Disclaimer: Do not own Dragonball Z or the characters attributed to the series. I’m merely toying with them.
Note: This is a little piece that comes between BTD and Conquest and sort of ties in and explains the action going on as Conquest opens. In case it is hard to tell, I would say that it is set about a half a year before the events of Conquest start and about two and a half years since the end of BTD. It is so long I divided it into two parts. This is Part One.
Negi—The name I chose for Bardock’s dead wife, according to the online Japanese dictionary I found, means spring green onion.
"Bulma!" The sound of her voice being called in something she could only describe as a dull roar greeted her the minute she walked into the front hall of their house. With a roll of her eyes, she bent to slip off her shoes.
"I know, I know…" she muttered under her breath with a grimace. "The gravity machine has broken down." The man hadn’t seen her for two whole weeks and already, before he had even seen her he was going to carry on over that damn machine. Though why that should surprise her was beyond her.
"The gravity room is broken." The smooth, deep voice came from behind her and she whirled around, finding herself pinned between the hard, cool wall and the very solid, very heated body of her husband. "But," he continued softly, mouth inches away from hers, sensuous lips curved into the slightest of smirks. "That’s not what I wanted."
"Vegeta." Bulma pushed her hands against him feebly, not really trying to escape. She enjoyed being around him far too much. It was perhaps the biggest mystery of their three-year-old relationship, this desire that never seemed to abate or lessen. Even now, she found herself wanting him—wanting—no she amended to herself, needing that amazing connection that seemed to come to life when they were together. She gasped as his heated mouth scorched a fiery trail down the slender column of her neck.
"Were you mocking me, woman?" His voice rumbled against the base of her throat, sending a jolt of electricity racing down her spine. "That’s a dangerous thing to do."
"Mocking you?" Bulma replied innocently, trying to remain in control of her senses. "Of course not." She moaned huskily as his mouth made its way back up her throat to nip playfully at her jaw line. "I was merely—merely stating what I assumed to be the obvious." She squirmed restlessly in his grip, barely managing to stutter out the words. Her body trembled as his hand skimmed along the length of her leg trailing even higher along the inside of her thigh.
"Hmmph." Was his only reply as he molded his hard body against hers, letting his hand slip upwards along her thigh to caress the silk of the panties that she wore. "It appeared to be mockery to me, wench." He teased, lifting her effortlessly against the wall. "Perhaps it is time you learned how the Prince of the Saiya-jin deals with low class women who mock him."
Bulma’s half-closed eyes flew open. "Low class?" She whispered hoarsely, unable to form a single coherent thought. "Women?" She managed to push hard at his chest, though he didn’t budge an inch. "Just how many women have you been showing?"
Vegeta smirked, ripping her panties with a single gesture. His black, slashing brows drew downwards wickedly. "Woman, I have been away for two weeks training with that idiot Kakkarot, I haven’t the time for such idiotic discussions." Freeing himself from his pants, he wrapped her legs around his waist and thrust forcefully into her.
"Vegeta—ooh…" Her mock cry of outrage turned to a breathless moan as he slid inside her. He was right, she thought. It had been far too long since they had been together to argue about anything now, far longer than she was used to. Besides he had been teasing her and she knew it. "Maybe we should go upstairs." She whispered huskily into his ear, wrapping her arms around his neck and hanging on for her life as he began to move fiercely against her.
"There isn’t time for that." Vegeta grunted taking her fast and hard and moving inside her with the desperation of a starving man led to food. "Your father is here."
Bulma stiffened against him in panic. "My father is here?" She groaned as he moved even faster against her, wanting to scream out her pleasure, to do anything to free these building sensations in her that were threatening to boil over and burn her with their heat. God, he felt so good. She clutched at his back, moaning his name aloud. She needed to get him out of here before her father showed up and caught them. She bit her lip, trying to regain her thoughts, only to lose herself in a crimson-hued fog of passion. Leaning her head against his and moaning softly she drew closer to the pinnacle he was driving them both towards. Managing to find her voice, she whispered harshly at him. "And you are fucking me against a damn wall?" Bulma was hard-pressed to stop him considering how completely turned on she was and how much she craved the physical contact with him. And she'd be damned if the bastard didn’t know that.
"I like the danger, woman." Vegeta ground out hoarsely, panting breathlessly into her ear. He lowered his sweat-beaded face to her, ravaging her mouth with his own in a violent claiming that left her gasping for air before resting his forehead against hers; his breathing hoarse and ragged against her mouth as he watched her writhe against him almost desperately, her eyes half-open, clouded—heavy with need and desire. He felt her small hands as they traveled all over his body and he stifled a groan.
With a moan of surrender Bulma gave herself over to her feelings, praying to God that her father wouldn’t decide to walk in and catch them in this rather uninhibited act. She’d enjoy it now and have his tail for it later on, though. He could count on that. His tail! She’d completely forgotten about the tail that was wrapped tightly around his waist. Silly man actually though he could stop her from touching him that way. With a grin she slid her hand down to the furry appendage and stroked it.
Vegeta groaned loudly, cursing her and her proficiency at being able to make him lose control. With sheer force of will, he maintained the rhythm he had set, clenching his teeth to fight off the feelings of near intoxicating pleasure that were threatening to overtake him like some kind of fine Arlian wine washing through his blood. His hand clenched tightly in her silky hair but he maintained his pace and his control, losing himself only when her climax hit her and she thrust upwards wildly moaning his name like some wildcat in heat and taking him even deeper within her tight body. His own climax came then—hard and he groaned raggedly with it, spilling himself inside her and clutching her to him as if she were his only lifeline. It seemed never-ending as he was lost to its will until finally the last shuddering spasm shot through him and he leaned her shakily against the wall, his breath coming harsh and uneven from the force of his pleasure.
After several long, haze-filled moments Vegeta let her legs slide slowly to the floor making sure she was steady before he straightened himself and turned to go. "They took Trunks out for a walk." He replied innocently to the look of riotous indignation she shot him, his body still shaking like a leaf from their encounter. "You were never in any danger of being seen." He chuckled lightly before exiting. "Oh and woman, the gravity machine is broken."
"Damn you, Vegeta!" Bulma chucked a shoe at his retreating form, snarling as it flew wide to the right and missed him. She listened to the sound of his laughter as he retreated out of the house. "Laugh it up now, mate, but just you wait until tonight. You’ll wish you’d been better behaved." Still she couldn’t argue with what they had done or how they had done it. It had been two weeks and she had missed him terribly. It never failed to amaze her at how much Vegeta always seemed to want to touch her and how willing she was to be touched. It had been that way from the start, it seemed—when they had first met each other on Nafet all those years ago. Whatever it was that existed between them defied logic and remained unexplainable. She only knew that it was there and it had not lessened in the years they had been together.
She had asked Chi-Chi once if it was that way with her and Kakkarot and after much blushing and stuttering from Chi-Chi, Bulma had been able to ascertain that it was, and that it was seemingly something natural to the Saiya-jin race. Not a race of words nor a race given to wearing their hearts on their sleeves, they relied on acts and feelings alone to convey their emotions and she had learned that the bond she and Vegeta had started some three years ago was growing stronger every time they came together. It was an act of surrender for both of them, something that deepened their trust and love for one another every single time they gave in to the other. She was absolutely positive that it was the bond between them that enhanced the experience to such levels of pleasure, not that Vegeta wasn’t good at what he did. In fact he was excellent—she would have known pleasure no matter what lay between them, but the extra connection was intense to say the least and it made sex with Vegeta all the more addictive, enough to make her consider keeping him tied to her bed all hours of the day. She giggled at the thought of Vegeta as her sex slave while she climbed up the stairs to their room. She might have to pose that question to him later tonight, see how willing he was to do nothing else but live for her pleasures. That should get a rise out of him, in more ways than one.
Discarding her clothes, she slipped into the bathroom with the intention of showering. It had been a long, strenuous day, though the recent activities had gone a long way to releasing some of the pent up stress. Still some hot water would feel heavenly right now. Turning on the water, she moved back to her sink, pausing to stare at herself in the mirror and half-smiled at the woman who stared back. "The woman who enslaved the mighty Prince Vegeta. I kind of like the sound of that." Laughing lightly at herself, she turned back to the shower, reaching in to check the temperature
"Oh that thought would make him so happy." She could almost picture the look on his face if she even suggested it. First the little vein in his forehead would start throbbing and then the fists would clench before the yelling would start. Though she doubted he would have too many arguments if she tried to do it tonight in the privacy of their room. The man was exceptionally malleable when it came to their sex life and though he loved to be in charge and in control, he was not so rigid about it that he wouldn’t allow her to have her fun with him.
Ahh, the joys of being married, or almost so—an unofficial marriage of sorts, she supposed. Granted she had not had the more human ceremony, but Vegeta had assured her that they were properly married since they had shared the more informal hand fasting that was common on his planet where two people were unofficially wed by simply declaring their intent under the God’s watchful eyes. And though she knew she should probably demand the human ceremony, she was loath to go to all the trouble. Vegeta had assured her they were married and that was good enough for her. She trusted him with all her heart and she knew him well enough to know that he’d ensure their union was good and official.
With a sigh Bulma stepped into the shower, letting the warm water wash over her tired body. It had been a long, miserable day at work and she was exhausted. The hot water would feel good.
Vegeta walked to the gravity room with a sigh of satisfaction, glad to be back home and back inside the room after two weeks of training in the wilds with Kakkarot. Since she had first built it some three years ago, Bulma had upgraded it for him some fifteen times and repaired it weekly. He smirked with amusement at the memory of the first time he had blown it up. She had stared at his bruised and bloody figure with something akin to dumbstruck horror before she had started her screeching. Now, it had become routine and they had both fallen into a predictable pattern of him breaking it and she yelling at him before she would finally relent and fix whatever damage he had managed to do.
Though he reeked of his woman and needed a shower he wanted to have a short workout before his dinner where he would be forced to make conversation with Bulma’s father and mother. His brow creased in contemplation. He actually wanted to converse with the old man. Sitting on Correnia, which was located in the trade belt of the galaxy, he was in the perfect position to hear of any news that pertained to Frieza’s empire. Things had been in an uproar for the past two and a half years as the planets had found themselves suddenly free of the tyrannical rule that had held them in line for so many years. Frieza’s armies had been hunted down and slaughtered, rulers placed on the throne by Frieza’s own hand had been either slain, deposed or had deserted for their very lives. Now there was an extremely loose coalition and interplanetary discussion of how to connect the universe as a unified whole again without the same forced, cruel leadership that Frieza had brought to the table with him. Vegeta had stayed away from the entire thing having no interest for the politics of the matter.
He was a man of action not words. He had once sought to control, once wanted the power that Frieza had wielded over all and sundry and now living here on Chikyuu, he no longer really knew what he wanted. His life had fallen into a predictable rut of training and living with his woman and child. He couldn’t say he longed for more, truth be told he wasn’t sure what he wanted, so he was oddly content for now while he attempted to figure it out, yet somewhere deep inside, occasionally, he could feel the slightest stirrings of discontent—the desire to reclaim all that had been lost to him. The rumblings were so small they were barely discernible and yet lately, they seemed to be screeching at him in their desire to see the light of day. He found the sensation troubling and more than a little confusing considering he fully believed that he had moved on from such thoughts and aspirations. He didn’t know what to make of it and the conflict made him angry. It shouldn’t be this difficult to decide what he wanted in his life.
Moving to the control panel he set the gravity level, moving back to the floor to begin his brief workout. Starting with push-ups, he lowered himself to the floor with a single finger, raising himself up and repeating the action again and again in complete silence. He had just started on his second set before the distant sound of a repetitive beep disturbed his concentration. It was probably his woman calling to harass him about something. He hadn’t even been in here for fifteen minutes. Moving back to the control panel in irritation it took him a moment to realize that the beep wasn’t the transmitter. It was something else. Frowning, he cocked his head listening intently to the sound. If he didn’t know any better he would have sworn it sounded like the old scouters they had all been forced to use under Frieza. The beeping seemed to emanate from a cluster of old boxes he had stacked against the back wall—left over remnants of his time with Frieza, of a time he would rather forget. If it was the old scouter, who in the hell would be communicating with him through that? He felt something ominous and painful grip his heart and he inhaled sharply. What did this mean?
Moving quickly to the boxes, he dug through them, heart hammering painfully in his chest as he searched for the scouter. Finding it at the bottom of the second box, he picked it up with shaking hands, staring at the red light that flashed brightly in the corner. He hadn’t even been aware that he had left it on. His tail lashed nervously behind him. Who would be trying to contact him with this?
