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Price of the Priceless

Chapter 9: A new home

By Hatashi Kitty

It was dark by the time Yamcha arrived at the hospital. Only a few minutes ago he received a call about Hatashi. Quick as he could, the warrior along with Tay and Puar drove to the hospital.
Ever since the call, Tay had been extremely quiet which was very unlike the small cat. For the last two days he had been talking nonstop, but this silence was unfitting.
At the hospital, they walked into a small room. In the bed that took up most of the space, was Hatashi. Her burns were wrapped, and an I.V slowly dripped into a tube to her arm.
“Hatashi!” Tay exclaimed loudly flying to the still woman.
“Shhh!” a nurse shushed as she poked her head in. “Hey, no animals in the hospital!” she protested quietly.
“Please miss,” Yamcha urged. “We won’t take long.”
“This isn’t a zoo,” the nurse argued. “Only family is allowed in here.”
“What are you talking about?” a weak croaky voice objected. “This is my family.”
“Hatashi!” Tay shouted again, and leapt onto the bed.
“Hey, Tay,” she said and patted the soft hair on the cat’s head. “Did you miss me?”
Tears filled up the cat’s eyes. “You idiot! I thought you left me,” Tay yelled, and hugged Hatashi around the next.
Hatashi rubbed the cat’s back to comfort him. Oh, it is good to be home.
“Okay, I had enough of you,” the nurse said angrily, picking up Tay by the scruff of the neck. “She needs her sleep, so be quiet and leave.”
“Hey, lemme go!” Tay shouted, flailing around.
“No way,” the nurse answered. “You’re leaving.”
“Stop. Please let him stay,” Hatashi begged, reaching a hand toward Tay. When she couldn’t reach him, she tired to sit up.
“Oh my. You shouldn’t do that. You’re still too weak,” the nurse told her patient.
“I won’t until you let him stay,” Hatashi demanded, a sly smile on her pale face.
The nurse knew she was defeated, so let go of the orange cat who bounced back onto the bed with a dirty look. “But as for you two,” she turned on the man and blue cat.
“Fine, we’ll leave, you old hag,” Puar snapped, her mood much darker with that lady around.
“Come visit us anytime,” Yamcha told Hatashi as he started leaving, but she was already asleep with Tay curled up in her arms.

********

Early the next morning, Gohan went to Capsule Corp. He had a hard time finding anyone since the main house was destroyed in their re-entry. He finally found them in one of the guest houses.
“Hi, Gohan,” Bulma greeted, letting him in. “What are you doing here?”
“I was on my way to school,” Gohan answered. “I came to see how your guests are doing?”
“Yo, Gohan,” a familiar loud voice shouted. Quin flashed a big smile. “How are ya?”
“Good. What about you guys?” Gohan asked.
“Better now that the worse is over,” Negi answered. “What do we owe this unexpected visit?”
Gohan looked around. The Saiyin family, plus Treena, were sitting around the table eating along with Trunks. Quin was eating with his usual enthusiasm, and Treena was still her silent but cheerful self. Raikel however wasn’t the grateful girl who found her father as of yesterday. Now she looked agitated, and looked at Gohan as if he was the blame for everything wrong. Did she remember the real reason he was here?
“Well, I just wanted to remind you to be in court at 3:15 today,” Gohan said responsibly without looking at Raikel. “It’s the same place we were at yesterday morning.”
“Court?” Negi asked confused, and turned to the trio. “What is this about?”
The three started looking more guilty than before. Treena ended up telling the story since the two half-Saiyins wouldn’t look their father in the eye.
Once he heard all the details, Negi stared down his children. “And when were you going to tell me this? When we left the planet?”
The two cringed under his harsh words.
“Leave the planet?” Gohan asked suddenly feeling nervous.
“We were planning on leaving sometime soon,” Negi answered. “There were some settlements of Treena’s people on other planets. I feel it is my responsibility to take her back to her people.” His countenance suddenly turned angry. “But I see my children didn’t inherit my sense of responsibility.”
“Well, I don’t care!” Raikel defied angrily. “I don’t care if I’m irresponsible. I just want to get out of here.”
“Why do you want to leave?” Treena asked “It looks so much like our own planet. I like it here. In fact, I think we should stay here.”
“I don’t,” Raikel argued. “The problem is, it’s too much like home. I just can’t stand it.”
“I feel the same way,” Quin agreed. “It brings up too many bad memories.” His eyes looked away, so calm. Then he smiled. “But it brings up good memories too. I wouldn’t mind staying here. We already have friends.” Quin looked up at Gohan.
“Well, two out of three. Majority rules,” Negi proclaimed. “We’re staying.”
“What?!” Raikel shouted. “Just like that, you’re deciding our future! Doesn’t anybody care what I want?”
Quin laughed at her. “No.”
“That’s so selfish of you guys,” Raikel judged.
“And this is from someone who stole and wants to run away from her responsibilities,” Negi yelled. “What children I raised? You will take whatever punishment that judge gives you without a complaint young lady, or I’ll. . .”
As the yelling continued, Gohan slipped out of the room. “Be sure that they get there on time, please?” Gohan begged Bulma and left for school.

