Chapter 24 – A Beautiful Goodnight
"I was betrothed to Juuhachigou when I was merely two years of age, the same year she was born," Vegeta decided starting at the very beginning was the best way to encompass all vital details. "Our fathers had made a gentlemen’s agreement prior to our births that we, assuming we were of compatible sexes, would be joined in marriage to solidify a union between our once warring peoples. As hoped, the betrothal had brought our nations closer together. Our marriage would have had the two of us sharing kingship over both nations, so in preparation for this, our fathers had Juuhachigou and I spend ample time together. Most of that time was spent in silence. I held no grudge against Juuhachigou, but she was female, and two years my junior, so we had little in common to speak on. But, things changed when I was nine years of age. I met Juunanagou. He was five then, and had come with his sister during one of our scheduled ‘together’ times." Vegeta cringed at the ridiculous situation. Only his father would think a long lasting attraction could develop between two adolescents by spending useless time together.
"As absurd as it may sound now, my relationship with Juunanagou actually began as one of friendship," Vegeta paused, noting the blatant shock in Bulma’s expression as he admitted their once close rapport. "We were both royalty in waiting, the symmetry seemed perfect for a camaraderie. We spent much time together. Juunanagou and I practiced swordplay, archery, and hand-to-hand combat with one another. At first I had spent more time training him than actually battling. I was for a long time his superior, as the result of my four-year age advantage, but eventually the gap became moot when he reached his late teens. Physically we became equals."
"Ah, that makes sense," Bulma interrupted as she nodded her head in understanding. "I thought his techniques were similar to yours. So you were like a mentor to him?" she questioned interested, her curiosity very much peaked.
"I suppose you could call it that," Vegeta agreed minimally. "Unfortunately, he did not take very well to the trust aspect of such a relationship. I learned that all too clearly after my marriage to his sister," the Saiya-jin king winced at the memory; it still pained him to this day. "Juuhachigou and I attempted to push off the marriage for as long as possible. By law, we should have been married immediately after her eighteenth birthday, but we continued to make plausible excuses to avoid the union for three successful years. I would be lying to say either of us wanted it. I was focused on becoming a powerful king and Juuhachigou, well, she had fallen in love with Kakarrot as she confessed earlier. I knew of their relationship, but made no interference. She deserved to pursue what happiness she could before our union, since she would not be allowed to have any male relations besides myself. It would be a disgrace to the throne, and neither of us wanted that. I only wish I could have remembered such when I found her in bed with Kakarrot, just weeks after our union."
Taking a few long breaths, Vegeta tried to calm his temper as he spoke. "I had been training with Juunanagou that night. When the moon was high, Juunanagou, who had been staying to ‘comfort’ his sister over her loss of her lover, had suggested that we both adjourn to bed. A meeting of various elites of society was scheduled for the next day, and rest would be essential to remain at the top of my game. So I had intended to simply turn in, however, that night Juunanagou had made the rather casual insistence that we stop to check on his sister. He claimed she had not been feeling well recently, and he wanted to make certain she was all right. Being as though Juuhachigou was my wife, I had a responsibility to ensure her health, so I instinctively agreed. A mistake I would regret the moment the door was opened."
"That was when you found her in bed with Kakarrot," Bulma assumed, seeing the memory pained him to relive. "You must have been enflamed."
"That would be an understatement," he clenched his teeth. "I was ready to draw my sword, to kill the both of them for the humiliation, but Juunanagou stopped me. Killing them was not the way to go about the matter. He told me to wait, to disown her the following day, in public, to make certain she would not be able to talk her way out of what I knew, or at least what I thought I knew was true. And being as unclear in thought as I was, I followed his advice, and the next day, made public her indiscretion," he stopped again as he reached out to clasp Bulma’s hand. He feared she would leave him as soon as she heard what was next. "I was blind with rage when I confronted her; I slandered her name, and even dared to strike her physically. I wanted to shame her, but I ended up shaming myself more."
