Chapter 7 – Injuries and Embraces
"Bulma!" Juunanagou called, as he halted his own ride and dashed over to the fallen princess. "Are you alright?" He asked, the image of concern as he examined the onna’s injuries.
"I’ve been better," Bulma coughed, though adding a slightly humorous note to her tone, trying to lighten the embarrassing situation. "I think it’s just some cuts and bruises." She spoke all too optimistically before slowly trying to rise to her feet. She failed miserably, falling into the arms of the king.
"I think it is worse than a few cuts and bruises," he explained, gently setting Bulma back on the ground. For a few moments Bulma watched curiously as the king freely ran hands over her body. Beginning with her collarbone, and then trailing down and across her arms, stomach, and legs, he slowly probed for any injuries. Surprisingly, there was nothing overtly sexual or suggestive in his movements; they were more comforting than anything. But, for as soothing as his motions were, the serenity he invoked quickly vanished when a stabbing pain broke her respite. "Ahha!" She screamed, suddenly feeling a piercing stab in her right thigh. "What the hell did you do?" She demanded amusingly unladylike.
Juunanagou sighed lightly before nodding for her to take in the rather gruesome sight of her leg, which in some sort of shock, her mind seemed to have blocked out. "Aha." She moaned as her eyes looked over the sight of the nearly inch thick piece of tree bark that at some point during her collision, managed to pierce her thigh. Blood seemed to be coming from everywhere, and almost as though the injury had happened that second, the reality of the pain came flooding through Bulma’s body. She groaned; dropping her head back as her hands almost desperately clutched her leg to stop the throbbing.
"Don’t." She heard a very stern voice pull her hands away from the injured appendage. "Let me." He spoke calmly enough that Bulma felt she could trust in his handling the situation. Juunanagou removed his cape, and then pulled out a dagger from his forearm brace. "I hope you hold no particular affection for these pants, because I am going to have to cut them," he said in a gentle tone, more likely to help calm her than in concern for her clothing.
Bulma nodded in response as she watched him take the blade to the bottom of her right pant leg, and then evenly cut the fabric all the way up to a few inches past the wound. She watched as he slowly removed the blood and dirt stained fabric of her pant leg, unveiling her creamy white thigh to his undressing eyes. Bulma suddenly felt a flush come to her cheeks as the embarrassment of having such an intimate part, at least according to her terms, of her body exposed unnerved her.
Juunanagou noticed the blush and decided to continue his attention without comment. For as simple as it seemed for him to use her embarrassment to his advantage, he refrained. Something in seeing her exposed flesh brought an unfamiliar feeling of excitement to him, one a female had never evoked from his body before. ‘I shall have to watch this witch carefully,’ he thought ardently, before taking the blade to his own cape. He cut the garment in half, and then cut off a smaller piece, and handed it to Bulma.
"I’m going to pull out the piece of bark now. I won’t lie to you Bulma, it will hurt, but you can bite on this, it will help." His tone held concern that surprised even the king himself.
"I will be fine," she said in an almost angered tone. "Just pull it out, and let me worry about the pain."
Juunanagou nodded, impressed by her courage. "Alright then," he warned before pulling the offender out as swiftly as possible. Bulma released no screams or sobs, only a deep, almost animalistic groan that excited Juunanagou more than he would ever admit. The moment the piece of bark was removed he took the half of his cape he had cut off and pressed it against Bulma’s bloody thigh. Once he felt his patient was lucid enough, he asked for her aid. "I need you to hold this tightly against your thigh while I get my sack of water from off Heijin."
Bulma nodded as she watched the king walk back to Heijin and then return with his water. He placed the sack next to Bulma’s leg as he went back to his cape. He began slicing the garment until it was in thinner strips, she assumed to work as bandaging until they could get back to the castle. Once his cape was completely torn to his liking, Juunanagou took the compress from beneath Bulma’s hands and began dripping the water over the wound, cleaning the excess dirt and blood before wrapping it. Which, he did next with as much gentility as he had done with all his attentions before.
Once finished he took a long breath as though exhausted before capturing Bulma’s eyes within his own. "Remind me never to race you again; it’s simply too much work," he said with a laugh before rising to his feet. "You should be fine until we return to the castle. Assuming no more trees get in the way," he chuckled as he bent over to lift the princess into his arms. Bulma’s eyes widened, slightly surprised by his forwardness.
"I think I can manage on my own," she snapped quickly. "I am not helpless!"
"Of course not," Juunanagou conceded as he continued to carry her towards his horse. "In fact you held up under such pain better than any female I have ever met. But even if you were a hardened soldier, you would still not be able to walk."
