Disclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever own Dragonball Z.
Forward: This fiction started out as a comedic endeavor to turn in for the contest, but upon researching and dreaming up the story, it turned into much more. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have loved writing it. There will be a small list at the end that gives meaning to a few Japanese words. Many thanks to my friend the Prime Minister for all your support and advice and Toshiba-san, you’re input and constant belief that I can write makes this so much easier. This story unfolds in three parts and this is part one.
Part One: Beginnings
~ Beneath this helmet with historic dent,
A cricket sings the warrior’s lament ~
The goddamned woman was pregnant with his brat. What in the hell was he supposed to do now? Vegeta fired a blast into the furthest corners of the gravity room, barely dodging as it rebounded back towards him. What in the hell had ever motivated him to do what he had done, to open up to her and give himself so freely? He had held himself away from her for months, ignoring the sharp sting of his desire, the nearly maddening feelings of lust and something else he couldn’t fathom whenever she was near until that night four months ago.
He had been on the balcony, about to retire alone to his room, deep-seated feelings of melancholy swirling about him as he sat on the rail, dangling a leg over, staring up into the night sky. Mercifully, her parents had been gone, leaving the two of them alone in relative peace. The woman had been occupied with her inventions and had left him to go about his business, until that night. She’d come to him, melancholy herself and joined him as he had perused the heavens for any reminder of what had once been.
"What are you doing out here so late, Vegeta?" Bulma had asked him quietly, her usually buoyant voice, quiet and sad.
"What in the hell does it look like I’m doing, woman?" He had responded, irritated with her interruption, knowing that he would be fantasizing about her for the rest of the damned night after being so close—close enough to inhale the maddening scent of her, close enough to just reach out and touch her, another living creature, someone whom he could share one moment of time with.
"Well," Bulma had snapped angrily, " it looks like you’re being an ass as usual." She’d pushed away form the rail she was leaning against. "Fine, I had nothing of importance to say to you anyway." She’d turned her back to him, preparing to go back in.
Vegeta would never know what had possessed him that night to reach for her, to grab her arm and swing her back against his chest. Maybe it was the gnawing sense of complete aloneness he felt, the pain of being second best to Kakkarot or the knowledge that there was no one whom cared about him one way or the other, no matter how much he swore he didn’t need it. But he had grabbed her arm, hauling her against himself roughly.
"You never have anything of import to say anyway, woman, why would tonight be any different?" He had stared into her eyes, as blue as the Chikyuu-jin skies, had watched as they darkened to sapphire first with anger, then with desire. Still she had fought him, until he had overpowered her with his mouth, claiming the lips as his own. He had groaned in defeat as she had melted against him, moaning at the contact and before he knew what he was about, he had hoisted her into his arms, carrying her to the room he slept in and taken her.
And he had made love to her until all thought, all pain, all emptiness were gone, driving himself into her with a ferocity borne of an empty, confused existence and the loneliness of being the last person alive to understand what the Saiya-jin race was, of what its importance had been. How much he had given of himself that night, he would never know, but he knew exactly what he had taken and it had been all of her. He had allowed her no where to hide, left her with no place to run and Bulma had been his over and over again until they had both given out in one last single round of battle, like two warriors dueling to the death, each trying to defeat the other, except for them the prize was far greater than his life… it was for his heart and he had been the one determined to conquer.
He had declared himself the victor that night, but now he realized, that it had truly been her, for she had emblazoned herself, heart, mind and soul across his very being and no matter what he did, he could not escape it or the burgeoning feelings that ate at his soul, goading him with their very existence, sickening him with their depth and frightening him with their power.
Did he love her? He didn't think so, but he wanted her with a passion that seemed to know no bounds and he needed her, something he could never admit to. She was in his blood and now he had no choice but to deal with it and with the repercussions of their one night of mindless passion, and he knew that if he lived to see the end of the artificial humans, he would never give to another what he had given to her that night.
With a growl of frustration, he slammed his fist into the wall of the gravity chamber. Damn the stupid bitch! Why did she have to haunt him so? As if the looming specter of Kakkarot and Kakkarot’s strength that he so coveted were not enough agony for him. Now he had to be driven mad by thoughts of a life and a woman he could not have, not now, perhaps not ever. He had not been meant for that kind of existence. He was a born and bred killer, a warrior whose path would never converge with hers.
Grabbing a towel, he stalked out of the chamber, determined to go take his fury out on some unsuspecting weakling. Perhaps that stupid lover of hers, the one she had finally ditched all those months ago, before they had ever slept together. Wasn’t his name Yamcha? Perhaps he could go and blast him into oblivion forever having the audacity to look at her, much less touch her.
"Oh Vegeta, yoo-hoo…" the giddy, girlish voice drifted down to him from the balcony and he froze, anger disappearing; replaced with the need to escape.
Teddi Briefs leaned down from her balcony, waving a dainty pink kerchief at him. "Vegeta dear, would you like to come up and have some Shirley Temples with me?" She beckoned to a pitcher and glasses on the table. "Mr. Briefs is away on business and I would so love the company of such a nice boy. We could invite that lovely Goku up here to. He loves Shirley Temples." She giggled lightly, the thought of two such handsome boys fawning over making her deliriously happy. "Oh my," she exclaimed, "I’d better be careful. I’m a married woman after all." She giggled again.
"Kakkarot is here?" Vegeta asked tightly, ignoring the sound of her grating voice and sweeping the parameter for his ki. Growling, he realized that not only was Kakkarot there, but his whelp and the Namek as well. "What in the hell are they doing here?" With a grimace he glanced up, fighting back the urge to run at the sight of her. She was a constant thorn in his side, always managing to be about at the same times he was, giggling at him, hounding him, Vegeta swallowed tightly, grabbing him in places the Saiyan prince should not be grabbed. He shuddered at the thought. "There had been several occasions he had wanted to blast her into the next dimension, but he had refrained knowing that it would mean the end of his stay at Capsule Corporation, the end of seeing Bulma and quite possibly a confrontation with Kakkarot he was not yet ready for, besides… she did cook exceptionally well and she did treat him with the respect due a Prince. That was far more than he could claim for her daughter.
