This version is rated NC-17 for sexual situations. (Descriptive, but not graphic.) If you are under 18, or would prefer to read the slightly altered PG version, please do not read any further. The PG version can be found on

 Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Dragonball Z or its characters. I am merely borrowing them to have some fun with them. The sole purpose of this story is entertainment. Please send comments!


A New Year’s Resolution
By: QueenSaiyajin


Vegeta took a deep breath, filling his lungs with air that the tremendous G-forces had seemed to rob him of. His entire body hurt, no doubt a result of the 340G setting that he had insisted on training in today, despite Dr. Brief’s warnings. Though he would never admit it to anyone, he knew in his heart that he had still not recovered completely from the explosion that had nearly killed him, and had virtually destroyed the GT Chamber. But as soon as the woman had repaired the Chamber, he’d determined to get back to his training. Even her irritating complaining that he was pushing himself too hard had not deterred him. In fact, it had spurred him on. She might be a technological genius, but there was no way she would dictate to the Prince of all Saiyans.

He threw the towel around his neck, soaking up the sweat that he had built up. He could almost hear her nagging at him now, scolding him for walking out in the cold with nothing on but his spandex training pants. He’d outwardly told her to mind her own business, but inwardly her seeming concern for him had intrigued him. He could still remember that first night, when he’d regained consciousness after the accident, to find her asleep at the desk by his bed, as if she had been watching over him. He’d wondered then, as he did now, why she even cared. Was her fear of the Android threat so great that she wanted to safeguard the only warrior who stood a chance against them? Or was there something more?

 He thought of the concern in her big blue eyes, the tenderness with which she’d wrapped his protective bandages when he’d insisted on returning to his training. She’d worked tirelessly to repair the GT for him in no time at all, once he’d demanded she do so. Of course, she’d screamed at him first, chastising him for ordering her around like a slave…but when she’d seen his determination she’d stayed up overnight to repair the equipment for him.

 A slight smile threatened to cross his lips as he thought of the fire in her eyes as she’d in effect told him off. No one had ever spoken to him like that. No one would dare. He knew how others, like the little bald guy, feared him, avoided crossing him. He liked it that way. Yet she was different. She didn’t fear him. Not in the least. And for that, he had to respect her. For that, and for her genius. When he’d first seen the Gravitational Chamber she’d created for him, it had been difficult to obscure his awe. He’d made a crack about her being too beautiful to be that intelligent, but rather than take it as a slight, she’d blushed at the compliment he’d inadvertently given her. She’d looked up at him with those beautiful eyes, almost in shock. Realizing his mistake, he’d tried to look away quickly, but had been transfixed for a second longer than he would have liked. He’d felt the blood rushing to his own cheeks, and his heart beginning to quicken as it did before a battle. He had added something lame about, "…for a human…" and rushed off, perturbed at the effect that she seemed to have on him.

 Even thinking of her now he felt himself begin to flush, but blamed it on the workout he had just endured, then hurried out into the cold evening air.




"Bulma dear, could you call the Caterer please?"

 Her mother’s bubbly mood was entirely too irritating right now, but she replied, "Yes, Mom," with a heavy sigh. Her heart was not in the festivities planned for tonight’s New Year’s Eve Party. Too much was going on, both within her, and around her. The days of carefree partying were gone, and Bulma Briefs was finding it increasingly difficult to ignore the mysterious youth’s warnings of what would come to pass in only two years.

 Nonetheless, she made the call, glancing absently at the kitchen clock as she did so. Vegeta would be finished with his training soon, and expecting his dinner made. She’d spent the afternoon at the beauty salon, trying to lift her spirits with a makeover. It was expected of her, after all, to be as beautiful and charming as she could possibly be. After all, she was the daughter of the President of Capsule Corp. Her father’s New Year’s Eve Gala would be talked about for months, and she, as usual, would be expected to be on display, under the same scrutiny as any of her inventions.

 "Yes, 9 p.m. would be fine to set up," she confirmed, her mind barely on the call, thinking ahead of what she would prepare for Vegeta.

 Her thoughts had run to him a great deal lately. Sometimes it seemed as if she’d taken on a new job in taking care of his needs. If she wasn’t cooking for his enormous appetite, she was repairing the equipment that he destroyed on a daily basis in his quest to become a Super Saiyan. It had gotten to a point that he occupied most of her time, and was never far from her mind. And all she could wonder was what masochistic tendency in her own psyche spurred her to take such good care of him when he seemed to show no appreciation whatsoever.

 No, it was worse than that. He insulted her. He belittled her. He ordered her around as if she were his personal servant. Certainly she did not put up with him without constantly berating him for his lousy attitude and utter lack of gratitude. Why, "please" and "thank you" were two words that he must have never been taught as a child. But she’d spent her entire life being pampered and cared for. Why now was she willing to endure anything for Vegeta’s sake?

 Perhaps it was because she saw something beyond what Goku and the others could see. Vegeta’s pride was his crutch, the one vestige of the Prince he had been before Frieza had taken everything away from him. Over the past year and a half that he had lived under their roof she had caught glimpses of the part of him that he worked desperately to conceal from the world. She’d watched over him after his accident, transfixed by his sleeping face, so handsome without the scowl of disdain that he purposely wore when he was awake. She’d heard him cry out in his delirium, belying the demons that tormented him within. And sometimes, she’d seen him when he thought he was alone, staring up at the night sky as if searching for the home that he had lost.

 He was lonely. And though he pretended to prefer solitude to the company of any humans, she could see through his façade. And sometimes, with a word or a gesture, she had even begun to think that perhaps he even enjoyed the time they spent together…

 "Woman, I’m hungry! Isn’t there anything in this blasted house to eat?"

 His gruff voice shocked her back to her senses. She wasn’t anything more to him than a caretaker at best. She cursed herself for ever daring to hope otherwise.

 "There’s some leftover sushi in the fridge," she said tiredly. He stood looking at her as if waiting for her to get it for him. When she didn’t, he pulled open the refrigerator door with enough force that Bulma feared it would break.

 "Take it easy!" she snapped at him, getting up and pulling out the dish. It was enough to serve a family of four, so it would probably satisfy him for now. She placed the plate on the table, only then really taking the time to look at him. He was wearing nothing but those black skin-tight exercise shorts that showed every bulge…

 Embarrassed as she realized that she’d been staring at him, she quickly said, "Don’t tell me you went outside in this weather wearing nothing but that."

 She looked up at him to break her stare, but her face grew crimson as she saw a tinge of amusement in his eyes. Had he realized that she was looking him over? That she’d enjoyed looking him over…?

 In a moment the fleeting expression was gone, as he sat at the table and began to eat. She knew she should just leave him to his meal, but she found herself sitting down across from him, watching him silently as he devoured the raw fish and rice rolls. Behind the table, his bare chest made it look as if he were sitting naked. She tried to force the imagined image from her mind, but could not look away from the perfect chest, the arms that bulged muscles, the handsome face…

 "Is there a problem?" he asked, and she realized in humiliation that she had been staring at him again. What was wrong with her? Did she need him to make it any more obvious that he wanted to be alone?

 She started to rise from the table when his expression changed. With satisfaction she realized that he was the one staring at her now, as if trying to figure out what had changed about her.

 "You look… different," he said noncommittally.

 "I…um, got my hair done," she said, running her fingers through her sleek blue waves. "It’s not curly anymore."

 He gazed at her, his lips parting as if he were about to speak. He seemed to be searching her eyes for the words, until he finally looked back down at his plate and muttered, "Good, you looked ridiculous."

 Inwardly, Bulma began to fume, but she was not in the mood for a conflict with him. Why was it that every time he seemed about to talk to her like a normal human being he had to revert back to the obnoxious son of a bitch that seemed to be his persona of choice? "Okay, well, I’d better get going if I’m going to work on being beautiful for the party—"

 She began to rise, when he said, "Wait. You don’t need to do that much work on yourself. You look---okay."

 She looked at him strangely as she sank back into the chair. "Was that—a half-assed compliment?" she asked, taken aback.

 "No, I—only wanted to ask you some questions. About this thing tonight." His tone was neutral once more, and she realized that he had surprised himself with his comment to her.

 "You mean the New Year’s Eve party?"

 "I don’t understand why you humans are making such a fuss celebrating the completion of a revolution around the sun," he said disdainfully.

 "It’s a tradition. All over the world. To welcome in the New Year with friends and family—" She cut herself off as she saw his face grow sober. "Vegeta, I’m sorry—"

 "And these two hundred people that your parents have invited—" he continued, ignoring her. "Are they friends or family?"

She was taken by surprise by his question, and wasn’t quite sure how to answer. Her parents had many friends and acquaintances. But none of them meant very much to her personally. "The only friends I can say that I’ll have there are Goku and his family, and Krillin."

 She saw him stiffen at the mention of Goku, still his rival. "So out of all those people, Kakarrot and Baldy are the only ones whom you consider friends? So why even bother?"


She shifted uncomfortably. "Look, I’m actually not even looking forward to this—" she began to intimate, when her mother, who was passing through the kitchen, stopped to add her two cents worth.

 "Bulma’s just upset because she doesn’t have a date for New Year’s Eve," she told Vegeta, with a meaning that seemed to escape him but made Bulma feel as if she would slide under the table in humiliation.

 "What’s a…date?" he asked curiously.

 "A special someone to go to a party with," Mrs. Briefs explained to Bulma’s mortification. "Someone to dance with, and kiss when the clock counts down to midnight…"

 "Okay, Mother," Bulma said in annoyance, her tone saying what she couldn‘t in words. The doorbell rang and Bulma couldn’t help but think that she’d been saved by the bell, as the saying went.

 When they were alone, Vegeta looked at her and smirked. "So, what happened to that pathetic weakling you call a boyfriend? Did you finally wise up and find out about his other ‘dates’?"

 Bulma fumed. "Watch it, Vegeta. I’m not in the mood—"

 Her voice broke off as the salt of his comment settled in the unhealed wound that Yamcha’s infidelity had created. She’d always known about Yamcha’s unfaithfulness, but had taken him back time and again. Only this last time had she finally had enough of his betrayal. But the years and emotion she had wasted on him still weighed heavily upon her. She cursed silently as she felt tears about to well up in her eyes. She had cried enough in the privacy of her room. She didn’t need to give Vegeta the satisfaction of seeing her like this, displaying what he termed the weakness of humans.

 She started to rise, when she felt a strong, warm hand settle over hers. Her lips parted in shock as she realized that the unfeeling Vegeta had reached out to her. She looked up at him in awe of the sudden gentleness in his tone as he said, "You don’t need him. You deserve a lot better."

 And she knew at that moment what she had known in her heart all along. "A lot better" was staring her right in her eyes.




He didn’t know what had come over him. Dozens of times he had taunted her for her weakness in staying with that poor excuse for a man. He should have felt satisfaction in reminding her that he was right all along. But when the sharpness of his words had brought her vulnerability to the surface, the last thing he’d wanted to do was gloat at her weakness. This woman, despite all her annoying tendencies, was still…the most incredible woman he had ever met. She was brilliant, beautiful and had shown more courage than some men he had known. To top it all off, she constantly saw to his every need no matter how poorly he treated her. He realized all at once that most of the time the words that came out of his mouth were quite opposite to what he truly thought of her.

 A part of him wanted to tell her what he really felt. To let her know how much he appreciated all she had done for him. To reassure her that she was so much better than that pile of garbage he’d heard her crying over…

 But another part of him, that had been trained so well, so long ago, berated him for his sentimentality. He was the Prince of all Saiyans. His destiny was to be the most powerful being in the Universe. It was beneath him to fall prey to these weak human emotions, and in doing so make himself vulnerable, as if he were one of them…


But she’s so beautiful… he found himself thinking as he looked into her eyes. He could lose himself in her gaze. And the mere thought terrified him. He closed his eyes, shutting her out, breaking the spell that she had cast over him. He willed his hand slowly away from the soft warmth of hers, breaking the contact that had sent a flush of excitement through his entire being. He couldn’t let this happen. He couldn’t….

 Vegeta stood abruptly, not wanting to look into her eyes. "I have to get back to my training—"

 "Vegeta, please, why don’t you come to the party? It would be fun," she was imploring him boldly.

 Gathering his strength, he looked at her once more, careful to obscure any emotion from his face as he said, "Woman, I have no time for such nonsense. Only fools like Kakarrot would waste precious time when there is so much at stake. Now leave me alone."

 With that he turned and left the room, ignoring the disappointment he had seen on her face, and convincing himself that he didn’t care.





Bulma put on her finishing touches of makeup, then looked herself over in the full-length mirror. She had to admit it—she looked great. The black sequin dress clung tightly to her every curve, the front covered just enough of her breasts to be tasteful, leaving just the right amount to the imagination. The hemline tapered almost to her knee, with a slit in the side that modesty almost begged her to fasten closed with a safety pin. She’d worn black French cut underwear so that nothing would show, yet the slit seemed to leave open the possibility that she wore nothing. With a mean streak in her, she almost wished Yamcha could see her—it was the type of dress that would drive him wild. But it wasn’t Yamcha she slow-danced with in her fantasies tonight.

 Her mind drifted back to the Saiyan Prince, his dark eyes gazing into hers as his hand had gently squeezed her own. Even the memory sent a flush of excitement through her. Something was happening between them—it was undeniable now. Yet once again, he had reached out to her only to pull away…

 In fear? In denial? He hadn’t wanted to look into her eyes, for he knew that she had seen into his. She had seen the part of him that he would allow no one to know. And it had terrified him. She knew it. Just as she knew that in time he would have to come to his senses and accept what had been growing between them…

 The guests had already begun to arrive, and she greeted them cordially as she headed outside towards the GT Chamber. The cold winter air blew through her dress as if it were nothing, but the thought of where she was headed kept her warm. She slipped into the control room, switching on the monitor so that they could see each other. He was powering up with a fierce resolve, and for a moment she was afraid to disturb him. But the boldness that had brought her here would not let her stop without one last try. "Hey Vegeta, come on. You’ve been at it all day. Why not give it a rest for a couple of hours?"



Her voice startled him from his concentration, although he had to admit that his thoughts of her had made any real focus impossible. He debated sending her away without looking up, but made the mistake of stealing a glance that cost him all his resolve.

 She was gorgeous. She hadn’t been kidding about working to make herself beautiful for the party. His heart began to pound and he looked away from her quickly, focusing on the control panel instead. He set the gravity to slowly return to normal, knowing full well that he was making a mistake his father would berate him for. But he had to see her, had to be in her presence. That desire outweighed all else at the moment.



Bulma’s heart leapt as he emerged from the chamber without an argument. It was more than she could have hoped for. She smiled sweetly at him as he drank her in with his eyes, clearly speechless over what he saw. "So, are you ready to take a break? The party’s starting up. It’s only about an hour and a half ‘til midnight."

 He didn’t answer at first, as if mesmerized. Finally, he cleared his throat, and looked into her eyes. "You look…"

 She waited patiently for him to spit it out.

 "…cold," he finished.

 She sighed in amusement, knowing that that was the most she could really expect from him. For a brief moment of embarrassment she realized that the cold truly must have had an effect on her that he couldn’t help but notice, and she blushed. But she replied, "Then why don’t we go inside the house—"

 "No, come here," he said softly. He placed his hands gently on her arms, the warmth pulsing through her body. Suddenly a soft blue ki began to emanate from him, encircling them both in his energy.

 "Now I know your secret to staying warm in cold weather," she said with a smile, though she didn’t know what had warmed her more, his energy or his touch. "So, have you changed your mind? Will you come to the party.?"

 His face grew serious, though it was devoid of the anger that he usually placed there. "I don’t know if I can. I can’t allow all those people see me—"

 His confession was disrupted by a familiar voice calling out to them.

 "Hey, Bulma! Vegeta!"

 Vegeta groaned as Goku and his family approached them. Bulma could feel the chill as his hands dropped away from her, and the ki that had enveloped her in his energy dissipated. She tried to hide her disappointment to greet her friends. "Hi Goku! Hi Chichi! Hey, Gohan! You’re getting big!"

 The Son family stopped before them, and Bulma could sense Vegeta’s mortification.

 "How’s the training going, Vegeta?" Goku asked in a voice that was much too friendly for Vegeta’s taste.

 "Excellent," Vegeta said, refusing to let his guard down. "I see you’re hard at work yourself," he said sarcastically.

 Goku was unperturbed by his comment. He was used to Vegeta’s attitude. "Hey Chichi," he said, turning to his wife. "How come Vegeta gets to dress in normal clothes and I have to wear this?"

 Chichi sighed impatiently, and Bulma laughed. Goku never did like a suit and tie, but he and Gohan looked great.

 "Because Vegeta’s obviously not going to the party!" Chichi scolded him.

 Goku smiled mischievously at his wife to let her know that he was just kidding, then put his arm around her lovingly as he ruffled Gohan’s hair affectionately with his other hand. "Come on," he told his family as he led them away, but not without calling back a, "See you later, guys," to his fellow Saiyan and his friend.

 Bulma looked back at Vegeta, disappointed to see that the wall had been resurrected between them. "She’s right, I’m not going," he said, turning back to the GT Chamber.

 "Vegeta, wait," she said, touching him on the arm, unable to contain her disappointment. Why had the Son family had to come by just then?

 He turned brusquely towards her, his eyes filled with a mixture of emotions, anger being the one he chose to prevail. "Is that what you want me to become, woman? A weak, emotional clown like Kakarrot?"

 "Goku is far from weak," she retorted in defense of her friend.

 "And he’s far from being a true Saiyan. I will not behave like that low-class soldier. I am the Prince of all Saiyans—"

 "Yeah, all three of you," she shot back angrily, tired of his bravado. "Get off your high horse, Vegeta. No one is watching. No one cares—"

 "I care," he told her defiantly. "Don’t mock me, woman—"

 "The name is Bulma!" she cried out for what seemed like the umpteenth time she had had to correct him.

 "You want me to be like Kakarrot," he accused again, still refusing to call her by her name. "But I assure you, that will never happen."

 "I don’t want you to be like Goku, you big ape!" she yelled at him in frustration. Then, grabbing control of her temper, she said, "Can’t you see, Vegeta? I just want you to be happy—"

 "Then leave me alone!" he countered.

