DB FE: The Will to Fight (Short Story)

Vegetto

Green Jacket
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DB FE: The Will to Fight

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Chapter One: Expectations

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Odessen. Four weeks after arriving at the Alliance base.

The evening sun shined down brilliantly onto the small pedals of green grass, gently flowing in the breeze. The small movement wildly distorted, however, large droplets of saliva splattering the ground followed shortly by Vegetto's head bouncing off the ground. His labored breathing blew the grass around his mouth away with each heavy huff, panting in agony while he slowly attempted to push himself up off the dirt, his arms wobbling excessively in failing to even lift up his body. His hair and eyes were masked in the same dark, red and gold energy that radiated around his body, but the aura of flames soon disappeared into nothing while he attempted to raise himself off the ground.

Watching on, Leiji slowly straightened out her stance and pulled her right arm in. The fist she had formed relaxed, along with her arms at her sides while she stared down at Vegetto's struggling with a heavy frown.

"You're not even protecting yourself anymore. It's time we stopped, honey."

Vegetto's movements were slow and pained as he finally managed to find his way back to his feet. His back was turned to Leiji, his legs shifting in a heavy shuffle to eventually turn his body back around to face her. His panting slowed slightly, his eyes sagging and his mouth hanging open with drool on the corners of his lips yet he raised his arms back up into a boxer's stance.

Leiji stared him down with a frown, relaxing her shoulders.

"You don't need to prove anything to me. I know you're tough...but you can't beat him just willing yourself up like this."

Vegetto panted heavily, his lips sagging a bit as he spoke.

"I have to. They're all...counting on me...to be the strongest. Like...I always have."

Leiji kept her frown.

"And what if you're not? You've seen their power, you know what they can do. What happens if you're wrong? What happens if you can't?"

Vegetto shook his head, exhaling deeply in his small stupor.

"I can't...afford to think like that."

Leiji's frown deepened.

"You have to. If you keep going down this path...you'll only end up like Gogeta."

Vegetto perked his eyebrows immediately at the mention of Gogeta, his wide eyes showing how deeply the comment enraged him at his primal core. He tightly shut his eyes shortly after, exhaling in a deep, disgruntled huff and shaking his head.

"Then what am I supposed to do?! Give in?!"

Vegetto glared back at Leiji, dropping his arms down.

"Damnit...I know I can't win!! If I don't block that out, it's just gonna weigh me down even more! I have to do what I've always done: power through. I can't accept it...I won't."

Leiji kept her frown, her voice softening.

"You already have though. All you're doing is beating yourself up, trying to deny the truth."

Leiji placed her hands on her hips.

"What really drives you to fight, honey? You're not fighting the same way you normally do: everything is off. It's like you've completely changed."

Vegetto panted lightly, glancing down to the floor for a moment. His body visibly relaxed, yet still in pain, he glanced to the side.

"Because I have."

Leiji stared him down as Vegetto's attention turned down to the floor, lifting up his gloved hands while his arms visibly trembled in their current weakened state.

"It was all a thrill until now: even fighting you, the Masters, everyone was a test to rise up and become better. We always succeeded, we always got stronger. But then first...it started with Earth. I thought it didn't matter much to me, but...Kakarot...and Vegeta. Their deaths...just..."

He paused for a moment, letting his arms drop slightly.

"It changed everything. After all this time, something finally took them down. They were the strongest warriors I ever knew, always rising up to the challenge. And in their methods...the only methods I have ever known...they died."​

Leiji frowned in response, Vegetto lifting his head a bit.

"I realize now that's where it all started, even I didn't know it. But it really dawned on me once....Gogeta...died too. He unleashed a power I couldn't hope to achieve...and Vaylin still survived his attack."

Vegetto let his arms sag a bit, glancing around to the side in an uncharacteristic furrowing of his brow, his uneasy and weakened dual voice ringing out.

"So the truth is...I'm afraid of all this. These expectations. These people...believing that I could do what Kakarot...Vegeta, and Gogeta couldn't. It scares me, knowing I'm gonna let them down."

