Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ or any movies starring Jet Li. "On Accounta I Love You" is from the 1934 movie Baby Take a Bow, and L. West owns the copyright. You can hear a clip here: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/8038/1acounta.htm
Warnings: Rated R for the merest rind of lemon and one swear word.
first posted on mediaminer.org May 20, 2004
ALL STORIES ARE TRUE
Stealth, speed, uncanny quiet. If ever Vegeta had needed to call up these traits refined by eons of Saiyan genetic engineering, it was now. He didn't breathe; his muscles were poised in perfect anticipation. Because humans were pitifully easy to sneak around, only the most menacing of enemies had ever required him to assume this sort of taut wariness. He lifted his daughter's head off his lap; then, in one flash of supernatural motion, he swept his own body from the sofa to the door.
Don't wake up, don't wake up, don't wake up.
He stared at her, hoping against hope that she hadn't felt him leave her. She lay, her body scarcely taking up the length of one cushion, the top of her diaper sticking out of her stretch shorts, a tiny t-shirt scrunched above a tiny exposed bellybutton, blue hair mussed around her face, one strand wet against her parted lips as she snored.
And the shut eyelids like veined shells. A rolling motion beneath them. She was dreaming.
Vegeta turned to leave. His wife would be annoyed that the child had fallen asleep on his shift instead of hers. A nap, if either parent was fortunate enough to get one, meant maybe a full hour's reprieve from Bra Briefs, heiress to Capsule Corporation, daughter of the Prince of All Saiyans, and the most talkative two-year-old in existence.
Vegeta startled as if shot with a fireball. She was not a human girl. Nothing human was this sensitive. Perhaps she could even read his mind; had she detected a joyous spike in his mood when he thought he had escaped her?
"Daddy, you suppwosed to bwe my pwi-woh."
"Daddy is weary of being a pillow," Vegeta said, in a tone he had learned from his wife. Not too stern, simply explanatory. "Go back to sleep. Bra is sleepy."
Bra's face twisted into total anguish. "I not sweepy! I not sweepy! I want to pway with Daddy!" A voice like a policecar siren. "Is pway-time, NOT sweepy-time!" Then she did it; the brat began to cry.
No human was ever this loud. He tried to steel himself against the wails, for he was Prince of a warrior race that despised weakness, but he despised this assault on his ears even more.
As swiftly as he had fled, Vegeta was on the sofa again. Bra quieted right away, sat up, and rubbed her eyes with her fists. "Pway?" Real tears, the size of gumdrops on her cheeks. How could anyone doubt the child suffered real anxiety if left alone? She was not a manipulative faker.
"Daddy is too tired to play," he said.
Vegeta could not believe he was claiming fatigue. After all, the physical stamina of the Saiyan race was unmatched by any species in the galaxy. What was worse, he hadn't even been playing with the girl for the past two hours. He had been merely sitting, watching her, answering her relentless questions, occasionally fetching a requested toy.
Yet he had spoken the truth; being in the nursery was tiring. The place oppressed him, even though it was hardly a cramped area. There was vast floor space, all oddly illustrated with a woodland patterned carpet. Everywhere he looked the floor was resplendent with wildflowers, pond, bunnies, and a cobblestone path. Afternoon light from the windows fell graciously upon the blonde hues of a wooden playhouse that was large enough to corral at least a half dozen human brats and lolled across a low table crowded with bells, bowls, teapots, and every miniature fake food a girl could fancy, all crafted out of fragrant woods and hand painted by Capsule Corporation's finest artisans.
The fake life-forms were what unsettled Vegeta the most--the furry mammals, paper butterflies, and creepy flaccid dolls with orange yarn hair and eyelashes stitched like stars around sightless eyes. There were at least three dozen of these soft creatures strewn about the room. Vegeta's gaze lifted to where, beyond the kid furniture, adult rocker and plush sofa, stood a four-paneled room divider painted with serene woodland landscapes, and behind it, a child's lace-canopied bed. This area was the tidiest part of the room, he thought grimly, because it was so seldom used. Bra was in her parents' bed at least every other night.
"Can I watch a moobie?" Bra asked, the tears still full on her cheeks.
