Okay, this is based on/inspired by the Celtic myth of "Tam Lin." I don't own anybody from DBZ.
Saved By Love
The Briefs family lived in a small village surrounded by a large forest. They made a living by building useful machines for the village, but they often ran short of materials. When they needed more of anything that they couldn't find in the village, they'd send their daughter to get some more of it in the next village or the village after that. Their daughter, a young woman in her twenties, was considered far and wide as one of the loveliest maidens in the land. Her skin was peach and her lips were red, her eyes were deep blue like the midsummer sky, and her hair was a shining sea blue. She was also very brilliant, and not afraid to say so, despite many warnings from her parents.
"Bulma, dear, if you don't learn to control your temper and stop going on about what a genius you are, no man will want you for a wife," Mrs. Briefs would say.
"Your mother's right, Bulma. You should act more humble and lady-like," her father would add. "What sort of proper young woman goes around yelling at people just because they angered her?"
"My kind of 'proper' young woman,'" Bulma would scowl in return. "I am a genius, and I see no reason to hide it or be ashamed of it because I'm a woman! If he can't except me as I truly am, then I don't want that sort of man for a husband!" She wouldn't be deterred from this line of thought. She wanted a man who could see all of her, not just her fair face, and accept and love all of her. Otherwise, it would be a false love based on an illusion.
One morning, her father sent her off to get some supplies and she went without a second thought. Bulma had traveled through the woods to other villages many times without incident, and had come to regard the journey as a time to relax and think. She drove their wagon carefully down the well-worn path until a snake slithered across the path. It hissed, baring its fangs, and the horses reared up, neighing in fright.
"Whoa! Whoa!" Bulma cried, but the horses didn't listen. In their attempt to break free to either kill the snake or run, they threw the wagon on its side, breaking their harnesses and sending Bulma flying to the ground. Her head hit the hard path with a sharp SMACK and she saw lights flashing before her eyes before everything faded to black.
There was a voice over her, but it wasn't one she knew. It was deep and masculine, and belonged to no man in her village. Her eyes still felt terribly heavy, and her head hurt badly, so she just kept her eyes closed and listened to the voice. It was soothing, and a moment later, she felt something being tightened around her head. A few seconds later, what felt like a metal cup was pressed to her lips and a strange, spicy drink was poured into her mouth and down her throat. A feeling of warmth followed the drink, and her head began to clear. Slowly, carefully, Bulma began to open her eyes.
"There. That should do it," the male voice was saying as her eyes opened just a crack. Her vision was blurred at first, but it cleared quickly, and she blinked as she gazed at her rescuer, the setting sun highlighting his features. "That was fast," he said. She sat up and pulled a little back from him. He looked to be no taller than she was, with tanned skin, and hard, angular, black eyes that glittered like a clear night sky full of stars. He had long black hair that stood up over his head like black flames, and even through the armor he wore his powerful muscles were obvious. It was the armor, the cloth beneath it, the cape about his shoulders, and the metal goblet in his hand that made her uneasy. The armor was gold, the cloak the color of red wine, and the cloth beneath the armor a deep burgundy hue. He wore thick leather boots of the finest make. The strange, furry belt around his waist seemed out of place, but it held her attention for barely a moment. The goblet was gold as well, with jewels set decoratively into it to form a pattern of flowers. Such things belonged only to Fairies.
"Who. . .?" she gasped. He seemed to be studying her as carefully as she had him, his dark eyes unreadable. A smile seemed to twitch at the corner of his mouth. "Who are you?"
"My name is Vegeta. And yours. . .?" he replied.
"Bulma. . .Bulma Briefs," Bulma reached up to feel her head, and felt the strip of cloth Vegeta had wrapped around it. "Was I badly hurt?" Vegeta gave a small snort and placed his golden goblet into a leather pack that was sitting at his side, its strap looped around his right shoulder.
"Just a bad bump, and it seems the potion has already handled most of it. What happened?" he answered, a smirk gracing his face and angering Bulma. What the hell was he smirking at?!
"A snake scared my horses and they tossed my wagon over," Bulma answered shortly, and tried to stand. Vegeta rose at the same time with ease and incredible grace. The second Bulma was on her feet, the world began spinning at a sickening rate and she started to fall over again. She pitched forward and landed against Vegeta, griping his strong arms for balance. "F-forgive me, my head is still. . ." she gasped. Vegeta gently gripped her shoulders and kept her close to him for a few minutes.
"I said the potion handled most of it, not all," he said into her hair, quietly enjoying the sweet scent the silken locks emitted. "Such a weak, fragile creature," he murmured a second later. Bulma breathed slowly to clear her head, listening to the steady beating of his heart and the flow of air through his lungs. Her face flushed as she realized they had stood, holding each other quite close, for several minutes. She cleared her throat and tried to pull away.
