Pandora's Box – Second Arc
by Felix McKraken     More by this Writer
This is the second arc of Pandora Box

Warning : Mention of suicide and death



Chapter 01 : Something Wicked This Way Comes
"I see magic in your eyes/
I hear the magic in your sighs/
Just when I think I'm gonna get away/
I hear those words that you always say/
Abra-abra-cadabra/
I want to reach out and grab ya/
Abra-abra-cadabra/
Abracadabra"
-Steve Miller Band "Abracadabra"

He sighed deeply as he leaned over the table with his chin resting in the palm of his hand. He chewed the end of a standard Bic pen absentmindedly while staring intently at the paper below him. It seemed to be mocking him. He sighed again and rubbed his temple with his index and middle finger. A growl was steadily rising in his throat so he flipped his grip on the pen and picked up his glass nearby. Taking a sip of coffee to calm his nerves, he wracked his brain to figure out the solution. He was on the edge of his patience, and, swallowing his pride, he called out, "Hey, Kakkarot!"

From a distance, he heard the other Saijin call back from the depths of the house, "What is it?"

"What's a fifteen letter word for a literary preppy?"

"What?"

A voice behind him interrupted the conversion, "Do you two really have to shout across the entire house?"

Vegeta spun in his chair, rested his arm on the back, and narrowed his eyes, "Yes. Now, what are you doing? Don't you have to go to school?"

Gohan shifted nervously and headed towards the cupboards while responding with, "A fifteen letter word for a literary prep?"

Vegeta glanced down at the crossword puzzle, "It says preppy, and you didn't answer my question, which means that you're looking for trouble. Gohan-"

The young teenager fidgeted as he pulled out a bowl for cereal, "Hey – number one – I have everything taken care of. I make straight A's so it doesn't really matter if I skip, and – TWO – you're not my parent so I don't really have to listen to you."

Vegeta's lips curled back into a snarl and he snapped the pen clean in two, spilling ink all over the table and his hands, "One – it does matter. Your absences can cause you to lose credit which means your mother will be calling and screeching in my ear. And – TWO – I don't care what importance you place on blood relation. I can kick your ass from here to Hell and back so I suggest you heed my.. requests."

The black-haired teen poured himself a good heaping bowl of Lucky Charms, "You wouldn't kick my ass; you'd upset dad."

The prince, after making sure the ink wasn't running anywhere else, got up and headed towards the sink, "He'd get over it."

Gohan took out the milk and added it to his sugar concoction, "No, he wouldn't, and then you wouldn't get laid."

Vegeta, being caught off-guard, blushed profusely as he scrubbed to get the black mess off, "Quiet, brat!"

Gohan took a seat calmly where he proceeded to neatly shovel food into his mouth, "Take your own advice! I can hear you in the basement." Vegeta grit his teeth and tried very hard to conjure a good response, except his brain seemed to not want to function. Gohan continued as he examined the back of the cereal box, "God, if we had any neighbors you'd wake them up with all the screaming you do. It's embarrassing."

The prince searched frantically for a reply, "Crhyuikotlhn!"

Gohan shot him a glance over the shoulder, one of his eyebrows raised in slight curiosity, "Creeookotin? That's a new one. Do you make this stuff up off of the top of your head?"

"It's crhyuikotlhn, and it's a curse word from the Larzoni race!"

"Wow, how cool, a curse word in a language that no one knows but you. Makes a lot of sense to use it."

"Fuck you, you little bastard! How's that?"

A sudden shout erupted from the distance again, except this time it held a mix of shock and frustration, "VEGETA!"

Gohan chuckled as he recognized that tone of voice, and was glad he was not on the receiving end. He quickly finished his breakfast and set the dirty dish in the sink, "Now you're gonna get it. What'd you do?"

Vegeta cuffed him over the head, then pointed a finger at him, "Don't start! We'll finish this another time, you hear?"

Goku's voice came louder, "Vegetaaaah!" Gohan laughed at the perturbed look on the prince's face, and he gave him a swift hug. He shouted a good-bye to his father before grabbing his book bag and leaving. As the young man departed, Vegeta took a dish cloth and dried his hands, wondering what he could of done to irk his lover so badly. They hadn't fought seriously in a long time.

