Prince, Hero, Daddy
A Dragonball Z Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah
Written May 7th – October 11th 2000
“Waaaaa!!!” Bra screamed and kicked her feet and thrashed her hands against the ground as she geared up into her third tantrum of the day. Her brother rolled his eyes and sighed deeply.
“Would you stop already?” he asked, annoyed. “We have to go home.”
“I don’ wanna!!!”
“Mom’s waiting, we HAVE to go NOW.” Trunks grabbed her hand and began pulling her off of the merry-go-round. She screamed louder, attracting the attention of all around who glared at the teen boy with severe disapproval. ‘If only they could come home with us and see that it’s not me who’s EVIL!’ he thought as he dragged her back to the car.
By the time they got home, Bra was quiet. For a five year old, she could pull the silent treatment like a pro. Trunks began to get lulled into the guilt trip.
“Bra? Bra say something.” She pouted and looked down at her feet as they walked to the house. “Bra, I’m sorry I had to yell at you, but you gotta do what I say...”
Before he could finish his speech, Bra heard a familiar voice around the corner and her face lit up. She ran towards it. “Daddy!!” she cried and ran into him. She clutched his leg and hugged it. Vegeta rolled his eyes.
“Trunks. You’re late.”
“I know Dad, but..”
“But nothing. Now go see what your mother wants.”
Trunks grumbled under his breath as he trudged to the kitchen, leaving Bra with Vegeta.
“And you..” he said as he looked down on the aqua haired leech on his leg. He picked her up and held her at arm’s length. She beamed at him. Her face was covered with chocolate ice-cream stains and her hands were brown with dirt. “You’re filthy! Go get cleaned up before your mother sees you and starts yelling.” He put her down and pointed to the nearest bathroom.
“Okay Daddy!” Bra skipped down the hallway to wash up.
“Dinner! Hurry up or miss out!” Bulma called to her family. The men both rushed in and seated themselves quickly. It was Thursday night and they were all expected to be there for ‘family dinner’ per Bulma’s mandate. Bra skipped in and hopped up onto her seat, smiling from ear to ear. Her hands were clean, but her face was still covered in sticky, brown ice-cream. Vegeta and Trunks looked horrified from her to Bulma several times in rapid succession. Soon, what they feared came to pass as she caught a glimpse of Bra’s face and did a double take.
“Young lady! Your face is so dirty!!” she yelled and glared at Trunks. “I thought I could trust you to take care of your sister!”
Vegeta began to eat quickly, hoping to duck out before things got ugly.
“Mom, she’s a brat! She wouldn’t let me touch her and she made me look like a jerk at the carnival!”
Bra began to sniffle as the voices raised.
“I don’t care about your image, you had a responsibility, young man, and you failed to keep it! And Bra is not a brat!”
She broke into a full wail and Bulma turned her attention to the little girl. Trunks looked to his father, and saw that he had already devoured his food and sneaked away. ‘Lucky bastard,’ he thought and furrowed his brows.
Bulma picked her daughter up and noticed her husband’s absence. She began to curse him, replacing the expletives with euphemisms. “That good for nothing, motherless.. snake in the grass!!” Bra quieted and leaned against her shoulder. Bulma sighed and kissed the top of her head. “I think someone needs a nap.”
‘Yeah, two someone’s!’ Trunks thought as he tried to sneak out as well.
Bulma cleared her throat. “And where do YOU think you’re going?”
He stopped in his tracks and made a face. “Nowhere?”
His mother adjusted Bra on her hip and began to go into a tirade, but before she could open her mouth, her face contorted and she sneezed violently. “Don’t you have homework to do?” she asked as she took the girl to her bedroom. She sneezed again on the way out.
“They never ONCE let me get away with crying to get my way when I was her age!” Trunks complained as he closed the door. He looked at the pile of books and disorganized papers on his desk. He sighed, flopped down on his bed and grabbed the remote. He turned on the TV but as soon as the picture came on it went back off again.
Bulma’s face appeared on the screen. “No TV till you finish your homework!”
“AHHHH!!!” he growled and threw the remote. It bounced off the monitor as Bulma winked out. “I’m a prisoner in my own house!!” He folded his arms and frowned deeply.
