Chapter IX - Love Is A Battlefield
We're losing control, will you turn me away or touch me deep inside?
And when all this gets old, will it still feel the same?
There's no way this will die,
But if we get much closer, I could lose control,
And if your heart surrenders, you'll need me to hold.
~Pat Benatar, Love Is A Battlefield
Dawn burst into the room, bathing the sleeping woman in a wash of light. She lied curled on her side with her hair fanned out behind her in a brilliant spill of azure blue. Her skin gleamed with a fine sheen of perspiration, despite her nude state, and she'd rucked the sheet up around her thighs in order to escape the heat. Even in the semi-conscious state of sleep, her body knew it was in a foreign environment, one much more humid and heavy than her own native own.
The figure watching her sleep was very grateful (for once) of the thicker atmosphere of Vegetasei, as it was the cause of the wonderful expanse of slim leg that he was now thoroughly enjoying. Even in the mountains, the morning sun was harsh, and as Vegeta made use of only the barest of technological necessities, cooling units were to be found nowhere on his estate. May have to rethink that, the Prince thought, while continuing to leer at his concubine. The knowledge of an overly-heated Bulma just a few feet away might prove to be too great a temptation. He'd never get any training done.
Stepping further into the room from the shadows, he contemplated the woman. He honestly didn't know when his fascination with her would reach its limit, assuming it even had a limit. Even now, just sleeping, she'd already deprived him of three hours of training. He'd come to wake her just before dawn and was distracted by the enticing picture she made tangled up in his sheets. Finding her deep, rhythmic breathing to be relaxing, Vegeta had decided to meditate awhile before waking her, but she still hovered in the margins of his thoughts. Accepting this distraction, he'd sat down in the shadows and proceeded to watch her.
Just watch her.
For three hours, nothing but her consumed his mind, and yet he was no closer to understanding why she dominated his imagination. Vegeta finally had to admit to himself that there simply was no explanation. He just needed her. Why wasn't important. She was a weakness; no way around that.
Life without her was unacceptable.
So, he'd used his time to think of ways to reduce his vulnerability, and surprisingly, he'd found himself forming a battle plan. Vegeta wasn't stupid. It was only a matter of time before she attempted escape. He knew that, just as assuredly as he knew he wouldn't let her get very far. But she would try to get away, and he had to prepare himself for that, both emotionally and physically. Hopefully, if he won this mental war he was establishing with Bulma, she would only try to escape a few times. The basic foundation of his strategy was quite simple.
He would make her love him.
Vegeta didn't think he was in love with her. After all, he wasn't really that familiar with the emotion. True, Len'ah had raised him in his early years with love, but he didn't really remember it. What memories he did have were tainted with others of Frieza trying to stamp out any emotion in him besides anger and hatred. The lizard-tyrant's methods were unforgettable, to say the least. But, it was just as well. As a warrior first and foremost, he had no need of love.
A concubine, however, existed for love, so Vegeta so no problem demanding that Bulma love him. He gave no thought to the fact that the Bulma's status as concubine was only a cover. If she loved him, it would only make it harder for his enemies to discover the truth. She would love him, and as such, always want to be with him. Thus, she would not try to escape, and he would not have to worry that any attempts to do so wound hurt him.
Satisfied with that portion of Bulma's weakness, he then pondered on her lack of physical strength. This too posed a problem for him because he had many enemies. While he never intended for her to be out of his sight for any real length of time without proper protection, he also was pragmatic enough to realize that the only person he'd ever leave with Bulma's care was Radditz. Sometimes there were obligations both men had to fulfill, and thus neither would be available to protect Bulma.
After brief thought, this problem was also easily solved. Vegeta would simply train her, starting today. Not enough that she would ever be a threat to him, but just enough that she could fend off an attacker until he could get to her side and rescue her. He would approach this endeavor with caution, however, because he didn't want anyone to discover that he was training her. It would cause too many unnecessary questions. She would also have to be monitored closely so she did not grow anywhere near to his level of power.
