The Flawless Savior
by Yaoi Ashes     More by this Writer
Goku keeps having nightmares of Vegeta’s death. It doesn’t help that everyone around him is acting strangely even though he’s the hero everyone loves.

Art Source :

https://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=17406858
Deathfic Abusive

Pain, so much pain. Overloading my senses and blurring my vision . Falling to the ground, my body refuses to budge no matter how hard I will it to. I try to scream for help, but the words are replaced with a hot, sticky substance that I can only guess is blood. Tears sting my eyes as I desperately try to focus on a way to save myself. My mind is whirling so quickly, making me feel helpless and disoriented. The world around me seems to fade in and out of a cold blackness. Somehow I’m managing to breath in raspy gasps, but the burning in my lungs tells me I don’t have much longer. Cursing silently I let go of it all and descend into the beckoning abyss.

Goku awoke with a loud gasp. His body was covered in sweat and he could practically hear his heart racing in his chest. Someone grabbed his arm and he let out a loud cry, wrenching away from his imagined assailant. ChiChi cowered in the opposite corner of the bed, a mixture of fear and concern on her face.

“G-Goku? Are you okay? Did you have that nightmare again?” she asked with shaky voice.

Getting his breathing back under control, Goku nodded and pulled his wife close to him. He had been having these nightmares every day for the past week and each time it was the same. It was him dying. Only he knew it wasn’t really him that was dying in the dreams. It was Vegeta. Vegeta dying in the most gruesome ways while he could only look on helplessly. There was no reason for him to be having these dreams, but that didn’t seem to matter once he fell asleep. There his imagination was in full control. But it had seemed so real!

ChiChi fought back tears and wrapped her arms around Goku. Holding him tight was the only help she could give, since Goku refused to tell her much about the nightmares. He felt that she was supposed to look to him for protection and he hated to see her worry about him so much. He knew it hurt her that she couldn’t do more for him, but he also didn’t want her know the sordid details of his dreams.

“I’m all right now, go back to sleep,” he said with a smile faked for her benefit. She looked at him as if she was unsure whether to press the issue or not, but after a moment seemed to think it best not to pry at the moment. Nodding, she gave him one last squeeze and kissed him before laying back down.

“I’m just going to go get some water and fresh air,” he whispered as he kissed her lightly on the cheek and got out of bed.

The cool floor felt good against his fevered skin as he walked down the hall towards the kitchen. Going past the den, he noticed a picture of Vegeta and himself that Bulma had taken a few months ago. The scowling visage of Vegeta seemed to be staring directly at Goku, accusing him silently of something unknown. Shuddering slightly, the already shaken Saiyan walked quickly past.


Dark, but somehow welcoming, the kitchen invited Goku into its silence. Thankful for the invitation, Goku took a glass from the cupboard and with a slightly tipsy hand accidentally overfilled it. Sighing, he reached for a nearby towel and used it to dry his hands and sweaty face. He wasn’t sure what to do anymore; this was an adversary that he didn’t know how to attack. He had tried wearing himself out to the point of exhaustion, sleeping pills, even white noise makers, but so far nothing had helped. After only a week, he was already getting tense and edgy over the lack of sleep.

Maybe he should tell someone about them, maybe if he got it off his chest that would help. But who could he tell? Vegeta? He had been so busy training for the Androids, that he hadn’t seen the Prince lately. Could his mind be telling him to go visit? Maybe it was some inner guilt over not being able to help Vegeta become a Super Saiyan. Possibly something repressed from Vegeta’s death on Namek? Shaking his head, he gulped down the lukewarm water and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. He set the glass down on the counter and stepped outside.

The night wrapped around him, the wind pushing him forward, deeper into the darkness. He always felt this way after the nightmares–compelled. As if some invisible force was nudging him on. It was strange, but Goku couldn’t think of any other way to describe it. He just wanted to step out and gaze at the stars, but he always ended up walking further, deep into the woods.

