Between Battles

A Dragonball Z Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah

 

Note: This story contains adult themes and curses. This story also contains original scenes from DBZ. This was supposed to be a sort of follow up to Tram Vu’s “Don’t Be A Hero.” Some of her ideas have been incorporated into this story.

 

Revised October 10th 2001

 

     “What? You want 300 Gs!?!” Dr. Briefs almost swallowed his cigarette.

     “Yes.” Vegeta was oddly patient. “Kakarotto trained under 100 Gs, I want to triple that.”

     “That’s impossible! If you weighed 60 kilograms, under the force of 300 Gs you would weigh, 18 tons!”

     “I don’t care! Build it!” he lost his temper finally and barked at the old human before him.

 

*

     Yamcha leaned back in his seat and wrapped his arm over Bulma’s shoulder. The movie began; some cushy, girlie thing he thought she’d like. She didn’t lean into his shoulder like she usually did. He didn’t try to make out with her like he usually did. He stared at the screen, paying more attention to his own thoughts than the so-called plot. He could feel an old, familiar restlessness coming back. His throat tightened a little. He needed air.

     Outside, Yamcha panted and paced. His heart palpitated. It had just rained and cigarette smoke wafted on the humid breeze. Although he didn’t smoke, Yamcha had the sudden desire to suck down a pack or two. He turned and found the source: a beautiful, young, lone woman. 

 

     A half an hour later Bulma emerged from the theater and saw him before he saw her. She turned crimson. She clamped her jaw shut and stormed past him.

     “Bulma! Oh my gosh, I’m sorry, is it over already!?” Yamcha panicked. The other young woman turned her nose up at him and walked away. He couldn’t decide which woman to try to make stay. Bulma was already in the car.

     “Find your own damn ride home if you’re so popular!”

     “I... I..!” he stammered, then hung his head as she peeled out of the parking lot. “I can’t help it.”

 

*

     Three months after the young, purple-haired Saiyajin had arrived in his time machine and destroyed Furiza and King Cold, Yamcha began to feel uncomfortable living in the Capsule complex. Even with Bulma’s growing coldness and the unsettling presence of the Saiyajin Prince who had tried to kill him a few years ago, he still hung around.

     He fought with Bulma constantly now. In the good-old days they had had their fights, sure, but this was becoming war. He just couldn’t seem to get back early enough for her from his nights on the town or to keep his eyes from straying when they WERE together.

     She had locked him out of her room enough times that he had started to believe that it really wasn’t going to work out. Soon, they hardly saw each other much less had time to argue.

     He sought her out before taking off for the evening one Saturday night.  She was sitting in the living room watching TV. He came in and stood in the door-frame with his hands in his pockets.

     "Can we talk?" he tried to sound as benign as possible.

     "Huh?" Bulma looked up from her show. "Can it wait till this is over?" She pointed at the set.

     "Uh, sure." A bit defeated, he sat down and watched with her. "What are we watching?"

     "Star Trek," she mumbled. "It was supposed to be this weird, sci-fi show, but it’s easy to identify with it!"

     “Heh, yeah,” Yamcha laughed half-heartedly. The show went into commercial and Bulma noticed how dejected he looked.

     “Yeah, I guess we need to talk, huh?”

     He nodded.

     "I'm sorry. I guess, this just isn't going to work out after all."

     "Yeah," he sighed. Neither made eye-contact. "I've felt that way for a while now."

     "I know."

     "Bulma." He put on his most pathetic puppy dog eyes. "Is it ok if I stay here for a while, though? I don't really have anywhere to go."

     She shrugged. "Yeah, I guess so. I'll explode a guest house for you tomorrow."

     "Thanks."

     The commercials ended and she turned her attention back to the program. "Pointy ears," she scoffed, "they should get a load of Nameks!"

     Yamcha was a bit dazed by her reaction. 'After all the hysterics and throwing things, she's Miss Cool and Collected? What happened?' He got up and went to his room. As he passed by the kitchen door, he spied Vegeta loading up a tray full of snacks. He eyed him for a moment, until the Saiyajin gave him an icy look. Yamcha shook his head and continued upstairs.

     'Nah…'

 

*

     Her room was cool and dark in the twilight. She put a file-folder full of work on her vanity and removed her sweatshirt, letting it carelessly fall to the floor. A cleaning bot turned instantly on and wobbled out of its hiding place.

     “Gah! Stupid piece of junk!” she screamed, picked up a heavy technical manual and threw it at the unsuspecting droid. It moaned slightly before it ground to a halt. Bulma fell onto her bed and curled up into a ball.

     “I just want to be alone!” She stared out the large, floor-length windows that lead to her balcony at the coming darkness. The Western Capitol twinkled with life, but the lights in her room would remain off for the rest of the night.

 

*

     Yamcha’s guest house was just a few feet from the main house. He came and went freely through the kitchen, but rarely went further than that. One day, he heard the TV on in the living room and decided to see if Bulma was in. She wasn’t around, but a strongest man competition was on the TV. Yamcha sat down.

     He hadn’t relaxed in the vacant room but five minutes when the Prince appeared in the door-way. The men locked eyes. Yamcha froze, mid-surf. Vegeta held a whopping plate of cookies in one hand and a gallon of milk in the other. He glared at Yamcha and cleared his throat.

     “You’re in my chair,” he hissed.

     “There’s plenty of others, Vegeta.” Yamcha attempted bravery but his voice came out in a near whisper.

     “Yes,” Vegeta remained calm, “but you’re in my chair.” His face told Yamcha that if he valued his masculinity he’d get up. Now. Yamcha did so slowly, not taking his eyes off the Prince, like prey trying to escape a predator. He did not take another seat. Nor did Vegeta move. Yamcha was forced to squeeze by him through the door way, which he did carefully, so as not to touch him. Once he was gone, the Prince smiled evilly and took his chair back.

 

*

     One day, Bulma finished work on her latest project early and decided to go out to the garden to get some sun. She wore a tank-top and shorts and took the latest copy of Omni Magazine out with her. She faced the early afternoon sunlight. Even this perfect day couldn’t cheer her.

     It had been a long time since she had felt this way. Most of the time she felt angry or frustrated when she was with Yamcha, but without him, perhaps she felt nothing. As she was mulling over her emotions her eyes spied the distant form of a Saiyajin warrior. She had become accustomed to his presence, but paid special attention to him today as he walked slowly from the house to the lawn by the new 300-times-gravity room. Bulma’s thoughts trailed off as she stared at her unusual house guest through mirrored sunglasses.

     ‘He moves like an animal,’ she thought, ‘like a horse or a tiger.’ She shook her head but continued to watch him. He was going through a series of katas, perhaps also enjoying the warmth of the sun. Even from a few hundred yards, she could make out every single muscle on his bare arms. He wasn’t wearing his usual gloves. His hands glided deftly as he contorted his body around each maneuver.

     ‘Oh my God...’ Bulma gasped lightly. She laughed out loud a bit at the absurdity of the idea of the two of them as a couple. He stopped what he was doing and looked over his shoulder at her. She pulled the magazine up over her eyes and held her breath. When she lowered it he was gone, the gravity room door just slamming shut in his wake. She bit the top of the Omni, stared at the door and laughed out loud.