Goku came around the corner, eyes instantly locking on the form of the brunette. He didn't hesitate to approach the older man, his face contorted in agitation. "Vegeta, would you like to tell me what this is?" he asked entirely too calm as he handed some piece of fabric to the prince.

Vegeta took it and looked it over. He appeared completely confused and clueless as to what it exactly was, "It looks... kind of like that Polo sweater of yours."

Goku snatched it back, waving it in the air, "Correction! It was that Polo sweater of mine! Everything you could possibly do wrong with laundry, you did! I don't know how you managed to mess it up more than I could possibly imagine, but you did!"

"Stop yelling! It's only clothes for fuck's sake!"

"You mixed darks with lights, used hot water, added too much soap, too much fabric softener, and definitely TOO MUCH BLEACH! You threw in all the types together, wool, cotton, silk.. it didn't seem to matter to you!"

"Well, frankly," Vegeta said, folding his arms, "it didn't."

Goku walked over the trash can and threw the useless top away, "Well, it will, because you're coming with me."

Vegeta tilted his head to the side, edging away from the other man a bit, "What do you mean?"

Goku smiled suddenly and wrapped an arm around Vegeta's shoulder, "We're going clothes shopping."

-

"I'm not really mad at you, ok?"

"Hn. Better not be," Vegeta joked as they walked down a sidewalk. Goku's lips slowly curved into a grin as he swept his prince off his feet. Vegeta made a startled noise, his arms flailing for balance until he was held firmly against his captor. "Put me down!" the older of the two demanded, managing the best glare that he could muster.

"No, that's ok. Thanks, though," Goku said as he effortlessly carried Vegeta, "I very much enjoy spoiling you with the privilege of not having to walk." Vegeta growled lowly in displeasure. He did not like people doing things for him when he was perfectly capable of doing it himself. Kakkarot was the only one who could get away with pulling a stunt like this. Anyone else who tried to carry him would have a black eye or a bloody nose or some other form of injury.

Goku approached a set of doors that would lead them into the domain of shopping, but then he began to back up, then side strafe. Vegeta looked up at him with an quizzical expression until he heard a light click and the door began to automatically open. Goku went into the entry way and pushed the second handicap button presented, walking through the door carefully as it opened. He pulled a cart out from the line with his foot and knocked back the child safety seat with his elbow, and finally he set Vegeta into the basket. "What the Hell is the meaning of this?" Vegeta yelled, looking back at Goku as he grasped the handle and began to push.

"Shh, Vegeta, you're going to attract attention to yourself!" the younger scolded with a grin. There was that strange quirky wit again, something that had flared up since his separation with Chi-chi. With all things considered, that had gone over well.

Without being "bogged down" by his wife, Goku's attitude skyrocketed, especially since the court had ruled for joint custody. Regardless of how Goku felt about Chi-chi, he knew Gohan needed his mother, so the boy switched between their houses every other week. However, this was a guideline, and Gohan came and went as he pleased (with permission).

It took a little getting used to moving in with Vegeta, but Goku would admit that he was much happier despite the lack of well prepared food. Living with Vegeta had been a shock to the system as his idea of dinner was beef straight off the pasture. With no money of his own, what else was Vegeta to do? That's when Goku had declared himself the official cook of the household. He spent many frustrating hours over a hot stove, slaving away to get it right so there'd be something hot and edible to eat. After many trial and errors, Goku finally was able to cook a decent meal so long as he put his mind to it and concentrated.

Other changes occurred too, with the house being almost completely remodeled, with a room added to accommodate the extra person living there part-time. A basement particularly, had been the newest addition, and it was Gohan's room with all his decorations that he picked out.

The boy, too, had changed. Gohan wasn't as quiet and subdued as he was in his childhood. He was still very kind, generous, and a complete dork, but he had gained an attitude – and Vegeta wasn't sure if it was due to his parents splitting apart, or even perhaps his influence over the teen. Another oddity was his acceptance of Vegeta, even though he loved to disobey the prince. His acceptance was rather a neutral one, however, as he believed his father was old enough and mature enough to chose his own path, but it didn't mean he had to entirely agree with it. He respected his father, so he stood next to him and tried to be as understanding as possible regardless of his personal feelings. Deep down, he did hold a soft spot for Vegeta, and at times he would let it show.