Leave and branches brushed against him on his trek. The moonlight shone through the foliage in patches. He could hear small animals and insects scurry out of his path as he pressed forward, but he paid them no attention. There was one singular goal always–a small clearing hidden in a remote area of the woods. Unsure of how he had even come upon it himself, it seemed to be the perfect place to hide from the world. And his nightmares.

As he continued towards his refuge, he felt his stomach churning. It was very strange, but just as he felt the safest in his clearing, he also felt distinctly uneasy there. He couldn’t think of anything that would make him feel that way, but something was unsettling about the place. However, the safety he felt there still outweighed the uneasiness, so he still felt compelled to go.

Pushing past the last earthly barricades to his secret hiding place, he let out a shaky sigh that was a mixture of relief and regret. There was a large rock that stood in the middle of the small enclosure that he liked to sit on and think, and he took up position there. Holding his head in his hands as he drank in the quietness that surrounded him, he thought about the dream again–just as he did every other night he came out here.

The dream was so horrifying that he couldn’t help but obsess over it. So morbidly graphic that there was no way he could think of something else–much like humans who can’t rip their eyes away from a gruesome tragedy. He desperately wanted to think of something else, but all he could remember was the dream. The pain and the confusion. The struggle for life and the fading to death. Nothing he did could shake the fresh memory, and the fight to think of something else only seemed to make him analyze it more.


“Vegeta...” he whispered as a tear of frustration slipped down his cheek. He was always watching his friends get hurt or killed while he was powerless to save them. He was supposed to be their savior, but that didn’t seem to help them much. He pounded his fist against the rock, causing fragments of it to fly off and hit the ground. Drawn by the sound, Goku looked up and was surprised to see Vegeta standing before him. A bloody and battered Vegeta that looked as though he could barely stand.


“Vegeta!” Goku cried as he leapt from his sitting place to help his friend. However, instead of catching the broken man as he fell, Goku’s hands went right through him. Horrified, Goku rapidly drew back and watched as the illusion began to crumple and finally disappeared. He stood in shock, lungs aching from his gasping breaths, staring at the place where Vegeta had fallen. Not waiting another second to try and analyze what he had just seen, he rocketed off at full speed towards his house.

Landing roughly on the familiar ground of his backyard, Goku took in heaving breaths, struggling to remove the image from his mind. What was going on here? What was that vision about? A sign of something to come? Would Vegeta be killed by the androids? Digging his fingers into the soft ground, Goku let the tears flow freely. Shaking his head in confusion, anger, fear, and desperation, Goku collapsed against the cool earth.

He wasn’t sure how long he had laid there crying before passing out, but when he finally awoke again the sun was already above the horizon. Wiping his bleary eyes, he looked down at the sad state he was in. Covered in sweat and dirt, he decided it would be best to go clean up before ChiChi found him like this. Wobbling to his feet, he made his way down to the stream that ran near his house.

Slipping into the cool water was a welcome relief to his sore body and he let the clear water wash away the frights of the night before. He was just being silly, there was nothing to worry about. The nightmares were probably caused by all the spicy food he ate before bed, and the illusion was just a trick of his sleep-deprived mind. There was no mysterious meaning behind any of it, and once the dreams stopped he would look back and laugh at how ridiculously he had acted.

After a thorough scrubbing, he exited the water and stretched. Feeling better already, he made his way back to his house with a smile, pausing every so often to enjoy the sunny day and beautiful scenery. Maybe he’d go talk to Vegeta today about all of this, he was sure the surly Saiyan would be amused by the thought of being Goku’s tormentor. Deciding that it seemed like a pretty good idea, he quickened his step, eager to get breakfast and be on his way.

Wearing a big grin, Goku snuck in the back door, eager to surprise ChiChi after last night’s episode. As he crept towards the kitchen, he could hear his wife’s voice. Deciding she was probably on the phone, he decided not to surprise her after all. However, as he came closer to her, he could hear her words more clearly.

“–Goku? Me, too.” ... “No, I think it’s something else.”