At this last thought, a nagging voice arose in his mind, admonishing him for his selfishness, but he managed to squelch it just like the unbidden thought that he couldn't simply demand Bulma's love. No, Vegeta knew these doubts were unfounded. Both aspects of his plan were sound. Bulma would be as minimal a weakness to him as possible, and his unending need to possess her would be satisfied.
And it had only taken him three hours to form a plan for the rest of their lives. He was realistic enough to know that both parts of his battle strategy would take time, the training especially. But he was a patient man. He would give her a few months before expecting her to be battle-worthy.
He wasn't sure about a time frame for love, though. How long does it take someone to fall in love? In his limited experience, love had come immediately and unconditionally. At least, that's what Len'ah had claimed. But she was his mother. Love like that was to be expected. So, Vegeta figured he'd give Bulma a little more time.
Two weeks sounded good.
That thought in mind, he approached the sleeping woman and sat on the edge of the bed. At the sudden, new weight, Bulma muttered something unintelligible, flicked a sleep-filled gaze at him, and rolled over. Vegeta grimaced with impatient frustration. How was he supposed to make her love him if she was asleep?
He reached out to roughly shake her awake and tell her about his plan. However, he became distracted by the smooth planes of her back. Mischief twinkled in his eyes, and Vegeta decided to show her how to love him rather than simply telling her to.
He crawled into the bed, stretching himself out beside her, but careful not to get too close. The Prince remembered well what had happened when he'd fully embraced her in bed while she slept. Having no desire to repeat that episode, he remained close to the edge. Bracing himself on his side with one arm, he used the other to slowly and gently knead the tense muscles around her neck. Of its own accord, his tail snaked its way over her lower back, dipping occasionally across her torso to tease the undersides of her breasts and abdomen.
After only a few moment, he felt Bulma stiffen, and he halted his ministrations immediately. When he didn't feel her relax after a full minute, he removed his hand and tail from her person, allowing her the consideration to regain her bearings.
That consideration wasn't rewarded, however, when she turned over to face him, a fierce glare gracing her delicate features.
"What the hell are you doing?" she hissed.
Gods, she's beautiful when she's angry, he thought in amazement. However, he was not about to let her see the effect she had on him. The Prince schooled his features into a mask of indifference.
"I'm waking you up, woman!" he stated. "You've wasted enough daylight."
"Where the hell am I?" Bulma then demanded.
"My mountain estate. You fell asleep in my arms last night, and I brought you to bed," he answered, smirking at the blush creeping over her cheeks.
"And did you, uh, sleep here as well?" she asked.
"This is my private bedroom," Vegeta responded. At his insinuation, Bulma began to scoot away from him, but he grabbed her arm before she could fall off the bed.
"Relax, woman," he said. "I didn't sleep. You were alone in bed all night." No need to mention that she hadn't been alone in the room for the better part of the late night/early morning when he was watching her.
She eyed him suspiciously. He seemed in too good of a mood this morning. His muscular, compact form was tightly encased in a spandex-like suit, giving her more than an eyeful of his toned physique. Seeing the way she was checking him out, Vegeta deepened his smirk and leaned back, folding his hands behind his head, letting her enjoy the view. Bulma's curious gaze morphed into a full-blown glare as she realized his was the cause for the sudden rush of heat she felt flow through her. Gods, no one should be so gorgeous...It was beyond her understanding how hormones could so completely skew her mental capabilities. The way he was looking at her made her melt, and she suddenly felt irritated. Two can play this game...
Bulma seemed to loosen up a little, enough to realize that she was incredibly stiff, seemingly unaware of her nudity. She sat up slowly. Trying to ignore the Prince's annoying presence, she began to stretch, first her limbs and then her back, arching and moaning languidly like a cat, seemingly unaware of the effect her movements had on Vegeta. His breathing increased rapidly as he watched the way her lithe form moved beneath the thin sheet, but she only noticed his piercing gaze when he uttered a low growl. Following the line of his eyes, saw that the sheet had slipped from her chest, exposing a lot more flesh than she ever wanted to. If she hadn't been aware of her nakedness before, she certainly was now.