*********

“Excuse me,” Krillin interrupted a nurse at her work station. “I’m looking for a friend of mine.”
“Okay,” the nurse answered cheerily. “What’s her name?”
“Hatashi Sukiaki.”
The nurse’s smile turned upside down, and her eyes narrowed. “Oh her. Room 204.”
“Thank you,” Krillin said, ducking away smiling. He had a feeling what that look meant. That Hatashi had another visitor. As he neared the room, he could hear two voices berating each other.
“Hey dork, I called dibs on the jell-o!”
“Get your own stinkin’ jell-o, fatty! I haven’t eaten in three days. I need that energy.”
“You have plenty of energy. Give me some. I’m starving.”
Krillin stepped in. “Hurry and give him some Tashi. He might waste away before your eyes.”
“Krillin-chan!” Hatashi squealed happily. “Yeah! I have a visitor.”
Tay bristled up his fur. “You!” he yelled pointing at the new comer. “I haven’t forgotten when we last met. You still owe me a doughnut!”
Krillin folded his arms. “Gee, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Must have been someone else.”
“Roar!” Tay roared, charging at Krillin.
The warrior expected this, and stepped aside letting the orange cat fly out the door. Krillin finished the fight by shutting the door behind him. “Now that we’re alone,” he told Hatashi with a wink.
Hatashi worriedly looked at the door window. On the other side, she could see Tay’s mouth moving rapidly, probably letting loose a string of colorful language not suitable for a hospital.
“What the heck happened to you?” Krillin asked worriedly. “You left your car at my house.”
“I was kidnaped,” Hatashi explained a little too cheerily.
“By who?” Krillin asked, vowing to find the guy who did this.
“I don’t know,” Hatashi told him sadly. “I can’t remember anything. The doctor said that it must have been very traumatic for me to forget it.” Hatashi glanced up at the door. “Could you go save my baby?”
“Huh?” Krillin looked at the door. He saw through the window Tay being swatted at by an old man with a cane, who seemed to have the same temper as the orange cat. “Yeah, hold on a second.” Krillin quickly pulled Tay back into the room, and tossed him to Hatashi.
Tay quickly buried himself under the bed’s covers. “Everyone’s being mean to me,” Tay pouted.
“That’s because you started it,” Hatashi told him.
“So when do you get to go home?” Krillin asked starting back into their conversation.
“Today if someone can take me,” Hatashi answered quickly. “The doctor says I shouldn’t drive or do anything strenuous. So how ‘bout it? Give me a ride home?”
“Psh. Moocher. Fine, but hurry. I hate hospitals,” Krillin said.
Hatashi called for a nurse to bring her clothes. Krillin and Tay left the room as Hatashi changed out of the hospital robes. As she changed, she wished she had a clean pair of clothes. Looking down at her shirt, she saw a few drops of blood. “Hmm. I don’t remember bleeding,” she said to herself. Suddenly an image of a guy with black hair and light blue eyes came into her mind. Who was he? Was he the. . .
“Wow! A pen!” Hatashi exclaimed happily, picking up the slim golden object among her possessions. Was it her? She didn’t remember picking it up. Oh well, it was hers now. Hatashi hummed happily as she finished dressing.
Meeting her out the door was her friends and a nurse with a wheel chair. “Please sit,” the nurse ordered politely.
Hatashi did so.
As they approached the exit, Krillin saw something was missing. “Hey, Tashi. Didn’t you have a scarf around your neck?”
Hatashi’s hand went to her neck. Her scarf. It’s missing. “Where is it? I left it. . .”
“Are you remembering anything?” the nurse asked.
“I remember a person. A guy. He was. . .” Hatashi hesitated.
“Don’t force it. Just relax,” the nurse guided, as she stopped at the exit. “It should come back to you eventually. Once you do, the police will want a description of the kidnapers.”