"Oh yes, dear. They all came over to see Bulma. Seems Gohan is doing a report and this is the sight of something historical. Oh, I do wish I could remember."
"Bah," Vegeta spat, irritated at their presence. Ignoring the woman’s endless prattling he proceeded on into the house, determined to chase them all away. This was his domain, his home; bad enough Kakkarot hounded him in his dreams, taunting him with his strength, but he would not put up with the third class around here in person, around his woman… Vegeta froze, no not his woman, the woman…Bulma.
Cursing again, he stepped into the entry hall, the low murmur of voices, mingling with the occasional burst of laughter reaching his ears from the living area. Clenching a fist, he made his way to the room, ready to toss them all out on their ears, but Bulma’s soft laughter halted him just outside the door.
"So anyway, Bulma, when Mom made me sit down and do this report, I started learning all about the samurai and the great battle to keep the Daimyo Tairo Kiyomori out of Japan. The final battle took place right here in the city." Gohan’s earnest young voice drifted through the room. "I mean, before the city was built… way before the city was built."
"I knew the city stood on the area that the battle once took place at, but what does that have to do with Capsule Corporation and the land that surrounds it, Gohan?" Bulma glanced up at the door, brushing her hair back behind her ears; grateful that the perm she had worn for so long was completely out. This simplicity was so much better. She watched as Vegeta slipped silently into the room, barely acknowledging Piccolo who leaned in an almost meditative state against the wall and a cheery Goku who raised his hand in salute. Why did he have to always parade around in nothing but those damn spandex shorts? It was bad enough she wanted him every day of the week, but him showing up bare-chested, stirring up memories of a passionate night months ago did nothing to help alleviate this constant need for him.
Unconsciously, Bulma swept a hand over her abdomen, as if to caress the small life that dwelt inside her. She had only told him yesterday that she was pregnant, watching as his usually well guarded face had taken on a look of shock, mingled with regret and terror, before slipping slowly back into the mask of neutrality that he usually wore. Yet, for a moment she had seen the wonder shining in his eyes and the brief flicker of desire for things he had convinced himself he could not have, before he had grunted and walked swiftly away from her. She meant to prove him wrong. After that night they had shared, she knew without a shadow of a doubt that the man needed and felt on levels as deep as she or any other human that lived in the universe, no matter how much he tried to convince himself otherwise.
Vegeta watched the subtle swipe of her hand over her belly, an almost protective gesture to the small child that lived in there. His son… for some reason, he knew it was a son, an heir and he felt a small twinge of pride at the idea, before quickly squelching it. His black eyes settled on her face as she listened to Kakkarot’s brat drone on about some battle that had been fought. A slight draft caught his attention, sending a shiver down his spine. Vegeta frowned, turning his head towards the far corner of the room.
"So anyway Bulma," Gohan continued on, noticing Vegeta for the first time and feeling intimidated. How could Bulma live with him and feel safe? " The real story begins some thirty-years before the final battle. The two Warlords, Tairo Kiyomori and Minamota Yoritoma were fighting amongst themselves for control of this land. It stretched for hundreds of miles to the ocean shore and whoever controlled it, controlled trade and export. At some point, Kiyomori struck Yoritoma down and stole the land that rightfully belonged to him, but spared his two sons—Koremori and Minamota.
Minamota managed to escape and was taken in by a sect of warrior monks, who raised him and trained him to be a samurai, a sohei. Koremori, who aided his brother’s escape was captured and held captive by Kiyomori. Kiyomori took a liking to the boy and had him trained as a Shogun. He was actually stupid enough to trust him and put him in charge of the army. Koremori had already sworn a vow of vengeance for his slaughtered father, so he took the training and made use of it until he turned eighteen.
"What happened then, Gohan?" Bulma leaned forward with interest. Why did this story remind her vaguely of Vegeta? A quick glance showed he too was riveted to the story. He must see the similarity, she thought vaguely.
"Well," Gohan continued on quietly, "it seems that Kiyomori was furious and hunted Koremori down, determined to kill him for his betrayal. Koremori, meanwhile traveled for several years, training from time to time, honing his skills as a Shogun and having several wild adventures throughout the land, until Kiyomori’s men caught up to him. He was ambushed and badly injured, left for dead."
"Oh, Bulma!" Chi-Chi exclaimed! "Wait until you hear this part!" She clasped her hands together in excitement, black eyes taking on a far away look as she recalled the story.
Bulma turned a raised blue brow back to Gohan. "What happened?"
"Well two female samurai sisters—Fujiwarra Takeko and Masako, who lived in a nearby village took him in and nursed him back to health. Koremori stayed with them for a year until he was fully healed and during this time he fell in love with Masako."
"Some warrior," Vegeta muttered, exchanging glances with Piccolo, "Falling in love. What a weakling." He turned his head away from Bulma’s annoyed glance. Best to start convincing the woman now that he would never be hers, no matter that he already thought himself that way or not. He would never be able to have anything of meaning with her. He would not allow himself.
"Geez, Vegeta," Goku mumbled, shooting him a knowing glance. "I wonder if you really believe that?" Goku could remember well the words that Trunks, the boy from the future had told him. When Vegeta had entered the room, he had seen the way he had looked at Bulma. Goku would bet his last dollar that Trunks was already conceived. He needed to get close enough to Bulma to be able to tell for sure. He suppressed a grin at the look of outrage on the Prince’s face.
"You idiot!" Vegeta snarled, pushing away from the wall he had been leaning against. "Of course I believe that. Love is for weak fools such as you, not true warriors such as myself!" Just what in the fuck did the third class moron know? He turned smoldering black eyes towards Bulma, pinning her with his glare. Had she told Kakkarot they had been intimate?
