Disclaimer: Donít sue me all of you great and powerful people. I am merely peon who finds in DBZ her muse.
Chapter 11- Shadows of Things to Come
Bulma felt herself being shifted and moved. She opened her eyes to find Vegeta looking down at her and she suddenly remembered his visit and realized that he must be leaving. Before she could speak he placed his finger on her lips silencing her.
"I'm going to shower and change" he said removing his finger from her lips "so go back to sleep." "Don't worry I won't leave without saying goodbye" he assured her before kissing her softly on her lips. He exited her room and entered the hallway closing the door behind himself.
Still in a stupor of half-sleep it dawned on Bulma that it was now light. She turned over and looked at the clock and saw that it was 6:00 AM. "He stayed the whole night!" she happily exclaimed.
Since she knew that there was no way that she was going to fall back to sleep she decided to get up. She thought about cooking breakfast for herself and Vegeta but, aside from the fact that at the moment the mere thought of food made her want to throw-up, she didn't want tocall attention to the fact that the Saiyajin Prince was there. The day before when she broke the news that she was a month pregnant to her parents her father was none too happy. She couldn't really blame him for his reaction because it was only a little over a month ago that she had told them that Vegeta was the new man in her life (a fact her father wasn't too happy with either) and that he had been gone on his training mission for three out of those four weeks. Not to mention she had downplayed the seriousness of their relationship at that time. She had reasoned that her parents needed some time to just get used to the idea of she and Vegeta as a couple before she told them about how they were "a mated pair" according to the saiyajin way of looking at things and that Vegeta saw no need of confirming their union with "a stupid human ceremony". Her disclosure to her parents yesterday had unfortunately had to include those facts which she had kept hidden and Mr. Briefs had hit the roof. She expected that if her father woke-up and got wind of the Saiyajin Prince's presence on his property that he would confront Vegeta, which was something she wanted to avoid.
She dressed herself and decided to go into her lab and set to work on the alien devices. She had completely ignored them the day before because she had been so preoccupied with coming to terms with the news of her pregnancy herself and breaking it to her parents. She sat down and pulled the "brain" under her magnification device and moved around the wires and circuitry until she found what she was looking for- a small grouping of crystal-like nodes in the back. She had discovered this grouping just a few days ago and found if she sent a jolt of electricity into it that the machine would turn on.
She delicately repeated the "start-up process" and smiled with satisfaction when it started to hum. Bulma then began inspecting the module's circuitry, which by this time was as familiar to her as one of her own inventions, for signs that it was functioning. She still had yet to discover a way to interface the alien technology with her own computers so she could see exactly what made it tick. She had managed to make a few repairs and just when she thought that she was on to something it would shutdown. If she didn't know any better she would of believed that it didn't want her to find a way to tap into it's systems.
"That's odd," she thought delicately moving a cluster of wires "I could have sworn that I cut these wires the other day."
Bulma swiveled around so that she was facing her workstation and looked at her notes. Perusing her notes confirmed that she had in deed severed them just as she remembered. It seemed these wires controlled its connection to the receiver and she had disconnected it on the off chance that the machine could broadcast a message to its creators through the receiver. She curiously examined the wires more closely. The areas around where she had performed the cuts appeared to be fused, like they had grown together. "Does this machine actually have the ability to mend itself like our bodies do?" she thought in wonder. The idea that a machine could imitate a living creature so perfectly unnerved her and excited her all at once. "I wonder if the androids sent this?" she thought.
She heard the sound of clattering metal from behind and turned toward it. Expecting to see Vegeta she was more than a little puzzled to find nothing. The receiver sat on the worktable where she had left it but some of her instruments had fallen to the floor. She bent down to pick them up and once again thought she heard something, this time above her head. She quickly looked up and thought she saw the light on the receiver flick off quickly. "Was that what I heard?" she wondered "Is the module turning the receiver on and off?" She looked at her tools that she had retrieved from the floor. "But that doesn't explain how those got on the floor" she reasoned, "This is starting to creep me out. That thing didn't move did it?"
Suddenly she felt something grab her shoulder and she jumped dropping her tools on the floor. She swiveled around in her chair to see a very amused Vegeta.