 She’d been able to control her anger, but her hurt was quite another story. She was speechless now. That was it. This was him. They would never get beyond this.

 She turned and stormed off, for the first time in her life too much in despair to care that she hadn’t had the last word.

 Vegeta just watched her go, cursing Kakarrot for having come by to remind him of who he was. For a moment he had almost forgotten, and it was the closest he had come to being "happy" in longer than he could remember.




He’d brought the gravity up to 400G, hoping the challenge would occupy his mind and body. But the image of Bulma kept finding its way into his thoughts, engulfing him with the sensations that he could not—nor did he want to—forget. He closed his eyes, seeing her again, in that black fabric that seemed to glisten as it clung to her every curve. How he’d been enthralled by those beautiful blue eyes, how he’d longed to kiss her red lips, and caress her milky white skin. His fingers had tingled at the touch of her flesh, and for one magical moment he had felt as if there were no one on Earth but the two of them…

 But then that clown had come by, reminding him of who he was, and what was expected of him. The Prince of all Saiyans could not be distracted by carnal desires…

 No. It’s more than that. Much more, he forced himself to admit, even if only to himself. His reaction to this woman was much deeper than a mere physical desire. There was a part of him that needed to be with her. That needed her. Her companionship, her understanding…even her blasted yelling. No one had ever seemed to know his spirit so well, to understand the man that he had been forced to bury away so long ago. She knew him, she accepted him, and she cared for him. And she faced him fearlessly, somehow knowing that despite all the murder and destruction he had carried out in his lifetime, he would die himself rather than ever think of harming her. There was a fire in her spirit that rivaled his own, and yet she was just as unafraid to be caring, gentle and loyal, to all those she loved…

 Could she love him? Could he be falling in love with her? He’d refused to even consider the possibility, yet in his solitude now he had to acknowledge to himself what he could never tell her…

 He loved her. More than he had ever loved, or thought possible to love. But even this admission in his own mind frightened him as he had never been frightened before. It was happening. He was becoming weak, like these humans…

 Like Kakarrot.

 "Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh…" In anger he began to power up. Anger at himself for falling prey to this sentimentality. Anger at her, for doing this to him. Anger at Kakarrot for leading him to this meaningless ball of rock, where one insignificant female threatened to strip him of all he was…

 Vegeta fell to his knees, the power dissipating as her image danced before him once more. The hurt on her face when he'd sent her away. Was that what he’d really wanted to do? Or what he’d thought the Prince of all Saiyans should do…?

 It was no use. "Cursed woman!" In disgust he flicked the switch that would bring the gravity back down to normal. As long as she haunted his thoughts, there would be no training tonight.

 As the night air hit him, he thought of how she had been waiting for him the last time he had come from the Gravity Chamber. Now he was alone. She was in there, amongst all those humans, celebrating their mindless festivities, oblivious to the real world…

 And without her here now, he was utterly alone.

 For the first time in his life, he did not know if he could bear this loneliness much longer.





Bulma sipped her drink, absently watching the jovial celebrations as an outsider. From time to time her father would bring over someone he wanted her to meet, and she would put on the perfunctory smile that was expected of her. But her heart was not here. It was outside in the Gravity Chamber with the man who had pushed her away more times than she could bear to think about.

 She should forget about him. Ignore him. Go on with her life, just as she had vowed to when she had said her final good bye to Yamcha. But with Yamcha, it had been somehow easier. Despite the decade they had spent together, she had always known that he was not the prince she had been searching for when she’d first set out looking for the Dragon Balls…


 She almost laughed aloud despite the tears that were threatening to surface. Oh, Vegeta was a Prince all right. But not the kind fairy tales were made of…

 "Hey, Bulma." Goku came up to her, breaking her reverie. He was smiling that bright innocent smile of his, and she had to return it. He was so good. Chichi was so lucky. Why didn’t all Saiyans have that same disposition?

 "Hi, Goku. Having a good time?" She smiled wanly at him.

 Goku tugged at his tie. "I’d have a lot better time if I could take this thing off."

 "Aw, go ahead. Maybe Chichi won’t notice." He gave her an amused look and she amended, "On second thought, maybe you’d better not."

 Goku laughed, then his face became serious. "How are you doing, Bulma? You don’t look your usual self."

 Goku had known her too long. He’d been a child when they’d met, and since then had always been like a little brother. She’d confided everything in him then, and he could read her emotions better even than her parents.

 "You really like him, don’t you?" Goku said knowingly.

 "Who?" she asked pointlessly.

 "Come on, Bulma. The arrogant little guy in the GT Chamber. The ‘Prince of All Saiyans’."

 Bulma had to giggle at Goku’s description, not to mention the raspy imitation he’d done of Vegeta’s voice. Then she sighed. "Oh, Goku, what’s wrong with me? Why do I fall for such jerks?"

 Goku put his hands on her shoulders, looking into her eyes earnestly. "There’s nothing wrong with you, Bulma. You just have a way of seeing the good in everybody, even Vegeta."

 "Is there good in Vegeta?" she asked, although in her heart she knew the answer.

 "Of course there is. He’s just too proud and stubborn to let it show. But he doesn’t know you. You can be even more stubborn that he is. You’ll bring out the good in him. I know it."

 Goku spoke with such confidence that Bulma couldn’t help but wonder if he knew something she didn’t. "Thanks, Goku," she said, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

 Suddenly Goku stopped, his head turning sharply towards the ceiling. "Unless there’s someone else with a ki as strong as his, I’d say Vegeta just flew in here." He winked at her. "Maybe he won’t miss midnight after all."

 Bulma nodded, her hope returning, then hurried to the stairs.

 When she reached the second floor, she could hear the shower running in the bathroom. Okay, so he was here. Maybe he’d changed his mind…

 She went into her room, checking herself in the mirror, sitting down on the bed to wait. Her heart began to beat wildly as she heard a knock at the door, and she nearly jumped to open it.

 "Hi, Bulma."

 Her heart dropped, anger overshadowing disappointment as she saw the figure standing there.

 "What are you doing here, Yamcha?"

 "Hey, is that any way to greet your boyfriend on New Year’s Eve?" It was obvious he’d been drinking, probably to get enough nerve to show up here. The maid had probably let him in, figuring that Bulma had taken him back yet again.

 But that was something that would never happen. "Ex-boyfriend, Yamcha. Ex. Now I want you to leave. You can stay at the party if you like, scope out some unsuspecting girl, whatever. Just get out of my room."

 Yamcha was clearly not listening. "Come on, Bulma. I’m sorry. You know I love you—"

 "Oh, please," she said in disgust. "You don’t love anyone but yourself."

 He stepped towards her. "Bulma, it’s New Year’s. My Resolution is to be 100% faithful to you. Please, babe, give me another chance."

 Her face was unmoving. This wouldn’t work on her. Any love she had had for him was gone, and all she wanted to do was get him away from her. "Yamcha, I want you to leave—"

 "Without a kiss for the New Year?"

 "Yamcha, get away from me!" She literally pushed hard against his chest, but Yamcha only took the opportunity of her closeness to put his arms around her.

 "Let go of me!"

 Yamcha pressed hard against her lips, his breath filled with alcohol as he tried to force her to respond. She was more furious than afraid, although the thought that Yamcha in his current state might try to force himself on her suddenly became a horrible possibility. She was struggling against him, but she realized in sudden fear that she was no match for his strength as he started to push her towards the bed…




Vegeta had flown into the house, avoiding the crowd of people by entering through his open window. Bulma had been nowhere in sight, and he imagined with dismay that she was probably having a wonderful time with those other pitiful humans. It didn’t matter. He didn’t need her.

 But as the hot shower relaxed his muscles, his thoughts drifted back to her once more, and he realized that he was disappointed not to find her. He hadn’t had a clue what he would say to her, but he knew that until he faced her, he would have no rest.

 Suddenly, as he stepped from the shower, he sensed them. Two kis, one weak, and one much stronger. He knew at once that the weak one was Bulma’s—he had learned to sense her presence long ago. But with alarm, he realized that she was in distress. Grabbing a towel and wrapping it around his waist, he nearly flew from the bathroom.

 Then he heard the cries that filled him with fury. "Yamcha, get away from me! Let go of me!"

 He burst into her room, enraged to see her struggling as that disgraceful excuse for a man pushed her roughly onto the bed. At light speed Vegeta grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, pulling him off of her and throwing him hard into the wall. Before Yamcha could recover, Vegeta was on him again, lifting him into the air and pounding his head. Yamcha tried to throw a punch, but between the alcohol and the blood pouring from his forehead, he was blinded. Vegeta tossed him down in a furious rage, and raised his hand, ready to blast Yamcha into the next dimension. Only her voice, still weak from her shock, halted him.

 "V-vegeta, please. J-just make him leave."

 He wanted to kill him. For daring to touch her. For hurting her. But he himself would hurt her even more were he to kill this weakling in her defense. She would blame herself. He wouldn’t do that to her.

 Yamcha had pulled himself up to a standing position, ready to fight. "You’re pathetic," Vegeta told him in disgust. "I’ll spare you now, for her sake. But if you ever dare come near her again, or try to harm her in any way, rest assured, I will kill you."

 Yamcha’s eyes opened wide with fear. He had never heard such venom in Vegeta’s voice, and he was too terrified to even respond. He glanced at Bulma, who was still too shaken to speak. "I-I’m…s-sorry…" he began, but Vegeta cut him off.

 "Get out of here, now!" he boomed. In a moment, Yamcha had taken flight.

 He turned to Bulma, looking at her with concern. "Are you all right?" he asked, surprised at the tenderness that had crept into his own voice.

 In a response that took him by completely off-guard, she threw her arms around his neck, clutching him tightly. "Thank goodness you were here, Vegeta. If you hadn’t been—" Her voice became choked with the tears that were a delayed reaction to her ordeal. Without a second thought, he instinctively wrapped his arms around her, hugging her protectively to him.

 "I’ll never let him hurt you, Bulma," he vowed softly. "I’ll never let anyone hurt you."

 For what seemed like a glorious eternity he held her against him, relishing the sensation of her warmth against his bare skin, burying his face in her soft blue hair, intoxicated by her scent. Never in his life had he felt such peace and completion, and he was afraid to let go lest he find himself alone in the world once more.



For Bulma, a near nightmare had transformed into an exquisite dream come true, as Vegeta held her tightly in his strong embrace. She’d thrown her arms around him in relief and gratitude for having saved her from what could have turned into a violent tragedy. But as he’d responded by hugging her to him, the love she had already begun to feel for him erupted in a wave of emotion that quite overcame her. She could stay here in his arms forever. Never had she felt like this, not with Yamcha, not with anyone. She closed her eyes, drinking in the fragrance of his skin, so warm and soothing as he held her protectively.

 "I’ll never let him hurt you, Bulma…"

 His tender words calmed her, and for the first time she realized how utterly sexy his voice could be when he wasn’t yelling. And then, as he repeated his words she looked up at him and smiled in disbelief.

 "Did you…call me…Bulma?" she asked. Not ‘woman’ , or one of the impersonal terms he had used for the past year and a half. He’d finally called her by her name.

 His eyes smiled at her, the only part of him that he ever allowed such informality. "Yes, Bulma," he whispered again in that sensual rasp that made her heart flutter. "Isn’t that what you wanted me to call you? Don’t tell me now that you still have something to complain about, " he teased her, with just a hint of the disdainful tone she was so used to.

 "No," she said softly. "No complaints…"

 Vegeta was gazing into her eyes, as if incredulous over what they both knew was passing between them. At once she could read so much in those onyx eyes…The lonely little boy, who desperately wanted someone to love him. The proud Prince, who was afraid to admit that he needed anyone at all. The man who desired her, but feared the intimacy which would break down the barriers he’d tried so hard to maintain…

 Downstairs the guests began to count down towards midnight.

 "Are you still interested in…a date for New Year’s Eve?" he asked her with a twinkle in his eye.

 Bulma smiled. "Only if it’s you…"

 The clock struck midnight as the crowd below them cheered.

 "I believe this is the part where I’m supposed to kiss you," he said tenderly, his fingertips coming to take her face in his hands. "Happy New Year, Bulma."

 "Happy New Year, Vegeta," she breathed, as his lips sought hers.



It was a slow, tender kiss, tentative at first, as if he were unsure of just how much of his passion he would allow himself to betray. But as Bulma responded with all the desire that had been building over these last few months, Vegeta began to lose himself in her, reveling in sensations and emotions he had denied himself for as long as he could remember. How could he have been so blind to the brilliant treasure that had been right before him all along? His kiss deepened with his need for her, a hunger both physical and emotional that begged to be assuaged…

 Bulma’s heart fluttered wildly as Vegeta’s mouth savored hers. Who would have ever imagined that the angry Prince who had destroyed entire civilizations would be capable of such tenderness? In her fantasies, she had seen him this way, but she’d always dismissed them as impossible dreams. Now, anything seemed possible…

 After what seemed an eternal moment where all time had stopped, Vegeta’s lips nipped at hers one last time, then pulled away. She opened her eyes to look at him, not sure what to expect….

 …and seeing something totally unexpected. The Great Vegeta, Prince of All Saiyans, whose countenance never betrayed any emotion but anger and annoyance, was smiling.

 Not his usual smirk, but a contented smile she knew was just for her, as his eyes adored her. "Is that what we were supposed to do at the party?" he teased her softly.

 "Not quite," she replied, her arms still laced around his neck as she ran her fingers through his hair. "Besides, as much as my mother and her friends might enjoy it, I don’t think you’re really dressed to go out in public."

 She giggled and glanced down, motioning to the towel that was barely still fastened around him as a conspicuous protrusion betrayed his desire. For a moment, his face flashed crimson, but she quickly kissed him to reassure him that it was all right.

 "Shall we skip the party then?" he suggested, nuzzling at her neck.

 "You’re the only one I wanted to be with tonight," she said softy.

 He kissed her again, and his arms slipped around her waist, drawing her closer to him. "And you, Bulma, are the only one on this planet, in this entire Universe, who means anything to me…" He kissed her, and amended in a whisper, "Everything to me…"

 Was he really saying this to her? Was this really happening? As if in a dream, he kissed her again, his hands roving downwards to her bottom to pull her closer even as his enormous arousal strained against the thin barrier of her dress, begging to complete her. His lips had begun to rove downward as he tasted the soft skin of her neck, and lost himself in the fold between her breasts. She gasped as he reached up to slip the straps of her dress from her shoulders, letting it fall to expose her before him. Hungrily he took her breasts into his hands, fondling her, tasting her, teasing her with his tongue until she felt she would explode from the waves of arousal that were coursing through her body.

 Before she realized what was happening, he had taken her into his arms, and flown to the bed, laying her down gently. Her dress was gone, and her eyes opened wide as he floated a foot above her fully exposed in all his virility, the towel that had hidden him from her also abandoned. Still hovering, he reached gently down to peel her tiny panties from her, until she lay completely bare before him. Bulma blushed as he smiled seductively at her, drinking in all that he saw with obvious appreciation. She reached up, needing to feel his touch again, taking his enormous manhood into her hands and caressing it adoringly.

 She could see the bliss on Vegeta’s face as he moaned softly in pleasure. He descended instinctively towards her touch, bringing his lips to hers once more. His hands returned to their loving exploration, concentrating now on that which was still undiscovered. Bulma gasped as his fingers feathered lightly down her stomach, coming to play in her blue curls, delicately easing their way to a part of her no one, not even Yamcha, had known.

 "Vegeta, please…I want you to know…" she breathed between kisses.

 He raised his face to look into her eyes, never stopping the gentle play within her. The realization on his face told her that he already knew. "This is your first time, isn’t it?" he said tenderly.

 She nodded shyly, almost afraid he would laugh at her. But on the contrary, his face seemed to show that he was touched by her admission, as if he fully understood the implications, the importance, of what she was giving to him.

 "I won’t hurt you," he vowed.

 True to his word, the Saiyan Prince proceeded to take his time with her, delighting in every touch, sharing in every sensation, looking into her eyes to make sure that she was all right. He was a different man than she had known, or rather the man that she had always known was there, hidden behind the façade of arrogance that he showed the world. And with each moment that he concentrated on her pleasure, Bulma’s love for him grew by leaps and bounds.

 Bulma found herself rising up to meet his fingers with ever growing urgency, as the fire inside her began to burn out of control. Suddenly, he withdrew his hand, and as she opened her eyes to look at him, she understood why. She was ready for him, and he knew it too. His manhood swelled before her, and for a brief moment fear of the inevitable pain tensed her. But Vegeta could sense her every emotion, and proceeded to kiss her tenderly to relax her.

 Then, ever so gently, he eased his way into her, a groan of pleasure emanating from him as he held her tightly, dancing inside her…

 Bulma clung to him, wrapping her legs around his as he thrust further and further into her womanhood. It was the most exquisite mixture of pain and pleasure she had ever known, a wondrous throbbing that brought tears to her eyes. She knew now why she had waited so long to give herself to any man—for no man could possibly make her feel like this. No man on Earth…

 The heat within her was rising to a fever pitch, even as she felt Vegeta’s ki enveloping them both in a golden glow. He was on fire inside her, kissing her desperately as he lifted her up towards him in his quest to reach her innermost depths. Then, just as she began to think she could bear no more of this intense pleasure, one final thrust brought them to the ultimate pinnacle of ecstasy, as his passion erupted inside of her…

 Bulma cried out his name, clutching at him as he moaned in complete rapture, their bodies pulsing as one in a blissful union. He collapsed on top of her, utterly spent, holding her close for a long moment before lifting his face to look down at her with eyes glowing blue…

 "Vegeta…" she whispered, looking in wonder at the golden glow that surrounded them.

 "Are you all right?" he asked tenderly, seeing the tearstains on her cheeks.

 She took a deep breath, looking up at him with love in her eyes. "I’ve never felt better in my life," she said softly.

 "Nor have I, Bulma-chan," he said, his voice filled with his emotion. "Believe me…"

 "I do," she said, smiling up at him. He still didn’t realize, did he?

 "What is it?" he asked, as she giggled softly.