"Alright, alright, Vegeta." Goku held up his hands in mock surrender. "I was just having some fun with you." Oh, yeah, he thought in amusement. It had happened.
"Excuse me," Bulma stood in irritation, smacking her palm sharply against her denim-clad leg. "If you two idiots are through, Gohan was telling us a story. Do you think he could continue?" She turned her own blue glare towards Vegeta, tired of him boring a hole through her with his own eyes. She watched in satisfaction as he glanced away, unwilling to meet her eyes.
"Whatever." Vegeta muttered under his breath, noticing again the slightest breeze waft across the room from the far corner. Where in the hell was the draft coming from?
"Uh, alright," Gohan spoke hesitantly, "Anyway, during this time Masako told him of a sect of warrior monks that resided in a temple not too far from they were. She led him to it and he found his brother Minamota there, studying the ways of the Tendai. It’s at this time that he marries Masako. He and Minamota vowed revenge against Kiyomori with the hope of reclaiming their land. They begin to gather the old armies of their father’s and those samurai who saw the evil of Kiyomori behind them. The monks sided with them as well."
"This is when the three year battle waged right?" Bulma asked. "I remember learning about that in school.
"Yeah, Bulma. They fought Kiyomori for three years before the final battle finally took place. It seems that Masako, being a samurai was ready to fight beside her husband, but Koremori refused, not wanting any harm to come to her, something that was highly unusual for their time. After a particularly nasty fight, he left to go and meet Kiyomori in battle. Kiyomori had tricked Koremori and managed to capture Masako before she could commit seppuku. Seemingly it would have been preferable for her to do that as opposed to being taken and used against her husband, but Kiyomori didn’t give her enough time to get it done. Kiyomori brought her to the battle site and stabbed her, right as he heard the news that Koremori was approaching his camp. When Koremori came to meet him, he was greeted with the sight of his wife’s dying body. He held her in his arms until she drew her last breath, unable to speak for the grief that was in his heart, not even able to say he loved her or so the story goes. Grief stricken, he cut down Kiyomori in a fierce battle, but was mortally wounded. His body fell next to his woman."
"Wow!" Bulma sighed, leaning back against her chair, back aching. "How sad. So they never even got to say goodbye."
"Well Bulma," Chi-Chi exclaimed, " the most interesting thing about the entire story is that your house sits on the spot that Koremori and his wife were killed at."
"Hey, Bulma!" Goku cut in. "Do you remember that samurai sword you found here on the grounds that summer after we found the Dragonballs the first time? It was right after Krillin and I fought in the World Tournament for the first time."
"Oh yeah, " Bulma breathed, leaning forward again. "I had forgotten about it. It was old and wrapped in a piece of silken cloth. If I recall, it was beautifully preserved. There wasn’t even a hint of rust or mold on the sword. Do you think it was his—this Koremori?"
"I bet it is, Bulma." Chi-Chi exclaimed. "I mean what are the chances?"
"What did you do with it, Bulma?" Goku asked.
"I think it’s up in the attic." She glanced at Vegeta who was watching the corner of the room intently. Bulma felt the fine hairs on her neck stand as if they had been electrified. What in the world had him staring at the room that way? From where she sat, she could sense an almost wary alertness emanating from him. Despite the warmth of the room, she shivered, rubbing her hands up her bare arms. Perhaps she should have put on something warmer than a tee shirt.
"Do you think I could see it, Bulma?" Gohan asked hopefully.
"Sure, kid!" Bulma laughed, smiling at the look of eager anticipation on his face. Would this be her son, looking at her with the same look of hope and excitement someday? Bulma wasn’t sure why or how she knew it was a boy, but she did. It was almost as if her motherly senses were screaming the news to her. "Let me go and get it." Gingerly she stood, carefully skirting Piccolo and unconsciously brushing against Vegeta as she exited. She smiled as he swiveled his head to look at her, giving her a heated look as she passed. Oh yeah, he wanted her.
Within minutes she had located the sword and carefully, handling it with the utmost respect she brought it downstairs. Turning on the overhead lights to brighten the room, Bulma moved to the far corner, standing directly under it; motioning the others to surround her. Feeling a breeze, she shivered again, looking around for what could possibly be producing the cool air.
Disturbed that Bulma was in the corner he had sensed something in, Vegeta moved to her side quickly, not particularly interested in the sword, but concerned with whatever was there, lurking just out of his range of detection. The feeling of being watched was so palpable; Vegeta could practically see it, yet there was nothing tangible there for him to place his suspicions on.
"He knows I’m here." Koremori, murmured to himself, studying the Saiyan Prince carefully. Such a spirit, I have never seen one so strong. He watched as the warrior stared suspiciously towards where he stood. "He must be highly trained in the arts of the mind and senses, to be able to feel my presence here. Koremori watched as the warrior narrowed his eyes and scowled at his spot against the wall.
"Yes, a warrior of such pride and determination would be much more attune to the natural world and possible threats. He does his code of honor proud. The girl, she seems to notice something as well and I sense he is very protective of her, though he wants no one to see it." Koremori was struck by the similarities between he and his Masako. Could these two be the ones? He felt his heart quicken in his chest, caught between hope and fear as he watched the girl handle his sword gingerly.
Koremori narrowed his eyes as he studied the man closely. Yes, his spirit was strong indeed and pride, by the gods, there was so much pride… He swung black eyes towards the girl. This had not come up for no reason. The time was finally at hand and if he was right, he could finally break the shackles that held him in this plane of existence and set things right with his woman, honor his code and rejoin her in the next life. He was growing tired of dwelling in this life, caught between life and death, yearning for the touch of his Masako, unable to move on, and left with only this deep sense of grief for all he had lost. If their hearts were strong, then he had finally found a way to make peace. All he had to do was find a way to make them understand, to make them feel…
Koremori felt his mouth curve into a gentle smile at the hope that this time he could finally break his curse and leave behind the mortal world. Turning his attention back to the group of people who stood huddled over his sword, he sighed morosely. It had been many hundreds of years since he had last caressed the gleaming hilt of his sword and he felt an odd sense of longing for what had once been, for the days when he had roamed the land in search of adventure and swung that sword at his side. It had been a part of him and the reason that he was still tied to this land, for it had been a part of his code of honor and he had failed it.