"Baka!" she reproved him "Don't ever do that again! You scared me to death!" She looked down at her tools. "And now I have pick these up again."
"It's not my fault that you get so engrossed in these stupid machines" he said not attempting to help her pick anything up. He reached over and picked up the receiver and eyed it. "I don't know what you find so fascinating about these things."
Bulma sat up and frowned at him. "Put that down" she said "The last thing I need is for you to break that."
"I don't know I think I've grown kind of attached to it" Vegeta said teasingly "I think I'll hold on to it for awhile."
"I'm not in the mood for games Vegeta" Bulma said opening her palm up. "Give it to me now."
"No" he said with smirk.
Bulma quickly rose from the stool and snatched at the receiver only to have Vegeta raise it up over his head before she could react. Being as tall as, if not taller, than the Saiyajin she reached up and just had it within her grasp only to have Vegeta levitate just high enough to keep it out of her reach. "Damn you!" she said in frustration.
"Relax woman," he said looking down at her still smirking "If this thing survived Kakkorot and an explosion it can certainly survive being handled by me. Besides I'll give it to you?when I'm ready."
"Vegeta give it to me now or I'll strangle you!" Bulma said looking up at him.
"Sorry" he said, "I don't think you're strong enough to strangle me. But since you asked so nicely." He slowly descended toward the ground still holding the object above his head. He was very careful to make sure that the angle at which he held the object facilitated Bulma having to step in close to him as she reached up for it Just as she put her hand around the receiver he let go of it, he put his arms around her and kissed her.
Bulma closed her eyes accepting the kiss and she didn't resist when he moved in for a second. "Kami what a kisser!" Bulma sighed when they finally came up for air.
"I was planning to leave right away," Vegeta said slipping his arms down around her waist "but I might just be persuaded to stay a little longer if given the proper motivation."
Bulma's momentary happiness at Vegeta's offer was quickly replaced by the reality of the tensions that existed in her home at the moment. "I'd love you to stay a while but you might be in for a little bit of a problem if you did" Bulma began. "I don't think my father would be very happy to see you and he may cause a scene. You see I told them about everything yesterday, including the baby."
"Good" said the Saiyajin Prince to Bulma's surprise "then that means I don't have to pretend that you are not my mate anymore." Vegeta had resented the fact that Bulma had insisted on introducing their relationship to her parents and friends as if it were nothing more than a 'trial mating period". He had gone along with it to make her happy but he knew that no amount of pretending would make the others accept him. Now at least they would be forced to come to grips with the fact that, whether they liked it or not, Bulma was his and it was going to stay that way.
"What does he mean he won't have to pretend anymore?" Bulma thought to herself frowning "He's been gone most of the time and it's just been me against the world."
Vegeta noticed her frown and part of him wanted to ask her about it but the other half didn't want to get involved. He had to concentrate on his training right now. Her friends and her family were her problem not his. "I think I should leave now," he said.
"Maybe you're right" Bulma answered. She felt like crying again but fought back her tears.
Despite their mutual consensus that he should leave they both stood there neither one making a move. Bulma looked down at the receiver that was still in her hand and tried to compose herself to no avail. The hot tears began to fall against her cheeks.
Vegeta saw Bulma start to cry and it both angered him and saddened him. He didn't need the complication of worrying about how she felt right now. "Damn it woman" Vegeta said "Can't you do anything without making an emotional display over it?"
"Why shouldn't I?" Bulma sobbed the floodgates opening further "You're leaving again and I'm forced to stay here by myself. No one will talk to me because they hate you so much and I'm defending you. They say that you've abandoned me I tell them it's not true but in the back of my mind I'm thinking that it is because I really don't know when you're coming back. Now that everyone's going to know that I'm pregnant it's going to make things 10 times worse and I'm so tired of being alone."
Hearing Bulma's explanation he couldn't be angry with her anymore. Loneliness was something he understood all too well. He watched as her tears slid down her cheeks and his heart grew heavy as he realized that he was the cause of her unhappiness. It was ironic that she had filled the void of loneliness in his heart only to find loneliness herself. "You won't have to be alone today," Vegeta said grasping her chin and forcing her to look him in the eyes.
