It had been a mistake to let him live—that was the only thing that Bulma could comprehend. She realized distantly, as she lay in the same bed two hours later, that she should have killed him—for her own sake, not just his. Not just because she would get in so much trouble. All the sudden, she found herself thinking about this mysterious prince who’d been sent to her for the finishing. And she didn’t finish him. She let him live.
That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that she couldn’t forget him. He’d had the opportunity to kill her, with the full knowledge that she’d brought the knife to finish him off. And he didn’t. Instead, he trusted himself to her—almost completely. That was . . . weird. But it didn’t matter at the moment. Her mind turned with a sick lurch to what lay ahead of her: she hadn’t killed Vegeta. And there was a price to pay for that.
Vegeta stared at the ceiling of his quarters. He’d never let anyone get so close to killing him—ever. Granted, his life hadn’t flashed before his eyes or anything, but still. It was the idea that he’d let his guard down that much. And also . . . well, had he been prepared, she’d never have caught him off-guard anyway. He narrowed his eyes.
It had been two weeks since he’d seen the blue-haired courtesan, but he couldn’t get her out of his head. He had returned to the planet that the club had been on, even been so foolish as to return to her city in hopes of possibly getting a glimpse of her.
She had stated plainly that if she saw him again, she’d kill him. Not as though she could do that . . . he had made sure that her power level had not been over five. She could not control her own energy if her life depended on it. And yet—her strength of mind had been enough to get a sword right up against his throat. He could block an energy blast in his sleep, to be sure, but a sword was something entirely different. It was solid in the literal sense of the word; it could penetrate any energy shield as easily as it could have penetrated his skin.
A shiver passed through his body as he stood up and walked outside. This had been eating him for a very long time—since she’d let him escape, actually. Kakarot had been politely curious as to where Vegeta had disappeared to when he dragged off Bulma, and all Vegeta told him was that they had needed to exchange words. That was all. The subject had been considered closed, and there had been no further questions about it.
He wandered down the street aimlessly, not even looking at the cheap tourist attractions. He took a corner too wide and bumped into a black-haired figure, surrounded by women who looked cheaper than dirt.
"Hey, watch it," the stranger snapped.
Vegeta fixed him with a smoldering glare and walked off without apologizing once. Screeches of laughter reached his ears from the retreating man and his entourage—he caught the words Zarbon, auction, and Yamcha. He had no idea who Yamcha was—probably the little prick who he’d run into, but Zarbon rang a bell . . . oh yeah. Him.
Vegeta remembered the man well . . . the same green alien who’d been at the bar that night, who he’d assumed was the owner. He kicked himself silently for not putting the two together, but it could do him no good now. Yes, he remembered now . . . Zarbon had been a little pet of Frieza’s back when Vegeta was still in his ranks. But he didn’t remember him much after he was ten or twelve; he’d heard somewhere that Zarbon had wanted a less involved job and had gotten a little whorehouse to call his own. Amazing, how crappy his memory was getting . . . not as though it would have done him any good anyways. His mind had been on . . . other things . . . the only time it mattered.
Auction? What the hell would Zarbon have to do with an auction?
Well it was his business to find out, even if it didn’t concern him. He turned and caught a fleeting glance of the fool he’d run into and the flock of women with him.
He followed them.
Bulma lifted her chin as she stepped into her dress—it was probably the last nice thing she’d ever wear again. She’d waited patiently for her reprimand, and here it was.
It wasn’t Zarbon who’d gotten her for letting Vegeta go. He had fond memories of the Saiyan’s will and pride. No, she got in trouble from the top and it just worked its way down.
Frieza knew that Vegeta had been at Zarbon’s little place. He knew that someone was going to take care of the Saiyan who’d apparently caused him so much trouble. And then he found out that not only did someone not take care of him, but that the someone in question was Bulma. And he was not happy.
Zarbon had gone to bat for her, saying that she wasn’t the one who usually did away with guests on the to-do list and that she had her—well, other uses, if Frieza knew what he meant. It didn’t matter, in the end. Her job had been on the line, apparently, and now she was going to pay the price for having some absurd affection for the prince.
Of course, affection wasn’t the term used. They had dismissed it as fear and maybe a conscience. But she liked the asshole of a Saiyan, and had no regrets in letting him go—in retrospect, anyways.
So it came down to this. She was being sold, along with a few others from distant points of the galaxy, to the highest bidder. She may have been a person, but in reality she was only worth what someone would pay for her. And that was about to be proven, up in front of a hundred horny guys who just wanted someone to be their bitch and go down on them after a long day of being jerks. She knew how it went.
Zarbon stuck his head into her dressing room, the same as he always did before she went out. "Hello, love," he said quietly.
She tilted her nose in the air, giving the impression that she was an aristocrat of sorts to the untrained eye.
"Guess I should head on out there," she sighed.
"Well, yeah. Just thought I’d give you a bit of good news—there’s a lad out there who’s right up your alley—young, rich, and nice. Name’s Yamcha—he likes them cute, I heard. He’s single and good-looking, and I showed him what we’ve got up for—" he didn’t use the word ‘sale.’ "I showed him what he can choose from, and he liked you. I think he may pick you, if you’re lucky. That way you don’t have to worry about who you end up with—since there are a fine share of horny bastards out there with full wallets, you know."
She tossed her hair and gave him a cool stare. "I don’t want to talk about it right now. I think I should get out on the platform, don’t you?"
He hesitated. "I tried to get you out of this—it’s not like I didn’t try."
"I know. But that’s what I get for liking someone, isn’t it? I happen to think he’s off having some kind of fun, pillaging villages and acting like a chauvinistic male pig. And the galaxy is probably a better place for it. Now if you’ll excuse me . . ." she brushed by him, not nearly as kindly as she used to. "I think I’m off to meet the highest bidder."