Goku slowed the cart and finally halted it next to a rack of clothing. He sifted through some shirts before pulling one out and holding it up against his chest, "What do you think, Vegeta?"

The prince glared at him for a moment before turning away, "I don't care." Goku grit his teeth slightly before he sighed and chucked the item into the cart. "Hey!" Vegeta protested, lifting the article up and off of himself, "What's the idea?"

Goku continued to browse, "Just hold onto that for me, since you don't want to give any constructive criticism and you're too lazy and unhip to pick out anything reasonable for yourself."

Vegeta shot up, tossing the t-shirt into the empty basket as he hopped down onto level ground, "Are you implying that I have no fashion sense what-so-ever?"

Goku looked over at him and grinned broadly, "I'm not implying. I'm stating."

Vegeta pushed the cart into the third class, smirking darkly, "Well, that sounds like a challenge to me. I'll meet you by the fitting room in thirty minutes."

"Why thirty? Going to get someone to help you?"

"No, you have to pick out your new wardrobes and I just want to give you enough time to do so."

"I'll be there in ten."

"You're on."

Goku smirked as he watched the brunette saunter off. He wondered exactly what was in store for him and he grinned because it was a win-win situation. If Vegeta had fashion sense then he'd look gorgeous and Goku won. If he didn't have fashion sense then Goku was right and he won. He loved it when things like this happened. He shook his head to clear it and focus his attention on the task at hand. He wasn't very picky in regards to clothing, but he wanted wardrobes that Vegeta wouldn't think were hideous. Rather indifferent to the process, he tossed a heap of clothes into the basket. While switching to a different aisle, he bumped into a man with his cart. "Excuse me!" Goku apologized, moving out of the way, "Are you okay?"

The man nodded affirmative, "Just fine. How are you doing today? Are you finding everything alright?" Goku realized that it was an employee and his eyes shot down and noted the name badge being proudly displayed above the stranger's left breast pocket.

"Doing great, Mr. Brown," the Saijin responded with a smile, "Just buying a couple new outfits since mine got ruined in the wash."

The guy continued to straighten up things around him while monitoring the store, "Please, just Kevin. I hate titles. So, what happened if you don't mind me asking? Mixed darks with lights?"

Goku laughed, shaking his head a bit, "I wish that was just the case. Not only were the darks and lights mixed, but there was too much hot water, soap, fabric softener, and bleach."

"How in the world do you do that?" the associate asked, pretty astounded that someone could mess up laundry that bad.

The black-haired man grinned as he pulled another pair of jeans off the rack and threw them onto his rapidly growing pile of items to purchase, "It wasn't me. It was my inept boyfriend." He couldn't help it – he laughed. If only Vegeta had heard him being referred to in such a way... "Yeah, he'd never done laundry before in his life, so I can't really blame him," Goku finished, still pretty amused over the "boyfriend" bit.

"I'm just curious how one goes through years of their life and not learn to do laundry," Kevin commented in astonishment.

"It's kind of complicated to explain, and if I told you, you wouldn't believe me," Goku chuckled more to himself. Before the conversation got out of hand, Goku returned it to a state of small talk as he shopped. Finally, he decided enough time had passed. Saying good-bye to the kind employee, Goku took his heap of clothes towards the fitting room.

He was only mildly surprised that he didn't see Vegeta waiting for him. He shook his head and decided to go on inside because he had a pile of clothes to try on anyway. He parked the cart, did the whole "count the amount of clothes" bit, and stepped inside. He turned the corner, just out of sight, and he instantly dropped everything that he was carrying.