Bulma cursed under her breath and flicked the lights in Bra’s room off. She sneezed three times in a row and walked down to her bedroom.
Vegeta came out of the shower later that night in the mood for a bit of fun.
“Achoo!.. uhnnn...” Bulma moaned and blew her nose again. There was a steadily growing pile of used Kleenex on the floor at her bedside.
“What the hell’s the matter with YOU?” he asked brusquely.
“What the hell’s it look like!? I’m .. I’m..” she stuttered as she reeled back for another sneeze. “ACHOO! Sick.”
The Prince cringed and stepped back. “Well stop it.”
“I can’t stop it, it’s a cold!” He raised a brow. “Don’t tell me you’ve never been sick?!”
The look he gave her told her no.
“Lucky bastard.” Vegeta turned and began to walk out the door. “Hey! Where’re ya going?”
“To the gravity chamber. I’m not about to break such long-standing record.”
“Ok, I see... You’re AFRAID to get sick.” Bulma threw another tissue on the pile and smirked at him.
“Excuse me? I am not afraid of your germs. You’re a mess. You think I want to try sleeping next to something that coughs, sneezes and oozes mucus all night?”
“Fine! Good! Have fun sleeping out on the hard floor in the chamber!”
“I’ve put a futon in there, actually, so I’ll sleep like a baby!”
Bulma seethed. “Good! You’ll need it, because if I’m still sick tomorrow, you’re gonna have a busy day!”
Vegeta froze in his tracks. “What are you talking about?”
She started to laugh and cough at the same time. It took her a moment to recover. Vegeta glared at her. “I volunteered to be a chaperone for Bra’s kindergarten field trip and Trunks has a test tomorrow so he can’t do it. It’s up to you, Daddy!” His jaw dropped and Bulma laughed and coughed louder. Vegeta grumbled like Yosemite Sam as he left for his uncomfortable couch which becomes an even more uncomfortable bed.
Twenty some odd, six year old children and a handful of adults gathered at the Western Hills Elementary School grounds.
“Are we almost ready to go?” asked one of the mothers who had volunteered to chaperone.
“Ms. Briefs isn’t here yet with Bra.”
“Oh good! I was hoping she’d come! I’ve always wanted to meet the richest woman in the world!”
“Good morning, Mrs. Goto!” Bra piped as she joined her classmates. The mothers and Mrs. Goto raised a collective brow at her companion. “Moma’s got the flu so my Daddy’s coming with us!”
There was an awkward silence as the mothers took in the muscular man. One mom pushed her way to the front of the crowd and introduced herself.
“Hiiii... I’m Mrs. Yamada!” She batted her long, blue eyelashes at him. All other women present rolled their eyes.
The door screamed shut behind the Prince and he winced at the sound of it and the din of twenty young children blathering simultaneously.
“You can sit with ME, Mr. Ojisama!” Mrs. Yamada piped. She gripped the back of the seat in front of her and arched her back as she said this. He narrowed his eyes, but took the seat, as it was the only one left on the crowded school bus.
“How far is it to this.. village place?”
“It’s about an hour to Mystic Village, Mr. Ojisama,” Mrs. Goto replied as she handed him the itinerary. “Here’s a map and time table of the things we plan on doing today. It looks like rain, though so, we will probably skip the boat tour of the harbor.”
“Oh. Too bad,” he moaned sarcastically and pocketed the itinerary.
((he’s illiterate! they end up being very late and if it weren’t for him saving the obnoxious kid’s life, Mrs. Goto would have been really pissed at him.)))
“Soooo...” Mrs. Yamada blinked her long eyelashes at him. “What’s it like being the richest man on Earth?!”
Vegeta held back the growl he so wanted to intimidate this woman into silence with. His least desire was giving Bulma fodder for future insult, and making a scene in front of Bra’s teacher and the other parents would certainly do that. ‘One hour,’ he thought. ‘Just one hour.’
Clouds threatened over the harbor as they got off the bus. Vegeta’s sensitive nose immediately began sniffing and he made an unpleasant face.
“Whoa...!” cried a child at his feet and began dry heaving. Vegeta backed away from the boy.
“Come on, Jefi, you’re off the bus now sweetheart!” Mrs. Goto rubbed his back and he quieted.
“‘S’not the buu..u...u..us.” He held his nose.