Puzzled over what she could be discussing about him, he stood silently out of her sight, listening intently to her conversation.


“It’s only getting worse!”

Startled by the sudden tone in ChiChi’s voice, Goku took a step back and accidently bumped into a lamp, causing it to rattle loud enough for ChiChi to hear.

“I’ll talk to you later.”

He heard a click as she hung up the phone and he again wondered what the call was about. And why was ChiChi acting like it was a big secret?

“Goku? Are you there?” she called, coming out with a large smile on her face to greet him.

Instantly forgetting the suspicion of before at the sight of her smile, he too grinned and hugged her tightly. “What’s for breakfast? I’m starved!”

ChiChi laughed and escorted him into the kitchen where she already had a large buffet of foods ready for him. Not wasting another second, the hungry Saiyan instantly began stuffing his face as fast as he could. He was quick, as usual, to finish off the food and sat back with a relieved sigh.

“Ah! You’re really the best cook around, ChiChi! It was delicious!” he said with an appreciative pat of his belly.

Standing to stretch after such a large meal, he thanked her with his genuine smile. “I need a good workout after that! I think I’ll go train with Vegeta today and see if he’s reached Super Saiyan yet!” he said as he put his hands behind his head.

ChiChi inhaled sharply under her breath and looked at him questioningly. “Goku, you know–“

“I know you don’t like me hanging around him, but he’s really coming around! I think we’ll be great friends in no time! Pretty soon he’ll forget all about trying to surpass me and he’ll see how wrong he was all along. Just look at Piccolo!”

“Goku, I want you to stay away from Capsule Corporation!” ChiChi said harshly, a determined glint in her eye.

“Just for a little bit! Please? I haven’t fought him so long and I want to see how he’s doing!” Goku whined.

”Goku! If you even dare–“

“Don’t worry. I’ll take Goku with me,” came a deep voice from the other room. “You left the door open so I came in.”

“Piccolo? What are you doing here?” Goku asked, distracted from all previous thoughts.


“I came to train. You do remember you asked to train with me today, don’t you, Goku?” Piccolo asked in an annoyed voice.

“Oh.. did I?” Goku said with an embarrassed laugh. “Well I’ll see you later, ChiChi, I’m going with Piccolo today!” Goku said as he kissed her quickly on the cheek and bounded out the door.

Piccolo watched his long-time friend leave before turning to ChiChi. A silent gaze passed between the two. One’s eyes fierce and determined, the other’s hopeful and sad. They held each other’s eyes for only a second before the tall Namek was gone with a billow of his cape.

*****

The pair fought for hours, both enjoying the unrestrained physical competition. Sweat and blood poured freely, but neither seemed to notice anything other than their opponent. Blow after blow they continued onward, until both were totally exhausted. They sat down in the grass under a large tree that had miraculously survived their war.

“If you keep up like that, Piccolo, you’ll be able the defeat the androids on your own!” Goku said with a laugh, peeling off what was left of his shirt.

The Namek grunted, remembering what that boy from the future had said about the androids strength and their slaughter of the warriors.

“Don’t worry about it! We’ll be fine with you, Vegeta, and me, we’ll have them beat in time to have lunch!” he said, grinning as he patted his friend on the shoulder.

Piccolo stiffened and nodded slightly, watching Goku out of the corner of his eye. “Vegeta?”

Goku blinked, wondering why the Namek had asked. “Yeah, we need his strength too if the androids are really as strong as Trunks said they would be.”

Piccolo glanced at the Saiyan again, a strange look in his eyes. “Goku...” The Namek stood and turned his back to Goku. With one last glance over his shoulder, he strode off without another word.

Goku watched with a confused look on his face. Frowning and also rising to his feet, he watched the other go. “Sheesh, what got into Piccolo all of a sudden? Maybe I’ll just go talk to Vegeta after all,” he muttered as he turned and prepared to take off towards Capsule Corporation. However, he was instead greeted by Vegeta standing in front of him.