Vegeta stood in front of the full body mirror with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face. Goku slowly stepped towards him as if in a trance, and all at once he realized how delicious black looked on his lover. A black cargo vest hung open, exposing the ebony mesh shirt underneath that clung to Vegeta like a second skin. His eyes slowly raked down the prince's frame – admiring the curves of the chest, then the stomach, and finally moving to appreciate the tight raven-colored jeans that hugged the smaller Saijin. A simple black belt with a silver buckle, although unnecessary, added to the effect. Boots, military style, laced and tied perfectly seemed to match with the rest of the ensemble. Finally, to top it all off, a simple pair of sunglasses rested across the bridge of Vegeta's nose, tinted dark green.

Goku found himself taking deep breaths as his pants got significantly tighter. His lips pulled back into a content, pleased smirk as a dark purr rumbled from his chest. Vegeta raised an eyebrow, his smug expression melting off of his face to form an apprehensive look. Rushing forward, Goku first slammed the brunette into the mirror before hooking his arms around the lithe form and pulling them into the nearest stall. Kicking the door shut, Goku pinned Vegeta against the nearest solid object and kissed the side of his face. "Kakkarot!" Vegeta protested, pushing at the larger man's figure, "What is the meaning of this?"

Teeth and lips gently nipped at the prince's ear, "Mmm.. Vegeta you look so good.."

The prince couldn't help it – he shuddered as his lover kindled a fire within him. Damn him. He was way too good at this seduction thing.

His eyes were half-lidded as the black-haired man expertly teased his ear and neck. His pants, too, grew uncomfortable. Goku's left hand began to wander, rubbing down Vegeta's side to rise up and help shrug off the vest. Tipping the prince's head, the younger kissed his face gently, loving the tint of red that crossed the bridge of Vegeta's nose. Smiling devilishly, he let his hand wander lower till it stroked the bulge presenting itself.

"Ah! Kkchhhsss..." Vegeta hissed, his hand grasping the other man's forearm in surprise. Suddenly snapping out of it, he managed to cry out, "Are you crazy?"

"Absolutely bonkers," Goku agreed as his hands rapidly worked to undo the belt, "And Vegeta? I know it's hard for you, but please try to be quiet." He nuzzled the shorter man's face before nuzzling lower extremities of the prince's body.

Gasping, Vegeta exclaimed, "You freak!"

"Shh," Goku gently pressed a finger to the brunette's lips, "You know I am."

-

Asking Vegeta to be quiet was like asking for the world to stop turning. Unless some cataclysmic event occurred, it was highly unlikely either scenario would actually occur. Perhaps sensing this, the fitting room attendant refused to enter and investigate the sounds emitting from within. Either way, the girl fabricated excuses for the noises the Saijins produced. "Someone's got.. a migraine," she said in response to a female customer's inquiry. "I think the guy is.. mentally ill," she whispered to Kevin as to not cause a scene. Feeling sorry for this "handicapped" gentleman, Kevin merely nodded and walked away. However, none of this could prepare her for what was to come.

A hooded figure approached her desk. His or her face was shrouded by the downcast angle. He or she turned for the men's fitting room and the attendant called out, "Hey! I can't let you in unless you're trying something on." The hooded character, seemingly male, calmly located the nearest article of clothing – a woman's dress – and continued towards the men's fitting room. "But it's full in there!" the girl exclaimed as the the two Saijins became particularly loud.

A hand pulled back the hood as the man spoke calmly, "I sense only two kis. I am going in now."

As he stepped inside, the noise level crescendoed to screaming point where it abruptly ended.

-

Goku had never made love in a fitting room before, but he found the experience highly enjoyable. He gave Vegeta gentle kisses over his face while the prince attempted to catch his breath. Finally, Vegeta spoke, "Would you stop that? You get so mushy I almost expect you to grow tits."

With a chuckling purr, Goku replied, "Always the romantic.." However, he ignored the request and kept touching and kissing Vegeta softly. While playfully nipping at the brunette's ear, Goku sighed and murmured, "By the way.. you win. You have fashion sense."

Satisfied – in more ways than one – Vegeta lightly pushed against the taller man, "Alright, already. Just get dressed." A few more stray kisses crossed the prince's face before Goku managed to get to his feet. Giggling from the europhic afterglow, Goku swung open the stall door to retrieve his strewn clothing. As he entered the aisle, he immediately jumped back in surprise.

