Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball Z or the characters attributed to the series.




She watched as he approached her from the shadows, sleek and silent, like a black panther on the hunt. She felt a shiver run violently through her at the sight. Was he hunting her? Was she his prey?

"Vegeta," she whispered hoarsely as he stepped into the ethereal glow of the moonlight. "What are you doing?"

He said nothing, merely stepped closer, bestowing her with a smirk. She shivered again, taking an unconscious step back away from him. That smirk…there was something different about it, something wrong—evil. What was wrong with him?

"Vegeta," She spoke sharply this time, hoping to jar him out of whatever strange mood had overcome him. "You’re scaring me." She watched as he stepped into the full moonlight, and gasped. It was a full moon…he was a Saiya-jin with a tail, shouldn’t he be going Oozaru? "Vegeta?" She queried again, eyes shooting to his waist, where his tail should be, and seeing absolutely nothing.

With another small gasp, she searched the air behind him, looking to see if it was there. Again, she saw nothing. "Your tail!" She cried out. "Where’s your tail?" Hesitantly she took a step towards him, reaching out a hand to touch his chest. What had happened to his tail?

He chuckled, and this time the sound wasn’t the usual rich, amused tones she was used to. This time there was cruelty and malice, and the sound of it directed towards her frightened her more than anything else ever had. He took her outstretched hand, and drew her close.

"Vegeta?" She murmured, looking into his black eyes, noticing for the first time the strange M that scrawled across his forehead. Startled, she drew back, or attempted to. He held fast, refusing her exit. What was that strange M? She had never seen anything remotely like it, and the sight of it on his forehead confused her.

"What’s the matter, wife?" He spoke sarcastically, emphasizing the word. "Can’t handle me?" He tipped his head back, laughing deeply.

"Vegeta," She pleaded, trying to pull away from him. Something was wrong, very wrong. He was not right; his aura was full of malice. She could sense it as it brushed along the fringes of her mind.

"Weak, Chikyuu-jin coward." He snarled, shoving her away from him violently. "Why did I ever tie myself to the likes of you."

"Vegeta?" She felt her heart shatter as his glare pierced her heart. How could this be happening to her, to him? They loved one another. They were bonded. What was wrong with him? Why was he saying such horrible things to her?

"Vegeta…" She called, watching in horror as the shadows that had surrounded him swallowed him whole again. "Vegeta, wait!" She cried, stretching her hands out in a useless attempt to reach him. And then suddenly the shadows were returning, rolling in like some thick fog to claim her. What was happening? Where was she? She stumbled backwards as the shadows crept towards her, threatening to engulf her in their black emptiness. No, she couldn’t go there, she couldn’t handle the pain she felt inside it. It was too much to handle, it was too much and it would swallow her whole if she got too close!

"Vegeta! Please!" She screamed, stumbling back as the shadows slid ever closer. "Vegeta, don’t leave me!

"Vegeta!" Bulma screamed, shooting up from the bed, breath heavy and harsh as she fought to control the panic that had nearly overwhelmed her. Gradually, she came back to herself, feeling the soft silk of the sheets beneath her palms, and noticing the cool air that blew in from the open window. God, it had been a nightmare. Some horrible nightmare brought on by the stress of the afternoon. Still, it had seemed so real. And Vegeta, he had been so cold, and cruel. His soul—it had been black, and evil as it had touched hers momentarily. Even now she could feel the cool cruelty that had infused him.

Shuddering, Bulma leapt from the bed, trying to calm down the hysteria that was fast rising to the top again. It had been a dream. It had been some horrible dream, and it was over now. She was stressed out, and it was carrying over into her sleep. That could be the only explanation.

Woman. His cool voice was like a balm to her soul, and she felt herself begin to relax. It was Vegeta—her Vegeta, not the cruel one from the dream. Woman, are you all right?

He must have been able to pick up on the panic that the dream had induced through their bond. She had not seen him since the Saiya-jin had arrived earlier in the afternoon. She had left her parents to come lie down, and rest for the dinner that they were holding to celebrate the nuptials. Glancing at the clock, she saw with a start that she had slept for well over two hours. She had exactly one hour until it was time to eat.

Woman. He growled impatiently. Answer me now.

I’m sorry, I’m fine. Even to her own ears, she sounded weak, and unconvincing. I—it was a dream, nothing more.

Are you sure? His voice was hard, yet husky, and she shivered, wishing that he were near her. She needed to feel that broad chest against her. She needed him to reassure her that everything was all right. She just needed him.

Vegeta, I need you. She hadn’t meant to say that, and she regretted the words as soon as they were spoken. He would see her as weak, and clingy, and that was the absolute last thing she needed.

Woman. Vegeta growled, but she heard the soft sigh in her mind, and wondered if he felt something similar to her. All right, meet me by the gravity room. If I come to our room, we won’t leave it tonight, and there is more—he paused, and she heard another soft sigh, or was it a growl? She couldn’t be sure. There is more that I need tend to yet tonight. He sounded resigned, and she suddenly felt the weight that had descended suddenly, and irrevocably upon his shoulders in a matter of a few short hours.

All right. Bulma whispered huskily, happy that he was at least willing to steal a few moments of time to be with her. He had not been this malleable for days. I need to get dressed, and then I’ll be right there.

Hurrying to her closet, Bulma yanked out a thin dress that she thought might knock him off his Saiya-jin feet. She was going to be doing more than trying to impress him, however. That fact had not left her mind since she had seen that ship land earlier. There was a small contingent of Saiya-jin to impress. If she wanted to be accepted by Vegeta’s people, if she wanted to aid Vegeta however she could, she had to play the part.

Bulma rushed to the bathroom, giving herself a quick once over in the mirror. She could easily admit to herself that she was lucky to have a natural beauty. Conceited as it might seem, looks had never really been an issue for her. She’d been graced on many different levels, and could readily recognize that. Men had always been attracted to her, though the only man she was remotely interested in attracting was Vegeta.

What about Bardock? The insidious little voice asked her, and Bulma flushed, turning away from the mirror. Certainly there was a minimal attraction to Bardock. She couldn’t deny that, but she absolutely did not seek to make him look at her the way Vegeta did. Whatever it was that existed between them had grown over time, and she would not deliberately seek to make it worse. Bardock needed to get over his attraction to her, and she needed to let him, no matter how good it felt to have an older man look at her with lust. It was merely her vanity that thrilled to that, and not some deep desire to have Bardock act on those feelings.

With a shake of her head, Bulma banished the thoughts and took a hasty shower, dressing in her short, silky, red gown quickly. Staring at her hair, she decided to leave it down. Vegeta loved it down, and didn’t she want to knock him off his feet?

If she were brutally honest with herself, she could readily admit that she wanted him to need her. She wanted him to desire her, and know that he could never do without her. She had to keep him happy, lest he turn to some Saiya-jin woman that would suit his needs better. Yes, she had to keep him interested.

Ignoring the insidious little voice screeching at her that she didn’t have a damn thing to prove, or worry about, Bulma left the room. True, perhaps Vegeta could recognize her merits. He knew she was tough. She had given birth to his child, for Gods sake, and killed Frieza. That had to stand for something. She was a genius, and it had been her smarts that had propelled them all for many a year. Vegeta had to recognize that. So why did she still feel so damn insecure about his feelings for her?

Maybe it was leftover remnants of that awful dream, or the distance that had grown between them over the past few weeks. All she knew was that lately, she had felt something between them…something that had never existed before, and it bothered her. His abrupt exit this afternoon, alone, to greet his fellow Saiya-jin had left her with a sick, unsettled feeling deep in her gut. She needed to see him; she needed to dispel the uncertainty that had arisen between them.

By rights, it was something that should already be known between them, but, Bulma thought, Vegeta had been so damned distant, and aloof even, obsessing over his training. He had pushed her away, and in doing so, had harmed her sense of security where their relationship was concerned. His talk of the Saiya-jin that were coming had unsettled her. They weren’t going to be happy with his choice of Queen. He had said so himself.

Rushing out the backdoor, Bulma hurried down the path that led to the gravity room. A quick glance around the area showed Vegeta had not arrived yet, so she walked quietly around the simulator to keep herself warm. The summer was giving way to the early nights of fall, and it was growing steadily colder with each passing evening.

