Chapter Ten
Tested Resolutions


Sat on the cold, harsh surface of Snakeway, bathed in the weirdly eerie pink and white light of Otherworld, Yamcha felt his heart slowly start to eat itself away. Five minutes ago the demon screen had fallen numbly out of his hands and skidded to a halt at an apathetic distance and was now nothing more than a disregarded object of pain. For the remainder of time its possessor had been sitting in the same cross-legged position, staring out at the endless monotony that denoted the twisting path to Kaio-sama's planet, trying to stop the tears from rising to his eyes. There was no room for them. They were just shitty little drops of insignificant and shallow emotion when placed next to the pain thundering through his body. What did they compare to the way he was feeling?

Ripping his nails deep into the flesh of his arms, clawing out the feeling and cleansing his body in its own decimation would do little justice. Perhaps then, if that were not good enough, he could slam his fist repeatedly into the horrible yellow road surface, cracking and splitting the hellhole he now found himself alone on, making it crumble into the deepest depths of HFIL, and then… then maybe he would be fortunate enough to fall with it, crashing through all seven layers, giving up his soul to the fires and blackness for a forever of torture, because now… now it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference to him anyway.

This is of course was why, caught in the conflicting emotion and lack of convenient physical release that is usually a natural remedy for pain, Yamcha could do nothing. All he felt in the pit of his stomach was the rage again. It was a steady, deathly anger that spilled through every sinew of his body and emitted itself in a flame of red, which manifested in ethereal proportions. It spun around him and caressed the air in forked tongues of seething hate. It was that feeling which he had been battling everyday since he had lost his life, and which he had tried to rebut at every turn. Now though… oh now it held him so wonderfully in its spell. He gave into it and gloried in the miniscule amount of comfort it offered.

Vegeta was the object, the cause, and the pain. The bastard would pay for this. Yamcha had been a shit to Bulma - there was no denying that. He had repeatedly disregarded her feelings when it came to all the perks afforded to him by his career as a professional baseball player, but where was the equality? As far as he could see it Bulma had been corrupted and coaxed into giving herself to the devil, and it almost made him dissolve in shame. He should have been there to protect her… if only!

The 'if only' was left hanging in the air. It floated around his head, repeating itself over and over again.

Closing his eyes he forced a heavy breath out, clearing his body of the madness his hurt had sent him spiralling headlong in to. It forced his mind to be calm and his heart disinterested.

Vegeta's evil had gotten to her. It was the only explanation for her madness. It was like an affliction of the senses. Yamcha knew only too well how evil power could affect your mind - how addictive it could be. In his youth he had experienced something similar himself. All those years he had spent with Puar in the Great Desert Plain, preying on hapless passers-by, he had tasted a sample of it and he had enjoyed it, perhaps that was why he felt so much rage and implacable hate now. It was as though HFIL was calling to him, testing his resilience to its power and perhaps in the living world Bulma was suffering the same fate.

He had fought in the presence of the Saiyajin Prince, had felt his energy, and experienced the dark pull for himself. It was so cold and aloof, but promised so little inhibition, practiced so little restraint. It tempted and coerced, offering a release from the thin fetters of hard-worn notions of good. There were not many entities in the universe that didn't enjoy a certain amount of reckless abandonment in their lives, and he knew for a fact that under the veil of her job and title, Miss Bulma Briefs possessed such passion in abundance.

This new realization gave strength to his body and leant spirit to his soul. He would resist the temptation to fall, no matter how heavily it pressed on his shoulders. He would endure and he would be patient. Five weeks… that was all there was left. Five weeks and then he would be amongst the living again. Not even Vegeta would be able to completely weave his evil spell over her in that time. He had five weeks and then he would be with his girl again. He would be strong for the both of them. He had to be. He wouldn't simply sit by and watch the woman he loved, be played like a pawn in a murderers sick game of desire. He would not let the asshole win so easily. His love for Bulma would make things right again.

He might not be able to out-fight the Saiyajin no Ouji, but he could sure as hell outshine his heart.