"Wow, Bulma!" Gohan exclaimed, "You should give this to a museum and see if this is really Koremori’s sword."
"I guess so!" Bulma sighed, trying to ignore the feeling of strange eyes on her back. It left her feeling so unsettled, so… he cursed silently to herself. What on Chikyuu was wrong with her? It was probably the way that Vegeta was acting. He was very much on edge and she could feel his mood so clearly it was frightening. Something had set him off.
Reaching down, she lifted the sword, meaning to hand it to Gohan who held out his hands with youthful anticipation. A hot piercing sensation cut through the palm of her hand, causing her to cry out in pain. Dropping the sword she cradled the injured hand against her body, aghast at the welling blood that ran from the cut and down her hand.
"Stupid woman!" Vegeta growled harshly at her. "Aren’t you careful with anything?" He grabbed the injured hand, unthinkingly bringing the wound to his mouth and suckling it. God, it tasted good, she tasted good. Vegeta caressed his tongue along the line of the cut, shuddering with a sudden rush of desire. Seeing her blood, tasting her blood, had sent him over the edge of no return, despite his denials and claims to the contrary. The woman was meant to be his, there was no question about that now.
Bulma gasped at the feel of his mouth sucking gently against the wound on her hand. Feeling her head whirl at the sensations he was causing, she leaned against him, relieved when she felt his strong arm wrap around her. What in the hell was happening to her? The man was drinking her blood and she was getting turned on by it? Oblivious to anyone else, she pressed herself tightly into his embrace, wanting to be closer, the heat flooding her body, pooling deep within her belly and spreading to every region of her body.
"Vegeta, what are you doing?" Chi-Chi asked in disgust, snapping both Vegeta and Bulma out of the hazy world of pleasure that they had both seemingly descended into.
Vegeta shot his head up, releasing Bulma’s hand, shooting Chi-Chi and look of complete disgust, before shoving Bulma away from him. "Someone needs to see to her wound." He remarked tersely, throwing another withering glare Chi-Chi’s way before stalking out of the room.
"What in the hell was that?" Chi-Chi turned her glance towards Bulma, eyes narrowing in speculation as she regarded the woman. "Why on Chikyuu would Vegeta do that? Is he some kind of vampire?" She shook her head, turning to Gohan who was gingerly holding the sword. "You be careful with that young man. I will not have you cutting your hand the way Bulma did. "
"Are you alright Bulma?" Goku asked quietly, taking his friend’s hand and studying the wound. "It doesn’t look deep and whatever Vegeta did seems to have staunched the flow pretty well. It’s still bleeding a little, though." Goku searched her eyes, disturbed to see such unrest in the blue depths. He wanted Bulma to be happy, but right now she looked far from it.
"Here let me see." Chi-Chi grabbed her hand, raising an eyebrow as she gave it a once over. I think band-aid will do just fine. " Chi-Chi smiled at Bulma, noticing herself, the black circles that seemed to stand out darker against the washed out pallor of her friend. "Bulma are you alright? You don’t look good."
"Yeah, I’m fine, Chi-Chi, just a little tired. It’s been a long week to say the least. Say, are we still on for that play tomorrow night?" Bulma shifted her head between Chi-Chi and Goku, waiting for a reply. All the while her head buzzing with a confused blur of thoughts and feelings that just wouldn’t be pushed away. What in the hell had just happened with Vegeta? Had he absolutely gone mad? That had been so unlike Vegeta to show such a side of himself with others present, though judging by the look on Chi-Chi’s face, it had gone a long way towards furthering her low opinion of the man. Still, to have done that with Piccolo present, someone Bulma knew Vegeta considered an enemy… what in the world had gotten into him?
"Of course we’re still on," Chi-Chi cried, clasping her friend’s uninjured hand. " I have been dying to see Shogun for a long time now. To think that they made a play out of it is so exciting! "
"Well it is different from the book," Bulma warned. "This about a Shogun who led the samurai armies against Kublai Khan."
"I know, I read about it in the paper. It sounds absolutely wonderful!" Chi-Chi pulled at Goku who stood looking clueless next to Gohan. "We’ll be here at six sharp. Come one Goku, let’s go." With a nod, and a goofy grin, Goku was gone, taking Chi-Chi and Gohan with him.
"I hope you know what you’re getting into." Piccolo’s low voice made Bulma turn. She had forgotten he was there. He had not said a word the entire night; had merely slipped into the shadows the minute he had arrived and stood silently observing and quietly brooding.
"With what?" She asked already knowing he was talking about Vegeta. Somehow, to her immense distress he always seemed to know things that others didn’t. Truth be told it gave her the chills, the idea that this alien knew things about her that she was pretty sure she didn’t even know.
"With Vegeta," Piccolo bent, picking up the sword. "He’s dangerous." Carefully he set the artifact on a low table.
"Why do you care?" Bulma asked bluntly, annoyed with the Namekkians intrusion. "Since when did what I do with Vegeta have any bearing one way or another on you existence?" Bulma tried to control the shaking of her voice. Who did Piccolo think he was? He had never paid her any mind, or shown that he thought anything of her past scorn. To hear him bad mouth something he couldn’t understand left her feeling more than a bit angry.
"Since I started caring about this planet." Piccolo said pointedly, something Vegeta does not. Bear that in mind when you give him a son." With a sweep of his cape, Piccolo turned and was gone, leaving her standing shaking in silent disbelief.
