Do not own DBZ nor do I claim to own any of the characters attributed to the series..
Warning...This contains adult themes and subject matter, so if you have no desire to read it or are too young to handle it, be advised...
Once again, thanks Gie
DARK CLOUDS GATHERING ON THE HORIZON
Vegeta flew like a rocket towards the Madarino Canyons, the setting sun arcing downwards in the west shot brilliant hues of pink and orange. A whole day. She had been in the hands of a madman one whole day and he wasn't any closer to finding her now then he had been earlier. He was on the verge of losing everything he had managed to gain on this miserable planet, the dark clouds of his past seemingly following him yet again in an attempt to take this small prize away from him. No, he amended. Vegeta would not let it happen this time. He'd already lost his father and his planet; his pride had been blown apart once, by Frieza, but Bulma had helped him find it. She had been on his side, something no one had ever been before; offering her support and her affections; accepting everything he had dished out to her, good and bad. Allowing him the space he needed to quietly rebuild all that he had lost, and reach the goals that he had held so tightly to. The desire to match Kakkarot had been all that he had left to hang onto when he had arrived on this miserable planet, a small speck of his old life that he could recognize and feel comfortable with. He knew no other way of existence; love and honor and trust were completely foreign to him, something he could not embrace. Yet the damn woman had been insistent, pummeling him with these new emotions; driving him nearly insane with her constant barrage of feelings, leading him along until he had finally snapped and done the unthinkable...mated with her. Vegeta had attempted to convince himself he had been in the throes of mindless passion with her, that he had not been in his rational Saiya-jin mind, but deep down he had known. It had been her driving him forward the entire time, giving him something to push forward for... though he was loathe to admit that; now the fates that had cursed him throughout his entire life were threatening to yank her away. Bulma was the one good, shining thing in a life full of pain, suffering and gut-wrenching humiliation, helping him gather the shattered remnants of his old life and somehow getting them put back together again: piece by little piece. Vegeta knew it had been her that had stayed his hand from killing and destruction. Some small part of the violent, viscious-natured young man he'd been, reaching out for a lifeline; something he could cling on to, to pull himself out of the muck and mire his life with Frieza had become. He came to a sudden halt in mid air, looking around him. Something was here, waiting for him. That he couldn't sense any power levels meant the artificial humans. Where were they? He glanced around, there was no where for them to hide, so where the hell were they secreting themselves. Vegeta didn't have time for this. Behind him he could sense a miniscule power level, gaining on his progress, Kakkarot. Vegeta sneered in disgust. The man was going to be absolutely no help, and he didn't have time to baby sit, dammit. He shot upwards hoping to gain altitude on them, wherever they were.
Juuanagou watched from the clouds as Vegeta shot upwards, needle clenched in his cold, artificial hand. He would have loved to beat the shit out of Vegeta; beat him until he couldn't even remember who he was, but Gero had wanted it clean and quick. Gero had limited time before the twosome coming for Vegeta arrived with plans to take him. Gero wanted his chance to study Vegeta, not to mention that the doctor had a sadistic streak in him a mile long. With what he was doing to Trunks tonight, doubtlessly he wanted Vegeta to witness it. Juuanagou smiled at the thought of it, and smiled even more broadly as Vegeta halted his sharp incline upwards. Logical move Vegeta; too bad I've already thought of it... He began his descent quickly, upon the Saiya-jin before he even knew to expect it.
Vegeta swung away, but not before a needle had buried itself in his arm. What in the hell? He felt himself being slammed downwards, hurtled towards Chikyuu at an amazing velocity, stopped in his sharp descent by Kakkarot who managed to stop the progress with his arms; straining against the effort it took him. Vegeta saw Juuhachigou coming towards them at breakneck speed, her own needle out and poised.
"Kakkarot..." Vegeta managed to grate out even as his own body began to shut down. "Look out!" His body began a freefall out of the sky, leaving Goku to whirl towards Juuhachigou; the remainder of his strength depleted in helping Vegeta. Goku could see Juuhachigou coming straight for him, cursing. There was no way out of this. He tried to follow Vegeta downwards, noticing Juuanagou had caught the falling man and was now hovering in mid-air waiting, his expression bored. Goku glanced up in time to see Juuhachigou's booted foot kicking out straight for his face, catching him squarely in the jaw. He could hear his jaw break as his head snapped backwards from the force of her kick, giving her the moment she needed to get in and jab him with her own needle; her arms coming around him as if in a lover's embrace, squeezing the air out of his lungs until he could barely breathe, his struggles against her futile as she only tightened her grip, crushing ribs. He groaned in agony as they snapped, feeling his muscle control leave as his struggles became weaker and weaker; finally stopping altogether, leaving him hanging, helpless, in her arms. He'd searched himself for every bit of strength he could find and had found his limit. Goku felt Juuhachigou shift his broken body against her as she and her brother took flight once again.
"That was all too easy." Juuhachigou glanced at her twin. "I thought he was supposed to be the universe's strongest fighter." She snorted.
"Neither Vegeta or Goku were even a challenge to us, Sis. Think what else we can do with this strength...there is absolutely no one to stop us."
"There is Gero and his remote. Somehow we need to get that away from him. I don't like having to subjegate myself to the bastard."
"Now, now, Sis; is that anyway to talk about our esteemed creator? We owe Dr. Gero everything after all." Juuanagou shot an evil grin at her.
"I hope you don't really believe that..." Juuhachigou glanced over at him in disbelief. Had Gero managed to further brainwash her brother?
"Don't be absurd, Juuhachigou...I am well aware of Gero's contributions to what we are now, but I certainly don't plan on subjegating myself to him either..." He trailed off, a troubled expression on his face.
