Chapter 7


            The child squealed in delight as Pazru tossed him up in the air.  Laughing, the young man deftly caught the infant under the armpits and tucked the happy child in his arms.  The Saiyan eagerly tugged on Pazru’s tunic and began to coo and babble excitedly, wanting to continue the game.  Pazru winced as the child’s hands slapped against the large bruise stretching across the center of his chest.  That black and blue beauty had been a gift from Kakarot the day before. 


Unlike his twin, Kakarot was not very fond of water and let Pazru know that immediately when the young man set him in a tub to bathe him.  Faster than Pazru could react, he had rocked backward in Pazru’s arms and kicked him forcefully with both chubby little feet, the strength of his blow knocking the air from the young man’s lungs.  Had one of the nursery attendants not been around to pull the howling, struggling baby out of the tub and away from him, Pazru was certain that Kakarot would have tried to pound him to a pulp.  As exhausted as he had been lately, Pazru wasn’t entirely sure he would have been able to fight off the enraged infant.   


Breath hissing between his teeth, Pazru gently pulled fistfuls of his tunic from the child’s chubby digits, sighing in relief as the tiny, but still incredibly powerful fists left the tender skin of the bruise.  The infant stiffened in his arms and glared at him.  Pazru quickly ruffled the wild explosion of spiky hair, warding off the beating the Saiyan’s fierce, dark eyes promised.  He had learned from Kakarot yesterday to never ever let his guard down around an irritated Saiyan, infant or otherwise.  The ever-present scowl lightened a bit and the child relaxed in his arms, giggling good-naturedly.  He grabbed Pazru’s large, thin hand and swung it briskly around in the air above his head, laughing and gibbering loudly in delight.


“Not even a month old and already so strong,” Pazru marveled as he watched his hand dangle limply in the infant’s powerful grip.  Even though he had been working in the nursery for a little over a year now, he had never spent much time in close contact with any of the Saiyan children placed in his care.  Pazru had never been fully aware of how rapidly a Saiyan’s strength and speed developed in the weeks following birth since most Saiyan babies were sent on their first missions about a week after they were born. 


“Incredible.  Absolutely incredible,” he thought, looking down in wide-eyed wonder at the playful infant in his arms.  “They weren’t kidding me when they said that the Saiyans were a force to be reckoned with.  If one of the third-class Saiyan infants is nearly as powerful as I am, I wonder how powerful a first-class infant would be?


Pazru was startled out of his thoughts as a sharp set of tiny teeth closed around his thumb.  Still cooing happily, the child gently sucked at the startled man’s digit, causing him no more pain than the occasional pinprick or two.  Pazru twitched as the infant’s rough tongue slid over the pad of his thumb, tickling it.  He relaxed, smiling, and looked down at the tiny Saiyan tucked in his arms.  Looking back behind him to make sure the long counter—spotless now that he, disgusted with the room’s sorry state, had decided to clean it up—was still behind him, Pazru adjusted his grip on the baby and leaned back against the cool surface of the counter.  A peaceful expression on his face, he watched the child, who was closely examining the two rows of small black buttons running down the center of his tunic in great interest.  Pazru chuckled as the baby cocked his head to the side in curiosity at his wavering image reflected in the surface one of the buttons.   He would never have thought that the child would come to trust him so much and in such a short period of time. 


“Well, Pazru,” he thought to himself,  now who exactly is he going to trust? Eki?”  Pazru snorted at the idea.  If it wouldn’t have jeopardized the child’s safety, as well as his own, he would definitely have reported Eki to Scleren, Plenthor, or one of the other authorities at the complex.  Dark eyes wide and curious, the baby reached up and gripped one of the shiny buttons lining Pazru’s tunic.  He slowly turned the small, flattened knob around in his plump fingers, the light from the dim panels above glinting off the glossy black surface.  Pazru was oblivious to the child’s touch, so caught up was he in his thoughts. 