How had he known? How in the hell had he fucking known? Was her condition common knowledge to everyone? She hadn’t even told anyone. Turning off the lights, Bulma trudged wearily to her room. Kami, if she was like this now, barely three months gone, what in the hell was it going to be like when she big and round? Would Vegeta even give a damn? She’d like to think that he would, but she realized sadly aside from there night together he had given her no real indication that she existed, let alone that he would be there for her and his son. Hell even last night, when she had told him, he had merely grunted some reply and gone about his business, paying the news no mind.
Bulma paused at his door, laying a hand on the doorknob. Should she go in, attempt to force his hand in some way? Shutting her eyes, she tensed her hand, prepared to open it, to take the last drastic step to finding out where her place was in his life, before slowly letting it slip off, bitter disappointment filling her at her cowardice. Since when had she ever been afraid of anything? Yet here she was, too afraid of being rejected, of losing her heart completely to a man who barely acknowledged her existence? How pathetic she was becoming.
Making her way to her bathroom, Bulma dressed her wound, marveling again at the way that Vegeta had treated her wound, wondering again what in the hell had gotten into him? It had just been so unlike him. Should she take it to mean that he had some sentimental feelings for her, or was it just some more Saiyan weirdness that chose to come out of him at the strangest times? With a shake of her head, Bulma decided not to dwell on it anymore that night. She was achingly tired, a weariness that seemed to have settled deep in her bones. She needed a full nights sleep. Switching off her light, she lay down quietly, asleep as her head hit the pillow.
Vegeta sat on his bed, head buried in his hands. What in the hell had possessed him out there? He had been standing there, watching the room, studying it, trying to put a finger on what in the hell had him so worked up and on edge in that damn. It was almost as if there was someone else in the room with them, watching them, listening to them, so close that Vegeta bet he could have touched him. It had damn near unnerved him and there wasn’t much that could do that to him. And then the damn woman had fucking cut her hand, and he had just reacted, almost as if his mind had left his body, leaving only base instinct in its place. That he had done it in front of the Namek and Kakkarot left him feeling sick to his stomach. What if the Namek used his obvious weakness against him? The idea that Bulma would be hurt because of him left him feeling raw and vulnerable, two feelings he absolutely despised.
Laying down, he tried to sleep, determined that tomorrow he would purge the woman and her hold on him from his blood by sweat and hard, mind-numbing pain and work. This would not stop him from achieving Supersaiyan status; he would not allow her or the brat to stand in his way. These soft feelings could be damned.
Koremori looked at the drop of blood that he had caught with his hand as it had fallen from the girl’s wound, before starting for the stairs. She was strong of heart—stronger than even the warrior who showed her such interest. They would both do perfectly for what he had in mind and tonight he would lay the groundwork for what was to come. Finally he would be able to make peace in this world and rejoin his Masako in the next. He had only to help these two people understand what they shared and what he and his Masako had shared. If he could do that, then all would be well.
"No, please, you can’t leave me this way!! I want to fight at your side. Koremori, you can’t do this." Masako clutched at the sleeve of his tunic, tugging on it insistently, black eyes filling with tears.
"Off of me damn woman. You are a useless fighter. Your only purpose would be to get yourself killed." Koremori cringed at the harsh words, but he had to find some way, anyway to get her to stay behind. If he had to hurt than so be it. He would prefer to leave her hating him for all eternity, than have her travel to her death at his side. "The only thing you are good for is breeding, idiot woman. " With a sharp nudge, he pushed her off, pointing to her belly. You carry my heir in your belly. Have a care for his life." His heart twisted at his harsh words, but he forced the weak feelings away. For her good, for the good of their unborn child he had to push her away.
"Damn you Koremori! I am a samurai too. You cannot stop me from doing my duty at your side." Masako sobbed, anger and pain driving her on.
"Listen to me, woman!" Koremori grabbed her by her arms, forcing her to look into his angry black eyes. "I don’t want you at my side. You will bring me nothing but disgrace. Now get out of my sight and concentrate on giving birth to the child in your belly." With a snarl he left her, forcing himself to resist the urge to go back to the sobbing woman and comfort her. No, this was for the best. By tomorrow he might be dead and he would not see her dead along with him. She had his child to live for, to carry on for.
With a snarl, he left her, collapsed on the floor, ebony hair spilling in silken waves about her, grabbing his sword and striding to his horse. He knew it went against every warrior code he swore to live by, that it went against his Bushido, but he couldn’t allow bare the idea that his Masako might die. Koremori had long ago accepted his own death and had purged the fear of that event from his heart and soul, but the world deserved to have her presence in it and his child deserved a life and he would see them both safe. As he rode away he resisted the urge to look back, knowing that if he caught sight of her, he would ride back and all his trouble would be for nothing. No, with his skill as a warrior, and his sword by his side, he would prevail and then he could ride back to her and explain all to her, tell her he was sorry and demand that she forgive him. That was all he had to hope for.
Masako lay sobbing into her arms, heart shattered as his cruel words pierced through her breastbone and embedded deep within. What had caused him to turn on her so? She had been a loyal wife and strong samurai. She had perfected her skills with the naginata, had even trained with it under his watchful eye. How could he discard her this way, deny her the right to fight beside him and die bravely if need be defending his honor.
Shrieking angrily she shot up from the floor, unwilling to let him ride away like this. Damn him, Koremori would give her answers before he just left her to deal with everything they had shared together and the apparent loss of that connection.
Running out the door, mouth open to call him back, to harangue him for his mistreatment of her, she skidded to a halt outside their small home. No, he was already gone. He had really ridden out with her. Sinking to her knees in disbelief, Masako tipped her head back, screaming her pain and despair into the wide blue sky; lost so deeply in her misery and anguish, never seeing the cold hand that snaked around her mouth until it was too late.
Koremori!" Bulma shot up out of bed, the samurai’s name on her lips. Gasping for air, and fighting against the sharp pain in her abdomen. Catching her breath, she swung her long legs out of her bed, standing to get a glass of water. All this damn talk of samurai was affecting her dreams now, but that had been so vivid and real. The pain that the woman had felt, Bulma shuddered and moved to her bathroom door.