Tentatively the scarred fighter got to his feet, brushing off imaginary dust from his crumpled orange gi. He breathed calmly through the nose, pushing his chest forward with new purpose and vigour. "King Yemma!" he called, letting his voice diffuse gently over the scene. "I'm ready to go back now. I know what I have to do."

Not long afterwards the large giants hearty laughter could be heard, filtering around and mixing in with the air, setting it alive with warmth and goodness. "I knew you would young warrior. Here…" he said, his voice loud and booming, as another piece of fruit fell conveniently from the sky. "For the journey back."

"Thank you." Yamcha paused a moment, "You know what I'm going to do, don't you?"

"Yes… yes I do."

"Do you know… that is, will it work?"

"Destiny is a complicated thing Yamcha - fate even more so. Things that happen will, and there is meaning in every action we take, in every decision we act on. I know you have a role to play... all I can say is play it well and don't lose faith."

Yamcha closed his eyes and nodded in respect, "Thank you and… I'm sorry for any trouble I've caused you."

"I'm not the one you should be apologizing to."

"You're right," he agreed with purpose and conviction. "It's time to get back to training!"

With a speed and accuracy that he had only dreamed of under the restrictions and distractions of his life on Earth, Yamcha pushed off from the road he had contemplated destroying only minutes before. His ki levelled out and eased his body into long skips and jumps as he powered along Snakeway, impatient to get as much benefit out of his time left in Otherworld as he could. The demon screen and all the petty jealousy he had felt whilst watching it was left far behind. He knew now with total certainty that jealousy wasn't the way forward, not even hate, but perseverance. His love was being put to the test and he would rise up and meet the challenge just like he had every other in his life.


It was a curious sensation, he had to admit that much. The pale cream skin of the woman he had spent unaccountable hours watching and wondering over was finally under his direct scrutiny. Those blood coloured lips, which had smiled at him in devilish confidence, pouted at him in sultry temptation, and upbraided him with poisonous efficiency were now captured and dominated by his. He could have sworn the fire he had witnessed in her on so many delicious moments was setting his desire alight under the contact.

Vegeta abruptly ended the kiss, twisting his lips once in a forceful reminder of how completely overpowered the woman underneath him truly was. He pulled away enough to thoroughly study her face. Those blue eyes searched his own out through the gloom, the crumpled white bedclothes under her body, making a stark contrast to treat his senses. Shimmering in the moonlight those orbs held so much questioning and sickly human emotion. He could not feel affinity to it, or even wish to participate in its display, but as a connoisseur, as a tactician and tormentor of the physical and mental, he watched the scene with heightened anticipation.

How would this development in his behaviour towards her be received? The passion, the desire, and the power he'd had fleeting glimpses of behind that pretty exterior, was just as extraordinary as he had believed it would be. At least of that much he was assured. The way it was played so flippantly towards himself, however, the little mannerisms and taunting words of ineffectual attachment she had confessed to feeling for him, weren't as clear as he could wish them.

Her concept of friendship was as alien to his notions and upbringing as her whole culture was to his ambitions. He didn't quite know how to place it with regards to his own share. If indeed, share, was the right term. Did the friends shit and the excitement she pined for boil down to the same equation? Was this the answer she was looking for? Her lips had sought his in a silent acceptance of the affirmative, but for this woman, yes for this little Witch, the difference between body and brain were vast indeed. He could not be secure of one until he had confirmed the other. This, after all, was all he could give.

There was no mid ground where Vegeta's psyche was involved. There was no middling to his feelings. They were either completely blank, devoid of anything meaningful or compelling, or they were obsessively intense. He could not show anything in between, that was where susceptibility came in, that was the road danger lay waiting on, and those primal and destructive forces known as power, pain and greed would eat both of them from the inside out for the audacity of stepping over that figurative line.

The more time they spent this way, in silent contemplation, the more Bulma's features gave into confusion. Vegeta smirked. The confusion very quickly switched to unease. It gave him a hint of that feeling he loved to inspire in every creature no matter how important or insignificant they might be to him - fear. It was the smallest of sideways glances, but it offered him all the power he desired.