 “I at least wish that I could give that disgusting, greasy, no-account piece of garbage a piece of my mind,” he fumed, face darkening with anger. “Leaving an infant to slowly starve to death like that!”  And that wasn’t all Eki had done.  Pazru’s lower lip puckered and his brow wrinkled in unease.  He slowly and gently ran his fingers over the child’s right shoulder blade, tracing the now invisible outlines of the large bruise he had run across a day or two after finding the child.  The infant, still staring intently at the button, shivered slightly under his touch, but made no effort to move away from his hand.  Pazru knew without a doubt that the slimy caretaker had been responsible for that; it was nearly impossible that the child could have sustained such a large contusion as that while in the bassinet.


The child yanked the button towards him to get a closer look at it, pulling Pazru’s thumb from his mouth with his other hand as he did so.  With a small pop, the threads holding the button broke.  Cocking his head in interest at the small object rolling loose in his palm, the child cautiously sniffed at it.  Pazru yelled in alarm as the infant popped the button into his mouth and ripped his drool-soaked thumb from the child’s grasp. With some difficulty he managed to pry open the baby’s jaws, only to find that the button had already disappeared down his throat.  Tail puffed out and lashing furiously behind him, the baby scowled at Pazru’s rough treatment and balled his hands into little fists in front of him.  The young man sighed and set the perturbed Saiyan on the floor.  He grabbed one of the small, fluffy blankets coiled inside the bassinet and threw it on the ground a few feet in front of the infant.  Eyes focusing on this new plaything, the child growled playfully, scurried over to the blanket heaped on the floor, and began to wrestle around in its folds.  Pazru turned from the laughing baby rolling on the ground at his feet and gathered up the other blankets from the bassinet. 


“Kid ‘bout gave me a heart attack back there,” he thought, shaking his head as in his mind he saw the child ingest the button again.  He hung the blankets over a small wire he had suspended in the space between two large cabinets, straightening the folds so that the covers could air out and dry. 


“No wonder the Saiyans send their children off to other planets after they’re born. The babies are always getting into so much trouble!”   As if to emphasize this point, there was a loud ripping sound from the floor behind him.  Pazru, closing his eyes, groaned in exasperation and slowly turned.  The child sat contentedly on the floor below him, one tattered half of the blanket gripped tightly in one chubby hand and the other dangling from his mouth.  As Pazru watched, lips thinning in annoyance, the infant grabbed the piece of cloth clenched in his jaws with his free hand and tore it into two smaller pieces, his sharp little teeth cutting cleanly through the thick fabric. 


“Not again!” Pazru shouted in vexation.  The child, a scrap of blanket hanging from his mouth, paused and stared up in surprise at the young man towering over him.  Pazru rolled his eyes and flung his hands up in the air.  “That’s the third one this week!”  He bent over the infant, who gave him a curious look before ripping the shreds of blanket into even smaller pieces.  Sighing, Pazru plucked the scraps of fabric from his hands.  Growling, the infant snapped at him but the young man deftly moved out of his reach and walked over to the small incinerator embedded in the wall. 


Pazru looked back once at the infant, who had scampered angrily after him, and said, “Do you have any idea how much trouble I go through to get you those?”  Still growling, the child grabbed fistfuls of Pazru’s trousers in his hands and pulled himself to a standing position.  His tail whipped behind him for balance as he began to wobble unsteadily.  He stared up at his caretaker; eyes bright and teeth bared menacingly.  His lower lip puckered and he burst into tears.


“Oh, stop it, it’s not like I forgot to feed you or anything.”  The young man snorted and lifted the wailing baby from the floor.  “Kami forbid I ever forget to do that.”  He gently began to rock from side to side, rubbing the child’s back soothingly.  Wrapping his tail around Pazru’s wrist for security, the Saiyan sniffed a few times and gave a forlorn whimper, his tears drying on his cheeks.  Pazru continued to sway until the child’s breathing become a slow and steady rush against his chest.  Smiling lovingly, he walked as carefully as possible over to the open bassinet, trying not to jar the infant awake.  The child stirred as the young man set him gently down into the bassinet and curled into a tight little ball, unconsciously popping his thumb in his mouth and curling his tail around his body as he did so. 


Pazru sighed contentedly, if not a little wearily, and grabbed the last clean blanket from the counter.  Before he came for tonight’s feeding and bath he would have to remember to snag a few more blankets from the nursery supply room. 


