One Sweet Day
It is late. The antique grandfather clock ticks on the wall and rings out 12 o’clock. Bulma turns again in bed, facing the door. Closed, still.
She is tired. The new business venture Capsule Corp. is taking is requiring more work and endurance than she can offer, especially at her age. Sighing, she shuts her eyes and tries to forget waiting, waiting, for that damn door to open.
Bonggg. The clock strikes one. Bulma drearily opens her eyes a crack at the sound. At that moment, he walks in.
The outline of his muscular figure is just visible in the darkness of the room. Kicking off his boots, he strolls silently past the bed. He enters the bathroom, without so much of a glance at her.
The sound of running water is heard. She squints her eyes at the garish light from the bathroom, wishing for him to hurry.
The water stops, and soon the light is turned off. Bulma shifts a little as he moves next to her on the bed. She keeps still with bated breath and waits for his next move. He makes none.
She turns to him, who has his back to her. "Vejita?" she says softly.
"Hn?" he grunts.
Hesitatingly she lays a hand on his shoulder, causing him to turn and face her. With her other hand she strokes his forever scowling face.
"Have a good day?"
"What’s your definition of ‘good?’ Go to sleep."
Roughly he kisses her on the forehead. Even after all these years he still hasn’t learned to be gentle enough. Letting out a small sigh, she closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep.
Vejita awakens, early as usual. He silently sits halfway up, then stops as he sees her sleeping. Facing her, he leans on one elbow and runs a hand across her cheek. Although signs of old age already are appearing on her face, she still retains much of her youthful beauty.
She seems tired, stressed. He did not want to bother her with more conversation the night before, as she seemed exhausted. He should’ve told her not to bother waiting until the end of his training. Perhaps he is training too much. Is he neglecting her?
He quickly dismisses the thought. If she were dissatisfied she would surely have told him, as she isn’t exactly the kind of person to hide her feelings.
"Don’t eat so fast, you get fat that way," Bulma warns her daughter while preparing her own breakfast.
"Gotta get to school, mom," the energetic teen says before grabbing her bookbag and running out the door.
Bulma shakes her head as she watches her little girl dash out of the house. Even children are taking life too fast. Trunks is already in university, and it seems like he was just a little boy yesterday.
Landing on his feet, Vejita finishes his daily routine of vertical push-ups. Wiping his brow of sweat, he shoots a multitude of ki-blasts around the room, dodging each smoothly as he glides through the air. After six rounds, he lets the blasts hit him with full force. He barely budges.
Nothing is the same without Trunks, who at least had provided him with a punching bag. And although Bra had trained hard, she poses no challenge at all. Vejita’s thoughts shift to his wife, Bulma. She is aging, while he is still as youthful as when they first met. He feels a twang of guilt at the sight of her stressful life.
The hours pass as usual, and soon enough it is pretty late into the evening. Turning off the gravity, Vejita exits the room.
"I’m going out for a walk, would you like…" she stops asking as she sees her daughter make a dash for the TV.
Dinner is over, Vejita is still in the gravity room (presumably), and Bulma will have to take this walk alone. Nothing new.
"See ya, Mom," Bra calls as she walks out the door.
Outside it is fair spring weather, cool and breezy, but also warm and light. To Bulma it is extremely refreshing, after a long day’s work. She heads away from Capsule Corporation, toward a quiet road and neighborhood.
A gentle zephyr blows across the trees overhead, ruffling leaves and flowers. Bulma breathes deeply, relishing the essence of nature. A single flower falls from above, landing on her shoulder and dropping to the ground. She picks it up.
The flower is closed, as it is night. But how pretty it would be if open! Bulma tucks it into her sleeve, smiling.
Walking on, she thinks of Vejita. He is in fact much like this flower. Closed is his inner heart, but when open, its beauty is stunning. Of all their years together, he had only really made love to her once; when he had given her Bra. In the beginning it was a mess; Bulma had no idea what his motives were, and Trunks was almost like a mistake.
Vejita still rarely "opens," as it seems that all he wants to do is train. She sighs. When she gets home she’ll try to talk to him about it.
It is about time to turn back, but she does not feel like going home. Steadily she walks on. Now she is on a road winding through thin woodland.
She frowns as raindrops begin to fall. Before she can turn around, carlights brighten behind her, and a horn sounds. Moving to the side, she continues walking. The horn sounds again, closer than before. Looking back she sees two drunken bums laughing in the front seat, following her where she steps. The truck stops and one of them gets out, lurching forward toward her. The musk of beer fills her nostrils, and she backs off hastily. He speaks to her in a very unappealing way. She glares at him and turns sharply to walk on. However, he catches hold of her sleeve, and as she violently shakes him off, the flower falls to the ground.