 She motioned to the mirror. "Look…"

 Careful not to separate from her, he lifted his head to see what had caused her such delight. Only then, when he saw the golden hair and brilliant blue that his eyes had become, did he discover the most surprising of all gifts she had given him.


 He was a Super Saiyan.



Vegeta’s eyes opened wide as he stared at his own image, incredulous. "This is unbelievable!" he said, then laughed a rare laugh. He had finally done it! He looked back down at the woman who had changed his life so completely. No, he hadn’t done it. Not alone. She had brought him to this. He gazed at her lovingly. "All my training came to naught, but being with you…" He couldn’t finish. He wasn’t quite sure what had happened, or how to even express what he was feeling right now. Instead he kissed her deeply to tell her what he couldn’t put into words. When they had separated he looked into her eyes and said softly, "What kind of magic have you worked on me, wom-?" He caught a teasing look of reproach in her eyes, and corrected himself. "--Bulma. Bulma-chan…" he said, using the endearing suffix he had learned since he’d been on Earth. He kissed her again, feeling his own power surge with his happiness.

 For a long time they held each other, their kisses and caresses saying all that needed to be said. Finally, as he lay facing her, he said, "Do you know what this means?"

 She smiled seductively at him. "That every time you go into battle you’ll have to make love to me first?"

 He smiled. "I wouldn’t mind that a bit," he said, running his fingers through her hair. "But I was talking about my power level. I must have surpassed Kakarrot now---"

 "Don’t think about that right now," she said, brushing her fingers against his cheek.

 He put his hand over hers, loving the sensation of her caress, and wanting to keep her hand there. "The Saiyan Prince has reclaimed his throne," he told her, then added adoringly, "And you, Bulma-chan, are my Princess."

 He could see her blush, her eyes becoming watery with emotion. He was glad. Admitting his feelings to her, to anyone, was something brand new, and he would have to work on it. But there was something else he wanted desperately to do right now.

 "I have to go to the GT Chamber," he told her, beginning to pull away from her. "I need to see how high my power level has become—"

 He began to rise, and was taken off guard when she pulled him back down to the bed, pinning him down on his back as she rolled to lie on top of him. "Oh, no you don’t," she told him in no uncertain terms.

 "What are you talking about?" he asked, annoyed that she was telling him what to do. The warrior in him told him to rise, but the man who had fallen so totally under her spell was enthralled by the warmth of her bare flesh against his. She felt so good in his arms…

 "Tomorrow, you can train all you want," she said sternly, but then her face softened. "Tonight, you’re all mine."

 Vegeta said nothing. What could he say? Did he really want to leave her now anyway? Could he deny her anything?

 "Okay?" she prodded.

 In resignation he nodded, heaving a sigh. The Prince of all Saiyans was taking orders from a woman.

 A woman he loved more than he had ever imagined possible. If only he could one day bring himself to tell her that…

 Tonight, he would tell her by doing just what she asked. He tried to maintain a façade of annoyance, but a smile broke through as he cupped her face in his hands and brought her lips to his. Then, still deep in their kiss, he rolled her over so that he was positioned on top of her. His ki seemed to burn more brightly with his growing desire, as he said, "So, why don’t I let you see what it’s like to be with a Super Saiyan?"

 She smiled knowing that she had won him over, as he bent down to taste her skin. And for the first time, it was a battle the Saiyan Prince was actually glad to have lost.



They’d made love again and again, his golden ki bathing them in the warmth of its glow as they’d fallen asleep in each other’s arms. When Bulma awoke his hair had returned to its natural black, and his face in sleep held a peace and contentment she had never seen in him. Even when he had lain unconscious after that terrible accident, his sleep had been haunted by the demons of his past, and the anger that sometimes seemed to possess his soul. But now, he was at peace.

 She knew this moment could not last forever. He could not change the man that he was, or the brutal past that had made him this way. Again he would be consumed by his pride and inner fury, spurred on towards that insane goal to surpass Goku and all others. She knew in her heart that last night had not transformed him completely. But he had shown her a part of him that perhaps she had always known was there—a part he had revealed to no one before. The tender, gentle, loving Vegeta that wanted to love and be loved. And she did love him. Then and there, she vowed that she would nurture that part of him no matter how much the arrogant warrior tried to get in their way…

 Her private thoughts were broken as his eyes slowly opened to look up at her. The blue glow was gone. But the tenderness was still there. He smiled at her and her heart warmed her entire being. Yes. This was right. And she would stand by him no matter what.

 His hands reached up to caress her face and bring it down for a gentle kiss. Then he gazed into her eyes, telling her what he still found so difficult to say in words. He kissed her again, then held her tightly for a long while, as if he too did not want this night to end. But morning had come, and she knew what he really wanted to do. What she had to support him in lest he come to resent their relationship.

 Reluctantly, she pulled away to look at him. "Why don’t I make you some breakfast so you can get to your training?" she offered selflessly.

 To her delight, he seemed to hesitate. Then, giving her one last kiss that he couldn’t seem to resist, he nodded.




He’d taken a hot shower, feeling an incontrollable pang of regret as her scent was taken from him. Yet he knew that it would only make him want her again, and he needed to focus on his training today.

 He laughed softly as he thought of how he’d had to make a dash from her room to his own, so no one would see him in the towel that was all he had worn when he’d gone to her the night before. He’d never imagined what would transpire between them—his only thought had been to rescue her from that pathetic human who was threatening her. It had given him great satisfaction to know that the human had never defiled her. No one had, and yet…she had given herself freely to him. He thought back again to the day he had awoken from his accident, to find her asleep at the desk by his side, as if she had been watching over him. He’d found it unimaginable that she could care for him. No one ever really had. He hadn’t allowed them to. Just as he had never allowed himself to care for anyone…until now. Sentiment had always been the folly of fools and weaklings, as far as he’d been concerned. He’d vowed never to let them weaken him, or deter them from his destiny.

 Yet…she had helped him to fulfill his destiny. Miraculously, she had helped him become a Super Saiyan! He knew it wasn’t the sex. He’d taken women before, an occasional and now seemingly meaningless perk of plundering planets for that bastard Frieza. It had been the older Nappa’s suggestion, and he had gone along with him and Raditz merely to maintain his image as their leader. Yet the momentary physical pleasures had secretly filled him with remorse as he’d looked into the faces of his unwilling partners. This was one kind of pain he had found no real pleasure in inflicting. Finally, he had told his Saiyan Companions that it was beneath him as a Prince, and had left them to their own private pillaging. It had done too much damage to his pride to think that he had to force himself upon a woman. Was that the depth that Frieza had brought him to? Someday, he would defeat Frieza, then choose his mate to rule by his side, just as his father had done…

 He’d never imagined Bulma to be that mate. She was loud, demanding…

 …brilliant, beautiful and caring. She’d been the first not to fear him, to care for him, even, he dared permit himself to think, to love him. She’d touched him as no one else ever had. And now that she was his, he felt he could do anything…

 He found her in the kitchen busily preparing the normal colossal breakfast he was accustomed to. Even in the pink fuzzy bathrobe and slippers she was still as desirable as she ever had been. He couldn’t resist coming up behind her to put his arms around her waist, nuzzling at her neck. She’d just come out of the shower, and the soft scent of her shampoo with her natural fragrance was intoxicating…

 "I’m going to end up burning your food if you keep distracting me," she teased softly.

 "I’d rather have you for breakfast," he murmured, lightly kissing her neck.

 Only the sound of her mother’s voice from the next room brought him to his senses, as he pulled quickly, but reluctantly, from her.

 "Bulma, is something burning?"

 "N-no, Mom," she called, hurriedly turning her attention back to the smoking bacon. She threw an I told you so glance at Vegeta, who had sat innocently down at the table. His face was emotionless, but he was sure she could see the amusement in his eyes.

 He was concentrating on his breakfast when the older woman walked in, and as usual, he only grunted in reply to her cheery greeting. Inwardly, he was cursing his own carelessness. What would have happened if Mrs. Briefs had walked in when he was holding Bulma so intimately? Betraying his feelings to Bulma in private was difficult enough. It would be catastrophic if others were to see him acting like an affectionate fool. How could he ever regain their respect? Wouldn’t he seem almost as ridiculous as, dare he think it, Kakarrot? Perhaps a low-class soldier could get away with public displays of affection, but for the Prince of all Saiyans it would be utterly inappropriate.

 It occurred to him that Bulma might not understand his need for discretion. How could she comprehend something that was literally alien to her? But as she sat down across from him and he studied her face, he knew that for now, at least, she wasn’t anxious to belie to her mother what had happened between them. Good. He relaxed a bit and went back to his meal, almost completely gone now.

 "Want some more, Vegeta?"

 He looked up at Bulma, noticing how beautiful she was even without the makeup she’d worn last night. It was her eyes, those big blue eyes…

 "Earth to Vegeta…" she said when he still hadn’t answered her. He snapped back to reality as he realized he’d been staring at her, lost in thought. He looked down at his empty plate, suddenly angry with himself. Get a grip, he thought to himself. You’re acting like an idiot…

 "Would you like some more food?" she asked again.

 He nodded without looking up at her.

 "Oh, I’ll get it for you," her mother offered. Annoying as she could be with her inane chatter, the woman did feed him well. She placed a huge plate of bacon, eggs and toast in front of him. "My, my, Vegeta, you do have a nice healthy appetite. I guess it comes from all that training you do. "

 "I had a very strenuous workout last night," he replied with a slight smirk, glancing up at Bulma, whose eyes had opened wide in surprise. What, did the woman think he had no sense of humor?

 "It’s such a shame you missed the party last night, though," her mother went on as she prepared her own breakfast.

 Again, he glanced up at Bulma, this time with a mischievous glint. They had had their own party, hadn’t they?

 "What happened to you, Bulma? I didn’t even see you at midnight…"

 "Oh, I was tired and went to bed, Momma," she said quickly, without looking at her mother. Only Vegeta could tell that it was a lie, and he noted with some satisfaction that she wasn’t very good at lying. Or had he just learned to read her too well?

 "Oh, I was hoping maybe Yamcha had found you. He came looking for you, you know—"

 At this Vegeta’s face hardened, even as he saw Bulma’s anger begin to flare at the thought of what had happened last night.

 "Momma, I don’t want to see Yamcha ever again. He acted like a total asshole—"

 "He seemed so desperate to talk to you. I think he really does love you—"

 Vegeta didn’t even realize he had slammed down his coffee cup in anger until it shattered against the table and the scalding hot liquid poured over his hand. Bulma’s mother looked at him in surprise while Bulma rushed to get a kitchen towel to wipe up the mess.

 "For your information," he told the speechless woman, "that worthless piece of garbage nearly raped your daughter last night, and if you won’t keep him from entering this house, then the next time, I will have to kill him!"

 Bulma’s mouth had dropped open in shock—clearly she’d had no intention of telling her mother anything of what had transpired. Mrs. Briefs was dumbfounded.

 "Oh my—Bulma dear, are you all right?"

 She nodded. "I’m fine, Momma. Vegeta heard what was going on, and—threw him out." Literally, Vegeta thought to himself with a smirk.

 "Thank goodness for you, Vegeta!" her mother exclaimed gratefully, then smiled at her daughter. "Well, Bulma-chan, I guess we see who the better man is after all."

 Vegeta just went back to his food, mortified at his own inability to control his outburst. His feelings for this woman were making him lose control, and he didn’t like that one bit. But out of the corner of his eyes, he saw her smiling adoringly at him, and his anger melted away.

 Perhaps it was all right to lose control every once in a while...



...Or perhaps not. Many hours later, as he struggled at 300G to bring up his power level, Vegeta cursed aloud in his native Saiyan language. Something wasn't right. His focus was gone. His timing was off. His thoughts kept straying from the task at hand, instead wandering back to the blue-haired beauty who had possessed his soul. When he had held her in his arms, there had been no Kakarrot to surpass, no Android threat looming before them. They had been alone in a dimension where it didn’t matter that he was the Prince of all Saiyans, or that he had something to prove to the world. She didn’t care if he was the strongest being in the Universe or not—and as he had lost himself in her warmth, he hadn’t really cared either…


 The training drone shot a beam at him that he’d been too lost in thought to deflect. He cursed as he wiped the blood from his forehead. "Blasted woman! I nearly lost my eye that time! Get out of my head!"

 He disabled the drones, choosing instead to try again to raise his power level. If only he could reach the point he had last night…

 "Aaaaaaaaaah….aaaaaaaaaah…" He could feel the power surge through his being, as his light blue ki began to burn brightly around him. He closed his eyes, willing it to rise, trying to recall the sensation that had brought about last night’s transformation…

 But his mind flooded with images of their lovemaking, of the taste of her lips, the softness of her skin, the utter ecstasy as she had surrounded him with her warmth…

 He sighed deeply, powering down. The only reaction he’d evoked in his exhausted body was his desire for her…

 The sound of her voice startled him as her face appeared on the screen above the control panel.


 "What do you want, woman?" he snapped at her in frustration.

 He looked at her defiantly, his eyes blazing with the anger that was really aimed at himself. But he could see at once that she was taken aback by his demeanor, and he struggled to regain his composure. "—Bulma," he mumbled, correcting himself.

 "I…just wanted to know if you wanted some dinner. You’ve been in there about eight hours now."

 Had he, really? Had it been that long? Eight fruitless hours, and he was no closer to becoming a Super Saiyan than he had been this morning. The sensation of power that he had felt seemed to drift further away as each moment passed. Had it ever really happened? Had it been a dream?

 He didn’t know anymore. He was too drained, both physically and emotionally. All he knew as he looked into her blue eyes, was that right now, he wanted to be with her. To touch her. To hold her. To feel as good as he had when they had been together last night…

 "My parents are gone for the night. They went to visit some friends in the country. So, we have the place all to ourselves," she said with meaning, a hopeful glint in her eyes.

 She smiled brightly as he gave her a mischievous look. "Well then, by all means, cook my dinner, woman. I’ll be there in ten minutes."

 He shut down the gravity chamber with little regret.

 There was always tomorrow.



Bulma had heard him come into the house and head straight for the shower, and she hurried to set dinner on the dining room table. She'd been relieved to learn that they would be alone. As magical as last night had been, she knew that there would be a certain awkwardness between them. They had gone from...whatever they had lovers, so unexpectedly. Bulma wasn't quite sure what to expect from him now. In a moment of joy he had called her his Princess. He had said she meant everything to him. Somehow, she didn't think the Saiyan Prince had been merely using a line to seduce her. Although Yamcha had epitomized the stereotypical human male with his insincerity and infidelity, she wanted to believe that those qualities in men were not literally universal. Besides, Vegeta rarely expressed any emotion other than anger. Displaying genuine tenderness had been difficult enough for him. To have feigned such warmth would have been impossible.

 What do you want, woman?

 His angry tone had brought her back once more to the realty of who Vegeta was most of the time. Angry, rude, determined, proud, unreasonable-- in fact, downright impossible…

 …and totally irresistible. Hadn’t she begun to fall in love with him already, despite the rough exterior? The precious glimpse into his heart that had been last night had sealed her fate. She could not stop loving him now if she tried.

 Her skin tingled even now as she remembered the way he had surprised her in the kitchen, wrapping his arms around her waist and brushing his lips against her neck. Almost two years ago, on Namek, she had run from him in fear, thinking him a vicious monster. Now that she had seen how sweet and gentle he could be, she couldn’t imagine why she had ever been afraid of him…

 She knew he was there before he said a word. Her heart skipped a beat as she turned to see him standing with his arms crossed, in black jeans and muscle T-shirt. "Well, woman, are you going to feed me before I faint from hunger?"

 Yesterday she would have taken him seriously, but somehow the invisible smile was all too apparent today. Why hadn’t she seen through him before? "Right away, Your Majesty," she teased him, slipping her arms around his neck.

 He tried to look perturbed as he said, "Don’t mock me, woman," but she could feel his strong arms gladly pulling her closer.

 Her face was an inch from his as she looked into his eyes, seeing him now as she had seen him last night. The gentleness, the tenderness, the emotion, was still there—but as closely guarded as the royal palace must have once been. Didn’t they say that the eyes were the window to the soul? If so, she knew now where to find his, when his Saiyan pride held it prisoner within him…

 "I am the Prince—" he began softly, but her lips silenced him. He kissed her deeply, passionately, hungrily… until finally he whispered in her ear, "Bulma, please, this will be fine for dessert, but I truly will pass out if I don’t get some real food…"

 She giggled, leading him to the table.





He’d eaten with reckless abandon, then made love to her with a hunger just as insatiable. Never had he felt so wanted, so loved, as he did when he was with her. Even after their passion was spent, he held her tightly, possessively, as if to release her would be to let go of the blissful tranquility that had washed over him. As they fell asleep in each other’s arms, Vegeta could not remember when he had felt such safety, such peace of mind…

 …The raven-haired woman was beautiful, with dark eyes that smiled at him as she cradled him in her arms. "I love you, Vegeta," she whispered, as if it were a secret just between the two of them. She kissed him on the forehead. "I love you, my son…"

 He smiled up at her brightly, with a happiness that he felt only when he was with her. Though he was only three years old, he knew that these moments alone with her were special, and so very different than the times he spent with his father, or the many servants who saw to his needs. Everyone else was so cold, so detached…his father almost frightened him. And sometimes he could see that she was afraid of him too…

 A booming voice startled him and he began to whimper as he clutched at his mother even more tightly. "Woman, what are you doing to that child?! Do you want to make him weak? He is the Prince of all Saiyans—"

 "He is my son, Vegeta," she said defiantly. "And your son as well. Can you show him no love at all?"

 "Love is for the weak, not the Saiyan Elite," he said angrily, ripping the child from her, causing him to cry even more. At an arm’s distance he held him, his gaze hard and filled with disgust. "Listen to him, crying for his mother," he said disparagingly. "This is what you have done to him. Well, no more!"