"I-I must go home. My parents will wonder what happened to me," Bulma said quickly as she tried to free herself from Vegeta's grasp. His response was an amused chuckle and to sweep her up completely into her arms. "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!" Bulma shrieked, despite the sharp stab of pain that struck her head because of the outburst. Vegeta winced and frowned.
"I'm going to take you home! Though now it's rather tempting to let you try and walk through this forest!" he snarled, and Bulma balked.
"Well, you could have said something before swooping me up like that! I thought you were planning on stealing me away or something!" Bulma's voice was just below a yell.
"Steal you. . .? And why would I do that?!" Vegeta turned around and walked toward his horse.
"That's what fairies do, isn't it? Steal mortal women and children away?" Bulma answered. Vegeta scowled, but didn't say anything. Bulma fumed quietly, but her anger slipped from her mind when she saw his horse. It was the most beautiful red stallion she had ever seen, tall and broad and graceful, with a long, glossy black mane and tail. His coat shined softly in the low light, and he wore a harness made of the finest silks and his black leather saddle was trimmed with gold. He wore a metal plate on his head that had a protrusion shaped like a unicorn's horn. Small, glittering silver bells hung from the horse's reins. It was a fairy's steed if ever Bulma saw one (which she hadn't, but she'd heard the stories). The horse made a small snorting noise when Vegeta approached with Bulma in his arms, and he tossed his head and side- stepped a bit when he realized Vegeta intended to place her on his back.
"Easy, now, Auroris," Vegeta said, dropping his voice so it was low and commanding. The horse nickered and stilled its movements, though it still looked ready to run. "We're taking this woman home, Auroris. Now, be still," Vegeta stared straight into his mount's eyes, and the stallion tossed its head again. Vegeta lifted Bulma easily onto the saddle, sitting her sideways on the well-crafted piece of leather. She handed him down the reigns and he pulled Auroris down to the path. "Which way?" he asked shortly.
"That way," Bulma pointed down to the right, and Vegeta led his horse and, in turn, her, down the path. Bulma never took her eyes off of him as he walked along. His strides were powerful and sure, and every move displayed his confidence in his power. She let out a breath slowly. She had yelled at him, and he still chose to take her home. Her heart was thudding in her chest. As they reached the edge of the forest and the village came into view, Vegeta suddenly stopped.
"I can't go any further than this," he said. "You'll walk the rest of the way."
"What? Why. . .?" she started, and then remembered what she was talking to. She frowned a bit, and looked back at her village. It suddenly seemed very small, dull, ugly, and far away, and she was possessed with the thought of forgetting the village completely and staying in the forest forever. The thought was brushed aside after a moment, and she glanced downward to see Vegeta holding his arms out to help her down. She smiled at him and stretched her arms down to him, sliding out of the saddle and into his embrace. They froze for a moment like that, and then he released her and pushed her gently toward her village.
"Go," he said coldly. Bulma started down the path, her head remaining clear and steady, but she stopped ten steps away and looked back.
"Um. . .if. . .if I come back to the woods, will I see you again?" Bulma asked quickly before she could think better of it. Vegeta arched a dark eyebrow at the question and was quiet for a while.
"Maybe. There's no guarantee, but. . .I would. . .look for you," he answered slowly, looking away. Bulma smiled a little.
"All right. I'll accept that. And I'll look for you," Bulma said calmly. Vegeta glanced at her briefly, and then mounted his horse. Bulma watched him ride away, faster and more elegantly than the most skilled human rider Bulma had ever seen. She watched him until he disappeared into the trees, and then turned back and walked down the path to the village and then to her house. A small crowd of people were in front her house, chattering concernedly. Her parents stood in the center of the congregation, calling loudly for brave souls to search the woods.
"Hello, everyone!" Bulma called out to them, and they all turned and stared at her for a moment.
"Bulma! Where have you been? What happened to your head? Why are you all dirty?" her mother went running to her with her father right behind. They quickly grabbed her up into a hug.
"The horses came back without you or the wagon and we were worried! We were just putting together a search party to find you!" her father said.
"A snake scared my horses and they sent the wagon for a short flight. I was thrown to the ground was knocked out. A. . .kind stranger found me a little bit ago and helped me," Bulma told them. The crowd seemed satisfied with that answer and began to disperse.
"So where is this kind stranger? We'd like to thank her," her father said jovially.
"Um, he had to return to his own home and didn't come with me into the village," Bulma lied quickly. She didn't dare tell them she had been saved by a fairy, they would fear for her safety and forbid her from returning to the forest.
"He?" her father twitched involuntarily.
"As long as your safely back, that's what counts. Perhaps the stranger will come later for thanks," said a new voice, and they turned to look at Yamcha, one of the village's guardsmen. He was handsome, with long dark hair and glinting dark eyes, but his face was scarred from a battle with a highwayman, and as Bulma looked at him, she longed for a different pair of dark eyes.