Shouting, she slaps the unruly man and breaks into a run. Behind her she hears the truck coming back to life and starting on the road again. She curses herself for not heading home while she could. The truck comes closer, closing in on her from behind. Lights brighten, the engine roars deafeningly in her ears. Bulma screams, calls out one word.
"Turn off that awful noise," he orders as he sits down to eat.
"It’s called music, and no, it’s not awful," Bra complains, but turns off the radio anyway. She resumes watching television.
He is finished after three minutes. Standing up, he turns to his daughter.
"Where is your mother?"
"She went out for a walk."
"Did she say when she was going to come back?"
Vejita looks out the window. Outside it is already dark, and beginning to rain.
"I’m going out to find her," he says.
As soon as he gets out of the house he takes to the air, and puts on a small burst of ki. Bulma couldn’t have gone far. Patiently he scans the streets, searching for his lost mate. This neighborhood is quiet and dim, but up ahead…
A car horn is sounding, almost out of control. And then he hears it.
His heart jumps. It is her all right. Like a bolt of lightning he tears through the air, sees the looming vehicle ahead, and Bulma, right in front of it…
A screeching of tires, a loud thump of two utterly different materials colliding, a scream…
In a second Vejita is there, by her side, but a second too late. Lying on the ground, in a quickly forming pool of blood, is Bulma. Taking a sharp breath, he takes her in his arms. Rain patters onto a face twisted with pain.
He whirls around, glares at the vehicle now quickly retreating. But there is no time to deal punishment to them, he must get her to the hospital.
Clenching his teeth, he knows he must hurry. He zooms into town, hushing Bulma’s stuttering. The hospital is up ahead, a group of people milling around the entrance. He knocks them all aside like bowling pins, rushing through the door to the front desk.
"Give me a room, now," he commands the bewildered receptionist.
Two clumsy humans arrive with a stretcher. Too slow.
"What room is it?!" he says, frustrated.
Trembling, the man tells him the number. He quickly finds it as he cradles Bulma in his arms. Bulma feebly reaches for his face with a bloodied hand. He holds it, firmly clasping it within his own.
Vejita reaches the room, and now must leave the rest to the doctors. He looks into Bulma’s pleading, helpless eyes, trying to reassure her with his steady gaze, as her stretcher rolls into the room. The door closes.
Wires. Tubes. The smell of morphine and blood. Bulma opens her eyes. She tries to turn, but a ripple of pain streaks through her body. She lets out a gasp, for she realizes that her spine is literally snapped in pieces. This is a dreadful feeling she has never experienced before, a feeling she is slowly beginning to define.
Then her eyes meet his, across the room. Slowly he stands, comes to her side and pushes aside the nurse standing there. With a glare he silently bids the frightened woman out of the room.
"Bulma," he says softly, his eyes returning to her.
Bulma smiles weakly. "Vejita."
An awkward silence follows. "Vejita, you know I don’t have long."
He begins to speak the words that she knows he will say.
"No," she interrupts, taking his hand.
His eyes flicker.
"Don’t use the Dragonballs," she whispers, smiling cruelly. Before he can protest, she continues. "I’d love to stay with you, and Trunks and Bra, but it cannot be. All of my life has been so unnatural, I’ve escaped death so many times when I should have died. I…married you…a prince from outer space, Saiyajin no Ouji…I know it sounds crazy, but… This will be the one thing that comes naturally, just one time. And anyway, wouldn’t it unfair for just me to get wished back out of all the natural deaths in the world?"
Talking strains her throat, and she breaks into a coughing fit. Her face reddens, her chest heaves. Her eyes swell with tears, and yet she smiles. She is content, now, this will be the way it ends.
"I’m so sorry, Vejita. I’m sorry that now you will have to go through the pain that I went through so many times for you," she rasps, her voice hoarse. The expression on Vejita’s face is unreadable.
Trunks bursts through the door, followed close behind by his sister. They both rush to their mother’s bedside.
"Mom, what the hell happened?" Trunks demands, his face heavy with concern. Bra bites her lip in worry.
Bulma looks at her two children lovingly. "Be good, Trunks, Bra, take care of each other. Listen to what you father tells you, always."
"Okaasan, you can’t mean-" Bra’s eyes widen in shock. She falls into Trunks’s arms, weeping.
She closes her eyes, almost regrets putting her family through this pain. But she is determined to do this. She turns back to her husband, the prince of Saiyajins that she had tamed over the years with her love.
Vejita looks into her brave blue eyes, his own burning with a strange light. He takes her hand, pulls her up from the bed, ignoring her pain. His body glows as his ki level is raised subconsciously, warming her body and numbing her wounds. His face now betrays his heart, reveals what he has hidden away for so long. He takes the tubes, needles, all the trash off of her, unheeding her protests, and gathers her into his arms.