Though she quickly grabbed the sheet to cover her self again, it was too late. Bulma had only a split-second to exhale a small "Eep!" before Vegeta was upon her, forcing her to recline on her back and plunging his tongue into her mouth. The kiss began roughly, both parties caught in the initial adrenaline rush of forbidden passion. Bulma put up no resistance, allowing herself to just feel and not think. He simply took her breath away and replaced it with his. Calloused fingers wound themselves into her hair, using the newly-found leverage to pull her even closer and deepen the kiss.
Vegeta was going crazy. Her responsiveness was incredible and made him want to devour her more. When he felt her moan, he growled back, feeling her small frame shudder beneath his. He broke the kiss, afraid he'd scared her, but looking into her passion-clouded eyes, he saw only an intense reflection of his desire. With another growl, he captured her mouth again, only a bit more gently this time.
The kiss continued for a few moments before Vegeta's hands moved from her hair and lightly caressed their way down to her chest. The rough, calloused palms cupped and kneaded her warm, supple mounds through the sheet as his mouth trailed butterfly kisses along her jaw line and neck. His tongue swirled around the juncture of her shoulder, eliciting another moan. Vegeta made a mental note of that particularly sensitive area before his mouth replaced his hands.
He tried to tug away the sheet blocking her breasts from his heated gaze, but she made a small sound of protest. The Prince's onyx eyes shot straight to her sapphire ones, and he shook his head. "You will never hide yourself from me again," he whispered roughly.
Bulma shuddered at the intensity of his words and gasped in shock as the sheet was suddenly ripped away. A rush of air hit her nipples, causing them to harden. She watched in wonder as Vegeta's already lust-filled eyes darkened more at the sight of her arousal. He locked that black gaze with hers as he lowered his mouth to catch a taut nub in his teeth, flicking it rapidly with his tongue. A low, triumphant chuckle resounded from within him as she gasped again in pleasure, arching her back and grasping his hair, pushing him into her harder.
Heavy, humid heat began to build at her core as he suckled, nipped, kneaded, pulled, and rolled her nipple feverishly, and she threw her head back in complete abandon. His mouth then kissed, licked, and bit a path through the valley of her breasts to her other mound and treated it to the same sweet torture as its twin.
She thrashed wildly beneath him, sex and lust and sweat creating a heavy perfume that permeated the already humid room. Bulma almost lost it completely when she felt his finger teasing her nether lips. As he inserted one digit into her sticky wetness, his mouth rained down kiss after kiss upon her torso, his tongue lathing a wet path around her navel, occasionally sliding into the hole the tease the sensitive flesh hidden there. He pushed another finger into her, feeling her eager muscle clamp around him as his hand set up a steady rhythm.
Bulma felt herself rapidly approaching the edge of ecstasy. She was ready to take the plunge, letting Vegeta know of her heightened state with soft gasps followed by full-bodied moans. Somehow this time was different from the other times before. It seemed as if Vegeta wanted her to feel pleasure, and he wanted to be the one, the only one, to give it to her, if the intensely possessive gaze he pierced her with now was any indication.
No one has ever made me feel this way before, she realized through a haze of passion. Unbidden, an image of Yamcha flashed in her mind, and at the memory of her dead lover, she stiffened.
Vegeta felt the sudden change in Bulma and immediately ceased his movements. The tears he saw form in her eyes twisted something in his gut. What the hell is wrong with me? He shouldn't be concerned that she didn't seem to want his attentions anymore, and he hesitated in removing his hand from her.
"Please, no more...", he heard her whisper.
That did him in. His shoulders slumped slightly in defeat, but he knew he must comply with her wishes. He placed a light kiss on her abdomen as his hand crept from her wetness. Though he desperately wanted to feel her tightness clamped around him, he crawled slowly back up her body until his full length rested over her once again.
Looking into her angelic face, he saw a slow stream of tears working their way down her cheeks. Tenderly, he licked the salty liquid away, whispering soft words of comfort, allowing her to regain her hold on reality.