It was the question Vegeta had been taught to meet with the suggestion to read a book. Bulma did not want their daughter brain-washed by electronic media as yet. The woman was insistent on their daughter being engaged with the tangible world of tiny teapots and fake life-forms.
"Yes," Vegeta heard himself say, "A movie." Anything other than having to read Angelina Ballerina again. "But a movie Daddy likes." He would have to fetch such a movie from the living room.
A half hour into Shaolin Temple starring Jet Li, it was plain that the movie was not appropriate for two-year-olds, even a precocious half-Saiyan two-year-old who seemed to delight in wu shu combat scenes. A pack of jolly Buddhist monks, all sporting dots on their heads like that midget companion of Kakkarot's, ate a roasted dog in one scene. Bra had given her father a suspicious sideways glance at that point but had otherwise seemed unperturbed. She was sleepy but enthralled with the experience of sitting next to her father, watching a grown-up movie. Once, Vegeta had suggested that she move to the bed, but Bra had pitched a fit and insisted she wanted to watch "the fighting mens."
"I wanna be fwiends with the fighting mens, " Bra said, "Let's go to the fighting mens' house!"
"It's only a movie," Vegeta said, "These fighting men do not exist. At least, not anymore. Your mother says it is a story that happened long ago. It is probably not even a true story."
"Something that really happened. Perhaps this story only came to be because someone imagined it. Those fighters there, they are only pretending to fight. They are not really fighting. They have put on dress-up clothes and are dancing around for our entertainment."
Bra seemed to consider what her father had just said. Her blue eyes simmered a moment with a look Vegeta had seen before on his wife's face.
"It wooks twue. The fighting mens are weally jumping high. Not dancing, Daddy."
Vegeta had little to go by, but it seemed to him that his daughter was exceptionally perceptive. He had only the vaguest recollections of what his older child and those half-Saiyan brats of Kakkarot's had been like as children. When Trunks had been Bra's age, Vegeta had been too obsessed with his own training and only the slightest bit committed to participating in family life. Trunks had been--what? Maybe four years old? --when Vegeta had decided to introduce the boy to his warrior heritage and had begun training him.
Air whooshing from wu shu moves and sounds of grunts and kicks resounded in the nursery.
The fighting itself was not interesting, Vegeta thought. Some of the katas and defenses were similar enough to techniques he'd learned as a young boy on his home planet, but the style was painstakingly human, too stylized to be truly effective. Perhaps such curious moves worked well for weaklings. It was actually the stories, not the action, of these martial arts films that intrigued Vegeta the most. This Shaolin Temple one told of a young upstart who enters a monastery to learn the fighting skills he needs in order to avenge his father's murder. Something about the feisty Chueh Yuan being at odds with the strange culture of Buddhist compassion struck home for Vegeta, an orphan of a murdered world, a boy who had grown to a man in a ruthless alien army, the man who was now here on Earth trying to negotiate the strange world of human kindness and trust.
"I wike the fighting gwurl," Bra said.
"Not bad for a human," said Vegeta, thoroughly bored with the scene involving the 'fighting girl,' a pretty shepherdess who was defending her sheep against the murderous villain. "The bad guy is the better fighter."
On the screen, a sheep was choked to bloody death by a bad guy, much to the horror of the wu shu shepherdess.
"Poor lambie!" said Bra, without much true concern.
"It would've ended up as lamb chops anyway," said Vegeta, "Why else do you think people tend to those creatures?"
"I wike lamb chops," said Bra. She lay her head against Vegeta's arm and yawned. She was asleep again in only minutes, but this time Vegeta did not try to escape. He sat there until the movie was finished, and even after Bra slid off his arm and resettled on the sofa, he still sat there. He did not know if it was inertia keeping him there, or perhaps the ending of the movie, with Chueh Yuan finally accepting the Shaolin monks as family and vowing never again to kill except in defense of them, had sobered him.
Humans and their peculiar entertainments. In Frieza's army entertainment had been superiors torturing inferiors, the occasional bored underling provoking a commander and the ensuing bloodshed a spectacle for all. Or the gory alien sex theatres, all tentacles and oozing fluids, that many soldiers--but not Vegeta--would leap to watch whenever a new installment was announced on the vid-monitors. Spectacles. Never stories. The only story Vegeta could remember before coming to Earth was the one told him by his tutors on Vegetasai, the heroic saga of the Legendary. No Saiyan knew if it was true or not, but Vegeta had made the story true. He himself had become the amazing Super Saiyan of legend, the avenging warrior, an incandescent strength that knew no match in the universe.