 The King motioned to his servant, ceremoniously handing over the child as if he could no longer bear to look at it. Vegeta screamed even louder as he watched the look of horror on his mother’s face as his father stretched out his hand, a glowing ball of blue energy taking form in his palm…


 He awoke in a cold sweat, his heart pounding. His own voice had startled him from his dream. Had it been a dream? Or a memory long locked away in the recesses of his mind? It had all been so real, and yet, those things could not have happened. Not like that. His father would never have…

 He closed his eyes as he felt a lump in his throat. Mother…How old was I when you were sent away? He couldn’t bear to think of her. Yet it was true. He had loved her. And he had learned of love from her. A lesson he’d been forced to forget as he’d trained to be the Prince of all Saiyans, then been taken away by Frieza…

 His eyes shot open as he forced himself back to the present. Why think of the past anyway? It was useless. It was irrevocable.

 It was painful.

 He turned his head to look at the woman who had suddenly brought happiness back into his life…

 …and took in a breath as he realized that she was gone. In a moment of panic he sat up in bed, looking around him, and called urgently, "Bulma!"

 He breathed a sigh of relief as she appeared at his bedroom door. "Hey, what’s wrong?" she asked coming towards him.

 "Nothing," he said quickly, then added in an accusatory tone, "Where did you go?"

 She looked at him strangely. "To the bathroom. Is that okay with you?" Her smile of amusement faded as she saw how dead serious his face was. She lay back down next to him, caressing his cheek lightly as she said, "Vegeta, what is it? I heard you cry something out—"

 "Nothing," he said sharply, averting her gaze as if by doing so he could make it true. She remained uncharacteristically silent, until finally he looked back into her eyes. "It was a nightmare. That’s all."

 "Oh," she said simply, though he could tell she wasn’t really buying it. But to his relief she did not persist, choosing to snuggle instead against his body. He drew his arms around her gladly, trying to lose the memory of the dream in the wonderful sensation of her warm skin against his. For a long while they lay together until the sun through the windows climbed higher into the sky, and daylight filled the room. "I can’t believe it‘s so late," she said separating from him. "I really need to get to work on those modifications you wanted in the GT—"

 He reached out to gently grab her arm, keeping her from getting out of bed. "No, I don’t need that done right away. I think I’d rather stay in bed today."

 "Vegeta?" she asked, looking at him in shock as if questioning if it were really he and not some imposter. She knew him too well. He skipped training for nothing, not even if he was in dire need of rest or recuperation. But right now, there was something more personal he needed. How to tell her? How to make his wishes known and avoid telling her, was more like it…

 "I injured a muscle in my leg yesterday," he said, motioning to his left hamstring. It was the first feasible lie to come to his head. "And I’m exhausted besides—" That part was at least true.

 "Okay, well, I’ll make you some breakfast and bring it back to you, then let you get your rest," she offered, starting again to rise.

 "No—" he began, trying to think quickly and then saying the most unbelievably stupid thing he could have. "I’m not hungry."

 Bulma raised her eyebrows. "Well, that’s a first," she commented. "Okay, then I guess I’ll just leave you to—"

 "Wait." He’d wanted to say it like a command, as was his usual style, and he cursed himself for letting it sound more like a plea. "Maybe you’d better get some rest, too. You don’t look so well yourself." There, that was better.

 But Bulma’s "Oh, really?!" made him realize that he was only making things worse. "Well fine, then, I guess I’ll just go take a shower and then get some beauty sleep—"

 "Woman, I don’t know what this ‘beauty’ sleep is, but you certainly don’t need any more of that. You’re already beautiful. I only meant you looked tired—"

 Her face softened at the inadvertent compliment he’d given her, and he decided to proceed.

"—And, if we’re both going to spend the day resting, then you…might as well stay here."

 There, he’d said it. And hopefully he’d gotten his point across without sounding like a pathetic fool—or insulting her so much that she wouldn’t even want to be with him. He decided that his words had been appropriate because she suddenly broke out in that knowing smile that she had whenever she’d seemed to figure something out.

 "Vegeta, are you saying you’d like me to just lie here in bed with you all day?"

 He looked at her for a long moment, feeling his face grow hot. He didn’t know how to respond, so he simply nodded. To his relief, she slipped back under the sheet, snuggling against him once more. Her short silky robe had fallen open, and he reached under it to pull her towards him, the contact of her bare skin against his both exciting him and calming him at once. She was massaging his leg with her hand, and after a time she whispered, "Is that better?"

 "Yes," he rasped, without even realizing what she was talking about.

 "Is the pain gone?"

 "What pain?" he asked, kissing her neck.

 She laughed softly and he realized he’d been found out. Oh well, what did it matter? His sudden desire for her was no longer a secret either as he pulled her even closer…

 This time, as they fell asleep as one, his dreams were only of her.




Three weeks had passed since that magical day, and a smile still came to Bulma’s face whenever she thought of how utterly adorable he’d been when he’d been trying to get her to spend the afternoon cuddling in his arms. In those moments she’d truly seen the part of him that he would rather die than expose to the world. But his secret was safe. He could act the cold, hard warrior in public. When they were alone together he belonged to her, and he made her feel more loved and needed than she had imagined possible.

 Of course, he still had not said that he loved her. She knew how difficult this was for him. But he had shown her that day, and since then, that he cherished the time they spent together, and the lovemaking was only a small part of that. Some nights he had just wanted to hold her close, and some days he had given up his training to spend time with her.

 The last few days, however, he had been training even harder, after a phone call she’d gotten from Chichi had reminded him of his ridiculous competition with Goku. She hadn’t even told him what Chichi had called for—he’d gone into the GT with an almost obsessive anger at himself for having been lax for so long. They’d still spent their nights in the same bed, but she had seen him little during the day, except for the times she called him out to eat. Her parents were back from their latest conference, and so he had been careful not to show her affection in front of them. It was difficult to switch gears as easily as he did, but she would concentrate on their times alone whenever she began to feel hurt. She was beginning to resign herself to the fact that he would not treat her much differently in public than he had before they had come together. She wished it could be different, but she knew that she could not change him. And she was already too deeply in love with him to even think of being without him now…



The drones shot out blast after blast and he blocked them effortlessly. His reactions were up even in 400G, and he knew that he was ready for the biggest test of all…

 He hadn’t tried since that last time, and as he halted the drone attack program he took a deep breath. This is it. I am the Prince of all Saiyans. I am the strongest being in the Universe. I will surpass Kakarrot…

 With determination he began his power-up…


 He could feel the power level rising in his body, even as the blue ki blazed around him…


 The blue began to shimmer gold. Just a little more…


"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" In a burst of energy he could feel the exhilaration as his entire being seemed to threaten to rupture from the strain…

 And then, he collapsed on the floor, the ki having reached its peak, and descending once more.

 In frustration he screamed, banging his hand so hard on the floor that the entire chamber shook.Why?! Why can’t I do this?! Why did it only happen when I was with her?!?!?!?

 He thought of Bulma and suddenly wanted more than anything to escape to her arms, where his quest to become a Super Saiyan didn’t matter. Where all that mattered was the unspoken love that had grown between them…

 It was then that his father’s voice haunted him. From a dream? From the past? It didn’t matter. It was there, in his head, in his being, evoking such a strange mixture of anger and shame that it assaulted him like a blow to his stomach, knocking the wind out of him…



Love is for the weak, not the Saiyan Elite…

 "No," he whispered, not quite sure what had brought the lump to his throat.

 Do you want to make him weak? He is the Prince of all Saiyans—

He took a deep breath, struggling to gain control of his emotions. His father was right. His emotions were getting in the way. She was getting in the way…

 But I love her… his tortured heart told the warrior within him.

 Love is for the weak, not the Saiyan Elite…his father’s voice reprimanded him again.

 He shook his head to drive his father’s memory away. This wasn’t something he wanted to deal with now. He didn’t have the time. He would eat to regain his strength, and then try again. Again and again until he was a Super Saiyan.



To his annoyance, the entire Briefs family was in the kitchen when he came inside. Bulma was bringing lunch to her parents, and smiled at him as she saw him.

 He did not respond. He couldn’t. He had to stay focused on the matter at hand. "I need to eat," he grumbled, surprised when she placed a huge plate in front of him. She always knew what he needed, didn’t she? Maybe even before he did…

 He avoided their eyes as he silently ate, intentionally trying to tune out their conversation. Her parents knew better than to talk to him when he acted like this, and he liked it that way. And Bulma would not try to engage him in conversation, especially in front of the older couple. Their private moments had been intimate, but she knew better than to display affection for him in front of others, and he was grateful for that, especially now.

 But something in that annoying voice of Mrs. Brief’s caught his ear and forced him to look up.

 "So, Bulma, what are you going to get Gohan for his birthday party next week?"

 He saw Bulma shoot her mother a warning glance, and he didn’t like that something was being kept from him, especially if it had to do with Kakarrot’s brat. "What are you talking about, woman?" he asked her mother gruffly.

 "Oh, Vegeta, I didn’t even realize you were here, you were so quiet. I was talking about Gohan’s birthday party next week, at Goku and Chichi’s house."

 He looked questioningly at Bulma as her mother said, "Didn’t you tell Vegeta about it? Chichi made a point of inviting him, too—"

 "No, Momma, I didn’t get a chance to mention it," Bulma broke in, irritated that it had come out before she’d planned to mention it.

 "Saiyans do not celebrate birthdays," he said flatly in response to Mrs. Briefs. "A true Saiyan warrior wouldn’t waste time on such frivolity."

 "But Goku is going to be there," Bulma’s mother pointed out.

 "I never said he was a true Saiyan warrior," Vegeta replied dryly, then added, "I still would have thought that that idiot would know better than to take time out of his training—"

"He didn’t want to," Dr. Briefs chuckled. "But Chichi was pretty adamant about it."

 Vegeta snickered. "Does Kakarrot always do what his woman makes him?"

 "No, he just loves her and wants to make her happy!" Bulma broke in angrily. Her outburst took Vegeta by surprise, and he wasn’t sure if she was angry that he was mocking her friends, or if there was something more. But he knew that her tone was making him feel terribly defensive.

 "If he cared about his woman he would be training to protect her from the Androids," he retorted sharply. "Which is what I will be doing while the rest of you are off eating birthday cake."

 Vegeta abandoned his food in disgust and strode from the room to be by himself. As he left he could hear Mrs. Briefs say, "See Bulma, isn’t that sweet? I knew he cared about you…"

 His face flashed crimson as he realized what he’d by unintentionally said, even as he heard Bulma cursing him for his arrogance. Yes, a shower was definitely in order now.



Bulma wasn’t sure whom she was more furious with, Vegeta for his obnoxiousness, or her mother for bringing up a delicate issue before the time was right. She purposely hadn’t told him about the invitation, knowing what his reaction would be if she didn’t get him in a good mood. And good moods had been far and few between with him in the last couple of days as he’d gotten into one of those insane "I am the Prince of All Saiyans" modes. It was at times like these that she longed for the Vegeta that only she knew about, the one he had shown her only in private. She’d been waiting for one of those private moments to tell him about Gohan’s party; given the right coaxing she could probably have convinced him…

 Oh well, she’d go by herself. With her parents. It wasn’t worth getting upset over, especially when she felt so damn sick. She could feel a stomach virus coming on, and she hoped she’d be well enough to make the party after all.

 She was on her way up the stairs when a wave of nausea came over her. She hurried up towards the bathroom, only to find the door closed and the shower running. Damn that big ape, was he out to make her miserable today? She rushed into her own private bathroom instead, barely making it to the toilet before throwing up all that she had eaten that day.

 Could this day get any worse? she thought as she brushed her teeth and washed her face with cold water. Looking in the mirror, she could see that she was pale. Maybe she really did need to get to bed. She was about to close her bedroom door when she saw Vegeta coming towards her. He’d finished showering and had dressed in a pair of jeans and T-shirt. Why did he have to look so good when she was annoyed at him? This was one night she didn’t want him to visit her. She wasn’t in the mood for company at all. All she wanted to do was sleep.

 "So, you‘ll be going to Kakarrot’s house," he said, almost as an accusation.

 "Yes I will," she said, perturbed by his attitude. "Goku and Chichi have been my friends since they were kids. Gohan is going to be ten. She really wants us there."

 "Well, I refuse to go. Kakarrot is my opponent, not my friend—"

 "But he is mine," she told him again.

 "What is that supposed to mean?" he asked, as if she were choosing between them.

 "It means that I’m going to be there, whether you come or not, and whether you like it or not," she added, knowing it would aggravate him.

 "Fine. Enjoy yourself," he said angrily. He began to leave, but at the door turned back towards her. "Just who else is going to be there? Any other ‘old friends’?"

 That was when it hit her that he was talking about Yamcha. So that was it. "No. Just Piccolo, because he’s training with Goku—"

 "—Oh, you mean to tell me that Kakarrot hasn’t invited his good friend Yamcha? That other piece of—"

 "No," she told him, her anger flaring. "Not that it would matter. You know how I feel about him—"

 "Do I?" he charged her.

 "What the hell are you implying?!" she cried, furious that he could even question her loyalty to him after what had gone on between them.

 Vegeta seethed quietly for a moment, not sure what to say, and probably, she guessed, embarrassed that his obvious jealousy had shown through. Bulma walked over to close the door so that her parents couldn’t hear their screaming, then turned back towards him.

 "Look, Vegeta, I really don’t feel like dealing with this right now. But as far as Yamcha, he definitely will not be there. Chichi knows what happened, and promised me that he wouldn’t be welcome." Her words were meant to reassure him, but they seemed to have the opposite effect.

 "You told Kakarrot’s woman about what happened?" he asked, his eyes blazing.

 "She’s one of my best friends, of course I told her. Not to mention that I didn’t want to take a chance of running into him there—"

 "So I suppose you also told her that we’ve been having sex!" he said harshly.

 Bulma felt as if he had kicked her in the stomach. She could feel the blood drain from her face, and she wished then that she could crawl away and die. For him to act like this was bad enough, but to speak so impersonally of what she had thought was their special time together…

 She wanted to yell at him, but there were tears threatening to break to the surface. Why was she finding it so hard to keep control? Measuring her words, she said, "No, I didn’t tell her, and if I had I wouldn’t have put it in those words—"

 "What do you mean? Isn’t that what we’ve been doing?" He was obviously clueless as to the linguistic subtleties of what he had said. She didn’t know if it was because he was from another planet or simply because he was a man.

 "No, Vegeta, maybe you were just having sex, but that’s not what it was for me—"

 "I don’t understand," he began, obviously confused by her reaction.

 "I made love to you, Vegeta! That’s the difference between pure meaningless sex and loving someone. I love you, you obnoxious asshole, and I guess I was stupid enough to think that you felt something for me too!"

 He looked at her stunned, speechless, and she felt only more mortified for what she had admitted to him. Tears were beginning to stream from her eyes, and she turned away from him, not wanting him to see her this way.

 "Bulma—" he began, but was at a loss for words.

"Just get out of here!" she screamed, unable to control herself any longer.

 She wanted him to say something.

She prayed for him to protest, to say something utterly romantic, to profess his love for her. But this was no fairy tale, and the Prince of Saiyans was no Prince Charming. The door slammed shut after him, and she collapsed on the bed crying bitterly.

 She wasn’t sure what had just happened. But she knew for certain that he had just destroyed her completely.



Vegeta wasn’t sure what had just happened. All he knew was that he had screwed up big time. Blasted woman and her emotions. What does she want of me? He slammed the door to his own bedroom so hard that it made the walls shake. Without even removing his clothes he threw himself on the bed, willing himself to sleep. He tried to pretend that the sound of her sobbing was nothing more than an indication of her weakness. But it was he who felt weak and helpless right now. In battle he could be a great tactician; but in matters of the heart he was utterly incompetent. One moment he had been acting like a jealous fool questioning her about that weakling ex-boyfriend of hers, as if he had really felt threatened. The next he was referring to what they had shared as if it were nothing more than a carnal act, when in reality it had meant much more than he could ever dare admit. And despite his total inability to express to her how he truly felt, she had bared herself to him emotionally, admitting something that had rendered him speechless. Not to mention, terrified him completely.

 She loves me. Can it be possible? What have I ever done to deserve her love, or anyone’s for that matter? No one has ever said they loved me. Not even my father… Only…

 I love you, Vegeta…The image of his mother from last night’s dream assaulted him once more. Had it ever really happened? Or had his tortured psyche taken her form to taunt him with memories that he had never really lived?

 I love you…

Bulma had said those words to him. That, he knew, had not been a dream. Just as he knew that he was to blame for the soft weeping that he could still hear coming from her room. All she wanted to hear was that I love her too. And I do. But why couldn’t I tell her?

 His father’s voice boomed in his head, the words from his dream being ones he had heard many times throughout his early years. Love is for the weak…

 Bulma is weak, he tried to convince himself. But he knew this in his heart to be a lie. He had never seen a woman, Saiyan or human, as strong and as brave as she. Yet he had reduced her to tears…

 A long while later, when her soft sobs had ceased, he knew that she had fallen asleep. But the pain in his heart over what he had done to her remained. And as he fell into a troubled sleep, he knew that peace would elude him this night…



"I love you, Vegeta…"

His mother was hugging him close, so close that he had to move his head to breathe. Why was she so sad? And where had she been all this time? Would she be going away again?

 "Mother, don’t leave me…" He was so afraid. He clung to her in fear, even though his father had shoved him away any time he had tried to embrace him. Only with her could he be himself, free to feel as he wished, free to say whatever was truly on his mind…

 "I have no choice, my son. But please, listen to me. Remember the love that we share, you and I. And never let him take that away from you. No matter where I am, I will always love you. Even the Saiyan Elite can love…"

 "I love you, Mother…" he wept, even as the guards came to drag her away from him, and his father roughly pulled him away…

 He awoke with tears in his eyes. What is going on? he screamed inwardly. Is this real? Did this happen? But how? Why don’t I remember?

 He reached out to touch empty air. The sheets beside him were cold, devoid of Bulma’s warmth, even though the soft scent of her still lingered on the pillow. Only once he was fully conscious did he remember what had transpired that night, and why he was all alone. It was the first night he had slept alone since they had first made love…

 I do love you, Bulma…And I need you…

 Love is for the weak…

 Even the Saiyan Elite can love…

 Love is for the weak…


 His inner voice battled the conflicting voices in his head until he felt he could scream. What is the true weakness, Father? Loving her? Or being too afraid to tell her?