As Bulma rubbed her hands lightly over her chilled arms, she cursed herself for not bringing a wrap. She had been too preoccupied with thoughts of Vegeta, and that horrible dream. Well, by God, he would warm her when he got here. If he was going to cause her so much damn grief, it was the least he could do.

Continuing to pace around the gravity room, Bulma listened carefully to the surrounding area for any hint of Vegeta. Not that she would be able to hear him. He was stealthy, and careful, giving no hint of his presence until he was right upon whomever he happened to be stalking. Tonight it would be her, and she felt a small thrill shoot through her at the prospect.

Yet, as she listened, Bulma became aware that oddly enough the surrounding area was deathly quiet. And there seemed to be something—wrong…some creepy little feeling hanging about in the air. She couldn’t put her finger on it, and perhaps it was merely her agitated state that was making her feel things that were not there. Still, the forest behind the gravity room was absolutely silent, and fact alone was tripping every alarm she had. Perhaps it would be a good idea to wait for Vegeta inside the gravity room

Stepping quickly up the few stairs that led to the entrance, Bulma began punching in the entry code that would open the door. Entering the code, she waited impatiently for the door to open, and was stymied when it remained firmly closed. What in the hell was this?

With a growl, Bulma tried again, and still the damn door didn’t open. Had he changed the code? And if he had, why hadn’t he mentioned it to her?

"Troubles?" A deep, sardonic voice cut through the night air, and slowly, she turned to face it.

Peering into the night, Bulma could make out his silhouette from his spot in the shadows. Whoever he was, he had kept himself hidden away from the light, and it only added to the menace that she could sense emanating from her. God, where in the hell was Vegeta?

"Not really." She said flippantly, pressing herself back against the steel doors of the gravity room. Perhaps he would just pass her by. As she watched him walk towards her into the moonlight, she realized she’d have no such luck.

"Are all Chikyuu-jin females as gorgeous as you?" The man purred, strolling towards the base of the gravity room.

Bulma opened her mouth to sear him with ugly words, when she caught sight of his face. She was vaguely aware of the gasp that escaped her as she got her first hard look. Good God, he looked exactly like Bardock, and Kakkarot. What was this?

"What is it, love?" The man took a step up towards her. "See something you like?"

"Who are you?" Bulma managed to spit out, discomfited by his close proximity. He had only three stairs to go before he was upon her. Already he blocked her escape, and she had no desire to be pinned between him and the door.

Vegeta, where are you? She shot the panicked thought through their bond, but his connection remained silent. What in the hell was she supposed to do now?

"Why do you ask?" He smiled arrogantly, stopping on the step below her. Casually, he stretched out a large hand, lifting a strand of blue off her shoulders. "Your hair is like the finest silk. Though I have never seen a lovelier shade than this."

"You look like someone I know." Bulma tried to remain calm, refusing to allow his touch to frighten her. She needed to stay cool. It would be her only way out of this situation. She had been taught self-defense as a member of the royal court of Correnia…she had just never had to use it against a Saiya-jin brute before.

"Who would that be?" He took the final step, pressing Bulma back against the wall, and trapping her firmly between it and his hard, armored chest. He smiled at her, fingering her hair gently all the while. She resisted the urge to strike out at him. Now wasn’t the moment. She needed to wait until she had more space to run. "Who is it that I remind you of, little Chikyuu-jin?" He said huskily.

"Another Saiya-jin." Bulma forced out, taking in the tail that was wrapped around his waist. "His name is Bardock…and he has a son, Kakkarot." Taking a deep breath, she tried to position her legs so that she would have optimal range to knee him in the crotch. If she could get him off the steps, she might be able to get far enough away to escape him.

"Bardock?" The Saiya-jin’s eyes flared wide before he emitted a low chuckle. "Figures you’d know him." His head dipped low, and Bulma felt him breathe lightly against her neck. "You smell good. I think I am going to enjoy having a Chikkyuu-jin concubine or two."

"You never answered my question." Bulma inhaled sharply at the contact, feeling sick to her stomach. God, how did she get this brute off of her? Surely Vegeta was out there somewhere. "You need to get away from me." Bulma raised her hand, pushing against his chest. He was like a rock, refusing to move, and she heard him chuckle again next to ear. To her dismay, she felt his mouth move lightly against her neck, and she felt panic rise like a hot flame from the pit of her belly. Oh God, she had to get him away from her. Where in the hell was Vegeta?

"And why would I do that, little Chikyuu-jin?" His mouth nipped lightly at her neck, and his hand trailed down to massage a breast. Bulma felt her knees weaken with stark terror as he explored her body at his leisure. She couldn’t allow this to happen to her.

"Because I am the mate of your Prince and Lord, Vegeta." Bulma whispered hoarsely, grimacing as his leg pried her knees apart. "He’s on his way here now…he’ll kill you if he sees this." Again she shoved at him, and this time he reared back, capturing her hands in a vice grip. She was too far from the house for the to hear her if she screamed, but maybe Vegeta if he was near by would catch it. He had always said Saiya-jin had sensitive hearing…

"Liar." The burly Saiya-jin snorted, leering at her. "The Prince would hardly mate with a weak, Chikyuu-jin whore. At best you’ve serviced him a few times. And now, it’s time for you to serve me."

Bulma shrieked as he hoisted her over his shoulder, flying into the air like a rocket. "Put me down." She screamed, pummeling his back uselessly.

Vegeta! She screeched in her mind. Where in the hell are you?

"Put me down, bastard!" Bulma shrieked into his ear, hoping it would make him land. She knew they were sensitive about their damn hearing. Maybe it would hurt him.

"Fine bitch. Have it your way." The Saiya-jin snarled, releasing his hold on her, watching impassively as she plummeted towards the ground below.

Bulma screeched like a banshee on the way down, praying to any and every God that someone would save her. Damn the bastard! He was just hovering there above her, watching as she fell to her death. Oh God, what was she going to do? Where was Vegeta?

At the last minute, she watched as he rocketed towards her, snatching her in an iron grip before she could fall to her death. Panicking, barely able to breath, she clung to his neck, terrified that he would actually let her fall. God, why was this happening to her, what had she done to deserve this fate?

The Saiya-jin set them down on the ground lightly, pulling back from her death grip to sneer into her face. "Hopefully you’ve learned your lesson, woman. It is really very simple, little Chikyuu-jin…you willingly give me what I want, and you stay unharmed. Deny me, and I’ll be happy to rip that pretty little head right off you." He smiled at her, and she felt her stomach churn at the sight of it.

He looked so much like Bardock, yet that alarming smile held no warmth. It was cold and cruel, and it promised untold pain if she crossed him. But still, no matter how frightened she was, and no matter what he had said, she would be damned if she would allow him to rape her. She would rather fight him to the death, than allow him to touch her body.

"Now, I afforded us a little privacy, and found us this perfect little patch of wood." He waved his arms widely, gesturing towards the forest that surrounded them. "Why don’t you come here, and get to know me a little better." He snaked an arm around her before she could bolt, and she had to fight down the nausea that threatened to choke her.

"Get your hands off me, you scum. You will have to kill me before I let you lay one hand on me." Bulma spat, staring coldly into his black eyes, attempting to summon all the courage she had. God, she wanted to run home and hide. Where was Vegeta? Why wasn’t he here saving her?

"Such fire in you for a Chikyuu-jin. I like that…" The Saiya-jin ran a hand down the length of her back. But…I am not in the mood for a battle tonight. So, if it is death you want then it can be arranged, bitch." The Saiya-jin snarled the final words, jerking her hard against his body, and tightening his grip on her to an almost unbearable pressure. She imagined she felt bones popping as he crushed her to him, and she grimaced as he locked her into place, holding her firm as his mouth descended towards her, open and ready.

Fighting back the panic, Bulma did the only thing she could recall at the moment. It was one of the things she had been taught years ago by her rather unorthodox self-defense instructor: she head butted him…hard. It probably wouldn’t do her much good, but if it shocked him, even for a minute…maybe she could make some kind of escape. Not that she had any idea where in the hell she was.

Watching as his head snapped back, Bulma took in the look of shocked surprise, and the small, thin stream of blood that trickled from his nose. God, her head ached now. He must have the hardest, fucking skull in the entire damn universe. The surprise was enough for him to slacken his hold, however, and she wasted little time in breaking free. She had to escape him, somehow, some way…she had to!