Sickened by the thought that he would have to use this damnable thing yet again, he held it up to his face, something he had not done in over three years. Clicking it on, he spoke into the transmitter. "This is Vegeta."
"Prince Vegeta?" The silken voice that came back at him was one he did not recognize, though for some reason it invoked an odd memory, one from his childhood, from before he had been sent to live under Frieza’s command. He struggled to recall, but it lingered on the fringes of his mind—just out of reach. "Prince Vegeta, have we finally reached you?" The voice was faint, but distinct enough that Vegeta could easily hear shocked disbelief in the tone. His brow furrowed.
"This is Prince Vegeta." He snapped into the receiver with arrogance, angered that he would allow this to cause him even a moment’s uncertainty. "Who is this?"
"My Prince, this is your most loyal subject—Vergerom. I served your father on the Saiya-jin Royal Council." The voice oozed insincerity but Vegeta ignored it, too shocked at the man’s identity to do anything but sputter. The dull thud of his heart deafened him, as it seemed to grow louder in his chest. There was another Saiya-jin alive? He had believed himself and the small group with him to be the only ones that had survived the destruction on Vegitasei. How had there come to be another one?
Vergerom? He could recall a Vergerom, though just barely. As he recalled Vergerom had been a sniveling Saiya-jin, one not cut from the warrior caste, yet one that had managed to surround himself with the strongest and most cunning of Saiya-jin, his father included. He had been a politician to the core and had sat as head of the Royal Council during his father’s reign. He could recall the old man having bitched about him and his attitude from time to time, but nothing more than that. He had been far too young and self-absorbed to really pay any attention to the inner dealings of the monarchy and had been shipped off to serve Frieza shortly thereafter.
"How did you manage to survive Vegitasei’s destruction?" Vegeta asked incredulously. "I was led to believe by Frieza that there were no survivors."
"My Prince, there are a hundred more survivors." Vergerom spoke gravely through the static filled receiver.
"What?!" Vegeta nearly dropped the scouter before regaining his equilibrium. He felt his heart quicken at that little admission, but forced the feelings away. This was all so sudden and strange. It was almost more than he could assimilate into his brain. There were more Saiya-jin alive. How… he didn’t know what to say. He had been resigned to the fact that his planet and his people had all perished and now to find a band of them alive…it left him struggling to find words. "I—" He broke off, unsure what to ask first.
"King Vegeta sent several of the council members to Reiketsu to deal with Frieza’s court." Vergerom paused, voice solemn and heavy through the static of the receiver. "The King had some idea that things were going badly with Frieza and he sent us to try to negotiate some binding peace with him. We traveled with our families. We were stranded on Reiketsu after Vegitasei was—" Vergerom paused again. "Destroyed." He whispered.
"It has been over three years since Vegitasei was destroyed. Why are you now just contacting me?" Vegeta’s voice shook with emotion. What did this mean? And why would his father have allowed them to travel with their families on a diplomatic mission? For that matter why would they have chosen to take them along? That was highly unusual. Something about this seemed—odd.
"It has taken me this long to find you, Prince Vegeta." Vergerom replied calmly. "We were held on Reiketsu for a long while as Frieza decided what to do with us. Before he made his decision, he was killed. We were kept on Reiketsu for another year by those changelings that remained loyal to him before we managed to steal a ship and make our escape. We traveled as far as Metamor before we needed to stop and supply ourselves. It was during this time we heard of your possible survival and part in Frieza’s death. After dealing with those wounded and sick from our time on Reiketsu we traveled to the remains of Vegitasei to—" he paused, somber voice suddenly heavy. "See the devastation for ourselves. We had held some hope that Frieza had lied to us until we saw the debris that remains of our planet. We traveled onwards to Karpath and it is there that we set up our homes so to speak. We waited to hear more about you, something more substantial than rumors and innuendos. It took a long while for anything to blow our way, but it finally did and once we knew…once we found out where you were located and that you were still alive, several of us boarded our ships and came to meet with you, our Prince. We sit on Arlia now. We had hoped to make contact with you before we arrived and help prepare you for what we are sure must be a shock. We need only your exact coordinates so that we might easily find you. The scouter was the last transmitting source we had in our records for you, records we managed to steal off of our stolen ship when we left Reiketsu. We will be on Chikyuu in just a few weeks."
Vegeta sat back on his heels in shock. There were Saiya-jin alive and on their way to his home. He thought about what he had just heard and frowned. There was something just wrong about what Vergerom was telling him, something odd in the tone of his voice, something that lit his nerves on fire, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Everything they had said was feasible and Vergerom had been nothing short of respectful, but still—Vegeta heard something…conniving and it was tripping off every instinctual alarm he had. To allow these surviving Saiya-jin to come to this planet where his mate and child were left him cold, but yet he wanted to see them, wanted to see the proof of his race’s survival. Perhaps face-to-face, he would be able to see what bothered him about Vergerom besides the fact that he was of a political factor, something Vegeta loathed. Bulma and Trunks would be in no danger as long as he was with them. He would kill whomever tried to bring them harm, so why not.
"I will be here, Vergerom." Vegeta said coolly, keeping his voice haughty and authoritative. "This planet is my home now so when you come you will show it respect." He said nothing about Bulma or his heir. He already knew Vergerom was of the old way of thinking and would not take to the idea of an alien Queen or half-breed Princeling well. Better the bastard be shocked when he arrived.
"Of course, my Prince. I do not have the appetite for mindless destruction, not after what I saw of Vegitasei. The thought leaves me sick." Vergerom’s voice seemed to fade.
"I will key in the coordinates and expect your arrival anytime." Vegeta stated imperiously, standing to leave the gravity room. Crossing to the hanger, he strode to one of Bulma’s ships and entered, moving to the cockpit and keying in the navicomputer. Finding the coordinates he was looking for he relayed them to Vergerom and clicked off before sitting back in the Captain’s chair, his mind abuzz. There were Saiya-jin alive and they were coming here. The thought was mind-boggling. How was he going to prepare Bulma for this? She was going to have a difficult time being his mate. Vergerom and the other council members were as grounded in the old customs as it came. They held to the idea of only a Saiya-jin woman holding the title of Queen though his father had been more progressive, seeing the benefits of alliances with other planets. It was only unfortunate for him that the old bastard had sought to ally him with Sorentie and that miserable Parisia. He shuddered, feeling the sudden urge to clean himself. He could well remember her. He could remember far more than he cared to from time to time. He suppressed another shudder before getting out of the chair and exiting the ship.
He still had to prepare his mate for this little bit of information as well. He wasn’t sure what to tell her or how. Suddenly things that had seemed so cut and dry only moments before were confusing and—he ended the thought, refusing to go any further into agonizing or detail until he absolutely had to. The first thing he had to do was go and tell his wife, then he would try to think about how to handle all the problems he already knew were coming. He’d call Bardock and Toma and even Kakkarot to him and let them know as well.
With resolve he crossed the yard and entered the house searching for his mate. Locating her in their room he began the climb to reach her.
Finally deciding to end what had been a nice, long hot shower, Bulma slipped naked and dripping from the bathroom and crossed to the window, staring out through the thick glass over the compound at the waning autumn light. So her father had come to visit. He had returned to Correnia some three months after the death of Frieza, taking the Saiya-jin, Vegeta included, with him to reclaim his throne and his people from the interim ruler that Frieza had placed on his throne. There had been little resistance to the sudden coup; Frieza’s iron will having been the only thing holding the already disjointed members of his race and followers together and with the tyrant’s death, chaos and anarchy seemed to rule them all. The planets of the universe that had so long been held by Frieza’s iron grip had been free to govern themselves, finally rid of the corrupt officials that had been in Frieza’s pocket.
No one knew where Koola, Frieza’s only brother was and the father—King
Cold was dead thanks to Toma and the small band of fighters he had led against him. Toma had sworn to shooting down Koola and believed him dead, so the majority of the universe thought him dead as well, except for Vegeta. To Vegeta’s way of thinking, Toma had never seen a body nor confirmed the kill and that left much open to speculation, something Vegeta did not care to do. Meanwhile, the planets of the universe had turned to correcting the past forty years of corrupted rule and her father’s own planet had been returned to him.
And he had remained, rebuilding and healing the wounds his people had suffered, helping them come to terms with their own losses and devastations. He had been a frequent visitor to Chikyuu however, and Bulma was fairly certain she knew that it was more than her and his grandson that drew him back.
Brennon Angione had taken to her natural mother from the day he had first met her and saved her life, rescuing her from half a lifetime of servitude and horrendous treatment at the hands of Frieza and his vile henchman. And Brennon was the only man besides Vegeta that her mother trusted implicitly. Teddi Briefs had known nothing but horror for the majority of her life, imprisoned by Frieza and given over to Ginyu to be used however he saw fit. She had seen her husband and child lost to her and yet she had survived and had maintained hope. Bulma shuddered at what she knew her mother had been forced to endure, though the woman had never spoken to her of the horrors. She had merely spoken of her true father, of their life on Chikyuu before Frieza and of the events that had led up to his death and her imprisonment. Teddi Briefs seemed at peace with her existence for the first time in years, yet from time to time Bulma saw the shadows that still lingered in the depths of her mother’s blue eyes—as blue as the eyes of her daughter and grandson. Yet, whenever Brennon was there, it seemed those shadows disappeared and it was as if a light shone forth from inside her, making the cerulean orbs nearly luminescent in their glow. Yes, there was far more between Brennon and her mother than mere friendship and the idea that both had managed to find some sense of happiness together left Bulma feeling joyous. She only wished her brother had survived to see it.
Lost in thought, Bulma startled as two warm steel arms slid around her bare waist before relaxing instantly at the feel of a soft, furry tail, flicking along the inside of her legs gently. She leaned back against the solid muscle of her mate’s chest, taking comfort in the familiar raw strength that he wielded so casually. She was never safer than when she was with this man and she knew it.
"You’re still damp." He spoke quietly into her ear with a wry chuckle before flaring his ki and drying her off.
"I was enjoying the sunset." Bulma replied softly, crinkling her brow at the sudden blast of heat. "And thinking how far we’ve come in such a short time."
"It’s too quiet." Vegeta spoke hesitantly, loath to frighten her and trying to find a good way to tell her about the Saiya-jin that were descending upon them. "I—" He shook his head and moved away from her, unsure how to finish without scaring the shit out of her. "Koola isn’t dead, I know it. He’s far too savvy a fighter to be shot down out of the blue and killed. Toma, idiot that he is, didn’t bother to check the wreckage or see that what he had started was finished. Koola isn’t the type to just up and leave well enough alone nor is he the kind who scares easily. He’s out there plotting something." Vegeta moved to sit on the edge of the bed. "And he’s also far more practical than his brother and less prone to the same weaknesses that destroyed Frieza in the end."
"Are you so sure he’s not dead, Vegeta?" Bulma turned from the window to stare at him, shrugging off the errant chill that had slithered down her spine at his words. "It’s been so long since Frieza’s death. Surely he would have made some move by now. Maybe Toma got lucky."
"I know Koola, woman, and I know his race. I was forced to serve that whole damn family…hell your own father served that family—Koola is far stronger than his brother, he just lacked the ambition that Frieza had to bring it all together. I know that, Toma knows that; pretending it isn’t true won’t make him or his threat disappear. The universe is massive. He’s out there somewhere wreaking havoc or getting ready to do so."
"Then what would change that now?" Bulma crossed the darkening room, kneeling before him on the floor and looking up into his bottomless black eyes, forcing herself to stay focused on his words. If she weren’t careful she’d lose herself in that soul-wrenching gaze and be forever helpless. There was so much pent-up emotion within him, so much he held trapped inside—looking into his eyes was like peering into a churning cauldron. "If he had no previous thought to holding the universe as his brother did, why would he suddenly get ambitious now and come after everyone?" With supreme effort she met his gaze.
"Revenge. And perhaps opportunity. I suspect he was biding his time until Frieza self-destructed. He knew his father favored Frieza and for some reason that only Koola knows, he held respect for the old bastard. All he had to do was wait until Frieza’s madness destroyed him and then…the door has been opened." Vegeta muttered tersely, glancing away from the intensity of her blue gaze. "Somewhere out there, he is plotting revenge for himself, for his family, for his race." The thought frightened him to no end considering it was Bulma that had struck the killing blow to Frieza. That was common knowledge and the idea that her life was in jeopardy left him feeling sick to his stomach. He trained harder and harder with each passing day, pushing his body to the limits and beyond so that he might protect her and his small family when the time came. He would not be subjugated again to any more of the Reiketsu-jin race or their rulers, the Colds. Koola was no better than his brother or father when it came to taking vengeance. He would hurt the ones that had done him and his family harm. It was the single strangest incongruity of the their race and of that particular family. Uncaring of anything—even each other, they still settled scores with those who had done them injury.
