Chapter Twenty Six: Reunion (1)

Interlude 26.1: Reep - Prophecy RevisitedPure of heart, and pure of will;
making sleep and slumbers still.
Slumber not, to 'venge, to die;
rage is pure as love is high.

Oh, Gokuu - 'tis you indeed; ah, if only that your love, which makes you so strong, would not be that which causes you to fall...

Ice with fire's heart, flame never still -
twice perished, thrice cherished - strong, the untapped will.
Rage rules over the night and makes day;
Anger must dry, love fade away.
First - rage made whole, the bearer of life,
Yet first to come is second in right.

Vejiita, prince of the dead, bound by your own damaged soul... how much pain will you have be before you let go of yourself?

Half - becomes what Jouten would have be -
Death to death cause, end of Nothing see.
Brings light into darkness, gods' only hope;
Time's end, worlds fend; death - quicksilver rope.
Half is light that rages, only pure of heart
be sufficient then to break apart the Beginning
of End; whole, then, must move to make whole the part.

Trunks, son of Vejiita - and inheritor of all that is Real! Ah, beautiful boy... you shall bring an End to End and make Nothing bloom into completeness!

Grand the gain and gauge the loss -
Emptied soul must last chance toss.
For choices then still must be made -
loyalty or good, the price is paid;
And result determines Black's dear cost,
To survive - burned must be the dross.

Sweet Cumber, wild card, cast off from your own people and onto another. So important you are - you, who have no idea of the impact of your impending death.

Pluck a-plick a-sing a song,
Love is grand as night is long;
Moon is dim and stars are bright, oh
Frick a-frack a-tuck a-tight.
Endings still may not be guessed -
But ones to cause it, cannot bring
Will of their own; matters be best
the choice of them who suffer long.And I...

I bring to fruition.

*

Reep was not at all what people thought him to be. Oh, they knew he was strange; anyone who spoke with him for the space of a few minutes knew that. However, no one really had any idea of how deep.

Reep had been in existence long before the Black entered this world; long before, in fact, there was any need at all for the eighth dragonball which he'd guarded so carefully. He had stayed hidden, between worlds, and there waited his turn - knowing, with all his being, that when the time came for him to move, he would do so without fail.

He had not been alone forever; in fact, he had spent most of his time communing with Gai, the third dragon, and watching the events on earth with a fascinated curiousity. He had never spoken words aloud before he met Dende in Mirai Trunks' world - and considering that, he had not done too poorly.

It was Reep who had, when the time was ripe, deposited the mysterious extra dragonball deep within Dende's storage; when Dende had found it and been summarily transported directly to Mirai no Trunks' world, Reep had been there waiting for him - and ready to direct him to where he was needed most. It was Reep who had hinted and pushed (but gently) until the ball was put in Moot's hands - and then all had seen its power as it glowed and brought light to a lightless place. Reep had seen to it that these Namek-people he was coming to love were safe, and that Dende knew all he would need to know before the coming of the Chosen One. And then...

Reep's job was almost done. What he was going to do AFTER all had been accomplished, he had no idea; that really wasn't important at the moment. What WAS important was making sure that the Chosen One got his hands on that dragonball before it was too late.

There were some things even Gai could not fix.

Now, Reep watched with amazement as the Kyuujinshu ship landed, began to implode, and then splurted from its main hatch five characters who would have the most important roles yet to play in this affair. Reep was not amazed that the ship had exploded; he was amazed that all five members of the Prophecy had arrived at once.

In the distance and barely visible, Trunks could be seen spinning out of the ship as quickly as he could, dazed and breathless because he had collided with Cumber accidentally. The two men fell to the ground and disappeared from Reep's view.

Without hesitation, Reep hopped after him. Trunks had to be reached, had to be warned; as the Chosen One, he had much to do, and the dragonball was too far away from him to be of any use at all.

Reep would simply have to nudge him toward his destiny.

***

Vejiita flew away from the ship at top speed, not knowing his destiny nor capable of caring one whit about it if he had. He carried in his arms a most precious burden: Bra.

The girl lay limply in his grasp as he flew, extending his ki shield to protect them both from the blast waves and shrapnel. She had just... passed out after she screamed, and had not yet recovered. Vejiita did not know why she had fainted or the why ship had exploded, but he was willing to bet that Ru Sa was at the bottom of both. He seemed to be at the bottom of ALL Vejiita's problems today.