He was too fast for her. Before she had cleared a few feet, he was upon her, jerking her back by her hair, and hauling her back towards him, wrapping steely arms around her.

"You’re going to pay for that, bitch!" And his tone left little doubt that he was serious. He practically snarled the words, and she felt the tension in the muscles that pressed against her. "I guess we’ll skip the foreplay, and get right down to it."

Bulma cringed away from him as his hand slammed into her cheek, and blindly, she lashed out again, throwing her own wild punch. This bastard would not rape her. She could not let it happen. She had to fight the bastard off, she had to keep fighting.

But he was upon her, pushing her down to the ground and dashing her hopes for escape completely. God, her head ached, her cheek burned, and she was so tired. Still she fought him, wincing as he pressed his knee into the small of her back, and ran a hand up over her bottom, sliding a finger underneath the silk of her panties. She couldn’t fight him like this, she just couldn’t. He had allowed her no room to move. Where was Vegeta? How could he let this happen to her?

Dimly, through a rush of hot blood to her head, she felt herself begin to panic as he started working her underwear off, and she attempted yet again to heave him away from her, but his superior strength held fast, and she felt his hand grip her neck, holding her tightly against the ground.

"There’s no point to fighting. It will go much easier for you if you just stay still, woman." The Saiya-jin growled into her ear, sliding his hand under her body to squeeze a breast. "I promise though, if you calm down, you’ll enjoy it. I’ll make you scream." God, she had a perfect body. He could hardly wait to sink himself into it. The battle she had given him had only served to increase his desire. He had been weeks without a woman, and he was more than ready to bed one.

Bulma bucked under his weight, trying to get him away from her. His touch made her skin crawl, and she had to find a way…oh God, this couldn’t be happening to her, why couldn’t she figure a way out of this? There had to be a way! There had to be! This couldn’t be happening to her, she couldn’t allow it….she couldn’t allow it!! Her eyes blurred, and she realized she was sobbing. "Please…" She pleaded. "Please…" She felt him lower his body between her legs; felt his hard armor as it pressed against her back, felt him firm against her as he slid his hand under her skirt.

"Hold still, love." The Saiya-jin murmured in her ear, moving his hand to free himself of his pants. "It will be good for you if you just hold still." Something hard grabbed him by the neck, and he felt himself torn off the woman, and thrown hard against a tree. With a groan, he staggered up. "What the hell…" He froze as he stared into the black eyes of his Prince.

"Get your fucking hands off of my mate, Turles." The words were a harsh snarl, and Bulma nearly wept at hearing them. Awkwardly, she pushed herself up, feeling his hands on her as he jerked her behind him. "Are you alright, woman?" He asked with deathly calm. Choking back another sob, she nodded profusely, wishing her mouth word work, and something would come the hell out. "Yes…" She finally muttered, trying not to collapse against him. He was here! Vegeta had come, and he had saved her.

"Vegeta," Turles snarled lightly, knowing his life was in jeopardy based on the look of sheer rage that clouded Vegeta’s face like a rain cloud. "Don’t tell me what she said was true. You’d actually mate with a Chikyuu-jin? I would have expected more from the Prince of our race." With a growl of frustration, he lifted himself up, shaking his head once to clear his head. He had been hurtled into that tree with unbelievable strength. So the rumors were true…Vegeta had obviously surpassed the all. "Look at what the little hellion did to me." He motioned towards his bloody nose, swiping a hand over the thin stream. "I’ll give her credit, she fights like a demon." Turles chuckled. "She must be quite a ride in bed."

Vegeta’s eyes swept over his mate’s bedraggled form before turning back to face Turles. God, he had almost been too late. The bastard had almost touched her, had almost raped her. Vegeta felt his mind slide into a red-clouded fog of rage at the memory of seeing Turles hands all over her body, and at the sight of him draped across her. The urge to kill the man right then and there was overwhelming, and he felt his fist clench tightly at his side as he warred with himself. No, he would not kill him like this…he would not die easily. Turles would suffer…He would challenge Turles to a death match. He would fight for her honor, and he would fight for his own. He would tear Turles limb from limb and show all the newly arrived Saiya-jin bastards who he was.

Clenching his fists, Vegeta forced himself to take a deep, shuddering breath. "I challenge you, Turles. You have touched what is mine, and by right…I will see you pay with your life for it." His voice was even and steady as he managed to gather control of himself.

"What?" Turles choked out, stunned. "Vegeta she is a human…she is—"

"You heard me, third class scum. How dare you touch her?" Vegeta balled his hand into a tight fist raising it before his face. Yes, he would kill Turles painfully and he would suffer for all he had attempted to do to her…for all that he would have done to her, had he not been there to throw him off of her. The bastard had been like a fucking dog…Vegeta felt his wrath raising again, felt the cloud of hot, burning rage descending over him, and rising up through him. The feeling was so intense…he thought he might choke on it. He shut his eyes, taking another calming breath. Bulma had given as good as she gotten. The sight of Turles bloody nose brought an evil smirk to his face. The woman was absolutely ingenious when she wanted to be. He hadn’t seen the hit she had used, but he had seen the smack Turles had dealt her. As smart as she was, as skilled in defense as she might be, there was no way she would have been able to fight Turles off…

Crossing his arms, Vegeta stood arrogantly, waiting for Turles to make a move. By Saiya-jin law, when a challenge was issued…the combatants were locked away from each other for three days, forced to fast and meditate the entire confinement, until the sun hit the arena floor on the fourth morning after the challenge had been issued…and then they were set upon each other to fight to the death—going Oozaru if need be. Only the most serious of Saiya-jin disputes were settled this way…adultery, theft, murder…all serious wrongs were handled by a challenge with the thought that God would smile upon the winner.

Vegeta would drag Turles back himself, and see him locked away. They would follow strict Saiya-jin law on this. It was effective, and it suited his needs perfectly. Turles wouldn’t stand a chance against him, and he would be happy to tear him to pieces and blast them into dust. The thought brought a heady surge of excitement rushing through him, and he shuddered with it. It had been too long since had battled in this way…far too long.

Turles backpedaled, knowing he was no match for the Saiya-jin Prince. "It was a misunderstanding, Prince. I meant you no disrespect. A challenge is not necessary." He held up his hands in silent entreaty, hating that he was forced to back off. Still, the knowledge that Vegeta was a Super Saiya-jin was common, and he had felt the force that had been used into ripping him off of the woman, and tossing him into that tree. He stood no chance against that. "Besides, your mark is not upon her. How would anyone know she belonged to you?" Turles searched his mind for anything that might save him. The marking custom was the only thing he could grasp, and so he ran with it. "Every Saiya-jin marks their true mate…yet you have not laid claim to her. How could anyone know that she belonged to you?"

"Did the woman tell you she belonged to me?" Vegeta growled, taking another step towards the man, balling his hand into a tight fist. How dare he mention that in front of Bulma? Dammit, the bastard was right…there had been no need to mark her, all the Saiya-jin that had lived knew precisely who Bulma was…well he would rectify that momentarily, just as soon as he was done dealing with Turles. "Were you too stupid to understand the words she spoke?" He raised his hand, disgusted with the Saiya-jin warrior’s lack of honor. The way Turles was backing up showed him for the coward he was, and it was more than he could stomach. He would run…he would not accept the challenge, though Saiya-jin law demanded that once challenged there was no walking away.

"It is unheard of. I thought her nothing more than a whore, Prince." Turles knew the words were the wrong thing to say the minute they flew from his mouth, but he no longer cared. Their race was decimated. Surely Vegeta would not be so stupid as to challenge and kill him over a damn Chikyuu-jin bitch. The idea that his life was forfeit for her honor enraged him, and he clenched his fists at his side, helpless to defend himself. "Please, Prince Vegeta, our race is few. Surely you wouldn’t kill me over a stupid woman." He watched the cold black eyes of his Prince narrow, and he saw the twitch of an eyebrow. Damn the fucking bastard! He was going to kill him…and over a whore. He couldn’t survive…he had to escape, there would be no competition in the challenge and Vegeta knew that. Damn the fucking bastard!

Turning, Turles made to rocket away, knowing he had only one chance to escape, and one shot at survival. He would be an outcast from the Saiya-jin race, but it no longer mattered. He was a mercenary at heart, anyway. Frieza had taught him well. He had to escape…he could not die.