Bulma hugged herself tightly unable to stop the ice that had formed in her body and spread like a massive glacier at his utterance of that single word. "Great," She replied nervously. "And I’m the one that killed his brother. I suppose that makes me top on his list." She shivered convulsively.
"I will not allow him to harm you woman." Vegeta stared down at her, watching her slim form quake before him. "You should know that." With a sigh he reached for her and picked her up, laying her down gently on the bed and stretching out beside her, warming her icy skin with the heat of his body. "There is more you should know." He lay facing her, sharp black eyes drilling into her equally piercing blue gaze. "I received a transmission awhile ago from Arlia." He took a deep breath, blowing it out before going on. "Apparently there were a small contingent of Saiya-jin off planet when Frieza blew it up—about a hundred strong. Several of them are on their way here to meet with me."
Bulma’s eyes flared wide at his words. ‘Oh my god, Vegeta! That’s great news for you and for the others." She caressed his face lightly with her hand searching his eyes for some spark of happiness. "You are happy aren’t you? I know that the death of your race and planet was difficult for you."
"I grew used to the loss, Bulma." Vegeta replied, tracing a finger down the sharp flare of her hip. "The survivors that are left were sent by my father as peace envoys to the Cold’s—to Frieza. They were sent right before Frieza blew up the planet. They consist of council members and their families, men not of the warrior caste but politicians skilled in the art of deceit and trickery to further their cause." He spat in disgust. "Their only true purpose as far as I’m concerned is to hold back the King and cause trouble among the people."
"Then why keep them around if they stir up trouble?" Bulma asked curiously. "None of you Saiya-jin strike me as taking orders well, your father certainly didn’t… why didn’t he disband them?"
Vegeta sat up, a scowl marring the handsome features of his face. "The people want them to ensure that the King governs in the best interest of the people. If the King were to have discarded them it would have been seen as a hostile move against the people, unless you were strong enough to keep them in line." He added as an afterthought. "My father was far too ingrained in the old way of thinking to consider ridding himself of them and now…" He dropped his head, shaking it slightly. "Now they are all that remains of a race I had believed to be dead. They have women with them, full-blooded Saiya-jin women and with them there is a chance that the Saiya-jin race could re-populate."
"What are you suggesting, Vegeta?" Bulma felt her chest tighten painfully. "Are you thinking about—about…" She froze, unable to speak the words.
"What?" Vegeta rasped out, disgust with the situation flowing like a river through his veins. That this was what his race had been brought to…forced to repopulate not with warriors, but with politicians and those to weak to claim the Saiya-jin warrior legacy. It sickened him.
"Are you thinking about fathering a full-blooded Saiya-jin child?"
"What?" Vegeta asked looking at her appalled. "What in God’s name would give you that idea?" With a growl he pushed himself off the bed. "Dammit woman, what kind of honorless man do you take me for? I call you wife, sleep in your bed, fathered your brat and you ask me a question like that?" Vegeta stalked to the window, furious at her for even forming the words.
"Well what am I supposed to think when you mention that there are full-blooded Saiya-jin women in this group?" Bulma cried out, standing up and following him back to the window. "Don’t tell me the thought didn’t cross your mind."
It had for all of ten seconds but he had dismissed it as quickly as it had entered his brain. He had no desire to mate with anyone besides his woman, especially one that was not even a full-out warrior and Trunks, at the tender age of four, was already showing great strength—far greater than half the Saiya-jin he had encountered. The responsibility of carrying on the Saiya-jin bloodlines could fall to someone else, though he doubted that Kakkarot would have the balls or the desire to mate with anyone besides his own wife. He snorted at himself. He couldn’t say too much to that, since he had been horrified by the idea of sleeping with anyone besides Bulma, and it was his duty as the Prince and future King to uphold the rules and ways of the Saiya-jin race.
What a weakling he had become. As the Crown Prince he should be willing to do whatever he needed to do to further the Saiya-jin race, yet when it came to women he had only met one that he had been willing to tie himself to for all eternity and no matter how much he berated himself or fought against it he could not fight it or the claim she held over his entire being.
"Woman." Vegeta grated out when he felt ready to speak. "I don’t know what you want me to say. The thought did cross my mind and I dismissed it. You are my mate and that is the way it will stay. I will leave it up to the others to father Saiya-jin brats." He stood and moved away from her, crossing to the shower, needing desperately to be alone with his thoughts. "Your father is downstairs waiting for you. I’m going to take a shower." Without a backwards glance he went to their bathroom and shut the door.
"Great," Bulma muttered under her breath. She had pissed him off, though if she didn’t know any better she’d almost suspect that there was something else troubling him, something he had not told her about. And he hadn’t even bothered to tell her when these Saiya-jin that were set to descend upon them would arrive. If they were on Arlia and depending on what ship they were traveling in, she’d hazard a guess that they’d arrive in two to three weeks. Sighing in frustration she crossed to the bathroom door, laying her hand on the control panel that would open it before slowly letting it drop. Inside she could hear the steady drum of water as it fell. She wanted to go to him and apologize for whatever she had done to make him mad, but something held her back. He seemed to need some time alone; perhaps he had yet to assimilate all that was suddenly happening. There was something beyond what he was telling her. That was obvious and he apparently needed time and space to deal with it. They could talk later after dinner and she would try to apologize for her careless words. She'd give Vegeta the time he wanted and go visit with her father now and see what had brought him to Chikyuu.
Vegeta tilted his head back, feeling his muscles relax as the hot water ran over him and soaked into his skin. He shut his eyes, trying to shut out the nagging little voice that kept shouting at him to stop being a weakling and do what he had to do to rebuild the Saiya-jin race. He had been happy with Bulma, had been able to admit that he loved her--albeit grudgingly, had accepted that she was not a Saiya-jin but had proven herself to be his equal in every way possible. She had saved his life and killed Frieza, something he had not been able to do with all his great strength. He had spoken to her of his love the night of Frieza’s death long ago, after she had given him the cure that saved his life and he had meant it, though it had meant pushing aside years of mental conditioning and instinct that had taught him emotions of any kind were weaknesses, something to be feared and avoided. He had even spoken to her of his love when she had bore him their son. As far as he was concerned Bulma had earned the right to hear the words from his lips and he didn’t regret them, though he wasn’t sure he could understand them. What he felt for her was something that could not be described by words and he hated trying to label it. The feelings were just there and he had managed to accept them. He had believed his world gone, his people dead and he had settled into life on Chikyuu with his woman and their brat in relative peace, never once second guessing any of the decisions he had made. And though from time to time the insidious little voice that nagged at him that he was a warrior Prince and that he had a destiny to fulfill reared its ugly head, it had never been really more than a dull whisper in his heart—until now.
How could he even begin to tell this to Bulma and make her understand his dilemma without making her think that it wasn’t their life together he doubted? He was as bonded with her as deeply as he could be, loved her with his entire soul if that were the kind of description she wanted from him. Their bond defied logic and what truly frightened him was that it seemed to deepen with each passing moment they spent together. Vegeta could honestly say he had been more content in the past three years than he had ever been in his entire life. He had yet to go through an official Saiya-jin ceremony and Bulma hadn’t even brought up the human ceremony so they were joined only by the traditional claiming and bonding of Vegitasei—as binding as any official ceremony but easily challenged and broken, something Bulma didn’t know. It had never really bothered him before because there had never been anyone around who would or could challenge the union. And even though he had spent the majority of his life serving Frieza as a mercenary, he knew enough about Saiya-jin custom from his father’s training to know that any of the old council members would want him joined to a Saiya-jin woman if he were going to be their King.
With a sigh he shut off the water and leaned tiredly against the wet tile. The worst thing had been seeing the fear that had flickered in the wide blue depths of her eyes and to know that he had put it there. Bulma was no fool having been raised as royalty herself. She knew well the demands and duties that went with the title and she had known without him saying a word what might be asked of her. She had even put voice to that fear much to his displeasure and even though he had vehemently denied it to her, he wondered how far he was willing to go to claim his birthright. Would he keep her and turn it down or give her up and accept it. Bulma would never be his concubine and truth be told, he could never accept that for her either. She had been meant to be a Queen—his Queen.
Growling angrily he slammed out of the shower nearly breaking the door. He would never give her up; he would kill the man who was fool enough to come between them. She was his wife, end of story and he would be sure to go through the ceremony with her that united them officially for all time and she would be his Queen. If the members of the so-called council didn’t like it they could go straight to Hell. He’d be happy to show them the way. His father had been all but ready to marry him off to Parisia and she had not been Saiya-jin so at some point the rules must have been relaxed. There was no reason that he could not have his woman and his destiny. Why he was even concerned with it now was beyond him anyway. Had living on this weak planet amongst its even weaker people diluted his strength and mind that much? Perhaps it was time to go back into space and look for some trouble. He was Vegeta—Saiya-jin Prince and he did what he wanted when he wanted it.
Flaring his ki he dried his body and went back into their room, finding his woman all ready gone. He would have to spend the night assuring her that she was his choice and that no one would ever come between them or take him away from her. He had taken her in haste this afternoon to assuage the burning need that always seemed to scorch him whenever she was nearby, a need that had not been helped by spending a week away from her training with Kakkarot. It was something he could not explain and wasn’t certain he even wanted to understand. All he knew was that it was there; had been there since the day he had first met her and it seemed to know no end and that knowledge both scared and thrilled him all at the same time.
Throwing on some clothes, he padded barefoot down the stairs to search her out. While he was doing that he might as well call Bardock and his spawn and inform them of the newest developments. Vegeta grimaced at the idea of even seeing Kakkarot again in the near future much less talking with him. The man’s growing capabilities as a fighter both infuriated and intrigued him. He had never seen a lower class soldier with as much potential and raw talent as Kakkarot. The third class was rapidly gaining on him in strength, an idea he found both intolerable and incomprehensible. He had taken to training every hour of the day, ignoring both Bulma and his son in the quest to stay far ahead of Kakkarot in the strength arena and found that the third class was still closing the gap between them no matter how much time he spent at training. Vegeta pushed down the surge of rage the knowledge brought him. He was the Prince of the race, a Super Saiya-jin—an elite and it was absolutely ridiculous to give credence to the idea that Kakkarot might be close to his level. Kakkarot was strong and wily, there was no doubt of that. That he had achieved Super Saiya-jin spoke of whatever unique quality coursed through his blood, but he was simply not good enough to reach the levels that Vegeta would reach. It just simply wouldn’t happen. He was the superior fighter in every way.
Refusing to use the phone, a worthless Chikyuu-jin contraption as far as he was concerned, he made the call to Bardock on the small transmitter he kept in Bulma’s study. After a few brief words and a terse command for them to come for dinner so that they might discuss the developments he went in search of his mate, finding her in the living room speaking with her father and mother.
Bulma glanced up at him as he entered the room, blue eyes wide and brimming with tears. He felt his heart quicken in his chest, thinking that something was wrong with her until he realized that her eyes radiated brightly with joy, not sorrow. He relaxed, but only slightly, thoughts of the Saiya-jin and the trouble they might be bringing with them re-entering his mind.
"Vegeta," Bulma scrambled to her feet, swiping at her eyes with the back of her hand. "You aren’t going to guess what Mom and Dad just told me!" She held out her hand to him and waited for him to accept it.
Vegeta took the hand she offered and pulled her beside him, feeling his groin tighten at the sight of her lean body clothed in a short, navy dress. It seemed to flow over every curve and swell she had and he fought back the desire to take her upstairs and ravage her body. God, was he destined to forever be enslaved to her with his lack of control? The thought angered him. "You’re right." He said without preamble, fighting to control himself.
"They’re getting married Vegeta!!" Bulma jumped up and down once before throwing her arms around him, oblivious to the mercurial changes that were raging through him. Slowly he slipped his own arms around her and hugged her back, unable to stop himself though he could really care less about her parent’s wedding.
Bulma pulled back from him staring him in the eye, her brow slightly creased. "Are you still angry with me?" She murmured into his ear. "You seem a little out of sorts, Vegeta."
Vegeta frowned but shook his head, feeling his muscles tighten. "There’s nothing wrong with me, woman. I invited Bardock and his spawn to dinner to talk about the Saiya-jin that are coming. As members of the warrior caste they need to know." He wanted to say more, but couldn’t with her father and mother watching them expectantly from the sofa. Instead he pulled away from her embrace and looked to Brennon. "Has there been any news of Koola?"