Peeking out from inside the stall, Goku called out, "Sorry, we didn't know anyone else was in here."

Vegeta, mortified, looked at the back of his lover's head and said, "What?" He peered his head cautiously around to see who Kakkarot was talking to. The stranger wasn't human. Instantly, Vegeta's expression and body language changed. His tail curled around his waist and he placed a hand firmly on Goku's bicep.

Goku looked from the hold the prince had on him to the prince himself. "Calm down," he said quietly as he was more alarmed with Vegeta's state than that of the presence of the alien.

"I am calm," Vegeta responded in defense.

"Oh, are you?" Goku countered, "Why don't you take a glance in the mirror?" Vegeta didn't like the idea of Kakkarot giving him an order, but curiosity got the best of him. A few curse words flitted across his mind as he saw what condition he was in. The fact that he was practically naked was of no concern, but the shimming gold roots of his hair was something one couldn't help but notice. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled and watched the color fade away. He was more angry at himself for the lack of self-control than of Kakkarot pointing out this fact.

Before either of the Saijins could question the visitor, he caught their attention, "Goku, we need to talk."

"Just talk?" the younger male shot back.

"Just talk," came an affirmation.

At this point, Vegeta lightly tugged on Goku's arm to bring him back inside the stall. "We'll put some clothes on," the prince announced while gathering his outfit from the mess on the floor. The Saijins dressed in verbal silence, however, they conversed briefly on a telepathic level. 'Have you met this man before?' Vegeta came off very strongly.

'No. I've never met anyone like him before,' answered Goku.

'Hm. Your reputation precedes you, it seems.' Vegeta decided to leave it at that.

It only took a few moments before they were fully dressed once again. They left the stall and walked dignified towards the stranger. He was about as tall as Vegeta, but with a slighter build and frame. He had lavender skin, a shock of white hair in the form of a mohawk, and dark eyes full of emotion. It was unsettling because he was unreadable. Unreadable was unpredictable which left the possibility of dangerous open. Goku, unlike Vegeta, did not seem worried at all. As the black-haired man gathered his things, he invited the new-comer to join them. The offer was accepted, and he followed the Saijins out of the fitting room, through the store, and to the cash registers. While standing in the check-out line, introductions were made.

"My name is Kaioshin. You may call me Shin if you wish."

With an eyebrow raised, Goku instantly asked, "You're a god?" This definitely caught Vegeta's attention.

"Yes," Shin paused to look between the two of them, "As I'm sure you've suspected.. I am here on business instead of pleasure." This was a vague statement posing as important information. For example, Freiza had no definitive line between his work and his recreation. What was one man's business was another man's pleasure.

Vegeta, who knew this, instantly spoke up, "What kind of business, 'Shin'?" The god gave him a mildly hurt look. It was as he was disappointed that Vegeta was so suspicious, and yet he was very understanding of the treatment he was receiving. Goku would have interjected at this point, but he was busy conversing with the cashier.

"Urgent," Shin answered briefly. He wished to have Goku's full attention before he furthered his explanations. Vegeta felt nervous, and when he felt nervous he felt threatened, and when he felt threatened he became impatient. As the cashier tried to neatly fold the clothing, the prince grabbed the merchandise and threw it in a bag. Goku stared mutely in shock, but the older man was not phased from his lover's expression of disbelief. Instead, he turned his back and headed out the door.

Jolting out of it, Goku literally threw some money at the cashier, grabbed a hold of Shin's shoulder, and chased after Vegeta. "Keep the change!" he shouted as they rushed after the prince. Silence was in the wake of their departure. Everyone – customers and employees alike – watched them until they disappeared from view. Then, the clerk who rung up Goku's transaction finally bent over and retrieved the money that had been carelessly flung at him. Uncrumpling the bills, he couldn't trust his eyes. Casually, he took a counterfeit bill detector pen and ran it across the money. Then he held it up to the light and felt the texture. It was true. It was real. It was five hundred dollars cash.