Bulma, don’t you know how much I love you! I always have, that’s why I never deserted you, why I always returned to your side! And that would be the way it should be, forever, if only you would let me bring you back…
She buries her face in his chest, now knowing the true measure of his love. Ah, the irony. She could feel herself slipping…
"I love you, Trunks, Bra," she whispers to her children, their children. They cry and affirm their love for her also, causing a thin smile to play on her lips.
"Vejita," she looks up at his dark, handsome face, exactly the same as it was on Day One…her eyes falter, her vision blurs. He holds her tighter, never wanting to let go, and looks into her face. Leaning down slowly, gently, he kisses her. He closes his eyes, trying to block out his own tears as well as the powerful reality of this moment. This is his last gift to her, his last chance to give her his love…
Slowly they part. She opens her eyes, looks at him for the last time, mouths the words I love you…she smiles, for he has finally opened to her, at this final hour, shown her the full face of his heart…
"Bulma. Bulma…" He holds her limp form to him, shutting his eyes tightly, now letting the tears run freely down his face. She was gone.
"Okaasan!" Bra cries, unbelieving. "Trunks, she’s…she’s…"
"I know," he whispers, letting out a throat-racking sob.
Vejita rocks her still warm body slowly. She had really left.
"I love you, Bulma," he whispers, though she cannot hear him. "Did you ever know?"
One week. One week since that fateful day that had turned his life around. He has not even entered the gravity room once. In fact, he loathed it, and himself for training. It was, he was, the cause of her death.
Kakarotto and his family have tried to "console" him with their frequent visits and sugarcoated presents, but it proves nothing but a nuisance to him. Nothing, nothing could change what had happened. Nothing could change the past, as he had learned long ago from his space roving days. Who knew that Vejita, once a feared and merciless Saiyajin no Ouji, could now be so easily crushed by the death of his mate? Back then it would be considered a weakness. But now, it was so much more…
Sorry I never told you
All I wanted to say
And now it’s too late to hold you
‘Cause you’ve flown away
So far away
He clenches his fist, immerses himself in thought. Why, why hadn’t he expressed his love to her, held her when she needed him, smiled for her when she needed comfort? It had been his pride, an impenetrable wall he had put up around him since his earliest days, that had destroyed almost everything he valued in his life. But now he has painfully learned that it is better to lose his pride with someone he loves rather than to lose that someone from his useless pride.
Never had I imagined
Living without your smile
Feeling and knowing you hear me
It keeps me alive
Vejita closes his eyes. The old memories begin resurfacing in his mind.
The first night they were alone. Some metaphysical force had drawn them together, strange as it seemed at the time. No conversation, only wild, passionate movement, their bodies entwined as one. It was the night they had made their first child. It was also the first time Vejita had felt the beginnings of love.
Considering this a distraction, he had left her to train day and night, preparing once again for the arrival of the Jinzoningen. He had not even bothered to witness the birth of his son. Undoubtedly Bulma must have lived through much pain and confusion; he dismissed that also.
If only he had stayed with her during those precious first years. But it was too late now.
And I know you’re shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we’ve lost along the way
And I know eventually we’ll be together
One sweet day
Darling I never showed you
Assumed you’d always be there
I took your presence for granted
But I always cared
And I miss the love we shared
He had always cared. For her and Trunks he had given up his life, alone, face-to-face with that abomination Majin Buu. He had prepared to go to hell, to lose his soul forever and have every memory erased, never to see Bulma or his son again. Who knew that this change of heart would be enough to take him to heaven, and eventually back to Earth, to her side once more.
Although the sun will never shine the same
I’ll always look to a brighter day
Lord I know when I lay me down to sleep
You will always listen as I pray
There were the brighter days. Upon his resurrection he was a different person, his expression a bit less condescending, his eyes less piercing when focused on her, his heart not locked quite so tightly. Then happened the second miracle, Bra, and this time he swore to remain, to be a father from the start. He is grateful that his innocent daughter has no clue of the terrible crimes he had committed before her birth.
And I know you’re shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we’ve lost along the way
And I know eventually we’ll be together
One sweet day…
Bulma surely is in heaven right now, thinking of him and their family with love. Waiting, waiting for the day when Vejita will come to join her, someday far in the future.
Sorry I never told you
All I wanted to say…
Author’s Note: I was inspired to write this bittersweet story by the fic Always is Forever, I believe it can be found at Dot’s Fiction Corner and Team Bonet’s website. Please, this story is mine entirely and I would appreciate it if before you want to host it somewhere or use it, you would kindly ask my permission. Also, credits to Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men for this song at the end!