“Vegeta? What are you doing out here?” he asked, wondering at his good luck. The other Saiyan stood staring at him, an angered look on his face. ”Vegeta? What’s wrong, Vegeta?”

“Kakarot, I’ll never forgive you!” Vegeta shouted before fading away to nothing.


Goku took a step back and stared at the spot Vegeta had been in. He felt a trickle of sweat run down his face as the scene replayed in his head.

“W-What? Vegeta?” The confused Saiyan looked around rapidly for any signs of the other man. Taking a shaky breath, he decided that it must have been some kind of joke. Surely that was it. He’d have to go straight to the source.

Blasting off at full speed, he flew toward Capsule Corporation. Landing on the front lawn shortly, he took a second to catch his breath before going inside. He didn’t find anyone, so he made his way to Vegeta’s room hoping to get to the bottom of this. Almost getting lost amongst the endless corridors, he finally found the right room and knocked loudly. He stood in the hallway a few minutes, shifting uncomfortably before knocking again. Wondering if Vegeta was ignoring him, he opened the door and peered inside.

Inside the room it was strangely quiet. The bed was tidily made and nothing seemed out of place. He had only seen Vegeta’s room once or twice before and he knew how clean the Prince kept it. Not seeing Vegeta anywhere, he saw something that caught his eye. On a small night stand beside the bed there stood a small picture frame with a black ribbon draped over it. Curious as to what Vegeta would have a picture of, he went over to look at it closer.

Picking up the simple frame, he saw that it was a picture of Vegeta himself–the Prince caught with a rare smile on his face. Goku’s confusion only doubled at this, as Vegeta was definitely not one to keep pictures of himself around, and what about the ribbon? Looking around the room more closely now, he noticed that everything had a thin layer of dust covering it–everything but the picture frame he held in his hand. The bed looked as if it hadn’t been slept in for a while and even the curtains looked untouched.

‘Did Vegeta move into a different room all of a sudden? Maybe he’s sleeping in Bulma’s room...after all Trunks did say they were his parents...’ He snickered at the thought and set the picture back down with all his worries aside. Leaving the room and closing the door back behind him, he headed towards Bulma’s lab next, eager to ask her for all the details.

Making his way through the hallways, he caught a glimpse of Vegeta rounding a corner ahead of him.

“Hey! Vegeta!” he called out, running after the other Saiyan. He saw a shadow going around another turn and kept following him, running as fast as he could but never seeming to catch up to the other. Chasing after the shadow for several minutes he soon ended up in a private garden in the back of the large building.

Goku looked around in amazement at the lush beauty of it, wondering why he had never come back here before. As he glanced around at the exotic looking plants, he saw Vegeta standing beside a small waterfall. Glad to have found him in such a nice place, Goku walked over to greet him.

“Vegeta! Thanks for showing me this place!” he said with a smile as he laid his hand on Vegeta’s shoulder.

As soon as he made contact with the other, Vegeta turned and gave him a lifeless stare. Goku recoiled in horror as those lifeless eyes began to bleed. The dark blood ran down his face to mix with the blood now coming from Vegeta’s mouth. Wounds appeared all over the Saiyan’s body, blood rushing from them at an abnormal rate.


Covering his mouth in shock, Goku was unsure of what to do. “H-Hold on, Vegeta! I’ll find a way to help you!” Putting two fingers to his forehead Goku wrapped his other arm around Vegeta, preparing to teleport–except his arm again went right through the other’s body and came back covered in blood. Looking down in disbelief, he watched as Vegeta’s whole body dissolved into blood and fell to the floor, the tainted puddle running towards him. Goku backed away, but not quickly enough as the blood caught up with him and began making its way up his legs.

He screamed in terror as the blood began covering him, engulfing him and threatening to suffocate him. With a burst of energy he drove it off his body and evaporated it. He took a few more staggering steps backward before tripping over his own feet and falling to the ground with gasping breaths.