"You're absolutely right, Yamcha. Bulma's lucky she was found by a kind soul," Mrs. Briefs nodded. "Well, since Bulma's safely home, I'll go start supper," she smiled cheerfully and headed into her house. "Would you like to join us, Yamcha?" she called over her shoulder before passing over her threshold. Yamcha's cheeks turned red.
"Me? Well, I. . .uh. . ." his eyes darted to Bulma, whose own eyes were glancing subtly behind her, back toward the woods. She looked back at him, but her eyes weren't seeing him. Yamcha didn't realize this, seeing only a slightly dreamy look in her eyes that were pointed at him. Believing the look to be for him, he smiled at Mrs. Briefs. "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, Mrs. Briefs."
"Oh, no trouble at all!" Mrs. Briefs answered, and giggled. She then went inside and started working on the meal. Dr. Briefs stretched a bit and went in as well.
"I should be able to get a little more work done before it's time to eat," Dr. Briefs said as he went through the door. Bulma pulled her mind back from Vegeta and realized what just happened. She glanced at Yamcha, who was smiling at her.
"Shall we go in as well?" he said. Bulma forced a smile for him.
"Yes," she said, and they went in. All through dinner, they spoke of village affairs and Dr. Briefs' inventions, and Yamcha charmed Bulma's parents with his tales of battles fought in protection of the village and of the strange creatures in the woods.
"Really, you're quite brave to go through the forest by yourself, Bulma," Yamcha said to Bulma calmly. "There are worse things than snakes, and snakes can be bad enough. Perhaps I should go with you when you travel through the forest." Bulma jumped inwardly. ((No! No! No!)) her mind screamed. Vegeta would never come to her again if Yamcha was with her.
"That's not. . ." Bulma started, keeping her voice level and calm.
"That may be a good idea," Dr. Briefs cut her off as he raised another spoonful of stew to his mouth. "Mythical creatures aside, there's still the matter of bandits and wild animals. It's really not safe for a young woman alone. Why, just think what could have happened today if you had been found by thieves and cutthroats instead of that 'kind stranger'," he looked pointedly at his daughter.
"But I was found by a 'kind stranger', Dad. I don't need an escort, I can care of myself," Bulma answered pointedly. "No offense, Yamcha."
"None taken - I just think it wouldn't hurt to have someone watching your back," Yamcha said slowly.
"Thanks, but no thanks," Bulma said. The dinner passed without further incident, and Yamcha left afterwards. Bulma's parents scolded her for being rude to Yamcha, and she went to her room. She looked out at the starry sky, and her mind filled with the image of Vegeta. She wondered if she really would see him again.
Yamcha returned to his quiet house and started a fire in the fireplace. He sat before the warm blaze and his cat, Pu'ar, leapt into his lap.
"Pu'ar," Yamcha said quietly, "I'm going to bring home a wife soon." Pu'ar meowed at him. "No, you'll like her. She's beautiful, smart. . .her temper isn't the best, but I'm sure she'll mellow out after she's married," he told the cat. He knew he'd look silly to any watcher, but there were times when he felt that Pu'ar was the only one who understood him, and for a cat, she was a great listener. He sighed and sat back, mindlessly stroking Pu'ar's fur, thinking only of the lovely daughter of the Briefs' family. Such a fine wife she'd make.
Bulma woke early the next day and took a hot bath, scrubbing herself throughly. She dried herself and dressed in one of her good dresses. She brushed her hair and tied a dark green ribbon into it, and she put on a little make-up and then examined herself in the mirror. She looked prettier than ever, and she smiled approvingly. She slipped out to the kitchen and had some breakfast, and then chewed some mint leaves to freshen her breath. She packed some bread, cheese, and fruit for lunch. Once her preparations were finished, she saddled up a horse and rode out into the forest.
She rode around for hours with no sign of Vegeta, and then stopped for lunch. She fetched her food from her saddle bag and had just finished eating when her horse neighed in surprise. She whipped around and saw Vegeta, tall on Auroris, on the hill behind her. They stared into each other's eyes for several long moments, and Auroris pranced around in a circle once. Vegeta gave a small nod of his head, indicating he wanted her to follow him, and Bulma quickly climbed back onto her own horse. She rode up to him fearlessly, and he smiled a bit before he made a small sound that sent Auroris flying down the way. Bulma quickly spurred her own horse on after him, and after a few moments pulled up beside him. He smirked at her, and they ran, side-by-side, through the sun and shadows. He led her through fully half the forest, always looking to her to make sure she was still there. ((Where is he taking me?)) Bulma wondered. She again wondered if he planned on spiriting her away. She gasped when she felt her ribbon come lose and looked behind her in time to see it flutter away behind them. Her hair fell lose and wild, and the wind caught it and played with it. They suddenly broke through a brush and Vegeta pulled Auroris to a halt. Bulma reigned in her own tired horse and stared at her surroundings.
