Well you will notice that the title has been shortened. Thatís because if I included everything in this chapter that I originally wanted to then it would be incredibly long. For that reason Iíve split it in half and youíll get the rest of it in the next chapter.
The previous disclaimers apply to this chapter as well.
Chapter 5: Bash Ö
Yamcha left his brand new convertible several feet away from the cars of his friends to eliminate the off chance that one of them would accidentally knick the paint. He jumped out of the car, rather than opening the door, and leaned over to pick up the six-pack of beer and stack of snacks he brought to the party Bulma was throwing to celebrate something very mysterious. He, of course, was intrigued to find out what the thing was especially since she had only organized the get-together the day before. Bulma had an annoying habit of doing things on the spur-of-the-moment and surprising people so it could be any number of things.
Yamcha continued toward the dwelling until something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. He looked in the direction of Bulmaís lab and saw the door opening. Since he wasnít too far away from the lab he thought heíd check it out and set his packages down on the ground.
"Bulma?" he called peeking in the door. He strained to listen but received no answer. Stepping inside of the threshold he peered into the dim light leaking into the room through the shuttered windows. He heard a sound off in a corner and rounded it cautiously. He came to Bulmaís desk finding that the computer was on and was running a screen saver of pictures of family and friends. "BULMA!" he called loudly once again looking around.
Thoroughly perplexed Yamcha shrugged his shoulders and turned to the workstation once again. He thought about turning off the machine but thought better of it knowing Bulmaís temper. His eyes fell on odd-looking device that was sitting out on the desktop and he began to visually examine it. It was attached to a wide, black, leather belt with a large shiny face plate that would give the illusion it was a merely an oversized silver, belt buckle when it was closed. At the moment it was open revealing that a plethora of buttons and lights were inside of it. He then noticed the strange black symbol engraved on the face plate and moved closer to examine it when, suddenly the computer came back up causing Yamcha turn to look at it in surprise. The screen had on a document that appeared to be a journal entry of some kind and the words "Ki Enhancing Module" in big, bold black letters jumped out at him. Although he normally wasnít the kind of guy to read through other peopleís journals he plopped down in the chair hoping to sate his curiosity by reading it. After all anything that could enhance ki and improve his fighting was of tantamount interest to him.
I have finally completed the Ki Enhancing Module. Its lightweight and can easily be attached to an ordinary belt. Using it anyone can at least double their physical strength and the strength of their ki attacks. I think that it will be really useful for everyone to have one. If everyone is twice as strong as normal they could easily take on powerful enemies even if Vegeta isnít inclined to help them.
"Way to go Bulma," Yamcha thought as he paused from reading looking over at the device in question. "We sure could use these things" he commented before continuing his reading.
Speaking of Vegeta, naturally he disapproves of the invention because it can make "such worthless weakling bakas" as strong as him. We had quite a row about it and he totally lost it and struck me again.
"What!" Yamcha cried. He went back and re read the sentence to be sure he had actually read what he thought he had. "Why that no good baka! How dare he hit her!" He continued on reading.
It wasnít too bad this time, he actually knows how hold back from seriously injuring me now, which is fine. I know I shouldnít push him too far or hit him because it sets him off but Iím such an idiot I just canít help it. We set each otherís tempers off so easily I just loose it and say things I shouldnít. I know heíll never learn to control his temper and he never seems to care how badly it hurts both physically and emotionally. Last time I complained about how he treats me he laughed it off and said he could treat his property however he wants. Since he wonít change I have to change and hope things get better. I want this marriage to work, I love Vegeta, and Iím willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to make it the way it used to be.
Yamchaís blood was boiling by the time he reached the end of the entry. "Sure Bulma can make you mad as hell sometimes but how dare he hit her! I never hit her even when she hit me!" he thought to himself retracing his steps out of her lab. "I always knew that baka couldnít change!" he swore under his breath picking up his packages outside. He walked determinedly up to the door and rang the doorbell. "Donít worry Bulma, Iím going to do something about Vegeta if itís the last thing I do. Iíll make you see heís no good for you. He doesnít deserve you! He never has!"
Bulma gazed out over the crowd gathered in the spacious living room and took a head count. All her friends were there, except Piccolo and Yamcha, fidgeting and conversing. They were restless since a half-hour had passed and Bulma hadnít revealed her surprise yet. She wanted everyone to be there before she did that. She knew that Piccolo probably wouldnít come but that still left Yamcha. She scowled, he was always late no matter what and he never seemed to change. While she was in midthought the doorbell rang so she made her way over to the front door to answer it. She opened the door and saw Yamcha, she had been fully prepared to give him a piece of her mind about his tardiness but he gave her the strangest smile that she could only return puzzledly. She then watched as he glared past her and turned to see Vegeta eyeing the other warrior suspiciously with one of his trademark, superior, lop-sided smirks on his face. Bulma sighed and rolled her eyes. "I wish they would grow up and stop this pointless rivalry," Bulma thought in displeasure.