Brennon stared at his son-in-law for a long moment, surprised at the directness of the question before nodding. "I wasn’t going to speak to you of it until later, but yes there have been rumors floating along the solar winds so to speak."
"So he lives." Vegeta spat out. "I knew he would show himself eventually. He’d be unable to resist the temptation. Damn Toma for not finishing him off when he had the chance."
"Don’t get ahead of yourself, Vegeta." Brennon replied evenly. "I said there were only rumors of some action on the outer lying planets. That and some rumblings among the few Reiketsu-jin natives I’ve had the displeasure of crossing paths with—all
proclaiming their new Emperor has finally come to put the universe back to sorts. There is nothing more concrete than that." Brennon watched the Saiya-jin Prince carefully, not missing the hint of agitation that seemed to permeate his usually calm aura. "Do you think he will come after you or Bulma?" Brennon saw no reason to pull any punches. If his daughter was in danger he wanted to know.
"It is inevitable." Vegeta didn’t miss the brief look of panic that crossed his woman’s face and he fought back the urge to comfort her. She needed to be strong and she wouldn’t be if he coddled her or allowed her to give into her fears. Besides she had to know that he would protect her to the death.
"He is far stronger than his brother." Brennon remarked casually. "I never dealt much with him while I served Frieza, but from time to time he would make an appearance. He always seemed to defer to Frieza which was something that I could never understand." Brennon rubbed his chin speculatively. "With that family I would have thought Koola capable of betrayal with few hindrances, yet he steered clear of Frieza’s territory and never sought to stake any claims. I had heard that Frieza had bequeathed him a few planets in an outlying galaxy—some place far away from the center of Frieza’s empire. It seemed that perhaps even Frieza feared his brother. I’ll never understand why Koola never acted on it."
"Lack of motivation, or perhaps he had a respect for his father that his bastard brother didn’t share." Vegeta answered. "Either way, he’s moving now."
"Perhaps." Brennon mused. "We won’t know anything for certain until he makes a definite move. Raising hell in the outskirts of the universe isn’t my idea of a calculated move. More like he’s warming up."
"If all you say is true," Teddi cut in, looking from Brennon to Vegeta. "And he’s been alive all this time, why is he just now making his move?"
"I think that’s easy." Bulma cut in, blue eyes thoughtful. "He was probably injured when his ship crashed. It might have taken him some time to heal and formulate a plan."
"Maybe." Vegeta shrugged. "He’s as conniving as his brother. He could have been up to anything. It hardly matters now. All that matters is that we begin to make some type of counterplot." He stared pointedly at Brennon. "Correnia will be hit before Chikyuu is."
"I doubt it." Brennon replied. "If revenge is his main motivation, the first thing he’ll do is come right straight to Chikyuu and try to kill my daughter."
"He can try." Vegeta said arrogantly, his mouth turning up into an evil smirk. "He’ll find his death if he comes to this planet. He will use her home planet against her. That, old man, is why he will go to Correnia first."
"Maybe we should stop talking about this right now." Bulma said quietly. "I understand the importance of forming a plan of action, but does it have to happen before dinner." She paused eyes downcast. "I just found out that my parents are getting married, I’d like to celebrate that news."
Brennon jumped up, moving to clasp his daughter in a loose embrace. "Of course, Bulma. You’re right. There will be plenty of time to discuss Koola and how to handle him. Tonight is meant to be a joyous occasion."
Bulma smiled into her father’s barrel chest, sighing as she felt his warm embrace. She had missed her father’s bear hugs and comforting scent. She wrapped her arms around him. "I’m so happy for you, Dad, and I know Britton would be too."
"I wish the boy could be here." Brennon said hoarsely into her hair.
"He will be Dad." Bulma turned her face upwards and smiled at her father. "You have to know that."
Vegeta sneered at the human ability to dismiss things they did not want to deal with and moved to the door, feeling the sudden urge to get some air. A light hand on his shoulder halted him and he turned back around.
"Vegeta," Bulma’s mother stared at him with eyes as blue as her daughter’s. "Why are you leaving? Aren’t you happy?"
"Happy?" He sneered. "Why would I be happy?"
"There is much to celebrate here tonight. If you can’t be happy for the sake of Brennon and myself then perhaps you could try for my daughter."
"I don’t begrudge you your happiness, woman. Truth be told, I could care less one way or the other, but I find my wife’s desire to ignore danger to herself more than I can take."
"Who said she’s ignoring it?" Teddi said earnestly. "Just because she wants to postpone the discussion until after dinner? Are you so selfish that you would deny her a few hours before her entire life is turned upside down again by that damn Reiketsu-jin spawn?" Her usually light voice had turned steely.
"How dare you speak to me that way? I’m the Saiya-jin Prince." Vegeta hissed back at her, angered that she would have the nerve to call him selfish or doubt his motivations where Bulma was concerned. "You are nothing but Chikyuu-jin scum and—" He broke off before he could say anything else. What was wrong with him?
"Well, if I’m Chikyuu-jin scum, Prince Vegeta…" she intoned the word with as much contempt as she could muster setting his teeth on edge. "Then what does that make my daughter—your mate? She’s not born royalty, Vegeta." Teddi stared at him not in anger as he had expected to see at his insult, but with sharp disappointment. Vegeta turned away from the glare, disconcerted; shame racing through him. He had seen that same look from Bulma and he hated it.
"I didn’t mean—" He was cut off abruptly before he could finish.
"Save it." His woman’s mother stared at him piercingly, seeming to cut through the layers of his defenses straight into his soul with her shining blue eyes so much like her daughter’s. "If I didn’t know that you loved my daughter I would hate you and do whatever I could to ensure that you never had a place in her life. I’ve never spoken to you like this before because I have never needed to. That girl needs you right now to be with her, not turn from her because she needs a break or isn’t ready to cope with another damn Frieza. Did you bother to ask her about her week while you were gone? Have you asked her what she’s had to deal with or how she was? Sometimes I wonder if you are even capable of any emotion besides scorn."
"Enough." Vegeta spat out furiously, fighting back the urge to strangle the woman. "What goes on between Bulma and myself is between she and I and doesn’t concern you. Now get out of my way." He swept past her and out of the room, unsure where he was going, only knowing he needed to get away from his damn mother-in-law and her all knowing, all seeing eyes and her razor tongue before she cut him in half with it.
He hadn’t gone far when his woman’s voice stopped him. Grimacing he turned to face her bracing himself for her wrath. Her mother had to have told him about their argument, about the words he had spoken in rage. Expecting her contempt, he was floored to have her fling herself into his arms.
"Vegeta." Bulma wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling herself close. "I’m sorry if I’ve upset you tonight. There’s just a lot being thrown at me at one time and I need to just let it soak in." She struggled for better words to make him understand she wasn’t dismissing him or his concerns.
Vegeta wrapped his arms around her, shocked that she would chase him down and apologize. Had she sensed his disquiet through their bond?"
"Yes." She said in reply, picking up on the stray thoughts. I felt your anger and disgust and I don’t want you mad at me. I just want to eat dinner without talk about Koola." Releasing her hold on him, Bulma pulled away and walked a few feet across the yard. Looking up at the stars, face lit by the filtering light they cast off, she spoke gently. "I don’t want to have to recall the horror of Frieza before I eat, Vegeta…I don’t want to remember the day I killed him or the things he did to the both of us—not now." Her voice dwindled off to a whisper, so light he could barely hear her, but he felt the wave of loathing and dread that swirled in her brain—felt again the pain if losing their child. "After dinner, after I’ve swallowed my food, then you can talk all you want about Koola and I’ll listen, but please, not before I eat. I couldn’t stomach it."
Her voice had gone suddenly steely and Vegeta was reminded again that this woman was no ordinary female. He moved behind her, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her back against his muscled chest. "Woman, we will not discuss him again tonight."
Bulma smiled into the darkness, shutting her eyes in relief. "Thank you, Vegeta. I know that’s hard for you, but I just want to have this one last moment to believe that everything will stay the same, that there isn’t any more danger coming our way—" Her words ended as he turned her in his arms and took her mouth with his own, rendering her speechless with a searing, earth shattering kiss. When it was over she clung to him, trembling like a leaf, feeling his heart thunder against her body.
Vegeta stared down at her flushed face and smirked with pleasure. "Was that the proper way to greet my mate? You’re mother yelled at me for not bothering to take your feelings into consideration this afternoon."
"That was much better." Bulma whispered huskily, winding her arms around his neck. "But I won’t argue with what we did this afternoon. I’ve missed you, Vegeta." She murmured lazily against his mouth, unable to stop herself from touching him.
"I know." He smirked in return, nipping at her bottom lip. "I suppose I was bored without you around, too. That and listening to Kakkarot and his mate—" Vegeta broke off with a grimace, trying to forget the things he had heard coming from their little room in the cottage Kakkarot had built for her in the middle of no where—their home, though it was barely big enough to call a shack. He had been forced to spend one night there before he and Kakkarot had lost themselves in the wilderness to go Oozaru and pound the shit out of each other. It had done much to sicken him, yet the sounds had left him wanting his own woman beneath him and in his arms.
"Why don’t we go back in and get ready to eat. Kakkarot should be here any minute. We can make up for lost time later." Bulma grabbed his hand, rubbing against him provocatively before moving away.
"Keep that up wench and you’ll find yourself flat on your back in the grass." An idea sparked in his head, a way he could reach her and help her deal with the situation that was rapidly spiraling out of control.
"Like the time you decided we couldn’t make it from the gravity room to the bedroom." Bulma laughed pulling him along behind her, surprised he wasn’t resisting her more. Vegeta had never been one to be led around, yet tonight he was being oddly malleable.
"I don’t recall you complained." Vegeta smirked, watching her ass as she walked ahead of him, imagining all the things he was going to enjoy doing to her later on.
"No, I don’t suppose I did." Bulma replied saucily, smiling impishly. "If I recall it felt pretty damn incredible. I barely noticed the grass." She laughed lightly.
"Woman." His voice was serious and it caused her to stop. Frowning, she turned back to face him.
"What is it?" She asked quietly, trying to get a sense of his thoughts and emotions. "What’s wrong with you?"
Vegeta stepped towards her, brushing her bottom lip with his thumb, remembering the first moment he had ever laid eyes on her—glaring up at him from the ground he had knocked her on. The memory brought a small smile to his lips.
"I would be alone with you tonight." He whispered huskily, watching her face in the moonless night, the only light the glow of the twinkling stars above them.
"I thought we would be alone, in our room. Unless you’re planning on inviting someone to join us." Bulma teased back.
"Fool." Vegeta replied with a light growl. "I meant away from this place—somewhere private for the two of us."
"Where do you want to go?" Bulma whispered, losing herself again in the swirling black depths of his eyes.
"Do you recall the island I took you to after we arrived, the one that we claimed each other on?" Vegeta watched the spark of memory flash in her eyes, followed by the lazy flush of heat at what they had done there together. He fought back the urge to fly off with her then and there, though he knew he would have had no resistance if he’d chosen to. He could feel the heat radiating off her body like the glowing coals of a furnace, could see clearly the languid look of desire burning red hot in her eyes. His body quickened at the sight of it and he took a step forward wanting to touch her, to give way to the emotions he no longer wanted to control. He refrained. What he had planned was something special, something best accomplished in the silence of the night. Besides, he still needed to talk to Bardock, Toma and Kakkarot and at some point he would have to talk about Koola to them as well.
"I remember." Bulma replied back, wetting her lips with her tongue. "It was wonderful there."
"Would your mother look after Trunks?" Vegeta’s voice was a rough burr, heavy with need and desire. She felt herself quiver at the sound.
Bulma nodded once, wishing suddenly that they could just go now and forget everything else but each other—at least for a while. The desire to touch his mind and body was nearly enough to shred every ounce of control she was clinging to and the sudden need to reclaim him as her own nearly ate her up with hunger. She wasn’t sure what the sudden need was, but she knew it was there and it was as necessary to her well being now as the need for food or water or air to breath. Feeling suddenly hot and cold all at once she shivered, vaguely cognizant that she had broken out into a sweat.