He had led her to an open grove on the edges of a wide, crystalline lake. Wild flowers sprouted freely across the grass, and the warm, early-spring sun shined down on the place. Bulma and Vegeta dismounted and led their horses to the water's edge, where they both dipped their necks down and drank. Bulma looked at Vegeta expectantly and moved around her horse to be closer to him.
"You are the first," Vegeta observed off-handedly without looking at her. Bulma stared at him in confusion.
"The first what?" she asked.
"The first to keep up with me and ride beside me instead of behind me, except for. . ." he paused for a moment, and then decided to just say it. "Except for my Queen."
"Your. . .the Queen of. . .?" Bulma wasn't sure how to phrase the question she wanted to ask.
"Queen 18 of the Fairies, yes," Vegeta answered, almost harshly. Bulma drew in a breath. He was one of the Fair Folk. They were both quiet for a time, and then she started talking about her village and life. She didn't know why she was talking about such things, but the words wouldn't stop. They spoke quietly of many things for much of the afternoon, and then he led her back out of the forest.
She was greeted by another crowd of would-be searchers and rescuers, this time led by Yamcha, who held her lost ribbon in one hand. When her parents had found her gone that morning and she hadn't returned by afternoon, he had gone out looking for her and had found the ribbon on a bush. She half-lied and said she had gone to find the stranger who had helped her to thank him. Yamcha had dinner with them again, and again suggested he go with her when she went into the woods, but she once more refused him. She stayed home for the next three days, and Yamcha came to see her often. Bulma was uncertain of how to treat his affections, as the love in his eyes seemed to grow every time he saw her. Shortly after lunch on the fourth day, Bulma again rode off into the woods. Within an hour, she found Vegeta, sitting astride Auroris, and they went together back to the lake.
Things went on that way for a while, with Bulma slipping off into the woods as often as she could as Yamcha continued to try and court her. She treated him kindly enough, but he just wasn't what she was looking for. Vegeta seldom told her about himself or his people, but Bulma didn't really expect him too; Fairies seldom told mortals their secrets. He did reveal that he was the strongest soldier in the Fairy Army, the leader and head general by Queen 18's command, and he displayed his ability to fly without wings like other fairies. Bulma, in turn, showed him her inventions and told him about her life. They argued at times, as both were stubborn and short-tempered, but the anger never lasted long and they were at peace with one another. Bulma was becoming a little worried, for she realized she was falling in love with Vegeta, and mortals who loved fairies always ended up alone and miserable for the rest of their lives.
Then, one evening, Bulma awoke from a sound sleep at a familiar sound. She looked out her window and gasped to see Auroris there, saddled and ready to ride. The horse had become accustomed to her, and now watched her carefully. He gave a quiet whiny and tossed his head. ((Why would Vegeta send his horse to me in the middle of the night?)) Bulma wondered. Auroris whinnied again, and Bulma opened her window. Before she could stop herself, she climbed out of her window and climbed up onto Auroris' back. She gripped his reins tightly and the fairy steed turned and ran back to the forest. He carried her through the trees and over bushes, her hair and nightgown flowing in the wind, and finally brought her to the lake, where Vegeta waited.
He turned the moment he heard his steed's steps, and smiled at Bulma, though she could hardly see it through the dark of the night. What she did see, though, was that he wasn't wearing his armor. He had always worn his golden armor before; now, he wore only the sleek silk shirt and soft leather pants he had underneath his armor, his fur belt, and his crimson cape. Bulma climbed down from Auroris and approached Vegeta slowly, her heart pounding.
"I wasn't sure you would come," Vegeta said casually, almost as if he didn't really believe his own words. Bulma swallowed dryly before she spoke.
"And why did you want to see me in the middle of the night?" Bulma said strongly, and Vegeta smirked.
"I think. . .you can guess that," he said lowly as walked up to her. Bulma felt her legs freeze into place as he came within an inch of her body. He tilted her head to his and kissed her full on the mouth. They had kissed before, but never so deeply, or passionately. She accepted his kiss and returned it, melting into his embrace. She knew the stories - those who gave themselves to fairies never truly returned - but it seemed a worthy price. He gently picked her up and carried her to a blanket he had spread out on the ground earlier. He laid her down and ran his hands down her body, making her shiver. He made love to her for hours, sometimes sweet, sometimes passionate, always with her pleasure first in mind. She was shocked to discover that what she had always believed to be a fur belt was, in truth, a long, furry, sensitive tail. Eventually, they slept, but before she fell completely asleep, she heard Vegeta whisper by her ear. "My Bulma. . .help me be free." Bulma tried to stay awake to ask him what he meant, but she was pulled down into sleep almost against her will.
Shortly before dawn broke, Vegeta woke Bulma and helped her back to her village. She, not remembering what he said right before she slept, was bewildered and hurt by his actions. He kissed her again before they parted and told her to come to the lake again the next day at the beginning of twilight, promising to tell her something important. Bulma agreed and went back to her home, slipping back through her window. Vegeta stayed at the edge of the forest the whole while, watching her. She looked to him one more time after she was inside, and then he turned and rode off once again.