Under the heady influence of dominance over such a spirited creature, Vegeta's smirk morphed into evilly thick laughter. Supported above her small body by having both his hands planted either side of her head, and his strong thighs pinning her hips, he was able to let his chest gently fall. The feel of this soft creature, as she arced up to meet him, truly was the most indescribably baffling thing he had experienced.

Curiously he tipped her head back, his mirth now restricted to a chuckle. The urge to lick and nibble along the jugular of her neck, as had been the custom for intimacy on Vegeta-sei, was almost overpowering. In idle moments he had wondered what kind of reaction such attention might provoke in her, and at the back of his mind now was the realization that if her words were not what he wanted to hear…well… he would never get another opportunity. He smirked against her perfect skin, giving into his curiosity.

Her body responded instantaneously, she moaned breathily in the back of the throat making it vibrate enticingly against his lips, and heat with the extra blood it seemed to stimulate.

Extremely satisfied with the feral reply he obtained from her lips, Vegeta recorded the moment for memory to play over as many times at it suited him. Curiosity sated, he lifted his head once again. "You," he said, when his voice could be steadied. "You have not answered my question, Woman."

The change in her expression was immediate. Eyelids that had previously been fluttered down and given up to his play, where suddenly open, wide and shining with unanswerable questions.

"Is this the kind of excitement you are looking for?"

There was intensity to his voice, but Vegeta would not let her see it in his features. He had always been the master of his own emotions and he had no desire to sway her by such unnecessary means.

The skin under her eyes flushed an interesting shade of pink. "No," she admitted, closing her eyes and rocking her head slowly from side to side. "It wasn't what I had in mind."

Trying desperately to control the anger rising through his body for having allowed such a slip in his composure, Vegeta set his jaw, instantly stamping out any emotion that may, momentarily, have been displayed.

"So!" he replied, through gritted teeth. "You did not think it was exciting?"

Her long fingers reached up to touch the side of his face, the smile on her lips breaking slightly through his anger. "That's not what I meant. It was very exciting, Vegeta. I just… that is… I didn't think…damnmit! You weren't supposed to do that!" A tear escaped the corner of her eye, and she wiped it angrily away. "I'm not supposed to…."

Vegeta studied her words, tried to untangle their meaning. When he eventually understood, it gave his pride the encouragement needed. "You agreed to any teaching method I chose," he stated, his voice and looks no warmer than if they had been carved in ice. "Would you go back on that?"

"No! I mean yes! Shit! This wasn't part of the deal."

"I asked you if you'd be willing to go along with anything I chose as a teaching aid, and you agreed. That means we have a verbal contract." He smirked, "A woman of such noble principles can hardly go back on her word now can she?"

"You see," she said, sitting up and forcing him to do the same. "That's what the problem is. It was a beautiful kiss, Vegeta." She closed her eyes a fraction of a second as though reliving it. "It was exciting, intense and completely… wow, but… it… it meant nothing to you, did it?"

He frowned, "You wanted something and so did I. We made a deal - excitement for compassion. It is of equal benefit to the both of us that it should continue."

"And that's precisely what I mean. You didn't do it because you wanted to. You did it because you think it's required. Well I'm sorry if I don't share your views. This woman is not about to prostitute her body out to anyone… especially not an asshole like you! I mean shit! I don't know what I wanted from you. Perhaps… perhaps I wanted adrenaline, I wanted to take risks, maybe even break the law and enjoy it. I certainly didn't expect you to jump me!"

"But you did enjoy it!"

"That's not the point!"

"Oh," he said, taking his own twisted enjoyment from her growing determination. It was going to be fun breaking it. "I think to a passionate, hot-headed whore like you, it is exactly the point. Do you want more proof? Is that it Bulma?"

"No- that's not…."

"Maybe… maybe you are greedy. You want all the excitement and pleasure you can take from me and don't want to give me the chance for compassion!" he accused; freely enjoying the look of murder she spat at him.

