephrased the request to Porunga, and the dragon's eyes flashed red as it focused its power.


Goku nodded eagerly. "Yes. Please, do it."

Porunga's eys flashed. "GRANTED. FAREWELL." With that, Porunga disappeared.

Goku focused. He could feel the ki of family and friends appear close together back in West City. He felt Yamcha's ki quite some distance away from the others; he was presumably still in the mountains. He would have to IT over to him before going to West City.

"Thank you, Moori," he said, dipping his head in gratitude. "I'll see you in 130 Earth days. We still have a lot of damage that has to be undone."

"Of course Goku. Farewell."

With that, Goku put two fingers to his head and winked out of sight. There was much explaining to do.

Two pairs of blue eyes cracked open. Dawn was breaking through the bruised cloud cover that stretched over West City. Unable to spread throughout the still partially transmuted buildings of ice, the fires of battle had long since gone out. Bulma and Trunks lay across from each other on the building rooftop, waking as though coming out of a terrible dream. Bulma blinked in disbelief at the sight of Trunks. Overwhelming relief flooded her, the memory of seeing her child killed receding into the back of her mind like a dissolving nightmare.

"Trunks!" Bulma pushed up until she was sitting and reached out to her son.


They embraced each other tight. There was no recollection of the afterlife. The last things either of them recalled was Frieza and Touketsu. Where were they now? Bulma squeezed her eyes tighter at the thought of Vegeta. The last thing she remembered was Trunks dead with a broken neck, and Vegeta's demonic, deathly white face full of remorse.

Her heart twisted in pain. She hated him. She hated him for pulling them into this nightmare, for getting their son killed. The last thing she recalled feeling was hatred towards him so great that it actually snuffed out all feeling like a smothered flame. She finally felt nothing when she looked at him. Then, there was a piercing pain through her heart and nothing at all.

As much as she resented him, she was disappointed in herself. She had tasked herself with the responsibility of saving him from his hellish incarnation. He turned out to be the victor; he had succeeded in tearing their family apart, and he had managed to infect her with the very darkness that twisted him into the demon he became. He was lost to them now. She bit back her tears. I couldn't do it. I couldn't bring him back.

Trunks had been taking in his surroundings "Mom?" he asked quietly. "Where's dad?"

Bulma squeezed her eyes shut and hugged her son close. "He's gone, sweetheart," she whispered hoarsely. "I'm sorry."

"Trunks! Bulma!" It was Gohan. He touched down on the rooftop, Goten at his side. Bulma and Trunks got to their feet and Trunks rushed to his friend. Uncaring of keeping appearances, he hugged his best friend tight. The last thing he remembered was Goten and Gohan being consumed in Frieza's devastating attack.

Gohan and Bulma looked to each other in silent understanding. They had been wished back, but how? The world around them was still tainted by the influence of the Kagemazoku. How much time had passed?

Before they could begin sharing each other their questions, Gohan felt them: several familiar ki signatures began winking into existence. "Piccolo….Tien," he whispered. He turned and approached the edge of the building, and as he did so he felt Krillin's ki. As she was an android, he couldn't feel 18's ki signature. He could only assume that since everyone was brought back, then she was as well.

"We're up here!" Gohan shouted, waving. Within the next minute, Piccolo, Tien, Krillin and 18 alighted on the rooftop with them.

"What happened?" Krillin asked. Just then, Goku appeared in their midst, Yamcha's hand on his shoulder.

The reaction of everyone there was instantaneous as they cried out in surprise and joy. Goku's sons rushed to him and embraced him tight. Yamcha and Bulma locked eyes for a moment before she rushed to him and pulled him in a tight embrace.

"I'm sorry, Yamcha," she whispered, the memory of his gory death still fresh in her mind. "You warned me. I just…I couldn't," she struggled to articulate her reasoning as her voice began to crack.

"Hey it's ok," He whispered in her ear, his arms tightening around her. They simply held each other for a moment before Yamcha spoke again. "You couldn't accept what he became. You didn't want to give up on him. I wouldn't have expected anything less from you." He sighed. "You loved him."

Bulma pulled away as she composed herself, her head lowered. "Yeah," she sniffed. "I did."

Yamcha kept his hands on her arms and tried to make eye contact with her. "Hey - don't blame yourself. You put way too much responsibility on yourself for all of this, Bulma. All you could do was help him - you tried. He made his decisions."

Bulma nodded stiffly. She knew rationally that Yamcha was right, but her emotions still couldn't quite accept the truth. Yamcha lightly cupped her chin and guided her head up. He could see the guilt still swimming in her eyes. "Don't worry about all that happened. I'm here now, and I'm alright, see? All of that's over." His warm smile turned wry. "It's not as though it was my first time."

Through her tears Bulma betrayed a snort of amusement, her strength returning to her a little. Sniffing, she wiped the tears from the side of her face and nodded. She just wished she could have been enough to bring him back. In spite of the hollowness in her heart, she could still feel something. She knew immediately what it was: it was the dull ache of loss. She swallowed. It wouldn't be there if she didn't miss him. Not the demon Touketsu, but her husband Vegeta. He may as well have died.

Goku gathered everyone around and IT'd the group back to Dende's Lookout where family and friends tearfully reunited. Chi-Chi embraced her sons, overjoyed to see them before again hugging Goku. Bulma regarded them with a bittersweet expression as she stood behind her son, her hands on his shoulders. Goku explained how the Supreme Kai himself gave Goku his life, and how he had used the Namek Dragonballs to wish them back. After 130 days when they were recharged they would finally reverse the damage caused by the Kagemazoku and restore the lives they took. At the mention of the shadow demons, Goku could see the unvoiced question in their eyes. Yamcha spoke first.

"Goku…what happened to him?" he spoke carefully, mindful of Bulma's feelings. Regardless, they all needed to know.

Goku glanced at Bulma, and after a moment he answered truthfully. "He left."

"He's…alive?" Yamcha asked hesitantly, the barest hint of anxiety creeping through his voice.

Goku nodded. "It's alright." He looked to Bulma. "Bulma, I want you to know, he chose to leave in order to keep you and Trunks safe. Zhernobog and the Kagemazoku have been following him wherever he goes. He wanted to keep you both safe from them." Hesitantly he added, "And from himself."

Bulma could only nod stiffly. Yamcha had been watching her. He lowered his head, a thoughtful look on his face. Shortly later, provisions were gathered at the Lookout, and everyone was brought back to their homes. They would live in a dead world for several months, but they would endure.


He was in a dark, icy place, not unlike some cave but vast in scale. Strangely, the demon prince felt his strength begin to return. He took in his surroundings. Blackened, pointed icicles hung down from a cave ceiling that seemed to disappear from view, stalagmites growing from the cave floor to meet them. A dim, blue-green light pulsed through the dark ice, and Touketsu was struck with a sense of deja-vu. It reminded him of the planet where he had destroyed Frieza, but that was not precisely why it seemed so familiar. It was as though this place had tripped the memory of a dream that, up until this point, he had no idea he'd had. Not knowing where he was going, Touketsu walked forward into the darkness.