Vegeta smelled it too. “What IS that terrible stench!?”
“Stench?” she asked. “OH! That’s the harbor. Must be low tide. Children, we’ll learn about tides on our tour today!”
“Yay!” They cheered.
“Ugh...” Vegeta sneered and held his shirt over his nose. His daughter blinked up at him.
“all right, here’s your group Mr. Ojisama. Bra, could you introduce everyone?”
“Okay!” she beamed. “Daddy, this is my friend Sheri, my friend Matto, my friend Ami and that’s Jefi. He has cooties.”
“Do...oo not,” wretched Jefi.
“Is he going to be sick right here?” The Prince asked, disgusted.
The children looked to Jefi. He shook his head no.
“Good. There will be no.. ugh.. VOMITING on this outing. Is that understood?”
The other children cowered a bit and nodded. Bra simply beamed. Today she got to show off her Daddy who she talked about constantly to all her friends, who were much more intimidated than impressed. When she looked up at him, he was as tall as a sky scraper and when she beat on him, he was stronger than anything. She wished she could tell everyone that her Daddy was a Prince and that she was a Princess, but her Daddy told her that if she told anyone, they’d all be so jealous that they wouldn’t like her anymore. Besides, Bra thought, this was her and her Daddy’s secret. Well, her Moma and Trunks knew too. But even if she wasn’t a princess or rich, she’d still be special. Her Daddy had said so.
“What are you staring at?” Vegeta raised a brow.
She shrugged. ‘A Prince!’ she thought to herself and giggled.
The groups were to split up so as not to overwhelm each exhibit at the Village. Mrs. Goto pointed the various parents in the appropriate directions and took her own group on their way.
Vegeta lead his little entourage to the first exhibit: a demonstration of old fashioned tanning techniques. A man in period costume welcomed them in to the little, crude house and began his mini-lecture on the process of taking raw hide and turning it into workable leather.
The three girls began to sniffle. Hearing his daughter’s tears, Vegeta looked down at her. “What’s the matter?” he barked.
“Daddy,” she asked, pinching a bit of the skin on her little arm. “Is that really like the man said?” She grabbed a piece of finished leather and held it up to her arm.
“Is it really skin?”
Vegeta raised a brow. “What kind of a question is that? Of course it’s skin. That’s what he said it was, wasn’t it?”
Bra, Sheri and Ami began to cry softly. Bra looked up to him with huge, watery eyes. “Daddy? Wouldn’t the cows be cold without their skin?”
Vegeta was about to have the man explain again when he choked. “No, Bra. They’re not cold,” he said and quickly ushered the children out of the house.
Once outside, he breathed a sigh of relief, the scrunched his nose back up again. “Uck! That smell!”
The boy called Jefi wretched in agreement with him. Vegeta’s eyes widened. “Oh no you don’t!” he shouted and herded them into the next stop on the tour: soap making. ‘Good,’ he thought as he looked at the icon of a bar of soap over the symbol for the house on the map Mrs. Goto had given him. ‘Something that smells nice, at least...’
“Before there was Dove or Ivory or Irish Spring, people used to make soap in big kettles like these...” a woman in a long skirt, stirring a steaming cauldron informed a group which had already gathered. “The main ingredients were lye and lard!”
The smell of the stuff hit Vegeta like a ton of bricks. “Oh god!” he cried and before Jefi could start to barf, he grabbed the kids and moved on to the third site.
The third stop was candle making and fortunately, all the candles had already been made and their ingredients were not sick-making. The kids listened intently as a young woman told them how the wicks were dipped over and over into the wax to produce tapers. Vegeta sighed and watched Bra count the rings on the inside of a broken stick. The other children were very well behaved, he thought to himself, then gasped in alarm.
“Damn it! Wasn’t there another brat with us!?” he counted them off again. There was one boy and three girls. “Where’s that other boy? The one without the cooties!”
“I don’ have cooties!”
“Oh yes you do, now where’s the other one!?” He looked around the house in vain. Matto had disappeared.
Bulma popped into Vegeta’s mind, sneezing and red faced, she screamed at him. ‘You LOST a kid!?!’
“Damn it!” he cursed again. “Everyone hold hands and march!” he bellowed, and forced the remaining children back to the last exhibit, all the while keeping them in front of him in order to keep an eye on them.