"What is it? What's wrong?" Juuhachigou didn't like to see that look on her brother's face. It inevitably meant trouble for them and she wanted no more trouble. She wanted only to have fun and live her life...why couldn't they just do that. She was tired of doing Gero's bidding. He never let them kill anything.
"That woman that Gero has captured--Vegeta's mate--asked me what I could remember before Gero."
"What did you say?" She looked at him curiously.
"I told her to shut the hell up. I have no desire to remember any time before this."
"Can you remember anything?" Juuhachigou certainly couldn't. All she could remember was that her life had always encompassed Gero's, and that Gero was her creator. Well, not for long. She was growing tired of answering to him and soon he would understand what dangerous creations he had really made.
"I don't think so, and like I said I have no desire to remember, so lets drop it now. Come on!" Juuanagou increased his pace, rocketing ahead of her.
She hung back for a moment, watching him. He recalled something; she was positive, so positive that she would be willing to wager her life on it. Why are you running from it, brother? She'd find out...one way or the other.
Trunks watched in abject horror as Gero increased the intensity of his machine. Kami, he could not keep this up. He clenched his teeth together, his sweat-streaked face contorting with the effort it took to fortify himself for the next round of mental onslaught that would be coming his way. I will not forget who I am...I will not forget who I am... The words were a litany; becoming like a mantra in his mind and they were, right now, the only thing keeping him together. His mother's voice joined his own, like a broken litany in his mind, repeating the same string of words over and over again: Remember who you are...
"Oh, Kami,Mom, I'm trying, but it is so hard..." The thought rattled around loosely in his brain, attempting to take him over with fear. "No, it's not hard...I am the son of Vegeta. He would not submit, neither will I. I will not allow myself to be a tool for Gero."
"You are a strong one, Trunks, but we have only just begun in our little game. This is just the beginning, I have so much more for you to experience. I wonder if you will be able to survive another two hours of this...rest assured we can go on for as long as you need." Gero smiled coldly at the look of horror that had settled on Trunks face at his words. First he would leave him with little hope; making him believe that all he knew and loved had been lost to him, then he would move in for the kill, leaving his victim broken and overwhelmed with no other choice but to yield. Trunks' mind and body would soon be his; it would only be a matter of time.
Trunks braced himself as the doctor suggested new images to his brain. He was so alone, there was nothing. He was floating on a black cloud of empty coldness. No! His mind screamed...No! This isn't real...this isn't real. He was lost in the cold blackness and it was pressing down on him with the force of a thousand crushing weights...Oh Kami...he was going to suffocate...He gasped for breath, trying to still his pounding heart, the sounds of mocking laughter surrounding him...No! He wasn't alone...they were here. How had they gotten in his mind? He saw them, eyes glowing a maniacal red as they approached...what was that they held between them? Mother? He gasped at the limp, broken form that the twosome dangled between them, their mocking laughter never ending. No, Mother! His mind screamed in denial.
"She's dead, Trunks. She was all alone and we killed her. Where were you, Trunks, huh? She screamed for you at the end, but you never came...you never came...you never came...
Endless, the words were endless; barraging him from every direction, echoing throughout the black chambers of his mind..."just be quiet, please be quiet. No more! I can't take anymore! Mother I tried to get back to you! Mother!!" His mind screamed for an end to their voices. He was being sucked into a void of neverending blackness. There was nothing around him, no wait their was laughter. Loud, raucous laughter; surrounding him, mocking him; cutting straight through him. "Father...no...please help me, Father!!"
"Why would I help you? You're a useless brat! His father's sneering voice rang in head, cutting him with its visciosness. "You and your mother...useless. Did you really believe I would come for you?" The laughter, so strong and mocking, piercing his heart with its cruelty.
"Father...no, please help me..." Trunks' voice broke, anguished sobs rising in his throat to choke him. "Father, please...I've been fighting them all my life...I need your help!" The sob broke through, a chilling, guttaral howl of raw feeling...bricked up and left to fester since that awful day in the rain; twenty years in the future when the last of his kind...the truest friend he had ever had, had lost his battle with the artificial humans. "Father, I'm not strong enough..."
Gero watched the agonized face of the boy; no, perhaps boy was the wrong word...he had to be at least eighteen; and fighting the pull of the machine with all he had. A testament to his parents. Gero smiled, shutting it off. Perhaps Juuhachigou would have a bit of fun toying with the boy; she certainly loved a good torture. He would send her in to Trunks shortly. Whatever she chose to do to him would weaken his spirit considerably. Then he would present Vegeta the left-over remains of what had once been his heir.
Trunks looked around blearily, attempting to get his mind to focus again...It wasn't real...It wasn't real. Mother said Dad would come...Maybe if he kept telling himself that he'd believe it. Kami, he wasn't sure how much more he could take. He started, violently, as Gero wiped his sweat-beaded face, his wary blue eyes never leaving the crazed man's frightening visage.
"You truly despise my artificial creations." Gero watched the boy's glittering blue eyes narrow slightly. He stood and looked down him. Vegeta would soon be in his clutches, but he would be much more difficult to break apart then this boy. He would fight with every thing he had, and then some. Trunks might be his best bet. He crossed the room to the door and slid them open, looking to see if the twins had returned. To his immense happiness, they were and they had prizes for him. Vegeta and Goku. He could scarcely believe it. His face lit with a glow of near inhuman delight; a slow demonic smile spreading across his face. He had not been expecting Goku.
"Doctor Gero, we have just returned." Juuanagou motioned towards Vegeta and Goku who lay side by side on the floor, both sets of black eyes shining bright with hatred as they stared upwards, observing Gero's movements. "We've brought you what you asked for."
