Title: In Patris Via ("In the Way of the Father")
Fandom: Dragonball Z + Neko Majin Z
Pairing: None (Freeza and Kuriza-centric)
Word Count: 1,526
Warnings: "Icejin" parenting styles, mentions of an established relationship between two male-identifying, hermaphroditic characters
Freeza’s race was not a particularly fecund one, despite its longevity, so children were a rarity. The fact that King Cold had fathered two sons had always stunned those outside the royal family, especially when the princes had been born exactly three hundred years apart from each other. Such a rarity his birth was that, even now, whispered words were exchanged in the halls behind Freeza’s back that his birth had been the byproduct of genetic engineering and the combined efforts of King Cold’s fertility specialists.
Such rumormongers thought Freeza could not hear until he ripped out a few wagging tongues.
Freeza considered Cooler fortunate that he was deemed unfit to father children. He saw children as an extra responsibility he did not need—a liability who’s risks far outweighed the advantages—and it was one he was now expected to shoulder as the favored son.
It was not that his brother had been incapable of producing offspring, but rather that genetic testing had found him to be a dominant carrier of a weak immune system—something the royal family did not want affecting its future descendants.
The warlord chalked it up to luck, but in truth, Freeza had been too young to remember Cooler’s screams rocking the ship as their father ordered his forced sterilization.
King Cold hand picks his son’s consort to have favored genetic traits, and practically combs through his entire race to find the perfect specimen. Freeza doesn’t seem to particularly care one way or the other.
He feels no attachment whatsoever to what King Cold hopes will be his grandson’s future mother, nor does he even notice that his bedmate identifies as male rather than female when his father presents him to him. To Freeza, he is merely an end to an unpleasant mean—a body to warm his bed for however long it took for the prince to sire an offspring.
In fact, the only words he utters outside of any demands he makes for his partner to please him in bed is to inform his consort that he will not be the one carrying the child.
Contrary to whatever rumors have been spread around the ship, Freeza is present to witness his son’s birth, though it is not done through any perceived social responsibility or custom. He is there simply because he feels compelled to do so.
The royal midwives will later tell one another stories on just how eerie it was to watch the warlord observe the scene without a single trace of emotion crossing his features, sans for the quiet chuckle he gives off as he watches his consort writhe in acute agony.
When they finally hand the child to him, slick and screaming, Freeza merely feels the heft of the child’s weight before handing him back to the midwife with a curt “He’ll do,” before leaving the birthing room.
Inwardly, though, he is secretly pleased that his son was strong enough to kill his own mother in childbirth.
Freeza hardly looks at Kuriza for the first few weeks, simply because the squalling infant breaks whatever concentration the warlord may have had (“Like father, like son,” Cooler snorts one day, much to Freeza’s chagrin). Instead, he is content to let his father dote over his new grandson while he returns to his work.
However, the child refuses to stop screaming, and when Freeza can still hear his wails halfway across the ship, does the warlord storm in and utter his first words towards his son, slapping the infant across the cheek with two fingers:
“Brat, if you do not stop this incessant crying this instant, I’ll make sure you’ll never be able to use those vocal cords!”
The child never cries again.
Freeza quickly notices Kuriza instantly seems to quiet whenever he is in the room, and decides that the most practical thing to do to keep the infant settled is to bring him into whatever meetings the warlord has scheduled for that day.
While it takes a few days for his soldiers to get used to the sight of their leader in the war room with a baby at his hip, it does not seem to hinder Freeza’s progress in the slightest, and he briefs his men as if nothing is out of the ordinary.
However, when an enemy infiltrator makes a feeble attempt at Kuriza’s life, Freeza begins to rethink his decision...until the child claps his hands and smiles gleefully as his father tears out the man’s throat.
Before Kuriza can even properly form words in his own language, Freeza begins teaching him Universal. After all, Ician* won’t get anyone far at all in running the Planetary Trade Organization, and it is this fact that keeps the warlord from conversing to his son at all in his native language past infancy.
The language Freeza teaches him is stiff, formal, and unfailingly polite, and the child rebels against it at first, but any protests Kuriza may have had cannot be voiced simply because he lacked the vocabulary. But as all children, he picks up the language quickly, expressing his displeasure quite adamantly during his lessons, thrashing his tail against the floor whenever he could not find the proper word to convey his emotions.
Freeza quickly drives home the meaning of “Quit fidgeting” as well.
It isn’t until Kuriza one day tells him “Father, I have had quite enough of this inferior language. I request we move to learning other things,” without once stumbling over his words does Freeza begin teaching Kuriza his native tongue.
Freeza is a firm believer in the school of hard knocks, and makes no qualms about teaching his son the hard way. In fact, he makes it a point of doing so.
Wrapping his son up in an Imprisonment Ball and informing Kuriza that yes, they will indeed be playing a game of Yarden**, he kicks him across the ship for a few hundred yards.
Freeza catches his son before he hits any surrounding objects of course, as he’s not so callous as to let his own offspring die at such a young age on his first round of training; but as Kuriza grows older, Freeza becomes less inclined to catch the ball, ordering his son to find a way out of it before it explodes. More than once, after he’s saved his son from a few close calls, Freeza begins to entertain the notion of just letting Kuriza meet his own demise simply because the child seemed to be such a slow learner.
It isn’t until Kuriza escapes from the attack and successfully encases his father into an explosive ball of his own does Freeza begin thinking that perhaps the child isn’t as stupid as he seems.
All children must leave the nest at some point, and for Freeza, that point begins as soon as his son can reasonably keep his power in check.
There are no tearful goodbyes, and Freeza goes to great lengths to make sure his father and brother are not present to see Kuriza off. After all, there was no point in getting attached to the brat only to have him possibly wind up dead a few months later.
Indeed, short of Freeza coldly telling him, “Do not fail me,” the warlord offers no words of encouragement whatsoever. He does, however, send some of his lower-ranking men to watch over him with explicit instructions to send him reports of Kuriza’s progress every two weeks.
The last message he receives is while he is on Namek—his son’s frenetic voice hysterically informing him that all of his guard are dead and that he is overwhelmed by the sheer force of the natives’ resistance.
Freeza dies before he ever learns whether Kuriza managed to get himself out of his own mess.
When Freeza feels Kuriza’s energy signature arrive in Hell, he is so surprised that he allows Cell’s right cross to slip through his guard, causing the incoming fist to crash straight into his jaw.
The battle ends there, of course, mostly because Freeza turns around and leaves without any explanation whatsoever, and because Cell’s most certainly not stupid enough to go chasing after him.
There’s a crowd around his son when he arrives, of course, as newcomers retaining their bodies are rare instances, and everyone wants a good look...until Freeza destroys at least half the souls there to clear a path.
In manner of seconds, the tyrant takes stock of his son—far more frantically than someone as composed as he should, much to his chagrin: There is a faint bruise healing in the hollow of his cheek. He has a crack splitting the nail of his left pinky. He’s grown at least two inches...
There is no halo above his head.
“Hello, Father,” Kuriza says, his manner exceedingly polite, just as his father taught him. “I trust you have been well?”
In Hell, Freeza cries for the first time.
*Ician: The headcanon name for Freeza’s language.
**Yarden: A headcanon version of a childhood game common in Freeza’s race similar to soccer or kickball.