 

*

     In an unusual gesture of kindness, Bulma brought Vegeta dinner one night: a large quantity of food prepared by the Briefs’ personal chef. He neither spoke nor turned around to glare at her as she set the meal down. He toweled off from what must have been a very vigorous workout. Beads of sweat rolled off the back of his neck. He panted lightly.   “Thought you could use to eat something,” she said as she put it down. She waited for a comment, but got none. “Do you ever take a break?”

     “No.”

      “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

     “You could leave me alone.” He didn’t face her, but his brows came together.

     “Well, EXCUUUSE me for trying to be nice!”

     “Why bother, I’m a bad guy, remember?” he glanced at her, his lip raised.

     She stood her ground and studied his face. She had learned somewhere that men of few words were best read through the eyes. His mouth frowned as usual, his arms tightly crossed, but his eyes glistened with a remoteness that his coarse words could not mask.

     “Right,” she turned to leave. “Just let me know if you need anything.”

     “...”

     Bulma walked out and closed the door behind her. She paused and looked back at the spherical chamber. “For someone with so much pride, it must be so hard to be so completely alone.” She hugged herself and went back into the house.

 

     The Prince hung his head as the door clicked shut, relieved. He breathed a sigh and stared at the food she had brought him before eating it all.

 

*

     Vegeta forced himself up off the floor. The gravity room hummed and pulsed under the pressure. He positioned himself between the reflectors and shot a ki-beam out. The ball of energy ricocheted between the orbs, forcing the Prince to dodge his own attack. It was excellent training. Vegeta had ordered round after round of equipment from Dr. Briefs, who was only too happy to be challenged. This set seemed to be doing the trick quite nicely. He pushed himself to the point of exhaustion as the beam hurtled around. Soon, he was too winded to block and it bounced off a reflector and headed straight for his face.

*

     Mrs. Briefs brought a tray full of snacks into the living room.

     “Bulma-chan, I found a new cake shop! It’s too bad Goku-chan and Vegeta-chan are so busy with their training, they don’t come by anymore. You should invite them over!” Her voice practically twinkled.

     “Are you kidding? Vegeta’s a psycho! All he ever thinks about is fighting. I can’t imagine him having tea with us, Mom.” She picked up a puff-pastry and examined it.

     “That Vegeta-chan is so cute!” her ditzy mother exclaimed.

     “But Mother,” her husband teased, “I thought you liked Goku the best?”

     “Well, yes, but I like the feeling of living under the shadow of Vegeta. That and his wide forehead!”

     Bulma shook her head and went to take a bite of her pastry. A sudden shockwave sent the confection up her nose. Bulma wiped the cream from her face and ran out to see what the matter was.

 

     The gravity room lay in ruin. Yamcha came running from his house behind her. They cautiously approached the scene.
     “Vegeta!?” Bulma inched forward and called out. She was scared half out of her wits as a hand burst out of the rubble. She fell back, taking Yamcha out with her. Vegeta hauled himself out from under the rubble and stood up. “Vegeta, are you still alive?”

     “Obviously,” he muttered.

     She sighed, relieved and then began her tirade. “You could have blown up my house, you moron!”

     The Prince sneered, but before he could spit an insult at her, he collapsed.

     “VEGETA!” Bulma ran into the mess and pulled him into her lap.

     “Don't be stupid, you’re getting in the way of my training,” he managed to mutter.

     “You idiot! You call this training! You’re gonna kill yourself training this hard!”

     “This is nothing! I’m the strongest Saiyajin in the universe!” he glared at her through the eye that wasn’t swelled shut. “Soon I’ll surpass Kakarotto.”

     “Carrot, Vegetable, whatever. I don’t care, you just do what I say,” she said gently. It was an command, but she smiled as she said it.

     “Are you trying to order me around?” He wormed out of her grip and stood up, only to pass out and bail back down on the wreckage.

     “VEGETA!”

*

     Bulma stayed at the warrior’s bed-side all night. She was amazed that he had pushed himself so far. Machines assisted his breathing. His wounds were extensive, but the doctors had said he was healing rapidly for a human. She had suppressed her laughter then, but was in no such jovial mood now as she drifted off to sleep.

 

     She woke in the morning to a nurse pushing her shoulder. The bed was empty.

*

     “What do you think you’re doing!? Your injuries won’t heal properly!!” Bulma barked from the vid-window. Vegeta, still wrapped in bandages spun in the air, forcing his body to strain against the Gs and tried to ignore her.

     “What a noisy, low-class wench!” he grumbled to himself. This distracted him and he faltered. He hit the floor of the chamber like a ton of bricks.

     “See what I mean!?” she nagged. He didn’t answer. “Ha! See, I’m always right!”

     His eventual reply surprised her. “Do you want to die in three years?”

     “No, I’m too young and beautiful to die!”

     “THEN SHUT UP!!”

 

*

     Bulma soaked in the tub, a set of false cucumber slices on her eyelids. The day had seemed too long. Hours of soldering and peering at circuits and patches, something she was very used to doing had left her body a mess today. Her eyes felt so much better closed. She twisted her hands and cracked every bone.

     “Muuuuch better.” She let her mind float away. “Caaaaaalllgonnnnn!” Her favorite things danced in her head: small, expensive gourmet candies, accepting science prizes, pearls. She sighed fairly contentedly. The hot water and bubbles lulled her into relaxation. Bulma was so at ease that when the image of a muscular man came into her head, she allowed it to remain. He slowly came towards her. He touched her skin. A smile started to curl her lips.

     “Mmm.”

 

     Yamcha paced back and forth in his small house. He had just returned from a short training mission. Pu’ar was asleep. He was bored. He was lonely. When he got this way, there was only one thing he could think of that could make him feel better.

 

     He found her in the bathtub. He sneaked in silently. She seemed oblivious. She sunk down a little deeper under the bubbles and hummed lightly. Yamcha tip-toed towards her wearing a silly grin.

 

     Vegeta emerged from the gravity room startled to hear a woman’s screams. He ran to the house as fast as he could.

     “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry!!!” Yamcha hollered as he ran out the back door. He was looking over his shoulder when Vegeta reached out and grabbed him by the neck. Yamcha swung around in the air, surprised to see both his feet off the ground before realizing what had happened. He choked as he tried to scream. Any of the defenses he had learned over his years of training were rendered useless against the enraged Saiyajin.

     “What have you done?!?!” the Prince shook him vigorously. Yamcha coughed but could not explain himself.

     “What are you doing?! Vegeta, put him down!!” Bulma appeared at the door wearing a towel and holding a frying pan.

     “I thought...” he began, but saw that she was all right. He became cross. ‘If this is some kind of kinky sex game, I’ll kill them both.’

     “PUT HIM DOWN,” she demanded again. He did so, reluctantly. “He just made a mistake, didn’t you Yamcha?!”

     He gasped for air. “Yeah, mistake, sorry.”

