Chapter 12 – A Dangerous Proposal


Vegeta awoke the next morning to find his ward’s bed empty. "Onna?" He jumped from his seat, angered that she had parted without his knowledge. True, they had not exactly bid their goodnights under the best of circumstances, but for her to leave without alerting him! ‘I must have offended her more than I had originally believed last night. Damn my weakness for her!’ He cursed himself as he stormed out of her room in search of his ward. He had to find her; he had to set right his folly.

Immediate attention to the matter, however, was not to be, when soon after departing from Bulma’s room, Vegeta found himself eye to eye with a frazzled Kakarrot. "Vegeta!" the guard called in relief, "You missed a senate meeting last night, and then one this morning. I have been looking everywhere for you. Where have you been?"

"That is none of your damn business," Vegeta growled in response, he did not have time for this right now. "Leave me the hell alone!"

"But sir," Kakarrot refused to be brushed off, "you have political matters than must be attended to immediately!"

Vegeta stopped angrily in his tracks, before turning around to the agitated Saiya-jin. As begrudging as it was to admit it, he knew the man was right. After returning from his elongated ride he had been accosted by several advisers desiring the same that the guard before him was, but he had then ignored them, knowing Bulma needed his attention more than any other. But, now, he would only be faced with further interruptions if he tried to disregard them once more, it seemed he only had one option. "Fine, Kakarrot, I will attend to any matters that I have neglected. But, while I am doing so, you will find the onna and bring her to me immediately. Even if she is resistant, I want to see her now. Is that clear!?"

"Ah, yes, sir," Kakarrot stuttered in affirmation, as he watched his king turn on his heal and rush off in a huff towards the throne room. ‘I wonder what he wants with Bulma. And why would she be resistant?’ the soldier wondered curiously, before setting off to find the princess. He hoped she could shed some light on his questions.


Bulma paced the castle halls aimlessly as she tried to sort out her thoughts and feelings from the previous night. She had experienced little sleep after the tumultuous evening she had suffered. Among the sham that was dinner, her mysterious assailant, her interlude with Juunanagou, her confession of her past, her kiss from Vegeta, and then most shatteringly, his rejection, she found it hard to hold her head up after the almost steady stream of shame that accosted her tender soul the night prior.

‘Why must everything always be so difficult for me?’ she repeatedly asked herself, as she entered her private garden. It was enclosed in connection to the right wing of the castle. The garden had actually been one of the many gifts Vegeta had given to her shortly after her arrival. The plot of land had been left unutilized for years, so he had given her the freedom to tend to it as she pleased. It by now has been fully flourished with flowers, plants, and other various forms of shrubbery that she has taken pride in fusing into her own little sanctuary from the world around her. The garden had been ear marked for her to be alone with her thoughts, and if there was ever a time she needed to be alone with her thoughts, it was then.

But just what was it that she was to think? As traumatic as all that she suffered the night before was, no event was as perplexing as their kiss. His lips had been even more tender than she had ever imagined in her most vivid dreams, his caresses were more intimate than in her most romantic fantasies, and his taste, gods, she imagined the sweetest ambrosia could never compare to the sample he had so intensely allowed her to experience. But now the fantasy would not be enough, she had experienced him once, how could she ever sever her desire for another chance to feel, if only for another second, his physical affection?

But, it was just a ‘mistake,’ as he had called it. That word, more than any other, haunted her. And to topple the pain of his confession, she had actually tried to convince him of the truth. She dared admit to him that she had accepted his affections without shame. It was too much to hear him counter her comment by calling her ‘vulnerable’ and misguided in her feelings. But nothing could have been further from the truth. She had finally experienced what she had longed for, only to discover, once and for all, the undeniable and embittering truth. Her feelings were doubtlessly one-sided.

And yet, why was this so heartbreaking for her? She had known all along this was the way of things between them. She thought she believed all hope had been lost, but after her embarrassing reaction last night, it seemed she had more left then she could ever admit to. But no longer, whatever shred of optimism she held for herself and her warden was now annihilated; shattered by the humiliation of his rejection. She would never forget the icy tone of his voice and disgusted movements as he pulled away from her. ‘Was the thought of us truly that repulsive to him?’ she wondered, as she could not help but relive the memory. The way he looked away from her in shame, it was almost as if he had lost respect for her. ‘How can I ever look him in the eye again?’ she asked herself desperately. ‘How could things ever be the same between us, now that we have crossed that invisible line that we have so meticulously avoided for so long? How can I maintain a friendship with him, knowing that as I pine for his love, for a romance, he will never feel, never want, the same? How can I go on living with him any longer?’ So many questions that needed to be answered plagued her, but answers would not be immediate, as a surprising voice suddenly interrupted the perplexed woman.

"How are you feeling?"