"And thensome, I would say. " Gero crossed the room and looked down at Goku, grinning like a small child, hardly able to believe his eyes. What good fortune had brought this unexpected treat to his door? "Very good. " He nudged the fallen Saiya-jin with a foot, illiciting a groan from him. Gero smiled. "I have a little something for you, Juuhachigou, a special present all for you in the other room. Trunks. I'd like for you to enjoy him..." He looked up into her dispassionate face. "Immensely."
Juuhachigou felt something turn within her, was Gero offering her Trunks for whatever she wanted? "What do you mean, Doctor Gero? May I do whatever I want to him?" This was unlike Gero, to be so openly generous. Was there a catch?
"Juuhachigou, I want you to cause him pain, immense pain...but leave him alive. Break him!" Gero watched the raging glint in Vegeta's face. Yes, Vegeta...your son is going to suffer...
"I have no desire to spend anytime with Trunks." She glared at the Doctor, certain it was some type of trick; tired of his constant demands, dressed as gifts. What fun was it if she could not kill him, anyway. Gero took a threatening step towards her, reading her mutinous expression; Juuanagou stepped in between them--though he knew his sister could kill Gero anytime. It would not even be a challenge. Not yet--she had to keep her cool just a little longer. There were things he could learn from Gero; things he needed to learn from him before they did any killing. Besides he had no idea where Gero kept the remote for their activation. Until they found it they couldn't risk angering him. Juuanagou did not want a repeat of the last time when Gero had simply deactivated them for disobeying his orders. They had never seen it coming.
Juuhachigou looked towards her brother who stood nonplussed, watching her carefully; studying her, his arms crossed in front of him. Juuanagou nodded almost impercetibly towards Gero, urging her to do the Doctor's bidding. Just a little longer, Sister, then we will have our revenge. Juuhachigou seemed to understand his unspoken words, blinking once at her brother...who knew, maybe this would be fun...she'd certainly never had one strapped down and willing before. She took a hesitant step towards the room, then another more confident. What was she complaining about, she loved torturing the weak and the needy. Juuhachigou slid the door open and looked in at the captive Saiya-jin. An aura of defiance surrounding him like a shield. Yes, perhaps this would be rather fun after all. For Trunks it would be torture and there was nothing she loved more then torturing.
Gero smiled fiendishly as the door slid shut behind her, turning towards Juuanagou. "Go and retrieve Ms. Briefs from her cell. Bring her to me in here. I have so much I want them all to see." He leaned down, observing Goku. What an unexpected development. He looked into the black eyes of the watchful Saiya-jin, observing the slight look of innocence that clung within him no matter what situation he was in. Goku would try and rehabilitate him if he could; save him from himself. Gero had no desire to be saved. Goku had shown him leniency before and he would make sure the idiot knew what a mistake that had been. Yes, this had proven to be a very fine day. Gero had not expected Goku this early in the game; but he would certainly take him. A makeover and he would be the perfect fighting machine. He glanced over at Vegeta who lay on his back, unable to move. Another fine specimen. Such a shame he had already been given away. Vegeta was a natural born killer; so much more potential then Goku really. Gero noted with some pleasure that Vegeta was alert and watching him, black eyes narrowed dangerously; yes the eyes of a predator, of a killer.
"I see you're fully alert...welcome, Prince Vegeta to my humble abode. I hope you find your brief stay here, pleasant. " He laughed, knowing that the temperamental Saiya-jin must be going mad, unable to move or even speak a word to his tormentor. "I suppose you are wondering about your little woman. You will soon be reunited with her, though I must tell you...she no longer belongs to you. To the victor go the spoils, isn't that how the saying goes?" Gero smiled coldly at the look of absolute rage spreading over Vegeta's face. Yes, he was dangerous indeed; already he was losing himself to his Saiya-jin instincts. Gero's taunt about the girl had sent him into a rage. He had little doubt that if the drug had not been administered, Vegeta would have struck him dead within moments. As it was, Gero could see the struggle the Saiya-jin waged against the affects of the drug--stuggling to move, to speak. Every tight muscle strained to its fullest capacity. It might be fun to taunt him...see what he was capable of doing...he always had Juuanangou and Juuhachigou to fall back on. Vegeta could not, after all, beat them.
Bulma's head snapped up at the sound of the descending elevator. She jumped up from the position she had been locked in since they had taken Trunks. Judging by her watch, she'd say two hours had gone by since they had taken him. How foolish she'd been, thinking Gero was a more rational choice then death. She'd sorely underestimated his dementia...and now her son and more then likely Vegeta were in the clutches of a madman. Was this Trunks? Kami, she hoped he was alright. She had sat huddled in the furthest corner of her cell, praying that he would hang on, that he would hold out and be strong. How could she have failed him this way as a mother? Somehow she would make this up to him and to Vegeta; if it meant sacrificing herself to do it she would get them out of this. She hastily wiped her eyes, sweeping away the damning evidence of her tears; making sure the drugs she had lifted from Gero's desk were still safely secreted in her pockets. Juuanagou exited the elevator, smiling.
"Well. well...Bulma...Doctor Gero has quite a surprise for you. I think find it most appealing." He smiled widely as he swung open her cell door, grasping her arm in his impenetrable grip. Half-dragging her, he made his way back to the elevator, sending them to the upper level laboratory. Kami, was it her turn to go through what Trunks was going through? Bulma attempted to remind herself of all she had said to Trunks, to still her pounding heart as the elevator jerked to a halt, the doors slowly rolling open to reveal Gero standing next to two very irate, subdued Saiya-jin, both strapped into chairs. Kami, he had managed to get a hold of Goku and Vegeta. They must be under the affects of the same drug that Gero had given Trunks. She swallowed convulsively as Vegeta's glittering black eyes swept over her, rage-filled. He had every right to be furious with her. All of this was her fault and now Gero had the one thing he had wanted from the beginning--and he apparently had it with little fight. Goku's eyes met hers; shining with something infinitely more gentle--concern and relief--though as she looked, the deep seeds of anger lurked within the blackness of his eyes as well.
