Chapter 16 – Changing of the Guards
"Vegeta, I… I do not understand. Are you giving me your blessing to join with Juunanagou?"
Vegeta laughed lightly as he shook his head. "Not in the least, onna," he began his shocking explanation. "You may become mated, but not with Juunanagou. You will join with me."
If Bulma had not been so tightly entrenched in her warden’s grasp, she would have fallen to the ground as his seemingly outlandish suggestion knocked the wind right out of her. "Have you lost your mind?!" She screamed once she finally managed to regain her footing. "I can not marry you—"
"Why not?" Vegeta interjected smugly. "How is your joining with me any less sane than your marrying Juunanagou!?"
"That is completely different!" Bulma tried to find some substantial explanation, "we are not in love and—"
"So?" The Saiya-jin king was not about to let her cop that shallow argument. "You are not in love with Juunanagou, and yet you still wish to marry him."
"How the hell do you know that I am not in love with him!?" she demanded rather defensively as she pushed herself out of his grasp. "You know, you asked me earlier how I could let Juunanagou have me, how I could ever let him touch me. Well, tell me something Vegeta, did it ever occur to you that the reason I would be so inclined to relinquish my virginity to the man, was because I might actually be in love with him?!"
"No," he answered very bluntly, "I do not think love had anything to do with it. I think this entire time, the real reason you have been feeling so vulnerable and acting so stupidly, is because you have been suffering a broken heart."
"What… What are you insinuating?" She tried to hide the nervousness in her voice. ‘Gods, tell me he doesn’t know.’
"I am not insinuating anything; I know damn well what has had you so stirred up since the beginning of this conference." Vegeta sighed heavily, "Damn it onna, why the hell did you not just tell me! I could have helped you work through it!"
"Work through it?" She stuttered utterly embarrassed, did he truly think her feelings were simply something that needed to be ‘worked’ through? ‘No, what am I thinking; Vegeta could not know the truth. This can not be right.’ Deciding denial was her best bet at this point, she began, "Vegeta, I do not know what you are talking about, you are mistake—"
"Do not bother lying to me, onna. I read your diary, I know the truth."
"You… You read my diary?" she whispered numbly, if there was ever a time she wanted to crawl into a sheltered little ball and die, it was at that moment. "How could you do that?! My diary has all of my private thoughts and feelings, how could you—"
"You have been leaving me with little other recourse," he explained briskly. "Your governess mentioned a rather serious infatuation you held for some man, and since the verification would have disproved whatever lies you have been telling about loving Juunanagou, I read it. So, do not bother continuing with the charade. Though Juunanagou’s proposal may appeal to you as an easy escape from reality, it will not take away your pain. No matter how far away you are there will be no easiness in forgetting the one you love, especially when you are fully aware that he is in the arms of your governess."
Bulma was about ready to retort on the several different ways he has wronged her by this one act, but when the sound of her tutor’s name left his lips she froze. "My governess?" She stuttered in bewildered realization, "you think I am in love with Kakarrot?"
"Enough with the denials, onna!" Vegeta was about ready to pull his hair out. He could not understand why she had never felt confident enough to tell him the truth. "I am not a fool, onna. I can align the clues. Dark eyes, several years your elder, a gentle heart in your presence, a guard to your person, but a man that will never see you as more than a friend. There is only one being that could be!"
‘Well, apparently, there are two,’ she thought with hefty relief as she silently praised herself for the inability to actually write his name until recently. Thank the gods he had read an earlier entry that had left just enough ambiguity to save her the full humiliation of this discovery. "All right, so what if I am in love with Kakarrot." Considering her sisterly feelings towards the man, it made the concept rather revolting to her. But she offered the difficult suggestion anyway, for she had no other way to prevent the truth from coming out. "Clearly my feelings are irrelevant since he is already happily mated to an onna I love. I would never wish ill of them."
"Maybe so, but that does not mean you are immune to the pain of knowing he shares a bed with another onna, an onna who is carrying his child." Vegeta drove the point home; it was driving him mad to think that such a bumbling idiot could have attracted the fancy of one, let alone two females, while he was still living in solitude.
"Look Vegeta," Bulma sighed exhaustedly. "I can understand that you feel the need to shelter me from Juunanagou, and Kakarrot, and any other pain that may cross my path, but you can not. Hurt is a part of life; I know that all too clearly now. So please, let us just forget that you even suggest our union, because I know it is not what you really want. And as far as Juunanagou is concerned, just let me make my own choices in regards to him."