"But, if I were a hardened soldier I doubt you would be carrying me," she mocked, reluctantly deciding to allow his chivalry. After all, she felt no need to further her injury and be denied riding by her overprotective ward—"Vegeta." Bulma suddenly gasped as memories of her original purpose flooded her mind. "Oh by the gods he is going to be furious." She moaned, temporarily forgetting who was listening to her.
"Leave him to me." Juunanagou offered calmly. "I wish not to cause any problems between you and your keeper. I will take full blame for the incident."
Bulma was a little surprised by his willingness to protect her interests, but she could never in good conscience allow him to do so. "No, I have lied to Vegeta once already, I don’t wish to do it again, no matter how angry he is. I will just have to make him understand that this was an accident, and that from now on I will do exactly as he has asks of me."
"You mean, staying away from me." Juunanagou pointed out the part of Vegeta’s demand that posed a problem for him. "Do you truly still fear me?"
Bulma’s lips trembled as her mind raced for an answer. "No… But what I think is immaterial. I swore to Vegeta--"
"You swore to allow him to censor your life. I’m sorry if I am being to forward in my opinions, but princess--"
"Please don’t." Bulma stopped him. "I owe Vegeta everything, including my loyalty. He does not trust you, whether or not his mistrust is unwarranted is another issue, but I must respect his wishes. I’m sorry."
"As am I," Juunanagou said with genuine disappointment as he arrived before Heijin. Juunanagou lifted Bulma up, sidesaddle, onto his horse. He quickly followed suit as he mounted the stallion behind Bulma, carefully locking her within his grasp as he took hold of the reins. "I will do as you wish then princess. I will keep my distance." He paused to catch her eyes with his own. "If that is what you want."
Bulma became trapped in his intense gaze for what seemed little hours before she gathered the courage to tear her eyes from his. "I wish to tell no more lies," she whispered, indirectly admitting exactly what Juunanagou had suggested. "Hikari!" Bulma called her beast to follow as the pair then slowly set off back to the castle. Bulma knew no more words would be spoken during the ride back, she had said all she could and he seemed to understand, at least she could only hope.
Gently, Bulma rested her head against Juunanagou’s chest as she closed her eyes, wanting rest before the exhausting battle she feared would come of this.
"What the hell do you mean you can’t find her?" The fury in Vegeta’s eyes could be described as nothing less than volatile. Those surrounding could only count the seconds before the man would loose his temper completely.
"She’s not on castle grounds. I checked with the stables and Hikari is gone. I assume she went for a ride." Kakarrot continued with his report, knowing the next part would certainly not be to Vegeta’s liking. "Bulma usually takes an early afternoon ride, however, what concerns me is that she left over four hours ago, she never stays out this long alone."
"Nappa, ready Akuma!" Vegeta demanded, the soldier scampering off to follow his order. "Where is Juunanagou?" Vegeta followed his intuition, knowing that Bulma’s late ride was all too convenient for his visiting nemesis.
Kakarrot cleared his throat before speaking of the angering news. "He hasn’t been seen since this morning, and his mount, Heijin, is not in the stables either."
"Wonderful!" Vegeta growled. "I can’t leave the onna alone for one morning and this happens! One fucking morning! I knew Juunanagou would pull something, but I didn’t think him foolish enough to start something this soon!"
"Perhaps it is just a coincidence." Kakarrot offered, though barely believing his own words.
Vegeta ignored the man’s suggestion as he grabbed his gloves. "Ready your horse Kakarrot. If we find Juunanagou within a mile of the onna, kill him!"
"That won’t be necessary." An almost too calm voice interrupted the pair as Vegeta and Kakarrot whipped their heads around to find a clearly injured Bulma in the arms of the Adajinzoun king.
A look of pure fury sped across Vegeta’s eyes before concern took the better of him. Temporarily ignoring Juunanagou, he rushed to Bulma’s side with Kakarrot following close behind. "Onna what the hell happened to you?" He asked, his eyes immediately falling upon her exposed leg, which clearly had suffered an injury.
"It was an accident," Bulma rushed out. "Hikari had a spill, only I took the worst of it. Not terribly serious though. Juunanagou cleaned and wrapped my leg for me. With a little rest, I will be back to perfect health." Bulma was quick to minimize the gravity of the situation.
"Did he?" Vegeta’s eyes wandered over to Juunanagou, almost anticipating that twisted smile the man uses in victory. Surprisingly enough, the king held his expression; Vegeta assumed for fear of Bulma’s notice. "Well wasn’t it kind of him to perform such a service." Vegeta never took his eyes off the man he was certain played some negative part in whatever had happened.