"Bulma, my dear...look what my wonderful twins have brought you." Gero motioned to the two Saiya-jin, whom he had managed to wrestle into chairs while waiting for Juuanagou to return. Such fighters the two of them were, even with the drug pumping through their veins, they had offered up resistance. He walked over to her, caressing her cheek lightly; his hands icy on her skin. Bulma jerked her face away from him, wincing as he grabbed her chin. "You're being rude now, Bulma, and in front of our guests. I am so disappointed in you..." His hand jerked her forward, sending her flying into the room. She slammed into the wall, making no movement save the slow slide down to the floor.
Vegeta strained against the restraints the bastard had put on him. How dare he think to capture the Prince of the Saiya-jin this way...as if he were an animal; disabling him like a coward. Seeing Bulma thrown across the room did nothing to dampen his ire. He concentrated on freeing himself from the chair, straining with every bit of energy he could muster, attempting to move just one muscle against whatever they had drugged him with. He felt the sweat beading on his forehead from his effort which proved in vain. Dammit, he'd accomplished nothing and Bulma was left to her own devices against the crazed bastard.
Gero laughed lightly at the look of anger that had engulfed Goku's placid face as he watched his best friend thrown across the room. "Ahh...Goku...don't worry. Bulma and Vegeta are not going to be having all the fun. I promise I have plenty reserved for you too, since I have awaited so long for this day to arrive...to finally be able to take my revenge is beyond anything I could have ever imagined. When it is over, you will wish you had left me for dead."
Gero crossed the room, mindful that he had the close attention of both the Saiya-jin...time to torment Vegeta some more. Smiling savagely, he hauled Bulma up by her hair, tossing her back towards Vegeta, slamming her into his lap. Vegeta grunted with the impact, the desire to kill Gero building within him to unbelievable levels. Damn the fucking bastard. He glanced down at his mate who was slowly pulling herself up and off of him, their eyes meeting. He kept his eyes carefully masked, allowing no one to see the concern that was threatening to spill forth in a weak display; a knowledge that Gero did not need to have, choosing to shoot her a feeling through the bond instead. Her blue eyes, so tremulous with fear, widened as she felt the small trickle of feeling from him.
Bulma looked at him for a moment, feeling the conern and anger radiating from him, too shaken by her ordeal to think to answer him back; managing a weak smile in his general direction, her eyes sliding away from his in shame. This was all her fault. She should have chosen death at that damn cave over this. Why had she thought for even one moment that Gero would be handled easily. He was much more formidable then she could have ever imagined, and his crazed idea that they needed to create a life together; how was she supposed to deal with that? Bulma shuddered, cognizant that Vegeta could feel her--his concern coming through even stronger. Bulma was loathe to move off of him...the brief contact with his solidity made her feel safe, even though he was immobilized by the drug of Gero's. If only she could hide behind him while he beat the hell out of all of these monstrous beings. She watched as Gero started back towards her, mindful of the tensing muscles underneath her. She scrambled off of Vegeta, backing away from Gero...her back coming up hard against the cold metal of a wall.
"Where is Trunks?" She half sobbed the question, trembling with the desire to get away from Gero.
"Did you enjoy your little visit with Vegeta? I would think that a thank you is in order, Bulma; for allowing you a few moments alone with your former paramour. Remember our discussion? Should we fill Vegeta and Goku in on our future plans?"
"What future plans, you bastard? I will never willingly give anything to you! I would rather die!" Gero had her cornered, forcing her to stand and await whatever he was planning on administering. Bulma felt the tears sliding down her face. There had to be a way, something to do to get away from him. Behind him she saw the mocking visage of Juuanagou, standing silently; arms crossed.
Vegeta strained against the metal of the band that held his arms down. Dammit, whatever drug the coward had given him was incredible. Not even Frieza had used anything like this to subdue him. One glance at his mate's terrified face had sent him into a frenzy of attempts to break free. Future plans...? What in the hell was Gero talking about? Beside him, he saw Goku waging the same war. Neither able to break through the drug's barrier; and Trunks...where in the hell was his son and what in the hell was that fucking bitch doing to him?
Gero latched onto Bulma's arm, gently this time, drawing her back to stand in front of Goku and Vegeta; both men staring up at her, helpless to aid her.
Goku watched Bulma, her face clouded with a terrible fear, struggling to gather her composure. Kami! What had Gero done to her to rattle her so? The overwhelmingly black aura swelling from Vegeta mirrored his own, that he could do nothing to help his friend as she was left to deal with Gero on her own, eating away at him.
"Come my dear...shall we tell them our good news? " Gero turned his black gaze towards Vegeta, whose own black eyes had narrowed dangerously...his rage directed in full at Gero.
"Bulma has been kind enough to agree that she and I need to have a child together. " He watched Vegeta carefully, smiling sadistically; looking for any sign that this woman was his weakness. "Two technological geniuses such as ourselves should never pass up the chance to create something even greater then perhaps either of us." His cold, leering mouth pressed against Bulma's in a mock display of affection, done deliberately to stoke the flames of Vegeta's wrath.