Leiji kept her frown, the two standing in silence for a minute. She lifted her head a bit, watching on as Vegetto suddenly let out a small, amused chuckle at himself, shaking his head.

"It's funny...even after I told myself I wasn't them...I always felt like they were apart of me. Two voices, in my head...one telling me to get up to see what I could do whenever I struggled. The other...to see what my opponent could do. No matter what happened or how bad I got beat, both of them always told me to get back up and overcome anything that got in my way."​

His eyes turned back down.

"But now...I can't hear them anymore. It's just...nothing."

Leiji kept her frown.

"It's because you know you can't fight Arcann the same way you've fought everyone else."

Vegetto turned his eyes up, his normal cocky and strong demeanor no where to be found in his light, scared dual voice.

"Then what do I do?"

Leiji slowly lifted her lips into a small smile, raising up her right pointer finger.

"We just have to find a new way: another style of fighting you've never seen before. From now on...I want you to use this fear to drive you. Make it your method of combat."

Vegetto kept his frown, his arms still at his side.

"How? Everytime I do that...it only breaks me. It just...I don't know...it makes me want to quit. The pressure is just...too high."

Leiji nodded.

"Well, that's how pressure works. It can either weigh you down, or lift you into the air. If you can master it...it'll be your ticket to victory."

She spaced her legs slightly, waving him on.

"Come...I'll show you how it's done."​
 

Vegetto

Green Jacket
Chapter Two: The River of Power

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Small explosive waves shook the cave in which both fighters collided, the massive closed off arena spanning for miles past the eye could see. Moving at speeds well beyond what the naked eye could track, Leiji calmly parried and blocked each aggressive blow coming from Vegetto, whirling around to the side. Landing gently on the floor, she narrowed her eyes with a frown.

"You're doing it again. Stop trying harder, and pace yourself!"

In an instant, Vegetto teleported in front of her, his right leg whirling around in a round house kick aimed at her head. Leiji easily ducked, bending her knees a bit and jabbing lightly to knock Vegetto off balance. The fused warrior stumbled, lunging forward again in repeated failure as each attempted offense was redirected and parried to off balance him. His agitation grew with each failed strike, the purple aura that matched his hair and eyes flaring slightly. Leiji's eyes narrowed at the sight of the energy growing, her voice raising.

"No! Stay smooth and in control!"

She blocked the incoming punch heading for her face, holding the fist and tilting her body forward. Still grasping onto his hand and now leaned forward, Leiji promptly flicked her elbow forward to slam it into Vegetto's temple, causing him to stumble back and crash onto the floor. Vegetto instantly shot back up to his feet, clenching his fists.

"This isn't fucking working!!"

Leiji frowned.

"No...don't use anger. You have to use the fear."

Vegetto scoffed.

"I've tried that, damnit. All it's done is make me slower: I can't fight you when I'm cowering like a bitch!"

He suddenly let out a thunderous roar, the purple aura exploding outward in every direction as a golden red hue suddenly overtook his hair and eyes. In an instant, he rushed Leiji with extensively new speed and power, his arms flinging forward in a flurry of punches. Leiji swerved from side to side, dodging the blows as she panted heavily to keep pace. Her eyes widened a bit, and in a fling of her wrists, she slapped both of Vegetto's arms out in opposite directions. As Vegetto floated in the sudden offset of his weight and balance, Leiji rapidly pulled both arms back, shooting the ends of her palms forward like a Kamehameha blast, only for the palms to slam into Vegetto's chest. Vegetto cried out, flipping backwards and bouncing along the hard dirt where he almost crashed through the cave wall coming up. However, his bouncing was stopped and he suddenly shot face first into the dirt, having been redirected from a single light chop from Leiji's left hand. Leiji landed gently on the ground from her floating position, sighing lightly.

"Did you get it all out of your system?"

Vegetto panted heavily, his arms and legs shaking as he rose to his feet. He hung his head a bit, glancing down to the left.