He gently tucked the edges of the soft gray blanket underneath the child’s splayed arms and legs, pausing as he gave a loud yawn and turned onto his belly.  He had been lying on top of a teething ring, and Pazru picked up the mangled piece of plastic and turned it around in his hands. The battered toy ripped in two as he tugged gently on it and Pazru fetched an exasperated sigh.  “Well, I guess nothing lasts forever,” he thought as he stared at the twisted pieces of plastic sagging limply in his hands.  Absentmindedly tossing the two halves of the teething ring onto the counter, he lightly touched his thumb to the softly glowing button and waited for the bassinet lid to close.  Making a mental note to grab another teething ring when he visited the supply room this evening, Pazru turned down the lights and left the tiny backroom. 


Checking carefully to make sure that no one was around, he snuck out into one of the main corridors, heading towards the mess hall.  It had been sometime since he had had anything to eat, and watching the infant wolf down all of the food bars he had brought had made him even hungrier.  His stomach growled noisily in agreement and he rubbed at his abdomen gently, checking around a corner before turning left and heading down the long, brightly lit hallway.  


His whining belly wasn’t the only reason he was going to the mess hall, though.  He hadn’t heard from Kyokou in almost two weeks, and he was hoping to see his friend there.  Even though he loved the child as if he was his own, Pazru knew that he couldn’t keep up this pace for long.  The multiple feedings in addition to all of his other duties were beginning to take a heavy toll on his weary body.  Eventually he would get so tired that he would let his guard down and someone would catch him, and that would definitely mean death for the child, and most likely for him also.  Therefore, meeting with Kyokou tonight would be an absolute necessity.


“What do I tell him, though?” Pazru thought worriedly and massaged his temples.  “ ‘Sorry, buddy, but I need you to get a move on with this pod business, my lady doesn’t take kindly to delay?’  No, no, no, that won’t do any good!”  He pressed his palms against the sides of his face and clenched his eyes tightly shut, oblivious that he had stopped dead in the middle of the hallway.


 “What can I say that will speed up this whole process?  Nothing!  Absolutely nothing I say or do to Kyokou will make it any easier for him to find me a free pod.  He’s doing all he can.  You have to keep reminding yourself of that, Pazru!”  He growled in frustration, drawing curious looks from a pair of pod strip of attendants walking in the other direction.


“I know, I know,” he told himself, lips silently shaping the words, “but I think that I’m going to go flat out, raving mad if I don’t get a decent night’s sleep pretty soon!  Heck, a decent hour’s sleep!  Not only is that kid a bottomless pit, he’s a living wrecking ball!  How many times have I snuck into the supply room to steal more blankets and teething rings and towels and…and, GRRRRR! 


Feeling a hand drop onto his arm, Pazru opened his eyes and looked at the young woman staring up at him, her soft green eyes clouded with concern. 


“Are you okay, Pazru?” she said hesitantly, her fingers squeezing his bicep ever so gently. 


Pazru’s cheeks lit up with a furious blush as he recognized her.  He hadn’t seen her since the day he had had dinner with Kyokou.  Though they worked together every now and then, he had never had the courage to actually start a conversation with her.  His eyes lingered on hers a moment, and she backed away from him, cheeks reddening under his scrutiny. 


“Umm, fine, I’m…. I’m fine,” he managed to spit out, voice wavering slightly.  Her hand left his arm, her long, delicate fingers sliding down the sleeve of his tunic.  His arm tingled faintly and warmly with her retreating touch, and he struggled not to go completely mad at the sensation.  She opened her mouth to speak, but Pazru cut her off. 


“So how have things been going….ah….?”  She cocked her head and looked at him oddly; Pazru struggled not to loose himself in the soft, shiny mass of her hair. 


“I think I should be the one asking that question.  You look awful, Pazru.”  The worry was plainly evident in her voice. 


 “Oh great, I’m doing great.  Really busy, you know, but besides that, great.”  He restrained himself from clapping his hand to his forehead and tried desperately to think of something a little more sophisticated to say.  The young woman’s brow furrowed in mild suspicion and disbelief.  She placed her hands on her hips and shifted her weight to one foot, the curve of her hip just barely visible beneath the baggy white tunic she wore.  Pazru’s eyes traveled, against his will, down her small body.  This time he did slap himself.