"No, onna," Vegeta objected adamantly. "I will neither surrender to my fight against Juunanagou, nor withdraw my proposal. If you do not want my help with emotional stress, fine, but I will not allow your misery to spin out of control. The senate conference ends in a few days. If by then you still feel the need to get the hell away from here, then I will take you. If you still want a mate, then I will be it, but not Juunanagou. He is off limits to you from here on out, onna." He raised his hand to cover her lips before she could object. "I do not care if you object, or vow to hate me for treating you like a child, my orders will stand. I will arrange for a new guard to take over Kakarrot’s day and night surveillance of you. He will make certain that you come nowhere in contact, at any time, with Juunanagou. And do not bother trying to be clever and escape his watch, if you do I will order you confined to your quarters for the rest of the conferences. Am I clear?"
Bulma shook her head as she turned her back to him one last time as she stormed back into her washroom. "Yes, I am clear on everything." She stopped to look back over her shoulder at the inconsiderate man once she finished, "Specifically the part about my hating you for this." With the conclusion of her warning, the bathroom door slammed shut behind her, followed by an unmistakable thud of her body collapsing to the ground in utter defeat.
"If it is any consolation," Vegeta barely whispered his response towards the closed door, "I am beginning to hate you too." Pivoting on his heel, Vegeta numbly showed himself out of her bedchambers, and headed straight for her now former guard’s chambers. It seemed they had a few things to discuss.
"I do not believe it!" Kakarrot refused to consider the possibility. After losing track of Bulma, he had returned to his quarters in hopes of finding his mate, to calm her after the exchange in the throne room earlier. However, Chi-Chi had been missing for sometime before she finally returned to their quarters, in tears, just barely being able to tell him all that had transpired between her and her pupil. "Bulma would never sleep with Juunanagou!"
With a heavy sigh, Chi-Chi lowered her head as she dried her tears. "Under normal circumstance, I would of course agree with you, but something has been destroying that girl emotionally, Kakarrot, and to make matters worse, it has grotesquely impaired her judgment."
"You can say that again," A deep voice concurred as it startled the inhabitants of the room.
"Vegeta," The young guard gasped as he spun around to face his abruptly appearing king. "Have you spoken with Bulma as I suggested?"
"That I have," the Saiya-jin king whispered with a hefty sigh, "for all the good it has done."
"Did she tell you why she has been acting so unreasonably?" Chi-Chi hoped the man had achieved a clearer answer than she.
"To some degree; I now understand why the onna has been acting so dejectedly, but do not ask me to tell you for it would only worsen the situation." Vegeta replied cryptically. The onna was already angry as it was with him, he did not want to deteriorate matters anymore by revealing her secret.
"Well, if you can not tell us what has been going on, can you at least suggest something we may do to aid the matter?" Kakarrot begged, he wanted to help in anyway he could.
"Yes, actually there is something." Vegeta decided to choose his next words carefully. "You can be compliant with my decision to remove you as her guard."
"What!?" Both Kakarrot and Chi-Chi jumped to their feet in shock. "How can you remove me from my post? I have faithfully worked to ensure her safety for the last eight years of my life. How can you release me now that she is in her greatest time of need!?"
"That I can not explain, but whether you like it or not, I feel it is best you maintain a healthy distance from her for now. Both of you should, actually." Vegeta directed his comment towards a startled Chi-Chi as well. "I will be ordering Nappa to fetch a replacement immediately."
"But, you can not do this!" Chi-Chi threw in her two cents, "Kakarrot is perhaps one of Bulma’s closest comrades, and I… Vegeta she is like a daughter to me. She needs me, along with Kakarrot. I mean honestly, you know that it is not wise to separate us while Juunanagou is out working his manipulations. He will use the severance to his advantage!"
"He already has!" Vegeta growled indignantly. "Look, I am sure this is difficult for the both of you, but having just spoken to the onna, I am certain this is wisest."
"But, Vegeta—" Kakarrot attempted to object, but with the mere rise of Vegeta’s hand the soldier stopped.
"Do not bother trying to sway me, I have already decided. Kakarrot, you will be promoted to a member of my personal guard for the time being. Should things settle later on, perhaps you will be returned to your original post, but I will make no promises." Vegeta clipped his response to a very diplomatic approach. "Now, if the two of you do not mind, I have matters to attend to." He turned to depart without further objection, but before he had the chance, Kakarrot stopped him.
"Vegeta, please," he grasped the man’s shoulder lightly. "If you truly believe this is best for Bulma, Chi-Chi and I will not protest, but if I may at least be allowed one luxury I will feel more comfortable about this decision."