“Okay,” Hatashi relented, and relaxed. She seemed more depressed then ever.
Krillin took her to his car. When they were both in, Krillin turned to his friend. “Do you remember anything? Was that guy you talked about the one who kidnaped you?”
“I don’t know. His face is a blur,” Hatashi sighed. “I know he has long black hair about shoulder length. Also these light blue eyes, they were so strange. So cold.”
Krillin frowned. Black hair, blue eyes. A unique combination. Only one person he knew could match that description. “Hatashi, was this guy really strong?” Krillin asked, grabbing the woman’s shoulders.
“Strong?” Hatashi inquired.
“Could he do. . .that is. . .was he different? Did he have certain powers?” Krillin searched for the right words.
“Powers?” Hatashi repeated confused. The words seemed to unlock a certain memory. “Now that you mentioned it, he did seem powerful. He did destroy a wall just by pointing at it.”
Krillin’s eyes grew wide. So it was 17? He’s the one who did this to Hatashi. He would make sure that android would pay. “I’m sorry you had to get involved.”
Hatashi’s head cocked to one side in confusion. “What are you talking about?”
Krillin let her go. “Sorry. There I go getting all dramatic. Let’s get you home.”
Hatashi looked less than convinced with his change of emotion as they drove away.
The drive home was uneventful as well as making sure she was set in her apartment.
“I’m going to leave my phone number in case you need anything,” Krillin told her. “Call for anything.”
“Great,” Hatashi answered from her place on the couch. She was already planning on calling him in an hour just to bug him. “Thanks Krillin. What would I do without you?”
“You’d be eating jell-o with a cat,” Krillin answered with a smile. He hesitated to leave, not really sure if he should leave her alone. She’d been missing for more than three days, and also lost many of her short term memories. He decided to call later that night to make sure she was okay.
Little did Krillin know that his friend was being watched over. 17 had been keeping watch since late last night, ever since he encountered the Goddess. Of course he could just end it all now, run in and snatch the device away. It would be that easy. But would that ensure Hatashi’s safety. Besides, this was the perfect lure for his trap. If he could just fight her one on one, he could make sure she would never gain full power. At least he hoped.
While the android watched over her, Hatashi’s thoughts were on him. She was constantly feeling her neck, trying to remember what happened to it. The man’s face kept coming to mind. “Bob?” the name escaped her lips. Why did she say that name? Who was he? Could he really have been the one who kidnaped her?
You don’t know anything about me.
His voice was deep and cold. But it was also sad.
How could you love me? We only met a while ago. You don’t know anything about me.
The short flash back confused her. Did she say she loved him? That’s not surprising since she says that to practically everyone. Another flash back came to her. Did he kiss her? Her face turned bright red. Then she hit herself over the head.
“Idiot. You just probably thought about it. It probably didn’t happen,” she told herself. “But now I know that guy isn’t bad. He saved me.”
“Uh, why are you talking to yourself?”
“Tay! Uh, I wasn’t talking to myself,” Hatashi defended, a sweat drop falling down her head. “I was just trying to remember something.”
“I think you lost more than just your memory,” Tay said sarcastically. “Do you want to know what I think what happened to you?”
“I can only imagine,” Hatashi mumbled.
“I think you were abducted by aliens,” Tay began. “And you were beamed into their mother ship where they. . .”
“If I even hear you start to say ‘probe’ then I’ll show you how to skin a cat,” Hatashi threatened.