“What are you thinking, Pazru!?” he thought angrily.  “You don’t have time for this!


His eyelids fluttered open and he stared down at his coworker, trying desperately to not to snap at her.  “I’m really sorry.  I just…,” he searched desperately for the right words, “I just don’t have the time right now.”  He turned away from her as he finished and bolted down the hallway, but not before seeing the hurt look on her face.


Her voice echoed down the hallway after him.  “Pazru, it’s Moira.” 


He skidded to a stop and turned around, his haunted eyes, glimmering gold in the overhead lights,  focused on her straight form standing quietly alone in the corridor.  “W h…wha  he cleared his throat noisily and prepared to speak again.  Wha…What did you say?”


“I said that my name is Moira.”  She giggled shyly, and turned and walked away in the opposite direction.


Pazru stood shocked, watching the girl  (no, her name is Moira) leave.  He let his eyes follow her till she turned down a different passageway, and then shook himself back to his senses.  He began to run down the hallways, mentally kicking himself for acting as stupidly as he just had. 


“Damn it, I just can’t do anything right!” he thought as he ran.  “I might have had a chance with her, but after this I bet she’ll never want to see me again.”   He shook his head violently, trying to clear the image of her beautiful face crumpling in sorrow from his mind.  He hadn’t wanted to hurt her, that much was true.  If he didn’t have a million other things to do he would have loved to stop and chat with her, maybe even ask her to lunch; however, if he didn’t make it to the mess hall soon, there was a good chance that he would miss Kyokou.  If that happened, Pazru was sure he really would go insane.  He needed the arrangements for the pod settled now, and no later.  He couldn’t wait another week or two for Kyokou’s report on the pod situation; he wanted to know right now.


  A shock of greasy green hair—he hadn’t washed in days—fell loose from the haphazard braid of hair zigzagging down the back of his head, and he distractedly tucked it behind his ear.  The corridor ended in a four-way intersection he took the right-hand path, heading towards the mess hall.  The light panels above him flashed by as he jogged down the long passage, and his mind drifted back to the last meeting he had had with Kyokou. 


The man had given him a large stack of papers listing all available pod destinations the last time they had met.  Pazru had listened quietly (as usual whenever involved in a conversation with Kyokou) as, with a big goofy grin on his face, Kyokou had pointed out the most romantic locations.  Surprisingly enough, he had listened intently to his friend; sending the child to perish on a barren wasteland would be just as bad as letting him be killed on Vegetasei.  After a few pages and suggestive nudges from Kyokou every time they came to a “real hotspot” as he liked to call them, the pod strip attendant had pointed out Frieza #93.  He had described the planet as lush, beautiful, isolated, and warm, and Pazru had stopped him and agreed to that location immediately. 


Pazru’s lips curled in a faint smile as he remembered the look on his friend’s face.  (“But wouldn’t you rather go to a resort planet, Paz?”)  Pazru had been at odds as to how to answer that one, but had been saved by Kyokou’s own scheming mind.  (“Oh… I get it: isolated.  Good thinking, Paz.”) 


Smile widening at the memory, the young man darted around a corner.  He pushed past a throng of people talking animatedly near the entrance to the mess hall and stepped inside the warmly lit room, craning his head around in search of his friend.  The mess hall was as full and noisy as usual, but Kyokou was nowhere to be seen.  Frowning slightly in frustration, Pazru tapped on the shoulder of one of Kyokou’s coworkers.  The burly man turned slowly around in his seat at the touch and stared distrustfully at the haggard med-center attendant standing before him. 


“Yeah, what you want?” he said in a gruff voice.  The other pod attendants ringing the table grew suddenly quiet and eyed Pazru suspiciously.


Shrinking under their gaze, he replied shakily, “Uh…, nothing, nothing.”  The large man’s eyebrows drew together and he stared confusedly at the young man as he struggled desperately to speak.  Pazru took a deep breath.  “Actually I was hoping if you had seen Kyokou lately.”  The man’s eyes narrowed slightly.  He carefully regarded Pazru’s greasy hair, wrinkled clothes, and dark-ringed eyes. 