Vegeta rode back into the hidden glade that led directly into the heart of the fairy kingdom. Many fairy maidens perked up as he passed by, some giggling and waving 'hello', others calling out greetings to him. He ignored them as he always did, and rode straight to the palace were he stayed with the Queen. He was heading to his chambers when the Queen suddenly appeared at his side. She was taller than he was, with shoulder length, golden hair, pale blue eyes, and large gossamer wings on her back that reflected every color of the rainbow. She wore a long, deep green dress that held her body closely and had embroidered flowers along the skirt's hemline.
"Ah, there you are, Vegeta! Where were you this evening? I sent for you twice, but no one knew where you were," Queen 18 said. Vegeta glanced at her wearily.
"I went out for a ride," he said, no emotion in his tone at all.
"You've been doing that a lot lately; going out on rides for hours. If I didn't know better, I'd think you weren't happy here with me," Queen 18 observed in a mock-pouty voice as she reached out and ran a hand across his well-muscled chest. Vegeta looked her in the eyes, and though her pale blue eyes were lovely, he wished only for eyes of a darker, richer blue.
"Of course not, My Queen," Vegeta answered, and 18 smiled wickedly.
"Mm, well, let me remind you of how happy you are here," 18 leaned forward and stole a kiss from him. Vegeta then stepped back.
"Forgive me, My Queen, but I'm. . .tired, and I need to wash," he said firmly. He had to wash Bulma's scent off his skin before the Queen noticed it and became angry. He held no fear for himself, but he didn't want to risk Bulma's safety. Queen 18 inhaled through her nose.
"Mmm, you smell of trees, flowers, and grass; you know I like that," she said. "But if you are tired, I suppose I could let you rest for a few hours," her voice was edged with suspicion, but Vegeta took the reprieve and ducked quickly into his quarters. Queen 18 frowned to herself. "Trees, flowers, grass. . .and something else. . ." she sniffed her fingers that had touched Vegeta's chest. "A mortal."
Bulma went through her normal routines feeling more than a little anxious and light on her feet. She couldn't stop thinking of what Vegeta might want to tell her, especially after the previous night. She sighed to herself when she thought of what they had done; and pondered repeatedly over what he had said to her before she fell asleep. Dusk was fast approaching, and Bulma started preparing to meet Vegeta again.
"Bulma, dear, go to the market and get me some carrots and potatoes for dinner, all right?" Mrs. Briefs suddenly called. Bulma looked out the window; there was still plenty of sunlight, she had time. She quickly grabbed their market basket and dashed out the door and down to the market place to get the vegetables her mother asked for.
Bulma made her purchases quickly, and then headed back for her house, never noticing Yamcha behind her. He followed her down two streets as the crowd grew thinner until it was nonexistent. Yamcha walked up to Bulma casually, smiling to himself as he watched her carry her basket of vegetables. But as he drew close, he heard her singing softly to herself.
"I'll be no mortal man's wife
No mortal's bride I'll be
For I've caught the Fair Folk's fancy,
A Fair Folk husband waits for me."
"Bulma, what. . .?" Yamcha said, and Bulma jumped and turned around.
"Yamcha! How long have you been there?" she demanded swiftly, hoping to keep him from asking too many questions.
"Not very long, but long enough, it would seem. That song. . ." Yamcha started in on her.
"Just something I heard somewhere. It was going through my mind so I started singing it," Bulma stopped him short.
"So it means nothing?" Yamcha pressed. Bulma felt her heart speed up. She couldn't let him know, she couldn't; he would keep her from going back to Vegeta, he'd tell her parents, he'd ruin everything.
"Nothing at all!" Bulma said quickly. Yamcha seemed to relax a little.
"Good. I may as well tell you now; I'm going to ask your parents for your hand in marriage," Yamcha told her lightly, reaching out to hold her hand. Bulma jerked away.
"Y-you what?" she gasped. "You can't!"
"Why not? I'll take good care of you; you'll want for nothing," Yamcha answered.
"Well-well. . .," she sighed deeply and tried to think. Finally, her shoulders sagged. "Yamcha, you're very sweet, but. . .you're not what I'm looking for in a husband." Yamcha looked displeased.
"We'll see," Yamcha stated simply, and walked away to let her think.
Bulma ran home and handed the basket of vegetables to her mother, and then ran out to the barn, saddled her horse, and rode off into the forest. The sky began turning gold and red as she rode for the lake, and she actually got there before Vegeta. She waited anxiously, and he finally rode up before the sun was more than half way down.
"You're a little early, but that's okay," he said calmly as he dismounted. He hesitated, and then continued. "I have something to tell you."
"Yes?" Bulma stepped forward, trying to read his face.
"I'm not a fairy," he said, and Bulma stopped dead.
"What?" she said.
"I'm not a fairy. Or an elf, or a sprite - don't even go there! I'm mortal, same as you. Well, not exactly the same. . .I'm not human, either," he explained quickly.
