PART 28: The Clash

        "I have something I have to tell you…" Bra looked up at him…his large hands still holding her small ones.  She had to say it now.  She was getting more and more nervous.  She just had to spit it out.  Tonight.  She wiped her tears away and stepped back. "Goten…I…I…I..just…"
        "B-chan, are you sure you're all right?"
        "I…I…" She stammered, squeezing her eyes shut.


        Bra gasped when she heard the voice calling her.  How could it be?  She couldn't look.  Goten heard it, too,
and turned towards it. "… Vegeta-ojisan."
        Vegeta snorted, ignoring the younger man.  He glared at his daughter as he landed on the ground next to them. "Bra, you IDIOT!" he yelled. "Your mother has been worried SICK and made me waste my time looking for you!"
        Bra began trembling.
        Goten couldn't do anything.
        "YOU are going to go?"
        "I…I'm so sorry, Tousan," she cried. "It won't happen again…"
        Vegeta stared at his crying daughter.  Just then, he noticed the man next to her.  Figures Kakarott's brat would be involved.
        "Vegeta-ojisan, please don't be too hard on her, she didn't?"
        "YOU!" Vegeta shouted, pointing at him. "WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER?"
        "M?me?  I?I didn't do anything…"
        "You think you can lie to me?"
        "Tousan, please," Bra cut in. "Goten had nothing to do with this…"
        "Don't defend him," Vegeta said witheringly and turned back to Goten. "She was troubled before I got here.  What did you do to her?  I DEMAND an EXPLANATION!"
        Goten couldn't answer.  He didn't have any idea what to say.
        "ANSWER ME, BAKAYARO!" Vegeta yelled, grabbing Goten's shirt.
        "OTOUSAN!" Bra cried, grabbing her father's jacket, trying to get her father to let go of him, but she was just too weak. "Don't do this, Tousan!" She pulled and pulled and pulled until she finally gave up and buried her face in Vegeta's shoulder. "Oh, Tousan, please…"
        Vegeta looked at her and then back at Goten.  He threw Goten away. "You…stay…away…from…my…family," he said, slowly and distinctly.
        Bra gasped when she heard this.  But then…how could she talk to Goten…?
        "Vegeta-ojisan, I didn't do anything to her!  I swear it!" Goten told him.
        "Don't talk back to me, brat," Vegeta snarled.  He grabbed Goten's throat. "I should kill you right now…"
        "Tousan, don't!"
        Vegeta heard another voice trying to stop him.  He looked back at Trunks, who was hurrying towards them, Marron at his side.  Bra ran forward and hugged Marron, crying harder than she had been previously.
        "Tousan, let him go," Trunks said.
        "As if I would!"
        "You've found Bra, she's unharmed…aren't you glad?  Don't make it worse, Tousan, please!"
        Vegeta let go of Goten and looked at the three young people watching him.  He saw Bra murmur something to Marron and he noticed she looked awfully sad.  He wondered if that was his fault, but he couldn't admit he was wrong.   He did realize he had gone too far.  But the thing was, he loved his daughter, and the thought that she could've been in danger…
        He looked back at Goten who was still struggling to breathe.  All of a sudden, he could sense what was going on. "Don't you ever come near her again," he warned.  Everyone looked at him in dismay, especially Bra.  He pushed Goten away and grabbed his daughter. "You're coming home," he ordered.
        "Fine," she answered. "But Trunks will take me there."
        Vegeta didn't feel like arguing. "Fine." He gave Goten another evil glare and took off.
        Bra ran immediately to Goten's side. "Oh, Goten, are you okay?" she asked in concern.
        "Do I look 'okay'?" he asked. "Oh, gomen nasai, Goten-kun…this is all my fault."
        "Oh, no, I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have snapped at you. This just doesn't seem to be my day…or my week…I'm glad you showed up when you did, Trunks," he added.
        "Yeah, sure, no problem.  I'll get killed when I get home, though."
        "How'd you guys find us, anyway?"
        "Well, at first we searched the mall, looking for Bra, but then Trunks sense Vegeta-ojisan's ki suddenly flaring up and we, well, he followed it.  I just tagged along," Marron explained 
        "Wait.  Why were you looking for B-chan?" Goten looked at them in confusion. "I don't understand."
        Bra stood silent.
        "She's…been missing…since four this afternoon," Trunks mumbled.
        "What?  B-chan, is that true?" Goten demanded.
        She nodded slowly.
        "And your father thought I kidnapped you!" Goten nodded. "Well, at least I understand.  Why didn't you tell me in the first place?  I would have sent you home!"
        "I didn't know they were looking…" Bra said lamely. "But I'm sorry."
        "Yeah, you should be!"
        "Well, I think we should get Bra-chan home," Marron cut in. "Um, now.  Let's go."
        Bra sighed heavily. "Yeah, fine.  Sure." She followed Marron into Trunks' car.
        "We gotta go," Trunks told Goten. "I'll see you around, okay?"
        "Yeah, yeah.  Oh, hey, B-chan?"
        They all turned and looked at him.
        "What was it you wanted to tell me?"
        Marron and Trunks each raised an eyebrow and waited for Bra's answer.  She shook her head and smiled.  The smile was bitter and self-mocking, but no one could see that in the low light. "It was nothing important, Goten-kun.  Absolutely nothing worth mentioning again."
        "Oh.  Okay, then."
        "'Bye, Goten-kun." She waved and stepped into the car.
        "See ya, Goten!" Marron called as they drove off.  Goten waved at all of them as the car blasted out of sight, leaving him alone in that quiet, quiet place.  He rubbed his throat and looked at the empty road. "B-chan…" he whispered. 

        "You've got some nerve, Bra," Trunks scolded.
        "She's had enough, Trunks, don't make it worse," Marron warned.
        Marron and Bra were sitting in the backseat of the car.  Bra rested her head on Marron's shoulder and
burst into tears again.
        "No, Trunks," she said bitterly. "I've got NO nerve, and you should be glad of it.  I couldn't tell him, and then Tousan came up…well it's a good thing I didn't say anything, right?  Goten wouldn't be much inclined to like me after THIS." 
        "Oh, honey." Marron held her tightly. "No, don't say that."
        "It's the truth."
        "Bra, everything is going to be okay.  I'll make sure of that, believe me," Marron promised with a smile.
        Bra smiled back. "Sankyuu…and Oniichan?"
        "I'm sorry, I won't do anything like that ever again."
        "Good…and I'm sorry I yelled.  I'm beginning to act just like Tousan."
        "No, it's okay."
        "Still, you owe Okasan an explanation," he reminded her. "What are you going to say?"
        "I know…and I don't know." Bra just wiped her tears and rested her head on Marron's shoulder.  The next thing she knew, she was waking up and they were home.


 "Love Phantom" by B'z