Vegeta had frozen at Gero's words, looking from Gero's almost joyful expression, to Bulma, whose face held a mixture of horror and disgust. Have a child together? Gero was touching his mate...his disgusting mouth touching hers. He watched her struggle to break free, his cold mask of hatred begining to crumble as the reality of what Gero had just said sank into his mind. This was his mate! Vegeta screamed in outrage, his arms breaking free of the restraints as he flew upwards out of the chair; hair flaring yellow.
"Like hell she will be having any children with you!" Vegeta's fist connected with Gero's face, sending him careening back into Juuanagou, unconscious. His hands grabbed her shoulders, shoving her back towards Goku. Bulma watched in awe as Vegeta stood ready to fight, his energy emanating from him like fire. He had overpowered the drug...how? She glanced at Goku, noticing for the first time the painful set of his jaw.
"Kami, Goku...your jaw. I'm sorry, here, I have a senzu..." She whispered the words to him, smiling at him as she dug in her pocket, pulled one out and popped it into his mouth. He managed to swallow it, sighing in relief, as the pain in his jaw and ribs subsided. Thank Kami for senzu.
"Thank you, Bulma! Can you get me out of here? I need to help Vegeta." Goku watched as Juuanagou disentangled himself from the inert form of Gero and started towards Vegeta, his eyes lit with the desire to fight and kill.
Vegeta stood ready, determined to defend his woman from these sick bastards. How dare Gero even think to touch her. She was his, and he would be damned if he would let anyone take her away from him. He gave little thought to the idea that a few years ago, defending a woman would have been a foreign concept to him...there had never been any woman worthy of his defense until Bulma; though he had not realized that right away. Seeing her frightened face with Gero's mouth all over it, the fright in her eyes, had brought home the message clearly. The idea that Bulma would have a child with any one besides him was incomprehensible--Vegeta had never realized just how for granted he had taken her. He lowered himself into his battle position, flaring his ki and waiting for the artificial bastard to make his first move. Juuanagou flew at him, fist cocked back, delivering a brutal blow to Vegeta's face, snapping his head back. Vegeta didn't move, standing still, head angled. He could sense Bulma's fear--fear for him; he batted it back towards her; angry that she would doubt his ability. He raised his head, and wiped the blood trickling from his mouth with a gloved hand.
"Is that the best you can do? I thought you would be a true challenge, not a weakling baby incapable of defending himself. " He smirked, flying forward to engage Juuanagou in a volley of fists; brutal, agonizing hits meant to kill.
Bulma struggled with the latch on Goku's bonds, trying hard to figure a way to get them off. She could hear the furious battle going on behind her, trying hard not to pay attention. She could not watch Vegeta fight. Seeing him in such danger was more then her stomach could tolerate and he had just let her know in no uncertain terms what he thought about any show of concern that she might send his way, sending it back to her surrounded with his fury.
"Hurry, Bulma!" Goku looked at her desperately, seeing Gero rise up from the unconscious stupor that Vegeta had sent him into, moving rapidly to a desk he had located in the back of the room. "Hurry, Gero is up!"
Bulma's head jerked upward towards Gero, watching him in silent terror as he pulled out a tranquilizer gun. She watched as he pointed it towards Vegeta, aiming carefully at the distracted Saiya-jin, who had his hands full with Juuanagou, throwing kicks and meeting punch after violent punch.
"Vegeta!" She screamed. "Look out!"
Vegeta's head snapped up, his eyes meeting Gero's as Gero fired, his aim true; hitting the Prince squarely in the chest. Vegeta had just enough time to acknowledge that he had been hit with something before Juuanagou flew up, kneeing him in the stomach, doubling him over. A quick chop to the back of the neck and he was out, unconcious; his body hitting the floor with a thud. Bulma ran to him, dropping down beside him and rolling him over, desperately feeling him for a pulse. What had Gero shot him with?
"Don't worry, Bulma, it is merely a stronger tranquilizer. I had anticipated that Vegeta and Goku would be too strong for the other mixture, so I made something a bit stronger, more attuned to their Saiya-jin blood. Vegeta won't be coming to your rescue anytime soon, I'm afraid."
Trunks had found a way to fight back, the sheer enormity of what Juuhachigou was doing to him was urging him to an energy level he had never reached before. He struggled against his restraints, trying to break free of the agony of her touch. Kami, why couldn't he break free?
Juuhachigou smiled at the struggle he was so valiantly putting up. He hated her so...his disgust for her blazed from his eyes like fire. She swept her hand along his cheekbone, allowing her fingers to slide through his lavender hair. Such a beautiful man, like his father, yet different--less dangerous and wild though nearly a match for Vegeta's intensity. Juuhachigou yanked his head back, exposing his tanned throat to her. Juuhachigou could not help but feel attracted to him, he was one hundred percent male and gorgeously so...though he would never recipricate any attraction she would ever have towards him. She would just have to help herself...he would love that.
Her mouth descended on his, biting the full bottom lip hard, drawing blood. She sucked it away gently, mindful of his struggles to pull away. She allowed him no exit.
"Come now, Trunks...this would be so much fun...if you would only allow yourself to feel it." Her hand swept suggestively down his body, admiring the toned muscles of his body.
Trunks struggled against her, fighting the drug with all his will. He would not allow her to destroy him, not this way. He felt the veins popping on his forehead, rivulets of sweat running down his face as he fought it, attempting to break free and away from her vile touch.
Juuhachigou's hand squeezed his leg tightly, nearly breaking it with her strength. Trunks pushed harder, needing to break the final barrier that held him back. The drug dampening his natural ability to change at will...his aura exploding as he finally attained it, his rage ovrpowering the chemicals flowing through his brain. She stepped back as he ripped free of his restraints, his once lavender hair, glowing yellow with the energy of his Saiya-jin heritage.