Bra and her friends called out for Matto, but there was no answer and he was not in anywhere near the soap maker.
Vegeta began to get angry. “Bra, where did he go?!”
The little girl furrowed her brows and turned around in place. Suddenly she pointed up. In the tree which leaned over them, giggling in the branches was Matto.
Vegeta wanted to fly up, grab the kid and shake a couple of years off of him, but people were already beginning to stare at the visibly displeased Saiyan. “You,” he hissed and turned on the intimidation he had pent up from the bus ride. “Get OUT of that tree NOW.” His voice was calm, but sent a chill down Matto’s back. He scurried down and looked up at Vegeta in terror. “Good. Now. STAY with the GROUP, or ELSE.”
Matto nodded quickly and they continued on their way.
Goten met Trunks by the back door in the theater after third period. He was nervous, but knew that Trunks had a plan. Within moments, the teen boy stepped out from behind a curtain on stage left and joined him.
“So what’s up?” Goten whispered.
“We’re playin’ hooky, that’s what.”
“But Trunks... don’t you have a test?”
“Just took it. Come on.”
“Aw come on, Goten! Live a little!”
“What’s the big deal? We’ll just hang around the mall and play video games again..”
“Oh no my friend. Today, I got somethin’ special.”
Goten raised an eyebrow.
The rain started just as they left the Cooper’s demonstration of barrel-making. Vegeta turned the map around a few times, looking for something that wasn’t out of doors, but in order to get to anything in the Village, one had to walk outside. The children all opened their Capsule umbrellas. Vegeta had not thought of such a precaution and the rain pounded down on his shirt, making it cling to his chest.
Mrs. Yamada’s group just happened to be passing by at that very moment.
“Oh! Mr. Ojisama! You’re getting all WET!” she cried and rummaged in her purse. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have an extra umbrella... maybe we could share...” she giggled.
He was at a loss as to what to say to this ridiculous woman, but his daughter saved him. Bra tugged at his sleeve. “Daddy, you can use mine...” she held it out to him and blinked away the raindrops that fell into her eyes.
“Don’t be stupid!” Vegeta growled and picked her up. The small, pink umbrella covered the little girl and a tiny portion of his right shoulder. “You think I’m going to melt or something?”
Mrs. Yamada knew when she was beat, even if it was by a six-year-old girl. She shrugged and moved her group along to the Cooper.
Back in the Western Capital, the sun was still shining. It glinted off the blue-black roadster as Trunks rolled it out of the garage.
“Oooohhh,” Goten marveled. “Vegeta’s car. Trunks, don’t you think this is a little risky?”
“Nah. He’s on a field trip with Bra and Mom’s asleep with the flu. We’re golden!” He started the engine and it purred to life. He made a self-satisfied face and relaxed in the seat. “If you have the means,” he quoted. “I highly suggest picking one up. It is so choice.”
Goten gave up and got in the left hand side. He had to admit, that smile was contagious. Trunks popped in a CD of ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ and the boys tore off down the street.
The sky was lightening, but the rain still came down as they were finishing up their last exhibit: an indoor lecture on whaling. There were plenty of weird things for the children to look at, so they weren’t getting bored. Vegeta took the opportunity to distance himself and shake the water from his fairly limp hair like a dog. It immediately stuck back up again. He was wet and fairly tired from chasing these brats around all day. ‘Damn it. If that woman wasn’t sick...’ he grumbled to himself, but was cut off as something latched itself on to his leg.
“Daddy!” Bra cried and smiled her wide, toothy grin at him.
One of her teeth on the bottom had fallen out last week. He thought this was a very strange thing to happen, as he could not recall his teeth falling out when he was that age. Nor could he recall the loss of his son’s teeth. Bulma assured him that all of Trunks’ baby teeth had in fact fallen out to make way for his adult teeth and even showed him a picture to prove it. Vegeta didn’t admit it then, not even to himself, that he had simply not paid attention to this stage of his son’s life. He had not paid much attention to him at all.
Bra was different. There was something magical about her smile, the way she grabbed a hold of him and squeezed with all her might, knowing she could do him no harm. He looked down on her now and smiled a little. “Are we done yet?” he moaned.
“Almost! I wanna go to the gift shop!”