 Even the Saiyan Elite can love…

 "Mother..." he whispered softly. "Please tell me what to do…"

 But the only answer was the deafening silence of his self-inflicted solitude.




"Bulma, sweetie, I think you should go to the doctor."


Bulma looked up at her mother’s worried face. Mrs. Briefs had heard her daughter throwing up yet again this morning, and had come in to find her in the bathroom, her face drawn and pale.

 "What for, Momma?" she said dismally. "It’s probably just some kind of virus. I’ve got more important things on my mind."

 "Like Vegeta?" her mother asked knowingly.

 Bulma sighed deeply. Her mother was definitely more observant than she let on.

 "Bulma, have you and Vegeta...become intimate?"

 It wasn't the type of question a daughter wanted to answer, any more than a mother wanted to ask. But she was a grown woman. Her mother had known of her reluctance to be with Yamcha, and trusted her judgment. Though she questioned it herself now, there was no point in keeping a secret what Momma had already guessed.

 "Yeah," she said, looking down, too ashamed to meet her mother’s eyes. "For the last three weeks now."

 Mrs. Briefs was uncharacteristically silent.

 "I know it was probably a mistake, but—"

 "Bulma, when did you have your last period?" her mother cut her off, revealing what her real train of thought had been. This time, Bulma’s gaze met hers.

 "Right before then, I think," she murmured, not really sure. Her eyes opened wide with sudden panic. "Momma, you don’t think--?" Why had it never occurred to her? Had she fallen so head over heels for the Saiyan Prince that she had thrown caution totally to the wind? The truth was that the last three weeks had been surreal, like living in a beautiful fantasy world. Only now that reality had smacked her yet again in the face did she admonish herself for her own carelessness and irresponsibility. So wrapped up had she been in the brand new emotions and sensations that had consumed her, that she had never even considered pragmatic matters such as birth control. Some prodigy! she reproached herself.

 Inadvertently she drew her hand to her abdomen, wishing she could know. And deep inside her, the part of her that loved him so desperately yearned for it to be true. For if it were, this might be the only part of him that could ever truly be hers…

 She closed her eyes to keep back the tears, and felt her mother’s comforting embrace wrap around her. "Let’s get you to the doctor," she said soothingly.



The doctor wouldn’t be able to see her for almost a week, no matter how much her mother tried to pull strings. He was away on vacation; their only other option was to go somewhere else. But given the family’s social notoriety, Bulma decided to wait. The last thing she wanted for her parents was a scandal, and she trusted no one else to protect her family’s privacy. Her mother suggested some at-home test, but she’d refused. A part of her wanted to put off knowing, until she could really sort out her relationship with Vegeta. The Saiyan Prince was avoiding her, and there was only one way to set aside the depression that was beginning to set in.

 "Momma—I’m going shopping. You want to come?"




Two days had passed since his argument with Bulma, and Vegeta was trying his best to convince himself that he couldn’t care less.

 Of course, that first morning that he’d found no breakfast waiting for him had only exacerbated the ill effects of a sleepless night. He’d figured she was letting him starve out of spite, and had defiantly found himself something cold to eat. He was a warrior, after all; he’d survived on less. Compared to the slim pickings on a planet that he’d just purged for Frieza, the Briefs’ refrigerator was more than adequate to keep him fit for training. And train he did, for almost twelve hours. Wasn’t it wonderful how much he could get done without her to constantly interrupt him, yelling at him to take it easy, glaring at him on the monitor with those beautiful blue eyes…

 His heart seemed suddenly to come up to his throat as her image danced before him. He closed his eyes, but she was still there. Damn you, woman, leave me alone! But his silent pleas were to no avail. As night fell, she invaded his every thought, and he began to fantasize about how idyllic those hours alone had been. He lay in bed wanting her, imagining her there with him now, snuggling against him, her naked warmth soothing his cold heart…

 Three separate times, he held himself back, resisting the urge to go to her. She’d already accused him, more or less, of using her purely for sex. Coming to her in the middle of the night with his body aching with desire would not be the most intelligent way to convince her otherwise. Most likely, she would scream her head off at him anyway, and they would end up fighting again. She was the one person he had no desire to battle. But admitting his feelings for her, telling her that he loved her—

 Love is for the weak, not the Saiyan Elite…

 That was totally out of the question.

 Even the Saiyan Elite can love…

 Wasn’t it?

 Vegeta closed his eyes, trying to relax in the only way he could. He set his mind on other things, on a battle with Kakarrot, one that would find him victorious this time…

 Blast you, Kakarrot. It’s all your fault! Didn’t this whole thing start because of that idiotic party for your brat?!

 He was silently cursing his rival even as mental and physical exhaustion overtook him…



"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh" His power was beginning to build even as Kakarrot tried desperately to land just one punch. In a burst of ki, Vegeta was Super Saiyan, and Kakarrot’s eyes opened wide in terror as he brought his hands together for a final flash…

 His hands froze as Bulma was before him, her eyes shining with tears of happiness. "Look!" she whispered. He looked in the mirror at the miracle she had wrought. He was Super Saiyan.

 "All my training came to naught, but being with you…"

 And he was in her arms again, their bodies and spirits intertwined, as he drifted to sleep enveloped within her warmth…

 The cold of his solitude as he awoke made him shiver. Morning broke on the second night he spent without her, and his heart seemed to be breaking with it. This time, as he tried to convince himself he didn’t care, he found himself wondering exactly what it was that they had fought about…

 Her father was at the breakfast table, and a plate had been left for him. He looked up at the doctor in a question, and he responded, "My wife made it for us before she left the house…"

 The home-cooked meal assuaged his hunger, if not his disappointment. He’d risen to find the house absent of Bulma’s ki, and he was wondering how he could find out where she had gone without appearing too obviously concerned. Dr. Briefs saved him from his dilemma.

 "They went out shopping early this morning…"

 His heart sank. So much for any opportunity to resolve anything between them now. He went to train, trying once again, in vain, to put her out of his mind.

 As night fell, Vegeta returned to the house to find Dr. Briefs seated in his exact same position, dining alone. He’d microwaved some leftovers, and asked Vegeta if he’d like some. The Saiyan nodded his assent, grumbling his thanks as the older man placed the plate before him. He ate wordlessly as Bulma’s father finished his own meal. There was silence until the doctor spoke.

 "They’ve probably bought out the stores by now. There must be something seriously bothering them…" he mused.

 Vegeta looked up at him. "Explain."

 "Women shop when they’re upset, or depressed," he said, matter-of-factly.

 "Your daughter is always shopping," he replied blandly, dismissing the notion.

 "That’s true," Dr. Brief’s agreed, "but she and her mother both looked quite down in the dumps this morning—and they’ve been gone all day. Usually, the amount they spend is directly proportional to how depressed or upset they’re feeling." Vegeta just looked at him. He’d made it sound like a scientific law. "Of course, it could be worse," he said, in retrospect. "I’d rather Bulma spend all our money than go on one of her rampages…"

 Vegeta found himself nodding in agreement. He’d been on the receiving end more than once when Bulma had decided to take out her anger by throwing something. "But what…could they possibly buy? They have everything here they need—"

 Dr. Briefs chuckled. "You really don’t know women, do you? Jewelry, makeup, clothes, shoes…anything to make them feel better. And usually—it’s because we’ve done something wrong."

 Vegeta shifted uncomfortably, wondering just how much the old man suspected that he was to blame for Bulma’s shopping spree.

 "Actually, I think they might have gone looking for a present for Gohan," he added absently.

 Vegeta was silent, the man‘s comment having served to remind him of exactly what he and Bulma had begun to disagree over. He thought for a long moment, then looked up at the old man. "Briefs-sama," he asked, surprising the doctor with his respect. "You are a very important and busy man on this planet, are you not?"

 "I suppose so," he replied with more humility than Vegeta could ever be capable of.

 "And yet, you will be taking time out of your work to go to this…party?"

 "Oh, of course," Dr. Briefs replied without hesitation. "Goku is like a part of the family. He’s been like a little brother to Bulma; she’s known him since he was a child."

 Vegeta bristled at the words, but said, "Even so, you must have more important things to do than go to some idiotic celebration—"

 "Sometimes we do things to make others happy," he stated simply. "My wife would be upset if I stayed home."

 "You are the president of the most important corporation on this planet. Yet you let your woman tell you what to do?" He’d actually said it with wonder, rather than the disdain he’d intended.

 Doctor Briefs smiled and shook his head. "It’s not like that at all, son—"

 "I’m not—" Vegeta was about to correct the man in his use of the word son, as he always did, but held his tongue. He could see that the old man meant no harm and was simply trying to tell him something he already knew in his heart.

 "I’ve already told you, Vegeta. When you love someone, sometimes you do things simply because it will make them happy," he said with meaning.

 Vegeta looked at him sharply, then turned away as he saw the knowing expression in Dr. Brief’s eyes. The man was a genius. How had Vegeta expected that he would not guess what had been going on right in front of his eyes?

 No more was said between them. But the old man’s words seemed to hold a truth that was diametrically opposed to everything he had been trained to believe. Could a Saiyan Prince surrender to something that was so…weak, so emotional, so…human?

 Even the Saiyan Elite can love…

 And in his mother’s words he saw the answer to attaining a happiness that would not forfeit his pride.

 If only he could admit it to her, now that he had finally admitted it to himself.




Bulma reached out with her foot to see that she had reached the top of the stairs, and stepped onto the landing. The packages she carried were stacked so high that she could barely see ahead of her, but she’d done this thousands of times before, and instinctively knew which way to turn to drop her bundles on the floor of her room. Then she could go through her purchases again, another few moments to keep her mind occupied, blocking him out, though he’d been invading her thoughts all day….

 "So, you really did buy out the store."

 His voice startled her so that she jumped, dropping half of her packages. Only then did she see him standing there, his arms folded in his characteristic pose. His eyes held a smile.

 "Vegeta!" she yelled. "What, did you think that was funny?"

 Faster than her eyes could see he had picked up everything that had fallen, and stood in front of her. "No," he said seriously, "I didn’t mean to startle you. Where…can I put these for you?"

 She simply stared at him in silence, shocked by his chivalry, then motioned towards her room. She followed him inside, saying nothing as he laid the packages down at the foot of her bed, then turned to her to take what she still carried and set those down as well. Her arms free now, she found herself suddenly uncomfortable, as the things that she had spent the day buying to avoid thinking of him were physically set aside and he stood before her in the flesh.

 His task done he faced her now with an uncertainty that seemed to mirror her own.

 "Thanks," she said, more to break the awkward silence.

 He nodded slightly, then said, "So, your father knows you very well. He said you would probably buy everything in sight."

 "Not everything," she said defensively. "Just some clothes, jewelry, makeup, a gift for Gohan—"

 She stopped, realizing that that would bring up the topic that had begun their argument, but saw no anger in his eyes.

 "So, what did you get Kakarrot’s brat?"

 "A small handheld computer," she answered absently, surprised at his calm. "So he can take time out to study when he goes off with his father training. I thought Chichi would appreciate that—"

 Vegeta shook his head. "What kind of gift is that for a Saiyan boy?"

 "Oh, and what would you suggest? Battle armor?" she retorted.

 He thought a moment. "What about one of those training drones like the ones you made me? To help him build his strength?"

 It wasn’t actually such an outlandish idea. Gohan would have a lot of fun with that. "I don’t know, I already told Chichi about the computer and she thought it was a great idea—"

 "Then give him both. One to satisfy his human mother, and one that speaks to his Saiyan heritage."

 She looked at him strangely. Why was he being so…helpful? But her response belied more of the hurt she’d been feeling all day than she would have liked, as she said, "Why should you even care? You made it perfectly clear you had no interest in ‘wasting your time’ on something so frivolous as a birthday party—"

 At this, he came towards her, laying his hands on her shoulders and looking into her eyes. "Bulma…would it…make you…happy…if I came with you to the party?" he asked, obviously struggling with the difficulty of the question.

 Damn him, turning her into mush with his gaze, making her weak with his touch. "I should tell you I couldn’t care less if you came or not," she said softly, trying in vain to hold on to her anger, "but I’d be lying."

 "Then tell me the truth," he said gently.

 "Okay, yes. It would make me very happy if you would come to the party with me," she admitted, her eyes not leaving his.

 He smiled, his fingers caressing their way softly up her neck, to her face. "Then I’ll go. For you."

 "Really?" she asked, breaking into a smile of disbelief. This was so unlike him, yet his acquiescence to do this for her spoke volumes of what she needed so desperately to hear.

 "Yes. But only for you," he said once more, as he brought her face towards his for a kiss.

 Once again, Bulma began to melt in his arms, just as her anger and uncertainty seemed to melt into oblivion. No matter what he had said or failed to say to her, she could feel in his kiss all that he could not speak aloud. Just as she could sense in his hunger and urgency that he had missed her as much as she had missed him.

 "Thank you, Vegeta," she said when they had separated.

 "Just don’t expect me to do anything foolish like sing ‘Happy Birthday’," he grumbled.

 "Never," she said, trying not to laugh at the mere thought of that.

 He turned as if to leave, then hesitated. "There is one other thing, woman," he said quietly, his back still turned. "I…I didn’t have sex with you."

 Her heart seemed to stop as she tried wildly to understand the meaning behind his words. Was he denying what had happened between them? Was he trying to say that he wanted to pretend it had never been? Why kiss her with such passion one moment only to utterly destroy her the next? Utter despair began to well up inside her as she managed to blurt in a hushed whisper, "What are you saying?"

 He must have sensed the worry in her voice, for he turned to her immediately, gazing into her eyes with anything but denial. "What I mean to say is…that it wasn’t just having sex." He stepped towards her, and her heart began to sing with her love for him as she realized what he was trying to tell her.

 "I…made love to you, Bulma," he said tenderly. "And I’m…sorry…if I ever made you think otherwise…"

 Even this admission was so difficult for him, she knew, and she would not make it any harder. She fell into his arms, kissing him deeply, letting him know just how much this meant to her…




I made love to you, Bulma… Such a cowardly way of saying that he loved her, and yet, his meaning had thankfully gotten across. He took her gratefully into his arms, kissing her deeply, savoring the taste of her, as her warmth spread throughout his cold body, electrifying his senses while soothing the beast within him. What was it about this woman that resolved all the conflict within him, and made everything seem so clear? Why was it that when he was with her nothing else in the entire Universe seemed to matter, or even exist…?

 "I love you," he found himself whispering in her ear, answering his own question. And when she looked into his eyes in surprise, he found he could say it again. "I love you," he repeated, smiling at her tenderly.

 "I love you, too, Vegeta," she said, tears in her eyes.

 Her words were a balm to his wounded spirit, filling him with such joy that he felt he would cry. What had he ever done to deserve such happiness? What had he ever done to merit her love? Crushing his lips against hers, he reveled once more in her taste, before sweeping her into his arms. He’d finally told her that he loved her. Now he would show her just how much.




Bulma’s eyes filled with tears as he said the words she’d never thought to hear from him. Words that coming long ago from Yamcha had been meaningless lies, but from Vegeta were a revelation into the heart that he bared for no one. "I love you too, Vegeta," she whispered, her voice filled with emotion. She’d wanted to tell him this weeks ago, but had feared how he might respond. Now, as she looked into his eyes, she could see her words fill him with as much joy as his had her. Were those tears beginning to form? His lips were trembling as they crushed against hers, and as he swept her into his arms she couldn’t help but think that he had literally swept her off her feet.

 Her heart was pounding as he lay her gently on the bed, hovering just inches above her. Already her body was aching for him, but she could see in his eyes that his love was governing his actions now, and his passion was being held in check. Slowly he began to kiss her, a kiss that seemed to last for an eternity frozen in time. "I love you," he breathed again as his lips left hers and began to kiss their way down her neck.

 Slowly he worked his way down, as he sought to know every inch of her. His gentle kisses were driving her insane with desire, even though he’d only just begun. His hands caressed her breasts through her dress, his thumbs rubbing her nipples erect. If he could do this through her clothes, what ecstasy would he bring her once he had contact with her bare skin? She would soon know, she realized, as his hands roved downwards and underneath her garment…


He’d determined that he would do this slowly, carefully, as if unwrapping the precious gift that she was to him. He could feel her excitement, as intense as his own, yet he wanted to take his time. He’d waited a lifetime for this, without even knowing it could exist, and now, he wanted to savor every sensation. And he wanted her to revel in it, to take pleasure in it, to know the joy that she had given him. Even after he had pulled her short dress over her head and discarded it, he hesitated to take in her beauty. His body ached to join with hers, and yet he would hold back as long as he could, enjoying every moment…


Vegeta was looking down at her with such desire, and she wondered why he had stopped before taking off her underwear. But as he brought his mouth to hers once more, she realized that he was going to make this intense pleasure last as long as possible. Once again, his hands cupped her breasts, now with only her bra to separate them. Only when his lips began a trail down her neck did she feel the warm touch of his fingers on her skin, playing with her nipples and wracking her entire body with electricity. Then his kisses reached her mounds of flesh, and she gasped as he tasted her, teasing her with his tongue, even as his hands continued their exploration, leaving his mouth to do its work…

 Bulma ran her fingers through his hair, holding him there, so lost in the pleasure that she didn’t even realize that he had removed her panties until she felt his fingers slip into her moist warmth. She moaned in delight as he moved his fingers in and out of her, and her body arched to meet his hand…

 She wanted him so badly then, and she started unbuttoning his shirt, then reached to his pants. He smiled at her wickedly and whispered, "Patience, woman," but at her insistence obligingly removed his own clothes until his perfect body hovered just above her. She reached for his engorged arousal, and he moaned at her touch. But as ready as his body was for her, his heart still wished to prolong what he had begun. When he brought himself down to the bed, he gently separated her legs so that he could set down in between them. On his knees he looked down at her, and she reached up to him, beckoning him towards her. "Vegeta, please…" she begged softly.

