Twelve

Title: Nasu
Plot, or Lack Thereof: Vegeta meets Yet Another Childhood Friend when she drops in with a few “friends” of her own.
Reason for Banishment: Weak characterization, borderline self-insert.  In the process of being rewritten into For Want.


It had been a mere hour since Goten returned from school, but in the awkward silence, that hour felt like an eternity.

I don’t need this, Nasu thought, getting up and walking to the door.

“Wait, where are you going?” Goten asked, rising to go after her.

“Out,” Nasu replied over her shoulder.  “If you value your manhood, don’t follow me.”

Goten swallowed and sat back down.

***

Nasu rose high into the air.  Up here, her troubles seemed to be farther away and easier to handle.  She flew in a graceful loop, turning and flipping as her heart desired.

In the distance, she spotted what looked like a small platform suspended in midair.  Curious, she drew closer to it.  A second inspection revealed that the platform was supported by a long, thin beam of wood.  She landed on it and walked around, surprised at the amount of stability the platform had.

Who in the world would want to build something this high up? Nasu wondered, looking back at the planet below her.

“Quite a view, isn’t it?” A voice asked.

Nasu whirled around to find a small Namekkian, much younger-looking than the other one she had met before.  She raised an eyebrow.  “And you are?”

The Namekkian bowed.  “Dende, the Kami of this planet.”

“Well then, you probably know who I am,” Nasu joked, returning the bow with a half-hearted salute.  “No offense, but, you’re pretty short for a Kami.”

Dende smiled.  “None taken.” He gestured towards the ground.  “Sit, please.”

Nasu sat.  “Thanks.” She let out a long breath.  “I feel better already.”

Dende looked over the edge of the platform.  “The previous Kami designed this place to be one of peace and meditation.” He chuckled.  “Not that it helps me much, though.”

“Hm,” Nasu answered, not paying attention.  “Say, where does that set of doors behind us lead?”

“The ‘Room of Spirit and Time’,” Dende answered without turning.  “It’s a place of intense physical, emotional, and spiritual training, where a year passes for every day out here.”

“Cool.” Nasu made a mental note to remember that tidbit.  Feeling a bit restless, she jumped to her feet again and began stretching.  “Mind if I work out a bit?”

“Go right on ahead.”

Nasu began by pushing her arms out and pulling them back towards her body in a slow but smooth fashion as if she were swimming in molasses.  She began involving her entire body in her routine, moving faster as she continued.  Then, Nasu exploded in a fury of motion, some too quick for the eye to see, as she put every bit of her being into her workout.

***
Dende, who was actually paying much more attention to Nasu than he let on, noticed that her self-erected barriers were not as strong now that her mind was elsewhere.  Leaning back a bit so that he could ‘eavesdrop’ on her thoughts, Dende began to probe.

Don’t call me ‘little’, dammit!

I’m not your dad.

How does finding Vegeta and showing him the errors of his ways sound?

Please don’t kill me!

Name: Kakarot, Class: 5th Tier Soldier, Destination: Earth

Even though Dende could only make out bits and pieces, he could tell that Nasu harbored some very painful memories of the past.  He kept ‘listening’, this time focusing on the more recent events.

Of course not! Trunks is Vegeta’s son.

I knew it was too good to be true when they told me you were dead.

Higher, Daddy! Higher!

I don’t think you should kill her.

I change my own mind.

Big sis, can I sit with you? Please?

This is Nasu, and she’s really cool.

You’ve been tricked, bitch.

“Will you stop already?”

Dende’s heart skipped a beat.  He opened his eyes to find a very annoyed Nasu glaring at him.  “Pardon?”

Nasu crossed her arms.  “You know what I’m talking about.”

Dende blinked.  “You mean you can sense a mental probe?”

Nasu’s scowl grew bigger.  “Most of the time, no, but when it feels like something cold and slimy is crawling up the back of your brain, you tend to come to the conclusion that somebody is trying to mess with it.”

Dende grinned.  “Heh, heh. Oops.  Next time I’ll try to be more subtle.”

Nasu’s scowl turned into a lopsided smirk as she shook a finger at him.  “No, next time you don’t do it at all.” She turned back to her kata, starting from the beginning.  This time, though, much to Dende’s disappointment, she kept herself too closed for him to read.

***

Lufa knelt before the holographic image of his king.  “I failed, Your Majesty.  Please forgive me.”

“Well, you win some and you lose some,” King Brillo answered.  “This is only a minor setback.”

Lufa lowered his head.  “But I shouldn’t have underestimated her.”

“You’ve learned your lesson.” King Brillo smiled.  “Besides, a good military leader is never without backup plans.”

***

The next school day, Nasu sat with Goten and Trunks during lunch, but she left as soon as she finished, leaving the two teens to talk among themselves.

“So did she tell you anything?” Trunks asked.

Goten shook his head.  “She disappeared again for the rest of the day, and when she came back, she pretty much ignored me.”