“Yeah! I want a souvenir!”
“Ok, ok. We’ll get you a souvenir,” he picked her up and herded the other kids out of the whaling building. Only three little umbrella’s opened up in front of him. Vegeta’s heart sank. “Ah, crap! Where’s the other one again!?!”
They ran outside. A small crowd had gathered at the edge of the pier by the boat they would have taken had it been sunny out. Vegeta could only guess who they were watching. He scooped up the other children and ran towards it.
“MATTO!” he yelled at the ship. A small figure was hanging perilously from the crow’s nest on the main mast, some 150 feet in the air. Mrs. Yamada and her group were in the crowd. He deposited his charges at her feet. “You,” he barked at her. “Keep an eye on them.”
Vegeta ran onto the ship and shielded his eyes against the rain as he looked up the mast. ‘Damn. If these people weren’t around I could pluck the little bastard out of there no problem!’ “Matto! Get down here!!” he barked.
The boy looked down at him and lost his footing. He screamed as he fell a short distance, catching himself in the ropes by his left leg. Matto wailed, hurt and afraid. “Damn it, boy I TOLD you not to wander off!” The Prince looked both ways and disguising his flight with hand and leg movements which would trick the people below into thinking he was in fact climbing, he reached Matto and extracted him from the ropes.
The boy was so surprised that he stopped crying for a moment. “That’s better. Now come on. You’ve caused enough trouble for one day.” They descended the same way. Vegeta was met with cheers from the crowd which made him smirk. ‘Well, at least I got SOMETHING out of this fiasco.’
“Yay! Daddy! You’re a hero!” Bra chimed and clapped her hands together.
“Young lady! Where’s you’re umbrella?” Vegeta scolded. The little girl was soaking wet.
“Oh! Guess I forgot!” she dug in her pocket and extracted the Capsule. “Can we go get a souvenir now?”
“Yeah! Souvenirs!” the other children cheered.
“As long as we can go home after that, sure.”
Bra and her little friends chatted and sang jump-rope songs the whole way home. It was four o’clock by the time they pulled into the school parking lot. Vegeta hauled the bags of ‘souvenirs’ that Bra had asked him to buy her off the bus and dumped them into the trunk of the family car.
The sky was partly cloudy in the city, and the occasional sunlight felt good on his back. He wanted to take off the damp shirt, but the mothers were watching him even closer now that he was a ‘hero’. Matto’s mother was surrounded by them and came up to the Prince as he was closing the trunk.
“I can’t thank you enough, Mr. Ojisama for saving my Matto! He’s such a little monster some times!”
“Mr. Ojisama flew up and got me, Mom!” Matto chimed. The mothers laughed at this.
“Yes, yes, you certainly are a super-hero, Mr. Ojisama! Bulma is a very, very lucky woman!” That being said, they all dispersed and Vegeta opened the passenger side door for his daughter.
“Ah.. ah..” Bra closed her eyes and reeled back. “Achoo!” she sneezed petitly.
“Oh, no. Not you too!” he moaned.
“I don’ feel good...” Bra whined.
Vegeta started the car. “Just hang in there. Five minutes and we’ll be home.” He made sure she was belted in and sped off for Capsule. Bra nodded and cracked the window for air. She rested against the door and her eyes closed. Vegeta kept one eye on her and one on the road, making sure the little girl was all right.
Goten waved good-bye and took to the air only minutes before the family car pulled into the garage beside the Aston Martin. The boys had been home for an hour, so the auto had completely cooled off.
Vegeta left the toys in the back and went around to get Bra out of the passenger side. He opened the door, unbelted her and just as he went to pick the sleepy girl out of the car, she lost all the candy and sweets he had let her consume throughout the day all over him and the interior of the car.
“Ugh....” he sighed. His nose wrinkled up. Before he could curse, Bra began to cry.
“Waaaaaaa.... I’m sorry Daddy....!”
He grimaced and picked her up. “It’s all right, it’s just.. ugh.. vomit. Come on.” He took her directly upstairs to her bathroom. He drew a bath and told her to get in it while he cleaned out the car. She rubbed her eyes and nodded. Vegeta closed the door and stripped off his soiled shirt.