Switching on the light, she shuffled to the sink, needing to splash some cold water on her face in an attempt to shake off the residual feelings from the dream. Kami, that dream been so real. Bending low, she cupped her hands; allowing the cold water to run over them before gently splashing the cool, blue liquid over face. Eyes closed, she straightened, grabbing at the towel and rubbing the soft cloth over her skin.
Sighing, she opened her eyes looking at herself in the mirror, but instead of her own soft features, she saw instead, the bloodied, haggard features of a man—apparent samurai by the way he was dressed—eyes bloodshot and drawn, the same man from her dream, only this time, the once handsome face was set in harsh, unforgiving lines and his mouth drew down in a permanent expression of sorrow.
With a heartrending shriek of pure shock and terror, Bulma staggered back, sliding and losing her balance on the floor as her overloaded mind sank into blessed blackness.
Vegeta wasn’t sure what had awoken him, but the sound of Bulma’s terrified scream caught his attention as nothing ever had before and he shot, buck naked, from his bed; launching himself into her door and into her room, his heart thudding painfully in his chest. He had heard the sound of that scream before, as he had gleefully destroyed planets and hunted down people that had opposed Frieza. It was the sound of people begging for their lives, pleading for mercy and it was a sound that he never wanted to hear emanate from her. Perhaps it was the Namek come to strike back at him for his own death at Vegeta’s hands or the weakling warrior that she had once loved and whom he had taken her affections away from.
Searching the room, he located her ki in the bathroom and raced to her, throwing open the door. Seeing her crumpled form on the floor, he ran to her, grabbing her up and searching her for any apparent sign of injury. Sensing something in the room, he lifted his head and snarled, baring his teeth at whatever was in there with them. It had likely caused this to happen.
Picking her up, he carried her gently to his own room, laying her down on his bed and shaking her gently. Vegeta watched as the blue eyes fluttered open, dazed at first, but shock and stark terror flooding into them quickly, blinding her from all thought save one, getting away from whatever she had seen. With another low shriek she shoved upwards, pushing and clawing at him. Overpowering her, Vegeta pushed her back down onto the bed, covering her with his naked body and murmuring quietly into her ears.
"Woman, " Vegeta rasped into her ear softly. "Woman, you’re safe now." He pressed his mouth to her lips gently, thinking to calm her; surprised when she responded to him hungrily, wrapping her arms around him and pulling herself as close to him as she could possibly get.
"Vegeta," Bulma moaned softly, "please I need you. Shuddering she felt him hesitate before slowly lowering his mouth to hers again, plunging a hand into her silken hair. "Please," Bulma whispered against his mouth… "please…"
He groaned in agony, not wanting to go down this road again, knowing that he would be lost, yet even as he formed the word no, even as he attempted to pull his naked body off of hers, his body was already betraying him, urging him to join with her. Sliding the short nightgown she wore off, his fingers slipping slowly down the silk of her pale skin, he slid into her and for the night, they were one.
And sometime in the night as they moved together in a timeless passion, a warrior, long forgotten, smiled to himself.
Vegeta threw another round of punches, seeking nothing but the pure rush of power that he longed for—Super Saiyan. He would allow nothing to stop him.
So why had he given into her last night and made love to her until the wee hours of the morning. If he had thought the first time they had been together had been unforgettable, he had been unprepared for what had happened last night as she had clung to him, shrieked his name and fiercely answered his every demand. She had certainly held nothing back and unfortunately neither had he as her near animalistic response to him drove him over the edge and into a new hell of his very own making.
It went against Saiyan nature to feel the way he did for this one small woman. Sure there was affection and passion, but not this all consuming lust and need that had him nearly forgetting the priorities of his life. That he felt for her on such a level let him shaking in his boots and that feeling only served to fuel his anger at himself and at her, for it was her fault that he was having them in the first place and it all just left him feeling so goddamned confused.
Snarling, he ripped the door of the gravity room open and made his way to the house, wanting to take a shower. Perhaps that was the problem… he had neglected to wash himself in the morning, deciding as he had entangled himself from her silky limbs that if he awoke her now, they would be right back into the bed and he had wanted to at least attempt to get some training in. Unfortunately he had not given much thought to the grief that the scent of her would cause him and had soon found himself with a painful arousal that had stayed with him the majority of the morning.
Perhaps a cold shower would help him put things into perspective. Entering the kitchen, Vegeta frowned at the strains of god-awful music he heard reverberating throughout the house and cursed. Damn these Chikyuu-jin and their penchant for bad music.
Stopping at the fridge, he opened the door and took out a water bottle, swallowing it in one gulp. Peripherally, he caught a flash of movement as it darted by the door. Vegeta was on it in a second, but as he flashed through the door to confront whatever had been there, he found himself alone.
With a muffled curse of frustration, he headed to his room, the sounds of music growing painfully louder as he walked. What in the name of all that was sacred was that awful sound?
" She’s all you ever want, the kind I like to flaunt and take to dinner, She always knows her place, she’s got style, she’s got grace, and she’s a winner.
She’s a lady, whoa oh whoa, she’s lady, talking about my little lady and the lady is mine. "
"What in the hell kind of crappy music is that?" Vegeta growled, grimacing at the absurdity of the song. Continuing up the stairs, he passed by the origin of the music and stopped dead in his tracks, a look of absolute horror crossing his face at the sight that greeted him.
Vegeta could claim to have seen a million, blinding horrors in his life, been witness to things so awful that it had even made him sick, but the sight that greeted him as he passed by the living room had to be the worse thing he had ever laid his eyes upon.
Before him, gyrating her hips wildly to the blaring music that was about to drive him through the wall was Mrs. Briefs. Seemingly oblivious to any other presence, she twisted and swayed to the beat, moving from one side of the room to the other. Shocked and horrified and wanting to run, Vegeta found himself strangely rooted to the floor, captivated by the complete idiocy of what the blonde woman was doing, unable to turn away.