But Vegetasai was gone. The Saiyans were all gone. Who was there to avenge now?
The television in the nursery had automatically switched to children's programming after Shaolin Temple shut off. Humans disguised as purple, furry fake life-forms were singing a song about dental hygiene. Vegeta knew how to turn off the television without waking his daughter; he lowered the volume very gradually on the remote and then clicked the off button. The disquieting memories of his past life evaporated along with the images on the screen.
Bra was dreaming again. He could tell by the rolling under her eyelids, by the occasional fluttering of her bottom lip, as if she was still jabbering away to him about "fighting mens." What does a two-year-old who has barely lived any life at all dream about? Was anyone, human or Saiyan, ever swaddled in this much comfort and innocence? What stories did she tell herself while she slept? He felt a strange urge to touch the eyelids, to see if maybe by touching them he could feel the dreams beneath, but then he heard a loud clacking on the stairway and caught the scent of his mate.
Bulma was home. Early! He could not see her yet but he could imagine her, tired and grouchy and yet delectable in those tiny flower print undergarments just beneath the business suit he would tear off. All stories from my imagination are true, Vegeta thought with a smirk, because I make them come true. Vegeta was a man of action.
Because Bulma was spending less time in her lab and more time in the business offices of Capsule Corporation, she looked strange ("more coiffed" she had called it) when she left for work--wearing heeled shoes and jewelry instead of boots and windbreakers. Her face was glossy with those colored gels and powders human females wore, but it was no matter to Vegeta; he enjoyed licking either machinery grease or lipstick off her the same.
When Vegeta entered the hallway, she was standing in her stocking feet, her dress jacket tied by its arms around her slim waist. She had been picking toys off the stairs and her arms were full of Bra's playthings. Her briefcase dangled by its short handle from one already heavy-braceleted wrist, and Vegeta's shoes were hooked onto two fingers of one hand
"After eighteen years, I still have to remind you to leave your shoes at the door! Boots, at the door! Shoes, at the door! It's simple courtesy, Vegeta! You don't want to trail in mud and diseases or--"
"Stop," Vegeta caught Bulma's arm, and she spilled the toys. "You're carrying on like that shrew mate of Kakkarot's." He kissed her, lightly on her throat, then he ran his parted teeth along her jaw and found her mouth with his. Two heavy shoes clunked in unison as they fell on the floor. The briefcase followed them, snapping open and spilling pens and a cell-phone.
"We don't have much time," Vegeta informed her as he lifted her into his arms. Bulma had already begun to unbutton her own blouse as he stepped over the shoes and toys. In the past year the couple had mastered the art of the quickie, but the formula usually involved his tearing her clothes off. Vegeta guessed that Bulma must really like this blouse.
Once on the bed, Vegeta waited for the space of three or four long seconds while Bulma shook off the blouse and slid out of her skirt with the jacket still knotted around it. He would let her save this outfit. Then pop, his index finger cut loose the stem of fabric between her breasts, and the bra fell away. He began to shove down the pantyhose. Pop, pop, the elastic at each hip, and the panties fell away. Vegeta softly cursed the vexation of pantyhose (the purpose of this brownish web covering a woman's bottom half was unfathomable!) and somehow managed to wrestle the infernal material down to Bulma's knees without summoning a ki blast (fireballs, even the tiniest ones, were forbidden in bed--the last time he'd used one to disintegrate some pantyhose, he'd scorched Bulma's favorite bedspread).
He ran his hands up and down the white length of his naked wife only once, and then he pushed down his sweatpants just enough for his erection to emerge. Bulma thrust her pelvis forward to meet it. Once inside her, Vegeta began to move in a familiar, easy rhythm, and Bulma's hands swept into his hair, her breath slowing against his neck. He kneaded a breast with one hand while the other found the spot where their bodies were locked, rocking, and caressed there, encouraging her to come soon. It was not frantic lovemaking though; it was full and languorous pleasure, rolling over the both of them in soothing waves. No sound but sighs.