The prince snarled and avoided a large slice of metal that came hurtling toward them. The pieces of Junsei Aion Bulma had so carefully welded to the ship's surface were flying off like shots from a cannon - whole, unharmed, and very, very dangerous. He swerved to avoid another one, cursing volubly at the size of the thing as it fell past him. Bra still had not regained consciousness.

Vejiita slowed a bit as he increased the distance between himself and the still-imploding ship, trying to get his bearing and see where everybody was. Ru Sa had made tracks and was nowhere to be seen; big surprise there. When Vejiita got hold of him, he'd wish he had run farther.

Another large chunk of metal, silvery and smooth, slipped by inches from Vejiita's body as he deftly avoided it. This wasn't that difficult, really; these things were big, but they were slow, and only an idiot would let -

From the corner of his eye, Vejiita saw Gokuu run smack into one of the pieces headfirst, losing his grip on Cumber, and whirling off into the dark in the process. Then, to complete the show, Cumber went pinwheeling straight into Trunks and they both went down; they crashed into the ground and out of sight. Vejiita sighed with disgust. Did nobody have a brain but him?

Not waiting to see if they were all right, he spun around and put more distance between himself and the ship, intent on finding a safe place to put Bra until he could locate Ru Sa and gut him. He spotted something like a building up ahead and - hoping that Ru Sa had not chosen this rather obvious location as a hiding place - flew toward it, still carefully cradling Bra in his arms, supporting her head.

He had almost arrived when he noticed the scents.

This place HAD no scents, for the most part; and yet here, it was full of... of...

Of Namek?

Yes... and fire. What on earth were Nameks doing in a place like this lighting fires?

Vejiita did not have time for such mysteries. Alert for danger and slightly powered up, he hovered above the building and scanned the area for anything that might be dangerous. There was no sign of Ru Sa, as expected; the man was not stupid enough to hide in what was apparently the only edifice on the entire planet. However, there was a ki inside; it was one that seemed bizarrely familiar to him, although the familiarity he found there was simply not possible. It was Bulma's ki; and Bulma was dead. Had been, for well over a month now.

Unconsciously holding his daughter more tightly, Vejiita landed and approached the building with something approaching unease. He had no desire to tangle with dead people. He had enough on his plate as it was.

But before he got the chance to investigate the inside of the building, a sharp explosion sounded from behind it. Apparently, Ru Sa HAD been stupid enough to use the building as a shield; unfortunately, Vejiita had no idea what he was shooting at or why.

Gameplan development took only a moment. He would lay Bra down very carefully by the door, zip around the building, find the captain, and kill him; simple, forthright, effective. He could only hope that Bra would be safe here, and then he could -

Bulma stepped from the shadows of the doorway and out into the open.

There was a moment in which they merely looked at one another, he still on his knees with Bra and she standing stiffly before him. Neither moved.

Namek-screaming now replaced the sounds of explosions from behind the building, and Vejiita revised his plan.

"Here," he said, abruptly thrusting his still comatose daughter into Bulma's arms. "Take care of her. If she is harmed in any way, you die." And with that, he flew off, leaving this woman whom he accurately guessed to be the "other" Trunks' mother in charge of his little girl. He hoped. Either way, there was no time to deal with it right now.

Bulma stared at Bra in much the same way that she had stared at Vejiita. She could not take her eyes off this child who was not her child but had her eyes, her hair, even her perfectly pouting lips...

And finally, Bra stirred.

Turning sleepy, blue eyes toward Bulma, she said, "You're not okaasan," and went back to sleep again.

Bulma felt tears welling in her eyes, and didn't know if she should stifle them or let them flow. For that matter, she wasn't even sure WHY she was crying.

"No honey, I'm not," she said, and hurried back inside along with Bra to keep safe from the possible ki blasts that would be flying soon. Vejiita had had his "death to the enemy" face on, and Bulma knew from long ago that that meant destruction of SOMETHING was certain to follow.

Bulma shivered and tried not to worry at the sounds of fighting behind the building, thanking the gods - if there were any left - that it was coated in Junsei Aion so at least she and Bra would be all right. In the process, she wondered, dazedly, where the Nameks had all gone.