     Bulma noticed Vegeta was staring at her and blushed. She wrapped the towel tighter around herself and felt the tingle she had felt earlier in the week when she saw him covered in sweat. Yamcha attempted to apologize and drew Bulma’s attention back to the situation at hand.

     “Show’s over, boys. Good night.” She slammed the door. Vegeta scowled at Yamcha and he slunk away.

     “Women and fools,” he snorted.

 

*

     Ever since the gravity room exploded, Bulma found that Vegeta was on her mind every hour of the day. At first, this simply annoyed her and she wrote it off to anger.

     She took some time off work and spent many hours thinking. She wanted to know what he did, when he slept, what he liked to eat. He wasn’t just some monstrous bad guy. He was a Prince without a people. He was alone. Besides Goku, he was the last of his race. He never showed it, but he was miserably lonely. His eyes gave him away, and she was probably the only person on the planet who had the courage to stare him down to see it. Be he was also a proud man, and she knew he would not accept her pity.

     She filled her days like this, contemplating her strange house-guest. It patched a hole that badly needed fixing in her heart. When she thought about Vegeta, she didn’t think about herself, unless she thought about them both.

     The idea was beginning to grow on her.

    

     Bulma’s pride rested in the fact that she was a very intelligent woman. It didn’t take her long to formulate a plan to alleviate Vegeta’s loneliness and hopefully her own at the same time.

      He had so far rebuffed all her attempts at conversation, so she decided that she was speaking the wrong language. She began a regimen of traditional flirting with the warrior for a week. She wore suggestive clothing when she brought him dinner, asked him to do her favors and thanked him coyly when he agreed. She dropped what she thought to be blatantly obvious hints, seemingly to no avail.

     One morning at breakfast she even bent at the waist in her short bathrobe to pick something up when she KNEW he was watching. When she straightened and saw that he was gone she was irate.

     “What are you, dead?!” Bulma stomped over to the gravity chamber, hormones raging. Using the exterior keypad, she shut it off and opened the door.

     Vegeta was standing at the central control column, trying to turn it back on. He heard her come in and swung to confront her. He was not amused.

     “What do you want that is so important that you feel it necessary to interrupt me?!”

     Bulma closed the door behind her. She shook inside, but smirked seductively and slinked over to him. She stopped just inches from him and stared into his dark eyes. Vegeta noted her odd behavior and his pulse adjusted accordingly. She got right up in his face. She lowered her eyelids and her voice.

     “You.”

     “...!?!” He was shocked. For months this man who thought he was strong had suppressed every fleeting desire for her, which were many and frequent. He had pushed all thoughts of ever even touching her aside. There were many arguments for staying away from her: she was good, he was evil; she was loud and bossy; she was human for Kami’s sake! He suddenly couldn’t think now why he had...

     “Hello? Earth to Vegeta.” She leaned in and whispered in his ear. “I... want… you.”

     “Woman, you don’t know what you’re asking,” he managed to eek out at a near whisper.

     “Did I ask?” Bulma replied and dropped her robe. She stood in front of him in her white panties and waited for a response. ‘Why isn’t he doing anything?!’

     Vegeta’s jaw mimicked the robe. His hands clenched into fists. He sucked in his breath and squeezed his eyes shut for a moment. ‘There’s got to be a catch!’ He gazed at her breasts. ‘Oh, hell.’ He swallowed hard. “If you say so.”

     His fists unclenched. He reached out gingerly and touched her skin for the first time. His callused fingers grazed her shoulders and traced the curve of her body down to her waist. In the strange light of the chamber he saw the difference between his own tanned skin and her alabaster complexion. She was like a doll. ‘Not a muscle on her.’ he thought. She was weak; a frail thing that needed his protection. He drew her to him and felt the same shiver he felt every time he let his eyes linger on her, only multiplied infinitely. It thrilled him and terrified him at the same time. The reasons he had kept his distance floated out of his consciousness as he felt her press up against his bare chest.

     Bulma closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around him slowly. He was hard where she was soft. He was dirty where she was clean. She had never thought that she could be with a man a full three inches shorter than she, but she tossed this prejudice as he reached down, grabbed her thighs, lifted her up, kissed the meeting of her neck and shoulder blades and slowly began working his way down. She gasped and stared at his thick, wild black hair. She pushed her face into it and felt its coarseness.

     Vegeta had woken up every so often with her image still hanging on, but had shaken it off, again and again. He wouldn’t anymore. He walked with her still on his hips to the gravity machine and set her down on its titled surface. With one hand he tore off her underwear. She cried out, but not in anger or fear. He gave her a look that made her quiver all over. He let his Saiyajin nature overcome him.

*

     “Ohmygod,” she panted when they had finished. “Oh... mygod.”

     He pulled his pants back on and ran a hand through his hair. “You asked for it,” he smirked.

     “Ha ha.” Bulma tried to stand but needed his help to get to her feet. He offered her his hand. Bulma took it and he lifted her effortlessly. She blushed, put her robe back on and went to the door.

     “Again later?” he murmured as he went back to his workout.

     “Oh yeah.”

*

     Yamcha noticed that Bulma was unusually cheerful when he came into the kitchen looking for lunch. She hummed to herself and didn’t seem to notice he was even there.

     “Yappari anata wa utsugiri na otoko no hito na no ne?” she sang as she danced around the table on tiptoe. She took a glass from a cabinet and filled it with iced tea. Yamcha sat at the table and munched on some sesame snacks.

     “What are YOU so happy about?”

     She ignored him.

     Dr. Briefs scuttled silently into the room and made for the coffee pot. Yamcha eyed the old man. He smirked at a perfect opportunity to embarrass Bulma.

     “D’ja get laid or something?”

     “As a matter of fact...” she sang and tried to rub it in. “Daddy! Hey! Hi there!” She juggled the glass, managing to spill only half of it.

     The scientist looked at them both and shrugged to the small black cat on his shoulder.

     Yamcha smirked as the old man departed. The next thing he knew he was sprawling on the floor. Bulma hovered over him, her first still clenched. With her eyes closed she berated him. “Next time you feel like being cute, don’t let your guard down!” She stepped over him.

     “Well then, I take it you did?” he mumbled from the floor.

     Bulma proceeded to do a fairly decent job of beating the tar out of him. She was interrupted by laughter.

     Vegeta stood next to the fridge, arms folded, laughing his ass off. She let Yamcha go. He jumped to his feet and left the kitchen awkwardly.

     “How much of that did you hear?” she blushed.

     “Hear?” he chuckled. “I don't care what he thinks!”

     She pouted momentarily, but soon began smiling secretively. She jerked her eyebrows twice. He raised his left one inquisitively. She rolled her head to the side. He raised the other brow. She huffed, annoyed and started up the stairs. He watched her go, not wanting to presume. She stopped and looked back at him. She rolled her head again, this time more emphatically. He smirked and using his ki, flew up the stairs, grabbing her on the way. Bulma let out a surprised but playful shriek as he whisked her to her bedroom.

     Mrs. Briefs walked around the corner just as they vanished. She was startled by the sound. “Honey?” she inquired.

     Nothing.

     She shrugged and hummed to herself as she filled up a watering can at the bar-sink.