"But if you stay?" Bulma started to say with a sniff.
"We don't have to stay here you know" Vegeta said interrupting her with a soft smirk.
"You mean that you'd take me somewhere so that we could spend sometime together?" Bulma asked as he gently dried her tears with his fingers.
"Yes" Vegeta said relishing the affection he saw shining in her eyes "but no machines allowed." As he said that he grabbed the receiver from her hand and threw it across the room.
"Vegeta!" Bulma cried in protest before he silenced her with a kiss. Bulma melted under the seductive spell of his irresistible passion. "He may be aggravating at times," she thought as she deepened the kiss "but he sure knows how to make up for it."
"Bulma!" the couple heard an all too familiar voice shout.
Mirai Trunks sat at a makeshift table examining his mother's latest notes. It seemed that since he had left on his most recent trip to the past she had been working on creating a super strong metal that would be resistant to the android's superior strength. Everything she planned to do with it was laid out. First, she intended to craft armor from it for him to increase his chances in battle with the artificial humans. Then, she planned to build shelters for people to hide in during the attacks. He felt shame as he read her calculations. It was obvious that she had not given up on the fight against the androids. Since his talk with Kami and Kiao-sama he had lost all thought of doing anything else but wishing away his timeline. His talk with Chi Chi the night before had left him even more introspective than before as he weighed the merits of erasing his future.
Chi Chi observed the young man from a distance as she served a hungry family. She had been working in this cafeteria for a while cooking and serving food. In fact, she had helped whip it into shape after she came. It made her feel good to administer to others needs because she missed caring for her family and friends. Trunk's dour mood upset her. He had always been so optimistic, just like Bulma, when she and Gohan were living in the Capsule Corporation with him. She had a feeling that the switch from the Trunks that she knew to this darker, angrier, and pessimistic Trunks had occurred after Gohan's death. The loss of a man who he considered a brother and the pressure of being the only person on the earth who was capable of defending the planet's population from the androids had obviously taken it's toll on the teenager. She also knew that his worrying about Bulma was affecting him as well, making his mood darker still.
Chi Chi knew well the ravenous appetites of saiyajin and demi-saiyajin and therefore was worried that Trunks had eaten far too little to satisfy his need for nourishment. Adding this to the fact that he barely slept the night before greatly concerned her. She dished out another helping and approached him. "Are you sure that you don't want any more to eat?" Chi Chi asked him.
"I'm fine Chi Chi" Trunks assured her. He looked up at the woman and saw her holding a plate with a fourth helping and the worried look in her eyes. Trunks would of liked to tell himself that Chi Chi's concern for him was unfounded but he knew that to be far from the truth. Although his stomach was in knots from worry he knew that he should eat to keep his strength up. If he ran into any problems he'd need to be in top form. "Maybe I'll have a little more," he said to her. Chi Chi happily put the plate down in front of him and hurried away to tend to the others in the cafeteria.
Trunks forced himself to chew and swallow another bite as the sentry was heard shouting from a top his post. With his superior hearing Trunks could tell that he was announcing that a small group of more refugees had come out of the forest.
Chi Chi saw Trunks rise and begin to leave. She had heard the sentry but couldn't make out what he had said. "Trunks what's going on?"
"Another group of refugees has arrived" he answered "and I'm going to see if my mom is with them."
Chi Chi watched him as he ran from the building realizing that he wouldn't be coming back and couldn't help but feel lost and alone once more. "I hope you find her safe and sound Trunks" Chi Chi said quietly.
Trunks ran to the entrance to West End city pushing his way through the crowd. He couldn't see over the heads of the excited West Enders and was tempted to levitate above them but he knew how his mother had counseled him about flying in front of others because it made them nervous. Instead he reached out in search of her Ki and was distressed to find her not to be among the refugees. No longer caring about whether he made anyone nervous he levitated above the crowd and set down in front of the small group. They were a group of about twenty men, women and children of all ages.