"Keep your hands off of me bitch!" He flew at her, his green eyes blazing with fury; knocking her across the room...sending glass, books and supplies scattering across the floor. Juuhachigou pulled herelf up and smirked coldly.
"Is that the best a Super Saiya-jin can do? I would have expected a lot more. Even your father put up a better fight then that." She launched herself towards him, aiming out with a kick he was barely able to dodge, sweeping back around to deliver a harsh blow across his shoulders.
"I like a man that puts up a fight..." Juuhachigou smiled in amusement as he came at her again, delivering punch after punch, blows she easily blocked. "You know, Trunks, the only thing you're managing to do is tire yourself out and delay the inevitable..."
Trunks growled in frustration, kicking the chair that had held him restrained for so long aside as he prepared to launch another attack. "Damn you! I will die before I submit anything to you..." His body was in motion, rushing at her with all the speed he possessed, determined that this time he would find a way to disable her. Her knee caught him in the groin, doubling him over in agony. He fell to his knees, unable to move. Juuhachigou smiled as she slowly bent towards him...
"You're mine now, Trunks..." He felt the sharp end of a needle pierce into his skin. "Something a little stronger, that the Doctor came up with. He has always had such amazing foresight. It was on the desk you knocked me into...you won't be troubling me again." Juuhachigou pushed him down, smiling at his near panic stricken face. Don't worry Trunks, it won't hurt...that much."
Chi-Chi stood nervously outside, trying to get any sense as to where Goku might be. Bulma's father had told her gently about Vegeta's urgent visit and the heartbreaking news about Bulma and Trunks, telling her ever so carefully that Goku had felt compelled to go with Vegeta.
How could she yell and scream into the face of the man whose daughter and grandson were being held captive by a mad-man. The same mad-man that wanted her husband. Goku wasn't even at full strength. She figured she could beat him now...so why had he felt the need to go. She knew he loved Bulma, so did she. They had all been friends much longer then she could recall; the idea that Bulma or Trunks--the deliverer of the antidote--might be in mortal danger left her feeling sick, but her husband. Kami, what kind of choice was she supposed to make here?
Looking into the eyes of Doctor Briefs, her heart ready to burst, she had said nothing...simply nodded and slipped away to the privacy of their room. Now she stood praying that he was out there somwhere, and still alive.
"Chi-Chi, are you alright?" Krillin's voice, filled with hesitancy intruded upon her repose; the urge to snap at him, and send him fleeing nearly overwhelmed her, but she refrained. This was Goku's best friend, a man presumed dead for several months now. Goku would not want him treated rudely, so she would make an attempt to be nice.
"I'm fine, Krillin. Just waiting for Goku to get back." Chi-Chi turned and looked into his eyes, struck for a moment by the almost haunted appearance of them. Kami, she had not noticed that earlier. What had happened to him to put that look on his face?
"He'll be back, Chi-Chi. You just have to have faith." His hand touched hers lightly, surprising her. In all the years she had known Krillin, he had been terrified to speak to her, much less touch her...what in the hell had changed him?
"I know Krillin. I just can't help but worry." She shrugged off the oddness of it and smiled at him.
"If he's not back by sunrise, Yamcha, Tien, and myself will go looking for him. I don't care much what happens to Vegeta, but Goku is our friend...we wouldn't want anything to happen to him."
Chi-Chi stared at him, confused. What a strange way to say that, and what about Bulma?
"What about Bulma? Are you going to let her suffer too?"
"Bulma lost my respect when she took up with Vegeta. Vegeta is nothing but trouble, and she knows that. She deserves whatever happens to her..."
Chi-Chi stood, shocked. "I can't believe you would say that, Krillin. I might not like Vegeta either, but Bulma has done nothing but help us...and she saved Goku's life, her and her son...with Vegeta I might add. How dare you say she deserves whatever she gets?"
"I'm sorry, Chi-Chi, I'm sorry..." His hands came up in mock defense. "I guess I'm still a little upset about her ending things with Yamcha to take up with a killer...I didn't mean what I said."
Chi-Chi relaxed a bit, but turned to go, suddenly wary about being alone with him. Somthing was strange and different. Nothing she could put her hands on, but it was there. "I'm glad to hear that, Goku would be so disapointed in you." She frowned at him. "I need to go in and see to Gohan...goodnight, Krillin." Chi-Chi half ran away from him, back into the safe confines of the shelter.
Krillin turned and sat back down, staring at the starlit sky. So much to consider, so very much to consider...
Bulma sat in her cell, studying the papers she had lifted from Gero's desk earlier. In the cell across from her, Vegeta still laid unconscious. Next to her, Goku sat in his own cell, watching her intently.
"Are you sure that's what it says Bulma? That Gero created the heart-virus?"
"Not only that, but he somehow matched it to your blood, Goku, making sure that it was very compatible with your type. You never stood a chance--your blood welcomed it as a friend, actually promoting its growth, when in fact it should have been fighting it. The virus is destructive to everyone, but luckily the antitdote works on humans; on you it never really worked, because he mutated it ever so slightly for your blood. It would affect everyone...but be more harmful to you...changing ever so slightly when it actually entered your system. That had to be his goal. Where would he get a blood sample from, though?" Bulma looked at him, disturbed. Goku's own eyes mirrored her own question. How? "Anyway, I would need to completely rework the antidote to fit the virus you ended up with."
"Damn him! Would it affect Vegeta that way?"
"Possibly, though there are bound to be differences in your blood. " Bulma leaned her head tiredly against the cold bars of the cell. "Kami, Goku, Gero is a lunatic. He released this into the public to deliberately sicken people, and look what it's done you." Her eyes closed as Goku's head leaned against hers; seperated by only the bars, his eyes drilling a hole straight through her.