"Well everyoneís here Bulma" 18 said at her shoulder. "Letís not keep him waiting."
Bulma smiled at the blonde android and she cleared her throat as 18 left to get 16. "May I have your attention everyone," Bulma announced. She patiently waited for the din of conversation to die down before continuing. "Iím sure you are all wondering just what I called all of you guys here for. Well, I just completed an incredibly difficult project of mine that took four years to finish and I wanted you guys to share in the fun of this momentous occasion." Bulma looked over her shoulder and received a smile from 18 as she stood in the doorway. "Ladies and gentlemen get ready for a blast from the past!" she said in her well-rehearsed voice throwing her hand back towards the door with an emphatic gesture.
On cue 16 emerged from the doorway and scanned the crowd who let out a collective gasp. He remembered most of their faces although the moment they appeared flabbergasted. All except for those who already knew he was awake (18, 17, Bulma, Trunks, Vegeta) and also a young man who appeared to be in his early teens didnít look quite as startled. 16 peered intently at his face. There was something undeniably familiar about him.
"HiÖUh" the young man started "I guess you donít exactly remember me but Iím Son Gohan."
"I remember you Gohan" 16 stated in his familiar tinny voice. "You defeated Cell as I knew you would. Thank you." He ended his statement with a small smile.
"Iím the one who should thank you," the demi-saiyajin told him. "Without your help I doubt I could have won the battle."
"Yeah" Ten said speaking up. "We owe you one. Thanks."
Soon everyone in the room had mumbled their thanks and with the ice broken people began to converse and relax, except for Chi Chi. She didnít exactly trust a machine that was built to kill her husband. To Chi Chiís horror Gohan walked towards the android taking Goten with him.
"16 I would like you to meet my brother Goten," the teenager told him.
Goten nervously stared up at the hulking android, a silly grin plastered to his face. He had watched enough monster movies to know that it wasnít wise to trust anything built in a scientistís lab and clung to his brotherís leg peering out from behind Gohan, which was fine with Chi Chi..
"I have heard much of you from Trunks," 16 said looking down at the half-hidden boy.
"You know Trunks?" the three-year-old timidly.
"Of course he does" Trunks said running up to them. "My mom built him."
"Oh yeah" Goten said sheepishly letting go of his brotherís pant leg. He always felt much braver when Trunks was around.
Bulma sighed happily as she watched the little scene. The big android seemed to have an affinity for children and animals. She watched as a beaming 18 interrupted the little scene reintroducing Krillan to the giant. Slowly but surely a little crowd was forming around the cyborg. Excluded from the knot, as always, were Vegeta and Android 17. Vegeta was at his favorite position, at the back wall, where he could watch everything. 17 was still sitting on the couch he had deposited himself on when he had come in. She caught his eye and she was surprised he rose and approached her. Although she had seen him frequently in the past four years while she was working on 16 he had barely said two words to her.
"Well, Bulma" the youthful looking android said. "Your little gathering seems to be a success. 16 is quite the celebrity. "
"I guess he is" she replied. "I think itís nice that you came, for your sister I mean."
He smirked. "Yes I donít really like crowds like this. I seem to share that quality with your husband."
Bulma laughed nervously. "Yeah," she said looking over at the saiyajin "but at least you make an attempt to be part of a crowd. Thatís more than Vegeta ever does."
"I want to ask a favor of you" 17 said almost hesitantly.
"Really?" Bulma queried in surprise.
"Yes" the black-haired artificial human answered. "Iíd like you to do the same upgrades on me as you did for 16."
"Well some of it I can" Bulma replied excitedly "but there are some things I was only able to do because I was building him from scratch."
"What ever you can do it fine," he said.
Vegeta watched the proceedings in discomfort. Everyone was hanging around the stupid machine Bulma restored and making a big deal over him. His mate was conversing with another tin can, the black-haired one that Vegeta personally believed to be the most annoying of them all. He hated the androids with a passion. He told himself that this was because they were unnatural although there was more to it, namely his pride. The androids had been one of his few opponents to best him and thus he didnít like having them around to remind him of it. Ever alert Vegeta readily felt an approaching ki and headed for the front door determinedly. Before the visitor could knock or ring the bell he opened the door and glared at the blonde child.
