Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball Z, nor do I own the characters attributed to the series
Note/Warning: Again, this story contains, violence, mature subject manner and sex. Please do not read if this offends you. Also, I started putting a coming next at the end of each chapter, since some of you want to know what you can expect in the next chapters.
Sidenote: I had stated that Eriadne's story would be coming out in this chapter, but after much deliberation I decided to hold off until chapter 8. Lisa
"Perhaps Vegeta, you would care to explain to me, how it is, you have come to be healed of all injury after the beating I gave you yesterday." Costa looked down at the Prince who leaned wearily against the metal wall of the ship, eyeing him coldly. He could easily read his death within those black depths. If he let his guard down at all, gave Vegeta half a chance, the Saiya-jin would strike him down. That was a fact he could be positive of. Costa fingered the tranquilizer gun at his side. It would be time to shoot him up soon, to keep him in check. After their altercation yesterday, Costa was not taking any chances.
His eyes shifted to the other, larger Saiya-jin, who sat next to Vegeta, staring up at him wide-eyed, with a mixture of hatred and pity. He snarled, shooting his booted foot out to kick the larger Saiya-jin in the gut, inducing a low grunt from the man. Costa could take anything, but he would not accept any pity.
"Answer me, Vegeta!" Costa turned his wrath back to the Prince, black eyes glittering. "How did you get all your injuries healed?"
"Fuck you." Vegeta growled, grunting at the lancing pain that shot through his ribs as Costa kicked him.
"Would you like to, Vegeta?" Costa smiled. "Is your little bitch just not enough for you in bed?" He laughed at the look of rage that contorted the Prince's face. "Never mind, we'll be at Maordi Prime shortly. I'll be sure to drag you in front of the convening court there and beat the shit out of you." He raised the tranquilizer gun, smiling as he shot Vegeta twice. "I doubt you'll be miraculously healing yourself after that.
There are too many people standing in line to see the mighty Prince of all Saiya-jin on his knees and begging."
Vegeta clenched his fist, trying to overcome the effects of the fast moving drug that was spreading through his system.
"Fuck you, bastard." Vegeta spit the words out at Costa, preparing himself for whatever pain would follow the bitter words. God he was going to relish killing this fucking bastard. That was all that was keeping him going now, the thought of killing Costa slowly and painfully. Well, that and Bulma, she was keeping him going as well. He had not had any contact with her since the last beating he had taken. His mind was too full of rage and despair for him to even contemplate reaching out to her. He felt like he walking on the knife's edge of sanity. It was a feeling he had not experienced since Frieza had controlled him. It was like his very soul was being drug over a bed of hot nails, slowly ripping and burning with each pass. It was a feeling he would not even consider sharing with Bulma, no matter how much he wanted to feel her. Occasionally, from time to time, he had felt her on the fringes of his brain searching him out, but he had closed himself up tightly in an attempt to protect her from his feelings.
The thought of seeing her again however; of feeling her touch on him, that was half the reason he continued the battle against the affects of the drug. No matter how much he tried, no matter how many times he tried to banish her from his system, he couldn't. When he searched for the man that he had been, it was someone else that was there looking back at him, not the Vegeta that had been.
Costa merely chuckled and turned to leave, forgoing the chance to do any more damage to the Prince. Soon, he would have Vegeta right where he wanted him and then he would take his time and make sure that Vegeta understood exactly who was boss and where his destiny lie.
"How does it feel Vegeta, to have lost everything in life that you held dear?" Costa turned his head slightly, glancing back at the Prince with a grin. "You've lost your pride, your honor and your woman. Is there anything else that I am missing? Perhaps you've lost some self-respect and I know your strength has fled you." Costa laughed joyfully. "By the Gods, Vegeta, I have taken everything from you and than some. The only thing left is your life and I can assure you that is the next thing for you to forfeit." He strode out the door, chuckling to himself in amusement.
Goku turned towards Vegeta, staring at the hard set of the man's face.
"Are you alright?"
"What in the hell kind of question is that, idiot?" Vegeta turned and snarled at the third-class. "I'm being drugged so I can't fight, and lead to my death. Do I look like I am alright?"
"Relax, Vegeta, we need to stay calm so we can find a way out of this. We have to get back to Chikyuu."
"Do you think that I don't know that, Kakkarot? Do you think I would rather sit here and let myself be made a fool of?" Vegeta growled deep in his throat. "Dammit! I can't get past this drug. No matter how mad I get, this fucking drug holds me back and keeps me from fighting him." His fist hit the floor uselessly.
"I understand, Vegeta. I understand what it's like to have power and to have it stolen from you. I have sat here for the past two days and tried to use Shunkan Idou and I can't even summon up the strength to concentrate. I try to feel anyone... sense someone that I can pinpoint and I can not touch anything. My power is gone, and I try to feel it and I just can't. My abilities to help my family and my loved ones, my ability to help my planet are gone. The only thing I can do is sit here and wait for you to get mad enough to overcome the drug's hold. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? That I should have to rely on you, Vegeta, a man that hates me, for my own salvation?"
Vegeta looked at the other Saiya-jin in shock. Since he had first met Kakkarot he had never heard him go off like that. He stared into Kakkarot's black eyes, reading the unguarded emotions within their depths, before tipping his head back and laughing.
He had not thought it possible that he would have anything to laugh about, but the words that the third class had used, the edge of bitterness that he had heard in the tone of his voice. Vegeta had waited so long to finally have the upper hand on the fucking bastard and now, through circumstances beyond either of their control, he had finally achieved his goal... and could do nothing about it. The irony of it struck him as the most hilarious thing he had ever experienced.
Goku watched Vegeta with an expression of wounded hurt on his face. Vegeta sounded almost insane as he raucously laughed over his rather painful admission. Those words had not come easily. He could admit a lot, but the whole act of forming words that admitted to Vegeta, a rival whether he consciously acknowledged it to himself or not, that he was unable to help himself and had been forced to rely on Vegeta's capabilities, was the most difficult act he had ever undertaken. Watching Vegeta laugh like an insane maniac didn't help him out any.
Vegeta saw the look of irritation that was shot his way and it only made him laugh harder. He laid back on the floor, not sure now, if he was laughing out of humour or some sick sense of despair. "Kakkarot," He managed to gasp out. "Providence is not smiling on either of us now." He took a deep breath to bring himself under control.
"I'm glad you found that so amusing, Vegeta." Goku stared hard at the Prince, nearly sending the other man into another round of hysterical laughter.
Vegeta took another settling breath before attempting to speak. "Bulma can help you, can she not?" He turned to face the other man, smirking at the look of anger that he wore.
"If I can ever get back to her and we get her away from Gero."
"Oh, I'll make it back to her, you needn't worry about that and Gero has signed his own death warrant by all that he has done to me." Not to mention what he has cost Bulma.
"What does Bulma have to do with any of this?" Goku looked at him cluelessly.
Vegeta rolled his eyes. "You fool! Since we first battled I have thought of nothing else but gaining my chance to defeat you. I have trained and trained in an attempt to grow stronger to surpass you, only to be distracted by those miserable artificial humans and their demented creator. Now that I finally have you right where I want you... just when I could have all I have ever desired, I am rendered helpless and not just by this damn drug. I could no more kill you now, than I could kill Bulma, all because she would never forgive me."
Goku smiled lightly. "Are you admitting you have feelings for her?"
"Hardly." Vegeta snorted, unwilling to give voice to anything that might confirm the third class's thoughts or even admit that defeating the third class Saiya-jin while he was at anything less than full power would be dishonorable. "However I have come to find her extremely useful, especially with the gravity room... I wouldn't want to lose that."
"Oh, yeah, the gravity room." Goku suppressed a smile. "I suppose that would be a loss."
"After this is done and we are back on Chikyuu, Bulma will find you an antidote. Once she does and we have seen the end of Gero, I will see this finished between us. One final battle to see which one of us is truly the greatest warrior alive."