In the nursery, Bra was already waking up.
Unbeknownst to anyone yet (except maybe Granny Briefs who was always noting what a sharp ear her sweetie Bra has), the child had inherited her father's Saiyan hearing. She could hear Mommy making little gasping noises in her parents' bedroom two doors down the hall. She could also detect her father's ki, surging under his delicate control, into a very bright sensation of happiness. And her mother's ki, tiny and human, wavering oddly in tones of barely restrained excitement, sometimes thrilling to a peak and then tapering into contentment and then starting up again. They were having a real good time.
Bra was already in the hall when she felt her father and mother crash, each ki lit for a moment like a birthday candle and suddenly out, surrounded by wisps of smoky energy and a very cozy feeling. Bra felt the cuddling before she saw it, and she wanted to cuddle with them too. Her mother was laughing lightly at something her father was saying, his voice resonant and low.
At the sound of Bra's voice, both parents hushed. Daddy was fully clothed, hugging naked Mommy who was hugging Daddy with her legs and with what looked like brown stockings up to her knees.
"Bra!" Vegeta adjusted his pants, turned and caught his daughter in his arms, lifting her away from the scene. Bulma took the opportunity to crawl under the covers.
"I lub the moobie! Let's show Mommy the moobie! Pwease, Daddy?"
"You can turn around now," giggled Bulma, and Vegeta did, with his daughter cradled in his arms, to face his hair-tousled wife, who was still flushed but now covered demurely up to the armpits with a blanket. "You watched a movie, did you? Is that how you got her to nap, Vegeta?"
"It NOT a boring moobie, Mommy. I lub it!"
"What movie was it, angel?"
"It called Show-wee Temple!"
Bulma looked to Vegeta for clarification. Vegeta was still frazzled, new sweat breaking out on his already sweaty brow.
"Is gweat moobie, Mommy! Daddy got it from downstairs! Show-wee Temple!"
Bulma's face inexplicably burst into a giant smile. Vegeta knew she'd just had an excellent fuck, but there was no reason for her to be as giddy as this. Did she not remember that Shaolin Temple featured a fire-roasted pet dog and a strangled lamb?
"Shirley Temple!" the woman shrieked. "Vegeta, what a great choice! I love Shirley Temple! My mother got those movies for me when I was a kid! Which one did you watch? I love Baby Takes a Bow, the one where Shirley gets the little ballerina dress for her birthday and does a little dance with her dad?"
"Bawawina dress!?" Bra's eyes widened. "I wanna see that one!"
"Then we shall see it," Vegeta said authoritatively, "Bulma, get dressed. Meet us in the nursery. We will get this other…whatever temple movie and watch it together." He was thinking fast, and he wasn't sure that his wife would actually buy the premise that he was willing, without any coercion whatsoever, to spend another hour and a half in that lily-ponded and white-bunnied room. But he wanted to keep Bulma smiling. And he didn't want her to find out about the martial arts movie.
Bulma's mouth dropped open. The day that Vegeta had agreed, after much shouting persuasion on Bulma's part, to babysit Bra a few hours a day, thrice weekly, in order to make up for his miserable neglect of Trunks as a baby, the woman had seemed surprised but skeptical. She'd mumbled something about how she'd have to summon the fire department within the first week. But now, at his mere suggestion that the family watch a movie together, Bulma could not have looked more stunned and overjoyed than if Vegeta had gotten down on his knees and offered her a single-stemmed red rose.
"Vegeta," she finally managed to say, "It's Shirley Temple, and the movie is called Baby Takes a Bow. I-I will get some popcorn, ok?"
You're my chocolate sundae
And my sugar bun
Apple pie and lollipop
All rolled into one….
"That dance is called the Charleston, " Bulma was saying, "Poppa showed it to me once. He and Momma took a class once in historical dances. Bra, honey, do you need to potty yet?"
Bra was sitting between her mother and father on the nursery sofa, the giant bowl of popcorn on her lap. "No potty yet," Bra said, her fingers meeting Vegeta's fingers as both grabbed for a handful of popcorn. "I pee-pee after the moobie, ok?"
"I wish Trunks didn't have that Astronomy club meeting tonight," Bulma said. "He could have watched this movie with us. Vegeta, did Bra potty on your shift?"