"What do you want?" Vegeta coolly demanded narrowing his eyes as he looked down at the visitor.
"I was told I could come back anytime I wanted, so Iím here" Wrench replied briefly enjoying the saiyajinís annoyance.
"Thatís right Vegeta" Bulma told the prince coming up from behind. "Heís welcome here."
Vegeta glared over his shoulder at his mate. He couldnít believe that she was still so angry with him that sheíd ignore his warnings yet again. Moreover, he was hurt by her dismissal of his concern over her safety. "Fine woman" he grumbled taking a step to the side. After all, if she didnít care why should he?
"Thereís a bit of a party going on," she said to the boy ignoring her husband. "You have great timing" Bulma continued ushering Wrench in. As they walked away the boy paused to give the saiyajin a mocking grin that made Vegeta set his teeth on edge.
Vegeta watched as she introduced the boy around and he fell right in with them. "Stupid woman" he thought to himself. Surprisingly enough, he didnít like how she was shutting him out. He always loathed hearing her endless chatter about anything and everything and her demanding his own opinions but the silence of the day before and this day was proving to be far more disturbing to him than he could ever imagine. She hadnít said a word about her accomplishment with the android to him, which was perhaps the most unsettling thing of all. In fact she had hardly said two words to him since their argument in the factory. He didnít like being treated like he didnít matter any longer and the thought that this treatment could continue for any length of time pained him. The saiyajin watched her as she "mingled" with ease and suddenly began to feel a long forgotten feeling. It was a feeling he could remember experiencing since childhood, the feeling of being completely and utterly alone. It surprised him to feel it, or rather to realize that he hadnít felt that way for quite sometime. He hadnít felt that way since he had taken Bulma as his mate and this realization shocked and surprised him. Somehow she had soothed his lonely soul without him even knowing. "When did I become so weak that I depended on her for anything?" he wondered partly disgusted with himself.
Bulma looked up at Vegeta yet again and what she saw there was disturbing. To everyone else at the gathering his behavior probably would have seemed normal but she could see what they couldnít. He was clearly upset and worried about she and Trunks. His eyes were darting back and forth monitoring them and keeping a close eye on their guest. Seeing this Bulma felt guilty and wondered if she could go to talk to him but she was then distracted by a hand on her shoulder.
"Hi Yamcha" she said in greeting still somewhat preoccupied by her personal problems.
"Hi Bulma" he said looking over at Vegeta to be sure his touch of Bulmaís shoulder went unobserved. "Can I talk to you for a minute?" he asked quickly removing his hand.
"Sure" Bulma asked him more than positive something was not quite right with him. "Whatís on your mind?"
"Can we go somewhere else?" he asked his eyes darting towards the saiyajin price that now had homed in on his activity.
"Okay" Bulma said with a shrug leading him into the kitchen.
Yamcha paced nervously back and forth trying to find the right way to breach the subject he was about to introduce. "You know you can tell me anything Bulma, right?" he asked her.
"Of course" she replied.
"I know that youíreÖ" he hesitated before he continued to stumble on "Öhaving problems with Vegeta and Iím really worried."
Bulma looked at him in surprise. They had only started having problems the day before and he was nowhere near the place to hear their arguments. "How could you know that?" she demanded.
Yamcha laughed nervously as sweat beads formed on his brow. "Itís kind of obvious the way youíre acting around each other," he ventured. " Any way, I just thought we could talk about it. If you tell me whatís wrong maybe I could help."
Yamchaís strange behavior was bothering Bulma to no end. He was a good friend and she could understand his concern, but what went on in her personal life was none of his business. "I donít think you can" Bulma answered "and itís kind of private so I really donít want to talk about it. Itís not a big deal. Thanks for caring though." Wanting to end the uncomfortable exchange she began to leave the kitchen.
"No wait," said Yamcha grabbing her arm. "Bulma I have a confession to make. I know exactly what the problem is and I do think itís a big deal."
Now Bulma was beginning to get irritated. "How would you know something that I havenít told anyone about?" she demanded.
"You had your computer on and I kind-of, sort- of read your journal," he admitted adverting his eyes.
"YOU WHAT!" Bulma screamed loudly at him not caring in the least that the others in the house that moment could hear her. "WHAT GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO DO THAT?"
"I know it wasnít right to do but Iím glad I did," Yamcha said calmly. "You shouldnít let him abuse you."