"What are you talking about?" Bulma asked uncertainly, and started to step back away from him, but he moved forward and caught her hands.
"Please, hear me out," he said calmly, and after looking at him for a moment, she nodded quietly. He gently pulled her down so they were both sitting on the grass. "For a long time, the fairies were having troubles with a band of Ice Trolls, a particularly strong and nasty breed of trolls. At first they were just nuisances, but then they started conquering the other troll tribes. Once they had all of the trolls under their command, they started attacking the allies of the fairies, and finally the fairies themselves. They were holding them off, but it couldn't last forever. The Fairy Queen, 18, realized they needed a more powerful warrior to win the war, and went searching for one. She was led to a distant planet called Vegetasei, which was populated by a fierce warrior race called Saiyans. Saiyans look very much like humans, expect most are bigger, and they all have monkey-like tails," Bulma's eyes dropped to Vegeta's tail. "They are also many times more powerful. The entire planet of Vegetasei was under the rule of one royal family, which had just recently gained a new prince. The infant prince had incredible power, and would be the strongest Saiyan ever when he was grown. He was already more powerful than most in his infancy. He was just what the Queen was looking for, and in the middle of the night she entered his nursery. . .and stole him away," Vegeta looked angry, and Bulma bit her lip. Vegeta nodded quietly. "Yes, it was me. No doubt there was an immense uproar in the palace when I was discovered missing, but when fairies don't wish to be found, they won't be. The fairies raised me, taught me to fight. To immortal beings like fairies, the time it takes a mortal to grow up is nothing at all. When the time came, I led them to complete victory over the Ice Trolls, killing their king, King Kold, and his two sons, Coola and Freiza."
"But if the war is done, then. . .?" Bulma was feeling a tiny bit lost.
"Once I reached maturity, I caught the Fairy Queen's eye. She chose to keep me as a consort once the war with the Trolls was over." Bulma felt her heart jump up into her throat. She had been going around with the consort of the Fairy Queen?! She'd be lucky if the Queen only killed her! "She has placed several spells on me to keep me from leaving the forest. It was shortly after the war that I learned my true origins, and found that all information on where Vegetasei is and how to get there has either been destroyed or hidden where I can't find it. Not that it matters. . .I couldn't go back now even if I wanted." Vegeta fell silent then, as if trying to think of what to say next. "I want to be free," he finally said. "I thought I did before, but now. . . now. . .," he faltered to a stop again, once more lost for words.
"Now, what?" Bulma prompted, and he looked away.
"Now. . .you. I want, no, need to be free of those cursed fairies! The Queen has stolen everything from me because it suited her to do so. Soon, she will even take my mortality from me so she can keep me forever - or until she gets bored with me in a few hundred years. She is cold, Bulma, with no true fire in her soul, as you have," Vegeta's voice was almost pleading, but not quite. Bulma's heart ached for him all the same.
"And. . .I can help?" she smiled comfortingly, and he nodded.
"Yes," he said, but as he gazed at her face full of hope and thought of what was called for, he felt his heart clench at the prospect of asking her to do something so dangerous. His face darkened and he stood and abruptly turned away. "No. It's too dangerous. There is something, but I won't allow you to risk it." Bulma's blue brows forked together and she jumped to her feet and threw her arms around him from behind
"I can handle myself! Don't tell me what I can or can't do! If. . .if it will free you. . ." she fell quiet as she listened to his heart through his back. "If. . .you love me. . .as I love you. . ." she added quietly after a moment no longer than a heartbeat. She felt his body stiffen in her arms.
"I do. . .but. . .you could be killed, or worse," he whispered.
"I don't care!" she whispered in return. "I want to help you!"
"So brave," he breathed, the words beyond her hearing. He then quietly told her what she had to do.
It was to happen the day before the full moon, and Bulma did what she could to prepare herself. She was terribly nervous; Vegeta had not been wrong when he described the danger to her. But her mind was set, she would help him no matter what. The fateful day arrived, and Bulma spent the sunlight hours rushing through her chores. She left her latest invention untouched, which her father found puzzling - usually when Bulma went through her chores so quickly it was because she wanted to get right to work on her latest devices. Everything was in order, by Bulma's reckoning, when Yamcha arrived at the door.
"Oh, hello, Yamcha! What brings you here?" Mrs. Briefs asked cheerfully.
"Good day, my boy," Dr. Briefs joined his wife at the door to greet his daughter's suitor.
"Good day, Dr. and Mrs. Briefs. I'm actually here for something important, concerning your daughter," Yamcha said, getting right down to business. Bulma felt a combination panic- attack and anger-attack vie for dominance in her heart. How could he do this now, on the day Vegeta needed her the most? Yamcha glanced at her, and she saw something dark lurk in his eyes. "You must keep Bulma at home tonight; I heard her planning to sneak into the forest shortly after the moon rises," he said, and the panic-attack won the battle in Bulma. ((HOW DOES HE KNOW ABOUT THAT?!?!)) her mind screamed.
