Inferno
by Xero Sky     More by this Writer
A single unexpected event and a few moments of communion with another person unravel Goku's entire life.

Has his saiyajin heritage betrayed him? And how is it that the only person who might be able to help him is the only one he can never ask for it?

Told entirely from Goku's POV, this is not a PWP. If you think of Goku as basically stupid and naive, this may not be the fic for you.

Art Source :

https://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=169805



Chapter 01 : Hell
Love matters. It doesn't take a genius to see that.

And, as it happens, I'm not a stupid man. There's nothing wrong with my intelligence. I probably get distracted more than most people, but it's not that big a deal. Not to me, at least. It seems to drive other people mad, but that's not something I can control. Mostly, I don't care, anyway.

Well, maybe that's not entirely true. I act more happy and carefree and airheaded than I really am because I do care. Because I learned early on that 'the act' kept people from fearing me. People didn't shy away as much from the weird, lethal kid with the tail, or from the unreasonably strong adult, if they thought themselves smarter and wiser than me. I'm not unfeeling. It's natural to want to be loved, no matter what Vejiita has to say about it.

Vejiita.

He's always hated me.

That's been one of the constants in my life. Moons come and go, gods change, but I could always count on Vejiita. He's hated me since the moment we met, though there's been times we've almost been at peace. He's hated me for hurting his pride, for being stronger, for the way I act. The irony of that last part doesn't escape me.

Until last year, it didn't bother me too much. Vejiita was there when I needed him in a fight. Our sons were inseparable brats. The Prince of All Saiyajins did nothing to seriously piss me off. I wished we were friends because he was a magnificent fighter, charismatic, and had lived an interesting (though often horrifying) life. His strength and the absolute honesty of his disdain for me somehow made me feel freer with him than with almost anyone else. There was no need for any act with him; he hated me anyway. Since he had brutally rejected the overtures of friendship I had made over the years, I eventually left it alone. Obviously, he didn't feel the same way as I did, and what was I gonna do? Beat it into him?

Things might have gone on that way forever, but they didn't.

One night a year ago, I woke up to a horrible shrieking pain in the ass. Well, not quite my ass. It felt like my spine was being ripped out. I scared Chichi almost witless as I leaped into the air. Leaped right through the roof of our house, actually, showering her with plaster and wood. As she screamed at me through our new skylight, I clutched myself and whirled in the air, trying to figure out if I was injured, to see what was hurting me so badly. Nothing I did stopped it. Almost delirious with pain, I powered up like I would when an enemy was near, and the pain went off the charts. I passed out and crashed back onto the roof.

When I woke up, it was like surfacing from deep water. I no longer hurt anywhere. In fact, I felt good, though I couldn't seem to master my senses. They were sharp, but they didn't seem to give me any information. There was the most delicious scent in the air, musky and animal and perfect, but I couldn't begin to identify it. There was a familiar and beautiful pattern before my eyes, but though I admired it, it was a long time before I recognized it. Dreamily, I raised a hand and touched soft skin. It must be Chichi, I thought, though she has never been so beautiful to me. Slowly, my brain processed what I was seeing and recognized the face just a few inches above mine, the one my fingers were stroking.

It was Vejiita.

At that moment, I was totally unsurprised. Of course it was Vejiita. Where else would Vejiita be? I was wounded, disabled at the moment, and of course he there to see it, or to take advantage of it, or both. I couldn't read the look in his eyes, though, and he didn't object to my hand, now frozen against his cheek.

All he did was look at me, for the longest time, and even though I couldn't read him, it stopped mattering. I didn't feel hated, under those eyes. I felt comforted. I felt safe. *Safe*. Such an odd feeling for me. I could feel Vejiita's ki, feel the power rolling off him even in rest, but that strength seemed reassuring now. I drew that scent into my lungs. I touched him. I found myself purring under his gaze. I couldn't help myself. I would have been content to stay that way forever.

