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CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT: STIR-FRY

The relief that Zarbon felt when he saw his home again surpassed all else at the moment. No more crazy aliens. No more Saiya-jin relatives. No more abused women- that is, for now. Zarbon had neatly deposited Zangya at a nearby hotel. Yet more relief. he had been spending altogether too much time around her lately, and had started to pick up some of hermannerisms, like glancing at the floor when someone's talking to you, or flinching when being touched. He had even begun to find scouters somewhat uncomfortable to wear. That last thought was disturbing. And besides all that, he really did miss Salad. She was the light of his life, and lately he just hadn't been around for her.

He wouldn't be surprised if she did try to kill him or make love to him on the spot, or both. What a week. The feeling of relief and pure joy when his card key reader checked out. More familiarity. He opened the door to the sounds and smell of vegetables.

"Hello?" Salad said, not even turning around from whatever she was cooking. Check that, from the stir fry she was cooking. Zarbon could recognize that smell anywhere. Salad enjoyed that type of food just a little too much. Zarbon had always suspected that diet food did a number on the brain. Of course, the Saiya-jin diet wasn't much better.

"I'm back," Zarbon said casually, the way he always did. Salad seemed to get a kick out of it.

Salad stopped cooking in mid toss and literally crashed into Zarbon's arms with a type of anti-grace that only she could have assumed.

"You're home! Kiss, Now." she demanded in a way that only she could. Zarbon complied.

"So, what's cooking?" Zarbon asked.

Salad started, and dashed back to the frying pan. "Dammit! It'll burn!" She ran back to the food and attempted to finish cooking it, but after a few seconds just stopped completely and threw it, food, pan and all, into the sink.

"Forget the Stir-Fry," she said, turning back, toward Zarbon, who had just sat down, "I'm goint to stir-fry you!" the grin on her face was enough to send most men running for cover.

"Salad, give me a minute. I've got a headache. I had a very bad wee-"

That was as far as Zarbon got before Salad literally tackled him, knocking him off the chair and into the table, which broke in two.

***

Zarbon couldn't move. They had stopped a good deal of time ago, but he still couldn't move. His headache had encompassed the rest of his body, and Salad... well, something had gotten into her in the past two weeks. The two broken halves of kitchen table flanking Zarbon's motionless, dishevelled form attested to that. In all of his years as a soldier this had never happened to him before. He'd been blown up (nearly,), trashed, sliced, diced, blasted, pounded, etc. but he was always able to walk away after some time in the Regen tank.

Not even a Regen tank could help him now.

Zarbon moaned.

Salad continued humming as she resumed cooking, as though nothing at all had happened.

There was a quiet knock on the door.

"Come in," Salad nearly sang, "It's unlocked."

Zangya opened the door and stepped into Zarbon's apartment, holding her ID card in hand.

"The hotel wouldn't accept my card unless I had some extra verifitcation from Zarbon, since he issued it and it's under a month old, and what the Hell happened to him?"

"Oh, nothing," Salad sang again, "I just greeted him properly when he came in the door."

The look that Zangya gave Salad could not possibly be described in human terms.

"Are you okay," Salad asked her.

"Fine. Fine. Could I sit down, please?" Zangya asked, looking as though she'd been afflicted with an incurable disease of the Pancreas.

Zarbon secretly decided to himself that he was never going home again if it were around dinnertime. Ever.

***