"Abuse me?" Bulma asked in disbelief. "What are you talking about?"
"Donít deny it Bulma" Yamcha said. "I know that heís been hitting you."
"Yamcha how dare you even suggest such a thing!" Bulma shouted loudly in defense of her mate. "Vegeta has never and will never hurt me."
"Stop pretending. I saw the truth in black and white" he insisted. "Heís evil Bulma. He has been and will always be evil and I wonít let you put yourself in danger."
"Iím not in any danger," Bulma told him smoldering with anger. "Now let me leave this room before I get really upset."
Yamcha was not about to let her walk away and blocked the kitchen door. "Get Trunks and come with me and I swear I wonít let him touch you ever again" Yamcha begged.
"I suggest that you do as my mate tells you human," Vegeta growled entering the kitchen.
"You donít scare me Vegeta" Yamcha said turning around and looking down at the smaller man "and Iím not going to let you bully Bulma or anybody else around anymore."
Bulma stood back transfixed by the hostility hanging thick in the air between the two warriors. Bulma knew that this had been a long time in coming and she wasnít sure how to handle it. The only thing she could do was panic and try to think of how to stop this confrontation from becoming violent, which in all likelihood it would become.
"First of all," the prince began holding up one finger for emphasis "what goes on between my mate and my self is none of your business." Raising another finger to count his next point. "Second as the woman said I have never hurt her and third" displaying a third digit "there is no way you could possibly do anything to stop me even if I was. Now leave before I get really pissed," he concluded crossing his arms over his chest in his typical fashion.
"No, Iím not leaving" Yamcha declared. "Iím sick of you Vegeta. Iím sick of your superior attitude and your smart mouth. I put up with it for this long because I know that for some reason Bulma loves you, and I thought you loved her. Now I see you were never interested in anything but satisfying your lustful whims and I wonít let you take advantage of her anymore."
"Your problem is that you are a fool and donít know when to give up" Vegeta said superiorly. "She may be blind but Iím not. Bulma is my mate. She chose me over you and no matter what you do she wonít ever be yours again. I see the way you still look at her when you think no one is watching. You still want her and have made up this ridiculous story in a cowardly attempt to try and win her back for yourself."
"Maybe I still do have feelings for her" the human fighter admitted "but I know what I saw. You donít deserve her. You treat her with disrespect day in and out. You order her around like sheís a slave treating her just like you treat everyone else, as if youíre something special and we all have to bow and scrape to you. Well, I got news for you baka. Youíre nothing but a little man with big ideas. Your planet is dead and youíre the only sorry ape left so you can just.."
"I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR MOUTH!" Vegeta shouted erupting into a super saiyajin. "WE SETTLE THIS NOW! FACE ME IF YOU ARE NOT A COWARD!"
"Iím no coward" Yamcha said confidently "and this time Iím going to teach you a lesson using your precious mateís own invention against you."
"THATíS ENOUGH!" Bulma shouted finally having enough stepping between them. " I canít believe you two yaros! There will be no battles on my account thank you very much, especially when this is all over a bunch of misunderstandings."
"Iím sorry Bulma but this has to be done" Yamcha stated.
"It does not have to be done" Bulma scolded in fear.
"If itís the only way to make you see the truth about Vegeta then it does," Yamcha said to the concerned woman. He then turned and addressed the prince. "Meet me outside Vegeta and we will settle this once and for all." With that Yamcha rushed out the kitchen door in a blur.
Vegeta went to follow but was stopped by his mateís small hands against his chest. "You canít do this Vegeta" Bulma begged looking up into his turquoise eyes.
"You have no say in this woman" Vegeta informed her removing her hands from his person. "The baka human has insulted me and you both and the honor of my house must be defended by saiyajin law."
"I donít care what your stupid laws are," Bulma snapped at him. "This is the planet earth and saiyajin law doesnít apply here. Yamcha is behaving like an idiot but he doesnít deserve to be beaten to a pulp by you or any one else."
"How dare you defend him!" Vegeta reproved her jealous rage clearly burning in his eyes. "I have tolerated you allowing him to shove his nose in our business long enough. I am the Prince of Vegetasei and it is unthinkable for me to allow this weakling to covet my mate. I should have destroyed him years ago, as was my right! I will never forget who I am or where I come from and as my mate you should uphold my honor as yours, not defend him."
"What honor is there in beating up someone who has absolutely no chance against you?" Bulma asked plaintively.
"If thatís what it takes to rid our lives of him then it is honorable" the super saiyajin said coldly. "Maybe if you would stop associating so closely with him I would consider letting him go but I know that you wonít."