"Hush, woman. I promised you I wouldn't force you," he murmured between kisses. "There's no need to fear me, not this way..."
"Why?" she whispered back. "Why can't you just leave me alone?"
His mouth halted in its path, and he raised himself above her, resting his weight on one elbow. His other hand brushed back a few strands of sky blue hair. Black eyes bore seriously into blue ones as he answered, "I have tried, little one, I have tried...Your will to resist me is strong, but my will to possess you is stronger."
Bulma's eyes widened at the fervent undertones in Vegeta's harsh rasp. She felt a small rush as being the object of such devout desire, but her pride wouldn't allow her to enjoy it.
"I will always resist you," she hissed defiantly.
She expected him to lash out at her in rage. However, he simply lowered his forehead to hers, gazing deeply into her, a knowing half-smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "I know," he whispered back.
Bulma found herself speechless at his announcement. She didn't know what to make of the Prince. Damn his moodiness. What the hell does that mean?
Before her mouth could vocalize her question, Vegeta dropped a hard kiss to her lips and rolled off of her. He stood beside her still-prone form, just looking at her with the same mysterious, almost wistful, stare.
"I know you will continue to fight," he elaborated. "Your stubborn pride matches my own. But while you want to fight this thing between us, you also long to surrender. I am a warrior; I'm accustomed to waiting out my enemy.
Bulma shot straight up at his words, being sure to clasp the sheet tightly to her. Anger flared her nostril and flushed her face. "You think we're at war? That I'm the enemy?!?"
Vegeta smirked. Normally, he himself would return her anger with equal fervor, but his morning's meditation had, at least for now, quelled his troubled spirit. He was going into battle, and he had a plan: lay siege to her until she capitulated. The Prince saw no reason to disguise his intentions.
"Yes, woman! Until you surrender to, you are my enemy," he replied, feeling the heat of battle rush through him as he threw down the proverbial gauntlet. "And know this, little one, I have not lost a battle or war, and I take no prisoners."
She began to tremble. Part of her reaction stemmed from anger. His whole philosophy was incredibly domineering and chauvinistic. I am not some spoil of war! she wailed inwardly. The strong, independent, new-millennium woman in her raged against his superior, masculine attitude.
However, another part of her, something deeper, baser, more animalistic, responded physically to Vegeta's battle-cry. It was the primal instinct in her that told her his maleness was dominant to her femaleness, that it was wholly natural and right and fundamental that he should conquer her. This thought, though unbidden and unwanted, curled in her mind, exciting her, making all other logic seem irrational. So, as she was battling Vegeta, she also found herself at war internally, anger and anticipation claiming an equal stake in the outcome.
Vegeta saw this internal conflict within her eyes and knew he stood a chance. While he still would have demanded her surrender despite any contrary feelings she might have, knowing she wanted him reassured him immensely that he would be victorious. However, he did know that victory was not come this day, so he felt it best to end their conversation.
"Woman, all this jabbering gets us nowhere," he said gruffly. "We've wasted enough time. Get yourself ready."
"Ready for what?"
He found the opportunity to tease her too tempting to let pass. "Why, battle, of course," he replied with a smug smile.
"Asshole!" she hissed. "This is a serious matter! There is no way in hell that I'm surrendering my body to you!"
"Woman, calm down!" he snapped, feeling his cool control begin to crack. "You're going to begin training with me! Now get your ass out of bed and dressed!"
Somehow Bulma felt more at ease with Vegeta's irritation and anger. They were more familiar that tender, though still domineering, demands for her sexual submission. The only comfort she took from their earlier conversation was the reassurance that he wouldn't take her forcibly again. Of course, this was a cold comfort considering the fact that he by no means was going to stop touching her, trying to get her to willingly give herself to him. She honestly didn't know ho she was going to hold out against his gentle assaults.
However, she wasn't about to let him see her weakness and decided a quick change in subject matter was in order. She rose from the bed, wrapping the sheet around her. "Where may I dress?" she asked.
