This story is based on the Classical myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, with a few alterations and some swapping of roles! What can I say, I like being quirky. Plus I’m adding in a whole lot of bits and pieces that you won’t find in the original myth - like I said, it is based on but does not faithfully follow the story. Some parts have been adapted and I’ve beefed it up a little - the original myth is very short - but for those who know the story, I hope that it is a recognisable relative to it, and for those that don’t know it, don’t worry. If it really bugs you, there are hundred of books on Classical Mythology out there, so I’m sure that you could find it and have a quick read for yourselves.
This is my first attempt at a B/V fic, and in truth I do not expect to win this contest, but I did want to see how I measure up against all those other brilliant writers out there. I hope you enjoy the fic.
Disclaimer: none of the various characters, settings or other recognisable parts of various animes belong to the author - they belong to their respective copyright holders. All original characters along with the story itself, are, however, copyright of me. No money is being made from the dissemination of this text, it has been created and writted purely for the non-commercial enjoyment of this area of fandom. Suing is pointless, as the author has no money.
C&C welcome, please emailLittlesaru
Bulma, Queen of Cyprus, the island of Aphrodite upon whose shores the gentle waves of the Mediterranean were wont to dance with gentle joy, was a monarch known less for her statesmanship than for her skill at the fashioning of marvels. It was she who created the wondrous device that could track objects of magic across land and sea, and she who found a way to hide houses and ships inside little Capsules. So engrossed in her work was this beauteous lady that she decreed that she would not marry, saying that no man could compete successfully with her creations.
Many tried to dissuade her from this course. Heroes and warriors from all over the world came to her kingdom and sought to win her hand, but she disdained them all, no matter what feats they accomplished in her honour, no matter what treasures they laid at her feet. The mighty desert lord Yamcha waged war upon the Ox King and took all of that giant’s riches from his fiery palace, gifting them to the aqua haired lady on a summer’s eve and asking for her hand. He wooed her with a stubborn will, and yet the Queen was as an impregnable keep, with no fissure in the walls of her will to let the warrior in.
In time the warriors and heroes grew tired of their pursuits, turning away from the strong-willed genius to pursue gentler women. She was well content with this, for it gave her more time to work on her many inventions and, for a time, she did practice such concentration, bringing forth all manner of marvels from her laboratory. But of late that renowned beauty was caught up with one construction in particular, that of a tailed man, a Prince whom she named Vegeta for all that he was a lifeless simulacrum. He was forged from steel, his body shimmering in the light, until she placed an artificial skin over his frame, painstakingly sculpting each feature with infinite care. She laboured over him for many days and many nights, putting new touches of elegance to his form, sculpting his lips and hands and hair to such an epitome of perfection that eventually she fell in love with him.
His appearance did not follow a traditional pattern of male beauty, for she had fashioned him to be shorter than she, with a fierce scowl and a stern statement. He was dark haired where others would have fashioned him to be blond; his eyes were onyx, deep and tortured, where others would have preferred the light blue that shone with joy; his face showed great pride and a fierce strength where others would have preferred an open, friendly visage. But he was as she had fashioned him, conforming to the man who haunted her dreams and spoke in a strange, lilting tongue, and she dismissed the protests of her peers with a flip of one long graceful hand. He was all that she wanted him to be, but for one thing; he did not live.
She strove with all her might to give him life, to coax breath into that lifeless shell, to bring the blush of life to those sensual lips, to spark some hidden fire in those dead eyes. She clothed his exquisite form in the richest fabrics, tended to his upswept flame of hair with greater care than she gave her own, presented him with gifts of great rarity and value, all in an effort to coax some response from the image. But for all her talent, Bulma was not a God and nor did she ever claim to be one, and so she resigned herself to yearning for someone who could never truly be hers.
But in time it came to pass that the festival of Aphrodite once more was upon her kingdom, and Bulma was struck with the idea that she might plead with that Goddess to give life to Vegeta’s form. So she gathered the greatest offerings she could and presented them at the altar in Aphrodite’s temple, lighting the most expensive and subtle incense to carry her prayers upwards. And it was thus that she formed her plea;
"Lady Goddess, most beautiful mistress of love, take pity on me. I know that I have often scorned your ways, and never have I led a life that followed the paths of love, but now I beg you. Give life to Vegeta, whose body I have fashioned, that he might be my mate, or if that may not be, then bring me one who is like to him."