"Do you want another Tenkaichi Budokai?" Goku looked at him curiously, his blood already burning with the desire to battle someone as close to his equal as Vegeta.
"I care not where we do it, just that I have the chance to pound you into a pulp."
"We'll have to work together to get out of this." Goku looked at Vegeta expectantly.
"I had assumed as much, just so you know that the minute this whole nightmare is resolved, it is as if nothing had ever changed our course. I will see us do battle against each other."
"Of course, Vegeta." Goku nodded gravely. "I understand, and I welcome the challenge... when all of this is over."
Vegeta grunted in reply before turning over and laying his head down on the cold floor. He needed to rest a bit if he was going to attempt to get past the drug's hold on him. Perhaps that would clear his mind of all thought and allow him the room he needed to concentrate on that achievement.
Bulma swiped tiredly at her hair, glancing over at her son as she did so. Kami, the poor boy. He looked so worn out and lost. The merciless torments Gero had put him through were beginning to show on his youthful face.
They had made their escape with relative ease, something that had bothered both of them. Eriadne had led them straight to the docking bay that Gero had built deep within the bowels of the mountain. The sheer magnitude of all he had managed to accomplish in the years since he had originally battled Goku had completely floored Bulma. He had developed ships of all sizes... some small and obviously intended for single man use and some more larger, streamlined ships such as the one that she and Trunks had confiscated. Eriadne had shown Bulma the control panel that controlled the opening out of the mountain and while Trunks had hastily prepared the ship for use, she and the young girl had figured out the codes to open the docking doors. It had become apparent to Bulma, that Gero's goals stretched much further then Chikyuu.
What had troubled her, and she and Trunks had discussed it at length, was the complete lack of resistance they had met on their way out. She knew Gero had unleashed his army, yet he had not bothered at any time to stop her and Trunks. They even had the small tracking sensors that he had stuck in their arms. Bulma had been unsure what to make of it, finally trying not to worry about it. She assumed at some point, for better or worse, the mystery would all be revealed to her. The only thing she really cared about now, was getting to Maordi Prime and reaching her husband before that happened.
To that end, they had been traveling in the small ship for well over two days now, leaving only one more day until they reached their destination. She had searched Vegeta out a bit through their bond, but he had remained elusive and Bulma was almost positive that he was avoiding her. She didn't really care anymore. Vegeta could ignore her from now until doomsday, she was still going to get him away from Costa. She owed him that much, though she hardly wanted to meet up with Costa again. The thought of seeing the monstrous half Saiya-jin was enough to make her shudder with dread.
Bulma glanced again at her son, watching him as he mechanically programmed in the final coordinates for Maordi Prime. She had tried a couple of times to open up the conversation and allow him the room to speak of what had occured between him and Juuhachigou, but he had yet to speak of it or any of the feelings he might be having. Yet the knowledge of what he had experienced sat in his eyes, aging him eons beyond his eighteen years.
Damn you, Juuhachigou, if I ever get the chance I will kill you for this." Bulma glanced down at her wrist, looking at the small scar that showed the spot Gero had implanted the tracking beacon. She had to get it out and destroy it so he couldn't follow them, though she knew it was already too late. They had made their escape two days ago. Gero was surely tracking them. The fact remained though, that the sooner they got them out, the more trouble Gero would have in finding them; and that unless they got them out, she and Trunks were finished. Bulma had little doubt that Gero would live up to his word to take what he wanted from her, including her mind.
Bulma could feel the rising hysteria at the thought of having her humanity stolen from her. She trembled with the attempt to push the fright away. There was no time for her fear now, no time for anything but accomplishing whatever they must to achieve their goal. She had to find Vegeta, had to locate him before Gero caught her, if he was even still alive.
He was, Bulma knew he was. In her soul, through their bond she could feel him, though he seemingly had no desire to communicate with her. His aura was so powerful though, so very much alive that his presence vibrated through her body loudly anytime she sought it it out. It kept her going, infusing her with hope and confidence, that she otherwise might not have had. Bulma would find him and Goku and get them away from Nappa's brother and then she would pray that Vegeta would still be able to look at her despite what he believed Costa had done to her. Her fingers trailed lightly over the mark that scarred her neck. Damn you, Costa.
Costa hadn't raped her though. No matter that he had marked her, the worst violation had not been accomplished. She'd been clever, knocking him out with the sedative she had seen in Gero's lab and making the overgrown idiot think he'd had her. Unfortunately, he had managed to get that damn mark on her, a Saiya-jin bite of possession and when Vegeta saw it, there was no telling how he would react to her. At least she could tell him that she had remained untouched.
"So you have finally brought the great Prince of the Saiya-jin before me." Talbos, King of Maordi Prime, leaned forward in anticipation. "I confess, he doesn't look so fearsome now."
Vegeta glared back at the Maordian who sat haughtily on a golden throne, forcing himself to remain calm and collected. His eyes swept across the crowded throne room, lighting on a young girl dressed in white, probably no more then twenty earth years at the most who was regarding him with great interest. He glanced away, sickened by her open regard. The last thing he needed was to encourage something like that.
Behind him, he felt Kakkarot come to a stop. What is this place, Vegeta?
Goku looked around the grey marbled room, decorated with heavy woven tapestries of various shapes and colors. He glanced down at the floor, noting that the grey marble was covered with a burgundy runner that led straight up to the raised dais that the apparent leader sat on. Around the leader, several pompous looking dignitaries stood, looking down their noses at he and Vegeta with something akin to disgust. Goku felt a small spark of anger at their blatant disregard.
The third class' voice in his head had surprised him at first, before he remembered that he was as telepathically inclined as any other Saiya-jin. Perhaps more so since he was a Super Saiya-jin.
The Maordian Throne Room in the main palace. Costa is parading us in front of the leader, King Talbos, as if we were trophies. Vegeta could not keep the digust from his words as he telepathed the thought to Kakkarot.
Be cool, Vegeta, we'll get out of this. We just need to bide our time.
Kakkarot's mellow statement did little to appease the fire burning within Vegeta's veins. He would take great pleasure in killing all the fools in this room. Look at them all dressed in their flamboyant costumes, acting as if they were superior to him on any level. He should have destroyed this fucking planet when he had been given the chance. Stupid Frieza had been so sure that he would have need of the planet and its resources, which had mostly been a cheaper form of Chikyuu-jin petrol. His direct order had been all that had stayed Vegeta's hand from destroying it completely.
"Prince Vegeta, you most assuredly do not look as fearsome as your reputation would lead us to believe. The destoyer of whole worlds has been remarkeably brought to justice with great ease." Talbos bestowed a grin on Costa. "You have done well for me, boy. You bring great profit to our planet with the bounty his head will provide. You have earned my daughter's hand in marriage with ease for this coup. I will hold to my promise that we made before you left. The girl is yours as is my throne, when I step down. You have well-earned it."
Costa smiled widely and bowed. "My King, I am in your debt."
Vegeta's gaze shot back to the black-haired girl in white he had noticed earlier, taking in the look of horror that settled on her face. That was the King's daughter and she had obviously not been given notice of the bargain her father had struck up with Costa. Her look of disgust as Costa wrapped an arm around her, brought a cold, calculating smile to Vegeta's face. Here was something he could use against Costa, the way he had used Bulma against him. He would not lower himself to touch her. He would never betray Bulma that way, but he was not above the fine art of manipulation. Vegeta caught her eye, holding her gaze for the briefest of moments before looking away.
So this is why he was so deadset on getting you back here. He had a lot riding on this. Kakkarot's voice flowed through his mind again. But why use Bulma? He already had you where he wanted you.
Because he is a sick bastard who thrives on the pain of others. Vegeta felt rage flood through him anew at the thought. Somehow he would make the bastard suffer as much as he had made Bulma.
"Prince Vegeta, do you have anything to say in your defense?" Talbos looked down at the Prince, open disdain written across his face. "The last time you were on this planet, you left it in ruins. We have rebuilt, Prince, and Frieza's reign is over. We will see the last of his scourge wiped away from the universe. Your judgment will be passed in two days time." Talbos stood, shaking out his cascading white robes before turning back to face Vegeta. "I can assure you it will result in your death."