Vegeta could not help but marvel at her ability to command his respect and admiration. She stood like an ice goddess before him. Tall and imperious, passionate and untouchable, elegant and dignified, all the while wearing nothing but a sheet, her hair a wild, disheveled mass, her flawless skin flushed and glowing. He was simply awestruck and was reminded again that she was his match in every way. His resolve to make her acknowledge and accept this fact was strengthened.
"You may dress in here, of course. This room will be shared by both of us," he replied. He could see protest arise in her demeanor against the living arrangements, but he cut her off. "In the dresser, you will find appropriate gear in which to train. I'll wait outside."
"Very well," she said in a clipped tone.
As he departed through the open door, she added, "Don't assume that my cooperation as of this moment means I will give into this stupid war of yours. I will not surrender my body to you."
He paused midstride. Over his shoulder, he responded, "It is not your body that I want surrendered."
She growled in frustration, thrown into more turmoil by his denial. "Then what the fuck do you want from me? What am I supposed to surrender?"
At her desperate plea, Vegeta turned around, looking her dead in the eye as he replied, "Your heart."
Bulma's eyes widened, and her jaw fell open. She flopped bonelessly back down onto the bed, unable to think coherently. Vegeta smirked. Score one for me. Knowing she needed a few moments alone, he committed her stunned expression to memory (for later gloating purposes) before taking his leave, letting Bulma interpret his answer on her own.
It took Bulma a few minutes to collect herself. Oh. My. God. He just did not say that. She blinked her eyes rapidly, unable to focus on any one particular object. It was too much. Simply, horrifically, too damned much. She felt herself get angrier. First the bastard had the gall to declare some sort of sick, perverse war on her, and now he wanted her heart as well? It was too much. Vegeta was nothing but a selfish, spoiled, arrogant, misogynistic bastard. Unbidden came the memory, however, of how wonderful being in his arms felt. He makes me feel as if I'm the only person in the world...
Whoa, girl! Get a grip! she mentally chastised herself. Her imagination wanted to delve into the mystery that was the Saiya-jin no Ouji, but logic tempered that desire. Too much had happened too quickly for her to be ready to make any other moves that she already was.
Focusing on one thing at a time seemed to be the best course of action at this point. She looked down at herself, knowing she needed to get dressed. Looking around the room, she saw that it was actually pretty mundane. Done tastefully, if plainly, in earth tones, it sported the basic furniture of any bedchamber: bed, nightstand, wardrobe, dresser. Ah! Vegeta had said clothes were in the dresser.
Rummaging through a drawer, she found a spandex suit - dark blue - exactly like the one Vegeta always seemed to wear, only this one was obviously made for a woman. Dropping the sheet, she slid into the suit, finding that it almost fit too well. It hugged her curves in all the right places, giving ample support where needed for strenuous physical exercise.
She scrutinized herself in a wall mirror. The suit showed off her form really well, but for as tight as it was, she found it also incredibly easy to move around in. Finding some loose string, she tied her long locks into a single braid, giving herself one final nod of her approval.
Bulma walked away from the mirror, glancing around the room once more. She thought she might have liked it, had it not been Vegeta's. Squaring her shoulders, she stalked from the room, vowing to never set foot in it again.
Four hours later found Bulma breaking that vow. Well, perhaps not exactly. She hadn't actually stepped a foot into the room. Vegeta had, though, with her thrown over his shoulder like a sack of flour. His right arm clamped her rounded bottom firmly to him, her wiggling and squirming doing nothing to dislodge her from his grasp.
"Put me down, you hairless ape!" she screeched.
Bulma gasped when he slapped his hand against her ass. Hard.
His fierce growl overrode her howl of pain. "Woman, I've had enough of this shit!"
"Humph!" she sneered. "Just because I got in a few good hits doesn't mean you can go all macho and try to regain your manhood by manhandling me!"
"Woman, you did not get any good hits in!" he argued as he tossed her onto the bed.
"Oomph!" she breathed, landing none too gently. "You didn't have to throw me! My ass is bruised enough as it is!"
Vegeta towered over her from the foot of the bed. "Only because you couldn't remain on your feet during training!"