For breathless instants it seemed that the Goddess would give no reply to the unhappy Queen, but then the altar flame leaped in the air three times, as though to indicate that the Goddess would grant such a bequest. Then came a wondrous, awful voice; one that was terrible for the ears of mortals to hear.
"Your wish has been granted Queen Bulma, but know this; the one who soon will be given life is a true soul who has lived once before and retains all his memories of the life he led amongst the stars. He is a minion of war and strife, fierce and proud, and he has been taught naught of love safe that it must be avoided and despised. He is truly a Prince of his people, fair Bulma, and you must strive hard indeed to win him. Now go, for as you arrive in the room in which the body you have so admirably fashioned now lies, then will I return his soul to the land of the living. One final piece of advice before you leave; do not despair of gaining his heart, for though he knows nothing of the ways of love, the match is one that has been pronounced by the fates themselves."
Bulma gathered up her cloak, which she had draped at the bottom of the altar stairs, and hurried from the temple, those words echoing through her ears. In her haste she ignored the way the breeze blew about her face and swept through her hair, making to her home with all speed. Yet when she came to the door that led to the laboratory in which she had housed Vegeta, she paused, hesitant and uncertain. Steeling her spirit she entered the room, and watched in awe as life flooded through his naked limbs, blood flowed through his veins and his dark eyes gained a fierce, wondrous life. He stretched, his muscles flexing, and then he attempted to walk, taking one step before his untried body failed him and he fell to the floor. His eyes were still dazed but for a single, frozen second, they focused upon her, as she stood outlined in the doorway. Then he fell fully to the floor, unconscious and still.
Bulma rushed forward, the fabric of her gown swirling around her legs. She knelt by his side, smoothing her hands down his sculpted back, marvelling and how life made him even more beautiful. Where once the muscles of his form were stiff and lifeless, now they flowed with a subtle grace and strength, and his skin no longer held the artificial pallor of one who had never lived. He was warm to the touch, his skin like silk beneath her fingers, and for a moment she admired him. Then she called out to her automated servants, summoning them to help her take him to a room and lay him on the bed, covering him with the rich coverlet. She paused for a single instant in the doorway, running her eyes over his perfect frame in wonder, before leaving him to his rest.
The Saiyajin Prince opened his eyes upon an alien scene, his face assuming a natural scowl as he traced the folds of the velveteen fabric beneath his fingers with something approaching confusion. This strange material was like nothing he had ever touched before, so soft and silky as his hands glided over it. Raising his eyes from the royal blue fabric, he blinked in surprise as his gaze fixed upon a blue sky. He had never seen anything so strange in all his life and yet there it was, arching over him as the more familiar red of his world’s sky had done….
For brief moments the Ouji permitted his face to assume an statement of puzzlement as he cast his mind back through his memories, attempting to figure out how he had got to this strange place, and what had happened to his home and people. All he could recall was looking up into the night sky, wondering why it was as bright as day and hearing some maniacal laughter, and then… nothing. He concluded that he must be dead, and yet he felt very much alive, and this was not the glorious battlefield that he had been taught to expect in the afterlife.
His confusion was pushed to the back of his mind as a tall, blue-haired female walked in the door. He had a brief moment to wonder why everything in this misbegotten place was blue, before noticing that the woman had no tail and bore herself far too proudly to be one of his kind. The instant she opened her mouth that was confirmed. Her voice was high, and musical, but it bore an abrasive quality that hurt his ears - a lot. He raised his hands to cover them as pain shrieked through him - she did not seem to notice. She spoke in a strange tongue whose syllables were much harsher sounding than his own lilting language, and she spoke quickly, as though she expected him to understand her.
~Insane female. Why can’t she speak a civilised tongue?~
Bulma looked expectantly at her dream man after she had finished telling him the tale of how he had come to be there, wondering why he was so silent, and why on earth was he covering his ears. The first question was answered quickly enough, as he replied to her in the most melodious language she had ever heard, even with the obvious irritation colouring his tone.
//"I don’t know what the hell you are saying, woman, but you had better start explaining things in a more comprehensible language before I blow you to pieces!"//
Bulma blinked at him, then tried again to explain, speaking slower, as though that would help. He winced, once again covering his ears, and then paused to look up and around in shock. Bulma, too, sent her gaze skittering from side to side even though she knew that it was highly unlikely that Aphrodite would appear in physical form.