Vegeta watched as Turles shot into the air. Throwing a quick glance back at Bulma, he cursed at the sight of her wan face, and knew that he needed to end it now, and tend to her. Turles might have dealt her serious damage…the man was a coward, and he would die as such.

Lifting his hand, Vegeta readied his blast, sighting Turles; he released the attack and watched as the beam shot after Turles. Impassively he watched as the blast hit the Saiya-jin, obliterating him into a thousand tiny pieces that rained form the sky like dirt. "Cowardly scum." He muttered under her breath, before turning to face his shivering mate.

"V—Vegeta!" Bulma managed to stutter out, shocked, shaking like a leaf. "You didn’t have to kill him, I was okay…I was…" God, she was so cold…if she could only get warm, she would be alright…she would be—

His gloved finger touched her lip gently, hushing her. Wrapping an arm around her, he pulled her against the hardness of his chest. "Hush woman. He brought harm to you, his Queen, and for that…he had to die." Burying his face in her hair, he sighed against her head. "I challenged him to mortal combat, and by law he had to fight…but he was a coward—I wanted to kill him slowly for you, Bulma." He rasped against her throat, breaking off as the knowledge of how close she had come to being raped by the bastard hit him like a ton of bricks. When he thought of it, when he thought of her lying underneath Turles…if he had not sensed her panic through the bond…God. He held her tightly against him, thanking God that he had been able to sense her and save her in time.

"How did you find me?" Bulma mumbled against his chest, grateful for the heated warmth emanating from, and the steady drum of his heart against her body. She was safe. As long as he was near her, she was safe. Clutching at him, she pulled herself closer, needing to feel him against her.

"I could feel you through the bond. I felt…" He swallowed painfully, remembering the feel of her shock and terror as it coursed through him. "I felt what you felt. I tracked your energy and found you."

"Thank God!" Bulma sniffled, trying not to cry. He hated it when she cried, and she didn’t want to cry now…she wanted to show him how strong she could be. She couldn’t break down, not now. She sniffled again, cursing herself as the dam broke and her body caved in against him, shuddering violently with each hoarse sob that shook through her. "He was going to rape me, Vegeta, and nothing I said made any bit of difference to him. God, to feel him touching me…" Shoving away from him, Bulma turned her head dashing angrily at the tears that cascaded down her face. "He is all I can smell now."

"Woman," Vegeta gripped her shoulders, turning her around. "It didn’t happen. Turles is dead, and he can no longer bring you harm." He murmured the words into her ear, and she turned her face to him, searching his black eyes, seeing a wealth of emotions shining in their glittering depths. She watched as his finger traced a trail of tears down her face. "I will not allow any of them to harm you again, I swear it as the Prince of all Saiya-jin."

"But there are others, Vegeta. And you Saiya-jin are so damn strong…" Bulma trailed off, as he swept a hand through his hair, shooting her a quelling glance as he did so.

"I said I will ensure that you are not bothered again, woman." Vegeta stared into the sapphire eyes, and felt his blood quicken. The urge to claim and mark her was as strong as ever, and it needed to be done. He had never felt the need as much as he did now. Suddenly there were people who saw her as fair game…God, she was an absolute beauty, and her passion rivaled his. She was an attraction to any man, Saiya-jin or not. And she belonged to him. He had to protect her. But he could not take her now, not after the way Turles had manhandled her. The thought of what had almost happened enraged him anew, and he felt his body tremble. He would ensure every Saiya-jin knew the price for even looking at her wrong.

"I need to wash him from my skin. Can we go back home…I have to get out of this dress…I—" Bulma felt the shiver as it snaked up her spine, rendering her silent and numb. She didn’t resist as Vegeta lifted her in his arms, cradling her against him as he flew back to the house. "Why did he resemble Bardock and Kakkarot so?" She managed to ask, as he rocketed back towards the compound.

"Bardock is his older brother." Vegeta said bluntly. "Turles was never a particularly honorable Saiya-jin, and he didn’t inherit his brother’s brains. His life is no great loss.

"My God, we’ve killed Bardock’s brother." Bulma stared at Vegeta incredulously. "Surely it will be a loss to him!" How could Vegeta even say that? What would she say to Bardock? Turles had died because of her, would Bardock hate her, would he be able to forgive her?

"Woman, Bardock will tell you the same thing." Vegeta growled, not liking the look of horror on her face. "And why would you give a shit if he forgives you or not?" What were these strange feelings he was picking up from her, and the thoughts that were swirling loose in her head, were easily picked up through their telepathy. Her upset had left her open and vulnerable…and with him in pretty much the same boat, they were completely open and receptive to each other.

"He’s my friend, Vegeta. We’ve been through a lot together. I have no desire to hurt him, or kill members of his family." Clamping a lid on all thoughts of Bardock, Bulma turned her head away from Vegeta. God, how could she have been so stupid? She was a loose cannon right now, thinking thoughts that he was easily picking up. He could never know what had happened between she and Bardock the other day. He would kill Bardock for sure, and she refused to see Bardock dead over what amounted to nothing more than a huge mistake.

Vegeta said nothing, merely tightened his grip and flew faster to the house. The need to claim her, and wipe away all traces of Turles touch from her body was nearly overwhelming him, and her sudden concern for Bardock’s feelings angered him. Was there something there he wasn’t seeing? He had known Bardock felt something, it was obvious, but surely Bulma…no, the idea was too much to believe. She loved him, he was positive of that. Perhaps it was Bardock he should issue the challenge to.

Silent and brooding, he landed on the grounds, carrying her quickly into their home and up the stairs. Reaching their room, he sat her lightly on her feet and moved to the bathroom. "I’ll start you a shower." He remarked coolly, troubled by thoughts of his woman and Bardock together. That would happen over Bardock’s dead body. Of that he was certain.

"Vegeta," Bulma spoke quietly, watching as he turned to face her, his expression neutral. "I love you." She had hurt him with her concern for Bardock, and in her immense stupidity, made him doubt her. She had sensed that through their bond, and the thought that he would doubt her feelings for him left her cold.

Vegeta nodded once before turning towards the bath. She watched as he disappeared into the room, before sinking raggedly onto the bed, burying her head in her hands. God, what had happened? How had this night, a night that was supposed to have been filled with celebration, ended like this?

The sound of running water invaded her senses, and dazedly she made her way into the bath, needing to scrub every inch of skin that Turles had managed to touch. God, it had been a close thing, and when she thought of what could have happened…of how close he had been to taking everything from her—seeing Vegeta standing there, silently watching her, Bulma tried to stay her tears. She couldn’t let him see her like this. She ahd to be brave, like a Saiya-jin woman.

Shakily, Bulma reached for the clasp on her dress, fumbling wildly with it. Why couldn’t she get her fingers to stop trembling, why wouldn’t they cooperate with her? It was only his firm hand enclosing tightly around hers that allowed her to undo it. "Vegeta." She whispered huskily, losing herself in some heavy feeling that hung hotly between them. She couldn’t identify it, wasn’t certain that she wanted to, but God, her limbs felt so heavy, and his hand felt so good…she wanted…her head fell back against him, and she moaned at the feel of his mouth moving heatedly against her neck.

Suddenly, he was turning her in his arms, and her dress was gone from her. In the thick fog that had suddenly enveloped her mind, Bulma felt him slide the material off her. And she was reaching for his clothes, wanting to feel his hard, heated flesh against hers, needing to feel his hands as they traveled over every inch of her body.

Discarding his armor, and gloves on the floor, she pushed off the battle suit, trailing trembling fingers over his hard, muscled chest. "Touch me," She whispered again. She watched the smile that played across his sensuous lips as he complied, pushing her gently into the shower, massaging over her wet body with his hands, and she shivered as his warm fingers trailed sensually over her bare skin, following the path of water trails as they cascaded over her body.

"Bulma," Vegeta whispered hoarsely, feeling the hot water wash over his skin. Sliding his hands over every part of her body, he trailed his hand between her legs, rubbing her gently, thrilling to the heady moan he received. "Bulma." He said again, more steadily, moaning as he felt her slide down his body, and take him in her mouth.