"Why should I heís my friend?" Bulma snapped defensively. "What are you afraid of? You donít trust me to be faithful to you do you?" she said tears forming in her eyes.
The prince looked down at her as the tears began to spill out of her eyes onto her cheeks. He regarded her in silence for a moment the rage tempered by the realization he had hurt her. "I do not trust him not to try something," he explained hoping to placate her.
"And you think that I would just sit there and allow him to seduce me?" Bulma said indignantly. "I donít believe this." Turning her back to her husband she gave up trying to sway him. "Fine go ahead and kill each other if that makes you feel better. I donít care what happens to either one of you! Just donít fight it out here and destroy my home. Go somewhere else."
Vegeta regarded her for a moment beginning to regret his actions as he realized that her dismissal was more than just for the moment. She was telling him she didnít want him to come back for quite sometime, maybe even permanently. The idea of loosing her over this fight almost made him want to bow out but he couldnít as a warrior. He wanted to gather her up in his arms to comfort her but he also knew that the other guests were listening and peeking through the door and he didnít wish to display emotions. Placing a hand on her shoulder he leaned over to whisper in her ear. "We will talk when I return," he told her simply before rushing outside to meet his rival.
Bulma broke down in sobs and Chi Chi instantly was at her side. "Oh Chi Chi" Bulma lamented. "they wonít listen to me and I know Vegetaís going to kill Yamcha and I canít stop it! Thereís no reason for them to be at each otherís throats like this."
Trunks, with Goten on his heels, entered the room his heart heavy as he watched his motherís tears. He didnít quite understand the exchange that had occurred but he knew one thing his father and one of his friendís were going to battle and one or both of them would be seriously injured or even die.
"Donít worry Bulma" Krillan said stepping in around the two boys. "I wonít let that happen."
"Neither will we" Ten said of Choatzu and himself as the smaller one nodded as they also entered with the remaining guests but for one.
"Thank you" Bulma said genuinely realizing that in reality there was nothing they could do to stop Vegeta.
As the trio exited Chi Chi sat Bulma in a chair. Trunks came up to her and touched her face.
"Donít worry Ma Ma" the four-year-old told her stroking her check. "Iíll make sure Pa Pa doesnít get hurt."
Bulma stared into her sonís eyes, which were as blue as her own, and brightened slightly at her sonís attempt to comfort her. He hadnít called her Ma Ma or Vegeta Pa Pa for several months insisting that they were names only a little kid would use. It almost made her forget her worries until she recognized the determined glint in her sonís eyes. It was the same glint she had seen in Vegetaís many times before. Before she could act though he was gone faster than she could stop him with Goten tow.
"Goten come back!" Chi Chi cried.
"Oh Dende no!" Bulma shouted. "I have to stop him."
"Bulma I really donít think you should go" 18 said putting a hand on her shoulder. "Youíre too emotional right now. Iíll go for you."
Bulma knowing that 18 was right nodded bravely.
"Chi, Chi why donít you stay with her" 18 said to the black-haired woman who agreed reluctantly.
"Theyíre going to need a lot of muscle to hold Vegeta back. Why donít you come too?" the female android asked her male counterparts. "I know we could use your help."
"Why not" 17 said "a good 6 to 1 brawl sounds like fun. Weíll actually it would be 5 to 1 since someone will have to take care of Yamcha."
"I will help for Bulmaís sake" 16 said.
"Then letís go" the blonde android called running out the door.
"Come on 16 we canít let her get too far ahead" the black-haired android called running after his sister.
16 paused and looked at Bulma being comforted by Chi Chi. "Donít worry they all will come back safe" he said. He gave her a kindly smile as she turned her tear-filled eyes to him before he followed seemingly leaving the two women alone.
"Now come on Bulma" Chi Chi said warmly. "Sit back down and relax." After guiding her to a chair Chi Chi placed a comforting hand on her friendís shoulder. "I think Iíll make us both a pot of tea."
Unseen, the other occupant of the room smiled. The diversion had worked perfectly and now this womanís pot of tea was going to make his job much easier than he had expected. He couldnít have been more pleased.
* * * * *
Well that worked out great! By shortening this chapter I was able to leave you with a nice cliffhanger! Isnít that sweet of me?
Wrench is turning out to be pretty devious isnít he? Just what is he up toÖ? Is Vegeta going to kill the misguided Yamcha or will the rest of the gang be able to stop him in time? Guess what? You have to read the next chapter to find out! Isnít that a shocker?
Chapter 6: Ö and Brawl