Bulma’s body turned quickly around to become face to face with a man she had given little thought to since last night. "Juunanagou, you startled me," she attempted to calm herself; she was still very much on edge after her attack.

"I am sorry, my lady. I only wished to inquire about your condition. But, if my presence bothers you, I can leave," he offered very reasonably. It had been a strange night for the king. He actually found himself unable to sleep, as an unfamiliar emotion of concern for the onna had commandeered his thoughts. While he should have been infuriated by a failure over his rival and instead concocting a counter scheme to right his folly, he found himself fearing for the princess’ mental state. Vegeta had mentioned something about his plot causing more damage than he ever could have imagined. This concept bothered him more than any other. Why he cared he was unsure, but the confounding feelings were undeniable. He had even attempted to take his anger out on Juurokugou, his partner in crime, after he had returned from his ride last night, but the violence had done him little good. He still thought of her, worried for her, and hated even more so that she was receiving comfort from his rival—a man completely unworthy of her consideration.

"That is not necessary," Bulma shook her head with a partial smile that immediately interrupted Juunanagou’s thoughts. Her innocence was becoming more endearing every time he saw her. "I actually think the company might be good for me, being alone with my thoughts only seems to cause me further turmoil," she admitted softly, while slowly lowering herself to take a lazy seat upon the soft grass beneath her.

Juunanagou took the liberty of joining the princess on the ground as he sat in front of her. "I am surprised you are alone," he noted curiously as he looked around, "after seeing Vegeta’s reaction when I told him of your attack, I thought the man would be inseparable from you." Bulma flinched slightly at her warden’s mention; the reaction was not lost on Juunanagou. "He did come to see you last night, did he not?" the king inquired; the only reason he had refrained from joining the onna himself was because he thought the bastard was going to tend to her. His fury began to rise at the concept of Bulma having been left alone all night.

"He came," Bulma nodded stiffly. Looking up at the man across from her, she smiled in thanks. "I must offer you my gratitude for finding him. I know it could not have been an easy task to summon a man you hold so much animosity for."

Juunanagou noticed her quick change in subject, but allowed it anyway. "I did what I did last night only for your benefit my lady. I care only for your comfort." He reached out his hand to push a stray hair behind her ear, ‘such a beautiful creature,’ he thought absently before continuing, "You did not answer my original question, princess. How are you fairing?"

Bulma sighed as her eyes fell to the ground once more. "Physically, aside from a few bumps and bruises, I am all right."

"And mentally?" he asked to her surprise, it was a bold question for such a formal man, but she answered anyway.

"I have suffered worse. My mind will recover. I am moving on," she answered minimally, as bizarre as it seemed, she was more emotionally damaged by Vegeta’s rejection than by her assault.

"I am glad to hear it," Juunanagou laughed lowly, "but if you expect me to believe it, I will not."

"And just what is that supposed to mean?" Bulma fired back defensively, "are you calling me a liar?"

"I would never dream of doing anything of the like princess," he conceded, "I only question you because though your lips speak of a settled mind, your eyes shine with turmoil."

Bulma cocked an eyebrow in curiosity. "You stake your entire argument on that which is in my eyes." She laughed in mild amusement. "Tell me my lord, what exactly do you see in them?"

"Is that a challenge?" Juunanagou cracked a smirk; her spirits seemed to be lifting before his eyes. She was like him, always ardent for a verbal confrontation.

"I would never dream of challenging you again, after what happened last time," she noted with humor, upon recalling their race several days ago. "I merely am curious to see how in tune your sense of ‘eye reading’ is."

"Though I believe you are trying to mock me lady, I shall take your test anyway." He moved closer to her, as he lifted his hands to embrace her face. "Now, let me see." He placed a disarming smile upon his lips as his eyes locked with her cool azure ones. Looking deeply into her sapphire orbs, the king allowed himself to search her expression for hidden secrets. Amused by the slight blush that was creeping upon the young onna’s face, he decided to continue his probing. However, his observations were not meant to last long, as a scent that tickled his senses jerked his body involuntarily away from the princess.

"Wh—what is wrong?" she asked in surprise, as she watched Juunanagou rise to his feet and begin pacing back and forth in what appeared to be withheld anger. Rising to her feet so she was just an inch or so below eye level with him, she asked once more. "Juunanagou, what is the matter?"

"His scent is all over you," the king whispered quietly, restraint was blatantly in his voice.

"What? Juunanagou, whom are you talking—" Bulma froze as she ran her fingers over her lips in realization. "Juunanagou, I—"

"So that is why you desired his presence over mine last night," he spat accusingly, unsure himself why the reality bothered him so greatly. "You and Vegeta are carrying on an affair!"