The car was a mess. Fortunately, the cleaning bots did all the dirty work. He turned them on and walked back inside. On the way, he stopped and admired his car. The family car was a good vehicle, but it was no Aston Martin, he thought. ‘Good damn thing I left it home today!’ The smile that formed at this thought fell and he leaned closer to inspect an anomaly. On the driver’s side door was a tiny white mark, not even a real dent, just a bit of paint, perhaps from someone else’s car door which had banged into it in a parking lot. Vegeta’s hair bristled. He KNEW that mark wasn’t there last time he checked. The Prince leaned in further and set his nose to work, sniffing out the culprit.
The boy jumped out of his skin. “NO WAY!” he panicked. “There’s no way he coulda found out! Unless..” he thought about Goten. Maybe he had gotten nailed on his way out. “Crap!” Trunks tried to look busy with his homework when Vegeta came into his room.
“Uh, hi Dad, what seems to be the trouble?” he asked as if talking to an officer of the law.
“Oh, nothing.” He folded his arms. ‘Not going to confess, eh?’ he thought. ‘Well then...’ “Tomorrow’s Saturday, right?”
“You and I are going on a little training mission BRIGHT and EARLY tomorrow, so, get your beauty sleep.” He turned, smirked and left him to wonder.
Trunks stared, slack-jawed at the door long after his father had departed. “Damn it!”
“Little bastard,” Vegeta grumbled. “Looks like he needs some straightening out. This weekend should take care of that...” The happy splashing sounds coming from the bathroom eased his tension. He knocked a few times. “You almost done in there, little lady?”
“Almost!” Bra piped back. Vegeta leaned his back up against the door and waited. She emerged at last in two thick towels, one wrapped around her body and one around her head. She was lost in a sea of terry cloth. Vegeta grinned and scooped her off the ground. Bra giggled shamelessly as he tucked her under his arm and toted her into her room.
“Get your night gown.”
“But Daaaaddyyyyy,” she whined. “It’s only ... ah.. ah.. ah.. achoo! Five o’clock!”
“And you’re sick. You will do as I say!” He pointed to her dresser. She hung her head and got out a long, pink and white flannel gown. He took this in one hand and pulled the towel off her head as she removed the towel from her body. He then dropped the nightgown down on her waiting arms without looking at her. When she was done, he picked her up and put her into her bed.
“Daddy... what if I can’t sleep?” she asked.
“You will, now good night.” He turned and walked away.
Vegeta slumped his shoulders. He walked back over to her and bowed down. “What?”
“What if I can’t...?” she whispered. “Will you read me a story..?”
“Sure,” he lied. All the books in her little child’s library were in a language he could not read. “Go to sleep.” He kissed her on the forehead.
“I love you Daddy, G’night.”
Vegeta backed out of the room and dimmed the lights. He whispered, “love you too,” and left the door open a crack for her without having to be asked to.
The following Monday, a tray with orange juice, saltines, tea, toast and ginger ale jangled up the stairs and down the hallway. The door slid open and a form under the covers stirred.
“Rise and shine!” Bulma chimed and set the tray down on the end table.
“Ugh,” Vegeta turned over and opened his puffy eyes.
“Blah, Vegeta, you look like ass.”
“Thanks,” he moaned. “You looked worse when your were sick.”
“Aw, man, even your come-backs are hurting!” she handed him the OJ and sat down next to him. “Shouldn’t been more that a couple days now. You know, if you hadn’t gone out into the rainy wilderness with Trunks all weekend you probably wouldn’t be sick now.”
“Well, Mr. Sunshine. I’ll leave you to your misery. I have a lot of work I need to catch up with.” She kissed his forehead and he groaned again. “Get some sleep, Super Hero.” Bulma made sure he saw her genuine smile before she left the room.
“Finally. Some peace and quiet!” He downed the juice and pulled the covers back over his chin. The sound of the door made him wince. ‘Maybe if I pretend to be asleep, she won’t bother me!’ he thought, expecting this was his wife, come back to harass him some more.
The sound of tiny feet crossing the thick carpet made his ears perk up. Then something small hopped up on to the bed, crawled over him and snuggled its way into the covers beside him. Slowly Vegeta opened his eyes. Bra was already fast asleep. He smiled, reached over, clicked off the light and did likewise. Her soft, comfortable snoring lulled him back to sleep.