 

     Later, Bulma flopped down in front of the television. Outside, her mother danced by the long, rectangular window with a watering can. Bulma surfed the 500 some-odd channels, settling finally on a documentary about tigers. Although the beasts were chasing and devouring prey, Bulma wore a large, cheesy grin.

     Yamcha plopped down next to her. She didn’t seem to notice. He looked from the TV to her and back again a few times.

     “You did get laid, didn’t you!!”

     Dr. Briefs popped in the doorway with a snack on the word “laid” and popped right back out again without a change in expression. Scratch, the cat, looked confused.

     Bulma nodded.

     “Just now?!”

     Nod.

     “With, him!!?!?”

     Nod.

     Yamcha fell over the back side of the couch. She ignored him and continued to watch the tigers. The scene changed to one of an antelope giving birth.

     “Ugh!” she cried and quickly changed the channel.

     “…With more, here’s our own Nomiya Maki.”

     “Thanks Bob, the Auto Show is coming to Satan City! And not only are we able to see the latest in automotive technology.”

     Bulma smiled to see the reporter motion to the latest Capsule model.

     “The classics are here too! Some of them are now considered antiques! Come on down and see the fabulous cars that some men would say are better than sex.”

     “Ha!” she laughed so hard she nearly choked. She munched on some microwave popcorn and wondered what Vegeta thought about cars.

 

*

     A man in a dark blue suit was announcing the next speaker; the latest Capsule car in his hand.

     “Ladies and gentlemen, to tell us more about what to expect from Capsule in the coming year, it’s my pleasure to present, second only to her father at the Capsule Corporation, Director of Production, Ms. Bulma Briefs!”

     There was a considerable amount of applause. Vegeta watched her speak. She wore a rather short skirt with her suit that he thought must have gotten a lot of the mostly male audience’s praise. This made him uneasy and angry. For some reason he didn’t want anyone looking at her like some of them were doing. He shook his head a little as if to clear the thought. The crowd hung on her every word. Although the Prince was proficient in her language, he hardly understood a word she said.

     “Blah blah new blah, Bu-blah blah 964 blaaa, blahblahblah.”

     He got bored and decided to wander. ‘Make me come out here, for what? To bore me to death?’ He stood with his arms crossed in front of the Number 964 Capsule car she was speaking about and turned his nose up at it. It was sleek, rounded, efficient, versatile: all the things that were popular this year. Even in the most popular shade of grey.

     “Uck.”

     “What, you don’t like it?” Bulma came up behind him.

     “No.”

     She humphed and crossed her arms, but dropped them when she saw that he was doing the same thing. “Come here.” Bulma turned and walked towards the antiques.

     “Why?”

     “Just come here! You’ll like these.”

    

     The classics glittered like gems. Vegeta’s expression softened somewhat from abhorrence to tolerance as he stepped into the presence of such beauty. He strolled with her through the aisles hardly hearing (much less understanding) a word she said about their specs.

     They passed Lamborghini, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Audi, Mercedes, Daimler/Benz, Ford; Italian, English, American cars; classically beautiful sedans, coups, roadsters, convertibles, even trucks; all grace with gleaming paint and chrome. The Prince stopped in front of a particular car. Bulma saw that she had lost her audience.

     He was entranced. She knew that look. She leaned towards him, smirked and whispered. “It would be really inappropriate to have sex with a car.”

     He stepped onto the island. Bulma waved the approaching security guard away. ‘What a mistake that would be!’ she thought as she pictured the over-weight human trying to tell the Saiyajin killing machine to ‘step away from the vehicle’. Vegeta ran his hand over the rounded passenger side head-light. Bulma shuddered.

     “What’s it called?” he asked over his shoulder, not taking his eyes off its dark blue paint which tricked him into thinking it was black. Its top was down. The cream-colored seats exposed, in perfect condition for their age. The wooden steering wheel and instrument panel gleaming, unmarred by a single finger-print.

     “The 1959 Aston Martin DB 2/4 mark II Spider.”

     “Spider…” he repeated.

     “Also known as… ‘Yours’.”

     “...?!” he spun and stared at her. She ripped a check from her check-book and handed it to an elated British man who ran off hooting his joy to the rest of the convention.

 

     They tore through the streets of Satan City. Bulma cheered wildly as the convertible charged home. The vanity license plate simply read: “SAIYAN”.

*

     Evening came and the gravity chamber stood empty. Bulma’s work-space was cluttered with the things she hadn’t gotten to working on. The Aston Martin clinked as its engine cooled in the garage.

     Bulma lay sprawled across her bed, exhausted and panting. Vegeta stroked her hair and kissed her all over; everywhere but her mouth. Bulma noticed this, but lacking the energy, did not attempt to rectify the situation. He lay against her bare, sweat-covered skin, tracing his fingers around her curves. “So like the car,” he whispered.

     His thoughts wandered and he realized that he had hardly trained all day. He glanced at the clock. 1:10 AM. He breathed in her scent one more time and got up. She managed to roll over and grab his arm as he was getting dressed.

     “No,” she protested, “stay.”

     “What?” he moaned.

     “Stay with me, all night.”

     He turned his back to her, shrugged her off and pouted. She was demanding a lot of him recently and he had been giving in too frequently.

     His father had, in a rare moment, warned him about women. They were treacherous. They could lull a man into obedience, weakening him until she had complete power over him. One had to be strong when it came to women. They were good for few things, but those few things were enough to make the ongoing battle against them worth fighting.

     Men had to treat women as the enemy at all times or else they would become slaves to their whims. Vegeta was no woman’s slave, especially not a human woman!

     “I’m not your plaything,” he spat.

     “What?” Bulma sobered.

     “You heard me. Just because you buy me a car and spread your legs for me, doesn’t mean you own me. You can’t tell me what to do.”

     Bulma stared at his back. Her jaw dropped. Time stopped, painfully. Seconds dragged to hours. Her heart sank. She pulled the loosely strewn sheet over her nudity and hugged herself.

     “Get out,” she whispered, hardly able to speak.

     He lingered for a moment as he pulled on his shirt.

     “GET OUT!!!” Bulma screamed. Without further insult, the Prince walked out and closed the door behind him.

     Her mind reeled. ‘What just happened? Am I having a nightmare? I thought... I thought...’ She slammed her fists down on the mattress. “Son of a BITCH!!!”

    

     Bulma ran, wearing only an oversized tee shirt, through the garage door. She was hyper-ventilating; her face a mask of pure rage. She flicked on the lights as she jumped over the threshold and went to the wall of tools. She grabbed a sizable sledge-hammer, whirled and hefted it over her head. She glared at the Aston Martin with an hateful gleam in her eye.

     “FUCK YOU VEGETA!!!” she screamed, but hesitated. She could not force herself to bring the mallet down on the glistening auto. “Ohhh,” she groaned, “I can’t destroy you...” The mallet thudded to the ground behind her. Still seething mad, Bulma looked around till a light went on in her head. She eyed the wall of tools evilly and turned to face the car.

*

     “Gee, Vegeta, I’d love to, but it’s the middle of the night!” Goku stood, silhouetted by his front door, in his pajamas. He yawned and scratched his head. Chi-Chi trembled behind him.