Then Bulma came in, squealing happiness because I was awake, and Vejiita faded back. I lost contact with his flesh and lost sight of him altogether as my friend and my family surged into the room. I kept trying to catch a glimpse of him, but Bulma was busily, even maniacally, telling me that my tail had grown back, and so had Vejiita's, and that it was very exciting and really weird, and that there were about a hundred tests she'd like to run, and she thought it made me look really exotic and sexy, and she thought that there was something that could be done about the oozaru problem. Chichi asked when I was having it removed. I stared at them all, feeling completely lost and alone among all my dear ones.

I didn't see Vejiita again for most of a year.

But I thought about him every day. Even my tail, and the way it made me feel complete again, didn't have the same grip on my thoughts as those few minutes when I had felt so wholly contented under his gaze. It was like I had suddenly belonged to something greater than myself. I couldn't have explained why, but I craved it.

I went through my first full moons without a great deal of trouble, letting Bulma monitor me during the first one. Vejiita, of course, had told her to go to hell. Deep underground in one of the CapCorp labs, I wasn't bothered much by the rays, though all the sensors said differently. Bulma couldn't figure out why both tails had come back at the same time. Vejiita hadn't been very helpful to her, saying it was a mystery even saiyajins hadn't broken. She said it had something to do with hormones, but she couldn't explain anything more than that. Or she wouldn't, not wanting to trouble my pretty little head.

I wanted to go see Vejiita, but I couldn't do that. I still felt compelled to put on my Goku the Happy Saiyajin face for the people around me. Even though I hadn't felt any real need to do that with him for years, I knew I wouldn't end up alone with him, and my resulting vapidity would just anger him.

I couldn't figure out why that mattered so much to me. Angering Vejiita had always been so inevitable that I hadn't given it much thought before. Now that thought burned me.

We had been sparring together on a semi-regular basis, once a week, once every two weeks. It was a family affair, with my sons and Videl coming over to pummel their friends while Vejiita and I tried to kill each other in the air above them. That stopped. I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't go and be Goku the musclebound imbecile for everyone. Not in front of Vejiita.

I sparred with my sons, or in private, learning how to fight with a tail again, getting my balance and timing back. It wasn't hard. It seemed so much more natural than fighting without one; my body had been designed for it. I flowed through the air. I perfected myself.

I never saw Vejiita. Without the excuse of our families, we had never sought each other out. I assumed he wouldn't have anything to do with me, just like always.

But in the back of my mind, I could see those eyes watching me, swallowing me whole. *Safe*. I had been *safe* under those eyes, in that gaze, and I wasn't now. I had lost something so fundamental that I hadn't a prayer of identifying it.

I trained incessantly, trying not to think about it, not to go over to Capsule Corp and slap on my happy face and do my dance. I am an open person, and I'm usually happy, but not as happy as they all seem to expect me to be. No one is that happy. And I couldn't do that in front of him.

Not one word had passed between us, and yet he shaped everything I did. Forests disappeared before the force of my ki. Boulders shattered under my fists. I had never given up on or slacked off on my training, but it gained a lethal edge now. Because I couldn't drive him out of my head. Because I thought he might approve. Because exhaustion was my only path to sleep.

I woke up every morning, not safe, and went out to train again.

I burned.

It didn't go unnoticed. Family, friends thought I was becoming obsessive. They wanted to know what was coming, what the threat was that made me train so hard. How was I going to explain it? I didn't understand it myself. There was a gap in my soul now that I couldn't seem to mend. I wasn't a coward. I had died before, after all. I'd been profoundly unsafe before, and it hadn't bothered me. But now I had had a glimpse of something else, and the aching void left in its wake consumed me. I didn't even know what it was, and yet...

I assumed I was losing my mind. I knew my own power. It wasn't going to be a pretty sight if I, of all beings, actually went insane. There wasn't anything that could stop me. I didn't want that, but what the hell was I supposed to do? There wasn't anyone to talk to about it, since I couldn't really explain it all anyway. Chichi, supportive soul that she is, would have just called me crazy and told me to snap out of it.