Vegeta remained rebelliously silent, standing proud and arrogant before the idiot King. Look at the pompous old fool. The man was not of royal blood, not like Vegeta. Maordians appointed their Kings, each King handing the reigns to a man of his pick., and not neccesarily their sons. As surely as Trunks would be his heir on Vegitasei, here on Maordi Prime, being a son did not entitle you to the throne at all. Vegeta sneered. No, this preening fool, had chosen idiot Costa to be his successor. What a complete idiot. Vegeta's eyes shifted over to regard the gigantic monster that had caused him so much grief. He stood, grinning broadly, eyes glued to the white-haired King that stood pro-claiming his glory to all who would listen.
The bastard was so smug, so sure of his position. Wouldn't he be surprised? He let his eyes dart back towards the girl standing beside him. She was the key. Vegeta was positive of it. He needed to only give her enough encouragement to seek him out. She was young and could be easily swayed, especially if she had no desire to be saddled with Costa.
"Who have you brought with him?" Talbos turned his head to Goku, looking him over.
"This is the last remaining full-blooded Saiya-jin alive. Apparently he had a hand in the death of my brother. I had hoped you would sanction my request to end his life as well." Costa bowed his head again, bald head gleaming in the light.
"If you feel it neccesary, then by all means, do what you will." Talbos waved his hand in dismissal. "Take them to the dungeons and be sure to separate them."
Vegeta didn't bother to fight the guards that manhandled him towards the exit, instead turning his head to catch the girl's eyes, making sure his eyes reflected her interest back to her. He had set his plan in motion. The girl would be paying him a visit, he was positive of it and she would be his tool to getting himself out of this mess.
Juunanagou looked down at the enormous water plant that was responsible for the dispertion of over half the continent's water supply. They had already visited three such plants with the sole purpose of contaminating the water with Gero's lethal virus.
"This is it, sis. We get this in there," He held up the small bottle that housed Gero's creation, pointing it downwards, "and we will be home free."
"We need to start discussing how we are going to bring Gero down." Juuhachigou spoke in her customarily vapid voice. "We need to get our hands on that remote. I'm tired of following his orders." She began the quick descent to the ground below, landing softly on a high platform that sat above the water, and brushing her bobbed hair back from her face.
"I know and we will, we just need to bide our time a little longer. Gero needs us and as long as he needs us, we are safe. Whatever we plan has to be well thought out." Juunanagou landed gently alongside her, leaning over the rail to stare down into the water.
"HEY!! What do you two think you are doing here?" The twins turned at the shout of alarm. Juunanagou lifted a hand and carelessly blasted the man away.
"As I was saying, we need to make sure that we are in the best position possible to strike from. If we aren't, Gero wins. We will destroy him, Juuhachi, and then we will be free to do whatever we want and have fun in the process." Juunanagou carefully opened the bottle of the virus before leaning over the rail and dropping it directly into the water supply.
"I suppose you're right." Juuhachigou sighed. "I just want to have some fun and I am tired of dealing with all these humans. I would rather be destroying them."
"Well, this virus should go along way to doing that. Gero said he had improved on the heart virus he developed for Goku."
"I hope so, though watching them waste away and die is hardly as satisfying as blasting them away."
"Soon, sis. We will be able to have our day and our fun soon." Juunanagou lifted up into the air. "Come on, let's get back to the lab and let Doctor Gero know we were successful. Maybe he'll reward us."
"I doubt it." Juuhachigou followed her brother. The more she thought about it the more sure she was that they were running out of time. Gero was up to no good. She would stake her very existence on it.
"Prince Vegeta?" The young Princess he had noticed earlier spoke his name from the shadows of the dank dungeon, her voice light and airy.
Vegeta suppressed a smirk. The idiotic girl had been so predictable. It had taken the smallest hint of notice to get her to come to him. This was going to be much easier then he had originally thought.
"What do you want?" Vegeta kept his voice low and cool, remaining seated on the small cot that served as his bed. He wasn't ready to frighten her off just yet. He shrugged off an insidious feeling of guilt at what he was about to do. Costa had shown no regard for his woman, he would be sure to return the favor, though he would hardly be raping her now would he. The whole idea of touching any woman that way sickened him. As evil as he could be, as mean and as cruel, he would never stoop as low as to force a woman to submit to his desires. It was a sickening thought. Bulma was the only woman he had ever been with and she had come willingly to his bed.
"My name is Tannia. I am daughter of King Talbos. I came here to propose a deal." She nervously brushed a strand of long black hair back from her face.
"Why would I be interested in any deal you have to offer, girl?" Vegeta sneered, amused with how easily she had played into his hands. One well-placed, lingering look, and she had come running.
"Because," Tannia said quietly, stepping closer to his cell. "It would mean your freedom."
Vegeta studied her closely. She was a beautiful young girl, though no where near the level of beauty that Bulma was at. Still, quite a coup for someone as ugly as Costa. It would be fun to destroy his dream of having her, before he ended his miserable life.
"What do you have in mind?" Vegeta kept his voice neutral.
Tannia wrapped her hands tightly around the bars of the cell, meeting his eyes unflinchingly. "If you help me be rid of Costa I can find a way to set you free."
"Why would you bother to help me?" Vegeta stared coldly into her black eyes. "Haven't you heard? I am the scourge that demolished your people years ago. How do you know you can trust me?"
"I don't, but I am desperate enough to take a chance and I'm hoping you are as well. The whole idea of Costa touching me is enough to make me physically ill. This bargain," She spat the word out, "was made without my knowledge. I was bartered for as if I were a prize and my father agreed to it. For that I will never forgive him. If setting you free causes him pain that I will do it. Besides, if you destroy them both... King Talbos and Costa, we could take the throne in a coup and I will set you on the throne beside me."
Vegeta raised his eyebrows, the girl was desperate and much more cut-throat than he had originally thought, not to mention audacious. She actually had the nerve to suggest he could do all the work, but she would make the decisions. He was almost impressed... almost. "I might be persuaded to aid you in your quest."
Tannia smiled triumphantly, her lovely face lighting with pleasure. "I knew I could persuade you! What can I do to help you? Should I set you free now?"
"When is the judgement going to be passed?" Vegeta looked at her intently.
"Tomorrow. They are all abuzz at the whole idea of bringing you in front of the crowds and judging tribunal."
"They are keeping me drugged, so that I am unable to fight. Do you have access to Costa's supply?" His black eyes pierced into hers.
"I can gain it." Tannia pressed her forehead against the bars. He was so dark and intense, not at all what she had expected. What a fine King he would make, and she would be much more willing to give herself to a man such as this. The whole idea of having to bestow her virginity on Costa was enough to make her sick and to have to share her life and throne with him, bear his children. No! She shuddered. It would not happen, she would not allow it.
"Replace the darts that contain the drug with a placebo of some kind. If you can do that, then tomorrow, when they bring me in front of the tribunal, I will be able to defeat them. " Vegeta ran a shaky hand through his spiky hair. So close, he was so close to being free. Finally he would be able to take his revenge and it would be painful. Costa had earned the wrath of the Saiya-jin Prince completely and there would be no place he could hide.
"I cannot believe he drugs you." Tannia's black eyes swept over his body assessingly, taking in the hard, muscled body. She had never expected the much villified Prince to be so handsome... so manly. Combined with the dark intensity, it made him devestating to every sense. "Than again, looking at you, I suppose I can understand why Costa would be so scared."
"Costa is a coward who fights without honor. He has earned his death by my hand." Vegeta clenched the edge of the small cot he sat on, as cold fury flowed through him. "I will see him dead."
"I will provide you with the opportunity Prince, I swear it. Your rewards will be great if you can accomplish what I have asked." Tannia's grew in intensity as she spoke, her eyes gleaming with hope.