Vegeta closed his eyes as he felt two soft arms wrap around his waist, and then was comforted by the feel of his ward’s delicate head resting upon his neck. Feeling strength to begin once more, he continued, "I assume the story Juuhachigou told of her actions taken next were true. But as for my part, I went after Kakarrot. I would have killed him had he not made a convincing plea that no matter how deeply he had loved Juuhachigou, he would have never betrayed the crown to pursue that passion. So, I gave him twenty-four hours to prove that he was set up, as he believed he was. And to my utter fury, at the end of that time, not only did he have proof that a drug had been slipped into both his and her drink, but he also learned that the only person who could have set such a plot afoot was an associate of Juunanagou’s, a man by the name of Juukokugou. I had been stunned. I did not believe a man I had held such amity with could betray not only myself, but his own sister as well. So I confronted him."
"And he admitted what he had done?" Bulma asked quietly, she could not believe any man, especially one Vegeta had trusted, could be so cold as to pull such a stunt.
"More than that," Vegeta cringed at the memory. "He expected my thanks. He thought he was doing me a favor by making it possible for me to sever my marriage to Juuhachigou."
"And disgracing her in the process, you can not be serious!" Bulma pulled her head away to look into her warden’s eyes. "He was willing to humiliate his sister, and possibly get Kakarrot killed in the process just to please you??"
"More than just please me," Vegeta was quick to clarify. "Juunanagou had his own stake in all this, his inheritance. Juuhachigou, being the eldest, had a right to the entire Adajinzoun Empire. An empire Juunanagou wanted to take control of more than anything. That was why he set his own sister up. With her stripped of title and power, Juunanagou would claim her inheritance, being next of kin."
"He was willing to destroy his sister just to become king!?" Bulma repeated the unbelievable truth in a near state of shock. How could the man who had been so cordial with her commit such a heinous crime against his own flesh and blood? "Gods, Vegeta, you must have been livid to learn of his betrayal."
"That is putting it mildly," he hissed as he recalled the incident. "Our verbal fight quickly turned to a physical one when I could no longer listen to his irrational logic. I grabbed my sword and we clashed, for the first time, no restraint, simply full out combat. But I was too blinded by fury to fight clearly, Juunanagou got the upper hand, and gave me this," Vegeta lifted his hand to outline the scar on his chest that Bulma had seen for the first time earlier that morning. "I was so out of it, I could barely even remember the moment Juuhachigou interrupted our battle. I had thrust my weapon forward in a fury, hoping to strike him, but instead I had stuck Juuhachigou, who I had assumed at the time was trying to protect her unbeknownst traitor of a brother. I lost consciousness shortly after, and when I awoke, I was in the medical room with a weeping Kakarrot by my side, informing me of my wife’s death."
Another few moments of silence passed, Bulma took the opportunity to move closer in Vegeta’s grasp as she shifted to sit into his lap, wrapping her arms around him lovingly. "I am so sorry," she offered her empathy for the horrid situation he had been through. He had lost two close friends in one horrifying moment of selfishness.
"Well, do not be," Vegeta advised as he tightened his grip around her. This was the reaction he had dreamed of receiving from her. "I have never been one to take defeat lightly, and I did not then. As soon as Juunanagou took control of the empire his sister should have, I declared a financial war on him. I have been devoting several of the last few years of my life to crippling his economy. And my success rate has been exceedingly impressive. But unfortunately, when his long anticipated retaliation came in the form of a plot to use you against me," Vegeta twisted his head to look down into his blue beauty’s eyes, "I soon learned to regret my need for vengeance." Bulma closed her eyes as she felt his lips brush against hers in a chaste kiss. "I could survive anything but losing you, onna."
"Vegeta," she moaned his name while running one of her hands to touch his sunken face. "You will never lose me," she promised in an assuring voice. "I—We need each other too much." The always implicit truth was finally voiced, sending chills down each of their spines as they realized the magnitude of what those words carried.