And Vejiita? Now that's a joke. What would I say? *Hey, 'Jiita, I know you hate me, and I know you were probably just staring at me like the sideshow freak you think I am, but I felt like your eyes tore a hole in me that day, and now my ki's tattered and I'm not safe, and maybe you know what's going on so could you help me out?* And I was only going to reach that level of coherency if we were alone together, which we never were.

He would laugh at me. That was the other problem. Even if I hadn't imagined it, he would still laugh at me. I would be revealing a weakness to him, and my prince wouldn't hesitate to degrade me for it.

I didn't think I could stand that. I couldn't bear the thought of his mocking laughter, not when I had been...*safe*.

Those few moments of safety had undermined the whole rest of my existence. The irony was altogether too rich for my blood.

*******

In November, I went out one day to train in the middle of a snowstorm. Chichi screeched at me not to be stupid, that I would catch my death, and I could only stare at her. The only thing on this planet that could even *harm* me was my prince, and he wasn't coming anywhere near me. It was easier on my ears just to walk away, and I did. For the first time.

I love snow. Snowstorms have always been a favorite of mine, and I'd been deliberately going out in them for years. The cold, the wind, the chaos of snowflakes, the feeling of the storm changing the whole landscape to suit itself — all of these appeal to me on some basic level. Yet another thing I can't explain. All I know is, they make me grin like the fool I don't mind being just then.

I went out and up, drifting with the winds. I could feel the power of the storm, the energy within it. So deceptive to those without a nose for power. I loved it. I let ice sting and scrape my skin, let the wind drive my unruly hair wild. The cold soaked into my body and I welcomed it. It made me feel clean, scoured.

I danced, unfurling my tail, closing my eyes. I let go of any concept of where I was. I just was. Wind, snow, and me. I felt as chaotic and cold and empty as the storm itself. I was in my element, and for the moment that was good enough.

There was a moment when I knew he was there and it didn't matter. Then it felt like I'd been scooped hollow, and I opened my eyes.

Vejiita.

In the swirling white, he was in black. Not a training suit, but normal clothing. Chikyuujin clothing. Black boots, black jeans, black shirt. A body sculpted by years of hard work, muscles hardly masked by tight clothing. Black hair that the wind whipped around a pale face. Eyes like the abyss.

He stood in the air with his arms crossed, watching me without saying anything.

I felt my familiar, goofy smile begin to fissure my face, and I stopped it before the pain proved too much. I wouldn't do it. He hated that version of me, and so did I.

In its place, though, what did I have to offer?

I didn't know what the hell to do. I just stared at him.

He smiled at me. It was a small smile, but it was true, almost nothing like the smirk he usually wore.

"Kakarot," he said, his deep voice carrying easily through the storm.

"Ouji-sama," I said, returning the courtesy. I wasn't mocking him. I don't know why I said it, though he'd always wanted to hear it from me. I think I meant it. I did mean it.

His dark eyes widened slightly. He evaluated me for a moment, then nodded his head once, acknowledging what I'd said.

I wanted to say something more, to say anything, but the hollowness inside me was swallowing me up. I needed. I wanted. Months of longing for something I couldn't explain and couldn't have stole my voice. I silently prayed that he would understand.

Vejiita smiled again, a smile with the faintest edge to it. And then he was gone. The storm erased him.

More alone than I had ever been in my life, I let myself fall to earth.

*****************

After that, I stopped talking.

I know how it sounds. Like I was some traumatized child, or some melodramatic diva. Tell me, though, what I had to say that mattered. Not only words but even concepts failed me. I couldn't explain the most important thing in my life. I gave up on all of it. I didn't have the heart to try to keep up the pretense that I cared.