God the way it was between them defied all logic, and again he felt the burning need to mark her as his for all time. He would do it now. They had the bond, they had a son, and now he would mark her. The only thing that would remain to be done would be the formal Saiya-jin ceremony that united them completely under the God, and before what was left of the Saiya-jin people. He would do that as soon as he had the time. He had to, or he might lose her. Bulma was…she was—

She was going to kill him if she kept this up. The things she could do to him, the way she could make him feel. His hands fisted tightly in her hair, and he moaned. The feel of her mouth as it moved over him, and the hot water that slid over him were too much. It was like he was drowning. He was lose himself in this…losing himself in her—

"I want you, Vegeta." Bulma managed to whisper, listening to him as he murmured incoherently at her ministrations. His hands clenched tightly in her wet hair, and then he was pulling her up, against him, lifting her back against the wall, and filling her with himself. "Vegeta," She managed to breath again, before her world was lost in the mind numbing pleasure he was bringing her. God, there was nothing like this, there was nothing like him, or them together. This was perfection. She knew it, but did he? She could sense hesitancy about him. Was he afraid of what existed between them, and how it continued to grow?

"You’re so slick," He groaned against her neck, unsure of what he meant. Her body was wet, and hard against him, and he was having the devil’s time trying to hang onto her, but he did…clutching her bottom, he held her firm against him, and his hard, deep thrusts.

Bulma laughed huskily, thrilled by the way he was holding her. He was like molten rock, every part of him hot and hard, and these deep, measured thrusts were going to kill her. She would die happy, though. Of that she was certain.

Vegeta grit his teeth against the waves of pleasure that washed over him, determined he would wash all vestiges of Turles from her mind. Watching her face, he saw the water that trailed rivulets over her face, and he could do no more than groan as her tongue slid out to lick the moisture that fell over her lips. The sensual action ignited his passions even hotter, and then his mouth was upon her, plundering hers, demanding she answer him again and again. "You’re mine, woman." He moaned against her mouth before he exploded into her, giving into the urge to sink his teeth into her skin. The taste of her blood filled his mouth, and he felt his climax grip every part of him as she screamed his name...in pain or pleasure he couldn’t be sure. All he knew was that he was sinking to his knees, unable to stand any longer.

God what was this weakness where this woman was concerned? Why couldn’t he control himself? Since the day he had met her, she had been like a fever raging through his blood, never abating, always burning and scorching him. Even now, after just taking her, he wanted her again with a fierceness that frightened him. With a groan, he jerked his mouth back to her lips, moaning again a she rocked above him, reaching her own climax and breathing his name over and over against his mouth. She was his… he had marked her. The only thing left was for her to mark him, and it would be complete. She was not yet his wife, but she was his concubine, and chosen mate. The ceremony was the only thing left for them to do. God, he prayed he could get it done before she found out that she was merely his concubine under Saiya-jin law. Bulma was rash, and vengeful when she felt wronged, and he had more than wronged her in the past few years…he knew that well enough. But he would not lose her. He would never lose her.

"God, Vegeta," Bulma sagged against him, and he held her, letting the water wash over the both of them. "What is this thing between us?" Weakly she lifted her hand and caressed her neck, feeling the ragged wound where he had bitten her. "And what in the hell did you do to me? What are you some kind of vampire? What in the hell was that?" She had to admit, feeling him do that to her had been rather thrilling to say the least, and she had fought the urge to clamp her teeth into him. "I actually kind of liked it, she admitted, rubbing water over the wound. "I wanted to do it back to you, but I wasn’t certain that you would enjoy it."

"Didn’t think I wouldn’t like it?" Vegeta gaped at her, unable to move. Her words, so carelessly uttered had him growing hard and ready inside her, and he nearly shook with the effort that it took to keep himself from pounding her senseless. "Woman, I marked you. By Saiya-jin custom a man marks that which belongs to him…it is the sign of a true mate. Some men mark their concubines, but leave their wives untouched. Any Saiya-jin that sees this will know you are taken." He moved slightly, needing to ease the burning desire to fuck her senseless. "If you would mark me…" He trailed off, not wanting to admit what it would mean to him.

"Wait a minute, mister." Bulma shifted, moaning a little as she drew him deeper within her. To her immense pleasure she saw his eyes drift shut, and she knew it was taking all he had to not take her. She smiled, reaching for his tail. She had him…

"Would you like to tell me why you are just now doing this?" She stroked his tail, smirking as he turned his head restlessly against the tile wall of the shower.

"Th-there wasn’t a…" Vegeta groaned as she moved on him slowly, struggling to explain things to her. If she kept that up, explanations be damned, he would have her again. "There wasn’t a need. No Saiya-jin left…" With a groan, he gripped her hips, holding her firmly against him as he thrust up inside her.

"So, you’d like it if I did it back to, wouldn’t you?" Bulma shut her eyes, feeling butterflies flood her stomach at the near desperate way he was moving against her. "He needed this…as much as she did.

"It is up to you." Vegeta muttered against her neck, nipping at the mark he had put on her. "You aren’t Saiya-jin…you—"

"Do you want it, Vegeta?" Gripping his tail, she slammed down on him, earning herself a hoarse yell of pleasure. "Do you want this mark?"

"Do it…" He grated out through clenched teeth, unable to slow himself down. He had to move within her, he had to go as far into her as he could…

"God Vegeta," Bulma moaned as he increased his speed. She could hear him over the sound of her heart thudding in her chest as he rocked against her body. Baring her teeth, she sunk her teeth hard into his neck, swallowing the coppery blood that flowed into her mouth as pumped himself into her. "Vegeta," She groaned again as she came, feeling him grip her to him as his own climax washed over him. The sound of her name being torn from his lips thrilled her, and she collapsed against him bonelessly, unable to move. "I think we’re clean." She murmured against his neck, and she felt him rise, pulling her up with him to turn off the water. "I think we’re also late for dinner." Bulma sighed as his mouth found hers, urgent and demanding that she answer him. God, he was a horny bastard tonight, but she couldn’t say she minded. Without a word, he lifted her into his arms, wet and dripping, and thoroughly unable to move.

"You’re mine," He husked again, against her mouth. "You’re mine." Vegeta felt her hands slide into his hair and he smirked, carrying her into the bedroom, depositing her onto the bed, and lowering himself down upon her. She had marked him. His woman had actually marked him.

"But dinner…the Saiya-jin…" Bulma groaned as his mouth trailed intently down her neck towards her breasts. "Ohhh…" She moaned, all thoughts flying from her head as his mouth worked leisurely over her body.

"Dinner can wait." Vegeta murmured, thrusting into her fiercely. "They can wait." But this couldn’t. God this couldn’t.




"Are we about there yet?" Babidi spat, turning to glare at his right hand man, Dabura. "I hate waiting, Dabura, but yet that is all I seem to be doing lately—waiting." Looking quite irritated, Babidi turned his head back to the view screen. They had been traveling in space for what seemed like years, and perhaps it had, he had long ago lost count. Following one dead end lead after another, they had traveled through the cosmos on a search that had finally led them to this backwater planet—Chikyuu. "I’m getting tired of waiting." He muttered unhappily again. "There are only so many places in the universe that the damn Kais could have secreted him. Why can’t I find him?"

"Relax, Master." The low voice was deep and soothing. "We are preparing to land right now, and my source has led me to believe that this is the most likely place for the Kais to have left Buu." Dabura bowed his pink head slightly, deferring to the small, wrinkled wizard that stood beside him. He was positive that this was the location of Buu…they had only to figure out where.

"Yes, well, this source had better be right, Dabura. I would hate to have to rid myself of such a fine subordinate for failing to garner me the correct information." Babidi smiled, rubbing his small hands together gleefully, mood shifting from angry to joyful as if he had merely flipped a switch.

They were close…he knew it. And he knew well the source that Dabura spoke of. Finding him had been a rare stroke of luck, and it had sent him a clear message from his long dead father, Bibidi: They were nearing their goal. Finally his father’s genius would be recognized, and because of it, his son would rule the universe. Bibidi’s creation, Buu, would be found…and it would be the tool that he used to take a hold of the universe as his father had once planned. He, Babidi would rule, as his father should have rightfully done had the damned Kais not taken his life, and his creation from him.

"He was very…reliable, Master." Dabura smiled, amused at the small Maoshin wizard’s constant threat to relieve himself of anyone who had failed him. It would never happen. He had never failed his master, and he never would. They had been together for many long years searching for this magical creature that Babidi spoke so highly of. They would rule the universe together, and Buu would be the tool to their greatness, or so Babidi assured him. "And I was sure to supply him with the appropriate encouragement to loosen his tongue." Dabura felt the ghost of another smile wisp across his face at the memory of the little Kai’s screaming voice as he was finally broken—completely. Yes, he was positive that the information they had come by was quite reliable.