‘What, what the hell was that?! Am I dreaming this?!’ He patted his clothes and found that they were perfectly dry with no trace of the blood that had just been covering him. Holding his head in his hands, he shut his eyes and tried to calm his breathing.

‘I’m just not getting enough sleep. That’s it. All those nightmares are starting to get to me. I’m sure it will all go away once I get some sleep. For now I think all I go work out for a bit and get it off my mind.’ Standing on shaky legs, Goku quickly exited the garden and left Capsule Corporation.

Flying off to a remote rocky plain, he began practicing his moves at double the speed he would normally would. He trained relentlessly, regardless of the tiring session he had already had with Piccolo. Putting all he had and more into his workout, he managed to quiet his stirring mind for the moment. Before long, he noticed that he wasn’t alone in the area. Looking over to his right, he saw Vegeta sitting on a rock and watching him train. Afraid that it was going to be another gruesome hallucination of his sleep-deprived mind, Goku held his breath as he stared back into Vegeta’s dark eyes.

The Prince smirked at Goku and stood up, stretching his arms above his head. Popping his neck, he once more fixed his eyes on the nervous Saiyan and chuckled softly. Without uttering a word, Vegeta charged at the other engaging him instantly in a fight.

Leaping back in surprise to defend himself, Goku was instantly relieved that this Vegeta seemed real enough. Happy for the distraction and the chance to actually see Vegeta and not another illusion, Goku welcomed the challenge and began his own offensive on his partner. He met Vegeta blow for blow, but exhaustion was catching up with him. His moves began getting sloppy and his reflexes began getting slower–something that Vegeta seemed to have no qualms taking advantage of.

Flipping backwards, several yards from the other Saiyan, Goku stood atop a rock panting. Holding up his hands in front of him, he motioned for Vegeta to stop.

“Let’s take a break for now, I’m beat!” he said with a tired smile, knowing Vegeta would fall for his choice of words.


However, Vegeta didn’t act like he had any intentions of stopping. If anything he came more relentlessly at Goku. The younger Saiyan was blocking all he could, but more and more attacks were breaking through his defenses.

“Wait, Vegeta! You win, you win!” he yelled, trying to get Vegeta to back off. But the attacks still kept coming. ‘Why won’t he quit?! I haven’t seen him like this since the first time we fought!’ Goku thought just before getting pounded into a boulder. ‘Looks like I’ll just have to stop him myself!’

Goku mustered up the strength to knock Vegeta back for a moment and he teleported a safe distance away from him. While Vegeta raced towards him in anger, Goku concentrated on gathering all the energy he had left.

’Come on body, just a bit more...’ he thought as the energy began to flow around him. Precious seconds before Vegeta arrived, he was able to make the transformation to Super Saiyan and he could feel the raw power flowing through him again.

Vegeta glared at the transcended form, but kept coming anyway. Not wasting anymore time, Goku went on the attack, driving Vegeta back. Each time Goku struck the proud Saiyan down, he came back angrier than before. It seemed that Vegeta was running on anger alone as Goku kept sending him flying across the rocky dirt. Covered in cuts and bruises, probably also having several broken bones, Vegeta rose again, gritting his teeth and staring down his opponent with a tenacity that Goku had never seen before. Spitting blood from his mouth, Vegeta charged with a look in his eyes that Goku could only describe as murderous.

Tiring even in his more powerful state, Goku decided to end this fight and figure out why Vegeta was so bent on attacking him. When Vegeta began to charge him, Goku also speed towards him, landing a powerful punch right in Vegeta’s chest. The older Saiyan collapsed under Goku’s attack and dropped like a stone to the ground. Coughing up blood by the mouthful, Vegeta struggled to lift his head to glare at Goku.

Floating with his mouth open, Goku was stunned by the force of his own blow. He hadn’t meant to hit Vegeta that hard. He had aimed for the stomach, not Vegeta’s chest. There was so much blood coming out of Vegeta’s mouth. Why wasn’t Vegeta standing back up? Why was there so much blood? Why had he crumpled to the ground like that? Why was there so much blood?!