*********

“So, how is your friend.”
Those were the first words that Krillin heard when he arrived home. 18 had directed them at her husband.
“Uh, okay. A little shaken, but I think she’ll bounce back onto her feet in no time,” Krillin reported. “18, do you know where your brother is?”
“17?” 18 asked surprised. In all the time they were married, she never heard Krillin mention 17. “No, why?”
“Because, I think that he was the one who took Hatashi,” Krillin said angrily clenching his fists. “I can’t let him get away for hurting her.”
18 frowned. “Geez Krillin, you really care about this girl. What makes her so special?”
Krillin smiled teasingly. “Are you jealous?”
18 matched his smile and draped her arms around him. “Maybe. So why?”
“It’s just,” Krillin started, “I was going to marry her.”
18 wasn’t the least bit surprised. “Great, are we going to name our next child after her?”
Krillin sweat dropped. “You aren’t going to let me forget that, are you?”

*********

“All rise for the Honorable Judge Torihime.”
“You all may sit.” The judge looked down at the trio in the defender’s desk and sighed. “You wouldn’t believe how much sleep I’ve lost thinking about you three,” she told the trio. “Even though this is your first offense, this is a very serious crime. I’m very tempted to just put you into juvenile hall. . .”
“Excuse me, your Honor,” a man sitting behind the trio spoke up, and bowed apologetically.
“Who are you?” the judge asked gruffly.
“I am the guardian of these three,” Negi explained, bowing again. “I had to interrupt to explain that I am as much at fault as my wards.”
Way in the back, Videl and Gohan sat watching. “Doesn’t that guy know he’s just going to make things worse for those three?” Videl murmured.
“Hang on. Maybe not,” Gohan replied.
“Why is that?” Judge Torihime inquired of Negi.
“Because I’m the reason they stole from all those people,” Negi answered. “You see, I was taken from them by corrupt men. They left these three children alone with nothing but a ransom note.
“We, being a poor family, hadn’t the money. These dear sweet children had no choice but to sink to lowly way to get me back.”
Judge Torihime asked roughly. “Why didn’t you three go to the police? Or ask someone for help?”
“We couldn’t,” Quin answered getting into the beat of things. “We were being watched at all times, and the kidnapers said they would kill our father if we told anyone.”
“Is that so?” the judge said, raising an eyebrow.
Raikel stood up. “Look, if you don’t believe us, then say so. But this is the truth. We would do anything for our father. As he would do for us.”
“Don’t second guess me, young lady,” Judge Torihime told Raikel coldly. “Now calm down. I would like to know how you were released from your kidnapers.”
“Fortunately for us,” Treena began, “that a daring super hero by the name of Saiya-Man helped us. If it weren’t for him, our guardian would be dead.”
The judge digested all of this, then turned back to the trio. “No matter how touching that was, it doesn’t change the fact that you’ve done wrong. So, here’s what we’re going to do. Since you were able to take those cars apart, you’re going to put them back together. Better than they were. And all the parts and expenses you’ll pay for. Plus for the inconvenience of the people, you’ll pay 500 Zenii to the owner of each vehicle. And to add to that, you’ll do 500 hours of community service each.”
The three stared in disbelief.
“Maybe it would be easier for us to go to jail,” Quin whispered.
Judge Torihime didn’t hear what Quin said but she could guess. “You should be glad that I didn’t send you to juvenile hall. But if I see you back here anytime soon, I will.”
Negi stood up and bowed. “Yes. Thank you, your Honor.”
The judge nodded back, and hit her mallet against her podium. “This court is adjourned.”
Gohan leapt up, and joined the group in the front. “Way to go guys,” he congratulated. “We got off the hook easier than I thought.”
“Humph, easy for you to say,” Raikel huffed.
“At least it will keep us busy,” Quin laughed stretching out his legs. “But not for long the way I work.”
“And with me, and Raikel helping,” Treena added, “it’ll be done in not time.”
“Yeah, that’s the spirit,” Gohan cheered.
“That’s the spirit,” Raikel mocked.
Everyone went silent when Videl walked up to them. “Hey, um,” she mumbled a little. “I just want to say sorry, about earlier. I didn’t know you were doing it for your dad.”
Quin waved her apology off. “No biggy. You were just doing your job. No hard feelings,” he told her cheerily. “Your name’s Videl, right? I’m Quin.” He stuck out his hand.
Videl smiled. “Nice to met you.”
“This is Treena, and my sister Raikel. And my dad,” Quin introduced his companions.
Treena and Negi shook hands readily. But when it came to Raikel, she did so half-heartily.
“Come on. Let’s just go,” she grumbled, stalking off.
Videl’s eyebrows turned down. “What’s her problem?”
“Oh, she’s in a grumpy mood,” Quin shrugged, and went off on a different subject all together.
As they talked, Gohan looked at Raikel. Why was she this way? There seemed to be two Raikels. This one that always distant and angry. The second one hidden underneath that only came out at certain times. I wonder why? Gohan thought. Why does she hide that other self? Is she so embarrassed to be her true self? Gohan vowed that he would find a way to reach her true self.

*******

Somewhere beyond the city’s limits, a form lay on the side of the empty road. It was night time now, and too dark for anyone to notice the figure without lights. One car’s headlights did spot the figure. The bright lights easily caught the pure white material. The man inside the car stopped his vehicle. Getting out, he rushed to the figure. To his surprise, it was a woman. Fearing that she had been attacked, he reached for his cell-phone on his belt. As he was dialing 9-1-1, he didn’t see the woman quickly sit up, and latch onto his neck. The man didn’t scream, he couldn’t as his throat was clenched, closed by the woman’s teeth. The only noise was the sound of his phone dropping to the asphalt.
Once through feeding, the woman turned her now glowing yellow eyes to the city. She had been feeding from whatever victims she could. With all the energy she gained, the pigment finally returned to her eyes. But her power hadn’t even begun to return to her. She wasn’t strong enough to enter the city or even feed during the day. She was too afraid of being found out at this point. But she was patient, and there was plenty of life around. It wouldn’t take long to get what she needed.