“Maybe I have,” he replied cautiously, eyes never leaving the young man’s face for a second.  “Why should I tell you?” The eyes of the other attendants at the table darted from one man to the other; a few began to whisper quietly among themselves. 


“I’m a friend of his and I…I needed to talk to him.  It’s really important.”


“Important, huh?  Well it’s going to have to wait cuz’ Kyokou won’t be back for another day or two.”  The man chuckled quietly to himself, his large shoulders shaking slightly.  The others joined in his laughter.


“What!” Leaning forward, Pazru gripped the man’s meaty upper arm and squeezed.  “What do you mean ‘he won’t be back for another day or two’?! Where is he?!” 


The beefy pod strip attendant, a look of undisguised disgust on his face, shook the young man’s hand from his arm.  “Relax, kid.  He’s at the palace right now.”


“So he is directing the pods for the…the king and the other warriors going to meet Frieza?”  Nibbling his lower lip, Pazru stared blankly at the stack of dirty plates sitting in the center of the table. 


“You got it.” Giving Pazru one last appraising look, the man turned back to his companions and his meal.  The other attendants joined suit and conversation soon began to waft from the table. 


Pazru turned slowly away from them and headed towards the back of the mess hall.  He found a small, secluded table in the corner of the room.  “At the palace.  Gone for another day or two.  What am I going to do?” he mused to himself as he sat down on the cushioned seat.  Fingers moving deftly and unthinkingly over the menu screen before him, Pazru selected and paid for his meal.  He ate in silence, mulling over the burly pod attendant’s words.  Pushing his plate aside, he stood up and headed out of the mess hall, the raucous laughter of the pod strip attendants following him as he left.


*           *           *          


The nursery supply room was pleasantly cool as Pazru entered.  He moved quietly and with care so as not to wake Kakarot and the night attendant, who were both sleeping peacefully in the main room.  Shelves filled with plain white boxes of various sizes lined the walls from floor to ceiling.  After allowing his eyes to adjust to the darkness (he hadn’t wanted to bring any attention to himself by turning on a light), Pazru bent and pulled one of the larger boxes from one of the lower shelves.  Setting the container quietly on the floor and glancing around quickly to make sure no one was standing behind him watching, he popped open the lid and began to pull blankets out of the box.  He replaced the lid and slid the box back into its place.  Stepping over the blankets lying in a jumbled heap on the floor, he walked to the back of the large room.  He carefully studied the nametag on each of the boxes, squinting in the dim light that filtered in from the door opening into the main nursery.  He reached upwards and pulled a small metal box from one of the upper shelves.  There was a faint jingling from inside as the box’s contents shifted and slid to one end.  Balancing the container on one bony hip, Pazru opened it and pulled out a handful of shiny, brand new teething rings. 


“I give these and the blankets two weeks tops,” he thought dryly to himself, a thin smile forming on his lips.  He stuffed the teething rings into the front pockets of his tunic and looked backwards again as he returned the box containing the teething rings to its rightful place, banging one of his shins painfully against the bottom shelf as he did so.  Pazru shook his head at his own paranoia.  “If I ever make it through this alive, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to come in here again without feeling guilty.”  He sighed.  Those were the breaks. 


Crouching next to the pile of blankets, he began to nimbly fold and twist them into neat little rolls. He then stuffed the rolls into the waistband of his trousers.  Rising slowly to his feet, Pazru straightened and smoothed the wrinkles from his tunic, making absolutely sure that the lumps of the blankets didn’t show beneath it.  He looked over the supply room carefully to make sure that everything was in its correct place.  Satisfied, he left the room and tiptoed out into the main nursery.