"I couldn't even stress you. That...that was all I had."

Leiji turned her eyes to Vegetto, rubbing her chin.

"You're still not getting it. There's gotta be another way to teach you this...hmmm..."

She lifted her head a bit, turning away for a second and taking in her surroundings. She narrowed her eyes a bit, the silence in the cave having been broken by the small waterfall cascading down behind them, and prompting her to turn. Her eyes lit up a bit at the sight of the waterfall, before turning back to Vegetto with her right eyebrow raised.

"Do you have anymore energy left?"

Vegetto shook his head once.

"Not if I want to continue standing."

Leiji nodded.

"Great. In that case-"

Her eyes narrowed at him.

"Use the Kaioken."

Vegetto paused, his expression unchanged. He stood still for a moment, glancing to the side for a second, before he turned his head back towards Leiji with a stunned and confused stare.

"What?"

Leiji kept her flat expression and voice.

"Use the Kaioken."

Vegetto grimaced a bit, his eyes narrowing.

"I couldn't even do that with full power. If I do it now...I'll die. There's no way I can sustain it."

Leiji smiled.

"Gogeta did it, why can't you?"

Vegetto glared back up at Leiji, who turned slightly to the side and walking away without a reply. He scoffed through his nostrils, mumbling to himself.

"Just had to push that button, didn't you?"

Deciding to avoid pushing back on the topic, he suddenly clenched his arms and inhaled deeply throw his nose. A thunderous roar soon followed as the expulsion of air, his red pupils coated with a tint of gold expanding out along with a new, red energy exploding out in chaotic fashion. His muscles visibly bulged out, the veins dangerously expanding as a pained cringe overtook his face.

"KAIOKEN!!"

The explosion of red energy erupted out, coating his original aura with a second tint of red as he completed the power up, but instantly collapsed to his knees. He cringed heavily in pain, curling inward with his arms gripping his sides. Red lightning exploded outwards, crashing into the dirt and kicking up rocks in its wake. Leiji's supportive voice soon rung out, prompting Vegetto to turn his head up from his writhing.

"Good job. Now I want you to come here and take care of something quickly-"

Vegetto blinked a bit, twitching a bit at the sight of Leiji now standing next to a small campfire that had been hastily built in front of the small pond of water the waterfall flowed into. The yellow and red flames flickered gently, the fire having already burned through most of the tinder she had found to keep it alive.

"-let's see if you can keep this fire alive. Hurry, it's about to go out."

Vegetto grimaced, crawling his way to the side but protested as he did.

"I can...barely...think! Why are you making me...do this?!"

He got no reply as an answer, grunting and struggling to make it over to the little fire. The flames flickered again, the small burning inferno retreating a bit and prompting Vegetto's breathing to quicken.

Damnit...I'm too far. C'mon...I just need to...get a little...closer...

The fire died down even further, much quicker than the fused warrior had inticipated and prompting a small snarl from his lips. Vegetto suddenly stopped his crawling, pausing with the one arm that had pulled his body across the ground and suddenly flinging his wrist, firing off a small ball of purple energy from his finger tip. The blast struck the pile of burning tinder and ashes with enough force to create an even bigger fire, the flames strongly burning even on the dirt next to the small little campfire. His eyes lit up, partially in his success and in the fire burning brightly before him that glinted even off the water nearby.

However, his eyes turned up just in time to see Leiji aiming her arm up at the small waterfall. He blinked, barely registering the small energy blast that shot forward from her palm, tearing through the water and creating a small explosion behind the cascading water itself. The hole opened a larger stream of water that suddenly came crashing down like a broken dam, easily engulfing both the fire Vegetto had improved and the fusion himself. Vegetto yelped, tumbling across the dirt floor as the stream hit and carried him. The red aura from the Kaioken dispersed immediately, as if it were put out by the water just like the campfire while Vegetto slowly came to a halt on the cave floor. He coughed as he pushed himself upright, grimacing in frustration at the floor.

"What the hell was that for?!"