Vegeta didn't miss the the suggestive nature of her tone. He snorted. "Just be sure to do what I told you to. If you do that, there will be nothing to stop me."
"It will be done, Prince Vegeta. It will be done."
Gero smiled broadly at Juunanagou and Juuhachigou. "You have both done well. All the world's water supply is infected with my virus. The first stages of my plan are complete. "
"Thank you, Doctor Gero." Juunanagou glanced at his sister who stood, looking bored, beside him. "We were hoping, perhaps that you might allow us to go out tonight and have some fun." Peripherally, Juunanagou caught the movement of another cyborg. One of Gero's new army. He suppressed a shudder. The man's once human face had been scarred deeply by whatever experiments Gero had performed on him.
"As a matter of fact, I do have something fun for you. Krillin!" Gero barked the man's name.
Juuhachigou turned, watching the little man whom Gero had broken walk into the room. What was he doing back?
"Krillin has done his job very well. He has delivered to me all of the remaining Z warriors and most importantly, he has delivered the son of Goku--Gohan."
"Well now," Juunanagou replied tonelessly, "that is impressive."
"His wife is still at large. I would like for you to go and visit the Capsule Corporation and retrieve her as well as the esteemed Doctor Briefs and his wife. You may, of course, reign as much terror upon the city as you deem appropriate." Gero smiled coolly. It had started. "Wreak havoc and chaos. Do it nightly. On top of the sickness, it will be the final blow to all of humanity. They will be more then ready to accept all my offers, when the time is right."
"Of course, Doctor Gero," Juunanagou smiled widely, "We would be happy to accomplish this for you."
"Good, Juunanagou, good. Tonight however, I want Briefs and the wife of Goku and I want them unharmed. Anyone else, you may destroy."
"As you wish Doctor, as you wish."
Tannia crept silently along the dank corridors of the dungeon. She had been unable to get the Prince out of her mind and she wanted him. As much as she detested Costa, she wanted Vegeta. She had been unprepared for the aura of power that had surrounded him, nor had she been prepared for the devestating body and looks that went along with him and it had intoxicated her. He would make a fine King to rule alongside her.
She approached his cell in complete silence, watching him sleep in the dim light. She had seen the desire flare in his eyes when he had looked at her in the throne room. It had been obvious he wanted her in return. Tannia watched as he twisted in his sleep, moaning lightly as his body was taken captive by some horrible dream. Perhaps she could help him, help ease whatever pain lurked within him. She had seen it in the depths of his black eyes.
Slipping the pilfered keys to the cell out of the folds of her black cloak, she silently opened the cell and slipped inside. Discarding her cloak, she walked silently to him, bending down to press a soft kiss to his lips. She smiled as he moaned lightly and wrapped his arms around her, drawing her against him.
Vegeta was cold, achingly so and she was so warm, and she was--she was in his arms. Bulma was safe and she was here, with him, not trapped with Gero. His woman wasn't at Gero's mercy. He kissed her back, fervently, desperately, needing to touch her, wanting to touch her warmth and the center of her soul.
"Bulma," He moaned against her lips, "God, I need you. Bulma... please."
Vegeta felt her freeze above him, her body slowly shifting from heated desire to cold withdrawal, her kisses stopping. He groaned, slowly forcing himself to wake up, to come back to reality. Already he could notice subtle differences with the woman in his arms. Vegeta opened his eyes slowly, not wanting to realize it had not been her. It was Tannia, not Bulma, not his woman, that lay against him. What in the hell was she doing here? Vegeta shoved her off of him, hard.
"What in the fuck are you doing?" His voice was a broken snarl in the darkness, the harshness of it, causing her to shrink back against the wall.
"I thought you wanted me, the way you looked at me--I, well--I thought..." Tannia broke off and lifted herself off of the floor, backing away from him.
"Wanted you...? You are a mere girl. Why would I want a girl when I have a woman at home?" Vegeta sneered mockingly. "There is only one woman I want and regrettably you are not her. So get out, and don't come back." He sunk his head despairingly into his hands, unmindful of the tremor that ran through him.
"You bastard! We had a deal!" Tannia screeched at him. "You made a bargain."
Vegeta looked up at her coldly. "At what point did sleeping with you come into the bargain. You want Costa dead, I will give you that. You have only to replace the drugs that hold my power at bay."
Tannia stared at him, her black gaze insruteable. "I could force this issue."
"Try it bitch and you will be dead. I assure you that I have plenty of power left to kill you."
"Fine, Vegeta! I will not force you to comply, but you had better not fail me. I have retained the drugs that they used to curtail you. If you fail to give me what I want, I will use them on you myself. I promise you that." Tannia whirled angrily to leave.
Vegeta sunk his head back into his hands. God, he had thought that was her. How desperate had he become that he would mistake a low class woman for Bulma. She hadn't even smelled like Bulma. No, Bulma was stuck with Gero, being forced to do God knew what for the monster, just like Costa had raped her. He let out an anguished roar at the mental picture, striking his fist out, blindly, against the wall.
If Gero had touched her in anyway, had forced her to do anything that... he couldn't even think it. The very thought of Bulma in that madman's hands, carrying some illbegotten spawn was enough to make him ill--violently so. Somehow he would get out of here, he and Kakkarot, and then he would find her, no matter where she was, and he would kill Gero. Vegeta would wring the life from his miserable neck with his bare hands.
Vegeta choked back a sob, ashamed and humiliated that he, the mightiest warrior in the universe had been brought to this. He had been feared throughout the galaxy, his power had been foretold, and now... now his life was in pieces. The carefully garnered control and freedom blown away. His cold-blooded Saiya-jin heart ensnared and bewitched by a weak human woman and his much prided strength stripped from him by a bastard who was to weak to defeat him in a straight on battle.
Worse then that, his mate, the beautiful, weak, human woman who had captured him and who he had chosen to accept had paid for his actions in the past with rape and torture. Vegeta beat his fist uselessly against the wall, his rage and despair so great he didn't know what else to do with it.
Why did he have to care. This would all be so much easier if he could shut off these fucking emotions that had never troubled him before. Why her? Why had he never been troubled by them until he had met her? What he would give to just burn them all from his heart and return to the uncaring, ruthless warrior he had been before, to not care about her or their son or that damnable planet he now called home. It wasn't even the planet so much as it was just her. Where ever she was, would be home.
Vegeta glanced up, grateful the stupid bitch had left him. How dare she come to him and touch him the way she had. He was a Prince, not a play thing for a fucking whore. He shuddered in disgust. There had been only one woman who had ever touched him and he found now, that he had no desire to experience anyone else but her.
"Bulma," He whispered into the still darkness of the cell. "What have you done to me?"
Bulma stared at the control panel intently, glancing over at Eriadne as she did so. "I never thanked you for helping us escape the other day." She smiled lightly at the girl.
Eriadne blushed and looked down, unable to meet the woman's blue eyes. She had liked Bulma immediately, which had only added to her extreme feelings of guilt. How this young woman was old enough to have a son Trunks's age was beyond her. Betraying them was the last thing she wanted to do, but she had no other options. Gero would harm her siblings if she failed to comply. He wanted Goku and Bulma back and Vegeta and Trunks if she could accomplish it. If she failed, her sister and brother would be deactivated and destroyed. Eriadne sighed tiredly. There was no other choice. They had to come first, before Bulma and Trunks, no matter how much she might like them. There had to be away she could save her brother and sister and help them regain a bit of their humanity. Eriadne refused to believe they had lost it completely.
"It was nothing, Bulma. I am just glad we made it out of there." Eriadne watched the woman as she worked on a broken circuit board. Bulma was remarkeable with technology, not to mention an incredible beauty.
"It almost seemed too easy." Bulma sighed. I haven't seen anything yet, but I would be shocked if Gero wasn't tracking us in some way." She turned her blue gaze to Eriadne's, surprised when the girl's eyes darted away. It was almost as if she were hiding something.
"Is everything alright, Eriadne?"