Vegeta took her in his arms, knowing he was damning himself if he did this now. He would be hard-pressed to wait until later if he touched her, but under the cover of darkness and shrouded within the powerful, passion fogged aura that seemed to have suddenly surrounded them; he was powerless to stop himself. With a growl of hunger, he took her mouth again, plundering the warm depths passionately, pressing her against the hard arousal that wouldn’t go away. He needed to possess her, to claim her, to show her that she was his mate and he could sense the same powerful need from her. Ending the kiss he buried his head in the curve between her neck and shoulder, inhaling the intoxicating scent of her skin. She smelled incredible—fresh and clean and faintly salty from the fine sheen of sweat that covered her body, like the breeze off the ocean just before dusk.
Take me now, Vegeta. Here in the grass. Bulma murmured in his mind, using the telepathic communication they had worked hard on developing. He moaned against her mouth, crying out hoarsely as she grazed a hot hand against the base of his tail, massaging it gently. He pressed against her letting his hands slip down to her chest.
Dinner, woman. His voice rasped through her mind and he took a calming breath to gather himself. He had to pull away, he had to end this now or they wouldn’t make it to dinner. After dinner, I will make you scream. He would to; she would scream his name over and over like a wild banshee before he was done with her.
Are you sure? Came the breathy reply within his mind.
"No." He muttered out loud, watching as her head dipped back exposing the slender column of her neck and feeling the soft brush of her hair as it fell back against his arms. Vegeta bent his head towards the temptation, meaning to taste her but jerked quickly away as the familiar prickling sensation of Kakkarot’s ki made itself known. His woman moaned in his arms and he hastily straightened her clothes sending her a brief message through their link.
Later woman, we will finish this later. Go back to the house and finish dinner. I will speak to the others now. He watched her eyes drift open in awareness.
"Alright." She whispered shakily. "Alright." She said more steadily. "Don’t be long." Still shaking, Bulma turned herself around and strolled off towards the house, praying she didn’t sink to her knees in a quivering heap of jelly.
Vegeta turned back to the darkness and waited for his small group of Saiya-jin to arrive, hoping that his rather prominent arousal would go away. Thankfully it was dark and he didn’t doubt that talk of Saiya-jin and Koola would cool him down quickly enough. Bulma would never know how close he had come to laying her down in that cool grass and pounding her senseless. He would have taken her over and over again, dinner be damned. If it hadn’t been for the feel of Kakkarot’s ki fast approaching he would have. Judging by the strength of Kakkarot’s energy signal, they were mere moments away. Best to get this conversation out of the way now before dinner so that he could keep his word to his woman and not ruin her meal. He would speak to her later when they were alone and she would listen to him then, whether she wanted to or not. Bulma would not take her security for granted. She would follow his instructions to the letter.
He watched as Kakkarot landed before him, his own small woman wrapped in his arms. Behind him Bardock and Toma touched down, followed by Raditz—wife and daughter in tow. In his grip, Bardock clutched Kakkarot’s brat, Gohan to his chest. He swallowed back the small surge of anger that always took him whenever Bardock came into his presence.
Even after all this time, the idea that this man had spent time alone with his woman trapped on that hellatious planet, both of them suffering and struggling to survive together left him sick. Granted it had not been Bardock’s fault, but it had happened all the same and he resented him for that; still resented Kakkarot from dragging him off that planet before he had been able to save her. Vegeta would never forget what Kakkarot had done.
He knew, also, somewhere inside of him that the older Saiya-jin felt something for his woman and the knowledge was more than he could bear, yet Bardock had never said or done anything to trespass on what was clearly Vegeta’s claim and so Vegeta had not found any reason to beat the hell out of him or even kill him. Still, the knowledge that there was something there ate at him like a disease he couldn’t be rid of.
"Vegeta." Bardock spoke gravely. "What’s happened?"
Bulma is in the house preparing dinner." Vegeta said pointedly to the two females that stared at him expectantly. "Go now and leave us alone."
"You know, Vegeta." Chi-Chi said, voice rising in pitch, thick with indignation. "Bulma might be able to tolerate you and your highhanded manner, but I cannot. Who do you think you are telling me what to do?" Chi-Chi grabbed Gohan from Bardock’s arms before stalking towards the Prince.
Vegeta winced at her high, grating tone of voice. God it was like listening to a cat being drug by its tail. With a snarl, he bared his teeth at her, growling. "I’m the man who will kill your fucking husband if you don’t get away from me now." He watched in satisfaction as her eyes widened in horror. She hated him, he already knew that and the feelings were mutual. They had tolerated each other well enough for a while, but the woman was too damn bossy, even more so than his own woman and she had no respect for royalty or her betters, something else that pissed him off.
"Vegeta." Kakkarot stepped forward, face pleasant despite the seriousness of his tone. "Is that really necessary?" He leveled a cool gaze at Vegeta.
"Then tell your woman to get out of my face and move along. I don’t have the time or the inclination to argue with her. " Crossing his arms over his chest, he turned away, nose in the air, jaw set stubbornly in place.
"Chi-Chi." Kakkarot murmured to his wife, black eyes flaring wide as she tossed him a stormy look. "Why don’t you and Evetta take the kids and go help Bulma. We’ll be along in a minute." He watched his wife’s jaw clench tightly and she opened her mouth prepared to say more. He touched his finger to her lips in an attempt to silence her. "Please." He implored softly. "Don’t make him mad."
"Oh alright, but I bet Bulma already knows what this is all about." Chi-Chi growled. "It isn’t fair that she should know and we don’t."
"She’s my mate." Vegeta hissed. "Everything concerns her." He paused for a moment. "If you are so curious ask her, I’m sure she’ll be happy to tell you." He grinned wickedly at her, hoping to piss her off.
"Fine." Chi-Chi growled in return, whirling towards the house. "I’ll do that. Come on Evetta." She stalked away.
"How you settled for that low-class, shrew of a woman is beyond me Kakkarot." Vegeta snapped, watching her stalk across the yard. He almost felt guilty for sicking her on Bulma. He’d have to be sure to make it up to her tonight.
"That shrew as you so kindly put it is my mate, Vegeta." Kakkarot said quietly. "I don’t insult Bulma, do you think you could spare Chi-Chi as well."
"Whatever." Vegeta snapped. "I could really give a shit about either one of you in the first place." He felt the familiar surge of irritaion at the third class warrior’s unnatural earnestness—something that no Saiya-jin should have. It had only grown worse with his time on Chikyuu and his growing attachment to the natives.
"Could we argue about this later, brats?" Toma asked, stepping forward, the ghost of a smile flitting across his face. "I’m fucking starving and I have no desire to listen to you two argue. Now what is going on?"
Vegeta scowled at the older Saiya-jin but replied calmly getting straight to the point. "I was contacted earlier by a surviving group of Saiya-jin." He watched as his words swept over the small group, stunning them. "They are traveling here from Arlia."
"What?" Raditz growled roughly in shock, crossing his thick arms across the massive flare of his chest. "How can that be?"
"They claim to have been stranded on Reiketsu for a period of time. It seems my father sent them there to keep the peace with Frieza right before he decided to blow our planet to Hell. Through their travels they heard rumors that I was alive but couldn’t confirm it. Later on after they had settled they managed to confirm it and set out to find me."
"How many?" Bardock breathed in wonder
"About a hundred." Vegeta held up his hand at the burst of comments that spewed forth from the group in a mad jumble. "Before you get excited," He sneered. "You should know that as far as I know none of these survivors are of the warrior caste. They are council members and politicians—people whom cannot be trusted."
"They are notoriously difficult to deal with. As I recall they seem to think it is they that should run the government and the monarchy, not the King." Bardock said thoughtfully.
"Still," Raditz exclaimed. "To know that there are others…" His tail lashed excitedly behind him. "That means the Saiya-jin race is not as sparse as we had feared."
"True, but Bardock’s right." Vegeta loathed admitting that fact, but it was there nonetheless. "Council members will be a pain in the ass to deal with. And there is something not right about this one. He seems—" Vegeta could not put a name to the finger of suspicion that had trailed up his spine as he had talked to Vergerom, but it had left an icy trail where it had touched.
"Did he give you a name?" Bardock pressed. "Perhaps Toma or I know of him."
"Oh, I know of him, though the memories are vague. He’s called Vergerom." Vegeta replied. "His name is not even that of the warrior caste."
"Vergerom." Bardock said in shock. "Of all the political bastards that had to survive it was him." He shook his head. "You were right to distrust him, Vegeta. He’s not your friend. At least you are able to see that, something your father never got." He clenched his fist convulsively, pressing it tightly against his leg.
"My father failed to get a lot of things. Why is this Vergerom so untrustworthy? I can’t recall having much contact with him other than knowing he drove my father insane." Vegeta said thoughtfully. "Still, my father was too cowardly to end his life."
"As I recall," Toma shifted his position, frowning at Bardock who had staggered a few feet from the group. "He was the master of exploitation, often able to get your father or other council members to do what he wanted by simply playing one side off the other. Of course I wasn’t privy to state secrets, but from time to time warriors would be witness to the inner doings of the council and they talked."
"When do they arrive?" Raditz asked quietly, handsome face furrowed in a frown.
"In a couple of weeks." Vegeta replied. "I have no idea if they know that there are any other survivors."
"This could be interesting." Bardock said, managing to regain his equilibrium. Was it possible that after all this time he would come face to face with his wife’s betrayer? He fought against the dark images that threatened to sweep through him like a thunderstorm leaving devastation in its wake.
"That’s an understatement." Vegeta growled out. "And that isn’t the half of it." Vegeta turned a blazing glare to Toma. "Bulma’s father comes with a rumor that Koola is alive and well and terrorizing outlying planets."
"How can that be?" Toma looked at Vegeta, face aghast. "I shot him down—with Yamcha no less. We both saw his ship crash."
"You idiot." Vegeta snapped furiously, face alight with rage. "A fucking crash does not mean you die. You should have taken the time to go and check. If you had it might have been finished then. Now we have to worry about a reprisal."
"Bulma." Kakkarot breathed, shooting a worried glance at Vegeta. "She took Frieza down. " The memory of her face that day was emblazoned across his mind, so calm and serene and set with a steely resolve he had never seen in another woman before—not even Chi-Chi. His admiration for her had deepened tenfold as he had stood and watched her end Frieza’s life. That she should have to face Koola now—a far more powerful foe than his brother had ever been left him cold.
Vegeta nodded grimly. "He won’t get near her. I’m thinking about going to space and tracking him down myself. I want this over."
"Would you leave her here untended?" Bardock asked sharply. "In my experience, that is what Koola is probably hoping for. He distracts you with news of his whereabouts and as soon as you make a move he comes here and takes Bulma out. "
"What else am I supposed to do, Bardock? Let it go and wait for him to make the first move? I could be watching over my shoulder for a very long time." Vegeta paced across the yard. "I am not one to sit and wait."
"We at least need to make a plan of action, Vegeta. You know that. You are too hot headed for your own good." Bardock knew he was pushing his luck speaking to the Prince this way, but as he saw it his options were few. There was either going to be a great tragedy or great success. He had to hope that Vegeta would cut him some slack, though judging by the heated glare the young Saiya-jin was sending him, Bardock thought he might not get so lucky.
"I am well aware of what I need to do." Vegeta toyed with the idea of blasting the older Saiya-jin to the next dimension. "I am an elite warrior trained in killing and fighting, not some mindless child who requires your guidance. Keep that in mind before you make any more suggestions or you might find yourself joining the rest of our slain people." Vegeta whirled on his heel. "There will be no more talk tonight of Koola or the Saiya-jin. Bulma—" He paused, trying to figure out a way to word the request she had made without making himself seem weak or foolish. "Bulma is not up for the discussion tonight. Her parents are getting married and she wishes to celebrate that occasion. We will discuss these issues tomorrow while we train."
"You are actually going to celebrate?" Kakkarot looked at Vegeta in stunned surprise."
"Of course I’m not going to celebrate you idiot. I could care less one way or the other, but I am starving and since I have to sit at the same table as Bulma in order to eat, I will be forced to endure her chattering about this upcoming event." Vegeta shuddered at the thought. "We will speak more tomorrow about these Saiya-jin."
"Dear God," Toma intoned sickly. "All those women at the table—discussing a wedding." He squeezed his eyes shut. "I-I’m not sure I can take it."
Vegeta swallowed painfully but hardened his resolve. "Well you will just have to find a way. If I can stomach it so can you, now shut up and move along." He whirled and strode purposefully to towards the house.
Kakkarot shot a look at his father. "Don’t weddings mean a lot of food?" He looked expectantly at Bardock, smiling when the older man nodded.
"Then that makes it all worthwhile." With a careless shrug, he followed behind Vegeta.
Bardock stood quietly next to Toma. "What do you think of the new developments?"
