CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: LATE AT NIGHT
Zarbon yawned and cracked his knuckles as he turned off his computer screen. He couldn't believe it- seven more messages from Vegeta, all saying the same thing. Man, he was obsessive. He could feel a slight headache coming on. parties on their own can be stressful, but the people he had to party with...! Zarbon was secretly sure that earth was actually a dumping ground for all the universe's rejects. Well, not entirely. It certainly had the widest variety of indiginent sentient life, though, that was for sure! Humanoids and talking animals and more! The humanoids could hardly be classified together into one species. And then there were all the strange species that just didn't belong there. That Namek certainly counted. He didn't even know he was one! that and the fact that Gokou was the first Saiya-jin that he had ever seen who valued more than a good head-bashing romp.
Zarbon shook his head and checked the clock. It was after two in the morning- and Bardock still hadn't come back from the party! Most of the people had left before Zarbon and Zangya both got tired and decided to return to the ship. In fact, basically everyone except for Bardock and his family/in laws seemed worn out, as well. It seemed as if Saiya-jin blood (Or in-law blood, in Gokou's wife's case) kept them runningon a constant motor. Maybe it was all the food they ate. Zarbon had heard about the legendary Saiya-jin appetite, but he had never seen anything even remotely like what he saw when three generations of Saiya-jins lined up in front of the table and demolished it like pack animals. What was strange is that before he had found his son, Bardock really hadn't had much of an appetite.
Which also brings up the odd fact that Bardock was not acting at all like a typical Saiya-jin. Any other member of that race would have first dusted his son and then the planet, writing it all off as a hopeless waste. Zarbon decided that he was going to ask bardock about this when he came back- if, that is, he ever came back. With the way things were going, it seemed as though Bardock was simply going to pitch a tent and live the rest of his life outside one of those strange dome-shaped houses.
And there was one more thing that bothered Zarbon, too. Earth was on the list of potential planets for sale. If they didn't declare it a Safe Planet pretty soon, then either King Cold or King Vegeta was going to send plenty of troops down and before long everyone, even that annoying white imp, would all be dead and buried, Son Gokou included.
But, that would have to wait until later. As long as at least one of them remained on Planet Earth, no one was going to bother them for the time being.
Zangya walked into the room, still drying her hair even though she had finished showering at least a half hour ago. that came with having that kind of hair style. She could, of course, dry it in seconds with her ki, the way the Saiya-jin do, but that would make her hair overly dry and brittle. Saiya-jin never really cared about such things as hair. This was why they were always inferior, Zarbon reasoned at times. This was partly because they really couldn't style it much no matter what they did.
"So," Zangya said, sitting down near him, "Is Bardock back yet?"
Zarbon shook his head.
"Do you think something's wrong with him?"
"No, I don't think so," Zarbon smirked, "...Unless he OD'ed on the miniature sandwhiches, that is."
They both shared a short laugh at that.
"You know," Zarbon continued, "Even if I were seeing my estranged son for the first time in almost thirty years, I'd give him a break or two when it got to be this late."
"I don't think I would, but maybe that's just my motherly instinct talking," Zangya responded.
Zarbon cocked an eyebrow at her. "Motherly instinct? You? Well, first Bardock lightens up, then you start developing motherly tendencies! What's next- am I going to suddenly decide I like men all of a sudden?"
Zangya rolled her eyes, "Don't worry, if you start doing that, I promise I'll be the first to kill you."
"Now you're starting to sound like a Saiya-jin!" Zarbon said, getting up. He threw his hands up in mock exasperation, "I don't know if I can live like this- surrounded by two Saiya-jin! I must be in Hell!"
"I never thought that being surrounded by Saiya-jin is like being in Hell," Bardock said from the doorway where he had just come in, "In fact, I think we're a great bunch of guys," Bardock said, flinging his arm around Zarbon's shoulders in a sarcastic best-buddy hug, "Aren't we?" he flashed him his most insincere smile.
"Very funny," Zarbon said, brushing off bardock's hand, "And just where were YOU for the past two hours?" Zarbon asked, putting one hand on his hip and wagging like a displeased mother, "You had us worried sick about you back there, what with all the horrible dangers out in the world!"
"You can cut the sarcasm now, Zarbon. I was spending the time trying to get to know my son."
"And you were making sure that none of the food went to waste."
Bardock laughed a bit at this. "How very astute," he said, grinning, "I'll tell you about it tomorrow. Right now, I need to get some sleep before I increase the major hangover that I'm already going to have tomorrow. Good night!"
Bardock went into his quarters and shut the door. He did not open it until the next day.
"Well, I might as well turn in, too. My hair doesn't seem to want to dry, anyway," Zangya said, starting to head for her room. Zarbon motioned for her to stop first.
"Zangya," he said in a rather quiet tone, "You need help. I know it, you know it, and I think that Bardock is starting to pick it up as well. In fact, in her last message, even Salad mentioned something about you. Frankly, I've tried to be especially kind to you, to protect you, and to be there for you as a friend when you need it. Now, I can't be very effective unless I know how much help you need. I need to know more about your past. It may be painful, but I need to know more about what Bojack did to you. I can guess already, but I have nothing concrete."
"I can't talk about that right now," was all that she said.
"that's fine, then. You don't have to if you're not ready yet."
And that was the last thing that any one of the three of them said that night.