     “Now Kakarotto, or I’ll blow your house and your pitiful excuse for a mate to SMITHEREENS!!!” The Prince powered up.

     “What’s going on?!” Gohan ran to his father and glowered at Vegeta.

     “It’s ok, Gohan. I’ll handle this.” Goku got serious. He dipped back into the house for an instant and re-appeared wearing his gi. “Let’s go.”

     The men blasted off for the interior. Gohan held his mother as she shook. “What was that all about? It’s so late. Why is Vegeta so mad all of a sudden?”

     Chi-Chi had no answers.

 

     “We don’t have to do this, you know. We’re on the same side now, Vegeta. We have a common enemy.”

     “I can’t believe what I’m hearing! Humanity has made you into a sniveling weakling! If you don't want to fight, why did you agree?!”

     “You threatened my family.” Goku glared at him. “You called Chi-Chi names! Nobody who says stuff like that gets away without at least a tussle. Like how I’m sure I’d get the beating of my life from you if I called Bulma trash.”

     “What are you babbling about?” he pried. “I don’t care about that woman.”

     Goku panicked and tried to cover. “Uh, er, that‘s not what I heard! Chi-Chi said you guys were…” Goku attempted to make a hand gesture to indicate sex, but flubbed it, horribly.

     “Were what?”

     “You know… doing it.”

     “Since when is my private life part of your dinnertime conversation!?!”

     “Since you started banging my best friend?” he offered.

     “That’s it! Enough yammering!!” The Prince flew at his ‘enemy’.

*

     Bulma worked into the morning. At 8 AM Dr. Briefs heard a commotion in the B-1 garage and popped in to see what was up.

     “Whatcha upto Punkin?”

     “Revenge.”

     “Need any help?”

     “No.”

     “Okeedoke.”

*

     “I’m tired Vegeta,” Goku yawned. His stomach growled. “And hungry. Can we stop now?”

     Vegeta was pretty ragged out. He answered by powering down.

     “Whew,” Goku sighed. ‘Finally.’ “That was fun, but next time, can we do it during the day?”

     No answer.

     “Whelp. I gotta run. Chi-Chi’s prob’ly worried sick!” He turned to go, but looked over his shoulder at Vegeta. “I bet Bulma is too.”

     “I doubt that,” he was surprised to hear himself mumble.

     ‘Ah!’ Goku thought. ‘I didn’t screw up! They are together and for whatever reason, he’s in the doghouse!’ he stretched and smiled. “Not that you’d listen to anyone’s advice..”

     The Prince dusted himself off, lingering; listening.

     “Apologize.” Goku teleported before Vegeta could pummel him.

     “Apologize!?! Hell no! What did I do!?” he grumbled. Vegeta looked in the direction of Capsule Corp. Something in him suddenly felt pinched. Whatever this disturbance was, he hated it. He hated the unfamiliar. It was as if a psychic message was being sent to him, or he was remembering something long forgotten, or someone was talking about him somewhere far away; one of those strange feelings that you can’t accurately describe even though it’s happening to you. He decided to get as far away from its apparent origin as he could.

*

     5 PM. Bulma nodded off. She jerked her head back up and looked around. She was kneeling in the middle of the garage where the Spider used to be. Around her, arranged meticulously in a circular pattern, were all of the parts of the automobile, in order of size, color and shape rather than importance or sequence. It was a work of art. The engine block hung safely above her head. She held the last part in her hand. She wound the nut off the bolt.

     “Now it’s just like me.” She stared at the tiny piece of metal and threw it, hard, at the garage door. It clanged off the surface and rolled into a corner. Bulma sighed deeply and made to get up to retrieve it, but found that her legs were completely asleep.

     “Fuck,” she hissed, as the pain waved through her. Brushing a segment of a concentric circle of parts away with her arm, she laid down in the fetal position. “Damn you,” Bulma whispered to the silence and wept, “damn you…”

 

*

     Less than two years remained until the Artificial Humans were to arrive. Vegeta woke one morning from uneasy dreams in the forest he had called home for the last few months. His beard had grown in (as much of a beard as a Saiyajin could grow) and his clothes were tattered and filthy. He stood, stretched and went to the river bed to wash up. At the bank, he crossed his arms and breathed deep. He glanced down and caught a glimpse of his reflection in an eddy. The image of his father, King Vegeta frowned back at him from the black water. The Prince gasped and touched his own face.

*

     Later that day, far from the forest, Goku and Piccolo stood back to back on the tip of a mountain, miles high above the earth. Wind blew Goku’s hair and the Namek’s unrestricted antennae. This serene picture was interrupted by the eight year old Gohan as he appeared out of nowhere and took on both men at once.

*

     Chi-Chi sighed as she swept the last bit of dust out the front door. She pulled her sweater from around her neck and put it on to protect herself from the chill. She repeated a phrase she hated, but used frequently these last few years.

     “Hurry home, Gohan. Hurry home, Goku.”

*

     Bulma woke late again and groggily got dressed in some jeans and a Capsule sweat shirt. She shivered as she put on her slippers. Her mind wandered to the point where she wasn’t thinking about anything. She found herself staring at the unkempt bed. Bulma furrowed her brows. The window side of the bed was still tucked in. She had been sleeping only on the left side. “What the hell’s wrong with me?” she asked out loud. The word ‘Vegeta’ echoed in her ears. “No! This can’t be because of him! I hate him! I hope I never see his sour face again!”

     “Who are you trying to convince, honey?” Mrs. Briefs asked as she popped in with a laundry basket.

     Bulma blushed purple and ground her teeth. Her mother had a knack of catching her talking to herself. “NO ONE!!”

     “Oh Kaay...” She flitted back out as silently as she had come.

     Bulma went to the tall window that lead out to her balcony. Vegeta had used this window months ago to sneak in to her room late at night. She put her hand to the cool glass and pouted out at the Capsule complex. “I cannot miss him,” she hissed, and locked the window.

 

***

     Chi-Chi sipped her tea and listened as Bulma rambled on about the weather and what she and her father had been guessing about the Artificial Humans. The younger woman could tell that something else was bothering her.

     “How’s Yamcha? I bet you’re happy to have him back after all this.”

     Bulma choked a bit on a biscuit. “Um, well, I was. We broke up.”

     She explained to her friend that he was fickle and would never be able to live up to her needs. She almost mentioned that she had begun to think that Vegeta might have been able to, but froze. His words reverberated in her head and stung with the same intensity as they had months ago.

     “What’s wrong, Bulma? Did Yamcha hurt you?”

     Bulma looked into her caring friend’s eyes and broke down. “Not Yamcha,” she breathed deep, “Vegeta.”

     Chi-Chi stared, unblinking at her for almost a half an hour as Bulma unraveled her strange story. When it was done, Chi-Chi held her hands as Bulma cried like a baby.

     “How could he say something like that!? He IS a monster! A horrible alien with no feelings!”

     “Shhh...” Chi-Chi soothed. “Men are aliens.”

     Bulma laughed a bit at this. “Our men are, anyway, heh...”