Trunks ‘tsked’ and shook a finger at Goten.  “That’s because you’re too nice to push the subject.”

“Maybe,” Goten shrugged, “but there are some times when you just have to back off.”

Trunks stood up.  “And there are times when you don’t.”

***

Trunks and Goten caught up with Nasu several corridors later.  Trunks stepped in front of her, forcing her to stop.

Nasu tried to circle around him, but he didn’t let her.  “What do you want?”

“What’s with you?” Trunks all but demanded.

“Che, like I’d tell you.” Nasu tried to walk past Trunks, but again he blocked her.

“Come on, stop being so secretive!”

Nasu’s eyes flashed with anger, the first real emotion either boy had seen her show since the previous day besides apathy.  “Or what? You’ll beat it out of me?” She jabbed a finger at his face.  “I can take you on any day, brat.”

“Hey, wait,” Goten protested.  Neither Nasu nor Trunks paid him any attention.

“Will you quit avoiding the issue?” Trunks ground out between clenched teeth.

“I’ll do whatever the hell I want to do.” With that, and a hard shove, Nasu moved past Trunks and continued on her way.

Goten sighed.  “I told you so.”

Trunks sighed as well.  “Man, I don’t get her at all.”

***

Nasu took several deep breaths to calm herself down.

Feh, that went real well. She thought.  She hadn’t meant to lose her temper like that, but something about Trunks’ way of getting information out of her irked her in a way she didn’t understand.  Now she’d have to apologize.  Which meant that she would have to admit that she was wrong, and she hated doing that.  Worse, she didn’t know how Trunks would react to the apology, meaning that in one respect she would be at his mercy, something which she didn’t like either.  She scowled.  Damn.

For the rest of the day, the prospect of facing this difficult situation hung over her like a cloud.

***

As Goten walked home with Nasu, he bit down on his tongue to keep himself from asking Nasu why she had been so rude towards Trunks earlier that day.  After school was out, she looked a bit more cheerful.  Goten suspected that this was a bit forced, but he was not about to ruin things further by saying something stupid.

“Hey, what’s with the gloomy atmosphere?” Nasu spoke up.

Goten decided to play dumb.  “Eh?”

“Oh, never mind.” Nasu seemed to come to a decision, and she grinned.  “Say, let’s race.  First one to touch the front door of your house wins.”

Goten grinned as well.  The old Nasu was back.  “You’re on!”

And with that, the two took off.  For a while, Nasu matched Goten stride for stride.  Then, smirking at him, she pulled ahead.  Goten smirked back and closed the distance between them, so that they were even again.

The house came into sight.  By this time, Goten’s lungs and legs felt like they were on fire, but he kept going.  Pushing himself even more, he began to gain a lead.

Goten’s foot snagged on something, and he began to tumble forward.  Remembering the lessons Gohan taught him about breaking a fall, he turned to his side and rolled as his body hit the ground.

“Ow,” Goten moaned when he came to a stop.  “I’m gonna have a bruise the size of Godzilla tomorrow.”

“That’s better than leaving bits of your skin all over the concrete,” Nasu pointed out.

Goten winced at that thought.  “True.”

Nasu made no effort to help Goten as he struggled to his feet.  “So, can you walk, or will I have to drag you the rest of the way?”

Goten opted to walk.

***

Thousands of miles away from Earth, countless tiny objects decent through the upper atmosphere.  Their minuscule electrical components mimicked the natural radiation that the planet received, and their fall lit of the sky for mere fractions of seconds.  Anyone who happened to observe them would conclude that they were nothing but harmless meteorites.

“They’re not,” Piccolo stated tersely, interrupting Dende’s meditation.

Dende nodded.  “That’s what I thought.  Should I warn them?”

Piccolo closed his eyes again.  “What do you see?”

Dende concentrated.  “I—” Images flashed in his mind.  All of them were vague and difficult to interpret, but the overall conclusion was very clear.

“Now do you understand?”

“Yes,” Dende whispered.  It was on days like these that it really sucked to be a Kami.

“I know, Dende, I know only too well.”

Dende opened his eyes.  “Piccolo-san, I didn’t know you had a sense of humor.”

Piccolo bared his fangs in a half grin.  “You have no idea.”

***

Facing her reflection in the mirror, Nasu took a deep breath.

“I shouldn’t have snapped at you earlier,” she began.  She shook her head.  “No, not sincere enough.”

Goten entered the room.  “Hey, what’s up?”

“Trying to think of a good way to apologize to Trunks.” Nasu made a face.  “I just can’t seem to get the words out right.”

“Don’t worry about it,” reassured Goten.  “Trunks and I get into really bad arguments every once in a while, but he’s always really cool about it later on.”

“That’s because you two grew up with each other,” Nasu countered.  “I, on the other hand, hardly know him.”

Goten rubbed the back of his head.  “That’s true.” he sat down on the bed behind Nasu.  “Say, why’d you get mad at him anyway?”