"And just what is this benefit you speak of?" Vegeta questioned with mild resentment, the man did not deserve any ‘luxuries’ considering the mess the man has put them all in.
"If you allow it, I would like to personally choose my replacement," Kakarrot asked respectfully.
"Oh, and just whom would you choose?" The king asked curiously, he could barely imagine who it would be.
"Let’s just say, it is someone I believe Bulma will be very comfortable with." The younger man smiled rather happily. "Do I have your permission to enlist his aid, sire?" Kakarrot added the title of honor, stroking the king’s ego was always a way to help ensure a positive response to a request.
"Very well," Vegeta complied reluctantly, "see that he is fully aware that at no point in time he is allowed to leave Bulma’s side. And should Juunanagou at any point cross paths with her, he must see that they are not able to hold an exchange of even the most innocent of banter. Understood?"
"Yes, sir," Kakarrot nodded before rushing out of his room to track down his replacement.
Once the loyal servant was gone, an all too ominous question tickled Vegeta’s ears before he had a chance to exit himself. "You know that she slept with Juunanagou, do you not?"
Vegeta’s back stiffened at the sound of the onna’s reminder. "So what if she did? It will not happen again," he vowed assuredly.
"And just how will you ensure that?" Chi-Chi asked coldly, she certainly did not think firing Kakarrot, and ordering her own governess away were plausible solutions.
"Anyway that is in my power," Vegeta whispered quietly before exiting the room, he would not fail her again, not at any cost.
Where do I start?
I probably should not be writing in this thing considering that not even my warden finds it sacred enough to refrain from reading it without my permission! I still cannot believe he had the audacity to invade my privacy as he has! Thank the gods he at least was not invasive enough to read a more incriminating passage, but still, the damage has been done. He has already spun some ridiculous scenario in his mind where I spend all of my time pining over dear Kakarrot, my most brotherly of relations. Though now, looking back over older entries I could see where his misconception could have been made, but it is still not right that I should even have to humor his lie. He is the one who has manipulated me in the first place by reading the damn thing!
Ah, but enough about that. So much more has happened in less than a day that I can barely begin to scribe all of it! My dear governess in expecting, she and Kakarrot informed Vegeta and I the night prior. He became upset and stormed off. I followed him, and was rewarded by a giant of a man attempting to invade my body under the darkness of the night. But an unlikely savior, Juunanagou, spared me the humiliation. He helped me to my room and attempted to comfort me. He failed however. I wanted Vegeta. So he fetched him for me. After he arrived I found the courage to tell him the truth of my past; all of it. A shame he did not return the favor.
He kissed me. He rejected me. He left my bed, called me ‘vulnerable’ and vowed never to embrace me in such a way again. I was devastated, and so the next morning I turned to the arms of another for comfort. He happened to be Juunanagou, my light amidst the darkness. We became engaged. Vegeta did not take the news well. He was furious with me, though not as much as I was with him. The truth came out. Vegeta was once married. Juuhachigou is her name. The onna he loves, the onna he killed. He called me a ‘naïve little girl.’ He refused to tell me the truth. I slapped him. I left.
Kakarrot attempted to console me, but I could not handle his admission of Vegeta’s love for this onna. So I took Hikari into the woods. I rode for what felt like hours upon hours, until I finally collapsed. I slid off of her back and screamed my misery into the darkness of the forest. But my light appeared again. Juunanagou joined me, consoled me. I asked him to heal my pain. He did. When we returned I felt happy once more. It was not to last. Vegeta was in my room, reading my diary as I have already so bitterly mentioned. He accused me of all sorts of awful things. He demanded of me that which I would never have imagined. He wants to marry me. But it is not out of love, no, instead he wishes to sacrifice his own life just to keep me ‘safe’ from Juunanagou. If only he understood that Juunanagou has been my only safety from the rejection he has been reminding me of during our near every encounter…
Damn it, there is a knock at my door. No doubt it is my new guard. The one Vegeta is substituting because he believes I am in love with the now former one.
I am not happy about any of this.
End of entry
"I am coming," Bulma answered the knock as she closed her diary and hid it in one of her drawers for safer protection than before. Begrudgingly waltzing over to her door, she swung it open, ready with an angry glare upon her face to greet her visitor.
"Hey, beautiful, it has been too long." The deep voice of her new guard smoothly whispered as he smirked down at her.
The angry glare of the princess immediately softened as she looked upon her new protector. "Radditz."
* * * * *