"It's Guardian Trunks!" shouted a young boy from among them. The crowd of West Enders, that had been silent with surprise at his flight over their heads, erupted into murmurs. Although he had visited other cities he had never been to this one before. He had never sensed danger here probably because, judging from Chi Chi's explanation of West End's fairly good condition, it had stayed out of the line of fire. For this reason the people of West End had no idea about Trunk's or his exploits.
Trunks smirked at the little boy in a fashion that closely resembled his father, however it lacked Vegeta's unabashed arrogance. Part of Trunks liked the worshipful adoration that most of his city's population held for him but the other half despised it. After all, for as many lives that his heroic deeds had saved there were at least twice as many that were murdered at the hands of his enemies. His heart felt especially sick now in that these people probably wouldn't have lost their homes if he had been there instead of staying in the past for so long hunting for the Dragon Balls and from the look on many of their faces he could see they shared his sentiments.
"Can any of you tell me where Bulma Briefs is?" Trunks asked the crowd of refugees. Few people knew of the fact that Trunks was Bulma's son. He had had so few conversations with others because he was always either training or fighting. Bulma didn't flaunt her connection to him either although he knew she was proud of him. She concentrated on helping people as much as she could in her own way and was known widely for her humanitarian deeds.
"She helped us get out of the city," said a woman "She told us the way to get here but she stayed behind to check for more survivors."
"So she's still in the city?" Trunks asked her. Trunks successfully fought the panic that this statement gave him and managed to remain calm. She had stayed behind in the city to help just like in his dream. Up until this moment he had managed to convince himself that his dream was only the result of his irrational fears. Now for the first time he truly feared that his dream had some merit or perhaps might even be prophetic.
"That's where we left her," answered a man that stood next to woman who had spoken before. Without a word Trunks ran into the forest as fast as his superhuman legs could carry him. He dare not fly such a distance for fear that the androids would spot him. He had to stay on the ground under the cover of the forest keeping his Ki as low as possible if he hoped to reach his mother and he was determined that he would do just that.
Bulma stood at the kitchen counter staring out at the turbulent sky. The black clouds outside were being torn and tossed about by the strong wind. A lightening bolt pierced the sky sending a shiver down her spine. She took a sip of her coffee and decided she should probably go and close her lab for the night. It wasn't wise to work around electronic appliances with an electrical storm going on. Of course, that would mean she would be left to her own devices to think about what had happened earlier that day. Yes she had retreated into her work once again when Vegeta had left after the unpleasant scene that morning. First she had gone in and worked in the office even though it was supposed to be a day off for her. She worked overtime and when that was done she had gone back to her lab to puzzle over the disappearance of the receiver that Vegeta had thrown. Her mother came in and tried to cheer her up and helped her search for it but it was nowhere to be found. Now late at night, since she was having trouble sleeping, she decided to work on the "brain" once more.
She sighed. It worried her to know that Vegeta was out in the open somewhere with this storm brewing. "Please come home Vegeta" she pleaded in a whisper as she looked out into the sky. "I'm sorry I said those things. Please let me know that you forgive me." A tear slid down her cheek as she remembered what had happened.
She and Vegeta stood in her laboratory locked in a passionate kiss when she heard her name being called out in surprise. The kiss was broken as they both turned to see the intruder.
"Uh, hi Dad" Bulma said sheepishly as her heart filled with dread. Not only had her father discovered Vegeta was there but he had walked in on them kissing. She could tell it had angered him to find them together and she knew she had to brace herself for a confrontation.
"So you came back," Dr. Briefs said sternly looking at Vegeta, who still held his daughter close possessively.
"Of course, I wouldn't abandon my mate," said the Prince defiantly tightening his grip on Bulma when he felt her try to pull away.
Dr. Briefs flinched noticeably at Vegeta's last statement. "Vegeta" he said "I'd like to have a word with you, in private."
"We have nothing to discuss old man," Vegeta said with a cocky smirk.
"What do you mean!" Dr. Briefs said yelling at the arrogant Saiyajin "You seduced my daughter and got her pregnant. We have a lot to discuss!"
"Dad please don't do this" Bulma pleaded.
"Someone has to look out for your best interests if you won't do it for yourself" Dr Briefs told his daughter. "I don't trust this alien assassin. I never did. I never should of let you and your mother talk me into letting him live in our house. He's no good and I don't believe he cares about you at all."