     “The trick is to understand them before they get frustrated trying to understand US. They will NEVER understand us. That’s our advantage and our curse.” She got up and made more tea as she talked. “It sounds to me that Vegeta felt that he was losing control of his life. He proclaimed that you didn’t have possession over him. Why would he say that unless he felt like he was becoming your possession?”

     Bulma blew her nose and shrugged.

     “…To get out of the situation as quickly as he could, he decided to give you a wake-up call. It obviously worked. You cast him out of Eden. He’s free.”

     “Whooptido!” Bulma became hysterical again.

     “Shhhh. I’m not done yet. He’s gone. You haven’t seen hide nor hair of him for months. He hasn’t even trained in the gravity room since then. I know that he wants nothing more in this world that to be number one, to defeat my Goku. Why would he give up a three-hundred times Earth’s natural gravity training room just because a human woman told him to leave?”

     “I… I dunno,” she hiccupped.

     “Because he feels, somehow, that he can’t show his face around here.” Chi-Chi paused to let Bulma figure out where she was going.

     “He… he’s, ashamed?”

     “Perhaps. Maybe he feels rotten for having upset you so much.”

     “You’re joking.”

     “Well, it’s just a hunch. The last time I saw him, he was banging on my door. He made Goku-san fight with him all night. It seems to me it was right around the same night that you kicked him out.”

     Bulma sighed.

     “Feel better?”

     “A little. It makes me feel better to think he’s out there somewhere feeling shitty.”

     The women laughed.

     “I’m actually not as surprised as I was when you first said you and Vegeta were... you know.”

     “Why?”

     “Of all the women on this planet you’re probably the only one tough enough to handle a man like that!”

     “Well, I’m not doing a very good job right now,” she pouted.

     “Yes well, it’s his turn now. He has to come to you.”

     “Do you think he will?” Bulma took the fresh cup of tea Chi-Chi offered.

     “I don’t know, Bulma. I don’t know.”

*

     Bulma climbed into bed that night, exhausted from traveling and crying and talking to Chi-Chi all day. She pulled the covers up to her chin and huddled for warmth, although the house was always temperature-controlled at about 70 degrees.

     ‘He has to come to you.’ Chi-Chi’s words haunted her. “He’ll never come back,” Bulma whimpered, “that stubborn, self-righteous, pig-headed...”

     Suddenly she heard a scratching at the window and froze. She turned her head slowly to face the balcony. ‘It can’t be...’

     The silhouette was unmistakable. The Prince hovered outside, one hand raised, tapping gently on the fragile glass. Bulma leapt out of bed and stood with her hands on her hips, trembling, trying to decide whether or not to let him in. ‘It must be 20 degrees out there!’ she thought as she approached the window. She scowled at his darkened form in the starlight and unfastened the lock. He hesitated in the open window.

     “Well, are you gonna come in or not!? It’s freezing outside in case you didn’t know!”

     He dug his fingers into his crossed arms, but complied. He touched down on the soft carpet and closed the window behind him.

     “What do you want?” she demanded.

     He was silent.

     “Well!?!” Bulma tried to hide her nervousness. She couldn’t tell what he was after. It was so dark, she could hardly see him. She let out an exasperated sigh and went to turn on a light.

     “Don’t!” he cried out and startled her.

     “Why not? It’s pitch black in here!” She turned it on and looked back to him. He squinted a little in the brightness. Bulma let out a short shriek. She didn’t expect to see him like that, unshaven and dirty, like he’d been living outdoors for a few months.

     ‘Oh my god, what the hell happened to you?’ she thought, still too mad at him to show any concern. She saw his eyes flash in such a way that it made her think that he was embarrassed.

     She wasn’t the only one who could read eyes, however. He saw her shock and gritted his teeth thinking she might pity him. He wanted this over as soon as possible. “I want to use the gravity chamber.”

     She blinked a few times at him. ‘He’s asking my permission?’

     He cleared his throat to break the silence. “I cannot defeat the Jinzoningen if I don’t.”

     “Of course,” she turned and thought hard about what to say. “You can use the chamber. You can stay in it as well. You will not set foot in any other Capsule building.”

     He didn’t answer. She felt her tears welling up, but forced them back down with anger. She turned to make certain he was still there before giving him a piece of her mind.  “And if you ever say anything like what you said to me again...” Tears flashed in her eyes.

     It was like a knife to his heart. Vegeta gnashed his teeth. “I’m sorry,” the Prince murmured almost inaudibly. His expression remained in the same, stoic frown.

     She was completely taken by surprise and struggled not to show it. “I don’t think I’m ready to forgive you yet.” She turned her back to him rather than have to hide her emotions. She heard the window open and felt the chill of the wintry air.

 

*

     By the time summer came, Vegeta had improved incredibly. He was able to train without difficulty under the pull of 300 times Earth’s normal gravity. Every once in a while he would drop in on Goku, Gohan and Piccolo’s training and play “bad guy”. They were amazed at his progress, but Goku was still a super-Saiyajin. Vegeta returned to his chamber continually on the brink of unconsciousness. He needed to push himself further. He wasn’t even near being able to break the envelope. It drove him insane to think that his hair would never glow with gold as Goku and the Mirai boy’s had, that he would never know the power. Although Kakarotto babbled continually about quieting his heart, the Prince ignored him. It had nothing to do with emotion! He needed power, not ridiculous human sensitivity!

     He woke late after one such encounter and groggily crawled out into the sunshine. He made his way into the kitchen. Bulma had allowed him to have access to this room only so she wouldn’t have to wait on him. She happened to be passing through at the moment he opened the door. Their eyes met briefly but neither said a word, the same way they had every day since his return.

     She was getting tired of this. Silence. She wished he would say something, anything. She stole glances at him as he raided the pantry. He looked exhausted. Today. She would break the silence today.

 

     The afternoon came and Vegeta’s energy level improved, but he still couldn’t shake the feeling of having had the crap kicked out of him the night before. He emerged from the gravity room and tried exercising in the sun. In the middle of one-handed push-ups he opened his eyes and noticed that someone was standing there.

     “Hey,” she said innocently. “How’s it going?”

     He ignored her and continued, beginning to sweat a considerable amount more.

     “I was wondering if you’d join me.”

     “For what?” he grumbled, still not looking up.

     “I want to go into the city to get some ice cream. It’s so nice outside today.”

     Vegeta stood and frowned at her. ‘Doesn’t talk to me for months and all of a sudden she’s inviting me places?’ he thought. “What’s ice cream?”

     Bulma stared at him for a beat. “Cream, ice. It’s sweet. You’d like it.”

*

     He was surprised to see the car in one piece. Bulma muttered something about it running even better than it had the day it was built. They took the Aston Martin to a place called Happy Clown Ice Cream. ‘It’s a good damn thing he can’t read!’ she thought. She ordered for them both.

     “I’ll have a small vanilla and the largest chocolate you got.”

     He liked it. He wouldn’t admit it, but the cone was gone before she finished hers. He leaned up against the side of the car and waited for her to finish. Bulma noticed a young couple sharing a shake, felt her heart pinch and quickly looked away. Her eyes rested next on a man, a woman and baby. She shuddered and threw the rest of the cone away. She sighed and turned to him.