Leiji kept her smile, walking up to him with her arms crossed.

"To show you how terribly inefficient you are. That fire I made represents your pride and anger."

Vegetto propped himself up on his forearms, leaning back while he laid slightly on the ground, watching on as Leiji continued.

"Look at how much willpower you just wasted trying to keep something so fragile alive. Why?"

Vegetto slowed his breathing into a minor pant, glancing down.

"It's...the only way. There's no other power level beyond it: no ceiling to push past, no barrier that can be broken. Gogeta pushed himself to use the maximum level we could with this godly power."

Leiji shook her head.

"It's not about the power, hun. Vaylin outclasses you so dramatically in that field you can't possibly compete, but the only thing you've set your sights on is power. Thinking you can win if you just try harder than fight smarter."

She nodded down to the smoldering ash pile.

"If you keep trying to stoke the flames, you're just going to end up like this. You have to learn how to use fear to your advantage."

Vegetto frowned, his head turning down as his body shivered slightly.

"But I learned how...I thought I already knew how to use it."

Leiji lightly shrugged her shoulders.

"Well...it's pretty clear you didn't. When you first fought Raptus...you utilized the power more effectively, but you still had the same old habits: fighting all out, tunneling your energy like a flame instead of a stream of water. We gave you the energy...but you never used it properly."

She frowned a bit.

"Perhaps that's why you could never truly defeat us."

Vegetto frowned, glancing up.

"But how? How do I use it then?"

Leiji lightly smiled, kneeling down in front of Vegetto and gently caressing his cheek with her thumb. Brushing a small little droplet off his face, she held up her finger to his eyes, her attention turning to the droplet.

"Like I said, you just need to look at it a different way. Fire requires constant effort to live on, but its so fragile and without the input, it dies. But water just...is. You don't have to struggle with it, you don't have to make it be. Even with all the energy in the world, you can never truly destroy it: only change its form."

She raised an eyebrow, their eyes meeting as she kept her smile.

"Wouldn't it better if everything just flowed naturally? If your body was empowered to fight, rather than forcing it to continue through sheer will alone?"

Vegetto nodded curtly in reply, prompting Leiji to lean back a bit.

"Then don't be afraid of the fear. Embrace it."

She leaned forward once more.

"When was the last time you were really afraid? Do you remember how it felt?"

Vegetto glanced to the side.

"Yeah...I remember. Everything seizing up...I couldn't think...and my power just...dropped."

Leiji nodded.

"Yes...but that's not the full story. The power of the gods was flowing through your body when you felt the emotional trigger. Like all things backed into a corner, you were given immense strength, but it was empowered without your direct input...so you felt as if your own body was stolen from you. The paralyzing effect is just a subconscious safeguard we put to limit all things from being powerful without trying: you shut down because it feels too unnatural and not given by your own control. Pride, as it always has been, is the limiter to your real potential."

She reached out, tapping his forehead lightly.

"The panic activated your mind, racing in fear of the bad possibilities because it's the first thing that you think of in that stricken state. But in truth, the thoughts are only racing because the fear activates your ability to process at a much higher intensity and speed. Perhaps you couldn't figure out how to manage that new level, or you might not have even realized it to begin with. Being granted unnatural strength and mental capabilities shocked you...and ironically...the very element that gave you power was shunned because you were afraid. Since it wasn't under your control, you stopped it, opting for the usual habits and mentality that has been your fighting style since the day you were born."

Vegetto blinked.

"So...you're saying that..."

Leiji nodded.

"You've always been able to do it. You just have to let your body move on its own; let the power flow through you. Then you will truly reach the highest level."

Vegetto turned his head down, slowly pushing himself up off his feet. He grimaced a bit, but soon shook his head in disbelief.

"Dead for over ten years...haven't seen you in over twenty. Still taking me to school."

Vegetto's smirk dropped a bit, smiling back at Leiji.

"Thanks honey."

The blood instantly rushed into Leiji's cheeks as she glanced away with an awkward smile, inhaling deeply through her nose and clearing her throat audibly.