"I’m not sure. I’d like to know why it took them this long to make contact. They would have heard about Vegeta long before now. Vergerom was always the one to play politician." Toma spat, shooting his friend a thoughtful frown. "As a warrior he is an insult to my race, yet I know the part he was chosen to play and why."
"I don’t think Vegeta trusts him." Bardock ran a hand through his spiky hair. "He was giving off some strange vibe."
"The boy is wise to trust his instincts. Dealing with Vergerom is akin to dealing with a viper. I suspect the viper would be safer. He associated with that damn assassin—the one that the King was always using for his dirty work." Toma spoke gravely.
"Bestrom?" Bardock’s voice had gone deathly quiet and his jaw locked. "Yes, I recall him and his brand of business very well. I have little doubt that he is one of the survivors." Bardock started forward walking slowly towards the house. Toma fell into step beside him, throwing a side-glance at his friend.
"How long have we been friends—brothers really, or at least as close to it as two Saiya-jin can get?" He asked Bardock quietly, watching the somber face carefully as it turned towards him. "You have never told me what happened to her."
"How do you know she has anything to do with this now? I just have no patience for those that rely on subterfuge and shadows to prey on people. At least I did my killing face to face, unlike Bestrom." Bardock’s voice shook with something that Toma could not place.
"There is this look you get whenever she crosses your mind or you are reminded of her. God, I see it every time you look at Raditz and the boy sees it too, except he doesn’t know you like I do." Toma laid a firm hand on Bardock’s shoulder halting him. "When he sees you turn away with that gut-shot look on your face, like someone has blasted you hard, he thinks it’s him that you can’t take looking at and…" Toma shook his head, breaking off the thought. "You never told me what or how, all I knew was that suddenly she was gone and you were heartbroken. All you told me was that Frieza ended her life and there were the rumors that she had gone mad but you never said how or why and just a minute ago when you said Bestrom’s name, you had that look—I’ve seen that look before, Bardock right before you got ready to kill, when we had to harden ourselves to the purge and to life on Frieza’s ship. Bestrom had something to do with her death didn’t he?"
Bardock lowered his head for the briefest of moments, struggling with his thoughts before quietly nodding. "It was second hand knowledge and nothing I can prove, but it fits with the details given to me by Selipa." Bardock looked up staring into the glittering black orbs of his closest friend, trying to mask the fresh surge of pain that shot upwards through his entire body. It was as if she had died yesterday not twenty some years ago, yet hearing the bastard’s name was all it took to shoot him back in time and renew the feelings of anguish and disbelief that he had felt when the news had come to him that his woman, his very own mate had been killed in battle—ambushed by Frieza and his lackeys. God, he had been forced to hand his sons, her sons over to the monster, the monster that had taken her life and there had not been a damn thing he could do. He had been too weak to avenge her and he had been too weak to protect either of his sons and the memory of that weakness left him impotent with rage.
"Bardock," Toma began tonelessly. "I will not force you to relate anything you have no desire to relive." Toma turned to go but Bardock’s hand stopped him. He turned his head slowly to meet his friend’s shining black eyes.
"You recall Frieza’s obsession." Bardock intoned passively. "He had one in every group of men or boy sent to serve him."
"I recall that you were one of them." Toma spat out, shutting his eyes briefly at the memories invoked of their time with Frieza. They were shadows that lingered in his mind, haunting him in his dreams, never quite dispersing even in the light of day. "He paid the rest of us no mind, but you—you he enjoyed to taunt." Toma’s face fell to the scar that slashed wickedly across his friend’s cheek to his jaw. "He gave you that scar."
Bardock nodded, rubbing a rough hand over the scar he had carried for nearly thirty years. "I married Negi, secretly, when I was eighteen—claimed her and impregnated her with Raditz before we ever had our official joining." Bardock forced the images away of their mating away, but not before he could recall her heavy black hair or the way her soft, tanned skin had felt beneath his fingers, the way her body had responded to him; the feel of her long, lean legs as they had wrapped around him and held him to her.
She had borne him two sons, Raditz and Kakkarot. Raditz looked the most like her, but it had been Kakkarot that had contained her spirit and soul. Helping her birth Raditz would forever haunt him. He had felt his son—his first-born son slide into his hands and watched her naked, sweat-soaked body go limp from her exertions. He had been the one that had handed her their son, had watched her as she fed the child from her breast instead of handing the boy to a wet nurse to feed. He had not been present for Kakkarot’s birth and she had been gone only a few short years later. With sheer force of will he pushed the images away, forcing himself back to the tale he needed to spill out, yet unable to halt the trembling that shook him in the aftermath of so many tortured memories. In twenty years he had not once uttered a word about what had occurred and he wasn’t sure that he was ready to yet, but now that the his mouth was open, the words were flying out as if they had wings of their own and he found he could not stop them.
"I remember that. I also remember Frieza being furious that you would give yourself to someone else but not to him. As I recall he was rather brutal in his reprisal." Toma suppressed a shudder, thanking God that Frieza was dead and no other hapless child would be forced to endure what so many had—the unwanted attentions of a perverted tyrant, half-mad and bent on pain, thriving on it actually.
"Yes," Bardock’s mouth quirked upwards in the barest hint of a smile. "Well he got over that, though it cost me many a night in the regen tank. It was painfully obvious that I was not interested and he was never the kind to take—unless he could find a way to force your hand, but Negi was careful and she avoided contact with him. She was one of the personal guards for the King himself until after Kakkarot was born. She took some time then, to train our sons while I was away fighting and purging for Frieza." Bardock’s voice was brittle, heavy with self-loathing.
"It happened sometime after we had acquired Arlia for him didn’t it?" Toma asked softly.
Bardock grunted in affirmation before opening his mouth to speak. "We had been off duty and were home visiting. Do you remember?" At Toma’s nod, he continued with near painful slowness. "Negi and I had spent the better part of that week together, trying to figure out a way to keep Raditz from having to enter Frieza’s service. I was terrified that as my son, Frieza would be—difficult—to say the least where he was concerned."
"I remember discussing it with you. We both realized that there was really nowhere in the galaxy we could go to escape Frieza and that it would be better to just allow Raditz to serve. You told me that you just needed to convince Negi of the truth, that she refused to believe that there was no place you couldn’t hide from him." Toma’s brow creased in perplexion.
"Do you recall where we were when we had that discussion?" Bardock asked, clasping his friend’s shoulder, black gaze piercing into Toma’s, shining feverishly in the starlight.
"We were standing in the council room outside the King’s throne room. We were awaiting his summons for our next assignment. Frieza was on planet to pick up the next load of warriors for his service. He was looking them over personally, Raditz included." Toma’s eyes lit with remembrance.
"Paragus came to me after Negi’s death, after he and Brolli had been exiled by King Vegeta." Bardock shut his eyes. "He had been a guard for the King and for the council members until Brolli was born and he had been waiting in the ante chamber with Bestrom to plead for Brolli’s life; heard what we said to each other that day. He told me that he and Bestrom had been in that room together and had heard us clearly." Bardock glanced away, swallowing painfully before continuing. "I don’t know how much Bestrom knew about my history with Frieza, but Paragus knew—Paragus served with us. He told me that Bestrom had asked what I had been talking about where Frieza was concerned. Paragus apparently filled him in on the basics."
"And that night Negi was sent on her mission." Toma said dully, understanding all too clearly what must have happened.
"Her mission was to escort the new recruits to Frieza’s ship, Raditz included. I had convinced her to wait to try anything. We had argued that entire evening and I told her we needed to bide our time and make a plan of action before we took on Frieza himself. I promised her that I would do something to get him…" Bardock’s fists clenched tightly at his side as he saw her facing him down again, chest heaving and cheeks flushed crimson as she screamed at him to stop Frieza from taking their oldest son. Negi had been many things, but at heart she had been every inch a Saiya-jin warrior and a powerful one at that. She had stood toe to toe with him, had refused to give an inch until in complete desperation, he had made his vow to find a way to bring the tyrant down and take their son back from him. That had pacified her or at least it had seemed to. They had made love then, passionately, clinging to one another with desperate need before she had left him to go comply with her orders. It had been the last time he had ever seen her alive.
"They said," He continued placidly. "That she tried to free all the children, not just Raditz, that she had turned on Frieza and the other guards in a fit of madness and tried to kill them so she could get the kids out of there. Frieza apparently killed her in self-defense of his ship but I knew better, Toma." Bardock drew in a breath, shuddering as he did so, feeling all the muscles of his body tighten and coil like springs. "We had talked about it and she had agreed that it would be too risky, that we would have to wait until a different time. She wasn’t happy about that, but she had accepted it and we had both prayed that Frieza would not care who had sired Raditz."
"What does any of this have to do with Bestrom?" Toma asked morosely, startled by the depth of emotions that were raging from and through Bardock and unsure if he really wanted to hear the rest. To dredge up such long-buried memory, God…he wasn’t certain if it was healthy or not and he felt a sudden, sharp pang of regret for making his friend speak of it.
"Paragus came to me the night of her funeral, after her pyre had burned to the ground. He told me what Bestrom had heard and that he had heard the bastard speaking to someone about it—heard him say what an inroad they had with Frieza if they helped him here." Bardock’s jaw clenched. "He never actually heard a conversation between Bestrom and Frieza, but it all made sense to me. Bestrom told Frieza what he had heard. Frieza hated Negi, saw her as the person who prevented him from having what he wanted." Bardock grimaced in disgust. "You know how obsessed he could be; you saw what he was like with Vegeta. He saw her as the perfect revenge against me for denying him. Bestrom handed him the opportunity to kill her and have no one the wiser except for me. Frieza set her up and then defiled her name with Bestrom’s help." Bardock stifled a low moan at the memory.
"Frieza wanted it to be personal then—between you and he when he struck her down?" Toma wondered. "He could have killed her whenever he felt like it, but he wanted to hurt you. He wanted to be sure that you knew he had personally ended her life."
"He wanted to hurt me as I had hurt him, I am sure of it. Frieza never really cared one way or the other whether you felt the same passion…" Bardock stressed the word sardonically. "…that he did. He saw only denial of what he wanted. I watched it repeat itself with Vegeta and Bulma. I thank God that they were able to end his miserable life, though his death should have been by my hand. I failed Negi in life and I broke my vow to protect our sons from Frieza. Kakkarot suffered as I did."
"Vegeta took the brunt of that. Frieza only saw Kakkarot as a replacement for you and even that was overshadowed by his desire for Vegeta." Toma pointed out to Bardock with a shudder. "He is dead old friend. The monster is dead. You have to let your anger go. Negi would not want you to punish yourself this way."
"Bestrom may be dead as well, though there is a chance that he still lives." Bardock replied softly—too softly for Toma’s liking. "And apparently so does the monster’s brother. If I recall he was more monstrous than his brother and without the insanity."
"Koola will be dealt with just as his brother was. And as for Bestrom you said yourself you have no proof that he is even alive let alone that he participated in her death." Toma argued, staring earnestly into Bardock’s eyes. "Though if he does live and you choose to kill him I will stand beside you. One cowardly assassin will not be missed."
"I’m not going to do anything with him yet." Bardock’s smile spread slowly over his face and it was calculating and cruel, two emotions that Toma had not witnessed from Bardock in nearly a decade yet never with the malice that he could see shining within the black depths tonight. Killing had never been anything that personal, had been merely what they had been born to do with their lives, but this…this was something deep and personal to Bardock, something he would have to see through. "I will bide my time and I will take my vengeance when the time is right, if he still lives. I will see him suffer for what he did to Negi." Bardock bowed his head. "I will see him suffer for what he took from me and for what he cost my sons. He will wish he died with our planet."
Toma nodded deeply. "I will not attempt to stop you. Negi will be avenged. I hope that he is alive so that he you might have the opportunity. They did worse than kill her; they defiled her honor as a warrior. Just be sure that he is guilty of this deception. Your vengeance will be hollow if he had nothing to do with her death."
"You can be sure of it, Toma. If Bestrom lives I will be sure to seek out the truth of the matter before I pursue it." Bardock inhaled deeply, forcing the tension to seep out of his taut muscles as he blew out the breath. He was wound tighter than a coil tonight. "Come on, let’s go in and get some food before that brat of mine eats it all."
Toma laughed heartily. "He takes after his old man in that."
"The only thing besides my face that he got from me." Bardock’s voice was a low growl in the dark before falling silent.