Goku instantly flew down to Vegeta’s side, dropping out of his transformed state. “Vegeta! Vegeta?!” he screamed as he looked at his friend in horror. Wanting to help so much, but not sure what to do, Goku began to panic.

“Vegeta! Hold on! I’ll get you a senzu bean!” Goku shouted, tears beginning to form in his eyes.

Vegeta rolled his head to the side to stare at Goku and gave him a look that sent chills down the other’s spine.

“K-Kakarot, I’ll never...forgive you!” Vegeta managed to choke out, the blood on his lips turning a sickly dark color. His dark eyes pierced Goku’s, holding the other frozen in place, before rolling back as he collapsed.

“Vegeta! VEGETA!” Goku screamed, as Vegeta stopped breathing. He reached for the body, but his hand went right through to the dirt. Recoiling in shock, Goku watched as Vegeta’s form began to crumble and turn to ash–which was quickly swept away by the wind.


Scuttling away from the spot where Vegeta just disappeared, Goku’s breath came in heaving gasps. Covering his mouth as he felt his stomach churning, he turned away and threw up until he was dry heaving. Tears ran down his face as he tried to get his body under control. After a few minutes that seemed like hours, he managed to calm down and he collapsed on the ground. He let the tears flow freely as his let his fists open and close in his hair. Curling into a ball, he cradled his knees to his chest and buried his face between them.

‘What? Why? No! Why? Why? Whywhywhy? Vegeta?! Vegeta! Bloodandgoneandwhyandvegeta!andandWHYISTHISHAPPENINGTOME?!’ The thoughts whirled through Goku’s head so fast that he couldn’t even comprehend them before they were gone. His mind felt like it was collapsing in on itself and his thoughts became so fragmented that they could barely be called thoughts at all. Unintelligible sounds came from his lips as he ran out of tears, and they soon crescendoed to screams of frustration and fear.

He felt someone approaching him. Vegeta?! No. Piccolo! Not wanting to be seen by anyone, he quickly transmitted away with only a hazy idea of where he was going.

He arrived at his destination, but still felt on edge. Looking around the small, wooded clearing that he so often visited at night, he marveled at how different it looked with the midday sun trickling through the heavy foliage. For that moment in time he felt safe. But as soon as he realized how safe he felt, he remembered what he was feeling safe from. The nightmares, the visions of Vegeta, the horrible fight...all the memories came flooding back to his mind.

Pounding his fist against the large rock he always sat on, he tried to drive out the confusion and frustration onto the inanimate object. He kept pounding the rock as tears began to give way to a desperate anger and he slammed his fist as hard as he could, drawing blood and shattering the rock.

He looked down at the fragments of the rock and began kicking them, as if he still had some grudge against the stone. Kicking up rocks and dirt, he was almost able to clear his mind–except that’s when he saw it.

His whole body froze as the color drained from his face. There was no mistaking what it was even as much as he wanted to. His knees wobbled out from underneath him and he fell to the ground covering his mouth. He stared at it in shock. The burned and smudged glove that could only belong to Vegeta. The glove that still covered Vegeta’s hand.

Goku’s mind went blank at the sight, too horrible to even want to comprehend the reasoning behind it. And then slowly. Slowly, thoughts came creeping out of the shadows of his memory. Thoughts that had been carefully and craftily hidden until now. Thoughts that threatened to break Goku’s mind.

Vegeta is buried under that rock.

That means Vegeta is dead.

That means...

That means...

An accident! It was an accident! He wouldn’t stop! I tried to get his to stop, but he wanted me to fight at full power! He wouldn’t stop until I became a Super Saiyan! I couldn’t control it! I couldn’t stop it! It wasn’t my fault!

IT’S NOT MY FAULT!

The memories came at him in a rush now and Goku remembered everything. The sparring session gone horribly wrong. How he had blown apart the Gravity Chamber to make everyone think Vegeta had gotten killed in the blast. How he had stumbled across this clearing by mistake and then desperately hidden the body here. Nobody could know that he did it. Nobody could know that Goku murdered one of their allies, even if it was a reluctant one. Nobody could know the truth!