"Yes...well...I think we made good progress today. Let's head back and-"

She yelped, her feet being sweeped out from underneath her in Vegetto's arms. She stabilized herself by wrapping her arms around Vegetto's neck, who turned on his heel and walked deeper into the cave with a small smirk.

"It's been a long time since it was just the two of us. Let's savor what little time we have left."
 

Vegetto

Green Jacket
Chapter Three: The Cycle

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Yawning loudly without restraint, Vegetto stretched his arms above his head as he sat upright. His muscular abs flexed a bit, his expression dropping in a rare, momentary lapse of poise and control, a near goofy look expression plastered across his face while he happily scratched the pack of muscles for a moment.

"Man...everything feels so loose. I can't remember the last time I relaxed like this."

Leiji sat up next to his right, fiddling with her bra for a moment. She held the same poise, catching the continuous yawn and following suit with her own without bothering to cover her mouth.

"Me either. These past few years haven't been very calm."

Vegetto perked his right eyebrow, turning his eyes towards Leiji.

"Oh? Surely there haven't been any real threats to even the Masters while we've been away, have there?"

Leiji lightly shook her head.

"It's nothing like that. It's just that ever since that day, none of them have ever been the same. For a long time, Raptus did not trust in your...well...we'll call idealism. He was certain that despite aiding you against Janembuu, there was no true benefit for you to continue existing. He only saw you as the lesser failure: you may be a failure in his eyes, but Janembuu was more than that. He was an abomination that stole from us...so he had to be put down."

Vegetto's expression remained unchanged, nodding his head curtly as Leiji continued.

"For the first time, we helped create a future we did not foresee: an existence that was free from our control. He had handed you the reigns, more out of curiosity at first. But as the years continued, and seeing your rule as the Sith Emperor...he found the competitive world you built on Korriban contagious and exciting. To see an entire society, thriving on that combat and competition...it drove something within him for once."

Vegetto scoffed through his nose, turning his eyes up.

"So what? Don't tell me the old man started picking up martial arts again?"

Leiji nodded.

"That's exactly what he did: he started to explore that realm of fighting once more. For all his talk of darkness...water...and the belief in superiority through finding a drive beyond the emotional realms, Raptus ventured back into the world from where you both began. He took me with him to train: reigniting those fires that had been put out for so long."

Her smile slowly crept up in her expression, her eyes lightening in intensity a bit.

"Seeing a smile....his laughter...it was like rewinding the clocks back to a time before we became who we were. It reminded me of a time when he was you: a man who loved the simple things in life. When we didn't fight to win a war, to control another...but just to see what we were capable of. To see what others were capable of."

Vegetto frowned in response, glancing down.

"Well...I'm glad to hear that."

Leiji kept her small smile, lifting her eyes.

"It's ok, honey. I think I get it now."

Vegetto perked his eyebrow, his frown remaining.

"Huh?"

Leiji nearly beamed back at him, keeping her warm smile.

"You've just lost your way, that's all. It's not about losing to Arcann...or even losing. It's something else that worries you...something deeper. Like...our family."

Vegetto dropped his eyebrows, watching Leiji nudge his shoulder.

"Speaking of which...how do you feel about Junior's girlfriend? She seems nice for him...don't you think?"

Vegetto turned his eyes to the side, keeping a small frown. He nearly sighed in disappointment of the change in topic, but quickly reigned in his emotions and nodded his head.

"Yeah...she is."

"You don't care about it though."

Vegetto's eyes widened, turning back to Leiji with a defensive and loud voice.

"Of course I do! They're our family now...I have to care about them!"

Leiji kept her smile.

"But you don't. You've spent the last few decades away from them...fighting for a cause on your own. You entered into the political world you knew nothing about...letting all of these different beliefs into your head. And in that drive to be the best leader you could be...that drive to be the perfect authority that brought stability to all life and keeps an open mind to those he ruled, you lost your attachment to those you were close to."

Vegetto glanced down, his frown returning as Leiji continued, her tone still warm.