*

Interlude 26.2: Ru Sa's Mistake

Ru Sa had not intended to end up with the eighth dragonball; until a few moments ago, he had not even known it existed.

When he went flying from the ship at his quickest possible pace, his only thought was to hide out until the others went away and then find a way OFF this rock. He simply knew there had to be one; fate would not betray him as badly as this and leave him stranded.

He had flown away from the ship at top speed and zipped behind the Capsule Corporation, hoping to hide there until he got the chance to sneak away. Taking Vejiita on at close range with surprise on his side he could do; dealing with three angry Super Saiyans and a possible attack from the traitorous Cumber was a little too much for him to handle.

He just stood back there, doing his best to breath quietly and not attract attention. He had to think; had to get away. The ship was gone now, so he would not escape with that. There had to be SOME way that he could kill or abandon all the others here, survive himself, and get back to that place that he had found... that quiet, beautiful place that seemed to be on the dawn of time.

Suddenly, the sound of rapid, light footsteps came from around the other side of the building and disrupted his reverie; someone was coming. Ru Sa tensed and prepared to fire.

And of all people, Moot came skidding around the corner. He gasped and slid to a halt, holding the glowing dragonball in front of him like a shield. Moot was thoroughly spooked by the appearance and consequential destruction of the ship, and had come back here for shelter; the last person he had expected to see was Ru Sa.

Ru Sa blinked down at him, forgetting for half a moment that he had gone to the trouble of depositing a whole pile of Nameks here. He then transferred his gaze to the dragonball and stared at it in wonder; he had never seen anything like it. In Moot's hands, it glowed with an inner fire, bright white light that seemed to make everything it touched beautiful - even himself, although he could not know that. Ru Sa had not intended to grab for it; but on the other hand, he had not expected it to come flying toward him, either.

With no warning, a large, smoking piece of shrapnel fell from out of the sky and winged Moot on the side. The little Namek fell, mostly unhurt - but he lost his grip on the dragonball; it was flung from his grasp and straight at Ru Sa.

Its light immediately went out; Ru Sa caught it, and it did something that it had not done for anybody else who had yet held it. Instead of glowing - it seemed to grow dark. Blackish, shadowy wisps, the same shape as the light that had come from it, floated up from the surface of the dragonball itself, obscuring his hands. Ru Sa panicked.

Without thinking of what he was doing, he cried out and flung it off to the left somewhere, sending a large ki blast after the thing for good measure. To a certain extent, he could hardly be blamed; after all, he had seen the Black in every timeline he had gone to, chasing after him as though it had a vendetta; it was perhaps natural for him to react that way to something dark like that that he could not explain. However, his actions made Moot particularly unhappy.

"No!" Moot screamed. "Don't do that, it's important!" Ru Sa scowled at him.

"Why you little..." he started, and that was when Vejiita flew around the side of the building.

Vejiita glared at him. "You MORON!" he shouted. "You destroyed the ship. How are any of us supposed to get out of here?"

"No," said Ru Sa, truthfully enough. "I didn't destroy it. Bulma did. You know - the one you died on and left here all alone?" He smirked; perhaps if he could get Vejiita close enough to attack physically...

Well, that ought to be simple enough.

"She was a very good fuck," he remarked blithely.

Vejiita's eyes widened. Without even thinking about what he was doing, he powered up to Super Saiyan level two and slammed into Ru Sa like a berzerker, ki blazing and roaring like a mad man.

Moot could do little more than cover his head and scream; but by the time he had done that, the combatants had already moved some distance away. The light and sound from their ki attacks dimly reached his senses.

And now, Moot had a different problem; he knew his responsibility lay with the dragonball, and he had to go find it - no question about that; but the large piece of scrap-metal that had knocked him down had also pinned his robe to the dirt. Moot could not move.

Flailing his limbs as though he were swimming, Moot screamed for help and tried to see where the dragonball had gone.

*

Cumber was knocked out of Gokuu's grasp and directly into Trunks before he got the chance to regain control of his momentum. Trunks had time to do little more than try to catch Cumber in his arms to prevent the breaking of bones before they were flung away by Cumber's inertia; they slammed into the ground hard enough to rock the wind out of them both.