     “Vegeta, I think I’m ready.”

     “Good, let’s go.”

     “No, that’s not what I mean.” She stood in front of the driver’s side door to prevent him from getting in. “I mean I’m ready to forgive you. I mean, I forgive you, Vegeta. I want us to be friends.” They stood in silence, both looking at the other’s feet.

     The Saiyajin took her hand and lead her to the passenger side of the car. He opened the door and she got in without an argument. She didn’t know what he was doing, but was so emotionally terrified that she went along. He got behind the wheel and drove her home.

 

     The roadster pulled into the garage. They got out. Bulma had been trying to anticipate his next move, but just made herself more nervous doing so. Her next thought was to run like hell. Then he grabbed her.

     Vegeta pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her. She gasped with shock and relief. They hugged for a few minutes in the dim light of the garage, neither speaking.

 

     That night and for many nights thereafter, they slept together. He stayed, all night. He was always gone before she woke in the mid-morning. His regimen stared before the sun rose and Bulma was not a morning person. He wouldn’t condescend to use the door. Vegeta entered via the tall window every time. This was fine with her. With Yamcha still hanging around and her poor parents wondering at her happy demeanor it was better that way. Vegeta seemed to know when she didn’t want him around, as well. She never had to tell him no, which was a good thing, she thought, because she didn’t know if she could tell him no!

 

     One particularly long night, several months into their routine, after six rounds, Vegeta stared down at her for a while. His hair bent slightly downwards and he grinned as he scrutinized her. She noticed this and gave him a puzzled look. He lay on top of her, balancing most of his weight so as not to crush her and kissed her very gently on the forehead. She melted.

     Bulma never asked anything of him. He did so much, she wanted for nothing, but right then she wanted him to kiss her on the lips for once. He never did. He’d kissed every square inch of her body, but avoided her lips every time. She reached up to grab his head and force him to, but he grabbed her wrists and lifted her arms above her head. He laughed lightly. She put up a futile struggle in his grip but abandoned it quickly.

     “I think you’re ready now,” he purred and positioned himself for another go.

     “Ready?” she grumbled. “For what?”

     She got no answer and he made love to her harder, stronger and longer than he ever had before.

 

     When she could see straight and breathe normally she looked over to Vegeta. His chest rose and fell gently. She rolled over and sidled up to him. He was fast asleep.

     “What did you do?” Bulma whispered and reached out to him. She put her left arm over his chest and snuggled up close, burying her face in his shoulder. “That was incredible. I’m still shaking and it’s been a half an hour.”

     “Then maybe I was wrong,” he murmured.

     She wasn’t surprised that he was awake. You couldn’t touch this man while he was sleeping and expect that he wouldn’t be on guard. “What are you talking about?”

     “Maybe you’re not up to my level yet. We’ll have to work on that.”

     She blushed and wanted to curse him out, but smiled instead. That was amazing, but there was more, so much more he could do.

 

*

     “Bulma, please, come in!” Chi-Chi beamed as she admitted her guest. She was wearing an apron and had a spatula in her hand. “Lunch is almost ready!” Bulma took a seat and watched her friend make six or seven dishes at once.

     “Wow Chi-Chi, looks like you’re expecting Gohan and Goku too!”

     “Huh?” she blinked and looked at the amount of food she was making. “Oh my goodness. I can’t seem to break the habit.” She looked a little sad.

     “It’s ok, Chi-Chi. I’m actually really hungry.”

     “You are?”

     “Oh yeah.”

     “Oh good!” she recovered and began serving Bulma food, which she consumed in earnest. Between the two of them, hardly a scrap was left.

     “So,” Chi-Chi stared at her friend as she cleared dishes away and brought tea. “How have you been?”

     “Well, much better. Sort of.”

     “Sort of? I thought you and Vegeta were doing great.”

     “We are… so far. I don’t know how ‘great’ it’s gonna be when he finds out.” She grimaced and touched her hand to her stomach.

     “Oh my god, Bulma. You’re pregnant!”

*

     “This should do it.” Dr. Briefs slapped a circuit panel closed and patted the gravity machine. “This puppy’ll crank to 450 now. I must say you’re a mighty impressive fella, Vegeta. When you asked me to make the 300 I thought you were nuts. I know you’ll be fine with 450,” he turned to leave.

     “Thanks.” the Prince muttered sincerely.

     “Hey, no prob.”

     The door closed and Vegeta got down to business. ‘Soon,’ he thought, ‘soon I will break the barrier.’

*

     “I went to the doctor just last week, but he’s a little baffled. I don't even know when I’m due!”

     “Well, when do you think it happened?”

     “About three months ago. God, I thought he was going to break me in half that night!”

     “That would be it, then.” Chi-Chi blushed a little. “You have another seven plus months.”

     “Seven PLUS?!”

     “Uhuh, of hell.”

     “Joy.” Bulma pouted. “Was Gohan that bad?”

     “Um, let me think, it was a while ago YES.” Chi-Chi smirked sarcastically.

     “Oh...” she moaned. “Great.”

     “Why aren’t you telling Vegeta?”

     “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at first. Now I’m just kind of afraid what he’s going to think. We don’t even really want anyone knowing we’re together, although you and Yamcha already do.”

     “Goku knows too.”

     “Chi-Chi!”

     “No! I didn’t tell him anything! Vegeta must have told him.”

     “Oh I doubt that!”

     “Well, I didn’t. I swear.”

     Bulma sighed. “I believe you. This is just so weird. Why couldn’t I have found a nice human man!?!”

     “Hey! What’s so wrong with alien men, huh?!” Chi-Chi barked.

     “Heh heh heh, sorry.”

     Chi-Chi sipped her tea. “You’re going to have the baby in a hospital?”

     “Yes, why?”

     “You might want to have something arranged about the tail.”

     “Oh my god!” Bulma had a flashback to the first time she realized Goku’s tail was real. “I forgot about that!” She stared at her stomach. “I guess I’ll pay off my physician to remove it quickly, no questions asked.” She pouted and put her empty tea cup down.

    

*

     ‘Three months,’ Vegeta thought as he powered up slowly. His anger crested with it as frustration poisoned his attempts to reach super-Saiyajin. He gritted his teeth and pushed his feelings aside. ‘Only three more months.’ The word ‘months’ triggered a strange train of thought. It was almost 10 months ago that he had impregnated his woman. She looked about ready to explode any day. He was about to become a father.

     His power level rose steadily. He was in complete control.

     ‘A daughter? A son? A son, it must be a son,’ he thought. ‘An heir. A Prince.’

     The air in the gravity chamber hummed around him. The display read 450 Gs.

     If he should lose his life in the struggle as the Mirai boy had said, his son would live on to avenge him. He began to reach his current maximum. ‘But, what if the Jinzoningen destroy the boy before he’s old enough to fight?’ Vegeta’s concentration shifted from his power up to the future of his offspring. He had to defeat these things. They wouldn’t touch any son of his! Not while he was still breathing! Suddenly, Vegeta realized he was pushing the envelope.