"I think he received much more than that, Bardock. Much more." Toma clapped his friend on the back as they walked, drawn suddenly back to twenty years in the past when they had walked a different path together—one of blood and fighting, one of pain. He sighed deeply before running a hand through his short shock of hair. Some things never really changed and his and Bardock’s deep friendship was one of those things. It heartened him to be standing beside his longtime friend this way, walking along in companionable silence. They had managed to survive Frieza and now…now there were new threats to face. With Koola alive and the Saiya-jin coming and if Bestrom were alive, well things were fast changing. He only wished he could get rid of the gnawing sense of foreboding that seemed to be sitting heavily in his belly—that had been sitting heavily in the very depths of his belly since they had first been apprised of the situation by Vegeta. They had been fortunate in their battle with Frieza; he could only pray that the same would be true in this battle.
Gero stared at the purple and white-faced changeling that stared arrogantly at him from his view screen. He had come into contact with this race, more to the point, with this particular family of changeling many years before. His one time assistant had left his service to work under Frieza—self-proclaimed ruler of the galaxy and now very dead ruler of the galaxy. Well, all dead but the surviving cells of his brain that he had been able to salvage at the bequest of his brother.
It was all relative anyway. He was the destined ruler of the galaxy, not these pompous, over pumped changelings who seemed to thrive solely on causing pain and misery. Gero was happy to bide his time and let the thick headed, over muscled changeling idiot do his dirty work before he would step in with his marvelous creations and take it all away. How humorous that day would be. Until it arrived he would feign acquiescence and go along with their small-minded plots.
"Koola, what may I do for you tonight?" Gero leaned back in the ancient, heavy leather chair that had been with him since his time with the Red Ribbon Army and their ill-fated attempt to take over Chikyuu, moustache twitching in silent amusement at the changeling’s superior attitude.
The Army had self-destructed from within in a mad dash for power amongst the leaders and been defeated by a small band of warriors—Roshi if he recalled right and Gohan, though how two old men such as they had managed to find the power to defeat an army that had been led by his creations was beyond him. He had taken care to ensure that history did not repeat itself. His creations now were unstoppable and soon it would be time to unleash his plan for power upon Chikyuu. Once he had taken the planet, he would move to the galaxy and that was where the pompous, slow-witted alien that stared at him with such imperious superiority came into play.
"I have not heard from you in several weeks, Doctor. " Koola steepled his hands together and stared benignly at the doctor. "I hope that there hasn’t been a problem with our little experiment. I would hate to think that you might have failed me in anyway."
"Hardly." Gero chortled. "It takes time, Koola, to regrow cells. The virus that was administered to him decimated almost all of his body. It was a most brilliant creation and quite lethal. What you gave me was barely enough to salvage. Your brother will never again be whole, not as he was. I can of course build him a body…but he will never again be the ruler that he was.
I can clone the cells and regenerate the brain; I can regenerate several of them…but I cannot give him back his memories nor make him the creature that he was before. I can only implant new memories, ones that fit your needs."
"Oh it matters little to me if he can speak an intelligent word or remember anything of his past. I care only that he functions on the most basic levels. He is a Cold and a Reiketsu-jin. We are far superior to any other fighters in the galaxy. A whole army of Frieza’s under my control…" Koola suppressed a chuckle. "Well let’s just say the universe will crumble like dirt beneath my feet by the time I am finished with it."
And what a fitting revenge he could take on his errant baby brother as well. Their father had always been soft on the little bastard; had spoiled him terribly and as a result his brother had been unable to tolerate the word no when it was spoken to him. He had let his diversions and appetites distract him and it had cost him his life. Koola would be more than happy to give that life back to him, but he would ensure that Frieza never again held the same power that he had so coveted before. Yes, not only would he gain an unstoppable army, but…he would finally be able to take all that should have been his in the first place. What a fitting revenge he would have on his little brother.
He had once thought that he would have to kill him and answer to his father, but that problem had been taken care of by someone else. "Could we possibly introduce some memories of his previous life…enough to make him realize he once held great power?" That would be the most important aspect of the entire experiment. Koola could barely contain his mirth at the idea that his dear little brother would be able to recall with clarity all that he had once been, yet would be no more capable of rising to reclaim it than a babe. If what Gero said was true and he could condition Frieza’s mind…not to mention the security precautions that would go inside his new mechanical body.
If Frieza’s conditioning failed and he did try to stage some type of coup…then all Koola had to do was push a button and he would be shut down. He needn’t even break a sweat or destroy the miserable little bastard. Oh it would be fitting. He had already been far more powerful than his brother but he had stayed out of his way, more out of silent accord with his father—King Cold, than any respect he held for his insane brother. Now Frieza could watch as everything that had once been his became another’s. The memories that they could implant would be just enough to make him realize what he had lost.
"Yes, you can suggest and implant any memory that you want. That will not be a problem. He will be conditioned however you want him to be. I need some time to study the various parts of his brain and see what his capabilities are, but..." Gero smiled coldly at Koola. "All that you wish will come true."
"See to it that you do that. I will expect a report within the week. I am paying you handsomely Gero and I have agreed that you will be given Chikyuu as well for your troubles. You will not fail me in this." Koola’s voice was low and cool—devoid of emotion.
"I assure you Koola, you will not be disappointed." Gero lowered his head in false submission. Let the fool believe him properly cowed down. It would only go to serve his final goal and the final result was the only thing that mattered to him.
"I hope not, Gero—for your sake." The screen flashed to nothingness and Koola was gone. Gero leaned back in the chair, absently smoothing the course material of his striped vest.
It was time to begin implementing his plan of action. He had long heard tales of the mystical dragonballs of Chikyuu—capable of granting almost any wish. He had only to see if they truly existed. "Juuhachi…" He boomed loudly into the transmitter.
"Yes, Doctor Gero." Her vapid voice cut through the air like a dull blade, flat and devoid of any inflection. Near perfect, he thought, in its detachment.
"Bring your brother and get to my lab. I have a job for you two. Make it fast." Gero ordered into the transmitter before switching it off and leaning back in his chair to await their arrival. Yes it was time for action and he must be swift. He had to be ready for when the chips were in place it would be time to play the game. He would send the twins out on a hunt, he would determine of these dragonballs existed and once he determined that, he would decide what the next step would be.
Bulma stood silently in her bedroom looking down at the dark summer night in silent repose. They had gotten through dinner with little incident. She had watched Vegeta quietly though the entire meal as he had shoveled his food in, remaining impossibly silent and withdrawn from the company at their table.
Come to think of it, none of the Saiya-jin warriors had said much of anything through out the meal, well with the exception of Kakkarot, but every word he had uttered had been unintelligible with his mouth crammed so full of food that his cheeks had bulged.
Bulma watched the dry breeze as it scattered fallen leaves across the yard. Summer was almost over, autumn almost upon them. Change was in the wind, it was impossible to ignore. Vegeta had told them about the Saiya-jin and Koola, there could be little doubt of that. Was that why they had remained so somber and silent throughout the meal?
She had filled in Chi-Chi as much as she knew. The woman had been irate with Vegeta; had burst into her kitchen like a rain cloud and demanded to know what he had needed to say to her husband. Bulma had told her as much as she knew, which actually hadn’t been much and had finally been forced to tell the woman to cease with her endless tirade of questions. Somehow she had been able to direct Chi-Chi’s attention away from the approaching Saiya-jin and onto the topic of her mother’s wedding to her father.
The conversation at the table had remained light much to her relief. She hadn’t been sure she would be able to stomach any talk of Frieza or his family. Just the thought of what he had tried to do…the pain that he had caused was more than she could tolerate right now. The whole idea that Frieza had a brother seeking her out for revenge did little to leave her feeling happy. She had attempted to converse about the upcoming wedding but all she had managed was a half-hearted response. Her heart was too heavy with the knowledge of things to come to even begin to think about something such as a wedding.
Why couldn’t they be left alone and live in peace? Vegeta had settled down, so had the rest of them. They had all come to know some small measure of peace. Why did that have to be taken away from them? Hadn’t they earned it after destroying Frieza? Bulma couldn’t comprehend that there was another more powerful than Frieza hell-bent on destruction. It just wasn’t fair. She bit her lip to keep from screaming her frustration.
And now on top of that, there were these Saiya-jin to consider and contend with. What in the hell did that mean to her and Vegeta? Much to her shame, she had spent a goodly part of the dinner staring down at her plate, silently begrudging the Saiya-jin their lives and very existence. It disturbed her that she was so selfish as to deny her own husband the joy of having something survive of his race and of his planet. They meant trouble to them though, she just knew it; could feel it straight through to the marrow of her bones.
Watching Vegeta had almost confirmed it. He looked lost and troubled, something he had rarely seemed and a sight she absolutely hated seeing on his handsome face. She was use to haughtiness, fury, intense passion but not the empty, masked look he had painted on for the evening. Did he doubt them and their relationship? He had told her that he would come for her tonight and take her to their island, but he had yet to arrive. She had been standing here for the better part of an hour and he had yet to arrive. What was he doing?
Two arms sliding around her startled her out of her reverie and she jumped, feeling the familiar, solid muscle of her husband’s chest and the steady beat of his heart against her. With a growl of irritation she shoved at him.
"You need to stop scaring me that way." She snapped petulantly.
"What’s the fun in that?" Vegeta replied huskily, caressing her ear with a flick of his tongue and chuckling at the tremor that ran through her body at his touch.
"You won’t think it’s so funny when I drop dead from fright one day." She murmured silkily, leaning back against the warm body behind her and smiling as she felt his tail slide gently up her leg. "Keep that up and we won’t make it to the island." She moaned, head falling back to rest on his shoulder.
With a smirk, Vegeta hoisted her in his arms. "Don’t bet on that, woman. Unlike you my control is iron-clad." He taunted her softly, smiling at the look of steely determination that settled on her face. His woman was so easily goaded.
"You wanna bet mister?" Bulma snaked a hand round to grasp his tail, smirking herself at the sudden tightening of his body against hers. She stroked upwards. "What were you saying—about control that is?"
"You are playing with fire woman." Vegeta grated out through clenched teeth. God, if she kept that up he was going to spill himself there like an untried schoolboy.
Bulma continued her ministrations, smiling as he braced himself heavily against the wall, managing to support himself with his arm. Peripherally, she could see his jaw clenching and unclenching in some desperate attempt to maintain control. His eyes shot towards hers and she paled at the anger she saw there, releasing his tail abruptly. How could she have been so stupid to try to get to him by using his tail, by attempting to manipulate his feelings that way? "I’m sorry, Vegeta. I was just playing with you…" Her voice trailed off as his mouth pressed against hers lightly.
"Don’t… not yet. " He whispered hoarsely against her mouth before stepping through the balcony doors and taking flight into the air.
Bulma gasped at the sudden rush of warm air that hit her. Good God the man flew at an unbelievable clip of speed. It was incredible and breathtaking. Tilting her head back she laughed, loving the way her hair flew out behind her.
Vegeta smirked but said nothing, only tightened his hold on her and roared ahead, wanting to get to the small island he had first claimed her on some three years ago. It was time for him to renew his vow to her, to restake the claim he had on her and assure her that he would not be leaving her anytime soon.
Bulma settled comfortably against his hard body and shut her eyes, looking forward to the isolation of the island and imagining all the things they could manage to do to each other there. Perhaps he would impregnate her again as he had promised three years ago—after Frieza and Parisia had ended the life of their unborn child. The idea of having another child, of having his child thrilled her. The thought that this time he would be around for her pregnancy heartened her. Carrying Trunks had been a lonely, frightening experience, though she thanked God everyday that he had been there for the birth of his son. It had been his arms that had held her as Trunks slid from her body and she would always treasure that moment.
A wave of doubt doused her as she recalled the events of the night. Was it the right time to bring a child into the world? How foolish would she be to do this while Koola was lurking around? Perhaps it would be better to wait until after the new threats had been taken care of. She frowned, hating that yet again her future was unsure.
Vegeta saw the island in the distance and made his descent, touching down lightly on the sandy beach. Holding her tightly he made his way through the gnarled, overgrown path to the small lake they had once lain beside, where they had made love and given themselves to one another—first by body, then by soul. "Do you remember this place?" His deep voice filled her ear, dulling her senses, chasing away doubts and awakening something languid and slumbering inside her.
"I—I do…" She stuttered out, trying to ignore the feel of his tail sliding upwards again to caress the soft skin of her thigh. "How could I ever forget?" Bulma felt her eyes droop closed at the sensations he was creating with his simple movement. "Vegeta…" She whispered pleadingly, unsure what it was she wanted at this particular moment—wanting him to continue until she was nothing but a writhing mass beneath him and wanting him to stop long enough for her to think, to focus.