"It's why you felt so upset when Junior talked to me the way he did. It wasn't that you had a problem with how he spoke to his own mother."

She reached out with her right hand, tilting Vegetto's chin up and forcing his eyes to meet hers.

"It's that you understood exactly how he could be so cold to those he was supposed to love. That it was exactly how you felt about him...and about Jaz."

Vegetto sighed heavily in response, the wall of his stern expression crashing down as he relaxed all of his muscles.

"But I want to love him. I don't want to be stuck in this...this....pit of detachment."

He turned his head down.

"I saw this challenge to be a leader as like anything else: a way for me to test my limits...to see a world I had never known before. All around me, I felt the energy of entire worlds, cheering for the good I brought them. But there was always resistance, always someone that didn't know better to fight against what I was doing. It didn't even matter if there was a real cause for it: some people fought solely because they hear the word, 'emperor' and felt oppressed. They did not know me, and I didn't know them...so I put them down for that ignorance."

Leiji nodded.

"Of course. They gave you no choice, so you had to do what was necessary for your Empire."

Vegetto kept his head down.

"I still felt their deaths. It hurt...but as time went on, the pain left with it. I had always tried to make peace with those people, but after every single instance of rebellion I saw, not one of them ever made the attempt to understand more than just their own wants and needs. I saw their desires, I tried to compromise. But no matter what, in the end, the only thing the rebels ever wanted was to perform the authority role like I did. They wanted control to do what they clearly could not...so I started to skip those attempts to compromise from those only interested in taking from me. And that just...started the fall...I couldn't feel anything anymore."

He turned his eyes up.

"I have nightmares...of a world that was once called Ziost. A world that was stricken by Republic chemical weapons...and in order to spare my people from suffering, I had to kill them. I remember the pain I felt that day...the tears I shed for all of those innocent people who bravely saluted and shouted, 'For the Empire' as I vaporized them into nothing. Yet...not even a day later...the pain and sadness was gone. I had moved on...my feelings to that moment gone with all of those souls."

Vegetto turned his head back to Leiji.

"You spoke of the need to feel the fear. Well...I do honey. I don't need more practice, feeling out that darkness or that void you mentioned."

He turned his eyes back down.

"I've already felt it for years. It's taken who I am...my family...my Empire...and most recently...my closest friend."

Leiji kept a small frown, her eyes widening a bit at the sight of two small trails of water trickling down from the sides of Vegetto's eyes.

"He died for us...for me. And I can't even honor him by at least feeling something about his death!"

Leiji shifted a bit on the dirt floor, wrapping her arms around Vegetto gently while he sobbed. She kept a small frown, rubbing his bare back with one hand as she soothed him in her hold, her voice warm and gentle.

"It's ok honey...it'll be ok. It'll work itself out...they still care for you. You still have time...plenty of time."

She lifted her lips slightly, smiling down at Vegetto in her arms.

"The last time you went down a path like this, I made the mistake of letting you fall. I won't let you go this time, no matter what."

The two sat in the embrace for a few minutes, Leiji sitting back a bit and relaxing her tight hold on Vegetto first with a small sigh.

"I see now that maybe I haven't had the best mindset when teaching you. The power within you that we need to bring out came through tension and erratic sensations, but you must find a different way to access those feelings. Only then, can we achieve that new form."

Vegetto took a moment collect himself, wiping away the sides of his eyes as he spoke.

"New...form?"

Leiji nodded.

"Yes...it's one of the main reasons why I came. That was what Raptus discovered in our training: for the longest time, we had ruled through extensive power and had let that power blind us to the growth both you and he cherished before you became rulers of the known multiverse. Just as returning to his roots has granted him that new found plateau, perhaps following the same path will help you solve these problems."

Vegetto stifled his sobs, his dual voice still weak.

"How?"

Leiji kept her smile, leaning forward and pulling Vegetto back into a tighter hug.

"Let me think on it for a little more. Just stay like this with me for now: we still have thirty years of lost time to make up."
 
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