"Fuck you Vegeta!" she snapped, "Screw your pathetic little hunt for compassion! I can't believe I actually thought you were serious! Well that's okay, because I couldn't give a shit what you think or do anymore. If you're gonna rape me get it over with already, because I sure as hell aren't going take anymore of this bullshit! You didn't come here for my help! You came here to get laid, and now, because I'm not playing ball, you're trying to…!"

Her hands flailed to give emphasis to her speech, giving Vegeta the opportunity to grab one of her wrists and drag her back up along the bed and into a lying position. "Never challenge a Saiyajin!" he snarled. "You think I'm not serious! You think I don't want to become Super Saiyajin?"

All the woman could do was blink at him in disbelief, as once again he crawled over her body, holding it hostage with his own.

"There are two things that you should know about me, Woman. I always mean what I say and I always get what I want. The snivelling and low class insults of some disgusting little Earth creature are not going to change that."

"Get off me!"

Vegeta slowly shook his head, "I want a real reason why I should not make this happen."

"I've already given it to you!"

"You haven't given me a reason! What you said was nothing more than an excuse. There does not have to be intimacy behind a coupling to make it an exciting experience."

She looked as though she wanted to spit an answer back at him. Her eyebrows were pinned deliciously in the middle of her face and he could almost see the venom on her lips, but the emotion was lost somewhere between the brain and her voice. She squeezed her eyes shut, the standing water, shimmering on her thick lashes.

"You want a reason!" she spat. "Fine I'll give you a reason. I'm in love with Yamcha."

"Love!" he dismissed with a chuckle. "That's precisely the kind of answer I would expect from the rest of your trashy race, but I never expected to hear it from you! What a joke!"

"It's not a joke Vegeta! You only say that because you've never experienced it for yourself. I love Yamcha and that's more important to me than any excitement you could give me!"

"Bullshit! He's dead. He has no concern in this!"

"Love doesn't change just because it's between different dimensions. I can't do that to Yamcha, he's been too good to me. I can't… I just can't hurt him like that. He means too much to me. More…" She glanced up, shaking her head once before fixing her eyes in a look of stone. "More than anything that my fancy thinks it might need from you!"

Vegeta stared at her for a moment. He had seen the look in her eyes, mirrored a thousand times in his own. This had gone a stage beyond determination. He could see it as plainly as if it were written across her forehead. This little earthling wasn't about to give way. There was resolution and implacable finality in her countenance. He knew without a shadow of a doubt what that meant. She had made up her mind and there were no words in her primitive language that were going to make her change it.

Reluctantly Vegeta growled once to give a slim release to his frustration, and moved off. He fell angrily onto the covers at her side, but left one arm defiantly across her waist, stopping her complete escape. "This is not a retraction of our agreement, Whore," he said, low into her ear. "You will still teach me compassion."

Her face softened at his words, and she smiled awkwardly. "We have a verbal contract don't we?"

He frowned, but nodded his agreement none the less.

"I think," she said, standing up and smoothing her dress down, when he eventually let his arm move. "Your first lesson in compassion has been a success!"

"Witch!" he spat, falling back onto the bed, with his arms crossed behind his head. "You showed none."

"But I already know it. You on the other hand," she winked over her shoulder. "You did good. You could have forced me. Kami knows I couldn't have done anything to stop you if you had tried."

"Don't tempt me, Whore! I still haven't made my mind up. I might yet do that."

Bulma stiffened slightly at his words, and Vegeta felt slightly perturbed by it. He thought she knew his character better than that. Things had changed since she had first tried to hide her true nature from him hadn't it? Surely she knew when it was best to take him seriously and when it was best to let things slide! Maybe that had been the problem. Maybe he had been too presumptuous in her understanding of him. It made complete sense now!


That term was slowly starting to become more and more decipherable, the more he tried to work out its meaning. Perhaps friends meant nothing more than an even understanding, a small interest and slight affinity to the thoughts of each other. It was a bizarre arrangement that was for sure, but he had seen it in several other species before this time, and even seen it displayed by some of the soldiers under his command in Frieza's army. He couldn't believe how far his own curiosity had thrown him off guard.

"Don't think you get off that easily," he said brusquely. "It was honour not compassion that stopped me."