-

Sometimes it is inappropriate to discuss certain topics while in a leisurely atmosphere, and now was one of those times to Vegeta. Goku, Vegeta, and Shin had spent the last few minutes talking about the alien's godliness and what exactly it meant for him to be on Earth. He explained that he was one of four gods that ruled the universe. Similar to King Kai, but of even higher status, his duty was to guard the East Quadrant, but to even greater extremes than that of Goku's mentor.

"Just say it," the brunette nearly growled at Shin and the way he danced around the subject. They were sitting at an outside cafe like they were having a friendly get-together over brunch, and it didn't feel right when something tremendously serious was happening.

Shin took a breath and relented. "The whole universe is in danger of extinction," he answered flatly and without emotion.

There was a pregnant pause.

"Well," Vegeta finally broke the silence, "that wasn't so hard, was it?"

"No.." Shin let his eyes cast down, "I suppose it wasn't." He allowed for a moment to pass, "It's more difficult for me to ask for help. It's embarrassing too. I am a kai who must ask mortals for help, but.." He looked up at the pair of Saijins and gave a weak smile, "I wouldn't prefer to ask any other mortals for help. Vegeta is right about you, Goku: your reputation precedes you."

Affronted, the prince jumped to his feet and shouted, "You're telepathic?" This was not something that sat well with him.

"Yes, among other things," Shin answered, "I'm sorry I eavesdropped, but I wasn't certain if you were going to be hostile towards me. Please, have a seat. We must plan for what is to come."

Goku took Vegeta's wrist, gently tugged, and spoke for the first time since Shin announced his purpose on the planet. "Vegeta," he said, "He's alright." Turning away from his significant other, he questioned the kai, "Who or what is the problem?" Vegeta composed himself, sat down, and listened intently.

"It is a combination of the two in a way – a who and a what," Shin spoke like he was reading statistics off of a paper. It probably meant that this was so important to him that he was attempting to detach himself so he wouldn't get upset. "It's difficult to describe, but to put it simply," he said, "I'm looking for Pandora's Box."

When he didn't offer any more information, Goku piped up again, "Okay. So, what is this Pandora's Box? Why is it dangerous? Why should we be looking for it?"

Shin took another deep breath and began truly explaining, "Many centuries ago there was a powerful magician in this quadrant named Bibidi. Bibidi was a selfish, gluttonous man who had a thirst for conquest. Over the years, however, his body became more frail, so he was becoming incapable of not only combating for victory and glory, but also he was losing the ability to defend himself. Due to this, Bibidi dedicated all of his time into the making of his greatest creation – something that would be an impenetrable shield of protection and an unbreakable weapon of destruction. He succeeded, and he named his creation Buu.

Buu is one of the most powerful creatures in the universe to date. As a team, Bibidi and Buu were a terrible force beyond anything any of the kais had ever encountered or known. Unable to merely watch as planet after planet was being destroyed, Dai the Grand Kai confronted them and battled. He found Buu's abilities were numerous and strange. Any damage he sustains, even a lost body part, will regenerate within seconds. He can manipulate his body – shrink and stretch it at will in any shape he wishes. The most bizarre abilities stem from the magic inherent within him. Buu can transform people into other objects, with candy as his preference.

Dai recognized the fact that no one was powerful enough to defeat Buu at that point. In turn, he sacrificed himself in the one way he knew to save what he had sworn to protect. Dai tricked Buu into turning him into a piece of chocolate and eating him. Because Dai was a god instead of a mortal, Buu could not digest him in the same manner. Instead, Buu absorbed him, but when he chose to do this, he did not merely kill Dai so-to-speak, but he took some of his personality, and physical, traits.

In essence, absorbing Dai actually made Buu weaker. That's when myself and the other kais intervened. We were completely unaware of Dai's plan, and were naturally outraged at his loss. With Buu dazed and confused, we should have been able to kill him easily. And we would have if not for Bibidi. He used his magic to flee from our grasp. However, both he and Buu were mortally injured from the battle. Bibidi encapsulated Buu in some type of 'egg' or 'box' – think of it as a regeneration tank if you wish – and died shortly after. The only trail that we ever received about his location was that it was somewhere in this galaxy.

