Disclaimer: DBZ is not mine, so these characters are not mine.


The Prince and the Showgirl
By: Lehua




The sun filtered through the leaves, dispersing the shadows as the light reflected back. Bulma lay lazily on the grass, her eyes searching the leaves for a familiar face. He was getting good at this: she couldn't see him anywhere. Her blue eyes searched the green depths of the tree, but he seemed to have vanished, or maybe the tree had swallowed him. A tree swallowing him up was a horrible thought, especially for the poor tree because Vegeta was probably a terrible thing to eat: he'd give the tree indigestion of something. She giggled a little, hiding behind her hand.

"Vegeta? Are you up there?" she said, rising to her toes to try and see deeper, as if height had a thing to do with it (as if she were tall enough if she stood on her toes).

A gentle wind blew through the leaves, but there was no response from him.

"Oh, come on, Vegeta; you're beginning to irritate me," she said. And scare her; she didn't like to be scared, and she didn't like to be alone; she was only 14 and a lot of things could happen to a 14 year old girl standing by herself in the woods.


"Vegeta . . ." she said impatiently. "If you don't climb down, I'm going to climb up."


"Fine. I'm coming," she said, slipping out of her shoes and stepping on the tree.

She hated heights, as much as she hated being alone. But she never told him that; he'd just laugh at her and call her a weakling.

She reached the lowest branch and hauled herself up, grabbing it with her hand until her knuckles were white. She was a good ten feet off the ground, and looking down made her queasy. She closed her eyes for a few moment and decided to look up, since that wasn't bad at all.

He wasn't there.

She began to wonder then whether he was up here at all. Damn if he wasn't; how was she going to get down? "You were expecting him to get you down?" a voice laughed in her head. She scowled and made the mistake of looking down.

What really happened then, she'd never know, because all of a sudden she felt herself falling, the world tumbling around her, but when she landed, it didn't hurt and a pair of strong arms were wrapped around her. Her head spun for a few moments, her brain trying to catch up with all the images that had floated in front of her eyes.

Slowly, as she came back to herself, she felt the strong arms around her chest, holding her firmly but not restrictively, and the labored breathing of the person beneath her. She pulled herself up, propping herself on her elbow, which happened to rest on the person's chest.

"Woman, you're heavy," he grunted.

Bulma jumped and rolled off of him. "Vegeta! What were you doing?" she exclaimed.

He sat up and smirked at her, his wrist resting lazily on his raised knee. "Saving you," he replied.

She turned beet red and looked away. "I could have saved myself," she muttered.

He laughed. "I highly doubt it," he said, standing and dusting himself off, "you didn't even know you were falling."

"You probably pushed me," she said sulkily.

"Why would I waste my time doing that?" he said, grinning.

Bulma slapped him on the shoulder half-heartedly. "Bastard."

He grinned at her again, his ebony eyes dancing. Though he was still young-- just 16-- he was already filling out. His muscles were developing nicely, and his voice was already deep. His hair stood up straight, like black mountain peaks.

He and Bulma had known each other since she'd uttered her first word. They weren't inseparable, but they also weren't just friends. A long while back the line had begun to blur, sometime when Bulma had begun to fill out and his voice began to change. Neither one talked about it, but they knew it was there.

"Do you always have to be heroic?" she said to him playfully.

"No," he responded, "I considered just letting you fall."

She looked at him as they walked side-by-side, wondering if he did actually considered it. His face betrayed nothing, and for a moment she was scared.

"You did?" she whispered.

He looked straight ahead, his eyes clearly avoiding hers, but she saw the tiniest grin on his lips.

"Bastard," she said again, slapping him.

They walked the rest of the way home in a comfortable silence.


"Tadaima," Bulma said as she walked through her front door.

Her mother sat on the ground, tears staining her kimono, while her father tried to comfort her. Bulma rushed to their sides, wondering what was wrong. Did something happened today at work? Was Obaasan okay? Millions of questions raced through her mind. As soon as her mother saw her, she threw out her arms and held Bulma fiercely.

"No, no, no, no," she whispered in Bulma's ear, "I won't let you go, I won't." She rocked Bulma back and forth.

"Honey, you have to let her go; we have no choice," her father said sadly.

Go? Where was she going? "What? I'm not going anywhere," Bulma said, confused.

Bulma's father closed his eyes and motioned with his head to the right. Bulma looked and saw the shogun's samurai waiting. Her blue eyes widened in fear.

"No," she said, looking between her father and the samurai. "I won't go anywhere. Vegeta-"

"Vegeta has nothing to do with this," he father said, "and there's nothing he can do. It is the shogun's wish."

The shogun. Bu, no, why would he? He knew, he knew Vegeta would throw a fit, possibly kill a few people.

She threw herself into a rage. "No, I won't go! I won't! You can't make me!" She snapped her head violently from side-to-side, her long blue locks whipping around her face. She beat at the ground with her fists, bitter tear burning down her face.

The samurai grabbed her, their grip iron hard. She tried to pull away, but couldn't. Why her, of all people, why her?

"You'll make a nice little pet for my Prince," a man said, his form filling the doorway.

Her blue eyes burned holes through him: the ambassador. She was going to be a sex toy. She threw herself even more violently, her teeth flashing, but to no avail. The samurai dragged her out and threw her into a cart, shackling her so she couldn't run. The man up front who drove the cart didn't turn to look, but sat there as if it were the most natural thing. The samurai stepped back and then turned to go back to the main house.

"Don't just leave," the ambassador said," shut her up."

One looked back at him, black eyes fierce. "No. We have done what we were told, and now we leave. There is no honor in what you do." With that said, they left.

Bulma screamed and screamed, but neither the ambassador nor the driver seemed man enough to shut her up. The ambassador climbed up beside the driver, and the rode off down the dusty road.


Vegeta walked into his father's chamber, grinning broadly. "Father, Bulma-" but he stopped when he saw the look on his father's face at the mention of her name. "What's wrong?"

"She's gone," he sighed, the breath escaping from his body.

"Gone?" Vegeta said. "I just saw her to her gate."

"She was sold. You won't be seeing her again," he relied.

"What?" Vegeta said in disbelief. "Her parents sold her?"

The shogun looked up. "No, her parents would never do that . . . I did."

"You what?" he raged, his coal eyes burning. "You sold her?"

"Yes," his father said standing. "The ambassador said she'd make a nice gift to the-"

"That hairy bastard?" Vegeta screamed. "The damned man has no honor; she'll never make it to the prince clean, if she even gets there," he said, gesturing violently with is hands. "But that's not the point. You had no right-"

"I had no right?" the shogun raged. "She's my slave; I can do what I want with her."

"You and I know that's not what you feel," Vegeta shot back, crossing his arms.

"And what do you feel, Vegeta? Do you have feelings for this woman?" the shogun spat.

Vegeta shut up. He didn't trust himself to answer; he was afraid he did.

"Vegeta, I know how you feel-" the shogun started, placing a hand on Vegeta's shoulder.

Vegeta shrugged him off. "I feeling nothing." He walked to the chamber door. "Jaa, ne," he said, bowing slightly, and left the room.

* * * * *

Chapter 1
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