3 am
By: Lisalu


She lay on her side, undreaming and fitful, her lips slightly parted.

A gust of wind from the open window chilled the half-dried streaks of tears

on her cheeks. She shivered awake. She had not left the window open, she was sure…She was…she was not alone.

She shifted, turning in the arms of the man who lay spooned behind her, the burning warmth of his fever hot body pressed against hers. Incredibly, he had not awakened when she moved. He usually slept as light as a cat, a sudden change in the rhythm of her breathing being enough to rouse him.

He…He had blasted off into the afternoon sky today, minutes after Mirai Trunks departure, without a word or a backward glance. And that, she had thought numbly, was that. She had assumed that would be the last she would ever see of him .

She lay trembling against him, staring into his still face, shadow-lit by nothing but starlight, too many conflicting emotions beginning to rage inside her, one finally achieving ascendancy. She poked him hard.

His eyes shot open, body tensing like a spring, gasping involuntarily in surprise. The black, slanted brows drew together, dark eyes narrowing.

"Coward," she hissed. "You didn't even have the balls to face me, did you? Just came crawling back into my bed like a thief in the middle of the night!" The arm he had draped around her tightened angrily, and she gasped as the pressure forced the air out of her lungs.

"Loud mouthed bitch," he growled. She stared at him stonily, and abruptly the arm loosened. One finger reached up to brush her cheek, still damp with tears. He didn't speak for the longest time. "You should not grieve," he said finally, his breath warm against her face. "Kakarott died a warrior's death."

"He was my brother, Vegita. In everything but blood. I'm crying because I'll miss him, because Gohan has lost his father, because Chi-Chi…"

She stopped, choking, tried to turn away so he wouldn’t have the satisfaction of mocking her, of telling her how weak she was for giving into a fresh onslaught of weeping, but he held her firmly against him, and she…She let it all go, shuddering apart with the fear and tension and hurt of the last eighteen months, clinging to him as though she would drown if she ever let go. And on the heels of the tears came the anger she had suppressed, forced down for the sake of saving face in front of Yamcha, pushed away because of the necessity of fighting the danger at hand. She pounded her fist against his chest suddenly, struggling in an embrace that was as strangely gentle as it was unbreakable.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" She nearly screamed in his face. "You…you don't want anything to do with me or my disgusting half-breed, remember? A whore with a brat pushing out her belly is a worthless whore, wasn't that what you said? Well, fuck you, Vegita! I don't need you!

I never asked you for a fucking thing. And I'll be goddammed if I let anyone, anyone treat me without respect! I need----"

"I know what you need," he said harshly, and stopped the bitter, tearful

flow of her tirade with his mouth, pressing her body down beneath his, catching her flailing fists in one hand and holding them firmly against her pillow.

"No…" She turned her head aside angrily. "No! It's not that easy! I'm through with you! I'm not----" She felt his full weight press down on her, knocking the breath from her again. Or was that his mouth, burning its way down the soft line of her throat? It was becoming increasingly difficult to think. His hands were everywhere, his mouth caught one breast and lightly nipped the nipple, and she moaned. Damn him, damn him! She had taught him too well, and he had been a very, very good student. His hand had parted her thighs, his body hard and almost burning to the touch, sliding between her legs, pushing them farther apart.

His breath, rough and ragged in her ear. "You are mine, woman! Your brat is mine! Your body, your heart…" She felt him shudder against her.

"…All of you. You will never rid of me! You will never be free of me!"

He thrust into her, deep and strong, and all that she had been needing for so long. A low groan escaped him as he moved inside fully. He was…he was…Oh kami! She locked her mouth against his and rose up to meet him with all her might, her gasps building to a silent shriek as he took it all away,

the pain and sorrow and bitterness and hurt of the wake of this war that had

taken away the best man she'd ever known. He drove it all away in his pounding rhythmic heat, and she matched him in the sweat-soaked fury of stroke after stroke, burning up with the coiled, battering fire of him inside her….And collapsing into tears again as they finished together, wracked with the knowledge, deep and absolute, that if he left her again, rose shaking

from her arms and simply vanished without a word, that this time, it would kill her…

"Vegita…" She said, a ghost of a whisper. "I won't be weak."

He made no move to pull away or withdraw from her body or her arms.

His face was cold and immobile as he stared into her eyes, one hand tangled in her hair…but his voice shook. "Nor will I…I am strong enough now…strong enough to keep you and the brat from harm." And she saw something flit across the stony mask of his features, something she'd caught a glimpse of once before, on the night she had told him she was carrying Trunks, the night he had left her. It had puzzled her then, but now she finally saw it for what it was. It was fear. No, it was abject terror. Terror that he cared…and that she would be taken away, violently, bloodily, permanently---As had everything he had ever given a damn about in his life. He was so afraid he pushed me away with both hands, trying to prove to himself and anyone who would listen that he could care less…Had he somehow mastered that fear? "You are mine, woman! You will never be rid of me!" His mouth covered hers again, stopping the questions poised on her lips. She felt herself begin to smile against his kiss, and drew back a little. "Yes, you are stronger," she said softly. She wound her arms around him, pulling him a little closer.

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