*

     Mrs. Briefs hummed to herself as she took down Christmas and New Years decorations and replaced them with pink and red hearts and doilies. She taped a large valentine to the kitchen window and stopped her tune as she felt the glass tremble under her hands. The shaking got worse, but she knew the houses her husband designed were earthquake proof. Soon, she realized that it was no earthquake. “Oh my!” she cried as she was jostled across the room.

*

     Light poured from the newly-made cracks in the gravity chamber. Vegeta screamed as the power built up. Higher and higher it went; he thought he was going to pop!

     “YES!!!” he cried as his hair flickered with flame, “AT LAST!!!” His eyes turned green and he laughed like a lunatic. He burst through the roof and took off after the ki-signatures of three particular Z-Warriors.

*

     “Everybody ok?” Dr. Briefs asked his wife and daughter.

     “Yeah, hun. What was that?”

     “Vegeta just blew up the gravity chamber.”

     “Why’d he do that?” she inquired.

     “I dunno.”

     “Ow.” Bulma winced.

     “Punkin?”

*

     Vegeta couldn’t believe the power. It was a dream come true. He flew so fast he knew nothing on the planet could possibly detect him, with sight or otherwise. He couldn’t wait to take on Kakarotto! He laughed with glee in anticipation. “Here I come, Kakarotto! We’ll see who’s number one!!”

     Suddenly, he felt something strange. Was it his new power? Something important. A nagging feeling, like he was forgetting something.

     “Forget it! I have more important things to take care of!”

*

     “AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! WOULD YOU GUYS JUST STOP IT!? LEAVE ME ALONE! YOU’RE DRIVING ME NUTS!!!” Bulma screamed at her fussing parents. They were ushered out of the hospital room just as Chi-Chi was escorted in.

     “Oh, Thank god. Chi-Chi, is it supposed to hurt this muchhhahhhhAAAAH!!!!”

     “Unfortunately, yes.”

*

     Gohan flipped through the air and side-stepped to avoid Piccolo’s eye-lasers. He felt his father come up from behind and spun to land a kick. All three men stopped in their tracks as they felt the huge power coming towards them.

     “Ah! what’s that?!”

     “I dunno, but it’s enormous!” Piccolo growled.

     “But, they’re not supposed to be here for another three months!”

     “I know, Gohan.” Goku concentrated. “It’s a... a... Super-Saiyajin!”

     “Not...”

     “Vegeta!!?!”

*

     “God damn you, Vegeta where are you!?!” Bulma hollered as she finished another contraction.

     “I’m sure he’s on his way.”

     “Yeah, right. On his way. He better be! Hoo, hoo, hoo,” she breathed. “What could he be doing!?”

*

     <“VEGETA!!!”>

     “Huh?!” he stopped and listened. He swore he heard his name screamed. The sinking feeling he had earlier returned. He reached out with all his abilities for the source. He gritted his teeth. ‘What the hell is going on!?’

     <“VEGETA, SO HELP ME... AAAAAAHHH!!!!”>

     ‘BULMA!’ he gnashed his teeth and balled his fists. “You got off easy, today, Kakarotto!” he yelled to the sky. Still in Super-Saiyajin mode, the Prince rocketed back towards the city.

*

     By the time Vegeta arrived, Bulma was cradling a tiny, purple-haired baby. Her hair was messed, her cheeks were red with exertion but she radiated a beauty he had never known.

     He peered in the window at her. Chi-Chi jumped a bit when she noticed him, but quickly made excuses and got the nurses and doctors out before they saw the warrior hovering five floors above the ground.

     He stepped in when the coast was clear. She was in no mood to yell at him for being late. He was there: that was all that mattered. He stared down at them, the baby fussing quietly in her arms. She beamed up at him, delirious and happy. “Trunks, meet your father, Vegeta, Prince of the Saiyajin.” She held up the baby for his inspection. “Meet your son.”

     “A son…” he whispered and took him from her. He cradled him in his arms and stared into his tiny, blue eyes. Something about him was almost familiar. He unwound the blankets from the sleepy infant and inspected him.

     Suddenly, Vegeta’s face darkened and he roared at the new mother. “Where is his tail!?!”

     “Uh? I had them remove it, I know what kind of a pain it can be…”

     “PAIN!?! what are you talking about? The Saiyajin’s greatest asset is his tail! Removing it is like removing his thumb!”

     “I… I thought it was what turns you guys into were-monkeys!”

     “You obviously didn’t think, that’s the problem!”

     Trunks began to cry. Both adults stopped yelling and stared at him. Vegeta put him down gently and turned his back to them. He flew out the window before she could curse him. Bulma re-wrapped her son in a blanket, got up and closed the window. He quieted as he fell asleep. “I’m sorry…” she whispered to him. “I’m sorry, both of you.”

 

*

May 12th, 9:30 AM

     Yamcha stood on a mountain on an island, nine kilometers southwest of the Southern Capitol and called up to his approaching friends. “It’s Goku and them!” he waved wildly. “Yo!”

     Goku set foot on land and blinked in disbelief. “Bulma?”

     “We've been waiting for you for a while now. You're late,” said Yamcha.

Bulma tried to ignore Goku and shifted her grip on her baby. “Hi! Gohan, Wow! Look how much you've grown!”

     “You fool!” Goku yelled at her, worried for her safety. “What are you doing here?”

     “I wanna see the Artificial Humans! Don't worry, once I get a good look at them, I'll leave.”

     “Never mind that!” Krillin interjected. “I'm wanna know why you're holding a baby!?”

     “You and Yamcha got married?” inquired Gohan.

      “That's not my kid. We’ve split up.” Yamcha replied glumly, “When you find out who’s it is, you’re gonna be really shocked!”

     Goku approached and addressed the child. “Trunks, you're Vegeta's son, aren't you?

     Bulma’s jaw dropped a bit. She was suddenly very mad at Chi-Chi. “How did you know that?! I didn't tell anyone!”

     Goku tried to cover for himself while Piccolo rolled his eyes. “No, I just had a feeling. He looks a lot like Vegeta, doesn't he?”

     “But you even got the name right...”

     “Really?” he laughed and put his hand behind his head. “I must be psychic!”

     Krillin who had been bugging out found his tongue. “That's Vegeta’s kid?!?”

     “We're not here to chat,” Piccolo interrupted. “Where is Vegeta? Why hasn't he shown up yet?”

     Bulma shuffled her feet a little. “I don't know. We're not living together right now, but I know he'll come! He's trained very hard for this day.” She knew he would. He had to. She had come out, not only to see the Jinzoningen, but hopefully to get a chance to see him again, perhaps, if the Z Warriors should fail, for the last time.

     Goku nodded. “Yes. He'll definitely come.”

 

END

 

The “You’re in my chair” scene is from a movie called Nadja.

 

Bulma sings in the kitchen:

“Yappari anata wa utsugiri na / Otoko no hito na no ne?

“You’re really a fickle boy, aren’t you?”

-Pizzicato Five

 

Thank you to: Okaasan, Toriyama Akira, Tram Vu, Nora Jemison and Kiadi


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