"You didn't give me a chance!" she protested. "You were all over me! That seems to be all you can do today!"
He quirked an eyebrow, his face falling into a faint leer. "Would you like me to be all over you again?"
Her eyes dilated until there was almost no blue visible. "N-n-noo..."
"Then shut up."
Bulma gulped, not liking the predatory glare that sharpened the Prince's features. By their own will, her eyes raked over his form. An evil smirk graced her lips as she saw that one of his eyes was blackening.
"How's the shiner?"
Vegeta's leer was immediately replaced by irritation as he probed the tender area around his eye. Bulma was by no means his match in battle, but she did have a nasty right hook. He snarled, trying to cover his embarrassment. "Get yourself cleaned up! You smell rancid!"
"Ahh!" she screamed, rising on the bed, her hands trying to encircle his neck in a chokehold.
Grabbing her wrists lightly, he whispered, "Be careful, little girl, unless you want a repeat performance of what happened out there."
He didn't release her bracelet-encased wrists as he waited for her response, but he did loosen his grip. Their mouths were inches apart, and Vegeta thought she might actually kiss him, as her mouth drew closer, like in slow motion.
But then she stopped, her once lax body stiff with paranoia, her eyes hooded.
"Fine," she muttered. "Let me go."
Vegeta released his grip, and she snatched her wrists back. Climbing off the bed, she asked, "Where should I shower?"
"Through there," he answered, jerking his head to a door in the corner of the room.
He was unable to meet her eyes, but did watch her usually graceful form stumble into the bathroom. Another smirk passed by his lips as he thought about their training session. It hadn't been all that productive; they hadn't even gotten into any ki exercises. The better part of it had been spent showing her various defensive stances and moves. Only the last hour had been spent actually fighting. However, for someone with no combative experience, she was a quick study. He was sure if he allowed her to she would become a very powerful warrior.
He sat on the bed as he heard the shower begin, trying to distract himself from images of Bulma naked. Being in the training field with her had been bad enough. Towards the end of the session, she had somehow managed to knock him flat onto his back. As she had stood over him laughing, he'd kicked her feet out from under her. The moment her butt hit the ground, he was on top of her, demanding her surrender. She, of course, had refused and began struggling in earnest. Vegeta had been forced to subdue her with a kiss. Just as he'd been getting into it, she'd struck him in the eye.
In retrospect, the Prince had to admire her spirit, but as he grinned at the memory of their fight, he winced too at the pain in his eyes and upper jaw. She'll pay for that, he thought, grinning evilly.
Vegeta stood as the shower turned off. He concentrated on the business he would discuss with his father today at the palace to distract himself from the King of naked Bulma drying herself off. However, he found that his thoughts wandered. Damn, what I wouldn't give to be a towel. Fortunately his thoughts couldn't go much further as she stepped out of the bathroom, dressed once again in the attire Len'ah had given her the previous day.
"Well, what now?" Bulma demanded.
He raised an eyebrow at the tone, but let it slide. This once....
"We're going to the palace," he replied. "But only for a short time. You are not to be out of Radditz’ or my sight, at any point."
"Um, alright," she mumbled. Then, when she felt his eyes on her, she demanded, "What are you staring at?"
"You," he replied before thinking. "Shut up, and let me look."
His gaze traveled over her form leisurely, as if he had all the time in the world. Bulma grew agitated under his intense scrutiny, but refused to let him see it.
Just when she thought she could stand no more, Vegeta snapped, "I'm done. Let's go."
She followed him outside the building. Then she asked, "Aren't you going to shower? We just had an intense workout!"
Vegeta didn't pause until they reached the outdoors, and she was scooped up in his arms unexpectedly. They were well into the air before he answered.
"Woman, hell will freeze over before you give me an intense workout," he said in an arrogant tone.
Bulma gasped in outrage.
"Bastard! she hissed "Why the hell did you wait so long to answer?"
He smirked. "To piss you off."
She promptly smacked him in eye again.
Needless to say, he kept his mouth shut for the duration of the trip.
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