"Not kindness, I’m afraid, Vegeta. As much as I hate to admit it, my aid was out of sheer selfishness. I knew I would be fighting with my conscience if I had acted so coldly as to leave such an enchanting onna in her distress." Juunanagou delivered so soothingly that even Kakarrot had to remind himself exactly whom he was dealing with. Vegeta however didn’t take the man’s facade as literally.
"Well your conscience may now be laid to rest." Vegeta spoke as calmly as a person can when their teeth are being ground together. "I will see to the onna’s health from here on." Vegeta lifted his arms as if to take Bulma from Juunanagou’s hold, but the princess stopped him.
"Wait, Vegeta." Bulma halted his movement with a wince of pain. "I think it would be best if Juunanagou just took me to my room, and have the healer meet me there. My leg is still terribly sore and I’d rather not be moved around anymore than I have to be."
An almost hurt look flashed across Vegeta’s face before he nodded his reluctant approval. "If that is more comfortable, then very well. Juunanagou will deposit you in you room while Kakarrot fetches a healer."
"Thank you." Bulma smiled before nodding for Juunanagou to take her to her room. The king easily complied, very much enjoying the almost… jealous? look the Saiya-jin king sported upon his angered face.
Vegeta watched intently as the pair disappeared down the hall, noting as Bulma rested her head atop Juunanagou’s shoulder in a much too comfortable manner. "Kakarrot!" Vegeta hissed once the pair was out of site. "Get the healer and see that Juunanagou doesn’t extend his presence with the onna. Understood?"
Kakarrot quickly nodded before scampering off, leaving the Saiya-jin king to take some time to try and calm his burning temper.
Juunanagou gently deposited Bulma onto her bed, slowly taking a seat right next to her after doing so. "How are you feeling?" He asked, taking a stray blue lock and repositioning it behind her ear.
"Better now that I’m in the comfort of my own bed." She smiled while situating herself. Once settled, she looked upon her guest with a saddened look. "I’m sorry about all of this," she whispered with a hint of regret. "And I don’t just mean my accident with Hakari, but this mess with Vegeta, and how objectionable I have been with you, and--"
"Shhh." Juunanagou shook his head as he stopped her lips with a gloved finger. "None of this is your fault. I completely understand your hesitation with my presence. Vegeta and I have an ugly history, I wish it didn’t have to touch you, but it does. I should truly be the one apologizing for this mess."
Bulma smiled as she took his hand covering her mouth within hers and moved it to rest atop her lap. "You seem like a good man Juunanagou, I am sorry I will not have the privilege of becoming better acquainted with you." The regret in her voice was blatant as well as the noticeable slouch in her posture.
"As I am…" Juunanagou whispered in response, gently raising his free hand to her soft cheek. He slowly lifted Bulma’s fallen face, entrancing the young princess with his infinite crystal blue eyes. "deeply… regretful…" He nearly purred the words as he very delicately brought his lips to brush against hers. Encouraged by her displaying no open signs of rejection, Juunanagou daringly pressed his lips against Bulma’s. When he received no protest, the king became more bold, gently parting the princess’s lips, and running his hot tongue across her teeth, begging for further access.
Bulma was stunned by the suddenness of his movements, but something in his gentle embrace and soft kiss stopped her from halting his intrusion. Instead she went as far as to heed his plea, parting both her lips and teeth to allow his wet tongue to taste her. Bulma’s eyes unconsciously closed as she leaned forward into the kiss. Her hands released his and slowly worked their way up to his neck, where she smoothly planted them, tightening her grip only to pull herself closer to him.
Juunanagou held his smirk; he was very pleased with the result of his ‘hard work’ for the day. He had hoped to have the onna eating out of the palm of his hand by last night, but things seemed to be progressing well nonetheless. He moved his arms to wrap around the princess’s waist, helping to eliminate the space between the pair. Locking her chest against his, Juunanagou increased the tempo of the kiss from almost shy movements too more needy and demanding. The king was impressed to find Bulma meeting his every rough movement with a wild reaction of her own. He suddenly thought even if the onna was not Vegeta’s ward he wouldn’t mind taking her untouched body for a ride she would never forget. ‘All too soon,’ he thought excitedly as visions of what taking her completely might be like; her screaming his name as he entered her hot wetness, euphorically taking her purity and heart. The thought was all Juunanagou needed to want to rip the princess’s cloths off, but at that time it was not meant to be.