 He brought his mouth to hers, kissing her deeply, slowly, as she laced her fingers around his neck. But then, as he began kissing a trail downwards once more, she knew that she would have to wait for completion. And the anticipation was driving her gloriously insane…

 First, he lost himself in her breasts, suckling one and then the other in turn. Then, as his mouth resumed its journey downward, she realized just what he had in mind. Something she’d heard about but never experienced, that her friends had told her most men were too selfish to do…

 Her flat belly quivered at the touch of his lips, and it seemed an eternity that he kissed her everywhere short of his final destination. His fingertips danced at her inner thighs, teasing her to the brink of insanity until finally the warmth of his mouth met the core of her womanhood and he began to taste her desire.

 Bulma thought she would die from delight as he teased the nub of her pleasure with his tongue, then tasted the juices that he himself had brought forth in her. She found herself rising to meet his touch, drawing him into her even as he seemed to reach for the depths of her, her excitement building to a crescendo that erupted so abruptly that she thought her heart would stop...

 She was nearly whimpering in ecstasy as Vegeta kissed her still-pulsing body. That was amazing… she thought to herself, too weak to speak.

 I’m glad…she could almost hear him saying in her mind. Had he said it aloud? She wasn’t sure. She was in a dream-like state now, bathing in the glow of what he had done to her. She pulled him up against her, and rested a long moment in his arms, holding him tightly, feeling as if she would be content to die right here and now in his strong embrace. Then, as his arousal strained against her, reminding her how much he still wanted her, she felt her own desire begin to surge once more. She wanted him inside her, but first…

 She kissed him on the lips, before setting out on the trail that she had learned from him. He seemed surprised at first, but as he lifted up his head to look at her, she smiled at him, coming up to kiss him again and push his head back down. "Relax," she whispered. "It’s my turn."

 Guided by instinct in something she’d never done, and by her intense love for him, she took his virility into her hands, stroking its length even as he seemed to throb with his desire. A low growl became a gasp as she twirled her tongue around his tip, then took him into her mouth as far as she could…

 Oh, gods, woman, what are you doing to me? she could hear him sigh.

 Loving you…she thought back wordlessly.

 It never even occurred to her that neither of them had spoken.



Vegeta moaned in rapture as she seemed to bring him to the brink of release. It took every ounce of strength and self-discipline to hold himself back, but he had already sensed what was happening between them and wanted this to be perfect. "Bulma…" he rasped. But he could barely speak. I want to be inside of you! he thought desperately, in wonder as he could hear her voice respond inside his head, Yes, Vegeta! I want that, too!

 He reached out to her, bringing her up to him, kissing her hungrily on the lips until she pulled away, positioning herself above him. Gently but firmly, he held her hips, helping her to ease onto him, and he trembled with delight as she sheathed him with her warmth…


They hadn’t made love like this before, and Bulma felt a unique thrill as she realized the power that she wielded over the Saiyan Prince now. She was in control, and she moved on him at her own pace, slowly pulling away to tease him then coming down hard to push him deeper inside her. With each blissful thrust, her own cries intermingled with his, as their bodies and spirits became one…

 Then it happened. Something had seemed so different this time, the pleasure so exquisite that she knew neither of them had ever felt like that before. It was then that she realized that it was not only her intense joy that she had felt, but his as well. Just as his flesh had become part of hers, his heart and mind seemed to have melded with her own. Vegeta was a part of her now, and she knew what he knew, felt what he felt…

 He drew her towards him, kissing her deeply as the images filled her mind. A lonely little boy, crying himself silently to sleep as he yearned for the mother that had been taken away from him. A proud prince, who had vowed revenge for the destruction of his entire race. The brutality of the evil Frieza, who had exploited his strength and his vulnerability, spurring him on waves of death and destruction that shamed him even now…The search for power, retribution, the never-ending battle to prove that he was the best… His dignity, his pride, his heritage…it was all he’d had left… And then, there she was. And she saw herself through his eyes, felt his confusion, his awe…his love… And she knew it was there, and would always know now, no matter what happened, no matter how the scars of his past would try to mar his future with her.

 She found herself weeping, for his pain, for his loneliness, for his joy. And as she looked in his eyes she knew that they had shared it together. They would always be one from this day forward…


Vegeta gazed lovingly into her eyes as if seeing her for the first time. For now he truly knew the woman behind those enthralling blue eyes. He'd seen her life as she had seen it, from precocious but lonely little girl, to brilliant yet insecure teenager, to the woman who had captured his heart. Her friends had never understood why she preferred spending time in her father's lab to anything else. The boys had expected her to be as loose as she was beautiful, and were as intimidated by her morality as by her brains. She'd set out to find the dragonballs for a little girl's wish--to find the perfect boyfriend. Before knowing her as he did now, he would have called it foolishness—but now that their hearts and souls were one he knew that she had been as desperately lonely as he. Yamcha had hurt her time and again, and yet as she had grown older she had stayed with him out of fear that no one else would love her. Still, headstrong as she was, she had never given in to Yamcha’s pressure to have sex. It gave Vegeta more than a little satisfaction to know that he had been her first—and only—lover. The thought of her with that pitiful excuse for a man both infuriated and disgusted him.

 As he kissed her now, he once more felt that flush of warmth that had gone through his body as he’d felt her love for him. A love so profound, so passionate, that he would not have believed possible had he not felt it through their bond. He knew that his own feelings for her ran just as deep, but had never imagined someone could feel this for him…

 Why not? he heard in his mind, and his cheeks grew crimson as he realized that she had heard his thoughts.

 She separated from him to look into his eyes once more. "I know you now, Vegeta," she whispered gently. "I know all that you are. And I love you and want you even more, if that’s possible…"

 She had only substantiated aloud what he had felt from her all along, but somehow this verbal confirmation threatened to bring tears to his eyes. He didn’t like this loss of emotional control one bit, but he reveled in it at the same time, as if it were his first taste of freedom. "I love you, Bulma," he rasped, his voice thick with emotion. But it was something that had to be said, not merely thought. "And I am yours now, just as you are mine."

 This emotional woman, if she doesn’t stop with those silly tears, I might end up…

 She smiled through them now, knowing what had gone through his mind, and he kissed her tenderly. They fell asleep together, lost in the glorious intermingling of body and spirit.




Bulma awoke to the light streaming through her windows, and the warmth of Vegeta’s naked skin against hers. His arms were still wrapped tightly around her, and she snuggled against him, taking in the scent of his skin. This was Paradise. She thought of their night together, and wondered now if it had all really happened as she remembered? Or had it been a beautiful dream?

 As if in response, Vegeta stirred and brought his hand up to caress her hair. She looked up at him. "How?" she asked simply, but he knew what she meant.

 "We are One now," he told her, his eyes serious. "A bond between a Saiyan and his mate. I had heard about such things, but never thought the stories were true." He smiled at her. "Until now."

 "Do all Saiyans experience this?"

 He shook his head. "I don’t think so. But we are trained not to betray our emotions, not to speak of them. And I was taken away from Vegetasei when I was young. I only knew of this from stories I heard from Nappa and Raditz."

 "But I’m sure your parents—" she began, but caught herself as she saw the sadness fill his eyes.

 "I…don’t believe so, Bulma," he responded, his discomfort with that topic visible even without her connection to him. "My father was a great man, but he did not show his emotions. At least, not what you would consider the more pleasing ones. And my mother—was gone when I was very small. My father sent her away to protect her from Frieza—"

 "I know," she said compassionately, not wanting to force him to go on.

 He looked at her in wonder. "You…saw my mother?"

 She nodded. "Just a fuzzy image. But I knew that she had gone away, and that you were—"

 "Let’s not speak of it. Please." It was more than a request, and she would respect it. He must have realized that his tone had become harsh, for he softened it as he said, "I suppose I will have no secrets from you now, woman."

 "I—I’m sorry," she said slowly, fearing that he regretted what had formed between them.

 His hand reached up to caress her cheek. "I’m not," he assured her, the adoration in his eyes telling her that he meant it. He gave her a slight smirk as he added, "Just make sure you don’t start nagging at me telepathically the way you do out loud, or I will surely go insane."

 Bulma laughed as he rolled on top of her then kissed her deeply. Even without their precious new bond, she knew exactly what he had in mind.




The next few days were like a dream come true. Even when Vegeta was training, he was close to her. She could sense his moods, and feel him coming towards her before he even entered the house. She couldn’t quite read his every thought, and in a way she was glad for that. She wasn’t quite sure she would want to, nor want him to know everything that was on her mind. But at night, when they lay together, their new bond made intimacy take on a new meaning. She could feel his love, his passion, his desire, his ecstasy, all intermingling with her own. And in those moments she knew that he was hers, and hers alone, with more certainty than would have been humanly possible.

 She felt his presence suddenly and turned to see him in her doorway, standing with an angry scowl on his face. She walked over to him and smiled. "Come on, it’s only a party," she said, knowing the cause of his rotten mood. She slipped her arms around his neck, kissing away his frown. She was glad when he responded, winding his arms around her waist and pulling her closer.

 "Just remember, woman, I am doing this for you," he said huskily, between kisses.

 When they had separated she smiled, knowing what a social sacrifice this really was for him. "And I appreciate it," she told him. "Now just relax, and maybe you’ll even have fun."

 "Fun?" he asked with distaste for the word. "I’ve already told you, don’t expect me to…socialize with these people."

 "As long as you don’t kill anyone, that’s fine," she said with a wink.

 "I'll try," he said dryly.


 "I'm just teasing you, woman," he said with a smirk.

 She shook her head in a mixture of amusement and relief, then said, "Hey, how do you like the new clothes I picked up for you?" She thought he looked absolutely gorgeous in the black jeans and shirt.

 "At least they’re not pink," he said grudgingly, referring to the first shirt she had made him wear here.

 She laughed, then said, "Come on, we’d better get going. Momma and Poppa are already in the air car."

 He hesitated, and then said, "I think I’d prefer to fly there. Your mother’s incessant chatter would put me in an even fouler mood than I am now."

 "Okay," she said, trying to mask her disappointment. "I guess I’ll see you there—"

 "What are you talking about, woman? I’ve seen you fly with that baka ex-boyfriend of yours, are you saying you can’t fly with me?" Was there a tinge of jealousy still in his annoyance?

 "Of course I’ll fly with you. I just wasn’t sure you wanted me to," she admitted.

 "Good," he said, and she could sense he was more at ease. "Now tell your parents to go on without us, and we can get this foolish thing over with."




She’d flown before, with Yamcha, even Goku, but there was something so different about this. Before it had been a little scary, but in Vegeta’s protective embrace she felt as safe as if she were on the ground. She could sense in him too that he’d needed this close contact with her before facing a situation that was utterly alien to him. "Don’t worry," she said. "It’ll be fine."

 They were close to the Son house now, but still out of its view, and he slowed to a halt standing upright in the clouds with her in his arms. Their faces were but an inch away, and she could see concern in his eyes. Tell me what’s bothering you, she thought suddenly, not sure if she should say it out loud.

 "Bulma, there’s something… I wanted to talk about before we get to Kakarrot’s house."

 "Go on," she said, knowing that he was shielding his thoughts from her now to speak aloud what was on his mind. Please don’t let this be anything bad…

 "It’s not," he promised her. "It’s just that…you know it has been difficult for me to express my feelings. But I have, and they are no secret to you. But no matter what you have seen Kakarrot do, true Saiyans are taught never to…display their affections in public. If I were to…act towards you the way I do when we are alone—"

 "I understand," she told him, relieved it was nothing more than this.

 "It would be…a sign of weakness. I would lose respect as a warrior—"

 "Vegeta, people here do not think like that," she assured him. "If Goku knew that we were together he would be very happy for us. But," she added, seeing his uncomfortable frown, "I understand how you feel, and I respect that. So I won’t be insulted. We don’t have to act as anything more than friends in front of the others."

 Had she not been able to hear his thoughts and feel his emotions, she might have been too insecure to be understanding on this point. But she knew without a doubt how much he loved her. He didn’t need to publicly display his love for her to feel secure.

 Thank you, my love. Directing his thoughts to her like this was definitely easier than voicing those words aloud. She smiled at him, and he weakly smiled back, a great weight having been lifted off his shoulders. He kissed her one last time, one long moment of intimacy, before they made their descent.




He didn’t know how they could live like this.

 As a child he had lived in the royal palace, on a huge estate the size of a small Earth city. Here on Earth, he had seen little outside of Capsule Corp, a small city in itself, with the spacious Briefs home in the center of the complex. But this tiny dwelling in the middle of nowhere, which Kakarrot and his family called home, was much less than he had expected, even of the son of a third-class soldier. Bulma had told him that her friends lived modestly, but to the Saiyan Prince, this seemed abject poverty.

 Kakarrot must have sensed his ki, for he’d opened the front door just as they’d touched down. He wore his customary orange vestments, which irked Vegeta. Was that to imply that he was taking only the briefest pause in training? Or did he simply wear the same thing all the time? With that ridiculous grin, he greeted them warmly, as if he’d forgotten that Vegeta planned to defeat him one day. "Bulma! Vegeta!" He gave Bulma a hug, which made Vegeta grimace. Then he addressed his rival with a totally unexpected welcome that threatened to throw him off guard. "Welcome to our home, Vegeta. I’m really glad you decided to come."

 "Kakarrot." He nodded curtly. He would feel much more comfortable if the clown had shown a bit of animosity, but there was none in his manner or in his ki.

 He scanned the room quickly, seeing no one more than he had anticipated—Bulma’s parents, Kakarrot’s woman and son, her oaf of a father, and the Namek, Piccolo. The latter nodded to him with distrust still in his eyes, but the humans all seemed to be going out of their way to be pleasant to him. It must be for Bulma’s sake, he thought absently. She was wishing the boy a happy birthday, and he couldn’t help but marvel at the brave young Saiyan warrior who had fought so ferociously in battle, but now seemed an innocent, obedient little child. Was the weak, human behavior that Kakarrot and his son displayed just a façade to hide their true warrior spirit, or did they truly possess the ability to find a balance between such diametrically opposed natures? Did the Human and Saiyan within each coexist, without the one compromising the other? Could he achieve this someday? Would he want to?

 Just weeks ago, he would have scoffed at the idea of adapting to any of the ways of these people. Yet these were Bulma’s people, weren’t they? He couldn’t love her so deeply and continue to hold the rest of her race in such utter contempt. But he also knew that he could never be one of them. Not without sacrificing a part of himself…

 Kakarrot’s woman called them to the table, and Vegeta abandoned his philosophical train of thought. The food did smell good, and he had seen Kakarrot eat. Vegeta could probably eat to his fill without anyone giving him a second glance.

 "Come on, Vegeta," Bulma beckoned him with a smile, and he followed her to the table, taking a seat at her side.




An hour later, the others had already finished eating, and Bulma was helping Chichi to clear the table while he and Kakarrot competed over who could stuff more into his body. The foods that Chichi had prepared were outstanding, and Vegeta began to understand one of the reasons why Kakarrot must let his woman so totally control him. Of course, conscious that the others were watching, Vegeta had tried to maintain some decorum in his mass consumption, while Kakarrot was devouring bowl after bowl like some sort of pack animal. "You might take a breath, Kakarrot," he told him dryly, pausing to wash down his food with some of the sweet-tasting wine they had poured him. It wasn’t like that which he’d been accustomed to in Frieza’s company, but it did serve to relax him a bit.

 Kakarrot looked up at him, speaking with his mouth full. "I can’t…get enough…of Chichi’s …home cooking," he managed, though his words were garbled.

 Vegeta felt Bulma at his side and turned to see her as she sat down once more. "So Goku, you look pretty—uh, healthy," she observed, as he finished off his last plate. "No sign of that virus the boy from the future told you about?"

 "Nothing," he told her, "although Chichi’s been a nervous wreck, as if she’s expecting me to drop any minute."

 "So maybe he was wrong about that," Bulma mused, thoughtful.

 Vegeta spoke up, the bottle or so of wine he had consumed making his thoughts flow more freely to his lips. "And what if he was wrong about everything? How do you know we can trust this boy, Kakarrot? How do we know he is who he says he is?"

 Kakarrot was looking at them strangely, and a mysterious smile played on his lips. "Oh, I’d say things are going just the way he said they would."

 "What does that mean?" Vegeta shot back. "What exactly did he tell you in private that convinced you to trust him?"

 The other Saiyan’s face grew serious. "You know what you need to. I can’t tell you anything more—"

 "And why is that?" Vegeta challenged him, his annoyance turning to anger. He could feel Bulma tugging at his thoughts. Don’t... she was warning him.

 "The only other things he said were…personal. I would be putting him in danger if I revealed them."

 "We deserve to know the truth—" Vegeta began, but Kakarrot hit him with a solid response that he could not argue.

 "I gave him my word. On my honor."

 Vegeta said nothing. Damn Kakarrot for knowing the one thing he could say that would force the Prince to respect his silence. Even a third class soldier was bound by his honor.

 No more was said between them as the cake was brought out. He’d warned Bulma that he wouldn’t partake in this inane part of the activities, but he stayed in his seat, knowing that out of courtesy he must. But as the others ate, he wandered from the table and sat by himself, wondering again what the hell he was doing here…

 You came for me, remember? he felt her thoughts suddenly. He looked up to see her across the room, a slight smile in her eyes. And her thoughts soothed him as much as if she had physically touched him…




Gohan was opening his presents, and Bulma sat down next to her Prince, glad that she could reach out to him with her mind even if she could not snuggle against him as she would have liked.

 As soon as we’re alone…she heard his voice, and she shot him a knowing smile, glad to see his lips curve up slightly in response. She knew he hated every minute of this, but the fact that he was enduring this for her meant a great deal. They sat in silent connection until she saw his eyes wander to a photograph on the mantle of Goku and Chichi.

 Why are they dressed that way? he questioned her.

 "It’s their wedding picture," she whispered to him, so the others couldn’t hear through their own conversations. "The day they were married. It was a beautiful ceremony. I was there."

 You mean the day they were joined as mates? As we were, the night we bonded?

 Her face flushed. She hadn’t really equated their joining as a formal marriage. It actually seemed so much more. And yet she couldn’t help wondering if someday…

 She consciously shut out her thoughts from him, and he looked at her in surprise, as if not understanding why she had done so. "Yes, something like that," she mumbled, hoping that was enough to satisfy him.