"N—No!" Bulma objected quickly. She did not want this man to harbor any false conceptions about her relationship, or lack there, with Vegeta. "We are not doing anything of the sort, he merely—"

"Merely what?" Juunanagou averted his eyes, "do not lie to me lady. It all makes perfect sense. I could never understand his possessiveness towards you, but I do now. The two of you are lovers!" He hissed coldly, the words sickening for him to voice.

"No, Juunanagou, you don’t understand--" She tried to dissuade him, but his temper would allow him to listen to none of it.

"No, princess, I will tell you what I do not understand. I do not understand why you would allow me the taste of your sweet lips, the gentle feel of you in my arms; why let me believe I had a chance to claim your affections, when you were bound to another!? to Vegeta, no less!" Even Juunanagou was not certain, as he made his angered plea, if he was still playing the role of the dashing king that could sweep this precious princess off her feet, or if the words he spoke were truly from his disheartened soul.

"Because I am not Vegeta’s!" she finally screamed, with tears welling in her eyes. She did not need this, especially not now, when the truth was so fresh to her. "He is my warden, I am his protectorate. We have never been and will never be more to each other than that. Of this I am certain, so do not ever accuse me of misleading you in any way. Vegeta and I are nothing of a romantic orientation to one another, and we certainly never will be." She paused to control the uneasiness of her voice. "His scent is upon me only because he consoled me physically last night, nothing more."

The disdain in her tone as she reflected upon her relationship with her warden spoke volumes to Juunanagou. The bitterness she held seemed very new, as was evident by her tears, he couldn’t help but wonder what had happened last night. "Then you have my apology my lady," he softened his voice. If Vegeta had been obtuse enough to disregard the stunning creature that stood before him, then he would certainly be man enough to see that he benefit from the fool’s grave error. "I did not mean to raise my voice, but I—" he stopped himself as he once again encircled Bulma’s tear stained face. "I feel too many things for you to be faced with the concept of your betrothal to another."

Bulma’s bright eyes rose to match Juunanagou’s once again, as she listened to his confession. It sounded so genuine, so pure; his words were similar to those that she had always dreamed of hearing Vegeta speak. She wanted to hear more. "What do you feel for me?" she asked between sobs, as she slowly closed her eyes and let her mind wonder.

"Many things," Juunanagou answered with gentility as his gaze shifted back and forth from her lips to her closed eyes. He would fill her mind with a picture that he was certain would set her heart aflutter. "I feel the need to protect you as I did the night of your accident and that of your attack. I feel the need to comfort you, as I wished for more than anything, as you wept so painfully last night. I feel the need to lavish upon you anything and everything that your heart desires for no other benefit to myself than that of seeing a smile grace your lips. And most agonizingly, I feel the need to experience your beauty on a more physical level by touching your creamy porcelain skin," he outlined her chin with his soft fingers, "devouring your scent," he lowered his nose to inhale the lavender aroma of her hair, "seeing you whimper in pleasure beneath me, hearing you cry out my name in elations, and tasting your—" his final thought was never to be completed as the picture he drew for the young onna in his arms was too much to avoid being experienced. In agonizingly desperate movements their lips sank into each other’s as their tongues joined for a second time in a heated kiss.

With her eyelids shielding her from the truth, Bulma allowed herself to experience the passion the man before her offered. Though in reality, he was not the man she was imagining; the man she truly wanted, the man she could never have. For the princess, she suddenly saw more plainly than ever, there could be no further questioning what this kiss symbolized. Opening her eyes to allow her tears to fall uninhibited down her cheeks, the solution to her problem suddenly became abundantly clear. She would free Vegeta of his degrading service to her, by becoming the burden of a man who could love her in the way she had only dreamed of being loved. She now fully understood how childish her hopes for a perfect romance between her and her warden truly were. She would no longer suffocate him with her presence. She would leave him to have a chance at building his own happiness, even if it would be at the expense of hers.

As Bulma pulled away from their kiss, she forced the most honest smile upon her face as she looked into Juunanagou’s own flushed one. "Take me with you."

Juunanagou’s eyes widened greatly, believing he could not have possibly heard her correctly. "My lady, are you agreeing to—" he couldn’t finish his thought, of course he was charming, but her sudden acceptance after her diligent loyalty to her warden. It could not be.

"At the end of the week, when the senate finishes its conferences, I will leave with you, if it that is what you desire." She spoke confidently; she did not want him to doubt her intent.

"Then you wish to become my wife—my queen?" Juunanagou asked rather unsurely. Yes, this was what he had wanted, his entire purpose for coming here, setting into motion his well thought out plans, but—but why did this not feel right? As if there was something more he needed from her.

"If you will have me," she wiped her tears away, "I will be yours."