"Well," she replied, moving towards the wardrobe and pulling out her pyjamas. "Maybe that's a good thing. Your honour might not be such a bad place to start, you know!" She tapped the coat hanger thoughtfully against her lips, "What would you define honour as?"

Vegeta thought for a moment as Bulma slipped the straps of her dress over her shoulders. "Do you mind!" she snapped.

"No," he smirked. "I don't mind at all."

"Ugh! You're such an arse Vegeta. Turn around and no peeking!"

"Baka!" he spat, but turned onto his stomach none the less.

Honour. He contemplated the word. What did it mean to him. He had always kept it close to his chest, in a little forgotten pocket next to his heritage and pride. "Honour," he said after a moment. "Honour is a strict conformity to the duty imposed by position and privilege."

Bulma sighed, "Dammit Vegeta that's not what I meant. It sounds so cold, you know, like it came straight out of the dictionary. Try again!"

Vegeta frowned, looking up to the weird and abstract picture on the wall, studying it closely. "Idiotic humans," he snarled. "You put too much importance on feeling. There is no feeling in my honour. It is a necessity. Without it I am not a Prince. Without it I might as well have ended up like Zarbon or Dadoria, a mindless slave of Frieza and not a cloaked assassin within his ranks. I would not be free now to make my own choices. Honour to me is a weapon, a way of life, and a protection to my pride when it has faltered."

"Well that's a start!" Bulma replied. "You can look now."

Vegeta flipped back onto his back, just in time to see her fixing closed the last couple of buttons.

"For humans honour and compassion are closely linked. Honour to us is a set of principles that we stick to in order to live in peace with one another. Compassion can be described as something similar only added to with a deep awareness of the suffering of another - coupled with the wish to relieve it."

"Well that should be easy enough." He chuckled. "I'm very aware when others are suffering, and," he continued, letting a small amount of ki form in the palm of his hand, setting the room aglow in a twisting of ethereal shadows. "More than capable of relieving it."

"Idiot! That's not what I meant and you know it!"

He closed his hand in a fist, snuffing the power. "But it was worth it to see your face!"

"I'm trying to help you, you moron! Stop pissing me off!"


"Ugh! Here," she threw a blanket at him. "Go to sleep, and think about what I've said. I'm too tired for anymore of your crap tonight."

Vegeta raised an eyebrow, "I already have a bed and covers thank you."

"Oh no you don't!"

"I'm not moving," he stated, slowly unbuttoning his shirt. "I am royalty. The low class witch can do what she likes, but I'm sleeping here tonight."

"I'm serious. Get off!"

He chuckled under the challenge. "Make me."

"Oh you are so asking for it!"

Vegeta was taken slightly by surprise as she launched at him shoulder first, but he sat firm. Her small hands now pushed up against his muscular arm, as she tried to use her knee to lever him over the side.

"What in the hell are you trying to do, Woman!" he laughed out loud.

"Get off! Get off! Get off!"

He laughed even louder. "That is truly pathetic! What kind of technique is that supposed to be?"

"Shut up and get out of my bed!"

Vegeta's mind jumped back three months to one of the first encounters he had shared with this female, out on her mother's lawn as the sun was setting, when his curiosity had first become aroused by her. He smiled, for the first time ready to accept defeat, but only if she accepted his concession. "You didn't say please."

"I…" She stopped. The anger that had been ready and waiting to rip into him in some form of sarcastic reply was instantly ignored and replaced by astonishment. "W… what did you just say?"

"I said," he repeated with a chuckle. "You didn't say please."

Her astonishment morphed into a smile, making her features come alive, and Vegeta accepted it with a smirk of his own. "Please can you sleep on the sofa tonight."

With an evil grin over the shoulder at the Witch, just to make sure that she truly understood the rarity of his retraction, he stood up, took a pillow and the covers she had offered, and walked towards the open-plan cabin lounge.

"Night, night!" her voice whispered after him, "and Vegeta?"


"For such an annoying little shit!" she winked. "You're a damn good kisser."



Table of Contents
Chapter 9
Chapter 11