 It was then that Gohan began to open their presents. First the handheld computer, which he seemed really excited over. Bulma was glad. And she smiled as Chichi told him that this would help him to keep up with his studies while he was training…

 Vegeta seemed to be watching with interest as he unwrapped the gift he had proposed. Gohan’s eyes lit up at once, but Chichi seemed confused. "What is it, Gohan?"

 "It’s a training drone!" he cried happily. "Bulma, this is great! Thanks!"

 "You’re welcome, Gohan," she said, then dared to add, "But it was really Vegeta’s idea,"

 She could sense the embarrassment Vegeta would not openly display as every eye in the room seemed to turn to him in surprise.

 "Wow, thanks Vegeta!" Gohan exclaimed. "Do you think you could show me how it works?"

 Vegeta seemed to hesitate, and Bulma prodded, "Go on, Vegeta. Show him," in her mind adding, This way you can get out of the house and do something you enjoy.

 He glanced at Goku. "It’s up to your father, Gohan. He is your sensei. I do not wish to interfere in your training—"

 "Go ahead, Vegeta," Goku said amiably.

 Vegeta nodded, then rose. "I think, however, this is something we must do outside the house. I don’t think your mother would appreciate your blasting your home to pieces."

 Gohan grinned and Vegeta followed him outside.

 Chichi was just looking at Bulma in shock.

 "Chichi, I hope you don’t mind. I just thought—"

 The other woman shook her head. "I’m just wondering what you’ve done to that man to make him so—civil."

 Bulma was saved from having to think of a response, as her mother broke in, "Oh, Vegeta’s a very nice boy, it just takes a while to get to know him."

 The others just stared at the older woman in shock.





Vegeta was surprised at how much he was enjoying this little training session with Kakarrot’s brat. He’d shown him the basic workings of the drone, demonstrating his own style of redirecting the laser beams to avoid being struck. Then, he’d watched as the orb flew quickly about Gohan, releasing tiny bursts of energy, which the boy easily deflected with his own ki blasts. "As you progress, they get faster and faster," he instructed him. To his astonishment, the boy kept up, until his movements were too fast for the human eye. "You truly have the blood of a Saiyan," he murmured, wondering if the Saiyan and Human genetic mixture somehow served to produce a race more powerful than the other two combined. If he and Bulma were to have a son, the child would probably be the strongest being alive…

 Gohan grunted as he missed one beam and it scraped his arm.

 Vegeta gave the voice command to halt the training program. Gohan looked at him questioningly, and he said, "You’ve done well for the first time. You’ll soon need to ask Bulma to build you a faster one."

 Gohan smiled brightly, unnerving Vegeta slightly. He wasn’t used to Saiyan children looking so…happy. "I wanna show Mr. Piccolo what I can do!"

 "He was your first sensei, was he not?" Vegeta recalled.

 "Yes, he trained me for a year, to fight—" Gohan caught himself, a look of embarrassment on his face.

 "To fight me," Vegeta finished for him, working hard to maintain a straight face. The boy nodded sheepishly, and Vegeta said, "He trained you well, then."

 Gohan smiled, relieved not to have angered the Saiyan. "Thanks, Vegeta."

 Vegeta nodded and said, "I will send the Namek outside, so you can show him what you can do. Just don’t forget to remind him that it was I who taught you." He paused, then added confidentially, "It will irk him to no end."

 Gohan laughed as Vegeta made his way back to the tiny Son home. The others grew silent and looked at him as he entered, and he wondered if he had been the topic of conversation. No matter, Bulma would tell him later. He turned to the Namek. "He wants to show you what he’s learned to do," he told Piccolo.

 As the Namek left, Chichi offered him some coffee, and he accepted quietly as he sat beside Bulma. He didn’t like socializing, and he was hoping this party thing would soon be over.

 "So, how’d Gohan do?" Kakarrot asked in that annoyingly cheerful tone of his.

 "He did well," Vegeta had to admit. "I can feel his strength has increased since we last fought."

 "He’s got a lot of potential," Kakarrot said proudly, though his woman began making some noise about his education being much more important. "I wouldn’t be surprised if someday he surpassed both of us."

 Vegeta tensed in indignation. He was about to tell that insolent idiot, The boy will never surpass me, when he felt Bulma’s fingers touch his arm lightly. She had heard his thoughts! He took a deep breath, remaining silent. What torture you put me through, woman! he directed his thoughts to her, but he was sure she knew that the touch of her hand on his skin was torturing him more than having to hold his tongue.

 A strong ki approaching brought an end to his ruminations, as the red flags of danger went up in his head. Kakarrot had felt it too, for he had turned to the door as if expecting someone to knock. "Uh-oh," he mumbled as he seemed to recognize the ki signature.

 "Who…?" Vegeta began, but he knew almost before Kakarrot’s woman opened the door.

 "Yamcha!" Chichi said in surprise. "I thought I asked you not to come here tonight."

 "I know, Chichi, and I’m sorry, but I knew Bulma would be here, and I just had to get a chance to talk to her without that big ape around—"

 The human must have felt Vegeta’s ki then, for his mouth dropped open in shock.

 Vegeta could barely contain his rage as he shot to his feet, his eyes ablaze. "You must have a death wish, human!"

 Yamcha’s eyes met his with an anger that seemed to mirror his own. "What the hell are you doing here, Vegeta?"

 "He’s my invited guest," Kakarrot said firmly, stepping between the two men.

 Yamcha looked at Kakarrot incredulously. "Goku, we’re supposed to be friends," he said bitterly, as if this were a betrayal.

 "We are," the other man replied. "But Bulma is like family to me, and she asked us to make sure you wouldn’t be here." He paused, his voice taking on a tone of reproach. "After what you did, Yamcha, I can’t say I blame her."

 The human’s face grew crimson with guilt as he realized that his outlandish behavior was common knowledge amongst everyone there. "Look, I just want to apologize to Bulma—"

 "And I told you that if you ever came near her again I would kill you!" Vegeta said, stepping forward.

 "There will be no fighting in my house!" Kakarrot’s woman was yelling suddenly. "If you two want to blast each other into oblivion, go ahead, but do it outside!"

 Her outburst had unnerved even Vegeta, and he could see how Chichi wielded power over the lot of them. "Let’s settle this outside, then," he challenged Yamcha.

 "Fine with me!" The human began to pull off his jacket.

 Vegeta, no! Bulma’s voice resounded, and through his fury he had no idea if she had spoken or thought it.

 Give me one reason not to kill him!! he demanded furiously.

 I already belong to you! she reminded him needlessly.

 It was then that he realized that Kakarrot was eyeing them strangely, as if he knew that there was a wordless communication going on between them. The fact that his rival should have discovered their intimate bond was humiliating. He shut his mind out to her as the rage welled inside him. His fists tightened even as a brilliant blue ki began to glow about him.

 "Vegeta, there’s no need for this," his Saiyan kinsman was saying.

 "Stay out of my affairs, Kakarrot," he replied tersely. "If Bulma is truly family to you, then you should despise him for how he has treated her, and for what he tried to do. If I hadn’t been there—" He didn’t finish. The thought of that disgusting human defiling her made him ill.

 "Yeah, you were there, all right, Vegeta," Yamcha taunted him. "Just waiting to take her away from me—"

 Vegeta’s body seemed to react without thought as he grabbed Yamcha by the neck, lifting him into the air with one hand. "She was never yours, you fool! But she belongs to me now, and I won’t spare your pathetic life the next time you forget that!"

 Yamcha’s face was turning blue as Vegeta’s grip deprived him of air. The Saiyan Prince wanted desperately to destroy him once and for all, but something inside him told him that Bulma would not want it to be so. He released him, dropping him to the floor with a thud.

 Bulma came up to him then, and he expected her to be angry for his reaction. But all he could sense was her relief that he had controlled himself.

 "You say…she belongs to you…" Yamcha spat out, his voice hoarse from lack of air. "But I don’t see a ring on her finger—"

 "What are you talking about, idiot?" Vegeta said disparagingly, not understanding.

 The human collected himself enough to get to his knees, then pulled a small box from his pocket. "Bulma, I’m begging you to forgive me for everything…" He opened the box to reveal a ring, with a simple small diamond. "..and to agree…to be my wife."

 Vegeta snapped, insane with a rage that was beyond reason. The bastard was actually proposing marriage to his mate! The box dropped from Yamcha’s hand as Vegeta lunged at him, the human’s neck in one hand, a growing ball of blue energy in the other. He would end this outrage once and for all—

 "Vegeta, don’t do this!" Kakarrot’s voice was insistent.

 "And why not? Stay out of this, you fool, if it were your woman you wouldn’t hesitate to do the same!"

 "Probably not," Kakarrot agreed. "But you know Yamcha’s no match for you. What’s the honor in blowing him away?"

 Damn you, Kakarrot! He was right…

 If it had been a battle between men. But didn’t this insect deserve to be crushed?

 "What’s the matter, tough guy?" Yamcha taunted him. "You afraid to let Bulma decide for herself?"

 "He’s not afraid of anything, you asshole," Bulma said suddenly in his defense. "Except maybe that he’d kill you and we’d waste a wish from the dragon on bringing you back."

 Vegeta almost wanted to laugh at the pathetic look of shock on Yamcha’s face.

 "Vegeta, put him down," she told him then, and he reluctantly dropped a rumpled Yamcha to the floor in disgust.

 "Bulma…I don’t…understand…how could you…?" Yamcha was choking the words out.

 "How could you, Yamcha? How could you treat me so terribly?"

 "Then…you can’t forgive me? Just one last time?" He was almost pleading with her now.

 "I do forgive you, Yamcha," she said, the words bristling Vegeta, but then added, "because it doesn’t hurt anymore." She paused, and Vegeta looked at her, sensing that she felt nothing for this man now—no love, no anger. Just pity. Her voice softened as she said gently but firmly, "I don’t love you anymore."

 And the truth of it calmed Vegeta more than killing this weakling could have. For he knew without a doubt that the words she spoke were true. And he would never have to concern himself with this human again.

 I told you, Vegeta. I belong to you. She glanced at him even as her thoughts touched his mind, warming his heart.


And I to you. The smile in her eyes told him that she had heard him loud and clear.




Yamcha had gone, leaving an awkward silence that no conversation could fill. Bulma knew that Vegeta had personally been mortified to reveal his feelings in front of the others, and after a few pensive moments where he seemed miles away, Vegeta stood to leave. "I think I have had enough socializing for one evening," he said dryly. He glanced at Chichi. "Thank you for your hospitality."

 Bulma almost wasn’t sure if he meant to go off alone, but she didn’t really want to let him. She stood with him, thanking Chichi and Goku, trying in vain to read Vegeta’s thoughts. But he had blocked them from her now, and all she could sense from him was anger. Was it directed at her? At himself? She wasn’t sure. But as much as she dreaded the conversation that might ensue, she needed to be with him right now.

 "You certainly do throw an interesting gathering, Kakarrot," Vegeta told him coolly. "Perhaps next time we could do without any surprise guests?"

 "I’m sorry about that, guys. I did tell him to stay away."

 "It’s okay, Goku," Bulma said, giving him a kiss on the cheek. "But do you think maybe you could keep what happened tonight just between us?"

 Goku nodded. "I can’t vouch for what Yamcha might say," he warned her, "but you have my word that this will go nowhere."

 "Thanks, Goku. Tell Gohan we said good bye."

 Vegeta was so enveloped in his own thoughts that he barely looked at her. She almost wondered if he might fly off into the night without her. But once they were alone, he held out his arms to her, and she laced her hands around his neck. She closed her eyes, resting her head against his shoulder, as he wrapped his arms around her waist and flew wordlessly home.




He was raging inside.

 The events of the day played in his mind over and over until the voices taunted him in their repetition. That bastard Yamcha goading him to battle, while that idiot Kakarrot stood in his way. Had it really been Kakarrot? Hadn’t Bulma been the one who had said to put him down?

 Bulma had told him what to do?!

 She had, hadn’t she? And he’d obeyed her, like a well-trained dog… And it wasn’t the first time, he had to admit, thinking back… The Great Vegeta, the Prince of all Saiyans, going against his natural urge to squash that weakling human, repay him for his insult, his humiliation…

 Vegeta wasn’t sure what had mortified him more. The audacity of Yamcha to propose to his mate, without suffering the death he deserved for such insolence. His inability to mete out that revenge, without hesitation or regret, as he should have. Or the fact that all these humans now knew his heart, his weakness

 My weakness…

 He looked down at her, so small and fragile in his arms, her heart beating against his chest, her soft blue hair tickling his face as it blew in the wind. Her ki was barely perceptible as she rested against him… yet she wielded more power over him than he could bear to admit, even to himself. It was a realization that terrified him. How could he become the most powerful being in the universe if the mere thought of her could make him lose all reason? He was the Prince of all Saiyans, yet her voice could bend his will, her gentle touch bring him to his knees…

 "What have you done to me, woman?" he whispered inaudibly, kissing her forehead. And as she looked up at him with a questioning look in her big blue eyes, he sighed deeply, his face softening. He could lose himself in her gaze, forget the pride and indignation, discard even the fear of letting her see him for who he was…

 "What is it?" she asked, frowning when she couldn’t read through the barrier he had set up between their thoughts. He couldn’t let her know how ashamed he was of what he had shown the world. It would…

 …hurt her.

 The fact that that would even concern him, was an enigma to him in itself.

 He touched down on the terrace to her room, reluctantly releasing her from his tight embrace. "I’m going to train now," he said, feigning a firmness he couldn’t seem to muster. But he had to get away from her. He had to reclaim his thoughts, his being….

 "Now?" she asked, disappointment in her eyes.

 He wanted to say yes, and fly off without looking back. But the part of him who had claimed her tonight as his own refused to do so. The warrior’s cries within him were silenced, as he crushed his lips against hers.

 With a desperate passion he made love to her, until the faint protests of his father’s son were drowned in the sea of her warmth. And as he lost himself in her, he no longer cared who or what he was, as long as she belonged to him…



"You are a fool, boy!"

 His father’s angry reproach jarred him from his peaceful dream. He looked up to see the elder Saiyan’s dark eyes glaring at him, no, through him. His mind felt suddenly as exposed as his naked body, as his father bore into his thoughts, seeing all he had done, all he had felt…

 Bulma shifted against him in her sleep, and he instinctively drew her closer, tightening his protective embrace.

 "Father, what are you doing here?" he asked, more annoyed than surprised.

 "I’m always with you, Vegeta. I’ve been watching you, waiting for you to take your rightful place as the King of all Saiyans. Instead you have forgotten yourself and your destiny on this remote and insignificant planet!"

 "It’s no longer insignificant to me," he argued, in his mind hoping that Bulma would not awaken. Something inside of him feared what his father might do to her, though he knew no rational reason why he should. "My life is here, now," he said with conviction.

 "And this weak, vulgar woman is your life?" his father sneered at him.

 "Do not speak of her that way!" he spat at his father, with more defiance than he had ever dared.

 "You little fool! She weakens you! You betray your heritage by allowing her to control you—"

 "You’re wrong!" he cried. "She does not control me!"

 King Vegeta snickered. "Is that why you allowed that insolent human, Yamcha, to live?"

 Vegeta could feel his heart pounding with his anger as he searched wildly for a response. But there was none.

 "A true Saiyan would have ripped him to shreds. Instead, you made a mockery of your race in front of those weaklings. In front of that low-class soldier Kakarrot…"

 Merely the mention of his rival’s name inflamed him. "I will surpass Kakarrot! I have already ascended to Super Saiyan—"

 "In the heat of passion?" His father gave a wicked grin that was too reminiscent of his own. "What battles will you win with your pants down, boy?"

 Vegeta’s face flushed hot with embarrassment as he seethed within.

 "Face it, boy. Your love for this earth woman has made you into one of them. Love is only for the weak."

 His father’s words triggered the memory of earlier days. "I don’t think Mother would agree," he said bitterly, though not quite sure why he felt such utter contempt for his sire right now. Was it for Bulma’s sake? For his mother’s? Or simply his own?

 The King’s face grew dark. "Then they have both poisoned you," he said quietly. Then his image dissipated into the night, leaving Vegeta alone with the rage of things left unsaid…



With a start he awoke, his senses searching for the ki that had been there just moments before. But it was gone--if it had ever really been there. He heaved a deep sigh of relief. It had been so real, that he couldn’t help but wonder if the superstition were true that the dead visited the living while they slept. He shuddered at the thought. His father’s words had wounded him more severely than any reprimand he had suffered as a boy. For they cut at the very heart of his happiness here, shrouding any joy he felt in a veil of shame.

 In his embrace Bulma slept peacefully, oblivious to his turmoil. He closed his eyes, hugging her to him, drinking in her scent, relishing her warmth. This couldn’t be wrong. It couldn’t be…

 And yet, for daring to come near her again, he should have ripped Yamcha to shreds. He wanted to even now, as he remembered the earthling’s audacity. What had stopped him?

 The answer was lying in his arms. She would not have wanted him to do so. Though Vegeta had no doubt of her love for him, he knew that Yamcha was still part of that circle of old friends that she held so dear. No matter what a fool he had been, she would not want to see him dead, especially at Vegeta’s hands.

 A true Saiyan would have ripped him to shreds. Instead, you made a mockery of your race in front of those weaklings. In front of that low-class soldier Kakarrot…

 His father’s disparaging words echoed in his mind, stabbing at him anew. His anger began to swell. Father was right! He should have destroyed him! Now they all thought him weak, soft, emasculated by his pathetic emotions…

 A chill of cool air made him shiver as he released the warmth of her body, disentangling himself from her. The loss of contact shot a pang of despair through his heart. He watched her for a long moment, battling the urge to lie with her again, to hold her in his arms and throw his pride to the wayside. But he could not. His feelings for her were clouding his judgment, obscuring the truth of who he was, and what he was destined to be. Every inch that he distanced himself from her, both physically and emotionally, began to restore the shield of strength and pride that he had worked a lifetime to build, a barrier that she had unknowingly begun to chip away…

 I’ll show them, Father. They will all bow down to me…




Bulma stretched out to touch him, cool sheets meeting her fingertips. He was gone, and had been for some time. The sunrise had just begun to peek through the open door to her balcony, and she pulled on a silk robe, stepping outside.