"What on Earth are you talking about, Yamcha? That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard!" Bulma lashed out at him, her temper flaring. She had to discredit him before her parents listened to him.
"Now, Yamcha, let's not be silly. Why would Bulma want to go into the forest in the dead of night?" Dr. Briefs said, calmly and logically.
"She plans to try and watch the Fairies ride; it seems one has been tempting her away from us mortals," Yamcha explained, the same strange darkness behind his eyes.
"What?" Mrs. Briefs turned to her daughter, then looked back at Yamcha. "How do you know this, Yamcha?"
"I followed her out into the woods a few days ago and saw her with him; he's casting a powerful spell on her," Yamcha answered, and Bulma didn't know if she wanted to run into the forest that very moment, or stay there and pound the guardsman where he stood.
"Now, now. How do you know he was a fairy? He could just have been a young man from a far village," Mrs. Briefs observed.
"He was wearing fairy armor, and a cloak that could only have been spun by fairy hands. His horse was a fairy's steed, complete with bells on the reins. I couldn't hear everything they said, only that on the night before the full moon she was to come to a certain place to do something for him," Yamcha told the Briefs, and Bulma's mind raced for an explanation.
"That's the stupidest. . .why are we even listening to this nonsense?" Bulma snapped in reply. "A fairy?! With me?! Come on, now! Why would a gentle fairy man want a foul- tempered mortal like me?!" Yamcha shook his head.
"I do this for your defense, Bulma. You know the stories; you'll never be happy chasing the Fair Folk," Yamcha said to her gently. "Which brings up another point - I wish to marry your daughter," he turned back to Dr. and Mrs. Briefs. They looked to each other and pondered the thought for a few moments.
"We'll need to think about it," Dr. Briefs said. "For tonight, though, you're staying here in the house, Bulma." Bulma saw red.
"How can you believe his word over mine?! He doesn't have any proof! I refuse to be locked up like a prisoner because he says I'm planning something! And what's more - I don't want to marry him!" Bulma yelled at the top of her voice, making the walls shake. She then turned and went into her room. She threw herself down on her bed and curled into a ball, gasping for breath and trying to calm herself. She had to be there that night, or Vegeta would never be free and she, most likely, would never see him again. She listened to the muffled sounds of her parents speaking to Yamcha, and then the thud of the front door closing. She heard her parents say something more, and then grow quiet. Bulma came out for supper, then went back to her room. She slipped a few supplies into her leather pouch and stashed it under her covers. She stretched and started to head for her doorway, only to see her father there. He suddenly closed the door and she heard the key in the lock.
"HEY!! WHAT?!" she shrieked, pounding on the heavy oak door.
"It's for your own good, dear," her father said through the door. Bulma growled, but backed off. She needed to save her strength. She grabbed her pouch and slung its strap over her shoulder. She waited for a while, and then quietly slid her window open and climbed out of it. She dropped neatly onto the grass and started for the barn, but stopped after a few steps. ((No, the horse will make too much noise, Mom and Dad will notice. . .besides, the fairies would probably notice him. All right, by foot.)) she decided, and dashed off as quickly as her legs could carry her.
She disappeared safely into the tree line and worked her way through the dark forest. She fetched one of the candles she'd brought and lit it, and in its meager light found her way to the place Vegeta had instructed her to go. It was deep in the heart of the forest, where the trees opened to make a path that was shielded by their branches, and where wild flowers bloomed. Bulma blew out her candle and hid amongst the bushes a few steps back from the naturally formed path. She breathed softly, as nervousness began eating away at her determination. The moon rose slowly, and as it neared its peak, a light began flickering far down the path, and the high, sweet sound of fairy bells and hoof beats wafted up on the breeze. Bulma's muscles tensed as she prepared herself, and suddenly strong arms caught her from behind. She jumped and turned to see Yamcha behind her.
"Yamcha?! What?!" Bulma hissed, fighting to keep her voice low.
"The Queen doesn't wish to give up her little Saiyan Prince yet," Yamcha answered quietly, and Bulma gasped as she realized he was under a spell by the Fairy Queen. ((How did she find out about me?!)) Bulma cried mentally. By this time, the light was quite close and one could see the riders. Queen 18 led the ride upon the finest steed the fairies possessed, wearing a flowing white gown, her head held high. Several fairies rode and flew around her, with Vegeta in the heart of it. Bulma looked to the path in fear - she would lose her chance soon! She struggled against Yamcha, but his grip was iron. She squeezed her eyes shut and tightened her grip on the candle she still held in one hand. She prayed for forgiveness and thrust the candle backwards. It struck him in the eye, and Yamcha recoiled and grabbed at his face. It was nothing serious, but it hurt like crazy. Bulma looked again to the fairy ride and spotted Vegeta coming close. She gasped for breath, and the moment he was across from her, she leapt.