"If you rework the antidote and get it to match my specific virus or blood type, do I have a chance of regaining my strength?" Goku's coal eyes, filled with despair for so long widened with hope.
"It's distinctly possible, though I can't promise you anything without further analysis, which I am never going to be able to do unless I get out of here." Bulma threw the papers into the corner, the frustration that had been seeping into her searching for an outlet. Trunks, why had Gero kept Trunks for so long? She felt the resurgence of the fear that had plagued her since she had been brought to this place--this time for son, or future son as the case may be, but her son none the less. She thanked Kami that the miniature version was safe and sound with her parents.
"Don't give up hope Bulma, we are all going to get out of this."
"I haven't even heard a word about Trunks since they took him." Bulma sobbed quietly, needing to know if her son was still alive. She couldn't thrust the fear away any longer, her blue eyes, beseeching Goku to understand. "I just want to know that he is okay...what if Gero managed to..." Bulma couldn't finish. Vaguely, she felt Goku's fingertip trace away the tears that were falling down her face. Her eyes opened and she regarded him for a moment, looking at the quiet gentleness that shone from his eyes. How she wished the bars of the cell didn't seperate them or Vegeta for that matter. What she wouldn't give to be in Vegeta's embrace right now? Right, Bulma...like he would even bother...
"Trunks is strong Bulma, as strong as Vegeta.... and as strong-willed as you. He's the best of both of you. He'll fight."
"I know..." She whispered. "I know, but Gero is so ruthless. We underestimated him, do you know that? We completely underestimated him." Her blues stared intently into his black ones, the terrible knowledge of exactly what they were up against them, clouding the usually sun-lit eyes with darkness. The realization that they had been plotting against something they had not fully comprehended...everything they had thought of would have failed.
"Bulma, I know we did, but we will find a way out of this. Vegeta already broke through the first drug. If he's mad enough Bulma, he'll get through whatever else Gero has planned. He came this far to get you, he's not going to give up until he's accomplished that. Vegeta never gave up against Frieza until the end..."
"Nice speech, Kakkarot. Have I been elevated to sainthood yet?" Goku and Bulma both jumped up at the sound of the deep voice that emanated from across the passageway. Bulma ran to the barred door, pressing her face against the cool metal.
"Vegeta, are you alright?" Her voice sounded shaky even to her own ears, but, Kami, just to hear his voice, it made her feel so much better...like maybe they all did have a chance to get out, if they worked together.
"Do I look alright, woman?" Vegeta glared at her, his eyes sweeping over her figure to assure himself she was alright, knowing his chafing tone would rile her.
"I don't know, Vegeta. I wouldn't have asked you if I knew." Her voice rose a level, her reaction predictable to Vegeta, though the sound caused both of the Saiya-jin to wince.
Vegeta opened his mouth to respond, pleased that her spirit seemed to be intact and whole. His woman hadn't given up fighting yet, but the sound of the elevator descending drew all of their attention to its doors. Each one waiting to see who would emerge.
The doors slid open, revealing two figures--Juuhachigou and Juuanagou--holding a near comatose Trunks in between them. They started forward, dragging him down the path to the cell.
Bulma looked on in horror as they drug her future son towards her. Kami, what had they done to him? His shirt was gone, exposing the lean muscles of his frame to everyone's eyes. Bruises and welts marked almost every square inch of his chest. He hung limply between the two, every jolt illiciting a moan from his bruised lips.
"What did you do to him?" Bulma's face was a mask of fury as she watched their progress. Juuhachigou and Juuanagou stopped before her cell, their smiles mocking and cold as they looked at her. Trunks head fell back, his blue eyes meeting his mother's. Dazed, shocked--wounded, but still shining with the light that spoke of who he was. Thank Kami...
"Mom...I remembered..." His voice was a harsh whisper in the near deathly silence of the cells. Bulma could see Vegeta across from her, for once the mask of arrogant contempt had slipped, showing something she had never thought to see...parental fury at what had been done to his son. Vegeta stood in shocked silence...watching his son's struggle, listening to the raggedness of the boy's breathing, with the dawning realization that he cared and deeply. His hands closed around the bars. He could not let them see, he could not let Gero see or his son would be used to torment him...just like Bulma would. No.
"Trunks..." Vegeta's deep voice cut through the silence.
Trunks jerked slightly at the sound of his name on his father's lips; a mixture of sadness and relief on his face. "Father." He whispered. Was he hearing his father's voice? Please don't walk away from me again. I need you, Father. The thought speared through his brain, filling him with despair that his father would never accept him now. He had failed to defend himself and worse he had failed to defend his mother.
Bulma saw the tears coming, welling in his blue eyes--Kami, he was in shock. What had they done to him?
"Please? Can you put him with me?" Trunks needed her, Bulma could see that written across his face. Her boy needed her to hold him. Bulma needed to hold him, to assure herself that he would be alright.
"Sure, why not?" Juuhachigou opened the cell door, pushing Trunks in. "I don't think he's up to trying anything tonight." She laughed derisively. Bulma caught him as he fell, capturing him in a steely embrace that she hadn't even realized she was capable of, pulling him away from the door as he staggered, attempting to stand.
"What did you monsters do to him?" He blue eyes blazed with outrage at his condition.
"Oh, don't worry, Bulma...he had fun." Juuhachigou laughed jeeringly, turning to go. "I'd say he had a lot of fun." Her laughter echoed down the cell corridor, matching her brother's as they slid silently back into the shadows.
" Trunks..." Bulma sobbed his name, clutching at him tightly. She felt his arms sliding around her, holdng her tightly to him, his shoulders shaking with deep heart-wrenching sobs.