Eriadne opened her mouth to speak, but was abruptly cut off by loud beeping emanating from the radar.
Bulma leaned over, studying athe radar, cringeing as she saw several blips flare into existence.
"Kami," She breathed fearfully. "He did follow us."
Eriadne leaned forward, staring at the radar. "How long until we reach Maordi Prime?"
About another half-hour. I have this thing at full speed. Kami, we have to make it." Bulma's heart sank at the thought of not getting to Vegeta.
Trunks burst into the cockpit, looking about wildly. "What's the beeping Mom?"
"Gero! He's followed us."
"Do you think it's the ship that he's been able to track or the damn trackers he stuck in us?"
"How long until we reach Maordi Prime?" Trunks looked hard at his mother.
She smiled. Kami, he was so much like his father when he was like this. "Half-hour."
"When we get there, you and I can go get Dad and Goku, Eriadne can secure us a new ship. She should be able to trade this one in on something decent. You'll have to be quick."
"I can do that." Eriadne said lightly. " I can do that easily and have it ready by the time you all are ready to go."
"You'll have to, we aren't going to have much time. " Trunks pointed to her watch. "Let's set them. When the alarm goes off, you'll know times up. Mom, you and I should do the same, though I'm not going to let you out of my sight. Father will kill me."
Bulma laughed lightly. "I don't know about that, Trunks. He might thank you."
"Mom..." Trunks spoke warningly. " Don't even think it."
"Alright, Trunks, I'm sorry. We stick together."
Trunks looked at Eriadne, his gaze softening lightly as his blue eyes swept over her. "Do we have a plan?"
She nodded, meeting his blue gaze with her own. "We have a plan."
They had hauled his half-drugged body into the center of the arena and shackled his arms above him. At least what they believed to be his half-drugged body. Tannia had done her job well. It had been a relief to have been shot with the drug and to have felt no effect. She had managed to switch them out. Vegeta hung limply, waiting quietly, for whatever horror they were going to bestow upon him, oblivious to the taunting jeers and cat-calls of the stadium crowd. Above him he could see Talbos and Tannia in the royal box, staring down at him. From here, he could see the look of expectancy in her black eyes.
Vegeta hung his head down, pretending asquience, not wanting to tip his hand. When the moment was right, he would strike. Once Costa's death was accomplished, he could make it back to Bulma. He shut his eyes and pictured her face in his mind. If he thought hard enough he could almost feel the silky brush of her hair against his skin or the slide of smooth skin over his body. There would be nothing but success. He would not fail her now.
Goku had been brought in by Refallo and stood silent, observing the proceedings with a grim resolve. They had been brought in through underground tunnels, heavily guarded. Vegeta had told him telepathically, that the tunnels ran under the entire city. They had been put in as a means of escape for the city in case of attack. He had told Goku, in a toneless voice that half them were blocked, destroyed when he had been bade by Frieza to destroy the city and trap the citizens underground. Vegeta had remained emotionless as he'd spoken, but Goku had been able to sense the underlyng regret that lingered deep within the Prince. Perhaps it ran so deep that Vegeta himself wasn't even aware he felt it, but it was there all the same.
Now, looking around the huge, enclosed arena, Goku had a better sense of why all these people so wanted Vegeta dead. It was something he could not allow. No matter what he had done, Vegeta had changed and Goku respected that. If they made a move to kill either he or Vegeta ... well he was just going to have to act, strength or no strength. He turned to look at Refallo and spoke through clenched teeth.
"What honor is there in killing Vegeta this way? Did he ever drug your people before a battle? Did he render any of you oblivious to what was happening? Look at him, he hangs in shackles, unable to move even the slightest inch. His mind is eaten up with worries for his wife and son and your friend beats him until he cannot stand. Tell me what honor is that for a warrior?"
"What would you know about honor? You are as Saiya-jin as he is. The only thing either of you know are fighting and killing. I say good-riddance to the both of you." Refallo snarled, whiskers twitching.
"What about his woman?" Goku felt his heart pump with rage. "Did she do anything to deserve her fate? Did she deserve her treatment by Costa? She was an innocent, who had commited no crime against you. How can you stomach what Costa did to her?"
"I am sorry for the abuse she suffered, but Vegeta is still not someone who inspires great sympathy. He wiped out my home planet... all my people, not to mention the thousand killed upon this soil and the soil of hundreds of other planets. Whatever happens to him he deserves."
"How does he deserve to be held back from fighting? You speak of these Gods that are granting him an absolution... do they not even grant him the chance to prove you wrong?"
"Costa made up the rules of this tournament, not me His desire to end Vegeta's life go much deeper then mine, though I hardly have any arguments to his death. He is a worthless bastard."
Goku turned from him in disgust. "You are honorless then." He looked towards Vegeta who hung by his wrists from a thick metal pole that was firmly embedded into the hard-packed dirt of the floor.
Hang in there Vegeta, just hang in there.
Kakkarot, be ready. I have a plan. Goku's eyes widened in surprise. Vegeta sounded confident. What plan did he have?
Just watch and wait, fool. Vegeta's irritated voice rang loudly in his brain. Goku grinned. Finally, something positive.
Bulma and Trunks slipped into the crowded arena, both pairs of eyes drawn to the figure trapped in the center.
"It's just like the coliseum at home, except it's covered." Bulma looked around wide-eyed.
"Dad." Trunks spoke softly, squeezing his mother's hand in support.
"Oh, No, Vegeta." Bulma followed Trunks line of vision to the man who hung limply at the center of the arena floor, shackled to a pole. She caught her breath in agony at the sight, before concentrating on their bond and reaching out to connect with him.
Vegeta felt his woman through their bond, trying to reach him. He was tired of hiding from her, he wanted to feel her presence within his body.
Vegeta let his eyes slip shut as he opened up to her, searching for her presence amongst the cloudy ruins of his mind.
Woman, Vegeta whispered through their bond. Woman, where are you?
I'm on Maordi Prime, Vegeta. Hang in there, we are going to get you out of here.
Vegeta's eyes snapped open in shock. What? What had she said? She was on Maordi Prime? Frantically he searched out her ki and found her and his brat--in the crowd.
Bulma! What are you doing here? Vegeta felt his heart stop. How could he blow this place to the next dimension with her here.
Trunks and I are here to get you and Goku. We have a ship. Bulma paused, searching for words that wouldn't anger him or wound his pride. Are you alright, Vegeta?
Vegeta heard the uncertainty in her voice and shut his eyes. I'm fine woman, just get the hell out of here. I have a plan and you two can't be anywhere near here.
What? Bulma saw Costa swagger towards Vegeta, whip raised. She gasped as he brought it down. Just hang on, please, Vegeta!
"I bring before you the great and mighty Prince of the Saiya-jin," Costa's voice boomed through the arena, "I bring him before you this day for judgement. Judgement for the long list of sins that he need be held accountable for, sins commited in the name of Frieza." He glanced up at the row of old men that sat beside the King in his box. The tribunal. They would soon give him the judgement he wanted.
Bulma looked on from the grounds of the stadium, willing Vegeta to glance in her direction. He had quickly broken their link as Costa had lashed him. She had nearly fainted as Costa had brought the whip down directly against the flesh of his back and had reached out to clutch weakly at her son who stood beside her.
"That bastard." Trunks snarled as he listened to the roar of the crowd. "First, he drugs him, then he beats him while he has no hope of defending himself." Bulma felt his muscles tense under her hand.
"Trunks, you can't go out there yet. As much as I want you to, it isn't the right time. I have senzu. They will heal him." Bulma half-sobbed at the idea that he would have to endure the pain of the lashing, but there wasn't much she could do. They would only be captured if they ran out there now and then it would have all been for nought.
Vegeta stood stock-still in the middle of the cheering arena, unmoving and silent against the lash of the whip. She was still here, he could just sense her and the brat's ki and they were mad. He sighed, half in fear and half in relief. If they could keep their heads on and follow his instructions, they all might get out of here yet. He shut his eyes in an attempt to blot out the pain of the lash and reach out to son.