"He does Dad," she said defensively.
"Then why doesn't he speak for himself instead of hiding behind you!" Dr. Briefs demanded.
"Baka!" Vegeta spat out a Bulma's father "I am Prince of the Saiyajin and I don't need to answer to anyone for my actions. I do as I please and it pleased me to take this woman as my mate. You should be honored that I have chosen your daughter."
"Honored!" the scientist shouted. "You think I care what you used to be on your planet! I judge a man by his actions and the from moment you set foot on this planet you have done nothing but convince me that you're a black-hearted, arrogant killer that only cares about himself. You treat everyone, including Bulma, deplorably. You don't call her by her name, you insult her and you force her to accept living under your saiyajin custom when I know she wants you to marry her under our law. And what about this child you've fathered, do you intend to be around to raise it or are you going to be out in the wilderness training somewhere?"
"Enough old man! I'm tired of your ranting!" Vegeta shouted picking Bulma up "I'm taking my mate and leaving here!"
"Vegeta put me down!" Bulma shouted, "This won't solve anything. He's just afraid that you'll hurt me. Just tell him that you do care about me. Tell him what you told me about saiyajin customs. Help him to understand. Please, Vegeta."
"What I told you is none of his concern" Vegeta snapped at Bulma.
"She's my child damn you!" Dr. Briefs shouted "Her well being is my concern!"
Bulma watched as Vegeta stared at the scientist for a moment and then looked down at her with a thoughtful expression. He looked into her eyes for what seemed like an eternity. She tried to figure out what he was thinking about by studying his dark eyes and his face without success. Suddenly he set her down on her feet and she held her breath. She watched in fascination as he brought his hand up and made a fist, which he brought tohis chest. She realized that it must be some sort of saiyajin ritualistic gesture.
"I give you my solemn oath that I will not harm your daughter and I swear that anyone who tries to harm her will die by my own hand" Vegeta vowed as he looked Dr. Briefs straight in the eye.
Dr. Briefs looked at the Saiyajin Prince who still stoodwith his clenched fist against his chest. "I believe you" he said "I just have one final question for you. Do you love Bulma?"
To say that her father's question had caught Vegeta off guard would be an under statement. He looked uncomfortable and frustrated as he stared at Dr. Briefs. Bulma walked over to him and lightly touched his arm in encouragement and he turned to her.
"Vegeta tell him," Bulma pleaded, "Tell him that you love me." She held her breath as she looked into his eyes. She saw his hesitation in them and it worried her. He stared at her unmoving his face expressionless except for his troubled eyes.
"Vegeta" Bulma said with tears in her eyes "Tell him. Tell me." She watched as his expression became increasingly agitated. "He doesn't want to say it, but why?" she wondered silently. She knew he had never said that he loved her but she knew he did. She was sure of it.
"Vegeta why won't you say it?' Bulma asked desperately. "You love me, don't you?" She felt the doubts and fears she had always kept at the back of her mind bubble to the surface.
"I.-I .." Vegeta began to falter and he looked away from her. "I took you as my mate woman."
"That's your answer?" Bulma asked desperately hoping that it wasn't.
"That is all you need to know," said the Prince crossing his arms over his chest still looking away from her. She felt her heart being rendered in two by her confusion and anger as she looked on at him in silence.
"So it's just like I thought" Dr. Briefs said with conviction. "You're just too beautiful for your own good Bulma. He doesn't care about you. All that he cares about is that he's got a pretty plaything when he feels like it. He's nothing more than a lustful barbarian."
"HOW DARE YOU!" Vegeta growled. He closed the ground between himself and the scientist in two long strides and picked him up by the collar on his lab coat.
"VEGETA STOP!" Bulma screamed in fear. She ran over and grabbed Vegeta's arm as he reached back to strike her father. When he turned and glared at her she saw the anger burning deep in his eyes. She had forgotten how savage and cruel he could be and it shocked and it dismayed her to see that side of him once again. He was angry with her for stopping him.