He scrambled to cover the hand back up and placed another large boulder overtop of the grave site. Nobody would come looking here for a body that they thought was destroyed in an explosion. Everything was going to be fine. Nobody would find out and everyone would still think of him the perfect friend. He smiled at the thought and stood to leave. Turning around, he realized that he wasn’t alone and his whole body went rigid.

“P-Piccolo? What are you doing here?” he asked with a nervous laugh, hoping the Namek hadn’t seen anything.

“What are you doing here, Goku? They already had Vegeta’s funeral. Don’t you remember?” Piccolo asked with a deep, accusatory tone in his voice.

“Oh, oh yeah! Yeah! How could I forget?” Goku asked, the anxiety knotting in his stomach.

“Then what were you doing with his body?”

Goku gasped, “It wasn’t my fault! I didn’t do it!” Knowing that he’d have to keep Piccolo from telling everyone else, he immediately leapt at the Namek and knocked him out with a swift blow to the back of the head.

“Nobody can know! Nobody can know!” He yelled as he flew off, a desperate plan already in action.

He touched down at Capsule Corporation a few moments later. Rushing through the front doors, he dashed through the hallways until he found himself at Bulma’s lab. The beautiful scientist was at work welding together some new invention, and she looked up in surprise at Goku’s entrance.

“Goku? What are you doing here? ...Are you okay?” she asked with a worried look as she saw the crazed look on his face.

Goku glared at her, “It’s not my fault!” Seeing what he had come for, he grabbed the Dragon Ball Radar and ran from the room.

“Goku? Goku!” He could hear her scream after him. But she couldn’t know. None of them could. He’d make sure of it. Even if Piccolo had found out, it didn’t matter now. Soon everything would be right again. He’d make sure of it! Once he made it out of the building, he took off into the sky on his quest. He’d make it all go away! A large grin spread across his face as he thought of his great plan and he flew faster towards his goal.

It wasn’t long before he had completed his task. The gleam off the Dragon Balls was dull compared to the uncharacteristic glint in his eyes.

“Arise, Shenlong!” he shouted as he raised his hands high above his head. The sky went dark and lightning flashed around him, seeming to feed off his energy, as the Eternal Dragon arose from his slumber.

Goku’s smile only grew at the sight and a strange laughter built up in his chest until he could hold it back no longer. Staring up at the sight his laughter grew, bringing tears to his eyes.

“Dragon, I wish that no–“

”Wait, Kakarot.”

Goku’s throat went dry as he heard the deep voice call out his name. An illusion, just another illusion.

“Dragon! I wish–“

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Kakarot.”

’It’s just another illusion! It’s not really Vegeta! He’s dead!’

“Kakarot, I told you I wouldn’t forgive you for what you did to me. And I certainly won’t let you get away with killing me this easily.”

Shenlong sighed angrily, “Are you going to make your wish? I won’t wait forever!”

Goku once again opened his mouth to speak, but was once again cut off by the voice of Vegeta.

“Don’t make that wish, Kakarot. Dragon! We do not wish to make a wish now, you may return to your sleep!”

With a nod and a relieved sigh, the Dragon disappeared in another flash of light, not to appear for another year. Goku’s heart sank as he watched his chance slip away. He dropped to the ground as the Dragon Balls turned to regular stones and flew off into the air.

“Kakarot, face me.”

Goku turned his head slowly, not sure he wanted to see what was behind him. The sight bleached the blood from his face. Vegeta’s spirit stood before him, a dark look in his eyes that shook Goku to the core.

“V-Vegeta? Is it...? Is it really...? You?”

Vegeta smirked and nodded. “My hate for you gave me the strength to break out of Hell and return to this world to exact my revenge. I will see you fall, one way or another.”

“What do you mean?” Goku asked tentatively, afraid of the tone in Vegeta’s voice.