"Well, we can’t have that, can we Prince Vegeta? I will change a few things so you do not feel pain when the humans talk to you, but you will have to learn their language on your own."
The man quickly sent out a query to this strange, awesome voice, and was answered with a chuckle of purely feminine amusement.
"No Vegeta, you are not dead, but this world is one completely different from your own. You will have to learn to adapt - my son."
Two sets of mortal eyes blinked in shock, before the sense of presence faded away. Two gazes fixed on each other, and each perceived that the other had understood the Goddess perfectly. Neither was sure what to say, both aware of the language barrier that lay between them. Vegeta resolved to stay with this regal female until he had learnt her barbaric language, and then leave with all speed, while Bulma found herself intrigued that this son of the Gods had not known his unique parentage before.
The silence stretched between them until it became uncomfortable, like an itch between the shoulder blades, and Bulma made a circular gesture with one hand, shrugging helplessly.
"I’ll get you some clothes."
It was all she said, but it gained the Saiyajin’s attention, and he fixed his gaze on her like a hawk sighting a rabbit. He was obviously jumpy and not likely to relax for a while, so she merely nodded her head under his piercing gaze and left. Shortly after she returned, with a retinue of servants whose arms were piled high with rich fabrics. One woman pulled the coverlet from his naked body, causing his to growl and blush, his face flaming in embarrassment. He threw his hand out and a bright ball of ki shot past the serving woman’s head to explode a beautifully carved footstool into nothing.
The women all jumped back, shrieking, but he ignored them, growling something at Bulma that obviously meant ‘get out, I can dress myself.’ She chuckled at his embarrassment, enjoying the way his flushed features gave him a more vulnerable look, and then ordered all the others out. Before leaving him to dress in private, she lifted his hand to her lips and kissed it, smirking at his look of stunned shock and then walking out the door with a sway to her hips.
The blushing man shook his head in exasperation, not willing to admit how embarrassed he had been by the frank, appraising stares of the servant women and their mistress, even to himself. He sorted through the clothing, choosing the most modest attire in the darkest colours - he wasn’t about to bedeck himself like a flower! As he wrapped the clothing around his sculptured form, he noted that his battle scars were gone, each and every one absent from his skin. Try as he might, he could think of no explanation for this strange occurrence and his confusion grew. Dismissing the problem until he could speak enough to demand some explanation, he searched around for weapons, but found none, and his eyes narrowed in irritation. He was a warrior, not some female alien’s toy! The little things about this place that made it seemed so different and strange stoked his ire and he stalked - or rather he attempted to stalk - from the sleeping chamber in a frame of mind more suited to battle than to scholarship.
Bulma kept on smirking as she walked into the antechamber, exchanging knowing glances with her serving women. Then she paused, considering the problem presented to her by this strange, half-familiar stranger. Narrowing her eyes, a playful breeze blowing her hair about her face, she considered the situation from all angles, recalling his savage strength as well as his inability to understand her words. She resolved to teach him her language, but also to devise some way of weakening him should he ever show any intention of leaving - just because she loved him did not mean she was going to let him run around the countryside like all those other women did. Her husband would stay home.
She ordered her attendants to bring a large desk, two chairs and writing materials, plus a collection of pictures of various everyday things. They set the items up as she directed, near the wide windows that looked out onto the sun-flecked seas. A second table was laid with food and drink, enough to satisfy the most famished of men, although the fact that he was an alien could very well mean that he ate less or more. It was situated on the opposite side of the room, looking out onto the olive groves and gentle gardens filled with scented flowers and herbs. She had decided that after Vegeta had eaten she would give him his first lesson in speaking a civilised language.
The rich aroma of well-prepared food called to the unsteady Prince, and he carefully set about the complicated business of walking towards the delicious scents. His confusion at his inability to control his body was not shared by the Queen, who watched his careful progress with a gentle smile on her lips, admiring his manly beauty with a woman’s appraising eye. She knew that his body was newly formed, and that he would have difficulty in performing even the most basic of feats for a while to come. In truth she had not expected him to be able to dress himself, let alone walk, even in this unsteady fashion. He did not share her amusement, for this strange weakness that afflicted him merely stoked the fires of his anger, and his carefully concealed fear grew along with it.