They lay there, panting, Cumber stretched across Trunks' body like a dead lover, when a high-pitched whistling sound reached their ears. Trunks opened his eyes in time to see an absolutely huge piece of Junsei Aion heading right toward them. He gasped.

Before either of them got the chance to react, however, it seemed to clang into something just above them and immediately changed trajectory. The thing flew straight over their heads and impacted into the earth some five feet from them.

"What... what just happened?" asked Cumber in wonder, and that's when he saw Reep.

"CHOSEN one!!" Reep exclaimed, and Cumber cried out and leapt back a few feet. Trunks took a more sedate approach.

"Uh... hi," he said, rolling over onto his stomach and eyeing Reep curiously. He had never seen anything like him.

Reep beamed at him showing all of his huge, flat, pointed teeth at once. "HERE you are!" he shouted, and leapt into the air. Cumber scurried back another foot or two.

"How did you do that?" he demanded, pointing at the Junsei aion. "Nothing should have had the force to deflect that; it was about to cut us in half. What did you do?"

Trunks chuckled lightly, trying to defuse things. "Geez, Cumber, you make it sound like you WANTED us to be cut in half. Relax." He turned to Reep, hoping that Cumber would take his cue and pipe down. "And what's your name, little fellow?" Trunks did not like the idea of something as small as... whatever this thing was being able to deflect Junsei Aion any more than Cumber did; but he also knew this was not the time to discuss it.

Reep leapt straight up into the air and twirled around once as if in response.

"Reep! Reep, the kami named me! But that is not important... half... you are HALF! Prophecy! You must fulfill the Prophecy!" He leaned closer, lidless eyes seemingly huge in the dim light. "You are the Chosen One. He who has been made pure by Jouten and so must call forth the last and final Dragon - Gai, who holds the song of power."

Trunks looked at him with no visible reaction; but deep in his being, something seemed to surge at Reep's statement. A deep, powerful yearning awakened inside him, filling his soul with purpose, with joy - with desire.

His voice quiet and carefully even, Trunks asked: "And where is the eighth dragonball?"

Reep sighed; the jollity faded from his face. "It is missing," he answered, and turned to lead the way.

*

Gokuu was flung the farthest in the ensuing explosion by a freak circumstance; one of the chunks of Junsei Aion, approximately ten feet across and shaped like a ship's sail, smashed directly into him and tore Cumber from his grasp. The inertia carried him and the metal some distance from the ship, and they both slammed into the ground quite hard - with Gokuu on the bottom. He slid for some hundred feet, scraping the shirt off his body and tearing his skin, until he came to a stop. When he finally stopped moving, it was all he could do to lie there for a long moment, coughing just to get the dust out of his lungs.

"Ow," he said, and was about to exert the minimum pressure necessary to lift the metal off him when somebody else did it for him.

The chunk of Junsei Aion came off his body as smoothly as though it weighed nothing. "Hey, thanks - " he started to say to whomever his helper was, and that's when he saw it was Gohan.

He stared.

Gohan smiled almost shyly. "Hello, otousan," he greeted his father.

Gokuu looked at him. His son - his oldest son - alive and well. "Gohan?" he said in a choked voice, and without even thinking flew straight off the ground and snatched the young man into his arms. He held him tightly, silently.

Gohan felt his father's breath hitch once and smiled. Words would be wasted.

Their moment was interrupted when Dende found them.

"Gokuu!" he shouted, upset, frantic, and panting. "Hurry! Ru Sa!"

He needed say no more. Gokuu was not about to forget his mission here, even though he was presently happier than he'd been in his entire life. "Come on, Gohan," he said with tears in his eyes, failing to notice the new tail and incapable of caring about such a thing even if he had. "Let's go get the bad guy."

Gohan smiled.

They took off.

Dende watched them go, still panting. Altogether, it had been a VERY tiring day for him and most of his ki was used up. Flying back could pose a problem.

"Bah," he said, sick of heroism and the whole business altogether. He watched the steadily shrinking figures of Gokuu and Gohan, and exhaustion seemed to fill his entire being. He sighed. Well... the walk back might as well happen now; better sooner than later. He took two steps, and that was when he became aware of the sound of someone behind him. He spun around.

Kuro Trunks, face gaunt, eyes completely black and mouth open as though preparing to eat something, reached for him.

Dende screamed and dodged.

And the race was on.

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