"Tear him limb from limb, did you?" Babidi chuckled. "It was to our good fortune to encounter a Kai so far from their planet. He was on a mission wasn’t he? I wonder how long until that worthless little Shin misses him? Perhaps you were too hasty in killing him, Dabura. He could have enlightened us to the location of their miserable planet."

"I do not think so, Master." Dabura spoke gravely. I came to understand…that it is only Shin himself that knows the locale of the planet. He transports them as he sees fit. Besides it matters little to me. Finding Buu will lure Shin out into the open, and then I will crush him with my bare hands for you, Master Babidi." Dabura bowed again, watching as the blue and green planet of Chikyuu grew large in their view screen. "It will be my pleasure."

"Yes, Shin will pay for what he has done…the whole of the Kai race will pay for their crimes, hidden planet or no hidden planet. I will see to that myself." Babidi growled, feeling a burning rage tearing at his soul…or what was left of it anyway. Truth be told he figured that it had long ago been ripped from his body—when his father had been killed. "Go and see to our landing." Babidi clenched a fist, turning to enter his small privacy chamber. How many years had it been since that fateful day when Shin had stolen everything from him?

He had been a boy, a pup at his father’s side nearly a millennia ago. And he had watched in awe as his father had created the ultimate tool that would bring about the end of the universe as all knew it…and begin what Bibidi, his father, had enjoyed calling the ‘New Age.’ It would have been an age full of darkness and terror, and if unimaginable evil. Just the thought of what the universe could have been like was enough to send a shiver coursing through Babidi.

It had been working to. Buu had been the decisive weapon that would bring the universe to his knees, destroying useless planet after planet, until finally to avoid complete annihilation, the planets had simply began to fold, agreeing to Bibidi’s rule so long as they were not destroyed.

Then, just when it looked as if the universe would give itself over to them, the Kais had come. They had come to stand between the universe and Buu in one last, decisive battle. They were a race descended from God himself, created to be the Lord’s right hand, or so it was said. The truth was hardly known. The Kais were a quiet race, enigmatic and secretive. Whatever they were, they had proven fierce in battle, willing to die in the preservation of the universe. They and the battle against Buu had been relegated to myth at some point, and now in the mythological books that were peppered across the universe, lost in great libraries, they were written as a divine race, their planet secreted away from all. And it was their task to look after the universe in times of great terror and upheaval. They had remained hidden until Buu had brought an Armageddon to the universe. And so it was written that the Kais had come to protect it.

Shin had stepped forth, the Supreme Kai, perhaps a son of God himself, or so it was thought, for it was said in the myths that the Supreme Kais were the holy offspring of God, and that he had been put into the universe to save it should there be a necessity. Shin had led the Kais to a victory, and they had sealed Buu away forever, hiding him somewhere among the stars, killing his father, Bibidi, in the process.

What a load of shit that was. Babidi had been just a babe at his father’s feet, but he could well remember the truth of how it had gone. Perhaps they were the universe’s protector…but they had slain his father—Shin had slain his father, somehow, miraculously defeating him and Buu, and sealing Buu away for eternity. And the universe believed it all a myth. What a joke. Well soon they would know the truth of it…for there was something that the Kais had not known about…something they had not known existed. It was he, Babidi, hidden away by his father as the Kais swept towards victory, and it was he, Babidi that had been charged by his father to avenge him, should he fail in his task.

And so now, the time was finally upon him for vengeance. Now he would be able to make the little rat, Shin, pay for his sins. For in their travels, they had been given the good fortune of running into a Kai, long gone from his planet. How that had come about, Babidi would never know, for the Kais left only in times of great necessity. Perhaps the wandering little bastard had been given a task by Shin, or perhaps the Kais had gotten wind of his existence and the threat that posed to the universe. In the end it had mattered little. The weakling Kai’s powers had been weak in comparison to his and Dabura’s. It had taken precious little to break the putrid slime, and gain some possible insight into where Shin had concealed Buu.

Yes, the time was very close at hand. Babidi could feel it. Soon, Buu would be awoken and under his control, and the universe would be his to rule and command. The universe would know him not as a myth, but as truth—their truth, and most importantly of all he would see the death of Shin…and his infernal race, even if that meant taking on this God himself. For if the stories were true, then Shin was a God, and Gods were indestructible. But he had Buu…and Buu was eternal, and by the time he was finished, Babidi would make sure that even the divine knew that.




"My god, how late are we?" Bulma giggled, following Vegeta down the stairs towards the formal dining area where they both presumed dinner was in full swing. "I feel terrible missing my parents wedding dinner."

"Settle down." Vegeta growled lightly, nipping at her newly marked neck. "You are only forty-five minutes late. They’ve probably waited for us anyway. I told Kakkarot that we might be late." He shot her a smirk, and she slapped at his arm.

"Great. Now everyone knows what we were doing." Bulma rolled her eyes, smiling at how lighthearted he seemed. It had been a long time since things had been this good between them. For once, all the barriers that he had been steadily erecting between them were gone, and she could feel him, as she had never been able to feel him before. Well perhaps there had been a time when he had been this open to her, the night that Frieza had been killed. She had felt him inside her heart then as surely as she felt herself. She watched as he trailed a hand over the mark that she had given him. The act had pleased him immensely. "Aren’t you afraid that the new Saiya-jin might frown upon that?" She nodded towards his mark, before lightly fingering her own. You aren’t even sure if they are going to accept me."

"Who gives a shit what they like?" Vegeta said flippantly. "The Saiya-jin race is decimated, and I am their only chance for rebirth. They will accept my word, or they can go fu—" He was cut off by her mouth pressing against his lightly.

"Vegeta, I know you believe that," Bulma whispered against his mouth. "But I know how much this means to you. I know how much your race means to you. As their King you will have to do what is best for them." She felt her stomach clench in a knot at what that responsibility might mean for them. She would n ever be able to give him up. She knew that with certainty.

"Woman, you are what is best for them. I saw that, they will as well. There will be no other Queen of the Saiya-jin. Besides me own father was going to marry me off to a Sorentie native." Vegeta shuddered at the idea of his life tied to Parisia. He would have killed her, he was positive of that. "That shows the rules were far less rigid than we believe. They are merely old politicians who are set on returning the Saiya-jin race back to the old ways. The Saiya-jin race is mine to rule, as it was meant to be."

"I hope you’re right." Bulma took a deep breath as they reached the entry into the dining room, and he shot her a smirk. God, she hoped he was right. But what was this thing she felt? It was like some portent of impending doom, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. That dream had—

Great, now she was back to the dream. She needed to forget it. It had been a nightmare, brought on by stress and fear. Vegeta had wiped that all away this evening, giving himself to her until there was nothing more to give. It was something she knew drove him crazy, the inability to hold back pieces of himself when he chose to, but she could never regret it, and she answered him back fully. The one thing he had to be sure of was that she gave as much of herself as he did. She was his completely.

Whatever distance had grown between them lately had been a product of his stress, and concern over Koola and the Saiya-jin. He had obsessed over gaining more strength, and it had tired him out, more than he would ever admit. Still, these Saiya-jin hung over them like a thick, black cloud, and there was a strange feeling that she couldn’t seem to shake. Maybe she was being silly, but he seemed hesitant where she was concerned, even now, loose and relaxed as he was, which was a rarity to be sure. The man was almost always tense…so why should she sense this trouble within him now, when she had obviously been able to get him to unwind. Perhaps it was simply the upheaval of the night. Dealing with Turles had not been pleasant, and he had yet to tell anyone that he had killed him. She shuddered at the thought of telling Bardock, but quickly locked the thought away. She would not upset Vegeta, and he was very open to her right now. "She just hoped that he was right about the Saiya-jin reaction to his very human wife.

"I’m always right, woman." Vegeta grabbed her hand, smirking at her again. "I thought you would have realized that by now." Masking his face, Vegeta entered the doors imperiously, Bulma in tow.

Amazed at his ability to go from devilish to absolutely arrogant and formal, Bulma wasn’t sure what to think when she caught her first glimpse of the Saiya-jin that had arrived. They weren’t exactly what she expected, she could say that much. Oh two were…sort of, but the third…the difference was absolutely amazing.