Teddi Briefs twirled towards the door, eyes widening with surprise as she saw a wide-eyed Vegeta watching her with something akin to horror on his face. "Oh Vegeta, " She laughed, waving at him once before clicking the remote that controlled the stereo and shutting it off. "Oh, that Tom Jones, he sure is a stud. Why when I was younger, the girls and I would go to his concerts and throw our underwear at him." She pealed off into giddy, girlish giggles, causing Vegeta to wince. "Why he’s almost as handsome as you." Teddi laughed before slapping a hand to the side of her reddening face. "Oh dear, what am I saying? I’m a married woman!!"
What kind of hell was this? Vegeta wondered, back pedaling a step as he watched the giddy woman take a one towards him. This woman was a force of nature that could have brought even Frieza to his knees in a matter of mere seconds, though at least Frieza had the luxury of blasting her into the next dimension, something he unfortunately could not do, not as long as he wanted a place to stay and food to eat. Who in the hell was he kidding, he knew what would happen with Bulma if he did give in to the secret desire to big bang her mother’s ass into the next dimension, she would hate him forever and he had no desire to see that happen.
"Would you like to come in here and sing with me?" Teddi took another step towards the Prince who seemed to snap out of his dazed stupor and began to slowly back away. "I could whip up some Shirley Temples, but this time I could slip some vodka in them." She laughed conspiratorially, raising her hand to her mouth, she cupped it and whispered loudly, "Sometimes I do that, but I guess it really isn’t a Shirley Temple if I put vodka in it." She laughed again.
Could this woman really be related to Bulma? As much as he tried to deny it, he could readily admit to himself that she was a genius, yet this woman was so—so, very stupid that it defied any realm of logic that she could be related to Bulma in any way, shape or form. Inhaling sharply as she made to grab at him, he lept away and skittered up the stairs, not wanting a repeat of the last time she had managed to get her hands on him. He shuddered at the memory, before grimacing in disgust to the levels he had sunk to. Now he was running like a scared rabbit from a woman, that by rights he should blast, simply because she dared to touch him, yet here he was running off as if Hell was nipping at his heels. Well, Vegeta allowed himself a tense smirk, perhaps it actually was.
Entering his room, he shut the door and stripped out of his clothes, preparing to take a shower. Standing by his bed, he looked down, seeing new clothes that had obviously been purchased for him, no doubt by the woman downstairs.
"Oh, yoo-hoo, Vegeta," A sharp knock on the door brought his head up; the sound of her cheery voice making him grimace. Could he not find any peace from the damn woman?
"Oh Vegeta, I forgot to tell you that I went shopping today. " Teddi called.
He would just ignore her. If he did that, then perhaps she would go away and he would be left in peace to take a shower. The sound of the knob turning had his head jerking up as he recalled that he had no clothes on. Surely she wouldn’t… no, this was his room; no one entered it without his permission, not even Bulma.
Panicking he made a grab for the first thing he saw, and in a flash they were on him, covering him before the woman could even get the door open and see more of him than she needed to. Damn her.
Teddi pushed her head through the door, smiling as she saw him. "Oh I see you’ve already found the boxers." The door banged open loudly as she took a step into the room. "Oh Vegeta, my goodness you certainly do look handsome."
"Hey mom!" Bulma’s voice drifted to him as he attempted to salvage whatever dignity he had left. Great now the woman was going to hound him.
"Mom, look at my new digital camera! It’s so cool." Bulma poked her head in his door, blushing as she saw him, standing half naked in the room, looking like a cornered lion. Geez, it was impossible to think straight when she saw that chest and recalled the things that had gone on in his room the night before. She had convinced herself that whatever she had seen in her own room the evening before had been her over active imagination following a night of rousing story telling coupled with the emotional upheaval of her pregnancy, though she could hardly claim to be disappointed with the reaction it had gotten out of Vegeta or the things that he had done to her last night. The Saiyan Prince had actually come to her rescue, as completely foreign as that idea was, he had come running when she had screamed and had sheltered her though out the night against that magnificently broad, strong chest… among other things. She felt her mouth tug up wickedly.
"Oh Bulma dear, look at the clothes I bought Vegeta!" Her mother exclaimed. "Doesn’t he look absolutely wonderful in his new boxers?"
With interest, Bulma turned back to Vegeta, becoming aware of the fierce expression of outrage on his face. "Mom, I think we had better let Vegeta alo-" The words were cut off abruptly as she took a look at exactly what it was he did have on and before she could stop herself, before she could do anything that would save her life, for he would surely kill her if she laughed now, but the pain of holding it in became too much and she finally broke, guffawing loudly at what she saw.
"Oh my Kami," she gasped, seeing the stormy expression that had fast settled across his handsome feature. "Oh, Vegeta, I’m sorry." She held her hands up in mock surrender as he stalked to her, determined to throw both her and her insane, cackling mother out of his room so that he might have some peace.
Hands raised, camera in hand, Bulma saw her opportunity. "Hey Vegeta," She smirked, "take a look at the boxers that you have on."
Vegeta glanced down, face staining a bright red as he saw just what Bulma’s mother had bought for him to wear. Staring with embarrassment at the silk boxers he had been forced to throw on, his black eyes took in the spectacle of bright red hearts covering every inch of the silky material. A blinding flash of light brought his head up. The damn wench had taken his picture.
"Hey, Vegeta!" Bulma smiled triumphantly, knowing she had him. "Remember that play that I asked you to go to, the one you refused to go see with me… well it looks like your going now." Bulma chuckled wickedly as she looked at the display picture of a very shocked Saiya-jin Prince standing in his heart-covered boxers. "Ahh you look really cute with hearts all over your underwear Vegeta, I have to admit.
With a growl of outrage, Vegeta launched after her, smirking evilly as she shrieked and set off in a dead run. The little witch could run fast considering she was pregnant. It really mattered little, there was no place she could run to that he would be unable to find her and when he did, he would carry her back to his room and show her what happened to those foolish wenches that laughed at the Prince in his underwear. At least this foolish wench, seeing how no one else had ever gotten a chance to see him in underwear.