Brat! Trunks head swiveled towards his father's figure in the middle of the arena. Don't try to stop this.
Father? Trunks replied back in his mind. Are you alright? Mom has senzu.
Your mother? Is she... alright? Trunks could hear the hesitancy in his father's voice.
As well as can be expected. We are going to get you out of here. Trunks flinched as he received a slight swell of the pain that Vegeta was experiencing. Father, let me release a ki attack. Let me stop this.
No! Vegeta snarled in his head. I will look after myself, I do not need your help. You look after your mother until I get to you. If you let anything happen to her, I will kill you, son or not. Do you understand me, boy?
Trunks fought back a swell of anger, but not before it was felt by his father. He heard the Saiya-jin chuckle in amusement.
Calm yourself brat and do as you are told. I have a plan. I need you to get your mother back to the tunnels that lead down to the dungeons and spread out under the city. There are several that are unblocked and some that branch out to the space dock. Get her there and hide her, then come back and get Kakkarot. By the time you do that, I will be done here and on my way to her. You get Kakkarot back to this ship you have and get it ready.
Yes, father. Would it be better if I just took mom back to the ship? Trunks frowned in thought.
No! There isn't time. There is an entrance to the tunnels directly below you. It will take you five minutes to get her far enough away from here. Now get moving! Vegeta cut off the connection abruptly.
Trunks turned towards his mother who stood, her slim body shaking, as Costa administered lash after lash to her husband. He wrapped an arm around her.
"How can these people cheer this barbarism?" Bulma stared aghast at the roaring crowd. She'd known he had been ruthless and evil, still was to some extent, but this celebration of his pain... it wasn't right. At what point did the justice seekers turn into the very thing that they despised? Vegeta was different, he had changed. She reached out to clasp her son's arm. "I can't watch any more."
Trunks looked at his father, who stood stoically in the center of the arena, seemingly oblivious to the din that was going on around him. He seemed almost... peaceful. Trunks smiled. Vegeta was many things, but weak was not one of them.
"You're right, Mom," Trunks spoke gently. "Dad is alright, they won't kill him yet, and you have those senzu. Dad says he has a plan, and he wants me to take you to the tunnels that run under the place and hide you. Let's go. The quicker we move, the faster he can act. His ki is at full power. He's only pretending to submit. "
"What?" Bulma swung her blue gaze to her son. "He's only pretending."
Trunks nodded. "Somehow, he's found a way to beat them."
Bulma smiled. "Alright, let's go."
Goku stood still, angrily watching the beating Costa was giving Vegeta. Damn the bastard! How could he do this to another human being. No matter that Vegeta had incurred the wrath of all of these people, he deserved a second chance. The people who were bringing Vegeta, the killer, to justice were no better than anything Vegeta had done in his youth. He glanced over, watching Refallo. He looked... pained. Maybe the little speech about honor had gotten to him.
Hang in there, Vegeta. Goku spoke the words in his mind, fully aware that Vegeta would be able to hear them, even if he chose not to acknowledge them.
Costa walked in a slow circle around Vegeta, smiling coldly at him. "I think, Vegeta, once you're dead and I am King of this planet, I will be sure to retrieve your little mate for my harem. Your mate would make a fine whore for me."
Vegeta growled, searching out the crowds for Bulma's ki. She was gone. Trunks had done his job and now he could act. He allowed the rage to flow through him and was rewarded with the familiar surge of energy that drained him of everything save the lust for battle.
Costa took a step back as the sharp flame of his aura surrounded him.
"AHHHH!!" Vegeta roared as it flowed through him completely. He snapped the chains that held him, and turned, his gaze green and hair glowing yellow, to meet Costa's. "You're dead."
He flew towards the stunned giant landing a devestating right hook to his jaw and sending him flying. Vegeta walked silently towards him, smirking.
Trunks dragged his mother to a small side passage in the tunnels that Vegeta had directed him to. "Stay here. Dad said he would come for you and judging by the screams I'm hearing, I'd say his plan is underway. He wants me to go and get Goku. We'll meet you at the ship. Don't move, Mom!" Trunks turned and fled back the way they had come.
Bulma frowned in consternation. Damn them, she could have helped them out. She couldn't find her way out of here if she tried. She sighed and slid down against the rough stone wall, leaping back up as the walls shook around her with a powerful explosion.
Vegeta? Was that you? She looked wildly around, watching as rock crumbled from cracks in the wall.
No, woman, hang on I'm coming!
Oh Kami, it had to be Gero. He had to be responsible for the blast. Hs army had reached Maordi Prime. She turned and fled back the way she had come as panic flared through her. She had to get back up there, she had no time to waste. Now if only she could recall the way.
Vegeta looked around him as the first blast exploded against the far wall of the arena, knocking out the power and killing hundreds of people. What in the hell had caused that? He glanced back to where he had been beating the hell out of Costa and blasting guards to the next dimension as they had attempted to subdue him. Dammit, he had lost him among the chaos that had suddenly erupted. He looked about him at the hordes of screaming people who were streaming about, all trying to escape the building. Bulma! He could come back and get Costa, first he needed to get Bulma out from the tunnels and to the ship that they had come in, then he would track down and kill Costa.
He located her ki easily and raced towards it, aware that it was moving towards him. She obviously had no desire to sit and wait for him. Why should that surprise him? He entered the dark hole that marked the entry point to the underground labrynths. He was almost to her.
Bulma stopped cold as the flickering lights that lit the dim rock corridor went out completely. She took a deep breath trying not to panic and inhaled sharply as she felt a hard figure capture her in his arms.
"Bulma." Vegeta pulled her against him, his arms shaking with the force of his emotion.
"Vegeta!" Bulma clutched frantically at the dark figure of her husband, sliding her hand up along the hard bare chest that she was held against, praying that he was alright.
"Bulma, are you alright?" Vegeta's deep voice came out shaky, but strong. He clutched her to him as another explosion rocked the world around them, causing the ground to shake.
Bulma sobbed in relief and hugged him to her, mindful of the wounds that Costa had inflicted upon his back. She moaned in relief as she felt his strong arms close tightly around her.
"Thank Kami you're here. We need to get out of here. Gero's artificial army followed us here and it has to be them that are attacking."
"Woman," Vegeta lips sought hers, nearly making her swoon as he plundered her mouth passionately.
The kiss was real, this time she was real. She was here and she was kissing him back with all the passion he had ever dreamt of. He felt the brief flow of her emotions, before she stemmed the tide. Vegeta groaned in agony, before pulling away.
"Bulma, I-I...I failed to protect you.." He struggled to form words, flinching as her hand inadvertently rubbed against the raw wounds of his back.
Bulma choked back a sob as she reached into her small pack and fished around, looking for the small bag of senzu, the few she had left from her emergency supply.
"Hush, it wasn't your fault. Here take this, it'll make you feel better." Bulma clung to him, afraid to let go, afraid he would disappear.
Vegeta swallowed the bean obligingly, obediently waiting for its restorative effects to sink in, glancing sharply at her once he had regained full strength. He grabbed her up fiercely in his arms, pulling her to him with bone-crushing force.
"Bulma, are you... are you alright?" His hand traced over every inch of her face, softly, gently, caressing away the tears that were flowing freely from her eyes.
"Mostly, better now." He was being so gentle, so loving. Bulma sobbed in relief against him, safer than she had felt in so long. Kami, she was in his arms and she was safe and he hadn't turned from her in disgust. Vegeta wouldn't let anyone take her again, she knew that now. She clung to him weakly as he turned looking behind him.
"Did you... did you come alone?" His question was voiced gently, and she felt his hand slide round to her front, feeling for another ki.
He meant was she pregnant? He thought... he thought Gero had followed through on his threat or worse... Costa. She put a hand over his, gathering herself before answering him.
"Gero, didn't touch me, Vegeta. I swear it. There wasn't a chance. Trunks got us out of there the day after they took you."