Nasu shrugged.  “Dunno.  Just was in a bad mood, I guess.” After a bit of silence, she added: “He’s a lot like his father.”

“Yeah.” Goten smiled.  “Although I don’t think anybody in his family takes ‘no’ for an answer.”

Nasu smirked.  “Heh.” She looked very pensive for a while.  “Say, you think Trunks wouldn’t mind lending me an hour or so of his spare time?”

“I don’t think so. Why?”

Nasu walked over to the window, opened it, and jumped up to the ledge.  “I’ve got an idea.”

Before Goten could ask what the idea was, though, she took off into the air.  Without a second thought, he went after her.

A few moments later, Trunks joined them.

“Where’re we going?” Trunks wanted to know as the three soared through the air.

“This place I found,” Nasu answered over her shoulder.  She pointed towards a great forest that was coming up in the horizon.  “Down there.”

***

They landed in a small clearing next to a magnificent looking lake.  The trees had grown so tall that most of this lake was shaded in a rich, deep green.  The setting sun filtered through the gaps in the leaves, bathing the entire area in a beautiful orange-red glow.

“Wow,” Goten breathed, awestruck.

“Mom told me that Dad once took her to a lake like this,” Trunks said, tossing pebbles into the lake.  “Wouldn’t it be weird if this was the same lake?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it were,” Nasu said, taking a seat upon the highest of the large, moss-covered stones near the edge of the lake.  She crossed her legs and leaned back a bit.  “Planet Vegeta didn’t have many places like this.  Most of the planet had been turned into cities, factories, or bunkers.”

Trunks looked up at Nasu.  “So Dad didn’t like that?”

“He absolutely detested it,” corrected Nasu.  “He was always complaining about being cooped up in the palace.” She closed her eyes as she reminisced.  “So we’d sneak out of the palace, and try to outsmart the guards that the King sent after us.”

Goten sat down under a tree.  “You must have gotten into a lot of trouble.”

Nasu laughed.  “Trouble doesn’t even begin to describe it.  We pulled some really crazy stunts that we never would have been able to get away with if Vegeta wasn’t the prince.  If it had been anybody else’s kids, they would have been sent to boot camp indefinitely.”

“Were you royalty, too?” Trunks wanted to know.

“Sort of.  My parents were descended from one of the lesser Houses.”

“Were?” Goten repeated, then remembered.  “Oh, that’s right, Frieza destroyed the planet.”

Nasu shook her head.  “No, they died before that, during a failed uprising.”

“Oh.” Goten scratched the back of his head.  “Sorry.”

“They’re already dead,” Nasu said with a shrug.

An uncomfortable silence passed among the three.

“Anyway,” Nasu continued, “you’ve probably already guess that the reason why I brought you guys here is because Trunks wanted to know why I was so upset earlier.” She shifted into a more comfortable position.  “You might want to sit down for this, Trunks, because it’s a long story.” She waited for Trunks to do so before beginning. “As I’ve already told you, Vegeta and I knew each other as kids, but it was more of a mutual annoyance than a real friendship.  A lot of the higher ups frowned on this, though, not just because I was a ‘bad influence’, but because I was the daughter of the Saiyanwho had led a revolt against the King.  I guess the King thought it would be dangerous for his son to be associated for someone like me, so he ordered my foster father to kill me.  I didn’t know any of this, of course.  From my point of view, a bunch of soldiers attacked me out of the blue.  And then, when I ran to my foster father for help, he disowned me and knocked me out. I woke up in the loading by of the Haimienjian’s main ship.  Brillo, their King, told me that they had found my space pod drifting in outer space.  I immediately decided that my foster father must not have had the heart to actually kill me, so he just stuck me in that pod and launched me into some random direction.  And, from the information that the Haimienjian gave me, I also came to the conclusion that it was Prince Vegeta ordered my death.  So you can guess what happened next.”

A look of confusion came over Goten’s face.  “But I thought─”

Nasu held up a hand.  “Don’t interrupt.  I’m not finished yet.” she still paused a bit, though, to catch her breath.  “Anyway, I don’t really need to tell you guys again what’s already happened here on Earth, except what happened yesterday.” she seemed to sit up a little straighter, and her tone turned more somber.  “Yesterday, a group of fighters led by Lufa, Brillo’s top general, landed in a valley a couple hundred kilometers from here.  In the heat of battle, Lufa ‘accidentally’ let slip the fact that they had been lying to me.  In other words, Prince Vegeta did not order my death at all.”

Another silence fell over the three as Nasu’s words sank in.  The sun had set by now, enveloping the entire area in an eerie shadow that bordered on complete darkness.

“No wonder you were so upset,” Trunks finally said.

“Well, yeah, but that’s all over and done.” Nasu got up and stretched.  “I’m finished talking now.  Hope I didn’t bore you too much.”

“Not at all!” Goten exclaimed.

“Good.” Nasu levitated into the air.  “Shall we go back now?”

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