Buu sitting in his box wouldn't be a problem except for one thing: Bibidi had a son named Babidi. Babidi was apparently performing some type of research all the way across the galaxy when word finally reached him that his father had died. Babidi's wish is to follow in his father's footsteps and give a rebirth to his family's legacy. However, he's run across the same problem as we have: he can't find where Buu is located."

Vegeta immediately jumped in, "So is there a connection between Pandora's Box and the box that Buu was put into?"

"Yes," Shin gave a slight nod as he continued, "They are one in the same. Just because Babidi and I cannot find Buu now doesn't mean other people have not in the past. Not long after Buu was put into his box, rumor has it that it was found by a merchant. I say rumor because we are uncertain of who exactly did find it. Anyways, rumor tells that after inspecting the box, the merchant instantly realized it was worth a great deal of money. The reason being was because Bibidi always left a trademark on his work – a special symbol which consists of the letter 'M' which stands for 'Majin'. Realizing the value of such an item, the merchant searched for the highest bidder. It has changed hand numerous times; so many times, in fact, that it impedes upon finding the current owner or location. The name of the box, I assume, has been derived from the fact that no one can open it. Why this title specifically, and not something else, I cannot say. We can only speculate. The problem is that we know Babidi is looking for the box, and he is the only person alive who knows how to open it. By now, Buu will have healed from the battle many years ago, and his power will once again be unrivaled. If we cannot find Pandora's Box before Babidi, we are doomed."

They sat in the warm sun surrounded by the soft murmur of small talk and city noise. The ice shifted in their drinks as they contemplated. Goku had been reading Shin's expressions and emotions as he spoke and felt that he was sincere. He made up his mind to help Shin in his quest. Looking over at Vegeta, Goku examined the prince's face. He wasn't frowning, but he wasn't smiling either, and his eyebrows were scrunched together in heavy thought. The black-haired man attempted to contact him mentally, but he found that this was like trying to grasp fog with your hands. He didn't dare try to prod any further because Vegeta would note it and probably take it the wrong way. Vegeta's heavily disliked anything that came in the way between himself and his privacy.

"What's the significance of Majin?" Vegeta surprised them by asking this question.

"What do you mean?" replied Shin.

"Why would Bibidi mark everything with 'M' for 'Majin' when he could label it 'B' for 'Bibidi'?"

"Because Majin, back then, was much more impressionable on the masses than Bibidi. Just as if you announced yourself as a Saijin instead of Vegeta. People won't recognize who you are, but they'll probably recognize what you are."

"And who were the Majin?"

"A near extinct race of magicians. Magic is as natural to them as ki is to you."

This spurred Goku's curiosity, "What's the difference between magic and ki exactly?"

Shin sat for a moment saying nothing. The Saijins could tell he was carefully formulating a response and let him take his time. "Well," he finally said, "it is similar to usage of ki, but different. When you use your ki, you're using energy from yourself to perform various, limited acts. Magic – as in Bibidi's magic; old magic – runs on a similar concept. Magic like that was the mental, and natural, ability to assert your commands on both animate and inanimate objects. Well.. that's confusing. Let me put it to you this way: magic was an inborn trait to manipulate the outside world. While you do this through the method of channeling your ki and implementing it, magic is a concentration-taxing way of asking and willing the outcome. Am I making any sense?"

"None what-so-ever," Goku replied with a smile.

Vegeta pinched the bridge of his nose in irritation, "He means it was like an advanced form of telekinesis."

"Not exactly," Shin added, "but that's an easy way to think of it. Telekinesis is limited to the movement of objects, but magic was much more powerful."

"Because," the prince looked him in the eyes, "somewhere in the universe is a being of pure magic, and this thing doesn't die the way normal people do."

"I believe the saying goes 'you hit the nail with the hammer'?" Shin made his sentence into a question.

Laughing, Goku stood and put a hand on his shoulder, "Not exactly.. but close enough. When do we get started?"

-

After lunch, Gohan always received a short burst of adrenaline before he became sleepy. He had devised a way to keep himself from falling asleep in his lectures by taking the material and trying to apply it to something more exciting, like fighting. He entered the class room and took his seat half way back, as per usual, and waited for the teacher to arrive and class to settle. After a minute or so, Mr. Conrady came inside and promptly stared at the class.