"Onna," Vegeta leaned his head down to run his lips over hers in a more demanding sign of affection. He met no resistance as Bulma wrapped her arms around his neck to strengthen the fusion of their bodies. For some time the two simply basked in either other’s presence. Savoring the feel of one another’s lips, but soon that was no longer enough. Running her fingers down the front of her king’s chest, Bulma began to latch onto the buttons that bound his shirt. Unclipping them, one at a time, she placed her hands on the warm flesh of his pectoral muscles and then slid her hands across them, splitting his shirt down the middle, and completely exposing his chest for her hungry fingers to explore.
Vegeta unconsciously lowered his arms to help her remove the impediment, though never once allowing her lips to leave his. The moment was so perfect, better than he had even experienced in his most wild of dreams. Slowly sliding his hands up her gradually arching back, he stopped as he fingers laced around the thin straps of her nightgown. Drawing a line with his forefinger, starting at the end of her collarbone, he slowly began to slide the straps of her dress down her shoulders.
Bulma could not help but smile against his lips. This was what she had wanted for so long, what she had dreamed of for so long, and now that it was happening the moment was nothing short of surreal. But all too abruptly, it ended. The gentle sensations his fingers were creating and the passion his lips were burning into hers simultaneously stopped right before her breasts could be exposed, as Vegeta pulled away from a flushed Bulma with a horrified expression upon his face. "What, what is wrong?" she asked while taking labored breaths.
Shaking his head, to break himself free of the lust filled daze he was succumbing to, Vegeta quickly pulled the straps of her dress back on securely. "We can not do this," he confessed, almost as though he was speaking his internal monologue aloud. "This is not right." Pulling away from the disoriented princess, Vegeta rose from the bed and began to pull his shirt back on.
"Vegeta," Bulma found herself at a loss for saying anything besides his name. Closing her eyes she silently cursed herself, she should have known better than to allow herself to believe he had truly wanted what was happening between them. "You are rejecting me?" she mumbled the question so quietly Vegeta had almost not heard her.
With a long sigh, Vegeta halted buttoning his shirt so he could turn back and look upon the young onna who had captured his heart. It pained him to see the tears forming in the back of her eyes, knowing this was all his fault. Returning to the bed, to take a seat in front of her, Vegeta grasped her flushed cheeks as he forced her too look at him. "I am so sorry, onna," he ran his thumbs under her eyes to wipe away a few stray tears that had begun to fall. "I am doing it again; I am taking advantage of the emotional turmoil you are going through. This is my fault, not yours."
With a groan Bulma pushed his hands away as she glared at her warden. "I am not an emotional basket case, Vegeta!" her voice held much conviction as she grasped his face, bringing his lips close to hers. "I am not reaching out to you because I am upset about what happened today. I am reaching out to you, because I," she hesitated for several moments before completing her thought, "because I love you."
Closing his eyes, Vegeta allowed his mind to echo those soothing words, before he placed his hands atop of hers and pulled them together for a soft kiss. "I know this, onna. In fact that is exactly my point," he seemed oblivious to the devastated look that crossed her face as he continued, "you are confusing those feelings for something more intimate—"
"But I do not understand, you said earlier that you felt something more between us, something you wanted to explore!" Bulma reminded all too desperately. His sudden change in intentions was breaking her apart.
"I meant in time, onna," he clarified as he gave her falling tears another sweep with his thumbs. "You are still nursing a broken heart. I can understand why you would want to displace your feelings for Kakarrot onto me, but—"
"Kakarrot?" Bulma recoiled at his name, her earlier lie seemed to be causing her more problems than she could have ever anticipated. "Vegeta, I am not in love with Kakarrot. That—that was just some infatuation, this, what is happening between us is real!" she was not ready to admit he was the lead in her clandestine romance novel, she had no idea how such a confession would sit with his newly developed feelings. "Vegeta," she hushed her voice as she tried once again to securely grasp his face, "you have to believe me when I say that I am of sound mind in my intentions. So please, unless you are unsure of your own feelings, do not—wait, is that it?" she cut her own thought off as she separated from him in a swift extrication. Closing her eyes as if she had finally pulled all the pieces together, she shook her head in a humiliated realization. "I get it. This has nothing to do with what you think I feel, you do not want me, and this is your gentle way of letting me down, right? Well, you can save your pity for someone more fragile." Not taking the time to wait for his answer, she moved to pull herself out of the bed, but did not make it far before she felt his fingers snake around her arms and pull her roughly back down too him. Before she realized what was happening, she felt his lips burning hers in yet another searing kiss.