"Bulma!" The sound of Kakarrot’s voice roughly separated the pair. Juunanagou quickly rose from the bed, keeping his back to the soldier and healer who had entered. The last think the king needed was for the pair to see exactly how aroused he was by such a simple kiss, and then again…
"Kakarrot!" Juunanagou decided to speak next as he could tell Bulma was all too flushed and embarrassed. "I am glad you finally found a healer. I was beginning to think you had forgotten about attending to the onna." Juunanagou spoke coolly as he walked around the bed, stopping right before the guard, acting as though Kakarrot hadn’t seen anything. "I didn’t want the princess to have to wait alone, so I stayed a few minutes longer. But now that you are here I shall take my leave." He spoke extra breathily, making certain that Kakarrot’s senses picked up both Juunanagou’s scent of arousal, along with the sweet aroma Bulma had left all over him. "I hope you heal quickly my lady." Juunanagou suavely blew a farewell kiss to the finally refocused Bulma before exiting the room.
Kakarrot opted to remain silent as the healer attended to Bulma’s wounds. When the man finished he instructed Bulma to stay off of her leg as much as possible. After having his orders agreed to, he left the princess and her personal guard to a rather awkward silence; one that only increased Bulma’s guilt with every passing second.
No longer being able to take her friend’s almost disgusted glance she spoke. "Kakarrot, I know you’re probably--"
"What the hell were you thinking?!" Kakarrot cut her off as he shut and locked the door, baring any interruptions. He stalked over to Bulma’s bed and sat down with a hurt look upon his face. "Do you have any idea what would have happened had Vegeta been the one to walk in here instead of me?!?"
Bulma’s expression fell, as the mention of her ward only seemed to worsen her guilt. However, as shameful as she felt in defying her promise to her guardian, she was not about to beg for her forgiveness when she felt as though her actions hadn’t completely warranted such a plea. "Kakarrot, I know Vegeta would be furious to know that I had made a promise to him I failed to keep but… But if you are asking for my apology for accepting Juunanagou’s affection… I will not grant you your request."
"Bulma." Kakarrot’s frown deepened. "I am frightened to ask what I would have come in to see had I been a few moments later."
The princess’s eyes widened, in hurt and offense. "I would slap you if you weren’t such a close friend, Kakarrot. How dare you even suggest the possibility that I would disgrace myself and my heritage in such a way! Juunanagou and I shared a moment of intimacy. One, which you have no right to scrutinize! My affairs with men are none your concern!"
"They are my concern!" Kakarrot shot back quickly. "My station is to protect you! And protect you I will from a scoundrel like King Juunanagou, who will use you until you have served his purpose and then discard you as though he had never set eyes upon you! That is who Juunanagou is, and that is what he does! He hurts anyone who crosses his path, especially when that path is leading him to someone he hates." Kakarrot took a breath as he knew yelling and screaming was not going to break through the princess’s pride. "Please Bulma," he whispered, slowly taking her hands within his, locking eyes with hers in a plea for her agreement. "Even if you do not fear the danger this man will put you in, think about what he is doing to Vegeta. The mere thought of Juunanagou hurting you is tearing him up inside. Vegeta holds no malice or selfishness when it comes to you. You know that, Bulma. He only wants to protect you, please, if not for yourself then for him. Let Vegeta protect you."
"Protect me from what?!" Bulma demanded, ripping her hands away coldly. "Juunanagou has done nothing to even suggest he is of any danger to me! The only crime he has thus far committed is apparently in knowing you and Vegeta!"
Kakarrot shook his head as he abruptly stood up from Bulma’s bed, and began to walk towards the door. "You simply have no idea what you are letting happen," he whispered somberly. "Ten years ago Juunanagou destroyed a part of Vegeta that I thought would never heal. It wasn’t until you came into his life that I began to believe otherwise. But now… I can’t force you to do anything Bulma; I learned that a long time ago. But, I can warn you. Juunanagou will hurt you, even more than he clearly has already. This is not a possibility it is a guarantee. But even if you choose to ignore every warning I have given you, remember this. Whatever damage Juunanagou inflicts upon you, whether emotional or physical, it will hurt Vegeta tenfold. That is Juunanagou’s goal… Don’t let it be Vegeta’s punishment for caring about you."
His words stung more painfully than the pounding stab wound in her leg, as he delivered them with such conviction. The moment the door shut and Kakarrot left, Bulma slammed her fists into the soft cushions of her bed, before collapsing against her pillow. She covered her face with her hot palms as she tried to find some sanity in this vexing situation.
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