She wiped the smile from her face as he lifted his eyes to glower at her, and, though the first thing she saw painted upon his face was anger, her bright blue eyes quickly discovered the uncertainty lurking deep in his onyx orbs. Her amusement fled the way of her smile, for though she could be unthinkingly callous, Bulma was never knowingly cruel, and his hidden suffering had touched her tender heart. She helped him settle himself at the table, placing a variety of dishes before him, along with the appropriate utensils.
The Saiyajin looked at the strange foods in front of him, gave a cursory glance to the utensils, picking up the knife and testing its edge, then looked at the blue-haired woman with something approaching confusion. He wanted to ask her what strange manner of food this was, but was frustrated by his inability to speak her harsh tongue. Instead he regarded her steadily, hoping she would have the wit to understand.
Bulma looked back at him, rather perplexed as to why he was not eating, but her bright eyes caught the question lying plain within his glimmering eyes, and she abruptly realised exactly how alien this man really was. Sweeping her eyes over the food, she wondered how she would feel if she had never seen any of this before, and it came to her that she would have to teach him more than just her language. She met his patient gaze once again, her voice low and musical in his ears.
"I guess this is lesson number one."
With that she proceeded to teach him by example, helping him to portions of food and then taking a little for herself. She picked up her utensils, beginning to eat with deliberate slowness so that he could observe and learn at the same time. After a few moments of his heavy gaze, she began to blush, feeling inordinately relieved when he began to copy her, clumsily at first but then with greater skill as he grew more practiced in the use of these strange implements.
So began his lessons, and, though he often became frustrated with his body’s inability to cooperate and his own perceived slowness, in truth his progress was incredibly fast and he absorbed the knowledge given to him like a sea sponge that had been long denied the taste of the sea. His moods and growling anger were not things that Bulma feared, for she had noticed that, no matter his strength and his uncouth manner, he never struck a woman. Nor, indeed, did he strike children, though his behaviour towards them when there were other adults nearby was cold and aloof. Bulma knew this seeming arrogance to be a lie, for, when he thought there were no adult eyes to witness, he would indulge the little ones in games and play, and teach them - both boys and girls - to fight. It was a strange style of battle, yet, should the youngsters ever come to with tussle others not of their little group, they invariably won.
In time he learnt her language, forcing his tongue to speak without the lilting cadence he was used to, and slowly grew to match his speech against hers. Many and long were their witty, fierce arguments, and they were an ideal manner in which to force him to practice and learn. Often they ended with impromptu lessons, for multitudinous times she would speak a phrase or word that he did not understand, and his handsome face would assume a perplexed statement, his eyebrow lifting in puzzlement. As his command of her language grew, however, the arguments grew more vicious, often sending the two of them in opposite directions; she to cry in her chamber, heavy tears which scalded her cheeks and silenced her tongue, and he to train with his heavy brows frowning in anger.
It was a brutal courtship - for he was indeed courting her, though he knew it not - and their love seemed doomed to remain hidden in the shadows of a tormented Prince’s heart. But the Goddess who had named herself his mother, looked on at his internal fight, his absolute denial of love saddening her, and she resolved once more to interfere. As he lay sleeping one night, after a day that had seen many arguments, she touched her thoughts to his, and called forth a shadowed memory. She made him dream his world’s destruction, wove for him pictures of his people dieing, and summoned up a ghost of the pain that he had felt as he had rested against the blood-stained ground, dieing. She hid the following memory from him, how she had come and taken - of all the people there - only two; her son and his arms-man, Kakkarrot, how she had soothed his hurts and then woven a pattern of light above him, leaving him to sleep for long years while she waited for the woman, chosen by the fates as his mate, to grow. So he remembered only the pain and the death, the destruction and hopelessness as he watched his home die again.
He woke screaming, his body shaking both in pain and fear, hopelessness pervading his every bone. Tears streamed down his tortured face and it seemed that a chill wind had stolen all the warmth from his body. The blue-haired Queen, roused by the alien’s cries, hurried to his rooms, wrapped in a silken gown. She found him curled up on the bed, shivering and attempting to stem his weeping, but for all his strength and pride, still he wept those bitter tears of loss. She gave no thought to what she did next, drawing his shaking body into her arms and holding him to her breast as he wept for his loss and for his loneliness.