 Snores rose from somewhere off to his left, where the attendant was sleeping slumped over in her chair.  From where he stood, Pazru could see the gentle rise and fall of Kakarot’s chest.  He paused as the baby suddenly moved, his tiny fists clenching and unclenching above him. An irritated wail rose from the bassinet, echoing dully against the walls of the nursery.  The attendant stirred in her sleep.  Biting his lip in fear and drawing blood, Pazru stopped dead in his tracks.  His mind began to rapidly turn over possible reasons he could give the attendant for being in the nursery at this time of the night.  The women yawned and turned her head to the side, her hair falling aside to reveal a thick plug wedged into her ear.  Sighing in relief, the young man relaxed and continued to creep towards the door.  Movement caught his eye and he suddenly stopped again, nearly tripping over his own feet and toppling to the floor in the process.   


Someone was watching him.  The glare of the overhead lights obscured most of what lay behind the large windows separating the nursery from the hallway, but the face pressed against the glass was no insomnia-induced hallucination.  Stifling a scream, Pazru stood stock-still and stared rigidly at the figure looking in on him.  This was it; he was caught.  Everything was over now; he might as well admit everything to the person standing behind the glass. Pazru lifted his hands, palms facing outward, expecting to feel the cool weight of the manacles closing around his wrists.  Voice cracking in fear, he said, “I know what this looks like but I have a good explanation.” 


Large, feral eyes stared intently in at him.  Kakarot gave a louder cry and wriggled about in the bassinet.  The eyes followed the baby’s movement intently.   Relaxing slightly, Pazru leaned forward, squinting to see the person standing behind the glass.  He hadn’t been seen after all, and if he had, the man (for the shadow of broad, muscular shoulders suggested that it was a man) didn’t seem to care.  He was focused entirely on the little Saiyan wailing in the bassinet in front of him.  As Pazru watched, the man suddenly put his hand to his forehead and his eyes shut tightly as if in pain.  Kakarot’s cries intensified. The man shuddered and nearly collapsed against the glass. 


“Could it be?” Pazru thought to himself in wonder as the glare shifted and he caught sight of the spiky explosion of black hair covering the man’s head.  “He’s a Saiyan, that’s for sure, but is it who I think it is?”  Shaking his head violently, the Saiyan stood up straight and resumed staring at the wailing infant.  The overhead lights glinted off of the scouter he wore over his left eye; his eyes shifted, apparently looking at a reading displayed on the transparent green lens.  Pazru could tell by the way the man’s face twisted in disgust that he wasn’t happy with the scouter’s report.


 “It just has to be him.  Who else would care about the child’s power level except for his father?”  He watched as the Saiyan muttered something, the words blocked completely by the thick windows.  Pazru bolted for the door, hoping to catch him before he left.  He collided head on with the other man and landed on the floor in a heap, two teething rings flying out of his pocket as he fell.  They hit the ground with a soft plop and skittered across the floor.  Pazru groaned and lifted one hand to his aching head.  Stars flew in front of his eyes, but there was no mistaking who the man standing in front of him was. 


“Bardock…,” he whispered quietly.  The Saiyan’s eyes narrowed to tiny slits at the mention of his name, and he stared down menacingly at the young man lying in a crumpled heap at his feet.  He moved to step over the other man, but Pazru grabbed one of his leg warmers firmly.  “Bardock, your son,” he managed to spit out.  His vision swam with bright swirls of color and light and he fought to clear his head.  The towels had absorbed most of the impact, but Pazru knew without a doubt that he would be sporting a good many bruises on his back the next morning.  Elbow twinging painfully as he pushed himself up into a sitting position, he stared pleadingly up at Bardock, who had paused at Pazru’s last statement. 


“What about my son?” he said gruffly, a flicker of annoyance passing through his features, but his eyes betrayed him by glancing concernedly back in the direction of the nursery, from which Kakarot’s petulant cries could still be heard. 


Encouraged, Pazru replied, “No, not Kakarot.  You have another son, he—”


“What has Raditz done this time?” Bardock interjected wearily, the large scar on his cheek stretching white as his jaw tightened.  Pazru shook his head slowly and struggled to regain his feet. 