The fairies squealed and jumped back when the blue-haired mortal woman burst from the bushes and tackled their greatest knight, Vegeta, to the forest floor. He obviously had allowed her too, he weighed too much for her mere weight to knock him over if he didn't wish to go. She wrapped her arms around him tightly and looked to the angry Fairy Queen, 18.
"Well, well. It seems my spell on that human didn't work," the Queen muttered under her breath and made a tiny gesture to free the human. He was worthless now. She called to Bulma. "What do you want here, mortal?"
"I seek to free Vegeta! By your own rules, if I can hold him until the moon sets, he'll be set free!" Bulma said firmly.
"Yes, that is written. But, do you know all of it? If you fail in this, if at any time you let go of him, he belongs to me forever. He'll have no second chance at this, and as for what will happen to you. . .well, I can determine that when the time comes," Queen 18 said with a malicious smile creeping up on her face.
"I know all of that, and I'm not concerned," Bulma answered shortly, and the Queen chuckled.
"Oh, no? Are you sure you know all there is to know of this trial?" Queen 18 asked, and her hands began to glow. Bulma started to tense up. Vegeta had told her all he knew of this trial; he had found a scroll which told of it, though it had only been preformed successfully once before. It turned out Vegeta wasn't the first Saiyan the fairies had stolen; some years before, they spirited away a young Saiyan child named Kakarott, who didn't fit in with the other Saiyan children. He, too, grew up amongst the fairies, but eventually wished to return to normal mortal life; this was increased when he fell in love with a human woman named Chi-chi. She had done as Bulma did now, caught Kakarott as the fairies went for their moon-ride. She held him all through the night, even as the Queen changed him into all sorts of horrible shapes to scare her off of him, and when dawn came he was returned to his proper body and let go.
Queen 18 gave a small wave of her hands and Vegeta suddenly turned into a long, scaly, man-sized snake. His scales were as black as his hair had been, and his eyes flashed gold. Bulma swallowed, but maintained her hold. Queen 18 made another hand motion, and suddenly Bulma held a huge, fierce, black bear in her embrace. Bulma shut her eyes and buried her face in his dark fur. The bear changed into a bat, the bat into a goblin, the goblin in a dragon, and the dragon into a wolf. All were black as the night sky, and all screamed horribly when they appeared, but Bulma kept her grip firm. Hours began slipping by as the trial continued, Vegeta changing from one form to the next and Bulma holding him tightly, even as his scales cut her and his claws gouged her. The Queen transformed him into any number of frightening or startling beasts, but Bulma kept holding him, even as she felt her strength ebb and her arms start to feel like lead. Queen 18 growled to herself as the moon sank lower into the sky. She had little time left. She chanted something softly, and Vegeta's body began to grow and change. Within moments, he towered over the forest, a giant, monstrous monkey, with Bulma clinging to his fur. He roared loudly, and Bulma shrieked in fear.
"Bulma, let go!" Yamcha called up to her, afraid for her safety. Bulma tightened her grip on Vegeta's fur and prayed he would be returned to normal size soon.
When it became evident the monkey form wasn't going to work, 18 changed him again, this time into a horrible, tentacled thing that was seven feet high. Bulma was momentarily grateful to be back on the ground, when she saw what she held. For a moment, her mind went blank with fear, and her hold began to loosen. The Fairy Queen laughed quietly in triumph. Bulma's arms almost left him completely, but then she looked straight into his eyes; they glinted deeply, like a night sky full of stars. Vegeta's eyes, Vegeta's soul. . .one of the tentacles reached up and gently touched one of her cuts, the creature making a small, concerned noise. Bulma then wrapped her arms around him more tightly than ever before.
"Change his body as you will, 18! He's my Vegeta, and I'll never let go!" Bulma yelled at the Fairy Queen, who let out a strangled cry of anger as she went to change him again. But before she could, the moon dropped out of sight. Within moments, the dawn was upon them. Queen 18 of the Fair Folk let out a disgusted snarl and gave one final wave of her hand. The horrible, tentacled thing in Bulma's arms changed back into Vegeta, dressed only in lose cotton pants and a tunic, who collapsed heavily against the ground.
Queen 18 mounted her horse and scowled at the mortal lovers. "I should never have let you keep your heart, Vegeta! I should have replaced it with one of stone!" she said, and then she and the other fairies rode off, disappearing from view. Vegeta and Bulma didn't really hear her, though. They held each other close, laughing and crying at the same time. He was free, and he was hers. Yamcha said nothing, but left to return to the village. He needed to take back his proposal from her parents, as he knew now she could never be his. But all Vegeta and Bulma knew at the moment, as the sun rose high overhead, was their love, and that they would be together always.
Okay, the ending's a little sappy, but that's how the legend ends, too. I hope you all liked this! Feel free to E-mail and let me know what you think! NansJns@aol.com!