In time he grew still, and warmth seeped once more into his limbs so that he could move. For a short while he chose not to, remaining in the circle of the blue-haired woman’s arms and absorbing the gentle comfort she offered. Then he put her away from him, sitting up to regard her out of solemn dark eyes, his face at once more open than she had ever seen it and more guarded, as though he did not want her to perceive what he was feeling. She pierced the veil he had drawn over his eyes, as though she had for a moment been gifted with the eyes of an all-seeing Goddess - which perhaps she had. She saw his confusion, his loneliness and his deeply buried fear, but she also saw an emotion so deeply suppressed that he was not aware of it; even if he had been, he would not have known what to name it. It was then that she realised that the root of all their arguments and disputes was not his hate for her, but his love and his confusion over that love. She frustrated him, left him perplexed and irritated, turned his world upside down and threatened all that he had ever known or learnt about the world from his people; it was obvious that this made the alien Prince feel threatened. Yet at this moment, many of those emotions were buried under another, and she saw that one most of all; gratitude.
Realising that she saw what he was so desperately trying to hide, Vegeta slid his gaze away from her to fix them on the stars beckoning from beyond the window frame. They glimmered in the night sky, ancient fires from far away, and perhaps one that, even now, illuminated his dead world. His face grew sad for a brief instant, but it was enough for her to gather him in her embrace, making him rest his head against her shoulder and listen to the soft murmuring sounds she sang to him. He fell asleep to her melodic chant, secure and at peace in her arms.
The next morning saw a hesitancy in their dealings with each other, for she was tentative and uncertain as to how he would react to her witnessing his pain, and he wondered how she would use his weakness against him. But as the sun rose and the day grew warmer, they both relaxed, each trusting the other not to bring harm upon them. There were no arguments that day, nor any harshness between them, and, when they retired for the night, the Prince lifted her hand to his lips in a gentle caress. She stared at him, a slow rush of heat climbing up her face, and he smiled gently at her.
"Now I know why you like to make me blush, woman."
Then he turned and was gone.
This gentle, tremulous courtship continued for many weeks - still interspersed with arguments, though they were not so spiteful nor truly as enraged as they once had been. They raised their voices more as a form of play now, matching wits to see who could best whom in the bright verbal battles; it often ended in a stalemate, which made the two of them well content, for neither wished to see the other’s pride hurt.
In time the story of this strange Prince who seemed able to breach the walls of the fiery Bulma, reached the ears of her former suitors, one Yamcha in particular. He sped to Cyprus in great haste, determined to challenge this mysterious stranger, and win the beauteous lady’s hand. So it was that one afternoon found him standing at the gates of her home, demanding entrance. When it was refused, he stormed the walls, throwing aside the guards and shouting a challenge to the regal Vegeta. Said Prince looked upon him disdainfully, irritated that this pathetic man should attempt to come between him and the woman he was courting so hesitantly, yet he greeted the man with politeness, saying that he would not fight in the courtyard of his hostess, to stain the paving stones with such ‘unworthy blood.’ The taller warrior agreed to this, not wishing to gain that formidable Queen’s ire, and so they moved their bout to a nearby mountain, facing each other across and deserted, barren field.
The fight was over almost before it had begun, the foolish challenger beaten into the ground and groaning weakly as his blood fed the dusty soil, turning it a dark crimson. But the Prince refrained from killing his opponent, at the bequest of the lady, who said that though the other man could be thoughtless he was also a good friend and one she did not wish to lose. Yamcha thanked her gravely as he was borne away by attendants, who saw to his injuries and then sent him on his way. He left with no complaint, realising that to beat this tailed warrior he would have to increase his own strength by more than a factor of ten, something he believed to be impossible.
The days passed peacefully for the two left behind by the scarred warrior, although the courtship was slow and frustrated the immortal mother of the Prince. Once again she interfered, and once again she sent him nightmares, wrapping him in a mesh of fear and pain, darkness and despair. This time he did not waken from the dream, and so his screaming did not abate, tears streaming unbidden down his grimacing face. The Queen gathered him into her arms, rocking him gently until the tremors that shook his powerful frame eased and he showed some signs of waking from his torment. Unable to resist the impulse, she kissed his closed eyelids, and then placed a butterfly’s caress upon his lips. At that moment his eyes swept open, long black lashes revealing an equally black gaze, and in an instant of confusion he reciprocated the kiss. Softly, tenderly, his calloused hands smoothed along her curved body, and parted the panels of her robe to find bare, silken skin beneath his trembling fingers. He looked up at her once, in question, as though asking for permission to proceed, and she nodded once in answer.