"You monster! How could you even think of hurting him! He's right you're nothing but a sadistic barbarian! I was a fool to ever think that you could care for me!" she screamed at him. She saw the set of his jaw release and his expression change and become almost
"Put him down Vegeta. Please!" she begged looking into his eyes with fear and hope.
Vegeta released his hold on Dr. Briefs and the scientist landed hard on the floor. Bulma ran to her father and held him in her arms apologizing to him for what had occurred. After a moment Bulma looked up at Vegeta and their eyes locked once again. As she stared into his eyes for the first time she saw pain and loss in them and she felt her heart sink because she knew it was because of what she had said. Then he turned away and started to leave.
"Vegeta wait" Bulma called to him but he didn't slow down or look back. "Don't go like this!" Bulma sobbed running after him, but it was too late to stop him.
Bulma had never felt so lost and alone as she did when she watched Vegeta fly away into the sky with the fear in her heart that she might not see him again.
" I didn't mean what I said Vegeta" she said quietly "I was just angry and when I'm angry I can say some pretty nasty things in the heat of the moment. Please come back to me."
Bulma felt numb with worry and did not move as she watched the storm begin to break outside. Tears stopped coming, not because she didn't want to cry but because she was tired of crying. She didn't want to feel anything more that night. She had spent two days jumping between every emotion imaginable and she was spent. She felt like a limp rag. "Maybe I should go to bed," she thought once again.
Suddenly Bulma got a terrible sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. Fear gripped her heart for no reason and she felt pain tug at it as if she were about to have a heart attack. She released the mug and it shattered into a million pieces as she clutched at her heart. For a moment she felt as if she might faint. Then just as suddenly as the attack had hit her it vanished. She stared at the mess on the floor, not really seeing it, with only one thought in her mind.
"Vegeta. Something's happen to him" she cried " I just know it. I'm not sure how but I do."
She looked out the window at the pouring rain and tried to understand what had just happened. The thought that Vegeta was hurt still over shadowed everything else in her mind. But there was something else there too. Something in the dark recesses of her mind trying to get through.
"My lab" Bulma said in confusion. "Why am I thinking about my lab?"
For a moment she stood there glued to the same spot until she decided to follow her strange instinct. She ran to the lab and when the door slid open the lights flickered out. She stumbled across the room and began rummaging through a drawer for the flashlight she kept there. As she fumbled through the drawer she was just barely registering the fact that she seemed to be getting soaked although she was indoors.
After finally obtaining her prize she fumbled with it until it switched on illuminating the darkness just ahead of her. In the flashlight's beam she could see that the window was open. She rushed to it and closed it shutting out the driving rain. She shivered through her wet clothes as they clung to her not so much because she was soaked to the skin but with the realization that someone had been there. Was it Vegeta?
She swept the beam in large archs in her path as she advanced forward. Nothing seemed out of place until she reached her workstations. The "brain", the memory module was missing.
"No, no" she shouted, "It has to be here!" she said.
She searched around in disbelief across the top of the desk and then knelt on the floor with the intention of continuing the search there. As she put her hand down to look further under the cabinets she put her hand down on something wet. Ignoring it she looked under the cabinet for the lost module. After not finding it she reached up to push away her wet hair, which had fallen, into her face. When she brought her hand back down she happened to look at the palm of her hand and it was covered in blood.
"Oh Kami!" she cried her eyes trying to push out tears that wouldn't come.
She managed to keep her head about her, just enough so that she realized the fact that she wasn't bleeding herself.
"Where did it come from?" she puzzled.
Just then it came to her and she pointed the beam onto the floor just below her feet. Sure enough, it was there with her smeared palm print in the middle of it. It wasn't a lot but it was enough to terrify her.
The thoughts, which drove her there, in the first place came rushing back. Her mind had screamed that Vegeta was hurt and the lab had something to do with it. Thinking quickly she grabbed a vial and took a sample of the blood fighting the nausea that suddenly swept over her. A million questions rushed through her mind as she looked at the vial she now held in her hand and she had the sinking feeling she wouldn't find all of the answers to them.
* * * * *
In the next chapter:
Bulma visits Chi Chi and an army base and learns some things which disturb her. Mirai Trunks searches fpr Mirai Bulma inÖ
Chapter 12: Reunion and Revelation