Once Bulma was all but out of breath, she felt Vegeta release her lips so his ebony eyes could burn into hers. "If you honestly believe I would mislead you like this, then you have failed to learn anything about me these past eight years, onna," his thought came out sounding rough and strenuous. "I want you," he dropped his head forward as he finally admitted the words, "gods, I want you," he whispered the reinforced thought before raising his head to meet hers once more. "But I will not have you unless you are doubtless that you desire the same; I will never court, let alone mate with, a female whose heart belongs to another. It will only cause pain for the both of us in the end. But more importantly, onna, I will not rush into anything with you that could jeopardize what we already have," wrapping his arms around her waist he pulled her firmly against his body, willing her to stay with him. "I could not survive losing you. Not even for something more between us."
With a somewhat relaxed sigh, Bulma dared to ask, "So where does that leave us?"
Vegeta half chuckled, having no clue himself what all this meant. "I suppose, it leaves us with two choices," he decided while burying his head in her hair to inhale her scent. "Either we can jump into bed now, say to hell with the consequences and mate until daybreak, or wait until this mess with Juunanagou is over, and then do things right. What say you?" he left the choice to her. Either would suit him fine, as long as he knew sooner or later that she would be his.
Bulma smiled against his shoulder as she found herself much more keen on the earlier idea than the latter, but after hearing the reflection in his voice, she could tell which one he felt was wisest. "Alright, we will wait then." The concession came with a hint of mischievousness. "But on one condition."
Feeling her pull away from his grasp angered him to some extent, but as soon as he turned his head to see the bright glimmer in her eyes, he happily questioned, "And what is that?"
Biting her lip in a somewhat nervous manner, Bulma pulled back the covers of her bed and slid under them herself; then patting the spot next to her, she demanded, "Stay with me."
Vegeta looked up from the empty side of her bed, towards her, and then back down to the empty spot before releasing a somewhat reluctant groan. "I do not know if this is a good idea, onna," he confessed while removing all his excess garments. And then, once he was well enough for sleep, slid under the covers next to her. "You make it difficult for me to resist you," his nipped at her nose while winding his arms around her waist.
"Well, you will just have to control yourself," she said with a repressed smirk as she laid her head against his chest. "I want to spend the entire night in your arms."
Vegeta felt his heart momentarily stop as she suggested such a beautiful scenario. "Wild horses could not drag me from your side tonight," he promised while gently resting his head back against her soft pillow. Unraveling his tail, he slyly slid it up to one her wrists and bound it securely. "Just like you will not be evading my presence as you did last time," he felt her chest vibrate against his in a laugh.
"Not a chance," she agreed before closing her eyes and allowing silence to envelope the room for several minutes. "Vegeta?" she called for him just moments before unconsciousness could claim the pair.
"Hm," he mumbled while opening and then closing his eyes slightly.
"I just wanted to let you know," she kept her head down, knowing she could never look into his eyes as she said what she felt she had to, "I meant what I said earlier, about my loving you. You have my heart, you always have," she whispered candidly as she kissed his chest tenderly. Looking up to see what kind of reaction her confession would incite, she somewhat depressingly realized he was no longer in the land of the cognizant with her. "Maybe this is a sign I should never tell him how I really feel about him." Submitting to the bliss of oblivion, Bulma finally allowed her exhausted body some rest, utterly ignorant to the fact that her every syllable had been imprinted into the mind of the man beside her.
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