"Costa?" Vegeta swallowed painfully, not even wanting to contemplate what she was going to say, preparing himself for the worst.
"Didn't either, he just thinks he did." Bulma drew in a deep, shuddering breath before continuing. "I was able to knock him out with a sedative."
Vegeta uttered a wordless sound of thanks, amazed and awed by her ingenuity and thanking God she was such a survivor. This woman was many things, but weak was not one of them. He lifted her in his arms, noticing for the first time, the deep,emotional distress etched into her beautiful face.
"Is Gero here with his army?"
"I don't know, I don't think so, at least not yet, but we--Trunks and I have these transmitters and he uses them to track us. I haven't gotten them out yet. I need something to cut it out." Her voice rose in desperation. There had to be something she could use. She held up her wrist in mute panic, showing him the scar.
"Hush woman, don't panic. We'll get them out in a moment. Let's get out of here first. Did the brat follow my instructions?"
" He went to retrieve Goku. Trunks said you'd find me and then we'd all meet back at the ship in..." She looked down at the watch she wore, gauging the time they had agreed on earlier in the ship. "...about twenty more minutes."
Vegeta nodded. "Let's go, I'll get you to the ship, then I am going to find Costa." His lip curled up menacingly. "I will kill him before I go anywhere."
He set her back on the ground, grabbing her hand to pull her along, but she dug her heels in, refusing to go, even as another explosion rocked the city.
"What is it, woman?" His voice held the slightest edge of irritation. "We need to go."
"Vegeta there isn't time for Costa, not now. Gero has tracked us here. Our ship's radar picked up a small fleet of his army. If you waste time with Costa, you'll either die or be back in Gero's control and then I will to because there is absolutely no way I am leaving you."
"You'll do as I say, woman." Vegeta snarled, hauling her against him. "I am the Prince and you will not wait for me and die." He growled at the thought.
"No!" Bulma turned her face away, showing him defiance, before shoving him away. "And don't tell me what to do. I'm not a subject you can lord over."
"Why you...! Are you...would you--would you actually deny me my vengenance against Costa?" Vegeta could hardly fathom that she of all people would deny him the one thing he needed to have above anything else.
Bulma stepped back towards him, placing her free hand on his cheek and smiling as he unconsciously rubbed against it.
"No, Vegeta," She sighed. "I'm just asking you to put it off. He'll come back for you, his insanity will demand it. Costa isn't going to let you go that easily. I think I can state that with certainty." She shuddered at the memory of the madness that had shone from his eyes. "Please.." Bulma mercilessly batted her blue eyes at him, desperate enough to try anything within her arsenal to get him on board their ship. "Please..." She shut her eyes and waited, feeling his hand convulse around hers, hearing the low growl that emanated from deep in his chest.
"Fine, woman. I will come, but when Costa comes, there will be no release for him. I will kill him for myself and for you." The way she had said please had made his heart constrict. His mate was terrified and it wasn't all for him. Vegeta could hear the tremor in her voice, could see the barely concealed mental horrors she had gone through. He couldn't leave her alone, not yet and for the first time in his life, he was going to think of something beyond his own personal desires.
"That's fine, just don't do it today. We can get home, and find a place to hide. Then you and Goku can try to come up with some kind of plan. Gero has gone completely insane... he has to be stopped."
Vegeta frowned. "I have no desire to save your planet, woman. I will stay long enough to retrieve our son, then I will take you as far away from Chikyuu as I can possibly get."
"Are you joking?" Bulma looked at him in disbelief. "That is my home. I am not running away from it. I will fight for it."
"Don't be foolish, woman. If he has an entire army of those mechanical nightmares, there is no way to win. I've come to realize that now."
"I refuse to believe that. I would rather die trying, then live my life on the run." Bulma's blue eyes flashed at him, full of steely determination.
"You will not die!" Vegeta crushed her to him again, growling in her ear. "I will not allow you to die."
Bulma smiled despite herself.
"As much as I think you would be able to keep that from happening, I know the reality. You're as helpless to stop that as I am."
"Watch me." Vegeta released her and tugged at her hand. "We can argue this point later, woman. Let's go now."
Vegeta pulled her into the shadowy depths of the tunnels, his sharp Saiya-jin eyes able to distinguish turns and bends in the darkened stone path. He searched out with his ki, attempting to find his son and Kakkarot. He could make out a faint trace, but nothing substantial.
Brat? Vegeta called out in his mind. Where are you?
Father? Trunks voice was sharp as a bell in his mind. Father, we are almost to the ship. Where are you?
So you retrieved Kakkarot?
Yeah, I've got him.
Your mother and I are in the tunnels, we will be there shortly.
Hurry, Dad. Gero's army is almost upon us. I think they will wipe out this planet.
So your mother tells me. Vegeta growled under his breath. A whole fucking army, huh? We'll be there momentarily, when you reach the ship, get it ready to go. Your mother will fly it. She's the only one who has the skill to maneuver it.
It'll be ready, Father.
Trunks and Goku ran up the ramp where Eriadne stood waiting, her blue eyes flashing in alarm. "Trunks! Gero's army is attacking! We have to go!"
"I know, Dad has Mom and they will be here in a few minutes. Let's get this thing fired up."
"I'll stay here and watch for Vegeta and Bulma!" Goku, turned and stood anxiously at the top of the ramp, watching as frantic people scurried from falling buildings and raging fires. As far as he could see, the city lay in ruins, every part of it burning. The stench of thick black smoke clogged the air and choked him. Goku closed his eyes to the terrified screams of the people he couldn't help. Damn you, Gero. Trunks had told him of the army. Gero had brought Hell to Maordi Prime.
His eyes caught sight of Vegeta who flew at full speed, Bulma in tow, towards the ship.
Goku clasped her to him as Vegeta set her down. "Bulma," he whispered. "Thank Kami your're alright."
"She's fine, Kakkarot, now let her go so she can get us out of here." Vegeta gently pushed her towards the cockpit, turning to close up the ramp.
Bulma hurried to the cockpit and slid into the pilot's seat, quickly aclimating herself to the new controls.
"It's fired up and ready to go, Mom!" Trunks smiled at her. "Let's get out of here."
Bulma nodded and put back pressure on the throttle, lifting the ship into the air and sending power to the engines. She was rewarded as the ship's thrusters fired powerfully and they rushed forward, surging away from the burning city.
She shut her eyes as they burst into space, leaving behind the havoc of the attack on the planet. It appeared that Gero had sent his entire army to attack the city. There was nothing to hold them back as they entered space.
"Trunks, could you please take the controls." Bulma stood up, oblivious to her son's concerned gaze and stumbled out of the cockpit. She was oblivious to anything but getting to the lavatory on the ship so that she could throw up. They had done it. Somehow they had managed to make it to the planet, get the men and make it off alive.
Vegeta stood as she brushed past him, pale and shaking, and followed closely behind her as she half-ran to the ship's lavatory. He slammed the door to the compartment behind him and held her shaking body as she heaved into the small toilet, gently helping her up and to the sink.
It was only after she had rinsed her mouth and splashed her face that she turned to face him, her body trembling with emotion.
"I'm sorry," She sobbed brokenly. "I just...we actually did it. Your're safe and we actually..." She broke off as sobs wracked her body, only vaguely aware of Vegeta lifting her up and wrapping her in his arms.
"You're safe, woman, I will not allow anyone to take you from me again." His voice was low and hot in her ear, warming her.
"Oh Kami, Vegeta," Bulma sobbed into his neck, mouth hungrily meeting his as he melded them together.
His forehead pressed against hers shakily.
"Let me take it away." His voice was a harsh whisper in the dimly lit compartment. "Let me erase his touch." His trembling hand sweeped lightly over her body, afraid she would say no, his black eyes watching hers for any sign of resistance. He couldn't and wouldn't push her too far too fast. If she pushed him away, he would go. He watched the sapphire eyes flutter shut as his finger trailed, slowly, downward into her pants; gently caressing the warm center of her body before sliding back up under her shirt.