Two were obvious warriors, as Turles must have been, but the third one looked like pompous old windbag. She couldn’t say he really looked old. He was older than Bardock, or Toma. That was obvious. Vegeta had told her once that Saiya-jin aged at a much slower rate, which would put Vegeta or Kakkarot in their adolescence really, and Bardock in his prime. Bulma felt her face flush at that thought. Good God what was wrong with her? The only way to really describe the third Saiya-jin was a middle-aged dictator. His face was set in deep disapproving lines. His mouth was pinched, and he looked altogether unpleasant. Or perhaps he had just eaten something that had turned his stomach. Either way he was going to be hard to deal with.

Bulma almost laughed out loud at the difference between the warrior class, and the political class, but she contained herself. How one race of rigid people could spawn two such unique cultures was beyond her.

The stiff politician of the group obviously thought very highly of himself. He had bedecked himself in a rich burgundy robe that apparently went to the floor from what she could tell. Though he had to have been born with the same spiky hair that all Saiya-jin seemed to be cursed with, he had somehow managed to curtail the wild spikes into something much more contained, actually going so far as to slick the hair back from his forehead to hang behind his back. He had gone to great pains to look important and dignified.

Yet it was the arrogant, disdainful expressions painted across his face that most caught her attention. He was a bastard. It was plain to see. And she knew at that one moment, as his cold, calculating gazes swept over her, that he would never accept her, and he would go so far as to ensure that the rest of the surviving race didn’t accept her either. He would be cruel in doing so.

"My Prince, we were wondering what was keeping you?" He stood, bowing his head low in Vegeta’s direction. "I have been awaiting your arrival with great anticipation. It seems," Bulma watched as he shot a glance towards Kakkarot, and she saw then, Chi-Chi as well, who sat next to her husband. "It would seem that we have much still to discuss."

"After dinner." Vegeta waved a dismissive hand, and Bulma marveled at the aplomb he showed. He was born to this, she realized. He was born and bred to rule, being both warrior, and politician all rolled into one. Though it was the warrior designation that he wore well. Vegeta was a politician only when he needed to be. He was and always would be a warrior born to lead.

And what a powerful leader he would be. She could feel the energy emanating off of him, and she realized he was thrilling to this. It was what he had been raised to do, and it had been stolen from him—by Frieza. Now was his chance to reclaim it.

Vegeta scowled at the annoying, pompous Saiya-jin that had been in his face since he had arrived on the planet. Still, finally he had a race again. Finally he could offer something worthwhile to Bulma. As long as they had been together, she had been the one that had provided for them, and that thought had always burned a hole in him. He had once held a title; he had once been the Prince and heir to a great race. He had his own accomplishments, and something to offer his own son, and heir. He had believed the chance gone, thought his people dead, but there were still some alive…politicians perhaps, but Saiya-jin all the same. And there were a few warriors that numbered among the survivors. Perhaps…perhaps there could be a rebirth of the Saiya-jin race, and perhaps he could ascend a throne with his mate at his side.

"But my Lord…" The Saiya-jin began, determined to have his say.

"Vergerom, I have said we will dine first." Vegeta shot the man a glare, watching as it quelled his interest in talking. He could well assume exactly what the bastard wanted to talk about. Based on the glance that he had shot Kakkarot, it was obvious that he knew at least some of them were married to Chikyuu-jin. Hell, it would have been impossible with all the Chikyuu-jin that sat around the table. Vegeta felt the ghost of a smile on his lips. Well it was time to rock the old fucking Saiya-jin’s world some more.

"Bardock," He snapped, turning to face the third class warrior. His eyes narrowed as Bardock stood, casting a sweeping glance over Bulma, before finally turning his black gaze to meet his. Oh yes, it was obvious that he had something for her. Perhaps it was time to rid himself of the bastard, though he already knew how Bulma would react to such an action. For some reason, she valued the third class, and that knowledge drove him insane.

"Yes, Prince Vegeta?" Bardock spoke formally. Tearing his eyes away from Bulma, he turned his full attention to Vegeta, not missing the look of death that Vegeta shot him for his prolonged glance. But who in the hell could blame him? God, she looked beautiful, every inch a Queen with her beautiful silken navy dress on. Vergerom would not accept her. He knew that from past dealings with the bastard.

Strangely enough the thought brought him a strange sense of joy. She was too young to have to be saddled with the duties of court. Granted she had been raised a Princess, and certainly knew her own stress…but—the idea of not working with her anymore, or of being forced to be formal when all he wanted to do was touch her and hear her laugh. God he had to rid himself of such treacherous thoughts. She was very much Vegeta’s, and he had little doubt that Vegeta would never allow anyone to tear her from him. He had no right to come between two people who belonged together. Bulma loved the Prince. The proof of that was in the way she glanced at him, or held onto him when they were together.

"Your brother is dead." Vegeta said brusquely, feeling his ire rise, and very aware of Bulma tensing against him.

"Turles!" Vergerom stood again, speaking before Bardock had been given a chance. "Turles was on my personal detail…why—why would he be dead?"

"I killed him." Vegeta said point blank, never shifting his eyes from Bardock’s face.

"May I inquire as to why Turles life was ended?" Bardock asked quietly, though a quick glance at Bulma face told him all he needed to know. His little brother had never been known for his honor, and it was obvious that Bulma had encountered that side of him. He clenched his teeth tightly together at the thought that she might have been hurt.

"He laid hands on my mate…" Vegeta gestured to Bulma. "He attempted to harm her, and I found that…unforgivable." Staring hard at Bardock, he watched peripherally as the impact of his news hit Vergerom and the other Saiya-jin, Paragus and his son, Brolli. "I challenged him to meet me in a death match, and he fled. I ended his life."

"This—this human is your mate?" Vergerom gaped at Bulma, shocked. He had thought her some slave, or concubine…but the Prince’s actual mate. No, impossible. "It is bad enough, Prince Vegeta, that we are forced to endure the Chikyuu-jin’s presence at our table. To find out that warriors are mated to humans is bad enough, but to see the crown Prince of our race…" Vergerom drew himself up to his full height. "This is unforgivable. And to think that you slew a member of our already decimated race over her…"

"She is the slayer of Frieza." Kakkarot stood, brandishing a hand towards Bulma. "And it is because of her that we stood half a chance at avenging our planet. She and her genius have brought us all pride. I am proud to call her my Queen." He smiled lightly at Bulma as a small supportive rumble from Toma and Raditz filled the room.

"We had believed you responsible for the death of Frieza, Prince." Vergerom shot a shocked glance in Bulma’s direction. "You mean this woman…this human woman killed him?"

"Yes," Vegeta murmured, feeling heat scorch his belly at the idiot’s degrading implications. Did they believe him less a warrior because she had been the one to finish Frieza? Granted, he should have been the one to end the slayer of his people, but…he had been filled with that damn virus and it had been sucking the life from him. What could he have possibly done—

With a growl, he cut off the thought. Best he kill this bastard and be done with it. Still, he needed to be able to reach the other survivors, and this pompous fool was their leader. He would have to endure his irritating presence—for a while. But as soon as his usefulness wore off, he would have no problem ending his miserable life. "And this table that you sit at is hers as well." He finished, watching the bastard’s eyes grow larger still.

Glancing around he caught sight of her father watching the events unfold with a look of offended anger. Good, the King was upset on his daughter’s behalf. His father had respected the man…and there had to be a reason. Perhaps Vergerom would as well. "Her father—the King of Correnia sits at this table. Bulma is of very noble blood." So it was a lie, but they need never know that Brennon was not her true father. He would certainly never tell.

"Tell me," Bardock’s deep voice broke through the air, clear and calm, turning the subject. "Was my brother able to bring any serious harm to my Queen?" Again his eyes caressed over her, assuring himself that she was safe and sound. He would never have forgiven himself had his blood brought her harm.

"No, Bardock." Bulma said evenly, sympathy rife in her voice. "Vegeta was there to stop anything he might have tried."

"It pains me that you suffered at his hand, Bulma." Bardock said again, before turning to look at Vegeta. "His death is accepted." Quietly he sat down.

"I can not accept this." Vergerom intoned gravely. "You have gone too far, Vegeta by taking a human for a wife. She will not be accepted by the people as their Queen. You have to know this. I do not care what her accomplishments are; it does not negate her race. You may keep her as concubine, but as mate…" Vergerom shook his head vehemently. "It cannot be done."