What followed was sweet and tender and tremulous; for neither of them was experienced in the ways of love and so they learnt the mysteries of it through those first quiet touches and careful explorations. Soft, white skin met bronze silk stretched taut over sculptured muscles, strong, trembling fingers traced a delicate jaw, and lush, swollen lips met and parted in dancing battle. Physical strength and mental agility meant nothing in this arena, and it was not a competition that they indulged in, but a mutual joining that left the two exhausted and sated, twined around each other in a sensuous tangle of limbs.
They woke the next morning, with dawn gently stealing across the hazy canopy of the sky, and paid no attention to the splendorous display that nature lavished upon them, preferring instead to trace the features of their lover and gaze upon a more mortal, living beauty. He kissed her hand, his eyes soft and wondering, while she gazed up at him with the stars still glimmering in her oceanic orbs. Neither wished to part from the other, and neither would have had a serving woman not entered the room to waken the Prince.
Her sudden shocked gasp broke the silence and drew their attention, waking them completely from their gentle daze. They looked at her, he with his enigmatic orbs, so black and fierce, she with laughter flickering in the depths of her blue eyes. The servant backed out carefully, her lips parted in surprise and her face blushing, then she turned and fled the sunlit room, embarrassment highlighted on her cheeks. She left behind her a giggling Queen and a Prince who was trying very hard not to show his amusement, and failing good-naturedly. They exchanged amused glances before leaving the bed to bathe, he washing her with a tender concern while she revelled in his gentle touch. On his part, there was a decided feeling of awe and reverence that one so weak and fragile should trust herself to his broad hands and crude touch, and it was then that he first felt shame for all the blood that stained the skin which touched one who was so pure, for all her fiery nature. He would not wish to taint her for all the worlds in existence.
Fierce though the two were, they complemented each other in a way that no other could, each with an intense pride in themselves and in their abilities, and neither willing to settle for anything less than perfection. And both were conscious that though the other was strong in many ways, in others they were unsure and tentative, hiding their fears beneath a mask of dignity and pride rather than court the scorn of strangers and enemies. Over the following days the couple saw these things in each other, saw how well they meshed and how one provided the strengths that the other did not have, and eventually it came to each of them separately that they should mate.
Vegeta, however, was aware of the different ways and customs of this place, and did not know what traditions and mores covered such a situation, although he knew well the method one of his own people would have taken - a way that was simple and direct. His pride would not allow him to ask about such an intimate thing of anyone, at least, not anyone mortal. So he turned to his newfound mother, asking her for advice on how these alien people went about the business of taking a mate. The Goddess was both amused and touched that he had turned to her for such counsel, happy to at last be part of her son’s life. So she told him, speaking of the rituals and customs, explaining the differences and similarities, and watching his chiselled features, observing the brief phantoms of thought chase their way across his face. He thanked her with hesitant grace, not certain how to address this Goddess who claimed to be his mother. Aphrodite gently told him to call her ‘Mother,’ and sent him on his way with a maternal kiss, having straightened his cloak about his shoulders as though he were still but a child.
Bulma too went to the Goddess, begging her to explain the ways of the alien Prince who she so adored. Once again Aphrodite explained, though the story was much shorter this time and considerably less complicated. She sent the beautiful Queen on her way to plan and scheme, watching as the two carefully manoeuvred around the other in their preparations, with a maternal sort of amusement. Their endeavours to keep their plans from becoming known to their opposite at times went to unnecessary extremes.
At last all was in readiness, and the two attempted to put their plans into action. Because Bulma’s scheme required that it be put into action at dawn, it was Vegeta who first found out about his lover’s plot.
He was awoken at first light, crimson rays filtering in to his room through the diaphanous curtains whose only useful purpose was to prevent the entry of insects, for it did not block out the view nor prevented the entry of light. Around his neck was a peculiar device, a collar locked into place. He growled and attempted to remove it, but found that he no longer had the strength to do so. The sudden whitening of his skin and the quickly hidden fear, moved Bulma to step into the room from where she had been hiding in the doorway.