Shrieking with laughter, Bulma ran at top speed down the stairs, determined that she would not lose her precious bargaining chip with the man. She had him, she finally had him and tonight he would take her to the play and it would be time that they spent together.
"Woman," Vegeta bellowed, irritation, fast turning into anger. "You had better give me that damn picture."
"Only if you go with me tonight!" Bulma called over her shoulder, not bothering to stop or turn around. If he caught her there would be hell to pay and she had no doubts that her camera would be demolished.
Vegeta smirked. He almost had her. "No one blackmails the Prince of the Saiyans and gets away with it, woman." His hand touched her shoulder and he heard her startled cry. The smirk widened.
"Hey guys! Whatcha doing?" Like a beacon of light, Goku appeared before Bulma and she cried out her thanks to Kami as she barreled straight into him, grateful as he wrapped supporting arms around her. "Whoa, Bulma…"
"Goku!" Bulma cried, propelling herself behind him. "Goku, Vegeta is trying to kill me."
Vegeta came to an abrupt halt at the third classes appearance. What in the hell was the bastard doing here now? And that he was standing there in front of the idiot in his heart covered drawers made his humiliation even worse. Damn these fool women.
"Ahh, Bulma, Vegeta isn’t going to kill you." Goku smiled goofily at him. "Hey, nice boxers Vegeta! Where did you get them? Chi-Chi just bought me some with smiley faces. I really love them."
"Shut-up Kakkarot." Leveling a scorching black glare at Bulma, he held out his hand. "Give me the camera woman."
"Will you go with me tonight?" Bulma frowned as the features of Vegeta’s face grew cloudy, the sharp contours of his face blurring and fading, morphing into the features of the samurai that had haunted her dreams in the night. Staggering back, she blinked, vaguely hearing the sound of the camera hitting the floor as it dropped. It was him, standing where Vegeta had been only moments before, looking at her, beseeching her with his mournful black eyes. He was dressed in white breeches that tapered to his ankles, brown sandals and a black tunic tied with a red sash; a cloak tossed haphazardly across his shoulders.
"Masako…" He held out his hand reaching for her, his voice begging an answer. "Masako, please forgive me."
Bulma’s eyes widened as she stepped back, tripping over her forgotten camera. As the specter loomed over her she screamed, vaguely aware of arms catching her as she descended once again into blackness.
Goku managed to catch her as she fell, but found himself quickly brushed aside by Vegeta as the Saiyan Prince hauled her from his arms and gathered her to his body. He watched with a mixture of amusement and concern as Vegeta carried her upstairs. Goku followed behind, watching the gentle sway of Bulma’s hair as it brushed against Vegeta’s thigh.
"She doesn’t go to the play tonight Kakkarot." Vegeta growled. Take her tickets and find someone else to go." Vegeta carried her to her room, depositing her gently on the bed. Walking to the bathroom, he wet a cloth, turning to go back to his woman. As he walked across the bed, he saw her lying there, silky blue hair lying limply across her bed, but instead of the jeans and tee shirt she had been wearing, she was dressed in a long, revealing brocade gown, bloody and bruised. Dropping the cloth, Vegeta staggered forward in shock, oblivious to Kakkarot’s presence, stumbling to the bed.
Looking down he saw the same woman that he had carried up, still dressed in blue jeans, no blood in sight. He shook his head in confusion. What in the hell had he just seen? What had just happened? Turning to
Kakkarot he growled one word.
"But Vegeta," Goku began, before being cut off.
"Dammit, Kakkarot, I said leave." Vegeta touched his head, overcome with a strong sense of nausea. Holding himself steady until he heard the click of the door, he slumped over, clasping his head with a low moan. What was happening to him? He felt the room spin and tilt before he collapsed next to her, groaning as a strong sensation of vertigo hit him. Opening his eyes, and fighting the rush of sickening dizziness he saw nothing but hazy shade of grey and the figure of a man dressed in armor that was… he groaned again, as the image faded, replaced by a woman, a distraught woman, dressed in the same clothes that he had just seen on Bulma… a cold pale hand, sliding around her shoulder to caress her barely covered breast. The hand, twisted with age reached out towards Bulma, Vegeta heard himself calling out to her, reached for her, struggled to get up, to fight off the impending blackness that threatened to take him over. No he had to fight against it, to fight the lure of succumbing to it, of --
Vegeta collapsed against her, his mind empty as the slow trickle of blackness quickened and rushed over him and through him, sending him falling into it’s dark caress. He gasped once, reaching out to his woman, but she was gone.
Koremori stared down at the entwined couple on the bed, drawing in a deep shuddering breath. "Masako," he spoke softly, turning his head upwards. "It is time."
* * * * *
Bushido-The Way of The Warrior
Daimyo-Powerful Feudal Landowner
Naginata-Pole-arm, fitted with curved, single-edged blades
Shogun-abbreviated form of Sei-I-Tai Shogun(barbarian subduing general)
Tendai-school for Buddhism derived from the Chinese T’ien-t’ai sect.
Additional Notes: All information was taken from the book Samurai-The Story of A Warrior Tradition by Harry Cook
All Japanese names are presented with the family name last, followed by the more familiar first name. This story is a work of fiction and while it has been taken from a medley of real events, the people that I describe and the story that I have told are not real, only a figment of my imagination. The warrior code however is not.
Also, no offense meant to Tom Jones fan! And credit to his song, She’s A Lady!!
Preview—Part Two—The Dream
"Damn you woman, you will not go and meet Frieza with me. I will not allow it. Do you have any idea what he will do to you, do you know how deep his hatred of me runs? I betrayed him, I took all he had to offer and I used it against him and dishonored him. He will use whatever he can find to bring me to my knees." Vegeta glanced away from her brimming blue eyes. "I must fight this battle on my own."