"Bulma," Vegeta moaned against her throat. "I..." His throat closed up on him, trapping the words he had wanted to say--had planned to say. He would show her instead. Show her with every part of himself. There was nothing left to hide. His barriers had all been blown apart, exploded into thousands of pieces.
Bulma's head rolled back against the wall, her hands slowly coming up to caress the smoothness of his back. She wanted him to touch her, to make it all go away; to show her he didn't care whether or not Costa had laid his hands all over her body. She just wanted him. She shoved at the band of his battle pants, trying to push them down. He brushed her shaking hands away, doing the job himself. Faintly she felt him lifting her back against the wall, felt him rip the denim of her jeans in one heated moment.
"Yes, oh Kami, yes, Vegeta." Vegeta pushed inside her and stopped, fumbling with the buttons of her shirt.
Bulma tensed. Oh no! If Vegeta took the shirt off he would see the bite mark, the bite mark that Costa had given her. The one he had said showed Saiya-jin possession. Bulma struggled to keep it on, surprising him.
"Woman?" Vegeta ground out, his teeth clenched together tightly as he fought against the desperate urge to move within her. Not yet. First, he wanted to feel her pressed against him completely unhindered of her clothes.
"I'm not ready, Vegeta. I'm sorry, I thought I was... " Sapphire eyes swung fearfully away from him, avoiding his gaze. Kami, she just wanted him to make love to her, to make her forget the past week had happened at all. She couldn't let him see the damn mark.
Vegeta's eyes narrowed in suspicion. His woman was hiding something from him. There was something she didn't want him to know. He glanced down at the small fist that had wrapped around his fingers, halting him from removing her shirt, glancing back up at her--eyes squeezed tightly shut. Her whole body trembling violently against his.
Bulma gasped as he ripped the shirt off, her eyes shooting upwards to meet his rapidly darkening ones.
"What are you hiding from me?" Vegeta growled, his mood swiftly shifting back to something far more dangerous and primal. "What are you hiding from me, woman?" He withdrew from her abruptly, his body aching from the need to be back inside her and let her body slide back down to the floor.
"Nothing." Bulma cried out weakly, bereft at the loss of him and of his presence in her body. Why had she thought it would be any different now? Why had she thought he would care, that he wouldn't be angry with her? She bit her lip in a meager attempt to not sob in front of him... to hold together what small amount of pride she had left, but her emotions would not allow it and burst forth from her body raggedly. Why did she have to be such a pitiful weakling?
Vegeta watched her in desperation, his black eyes sweeping over every inch of her exposed body as it shook with sobs. Had she lied to him? Had she actually been raped? He moved closer again, eyes settling on the fragile column of her neck and saw it. The mark. In all the uproar of the crowds and escaping and getting her off that planet, he had forgotten about the mark that Costa had told him he had bestowed on her. Nothing could have prepared him for the gut-wrenching shock of seeing it marring her skin. The sight of the bite was ten times worse then hearing about it and Vegeta forgot everything else as the blood roared through his veins.
The bastard had dared to claim his woman. He felt the blood drain from his face as he slowly stretched out his hand to caress the ragged wound on her neck. God, he would kill Costa slowly. All the pain that Costa's taunts had brought him paled in comparison to actually seeing it, realizing it was true, and seeing the distressed state it had left her in. That he could understand very well. It had taken him nearly ten years to get over Frieza and all he had forced upon him and to say he had gotten over it was a serious overstatement.
Through the red haze of his fury, he managed to stutter out words, surprising himself with their calm delivery. He credited it to the fact that he knew she was falling apart and one of them needed to hold things together, if there was any hope of getting things back together.
"He marked you. He told me he had." His fist clenched at his side and Vegeta forced himself to turn away, afraid that if he continued to stare at it, at her beautiful, heartbroken face, he would break down like a baby. The full impact of all she had gone through and all she had suffered finally hitting him like a ton of bricks and the knowledge that it was all his fault burned through him like fire. He had refrained from claiming her completely--of marking her himself. It had been the one, small vestige of control he had managed to hang onto in their couplings and now another man had beaten him to the punch.
"Oh Kami, Vegeta! I'm sorry." Bulma sobbed "I tried to fight him, to stop him... to do anything to get him off of me. He was just so strong... " She sobbed again, sliding to the floor in a defeated heap. " I'm sorry, Vegeta. Please forgive me! Please... "
His mouth silenced her, plundering hers... possessing.
"You have always been mine, woman and I will see that mark burned from you. " His voice was harsh and ragged against her mouth. Burn it from her? Bulma shuddered, a mixture of fear and relief warring within her. He was so fierce and adamant. How would he burn it from her? Kami, if it removed it from her skin, she would gladly see him do it.
"Al--alright." Bulma gasped as he pressed his hands onto her, drawing her tightly against him and infusing her with some of his energy.
"Bite me, Bulma. Use all of your strength and mark me, woman. Mark me as yours." Vegeta growled the words into her ear.
Bulma leaned forward, her finger tracing the small scar that marred the skin on his own neck. A burn mark.
"Oh Kami! Vegeta... Frieza."
Vegeta flinched, but nodded, his face remaining closed off and guarded.
"I would have sooner killed myself then allowed him to scar me up for his own pleasure. Now do it!"
Bulma nodded, her mouth settling against the warm, throbbing pulse of his neck and she bit down hard, breaking the skin. The coppery taste of his blood flowed into her mouth and she gulped it down, uncaring of what it was she was drinking. She heard a strangled moan and felt his arms hook together around her as he slid down to the floor, his strength leaving him in the wake of his pleasure.
Vegeta freed himself, completely, from the confines of his pants and pulled her astride him. Oh God, she was claiming him. She was marking him like a Saiya-jin woman. He entered her forcefully.
"I will burn every memory," he rasped against her mouth, "every memory save me, from your mind, woman." Vegeta pulled out and thrust again, harder, faster. Bulma groaned as he pounded into her, his body shaking as it strained against hers. Each powerful thrust more mind-numbing, more possessing, than the last. She watched him, wide-eyed, as he set his finger to her neck. "I will erase everything Bulma and from this day forward we belong to each other."
Bulma clenched her teeth at the sharp burst of pain, gasping as his teeth sunk into her delicate skin, even as he kept his body rocking fiercely against her. Oh Kami, this was nothing like what had happened with Costa. Her head fell back as he moved within her, reaching his climax, his breath harsh and ragged as he came-- moaning her name softly.
"Oh Kami, Vegeta. Oh Kami Kami." Her climax roared through her with all the gentleness of a tidal wave. Overwhelming her in its intensity.
"He will never have a claim to you woman. That is my mark on you. My body joined to yours and it will never be his brat you carry... only mine. Mine!" His voice was harsh, his eyes searing a blazing trail of heat straight through her.
Bulma nodded weakly, moaning as his body shifted under her, already hard and moving within her again. This time, though, he moved slowly, gently, threading his shaking hands through her silky, blue locks.
"Mine." Vegeta whispered against her mouth. "You will always be mine."
"Take the baby and hide in the cellar!" Doctor Briefs pushed his wife down the stairs, handing Trunks to her, before slamming the trap door shut and sliding the rug over it. He had been unable to find Chi-Chi. He prayed she would be alright.
Running away from the cellar, he ran back towards the underground labs in an attempt to divert the attention away from his wife and grandson and lure the artifiical humans away from their hiding places. He was unprepared for the hand that shot out and wrapped around his neck.
"Good evening, Doctor Briefs. We've been looking for you."
Briefs looked at Juunanagou and shivered, his heart falling as he saw Juuhachigou with Chi-Chi slung over her back like a bag of potatoes.
"Oh no, " He moaned quietly. "Oh no."
* * * * *
COMING NEXT CHAPTER : Costa plots revenge, The Group Return to Chikyuu to find their friends captured, Goku searches for Chi-Chi as hysteria rocks all of the planet and Gero feeds the fear of the people. Trunks and Vegeta enter The Room Of Time and Spirit...