"Just be cute," he told her.
"That’s wonderful advice if you’ve ever given me any," she snorted, a ghost of a smile on her face. "I suppose after this whole auction is over . . . I don’t suppose I’ll be seeing you again, will I?"
His brown eyes were sympathetic. "I don’t think so. Chin up, love. It won’t be that bad," he assured her, putting a knuckle under her chin.
She nodded and tossed her hair haughtily, putting on the mask that had made her a favorite of the regulars since she was fourteen, standing up tall, and walking out to the deck where she would be given to whoever paid the highest price.
Bulma stood proud and tall in front of the bidders. She didn’t hear anything—not because it was silent, but because the blood was roaring in her ears so loudly that everything else was blocked out. All she could hear was a dull screaming and the pounding of her heart. Pride though she had, dignity that she had, there was nothing as demeaning as being sold like a piece of furniture—as though a human being could be bought and sold like that. Her blood boiled at the way the speaker called out the starting price. Goddess, if only it had been a silent auction!
She heard the shout of ‘Twelve thousand!" from somewhere in the room. The speaker rattled off a million words at a time.
"Yamcha, twelve thousand . . . thirteen thousand Dodoria . . . do I hear fourteen?"
Bulma remained dead still, the sultry smile pasted on her face.
There was a hoot and whistle from Mr. Twelve-thousand, followed by catcalls from across the whole place.
Stupid bastards. See if she didn’t . . .
"Twenty thousand," someone else called. And then she froze
That son of a bitch. That SON OF A BITCH, it wasn’t even remotely possible—oooh, this time she’d do it right—
‘Twenty thousand to . . . um, him . . ." the auctioneer declared.
"Twenty-five," the Yamcha dude countered.
The smug confidence that had been so fake began to melt off her face as she locked eyes with Prince Vegeta.
"Sixty thousand," Yamcha challenged.
The average price for a courtesan—oh, call it what it is—for a whore was about thirty thousand credits, and that was only for very esteemed ones at that. Bulma was in a state of dawning shock that someone was willing to pay sixty thousand credits for her, especially someone that she’d never met. Apparently the whole rest of the jeering crowd agreed with her, because the roar had dulled to a bit of a buzz. They wouldn’t go above eighty thousand . . . would they?
"One hundred thousand."
That’s it. I’m going to fall over dead, she realized. This is not happening.
Her gaze never left Vegeta’s, and she gave a barely perceptible shake of her head, gesturing for no. She couldn’t handle this.
The silence stretched almost interminably, so thick that even the speaker forgot to give three chances for a counter-bid.
"Oh!" he finally exclaimed. "Uh—Bulma goes to . . . him, for a hundred thousand credits."
She stormed off the stage, a mix of emotions. She was in so much trouble—especially now that she was in the ownership of Prince Vegeta, the very same Saiyan she’d been assigned to kill. He was going to kill her. There was nothing more to it.
The only comfort she had at the moment was the tiny dagger in a sheath just above the slit of her dress. It was sufficiently out of sight, but not out of reach. All she could do was wait—wait to be claimed.
She didn’t wait long, however. No more than five minutes passed before she felt the warmth of someone else behind her. Bulma spun around.
"What exactly do you hope to gain from this?" she demanded when her eyes met obsidian.
"Good, because that’s what you’ll get! I hope you know that I don’t give blow jobs at the drop of a hat, nor am I always willing to jump into bed all the time—"
Her words were cut short when he put his lips to hers almost hesitantly. She remained stiff and unresponsive against him, and then he pulled away.
"Can’t you just shut up for once?" he demanded sourly. "I just blew a hundred thousand credits to set you free."
"To what?" she repeated.
He sucked on his teeth for a moment—long enough for Bulma to see the other bidder . . . Yamcha or something . . . come up behind him and stand quietly in the shadows.
"I owe you my life," he said finally. "You had the chance to kill me and you didn’t. I owed you my life for that—now I owe you nothing."
Bulma stared at him. "You’re joking."
He smirked at her stunned statement. "I’m afraid not."
She glared at him, hiding her surprise. "You’re dense, did you know that? I mean . . . you’re a wanted person in this galaxy. Any person rumored to be your . . . um . . . courtesan would be hanged at the first sign of Frieza’s supporters. Did you stop to think about what would happen to me over this?"
He shrugged. "Not really."
"Excuse me—do you think I could have a word?" came Yamcha’s voice. "I think I have a right to say something."
Vegeta gave him a withering glare that obviously stated that he could not have a word, thank you very much, but he continued on anyway.
"I just . . . I just wanted to say that . . ." he bit his tongue. "I don’t think you bought her for the right reasons."
"Do you know my reasons?" demanded the prince haughtily. "I owed her my life—I owe her nothing now."
"And where will she go? Out in the world by herself?"
"No, I haven’t forgotten that she is my property now."
Bulma seethed silently, but let a few angry words slip out. "Son of a bitch," she snapped. "I should have killed you when I could have."
"But then you wouldn’t be here," he teased.
"That’s why I’m here," she snapped. "Stupid monkey."
"Ugly whore," he threw back, simply to antagonize her.
She punched him. Closed fist, absolutely furious. Blood seeped down his chin, and he wiped at it absently. "Feisty one," he growled. At this point, she wasn’t sure if he was trying to piss her off or not. But he did kiss her again. A slow, sweet kiss that gave her that warm feeling in her stomach.
And as she leaned against him, the hilt of his sword digging into her thigh slightly, she realized that there was no way she was going to be able to live with him. It was an affectionate thought, but . . .
Goddess. She’d kill the bastard.
So wha’d you think? I mean . . . kinda weird, yes, but oh well. I may write a follow-up if I get the motivation. Hope y’all like it.—Psycho Pixie