Chichi screamed at me, nonstop, for almost two weeks. Then she tried to throw me out of the house. I thought about it. I didn't feel like it. There was, of course, nothing she could do to make me go. She sent my sons to talk to me, but I didn't have anything to say. I loved them, but that didn't mean I could communicate with them.

Eventually, I was alone in the house. That was what my years of struggle, of bleeding, of dying to protect them had earned me. Goten moved in with Gohan to get away from Chichi. She gave up and went back to her father. Thanks, guys. Twist the knife a little harder next time.

Although, maybe I can't blame them.

I trained, and brooded.

I had been so close to him that I could have cupped his face with my hand. I could have brushed my fingers along his tail. With a step, I could have touched his lips with mine.

Such thoughts. They didn't seem alien to me at all, but my friends and family would have been appalled. Not because I wanted to touch another man. After all, my best friends had mated, respectively, a murderous cyborg and a mass-murdering alien. Not one of the others was clean as far as personal quirks were concerned. Even Yamucha, Mr. Virginity, was awfully close to that freaky floating cat.

No, they'd be appalled because I wanted to break my marriage vows with Vejiita. Good ol' loyal Goku. Good ol' borderline-psychopath Vejiita.

I realized that I couldn't have cared less about the first part. I was a saiyajin. The laws and customs of this planet bound me only with my consent.

As for the second part, no one on this planet was worthy of judging the Saiyajin no Ouji.

I wanted him so badly.

Maybe that smile told the story. Maybe it would all be okay. I could go to him and ask him to help me sort through this mess, to figure out why he'd affected me so powerfully. Then we could...fix it.

But the other side of that fantasy was the more likely: Vejiita mocking me, laughing at me, using my weakness against me. It was against his nature to ignore a breach in his foe's defenses, and I had been his enemy for years.

And this *was* a breach, because if he attacked me there, I would be lost.

I have always won my battles. I didn't even know how to fight this one.

I trained. I didn't speak. Life went on.

I rarely saw anyone, except for Goten. He didn't move back in, but he started coming to see me every other day, like clockwork. He didn't mind that I was silent; his bird's chatter filled the house and made me happy. He said I was allowed a little insanity in my life, after all I'd been through. He just accepted me. His father.

Goten, the youngest ascended saiyajin ever, who got no respect for it because he's genuinely as happy as I am not. The lightweight tagalong of Vejiita's heir. Not as smart or responsible or strong as his older brother. One ascended saiyajin too many. What total shit that all was. It shamed me that I'd ever allowed anyone to think such things of him. My son.

We trained together, and although I'd always thought he was a relatively weak fighter, he began to show flashes of great talent. I began to wonder what Gohan would do the day Goten kicked his ass. It was coming. And Gohan, despite neglecting all but the basics of his own training, still kept a sense of his position in the scheme of things. Goten surpassing him wasn't the way things were supposed to be. I loved both my sons, but it wouldn't hurt to have Gohan shaken up a little.

Weeks after training with Goten had become a regular thing, I collapsed to the ground next to him and heaved, sweating and grinning at him. The little brat had gotten in a series of shots so good that he'd nearly knocked me out of the sky. I'd rallied and kicked his butt, but it had been an excellent spar, the best I'd had since Vejiita. I laughed, unable to say anything even then, and Goten grinned back at me, panting and looking deranged. No wonder our species had been so feared across the galaxy.

I wanted to tell him how great that round had been, but when I opened my mouth, nothing came out. Cursing inside, I smiled apologetically, and he smiled brilliantly at me. "It's okay, Dad. I know."

Then he looked up and behind me, and his smile faded away. I closed my eyes, knowing. Goten made excuses and left, and I just nodded, sitting there in bright sunlight, as cold inside as I had been the last time I'd seen Vejiita.

I stood up after a few moments of silence, watching Goten's trail fade against the sky, then turned around to face him. He wasn't far away. Black eyes regarded me with something like amusement.



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