With a smirk, Vegeta laid her down on the ground, before straightening his body before her. "Woman." He said quietly, watching her intently. "I—" He broke off, unsure what to say or how to say it.
Staring up at him, Bulma felt something warm and indolent unfurl deep within her belly and sighed as it curled upwards like a hot flame, burning and licking its way through her nerves and setting the whole of her body alight with desire. "Vegeta." She whispered softly, voice heavy and thick with longing.
Vegeta stared down at her, forcing away the strong shudder of desire that rippled through him at the way she lay on the ground below him, staring up at him with those damned blue eyes caressing every part of his body like she was a hungry cat and he the mouse. He lashed his tail out behind him lazily, struggling to find the right thing to say to her. "Woman," He began huskily forcing another strong wave of lust away and holding it at bay. He needed to spit out these fucking words before he gave into the desire that was fast roaring through him like a tidal wave—washing all thought, all reason away and leaving only the two of them in its wake. "Woman," Vegeta tried again, voice rich and silky. "I want you to know that nothing will ever change what lies between you and I. You are my mate and you will remain my mate for all time."
Bulma rose up on her elbows, blue eyes heavy and veiled, her body aching and burning for his touch—for the feel of his fingers as they skimmed over her skin, for the feel of him hard and ready against her and inside her. She wanted that body to press against her in the darkest part of the night and shelter her from all that would seek to do them harm. She had been raised a royal, she was well aware of the things that they were sometimes forced to do to benefit their people. She would be a fool to think that he would be any different. "Don’t make promises you can’t keep." She replied stonily, wishing they could be done with the topic, at least for now.
Vegeta sank to his knees before her, letting himself fall towards her body before catching himself at the last moment with his hands, bracing himself above her. Lowering his head, he brought his mouth inches from hers and paused.
Bulma’s body tightened in response and she arched up, wanting to be closer, wanting to touch him. Her breath quickened as he slid a leg between her knees and dipped his head low enough to kiss her.
"I never say what I don’t mean." He rasped deeply against her mouth, fighting every muscle to keep himself steady. "Do you believe in me?" Vegeta held himself rigid above her—unmoving, unyielding, staring down at her with enough intensity in his black eyes to burn a hole straight through her.
"Vegeta," Bulma heard herself whisper brokenly, fighting her way through the thick cloud of passion and need that had enveloped her brain, leaving her devoid of all thought save him. What did he want her to say? How could he possibly think things would remain the same? Meeting his gaze, she felt herself melt, wanting to scream at him that yes, she believed every word of his vow, that she didn’t doubt him at all. She opened her mouth to force out the words but they stuck in her throat—nearly choking her. "I can’t." She sobbed against his mouth. "I believe you mean what you say, but I already know you can’t control everything." Bulma turned her head, squeezing her eyes shut to block out the look of desolation that had swept through his black eyes at her words. Dimly, she felt the fall of tears as they slid down her cheeks.
"You are mine, woman." Vegeta snapped coldly. "I am the Saiya-jin Prince and I control everything. You would do well to believe in that." His fingers jerked roughly at her clothes and she gasped as he ripped the dress from her body, leaving her bare and exposed. His eyes traveled over every curve, every swell and hollow of her body.
Bulma turned her head back to him, meeting the burning flame of his gaze with her own sparking blue orbs. Sliding her hands up under his shirt, she pushed it up over the broad expanse of his chest.
Vegeta sat up, obliging her by sliding the shirt off over his shoulders and tossing it aside before slowly pressing himself tightly against her.
Bulma gasped again at the contact of his heated flesh against her cool skin. God, he was all fire and molten heat—every inch of him. He had always been like that. Desperately she ran her hands up over the tight muscles of his back, gripping his shoulders tightly. "I love you, Vegeta." She panted into his ear, body aching for his touch.
Vegeta pulled back, staring down at her, ebony eyes glimmering and unreadable in the black, moonless night. With a growl he threaded his hands through the silken mass of hair that lay tangled beneath her molding his fingers to her scalp, drawing her head upwards, closer to his mouth, whispering huskily against the full lips. "You know what I feel, Bulma."
The sound of her name falling from his lips told her the gravity of his statement and she nodded, unable to form words.
His mouth descended on hers, burning against her like an inferno. Bulma moaned against his mouth. God why couldn’t he just be inside her? "Vegeta," She whispered, pleading with him, mouth suddenly gone dry. "I want you…now, please."
"Woman…" Vegeta’s voice trailed off into a hoarse groan, words he would have spoken cut off as he lost his head in a red-hued cloud of pleasure.
Bulma smiled as he moaned above her, trailing her hand over the soft tail that had been flicking behind him so temptingly. She watched as his eyes drifted shut and she trembled under him as he pressed himself tightly against her, settling more comfortably between her legs. She groaned again as she felt his arousal press against her.
"Bulma—" He grated out through clenched teeth in a pathetic attempt to salvage his control.
"Take me now, Vegeta." Her voice was demanding and inpatient, leaving little doubt to what she wanted it.
Though he had planned on going slow, it was becoming painfully obvious that she needed something else from him, something hard and demanding and all consuming. Throwing his plans to the wind, he complied, knowing there would be plenty of time to go slow later. Leaving her embrace long enough to shove his pants off, he ripped her panties from her body and drove into her, pinning her arms to the ground and holding her still with his body. "Fine." He rasped hoarsely. "If this is what you want, then its what you get." He shuddered once before pounding back into her, repeating the motion over and over, panting with the sheer effort of holding his climax at bay.
"God yes, Vegeta." She cried out, arching her body to meet his every thrust and wrapping her long legs around his waist, drawing him into her deeper. "This is perfect." She moaned as he lowered his head to her breast, teasing her with his tongue while he rocked forcefully inside her body.
Vegeta grunted once, unable to form a word, control slipping rapidly. He felt her tighten around him, felt her as she arched her hips against him, calling his name in a chanting litany before he gave himself over to his own climax and pumped himself inside her hard one more time, crying out her name as his pleasure finally claimed him completely. When it was over, he collapsed wordlessly next to her. Gathering her shaking body in his arms, he wrapped his heated body around hers. Coiling his tail tightly around her waist, he murmured something gentle into her ear before falling into an exhausted, near-dead sleep.
Bulma lay quietly for a moment sheltered protectively by his body and warmed by his heat. She smiled. God the man was insatiable. He had actually said "Later." With her heart still pounding like a drum she settled against him, letting her eyes droop close. If that was the case she had better get some rest. She had a feeling she was going to need it.
So it had begun. Koola smirked wickedly before taking a sip of his red Arlian wine. Standing, he walked from his chair to the view screen and stared out at the vast blackness of space. How long had it been since Frieza’s demise, since his father’s? Two years and counting, he realized. The bastard had only been gone for little over two years, as had his father. The old bastard had been brought down by the son he so believed in, the son who had not held one ounce of respect for him. Koola clutched at the wine glass, allowing the fierce tremor of rage to rock through him.
He had respected his father, listened to his father’s words and teachings and had done as his father bid. Yet no matter how much respect he showed or how many planets he was able to bully into the Reiketsu-jin regime, it had never been enough for his father.
Always it had been, ‘Frieza this’ or ‘Frieza will do that, you must back off and let him have his spot of glory.’ Oh how it had sickened him to listen to every word of praise that had left his father’s mouth over the miserable little shit’s accomplishments. Koola’s teeth clenched at the memory.
He had been far more powerful than his little brother, had even discovered a transformation beyond what his father and Frieza were capable of and still, his brother and his half-mad, obsessed ways were all that King Cold had been able to see. Damn the old fool. He could have accomplished all that Frieza had and more.
Koola had waited patiently, knowing that eventually his brother’s loose cannon ways would come back to haunt him. Frieza was unforgivably sloppy and allowed himself to be distracted with obsessions and pleasures of the mind and flesh. He had been certain that at some point, Frieza’s vices and avarice would come back to haunt him and as year after year had drawn by, he had began to give up hope, even going so far as to almost give in to his desires to kill the little bastard himself and try to appease his father afterwards.
And then, miraculously, providence and fate had stepped in and he had been spared the task. And though he regretted his father’s loss, regretted that the man was never able to see all that he, himself was capable of, Frieza’s demise had been welcome. Now he need only go and strike back at those that had done injury to his family. It was a last tribute to his father…avenging his kin in this way.
Yes, it had been a rocky road to the top but he was finally here and as far as he was concerned there would be no one to stop him. He was far smarter than his brother and he allowed himself to be distracted with nothing. And now he had Gero in his employ.
And there was still the score to settle with the Saiya-jin that had shot his ship down. He had been severely injured in that wreck and would have died had Sauzaa not pulled him from the wreckage and secreted him away. He had placed him in a regeneration tank aboard a ship that he had taken to Reiketsu and for a full day Koola had floated in the healing waters and when he had emerged it had been to the news that both his father and brother had been destroyed.
He had set aside his own personal grievances and used his instant transmission, a skill he had picked up from a Yardrat-jin native who he had held hostage for quite some time and a skill he was immensely grateful to have, to reach his brother’s side. He had reached Chikyuu within a matter of moments and had seen for himself that wreckage of his brother’s ship. He had walked through the remains, had seen all the destruction, curious as to who could have managed such a feat. He had encountered Berter at some point and the Ginyu had been able to fill in all that he knew.
Berter had been sent out upon Frieza’s landing to hunt down the Saiya-jin who were responsible for all the trouble as well as King Cold’s death. Zarbon had gone one way and he, Berter, had gone another…sensing a high power far away from the ship. After chasing the high power around, he traced it back to the ship and had returned in time to witness the death of his master by the female human’s hand.
Berter had fled when faced with the glowing yellow aura of the Saiya-jin who had stood protectively watching over the female and the Saiya-jin Prince. Berter had known exactly who they were, Vegeta and Kakkarot. For his ability to give information, Koola had spared Berter’s life, though his information had not spared him the beating of his life for failing to attack the murder of his brother.
After pummeling Berter, he had stood silently over the mass of ooze that his brother had been reduced to and chortled to himself. How fitting an end. Frieza’s sick obsession with the Saiya-jin Prince had finally cost him his life and the end had apparently come at the hand of the Prince’s lover. Looking at the gruesome remains, Koola imagined that the end must have been painful indeed.
It was as he stared down at his brother, contemplating the sudden turn of fortunes that had come his way, that he had seen the old man. He had been poking through the remains of the ship and he had been carrying something—some acquisition he had plundered from within the confines of the ship. Koola had phased before him and lifted him by his neck…demanding to know who it was that went through the ship of a Cold and stole from it. The man had been Gero and the meeting had changed his life.
Gero had stolen a body, some woman’s who had been destroyed along with the ship and he claimed to be a Chikyuu-jin scientist with the capabilities of cloning and regenerating human flesh. He had taken Koola back to his lab and it had been there that Koola had first seen all that Gero was capable of. Koola had seen for the first time the possibilities and the vision had been endless.
He had watched as Gero had placed the woman in a tank and began some kind of treatment. Truth be told, all Koola knew was of fighting and politics. He had no real knowledge of science, but he had known that night that he had discovered something far greater than a new transformation. He could still recall with clarity the question he had asked of Gero that night.
"Can this be done with my brother?" He had watched the Doctor with cold eyes.
"Your brother’s remains were far worse than this woman’s. I believe that if I could salvage some tissue or surviving DNA, then I could clone him. He would not be the Frieza that you knew but you would be able to command him at your will." Gero had watched him with a speculative gleam. Koola had been well aware of the curious was the old man had stared at him and though he wanted to strike the bastard scientist down for his impertinence, he had found himself instead agreeing to the plan.
"Imagine what I could do with a whole army of mindless Frieza’s." The thought had aroused him as none other had ever done before. The whole idea of being able to use Frieza as a weapon and control his mind was mind-boggling and Koola had soon found that he loved it.
And so the first step had been taken in the partnership with Gero. In return for his services, Gero wanted Chikyuu to do with as he pleased. Koola had no real plans to give anything to the half-mad scientist but he had readily agreed. What the fool Doctor didn’t know, wouldn’t hurt him.
He had watched as the Doctor had taken what was left of his brother’s remains and he had watched as the Doctor extracted cells and DNA from the tissue he salvaged. Two long years had passed and now finally, there was progress. Yes, soon, he would have the indestructible army he needed to take and hold the universe and he would rule over it all. Too bad his father would be unable to witness it.
Koola held the wine glass up in the air, tilting it towards the view screen and hoisted it once in the general direction of space. "This is for you, father. May the Cold regime never die." With a small nod, he brought the glass back to his purple lips and gulped the last swallow down.