"Do not ever presume to tell me what I can and cannot do, Vergerom. I am quite capable of blasting you and any unaccepting survivors straight to hell. She is my mate, and our son, Trunks, is my heir." Vegeta took a menacing step towards Vergerom, meeting the politician’s beady black gaze with an unwavering glare of his own.

"Prince Vegeta, you have allowed her to breed?" Vergerom began, obviously aghast at such news, and he would have continued but found himself halted by Vegeta’s upraised hand.

"Enough," Vegeta thundered. "I grow weary of discussing this. I wish to eat, as does my mate." Taking Bulma’s hand, Vegeta led her to a chair, before finding his own.

Vergerom continued to stand, black eyes piercing into Bulma. "I find I cannot stomach this dinner anymore." Turning to Vegeta, he bowed. "You may have your way this time, Prince…but rest assured this is not over—by any stretch of the imagination." Whirling he strode off.

"Paragus," Vegeta said disdainfully. "Do you or your son have any problems with the company?"

"I have my reservations, Lord Vegeta." Paragus said quietly, shooting a glance at Brolli. "However, I reserve my judgment for a later date. If you have deemed her worthy, than surely she must be. I look forward to meeting my Prince Trunks."

"Yes," Brolli nodded his head, speaking quietly. "I will gladly serve you, Prince. Your choice of mate is yours and yours alone." Casting a surreptitious glance at Kakkarot, Brolli fought back the urge to kill the third class warrior right there and then. Kakkarot was why he was here—the only reason he was here. He could have cared less about the reunification of the surviving Saiya-jin.

All that mattered to him was taking vengeance upon Kakkarot. The moment he had learned that Kakkarot was among the Saiya-jin that had survived, he had plotted to rip him limp from limb. He had to kill the bastard for all he had forced him to suffer as a baby. By all that was holy, he could still hear him wailing over and over again, never stopping, never ceasing…deafening him with the nonstop sobs. He stood suddenly, knowing the time was not right to strike the bastard down. "Please excuse me," He stuttered out. "I find that I don’t feel well. I need to go and rest. My lady…" With a curt bow, Brolli stumbled out of the room, unmindful of the stares that followed him.

"Please…excuse my son." Paragus murmured, standing. "He is not well…he means no disrespect." With a low bow, he followed his son out.

Kakkarot’s eyes shot towards Vegeta’s. There was something odd about those two, but he couldn’t place his finger on what it was. His father had told him that Paragus had been banished from the Saiya-jin guard when Brolli had been but a babe…still he was here. What had happened, and why was his son acting so strange?

Meeting Vegeta’s black gaze, he watched as Vegeta nodded ever so slightly at him. So, he felt it to. Vergerom was a politician, and easy to distrust…but Paragus was a warrior, and his son…despite how mild mannered he appeared, harbored great power. He could sense it, lying deep within Brolli’s body. They were both hiding something…he just couldn’t figure out what.

"Well that went well." Teddi smiled lightly, trying to lighten the mood. "Your fellow Saiya-jin certainly are…interesting, Vegeta."

Vegeta merely grunted, too busy stuffing his face. With a shake of her head, Bulma turned stricken eyes to her mother. "I’m sorry, Mom. We’ve ruined your dinner."

"Nonsense!" Brennon boomed. " Saiya-jin are always unpleasant to deal with."

"Watch it old man. I’d hate to make your woman a widow." Vegeta shot the man a devious smirk, wincing as Bulma hit his head.

"That is my father you’re talking to. Watch it." She lowered her gaze, pushing at her food.

"Watch it woman, lest you find yourself back in our room." Vegeta smirked at the look of outrage that colored her cheeks. He watched her mouth open and close before finally snapping shut. His eyes narrowed as she lowered her head, toying with her food.

"Woman?" He muttered under his breath. "What’s wrong with you? It’s not like you to turn away good food."

"Shut up." She said petulantly. "I’m not hungry."

"You’d better be. I have a lot planned for you later. You’re going to need all the strength you have to keep up." His tail slid up her leg, and he smirked as she shifted restlessly.

"They hated me Vegeta." Bulma turned to look at him, grateful that the table had turned back to their individual conversations. She needed this private moment with him. Her heart had hit the floor as all the Saiya-jin had left their dinner. What hope did she have that they would ever accept her? And she had seen the way Vegeta was as King, and the way he had enjoyed it. He was a born leader, raised and trained to lead his people. How could she even think of denying him that? Would he be able to turn it away? She doubted it.

"So?" He shrugged, stabbing at a piece of steak with his fork, and cutting it with his knife. "It matters little. You are mine, woman. They will not be taking you."

"I’m not some possession, Vegeta, to be fought over. And I am royalty in my own right. I am well aware of the duties that accompany the station." Bulma snapped, stopping conversation. "Let’s face it, in the end, you will have a choice to make—me or the throne. I can see it coming, why can’t you?"

"Bulma…" Vegeta scowled, starting to stand.

"Don’t bother." She stood, tossing her napkin to the plate. "I can’t eat now." Turning her head to her parents. "Mom, Dad…I’m sorry. I want you to be happy, but right now…I need some time alone. I’m sorry, I didn’t want this to happen today." With a muffled cry, she bolted from the room.

"Bulma—" Vegeta started to follow, but Bardock’s voice halted him.

"Let me, Vegeta."

"What?" Vegeta asked incredulously, ready to kill the third class. "She is my mate, you bastard, I will see to her—"

"I know…that isn’t what I mean." Bardock held up a hand in silent entreaty. "Toma and I were around long before you. Perhaps we could go and talk to her about Saiya-jin law and custom. It might help her. She seems to be reeling."

"Vegeta," Teddi, laid a hand on her son-in-laws shoulder. "That’s a good idea. Perhaps…she needs to be informed."

"Bulma is a scientist at heart. She has always needed to have the answer to everything." Brennon mused.

"I can inform her of everything she needs to know." Vegeta swallowed hard. He would be damned if he would let Bardock go comfort her.

"You listen to me, brat, you always have…so hear me now" Toma stood, walking towards Vegeta. He was pressing his luck, he knew, but Vegeta had for some strange reason always allowed him to have his say. And he wouldn't hold back on the boy now." Bardock is right…she needs more than words now. Bulma is involved in a world that she doesn’t understand. You—well you have been long removed from it so you don’t care, but Bardock and I…were raised in it, and we know Vergerom well. We can give her something that you can’t right now, and that is information that will help her fight."

Vegeta growled, turning his head away. "Dammit." He cursed, before turning back to them. "Fine, but I go with you. Bulma and I will hear this together."

"That is a fine idea, boy." Toma smirked. "Now let’s go and straighten out this woman of yours, once and for all."




Vergerom sat in the cold silence of their ship, thinking of all he had seen. So this was the Chikyuu-jin woman that Frieza had told him about. The bitch had bewitched the young Prince and turned him against his own people, according to Frieza and he was quite capable of believing that after what he had seen. Their planet had been destroyed because the brat refused to fall into line, all because of that damn woman. Hadn’t Frieza been so happy to tell him that over and over again.

While he had been in captivity, while his planet had been destroyed, the Prince had been skimming through the universe, held enthrall by a human woman. It was shameful, and they would both pay.

It would be far harder than he had first thought, however. The damn brat would not be easy to control like his old man had been. That was patently obvious. He wielded far too much discipline and power to be curtailed as the father had been.

The King had been a pushover, caving into council demand for no more than an ego stroking…but the son had not taken after him. He was more like his mother…and that was dangerous.

The Chikyuu-jin woman the brat had chosen was not going to help the matter either. She was far too intelligent…he had seen that in those wicked blue eyes of hers. She would have to be gotten rid of. It was obvious that she held the Prince in her hand, and even more obvious why. And it was a situation that he could not tolerate. He had enjoyed great power under King Vegeta’s rule. He would not be giving it up anytime soon. If at all possible he would be gaining more, and he would use the Prince to get it, before he found a way to end his life. Dying was the least he could do for the people that he had betrayed. Yes, Frieza had not been lying to him.

"Paragus," He said quietly into the darkness.

"Yes, my Lord." Paragus said softly, standing in the shadows.

"Get Koola on the transmitter. We have some things to discuss."

* * * * *

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