“No, not Raditz.  You have another son.  I’m…,” he stood up slowly and tottered dizzily for a moment, nearly falling into Bardock as he did so, “I’m taking care of him right now.  I need help, though.  He’ll be killed if he isn’t sent off planet soon. I need your help, I…” 


Pazru blinked and stared closely at Bardock, who hadn’t heard a word he had said by the looks of him.  Eyes glazed, the Saiyan stared blankly off into space.  Looking frustrated, Pazru waved his hand back and forth in front of his eyes.  With a strangled cry, Bardock suddenly snapped out of his trance-like state.  He pushed past the young man standing in his way and darted down the corridor, not looking back once.  Pazru, a startled look on his face, hit the wall with the force of the blow and sank to his knees.  The back of his head throbbed dully from where it had struck the cool metal and he rubbed at it weakly.  He looked down the hallway in the direction the Saiyan had headed, but Bardock had long since disappeared.  He momentarily considered getting up and heading after him, but his aching head told him it would be best to stay put until he could stand up without support. 


Pazru sighed.  Scleren had been right: Bardock didn’t care.  Either that or Plenthor had been right when he said that there was something amiss with the Saiyan’s brainwaves.  Pazru suspected that both doctors were correct.  Either way, it was pointless to keep trying to make contact with Bardock; the man obviously had other things on his mind.  Leaning on the wall heavily for support, Pazru rose shakily to his feet.  He stood still for a moment, willing away the galaxy of brilliant red stars that flashed before his eyes.  The young man stared down the corridor and his features clouded with anger.  Growling in frustration, he brought his fist crashing down onto the wall.  “Damnit!  Why did he have to blink out right when I was telling him the important stuff!” he thought angrily.  The two misplaced teething rings caught his eye, and once his knees had stopped shaking he kneeled to retrieve them.  He scrubbed away a few tiny specks of dirt from one of the circlets and then returned both to his pocket.


Kakarot’s cries echoed down the hallway from the nursery and Pazru, rubbing at his injured elbow gingerly, turned.  The baby was thrashing wildly about in the bassinet.  His voice was now a dry, rough croak.  A concerned look crossed the young man’s face and he moved to reenter the nursery.  Vivid and painful memories of the last time he had dealt with Kakarot flooded his mind and he paused a few steps away from the door panel.  Duty pulled at him, but Pazru suppressed the urge to go and comfort the child.  Feeling guilty, he turned away from the floor-to-ceiling windows and walked away from the nursery. 


“Sorry little guy, but anymore bruises and I’ll be unrecognizable.  Geez, what is it with me and the Saiyans lately?  It seems no matter what I do I just end up getting hurt.”  His face clouded and he quickened his pace.  A pair of intoxicated pod strip attendants, singing loudly and leaning heavily on each other for support, staggered past in him.  Their discordant voices bounced off the walls of the corridors.  


Frowning, Pazru stopped and stared back around at the direction he had come.  What exactly had caused Kakarot to react so violently?  He had made absolutely certain to be as quiet as possible.  The cycling air and sound-tight lid of the bassinet made it next to impossible for the baby to have heard him walking through the nursery, and the glare from the overhead lights would have obscured most of the surrounding room from view, so it was unlikely that Kakarot had caught sight of him walking by.  What was it then?  Pazru nibbled his lower lip in concentration.  Had Kakarot seen Bardock?  There was no way to know exactly when the child’s father had appeared, but he figured that the Saiyan had only been at the windows for a minute or two before he had caught sight of him standing there.  Kakarot had started crying shortly before that.  It would make sense that Bardock had been the cause, but it would have been impossible for the child to have seen him.  Pazru had just barely caught sight of the man standing behind the windows, the glare had been so fierce.  The light bouncing off of the bassinet lid as well as off the glass of the viewing windows should have rendered the corridor beyond the nursery invisible to the tiny Saiyan. 


“Could he have sensed his father’s presence then?” Pazru mulled over this thought for some time.  Another group of happily chattering complex employees turned down the corridor in which he was standing and he moved off to the side and out of their way without looking up once.  It was possible that Kakarot had sensed that Bardock was nearby; it was known that the bonds between two mated Saiyans extended past the physical realm and into that of extrasensory perception.  It wasn’t farfetched in the least that such bonds would exist between parents and children. 


“I wonder…,” he muttered out loud and began to jog down the hallway towards the vacant section of the complex, the concealed towels bumping against his bony hips.


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