"It’s alright, Vegeta, this is just to even the balance a little bit - I promise you that the collar will be destroyed once this is over."
"Once what is over, woman?"
"Bulma regarded him carefully, noting the tension still present in his body, and the stiff way he held his shoulders. She stepped forward cautiously, holding her hands up in a placatory gesture.
"You’re people require a fight between two prospective mates before they join, but if I were to initiate a battle with you without shielding you from your ki, then the fight would not last even one minute, and I could not prove myself worthy of you. So I had to find a way to weaken you temporarily - your body will adapt to the device in a matter of hours, at which point it will be useless on you anyway."
He stared at her blankly for a few moments, his handsome face showing no emotion whatsoever, and then he blinked. A fierce smirk graced his features and his dark eyes glowed with excitement and what looked like pride.
"A true mating battle! Woman, you are brilliant."
She suppressed the blush which attempted to suffuse her cheeks with great effort, instead lifting her chin proudly and issuing the challenge in an arrogant tone, gained from long practice in dealing with difficult dignitaries, ambassadors and would-be suitors. He gave his acceptance in a similar way, his voice as distanced as her own, though his eyes spoke of fire and passion. She left then, allowing the naked Prince time to clothe himself and prepare for the skirmish to follow, not allowing him to see how her eyes lingered on his perfect form. Neither expected a quick or easy battle.
The two met in the same field in which Yamcha had been brought down, his blood still a faded, rusty stain upon the dry, barren earth. They faced each other, their faces closed and assessing, with their wooden staffs held loosely in confident hands, for this battle was not intended to lead to bloodshed; it was more a test of skill than of brute strength, and it was one that neither intended to lose.
It seemed for a time that neither would begin the bout, but then, in response to some unspoken, unseen signal, both started forward, staffs swinging and crashing together in a deafening display of skill and violence. Neither managed to land a blow for the first few minutes, both assessing the other’s skill, and both impressed, for, though Vegeta was clearly the better warrior, Bulma had her share of talent and used it to the utmost. She was well aware that she could not beat a man who had been fighting since the moment he could walk, but she held her own for a decent time, her staff connecting with his body on brief occasions. He was kinder with her than she was with him, for though she loved him that did not mean that she treated him with gentleness. It was as with all things that she loved, preferring the fierce clash of wills and the thrill of the challenge than the softer, easier ways of her gentler peers.
No matter her ferocity, his greater skill and experience eventually gained him the upper hand and he disarmed her with a great, sweeping blow, numbing her delicate hands and knocking her backwards. Before she could fall, however, he caught her, lifting her up in his strong arms and carrying her to the nearby stream to bathe the dust and sweat from her tired body. He kissed her passionately, pride shining fiercely in his onyx eyes.
"You have greater skill than many men, sweet Bulma. Proud am I to have had the privilege to sparr with you."
She smiled at him, feeling a glow of accomplishment at his praise. Then her gaze turned from sweet, gentle happiness to something considerably more predatory, and she pounced on him. The spent a tender time near the stream, returning much later at sunset to begin anew on a somewhat less earthy surface.
The sun rose the next morning, beaming down on a drowsy Queen and disturbing her slumberous musings. She reached out an arm to find her Saiyajin mate already gone, the place he should have occupied rapidly cooling. She scowled as she opened her eyes, angered at having her desires thwarted so early in the day. The glare that graced her features did not flee when angry blue eyes met the dark, amused depths of Vegeta’s steady orbs. She bared her teeth and snarled at him in a manner that more habitual to the alien Prince - it fit his more chiselled features much better than her own.
A rich chuckle met her ears and then the thin, soft lips of that sensuous mouth became much more serious. His eyes lost their mischievous highlights and he became almost nervous in his movements and behaviour. She sat up, watching him with surprise and a little of her old amusement, a little confused as to why he would be so high strung on such a beautiful morning, and after such pleasant pursuits the night before. What he did next threw her from confusion into a state of shock so profound that, for once, she did not have anything to say.
He raised his eyes from where they had rested briefly on the floor, keeping his features carefully steady and preventing his hands from trembling with no little effort. Then he knelt, took one of her delicate hands in his strong grip, allowed one moment of pleading to enter his onyx gaze and opened his lips in a husky whisper.
"Bulma… will you marry me?"
The answer was, of course, yes.