"Excuse me, sir," he spoke to someone behind Gohan, "Could you please explain what you are doing in my classroom?" There was a sound made of thirty or so students turning their heads to see who the teacher was speaking to.

Gohan's eyes bugged out in complete surprise. The person he least expected to be there was sitting right behind him wearing a smirk.

Raising his hand, Vegeta announced, "I've come to pick up Son Gohan." Mortified, the teenager couldn't find any words to say in retaliation.

"Pardon me?" asked Mr. Conrady, "Are you his father?" This simply made Vegeta laugh, which – Gohan supposed – was better than cringing in disgust. Everyone whispered back and forth to one another about the strange man in class. Gohan never introduced his friends to Vegeta, and it wasn't that he was embarrassed about him, but he simply believed that Vegeta didn't care about the people that he hung out with.

"Fuck no, I'm not his father," Vegeta replied as he finished laughing, "Damn brat's enough responsibility as it is." Gohan was fairly certain that he'd just turned several shades of red before settling on one that simply made his face burn.

The teacher was taken aback, "Sir! We do not condone that kind of language in the classroom!"

Vegeta tipped his head to the side, "You don't? Oh." He let an awkward moment pass before saying, "Well, I hope you don't mind, I'm going to have a smoke." At this, Gohan nearly wanted to cry. His social life – he was certain – was now completely ruined.

"Sir!" the teacher had moved beyond being placid, and he voice was growing louder with desperation, "We do not allow smoking on this campus!"

Without replying, Vegeta reached into his pocket and pulled out a packet of cigarettes. Moving slowly and casually, he extracted one cigarette and brought it to his lips. The teacher had temporarily become mute, and merely stared at the prince while turning white with rage. Then, as if it was nothing at all, Vegeta dug out his lighter and lit the cigarette. The entire time, he never broke eye contact with Mr. Conrady. Then, he acted as if he became aware of the other students for the first time, and he gazed around the room at them. He took the cig from his lips, looked at it, then at the teenagers. Holding it up in a gesture, he said to them, "Don't smoke. It's bad for you. I smoke because I'm a dumbfuck. I smoke because I'm perfectly fine with the fact that I'm very slowly killing myself. I am fine with this because I'm a dumbfuck." The whole class uproared in laughter.

"VEGETA!" Gohan didn't realize he had shouted until after the fact. What made it worse was the silence it had brought.

"What?" the brunette replied with one eyebrow raised. The whispers began again.

Ignoring the logical and rational side of his brain, Gohan decided to ask the question, "What are you doing here? Why are you trying to take me out of class?"

Vegeta took a drag before giving his response, "You know I wouldn't pull this shit unless it was something important. Well, this is an emergency."

"What kind of emergency?" the teen asked while his heart raced with fear. Was someone hurt? Did someone die? The possibilities were endless.

"Big emergency," Vegeta spoke in his natural tones now – dark and smooth, "Like Freiza emergency."

Curse words danced over Gohan's mind and he took a deep breath to calm himself. "How long will we be gone?" he spoke like they were the only people in the room.

"Hard to say; we're on an Indiana Jones mission," Vegeta informed him as he lifted the cigarette to his lips again. Gohan found it profoundly odd for Vegeta to create an analogy by using something from pop culture. It just went to show that he'd been on Earth long enough to start talking like a native.

"Where's dad?"

"In the office convincing someone that you should be able to leave."

"Dad's getting me signed out and you came into my classroom?"

Another drag. "Yep."

It took a few seconds for Gohan to decide which outburst was best, "WHY?"

Vegeta smirked, "You should've seen the look on your face."

-

The universe – vast and full of mystery and intrigue. So interesting that all the commotion was occurring in the North Quadrant. Trouble seemed to gravitate towards power. That's why men like Goku were so important and valued. Good men who protected people from everyone including themselves. It was a shame that life wasn't black and white, and that things such as ethics were relative.

People had different priorities. Different perspectives. Different experiences and knowledge. Different truths.

Those in power would never escape the burden of choice.



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