"Oh, Kami, Trunks." She sunk to the floor, pulling him with her; her hands smoothing his lavender hair gently as he sobbed. Bulma looked up, her eyes meeting Vegeta's. She drew back at the anger and pain she saw in them, the outrage pouring off of him in stark, black waves, connecting to her and matching her own fury at his condition.
" Trunks," Goku's easy voice spoke soothingly, "You're safe now. We aren't going to let Gero take you again."
Bulma said nothing, not sure they could stop him if he tried, merely holding him for the moment, absorbing the broken sobs that seemingly poured from his very soul, murmuring softly into his ear as if he were the baby she had just rocked to sleep yesterday.
Vegeta watched her impassively, shocked by the condition of his son. The boy's broken sobs reminding him of so long ago, when he had spent his first night on Frieza's ship; his body broken and bruised...left alone to suffer whatever the monster had desired to dish out; no loving mother had been there to stroke away his shock and pain and his father had seemingly deserted him. Now he gazed upon his son; the boy had suffered the same fate, only to a different monster. It brought him up cold, leaving him unsure of what to do or how to handle it. He hated the feeling of vulnerability he felt as he watched the two of them; fighting the desire to figure some way over to them so that he might wrap his arms around both of them and shelter them from the danger. God, such alien feelings, he knew he cared about Bulma, loved her perhaps, though his brain was still trying to digest that. His eyes shifted to those of Kakkarot's, meeting the assessing gaze of his fellow Saiya-jin. The bastard knew...he could somehow sense the confusion and fear he was holding within him. The deep feelings lurking just below his guarded surface, churning violently, like acid and stripping him of his defenses. Vegeta's eyes narrowed dangerously, in anger. He would kill Gero for this, with his bare hands...he would make him suffer.
Trunks lay in the security of his mother's arms, trying desperately to assuage the sobs that were shaking him so violently. Kami, he could not cry in front of his father, could not allow his mother to coddle him as though he were a baby--he was not weak; he had to prove that to him.
Oh, Kami, what Juuhachigou had done to him...He shuddered again, trying to block it all away; bury it deep within the recesses of his mind. His stomach churned violently, kami he was going to be sick again. Trunks lurched away from his mother, barely making it to the small toilet, before he heaved everything out...his body collapsing weakly onto the cool rim of the stool, vaguely aware of the three sets of eyes that followed him closely.
"Trunks?" Her voice was so soft, so soothing. His body shuddered again as her soft hands stroked his bare back , her eyes taking in the long, cat-like gouges that marred the smooth tanned skin of his back.
Bulma swallowed convulsively, sudden realization of what had happened to her son beginning to sweep through her. Oh Kami...Trunks, what has that bitch done to you?
"Trunks?" Bulma managed again, her mouth dry. She had to hold it together for him. "Come, lay down over here; rest, son." Trunks allowed her to maneuver him to the small cot across from the toilet, smiling weakly at her as she looked down at him, her blue eyes filled with concern and something else. Oh Kami, she knew...she knew. Trunks inhaled sharply, his breath catching on the painful lump that sat in his throat.
"Oh, Kami, Mom, please..." He started to raise up, to beg her to understand, to not be ashamed of him. She pushed him back down gently, aware of Vegeta's piercing gaze taking in every detail...she couldn't let him know, not yet...
"It's alright. Everything is alright."
"She wouldn't stop, Mom..."
Again his mother pushed him down, her hand stroking his beautiful face lovingly. "Shhh, you'll be alright. I promise you." Kami, he looks so much like his father...the thought did little to help her deal with the situation.
How he wished he could believe that. His father would think him even weaker, even more of a liablity then he already did. Useless...wasn't that the word he had used. No, it had been Gero. Gero had fed him that, his father was here, wasn't he? Oh no he hadn't even noticed. His father and Goku...both were in cells. They had been captured. Trunks turned on his side despondently, breaking the eye contact with his mother. He prayed she would say nothing to his father about what she knew. How his mother had known was beyond him, but she did and now there was no way out for him, not with his father captured. Trunks felt another rising swell of shame and grief for what he had allowed to happen. He should have been stronger, been more able to fight off Juuhachigou...He choked back another sob, shutting his eyes to the memory of his mother's bright eyes; so filled with sadness and loss for him. No, he could not have his mother's pity. It was bad enough his father already despised him...he wouldn't lose her, too.
Bulma sat down tiredly by his bed, his hand firmly clutched in her grip. No one had uttered a single word since they had brought Trunks down. Vegeta had seemingly withdrawn into himself, leaning against the cell door, back turned to them all. He had even shut himself off through the bond. Goku watched silently, his eyes haunted by what he had seen in Trunks' face, a terrible hopeless bereavement. Goku turned silently and sunk down onto the cot. There had to be a way out of here. They had only to find it.
Bulma herself had no words for what she was now experiencing. She was positive she already knew what had happened, Juuhachigou's parting words all but confirmed it. Bulma would not humiliate her son, by bringing it up now--he wasn't ready, but eventually he would have to tell her. Question was--Was she ready?
"Costa, we will be on Chikyuu within the day. " Refallo smiled widely at his boss, seeking to please.
"Good, Refallo. I am ready to see the shock on Vegeta's face when he sees me. " Costa ran a hand along his freshly shaved scalp; his hair gone in an act of whimsy--the resemblance to his brother uncanny with it shorn. Oh Nappa, what would you say now?
"Oh, I think that Prince Vegeta will be beyond surprised." Refallo threw back his head and chuckled.
Costa said nothing, merely stared out into the empty vastness of space, watching the stars zoom by as the ship brought him closer and closer to his destiny. Soon, Vegeta...Soon my brother will be avenged.
* * * * *