Vegeta threw his head back and laughed, “You’re such a fool! I knew you would try to cover up what you had done! That’s why I came back, to make sure you got what you deserved.” He pulled something out of seemingly nowhere and threw it at the feet of Goku.

The glint of light reflected off the surface, drawing Goku’s eyes to it. They widened when they fixed on the small dagger decorated with what he assumed were Saiyan symbols. His mind tried to grasp what the meaning of it was, but he couldn’t think of any reason for Vegeta to bring such a thing with him.

“Don’t look so surprised. I told you I would see you fall. Go and tell everyone what you have done. Tell them the great Goku has murdered me! I want to see the looks in their eyes when they turn on you! When they don’t trust you anymore! When they fear their long-time savior!” Vegeta said with a wicked grin on his face, the excitement he felt at the idea clearly visible on his face.

Goku scrambled backwards in horror at the thought. “No! Never! I’ll never tell them what happened! I, I can’t!”

“I thought you might say as much. That’s why I brought along that,” he said as he pointed at the dagger he had thrown on the ground earlier. “If you kill yourself now, I’ll let you die in peace and I’ll keep your secret.”

“But, what do you mean?” Goku asked, his nervousness only causing his confusion to grow.

Vegeta crossed his arms in triumph. “What if someday, Bulma had a strange dream asking her to wish me back to life? And what would everyone think of you then once I told them how I had really died? What do you think that would be like?”

“No! They think you died in the explosion! They would believe me!” Goku yelled, desperately trying to believe his own words.

“Hn. Are you sure? I’ve survived explosions worse than that before. How long do you think that story would hold up?” Vegeta retorted.

Goku’s mind whirled. Was Vegeta telling the truth? Would they believe him over their friend? Then he remembered. Piccolo already knew! He began to panic again and looked around wildly. What was he going to do?! The Dragon was gone and Piccolo knew! He looked over at the dagger and back at Vegeta.

“Go ahead. Do it. Kill yourself and the Dragon won’t bring you back! You won’t be able to save the world from the Androids and you’ll fail!” Vegeta eyes glowed with a fervent triumph, his plan of revenge flawless.

Goku’s eyes went blank as he realized the trap Vegeta had led him into. Piccolo knew already. He was going to tell everyone. They would shun him and look down on him for the rest of his life. Or he could end it now, before he had to meet the gaze in their eyes. But what about the Androids?! He wouldn’t be able to fight with them! The whole world might be destroyed! ‘What do I do?! What do I do!? WhatdoIdowhatdoIdo?!’

He looked up at Vegeta’s patient smile, knowing he would win no matter what Goku chose, he obviously wasn’t in any hurry. Goku’s eyes flickered between the spirit and the dagger, his mind whirling with questions. He felt something familiar on the edge of his senses. Looking up, he saw his worst nightmare coming true. Piccolo was coming. Coming to judge him. Coming to announce that he had told everyone the truth. Coming to tell him that everyone hated him!

With a panicked cry, he grabbed the dagger. Looking once more at the approaching Piccolo, he quickly plunged the dagger deep into his heart. The pain lanced through him, intensified by Vegeta’s maniacal laughter ringing in his ears.

“I’m sorry...” he whispered, not even sure himself of whom he was addressing. He watched as Vegeta’s smirking spirit vanished before Piccolo landed, and the tall Namek rushed over to him.

“Goku! What have you done?!” Piccolo shouted as he saw the knife sticking out of Goku’s chest.

Goku smiled at the worry in his friend’s voice. “Piccolo, I’m glad...that you’re worried about me...” he trailed off, the shredded muscles in his heart shutting down. It meant that they still looked up to him. Still thought of him as the same perfect Goku. And that was all that mattered. He watched Piccolo’s shocked and confused expression slowly drift out of focus. The shouts dimming out while his own breathing sounded as loud as thunder. He knew he was dying. But it didn’t matter. They could fight the Androids. He believed in them.

And besides, they still believed in him. And that was what mattered most to him in all the world.

The End.

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