"I have no idea." Vegeta did not deal with any potty or diaper issues at all during his shifts of watching Bra; that sort of thing he left to his wife or Granny Briefs to clean up.
I'll go where you go
Any place'll do
And I'll go where you go
On accounta I love you….
Vegeta was glad that his fifteen-year-old son wasn't here to see any of this. The movie was infinitely dull, an unlikely story of a bad guy, a petty thief of some sort, who is redeemed by the love of a woman, mates her, and then the two spawn a ridiculous brat with impossible hair who sings, dances, and mugs adorably at every turn of plot.
"I love this part coming up," Bulma was saying, "Shirley Temple plays hide and seek with the pearl necklace and the detective."
"Is this a twue story?" Bra asked.
Bulma shot Vegeta a glance. "See what I mean? Developmentally, it's very mature of her to be considering these things! Trying to distinguish fact from fiction! I think she's got my world-class scientist mind!"
"My daddy not a dancing daddy. He a fighting daddy like the fighting mens."
"She's got your world class mouth," Vegeta muttered.
"I wike the fighting mens. I wanna go to the fighting mens' house."
"What fighting men are you talking about?" asked Bulma, delighting in her daughter's every word.
"In the moobie."
"The one with the poor lambie."
Bulma smiled indulgently and continued to munch popcorn. It was clear she had no idea what her daughter was talking about, but such was the case with two-year-olds much of the time, so Vegeta figured he wasn't going to get busted for watching wu shu on his shift with Bra.
The movie went on, with a very bad guy at some point lifting the tiny daughter and using her as a human shield against a good guy with a gun. The movie-child with the ridiculous hair shrieked for her parents. Bulma looked concerned and stopped munching. "Oh, I forgot about this scene. Is it scary, sweetheart?"
"No." Bra looked content as pie.
"It's not a true story, angel. It will all turn out all right in the end." Bulma shot Vegeta a weak smile. "If she has bad dreams, she'll be in our bed for sure tonight."
"She never has bad dreams," Vegeta muttered, "and she's always in our bed."
At that remark, Bulma's face beamed with affection at Vegeta for no reason he could fathom. Her hand slid behind Bra on the sofa back and touched him on the shoulder.
"It has a happy ending, sweetheart," Bulma said to her daughter while looking at her husband. Her hand was resting in the lightest way on his shoulder, but Vegeta always felt a thrill whenever Bulma touched him. Knowing his squeamishness for any physical demonstrations in public that did not involve combat, she almost never touched him in a way that was not a cue for sex.
Why she seemed to be shifting out of a habit acquired after so many years of Vegeta's stand-offishness, he did not know. Clearly, this gesture was a cue for something other than their usual. How odd it was to want her now and to have to wait to have her again. There was something about the waiting that was pleasant though, and Vegeta wanted to prolong this strange communication with his woman. Without thinking what he was doing, he took Bulma's hand in his and brought the tiny white thing to his mouth. And kissed it.
Her fingers tasted buttery.
Bulma giggled and snatched her hand away. Her attention turned to the screen, where the little impossible girl was sharing a reunion snuggle with her mother, as well as procuring a five-thousand-dollar reward for finding the lost pearl necklace and uncovering the true thief. Vegeta could not understand why humans were always smashing themselves against each other in these embraces.
"I lub my mommy too," said Bra, and crawled into Bulma's lap.
What a strange language this was, the one of human affection. His daughter would never learn a language by having it downloaded the easy way, into her brain, by one of Frieza's scouters hung over her ear.
The thought was gone as soon as Vegeta conjured it. It was crowded out of his mind by the vision of his wife and daughter, both smiling identical smiles at the television. The same brilliant blue eyes, the same dainty white chins. He could almost describe the scene as precious, a word he'd heard his wife use before but only in the context of things diminutive, cloying, and annoying. This scene was one he wanted to hoard, to condense in his memory as something belonging only to himself. He could even imagine breaking the spell of the vision by interrupting it, by reaching over and kissing both mother and daughter. How shocked they would be.
Maybe one day he would do more than imagine.
LisaB was my amazing beta and emotional support for this story! Thanks, woman! debbiechan