"But—" he halted his objection. This is what he had wanted; he could not allow himself to damage all of his hard work now, regardless of his reservations! "I could never in my wildest dreams, hope for a queen as flawless as you are, princess," he reverted to his charming manner. Lowering himself to one knee, he decided to seal the arrangement. Gathering her hands in his, he began, "according to what I know of your culture, this is how it is to be done." He removed one of his hands from hers to reach up and wipe a tear away. "Princess Bulma, will you allow me the privilege of making you my wife, my lover, my mate, my queen?" He used various titles he thought would flatter and compliment her. It appeared to work as he heard her confirmation.

"Of course," she nodded in a strained response. She had long dreamed of this scenario. Everything was perfect, the beautiful setting, the proper proposal, and the loving look of a man willing to spend the rest of his days with her. But even with all of the superficial perfections, the most blatant of flaws was present, for the wrong man was on his knee, and this shattering knowledge distracted her long enough from her surroundings to prevent her notice of a third party viewing their exchange.

In what had felt like only a blink of the eye, Juunanagou was no longer in front of Bulma; he was instead a few feet away from her, wrestling on the ground with an intruder. "I warned you to stay the hell away from her! Vegeta warned you to stay the hell away from her! Now, you pay!" the angered guard vowed, as he and the king fought for dominance over one another.

"Kakarrot, no!" Bulma screamed, as she scrambled over to break up the two men. "Please, stop!" she beseeched him, as she managed to barely separate them without being seriously injured herself. "Kakarrot do not harm him, he is my fiancé!"

At the sound of her confession, Kakarrot all but fell over in disbelief. "What?" he cried in shock.

Kakarrot’s befuddled question was just enough of a moment of distraction to allow Bulma access to her husband to be. "Are you alright?" she asked Juunanagou with concern in her eyes, as she lifted him into her embrace. She wanted to make certain he in fact was, before answering Kakarrot’s question. When he nodded in affirmation she turned back to her angered guard.

"What did you just call him!?" Kakarrot screamed in both confusion and fury. The last time he had seen the onna, she was devoutly avoiding Juunanagou’s presence at Vegeta’s request. What the hell could have changed so drastically that she would now be engaged to the man after a matter of mere hours!

"I said ‘he is my fiancé.’ He just proposed and I accepted." She rose to her feet so she was as near to eye level as she could be with the taller man.

"B—But how… You can’t… Bulma what are you thinking? How can you stand being in this man’s presence, let alone accept a proposal from him!? Do you not remember your promise to Vegeta?" He needed to piece this all together; it simply made no sense.

"I know," she sighed quietly. She never wanted to betray her warden, but she had to do this. She could no longer stay and suffer the degradation and devastation her feelings cause her. "But I can no longer deny how I feel." She took a long breath before beginning the first of what she knew would be many lies on this matter. "I am in love with Juunanagou, as he is with me. We wish to unite, and nothing will prevent us any longer."

"Bulma," Kakarrot whispered her name with a desperate sigh. "You can not believe that. You haven’t known this fiend long enough. You can not love him, and he most certainly can not love you!"

"I beg to disagree," Juunanagou argued as he rose to his feet. After brushing himself off, he offered his own admission. "I am very much in love with Bulma. I wish for nothing more than to make her happy. So now, Kakarrot, I understand that after our rather tempestuous past, you may be hesitant to believe in the veracity of my motives, but I can assure you, I only wish what is best for the onna. So, what do you say, for her sake, we let bygones be bygones?" He finished with a sly smirk meant only for Kakarrot’s eyes as he lifted his hand to shake with his enemy.

Kakarrot, of course, ignored the insincere gesture as he looked upon Bulma gravely. "Does Vegeta know?"

Bulma slowly closed and opened her eyes, nervous just imagining how the exchange would go. But fortunately, she did not have to venture an answer as Juunanagou chimed in once more. "We were just about to see the old boy," he answered with amusement flaring in his eyes. He had practically been living for this conversation since he had arrived.

"He will not allow this union," Kakarrot turned his attention back to Juunanagou.

"He does not have a choice. I will marry whom I choose; he has no control over my happiness," Bulma’s bitter tone returned, as she found her voice just in time to continue with yet another lie.

Kakarrot’s eyes narrowed as he noticed within her an anger towards Vegeta unlike anything he had ever witnessed her emit before. ‘Could this have anything to do with the foul mood that Vegeta was in earlier? Is this why he wanted to see her immediately?’ he wondered briefly, before turning his back to the pair. "Then we go to inform him now," he announced, before beckoning the pair to follow him towards the throne room where Vegeta was scheduled to be.

Bulma swallowed roughly before feeling Juunanagou grasp her arm to guide her out of the garden. "Are you all right my dear, you seem nervous," he asked curiously, perhaps after this exchange he would get a better idea as to what had soured her so suddenly towards her warden.

"I am fine," she admitted quickly. "I just am uncertain how Vegeta will take the news of our engagement."

"Well," the cold king suppressed a smirk as he answered almost excitedly. "There is only one way to find out."


Table of Contents
Chapter 11
Chapter 13