 He didn’t answer. His back was to her, as he stood motionless against the railing, looking out over the horizon. She reached out to caress the bare skin of his back, her lips parting in surprise as he seemed to start at her touch. "It’s okay, it’s just me," she said softly, slipping her arms around his waist, and resting her cheek against his back.

 "What do you want, woman?" he asked almost painfully. Bulma closed her eyes, willing herself to have patience. She wasn’t sure what hurt more—the tone of his voice, so much like the man he used to be, or the way he seemed to tense at her touch. But suddenly her stomach seemed to clench with the knowledge that something was not right with him. With them.

 "I just didn’t like waking up without you," she whispered, kissing his skin, glad when he seemed to relax with the caress of her lips.

 "I need…to train," he said with seeming difficulty.

 "What’s bothering you, Vegeta?" she asked gently. "I can’t—you won’t let me—read your thoughts."

 "You would not want to," he murmured absently, probably not realizing how personally she would take that.

 "What’s bothering you?" she asked again, more insistent this time.

 "I…made a fool of myself tonight. Those earthlings—they know my weakness now. I cannot command their respect if they know---"

 "--Your weakness?" she asked, enunciating the words distastefully. "Is that what I am to you, Vegeta? Your weakness?"

 He was silent, and she knew he could feel the hurt and anger brewing within her. She’d never been able to hide her emotions from anyone. From him, it was an impossibility. Her hands dropped from him and she stepped back.

 "Bulma, I didn’t say—" he began, still unable to face her. That in itself told all.

 "You didn’t have to!" she shot back. "Just get away from me!"

 "Perhaps," he said, after a long, tense silence, "that is precisely what I need to do."

 He flew into the new dawn leaving her to wonder what had suddenly gone so terribly wrong.





It had taken him all of his will to leave her standing there. He cursed his own cowardice. He hadn’t even been able to look her in the eyes. For he knew that if he had, he would have been lost in those blue pools…

 The Gravity Chamber greeted him like an old, comfortable friend. His sanctuary. His escape. His exile. To remember who he was. The Prince of all Saiyans, destined one day to be the Legendary One…

 He turned the gravity to 200 G. A modest start. The pull on his bones ached, as he realized how out of shape he’d become. How many days had he skipped? One? Two? He thought of the touch of her skin as she’d rested against his back, the soft warmth of her lips as they’d made him shiver with desire for her…

 No! I am a warrior! Not some love-struck weakling! In defiance of his body and his heart he stepped up the gravity until it was 400 times that of Earth. He had done this before, and he would do it again! His muscles strained at the force as he began to power up, focusing all thought and energy on the task at hand. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh…"

 He was burning now, his being on fire, the golden ki blazing like the sun itself. A little more…just a little more… he thought, as he felt himself asymptotically approaching that threshold that he had only once before been able to reach…


 He collapsed on the floor in exhaustion, no nearer to Super Saiyan than he had been ten years ago.

 Thus he spent the next twenty hours, his frustration building even as his ki strained at that impassible limit…




A knock at the door roused her from the little sleep she’d managed since Vegeta had flown off.

"Come in!" she called, still drowsy, hoping against hope that he had come back.

 Her mother’s face peeked in the door, and she dropped her head back on the pillow in despair.

 "Bulma, you’d better get up. You didn’t forget your Doctor’s appointment, did you?"

 Bulma groaned tiredly. "Forget it, Mom. I haven’t been nauseous in days. I’m fine."

 Her mother stood over the bed, relief washing over her face. "You mean you finally got your period?"

 Bulma took in a breath. She hadn’t, and in all that had happened in the last few days she’d neglected to notice such things at all. She closed her eyes. "No. I didn’t."

 "Oh," her mother said in dismay. She paused for a moment, examining her daughter, then said, "I think we’d better get going, then."

 Bulma nodded grimly, trying to hold back the tears that wouldn’t have been there had this morning gone differently. But she was so unsure right now of what was going through Vegeta’s mind that she had no idea how a confirmation of her suspicions might affect him.

 "Do you think Vegeta would want to go with you?" the older woman suggested, completely unaware that anything was amiss.

 "No," she said sadly. "Something tells me this is something I’m going to have to deal with on my own." And the impact of her own words terrified her.




"Congratulations. You’re four weeks pregnant."

 The color drained from Bulma’s face and she felt she would faint dead away. "You—you’re sure?" she managed.

 The doctor nodded, eyeing her with concern. "I presume this—wasn’t planned."

 She shook her head, the doctor’s words seeming far away. Why now? Why when things seemed so uncertain? Had she learned this just two days ago, she would have been confident that Vegeta would be happy. But now…?

 The doctor seemed to sense her dilemma. "You know, there is still time to terminate the pregnancy if you wish," he said gently.

 The mere suggestion snapped her from her shock. "No!" she said firmly, her hand going to her abdomen. The thought of aborting her baby—Vegeta’s baby—was abhorrent to her.

 "Calm down, Bulma," her mother soothed as she stood above her, placing a hand on her shoulder.

 "There is no way I will abort this baby!" she said angrily.

 "I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply—" the doctor stammered apologetically.

 "It’s okay, Doctor," Mrs. Briefs said. "My daughter is just surprised. Do Bulma and the baby both seem to be all right?"

 "Oh, yes," he assured them, looking down at his notes, probably to avert Bulma’s eyes. "In fact, we could actually detect the baby’s heartbeat. Usually that’s not possible until at least the sixth week."

 Bulma was silent. She knew her mother’s question had been a valid one. She’d wondered herself how the mix of Saiyan and Human blood would affect the baby’s development, but knew there was no way she could tell the doctor that the baby’s father was…an alien.

 Neither woman spoke on the way home, and Bulma couldn’t help but think that it was the first time she had ever seen her mother at a loss for words. When the air car had stopped outside the Capsule Corp compound, she turned to the older woman, her eyes suddenly brimming with tears. "Are you upset with me, Momma?" she asked in a small voice.

 "Oh, of course not, Sweetie," her mother assured her as she gladly fell bawling into her arms. "Everything’s going to be all right. Vegeta is a good man. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have as the father of my grandchild."

 Her mother was sincere, and yet Bulma was aware that she couldn’t possibly know the darker side of Vegeta that she herself had seen.

 "Everything will work out fine," Mrs. Briefs said softly. But Bulma couldn’t dismiss the awful feeling of foreboding as she reached out to touch Vegeta’s mind, and found nothing.





She was reaching out to him, desperate, he could tell, to touch his mind. But the hours of frustration at his own inability to ascend to Super Saiyan had only strengthened his resolve.

 He would not let her in.

 He could not—though his being ached for her, with a longing as spiritual as it was physical. In cutting himself off from her, he had once more fallen into the comfortable depths of solitude that had become second nature to him so long ago. He clung to it now, that barrier of seclusion, that wall that allowed no one access to his inner self. It had protected him in the past, shielded him from pain, from humiliation, from despair that might rip to shreds every last remnant of the Prince he had been. The Prince he was. I have not forgotten who I am, Father. Or what I am destined to be…

 He closed his mind to her, concentrating on the training drones that attacked him from all angles, challenging his agility and stealth under the tremendous forces of gravity… Yet even so, his consciousness would connect ever so briefly with hers, as an errant emotion would take hold of him, throwing him into uncertainty as to whether it was hers or his own. She’s afraid. There’s…something…But what? He grimaced as an energy beam hit his arm. Damn you, woman, get out of my head! You can’t distract me like this!

 Vegeta sighed with relief as he felt her drift off into sleep. Now perhaps he could concentrate…

 But hours later, his goal was as intangible as it had ever been. With a grunt of disgust he shut down the Gravity Chamber. A shower, and sleep. Then he would try again.

 But as he passed her room, her scent beckoned him. Her door was ajar, and he found himself slipping quietly inside to stand over her. She was so beautiful, her lips parted lightly as if awaiting his. He thought again of her apparent distress this afternoon, and wondered what could have brought it on. How easy it would be to lay down beside her, to take her into his arms and awaken her with a kiss. Desire coursed through him, both carnal and spiritual. How he wanted to lose himself in her warmth again tonight! How he needed to hold her close, and feel her love through that indescribable bond that was unlike anything he had ever imagined possible. But even as the warm rush of emotion filled his being, he knew that it threatened to melt the cold fortress that he had spent the day trying to resurrect. He wanted her, needed her, loved her, so much, that it hurt. The sudden realization of that, in itself, terrified him.

 In fear he pulled back the hand that had gingerly reached out to touch her. I cannot let this happen to me again. I have to stay focused! With a will that drew on every fiber of his existence, he turned from her, and left the room. In the shower, he leaned his head against the tile and took a deep breath. He would never take control of himself like this. Not while she was so near to him, a constant reminder of the part of him that was useless in battle, and therefore worthless to a Saiyan Warrior…

 There was only one answer, one way. He knew it now, and had probably known in all along.

 He had to leave.




Bulma awoke with a start, her heart pounding, the sinking feeling once more in her stomach as memories of yesterday flooded back into her consciousness. She’d waited up half the night for him to return from his training, until pure physical and emotional exhaustion had overtaken her. But the sun was inching its way up into the sky now, and she knew she could wait no longer. She’d have to confront him and tell him about the baby.

 A wave of nausea hit her, and she wondered if it was her usual morning sickness or her absolute terror over how he might react. She’d tried all night to focus on the beautiful memories of her last few weeks with him, but their last exchange had made everything else a blur. Should she wait until things were right again between them before she told him?

 Would things ever be right between them again?

 She tried to reassure herself as the warm water of the shower loosened the knots in her muscles. He’s just mortified over what happened at Goku’s house. He’ll get over it…Or…will he get over me instead? There was only one way to know for sure. Dressing quickly, she forced her insecurities down and knocked on his door.

 There was a long pause of deliberation before he finally answered. "Come in."

 "Vegeta, we really need to talk about--" She stopped mid-sentence as she saw him, dressed in his Saiyan battle armor, packing a small bag. Her heart stopped, and the room seemed to spin around her. This couldn’t be real. "What…are you…?" She couldn’t even choke out the words. The effort to stand up straight and hold back the tears was too much.

 "I’m leaving," he said, averting her eyes. "I’m going into space to complete my training."

 "You’re…leaving," she repeated, her grief slowly channeling into anger. It was easier that way. It always had been.

 He looked at her now, his eyes as black and impersonal as they had been when they’d met, as if her Vegeta had been replaced by the man he used to be. "I must become a Super Saiyan. I can’t do it here. There are too many distractions."

 "Distractions? First I’m your weakness, and now a distraction?" She could feel her eyes burning hot with tears, but it didn’t matter now. Everything he had said to her, everything he had done to her, now seemed meaningless. "If you can’t become a Super Saiyan again it’s because you’ve become so damn obsessed with the idea that you won’t just relax and—"

 "Don’t presume to tell me how to train, woman—"

 "Are you forgetting who was there the first time you did go Super Saiyan?!" she screamed at him. "It only happened because for the first time in your life you let yourself forget about your stupid ambitions!"

 "I have never forgotten who I am or what I am destined to be!" he snarled at her. "I am the Prince of all Saiyans!"

 "Yes you are!" she shouted back. "But you’re so much more! There’s another part of you that you’re cutting off completely—"

 "I don’t have time for this," he said quietly. She could see that she had gotten under his skin. Even as he turned from her she knew it was to hide the turmoil that had begun to show on his face.

 "Vegeta, please. Don’t go," she said, hearing the sudden tremor in her own voice.

 For a moment he seemed to hesitate, but then he picked up the satchel he had packed, slinging it over his shoulder. But even as he turned to her, she could see that his face had softened, and his eyes betrayed his own anguish. "Bulma," he said quietly, "I have to do this. But I still—" The words were caught in his throat.

 "Say it, Vegeta," she pleaded in a whisper. "Please say you still love me." She needed desperately to hear it. To know that everything that had transpired between them had not been a mere ‘distraction’.

 "I still…consider you to be my mate," he said in a voice that was too matter-of-fact.

 "Whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean," she said in a hushed whisper, feeling her world fall to pieces around her. He was leaving. That was all that she knew, all that she cared about.

 "It means…I will be back," he told her. Words meant to reassure her, but not the words she’d needed to hear. Then he added the final blow. "--In time to fight the Androids—"

 Her rage began to swell as his statement registered. In time to fight the Androids. Two years. Two years without him, to carry and raise their child alone….

 "You Son of a Bitch!" she cried, swinging at him uncontrollably. He was unmoving as she slapped him hard on the cheek. She knew he could have ducked it, or even stopped her. But he did nothing, as if he knew he deserved it. "Then go!" she sobbed. "I don’t need you. We don’t need you!"

 She turned to run from the room, but he caught her in his arms, turning her around to face him. For a moment she thought he would kiss her, but he was holding all emotions in check right now. Only his eyes betrayed the conflicting passions raging within him. "Bulma, you have to understand…"

 "I don’t," she said defiantly. He was looking into her eyes, and she struggled to keep her thoughts from him. There was no way she would tell him now. He didn’t want to be with her, and she didn’t want to hold him there with…

 "Woman, I can’t…hear your thoughts…" he said, clearly troubled that she was shutting him out.

 Good. Now you know how it feels, she thought, but aloud uttered only the enigmatic words he had crushed her with the day before. "You wouldn’t want to."

 Hurt flared in his eyes, giving her no satisfaction whatsoever. He released his hold on her. "Then so be it," he replied sharply.

 With that, he was gone.




Vegeta threw his bag onto the floor of the space capsule in anger, activated the auto-pilot and strapped himself in. Blasted woman! Why does everything have to be said? Couldn’t you just let me go and do what I must? Haven’t I bared enough of myself to you? Would you have me forget myself completely?! It was absurd how much she demanded of him!

 Wasn’t it?

 He remembered the desperation in her eyes as she’d begged him just to say that he still loved her. Hadn’t he already told her so? Hadn’t he utterly humiliated himself in front of those Earthlings, in front of Kakarrot, as he’d claimed her as his own? What more did she want? What more could he possibly be expected to give?

 He’d bonded to her for all time. He’d taken her as his mate. He knew that humans didn’t value the permanence of that commitment as much as Saiyans did, but their minds and hearts had become one through their bond. She’d seen into his soul, and knew the depth of his feelings for her. So why did she insist on this…verbalization…of something that was meant to be felt, not spoken…?

 It occurred to him then that he had purposely shut her out of his mind, as he’d tried to isolate himself from the distraction of his emotions. She didn’t know what was going on in his head, and he had seen to that himself. He’d never realized how painful it must have been for her to lose that sense of him until…

 …she’d done it to him today. The sense of her reaching out to him, her thoughts melding with his, that comfortable sensation of knowing that he was not truly alone, and never again would be…

 The moment he’d disappointed her, crushed her even, with his inability to say those three simple words…

 Vegeta had felt her shrink from him emotionally, as her entire spiritual being seemed to disentangle itself from his, ripping out the fine tapestry of shared thought and feeling that had become part of him. Her retreat had left him cold and solitary, with an emptiness where her presence had been. The grief of loss stung at his soul, and he understood finally why it was said that Saiyans could rarely survive the death of their mates. She was not dead, and he knew intellectually that he would be with her again. But her emotional withdrawal from him had affected him in a way he’d never imagined. Is that what I did to her? he thought with anguish. Would it have killed me just to assure her that I love her?

 The Capsule blasted off just then, and he braced himself against the G-forces, inconsequential as they were compared to his training regimen. But they jarred him nevertheless.

 Vegeta…I do need you!

 Her voice was far away, yet it whispered in his mind. He closed his eyes, feeling them grow hot. And the same stubborn pride that had sent him on this journey would not let him answer. But in his heart he knew that he needed her just as much. Perhaps more.




Bulma watched the space capsule fade into a tiny dot of light, then disappear from view. Her eyes were dry now, but a numb shock had fallen over her. Her hand absently caressed her abdomen, where Vegeta’s child slept. "Vegeta," she whispered. "I do need you!"

 She closed her eyes, and reached out…

 No one answered her.





"Bulma, we’ll just have to send Goku out to look for him."

 It wasn’t a suggestion. Chichi was just as determined to send her husband out into space in search of Vegeta, as she would be to send him to the lake to catch fish for dinner.

 Bulma shook her head vigorously at her friend’s statement. "No, Chichi. What would be the point?"

 The dark-haired woman’s eyes opened wide with furious indignation. "What would be the point?! He’d got a responsibility to you and that baby! What a jerk! When Goku finds out—"

 "Don’t tell him," Bulma interrupted her. "Please. Vegeta has things he has to work out. He’s hell-bent on becoming a Super Saiyan—"

 "And Goku would probably show him how, if he asked."

 Bulma smiled wryly at that. "You don’t understand him, Chichi. He’s too proud. He’d never ask Goku for help. He’s a Prince. He was raised to believe that he was the strongest Saiyan alive—"

 "I’m sorry, Bulma, but that’s no reason to leave you alone for—how long has it been now? Three months?"

 Bulma nodded gravely. Three months. It seemed like it had been so much longer. She sighed deeply. "I can’t keep him from doing what he needs to. Even if Goku were to find him, and convince him to come back—it wouldn’t be what he really wanted." She paused, then looked into her friend’s eyes. "I wouldn’t want him like that, Chichi. I need him to be with me because he wants to be. Not out of obligation."

 "So that’s why you didn’t tell him about the baby?" Chichi asked quietly.

 "Uh-huh." She looked away as she blinked back the tears that threatened to surface, her gaze resting on that same photo of Goku and Chichi’s wedding that she and Vegeta had talked about that last night they were together. He’d compared the Sons’ marriage to their bonding. Was that what he’d meant when he’d said that he still considered her his mate? Did he think of her as his wife? Had he deserted her, or simply gone off to do what he must, in the same way that Goku had left Chichi so many times in the past? She looked back into the other woman’s eyes, suddenly feeling a new kinship with her. "So please, don’t tell Goku," she said softly. "I just…needed to talk to someone."

 Chichi nodded her understanding, though there was still concern in her eyes. "You know it won’t be an easy birth," she said softly. "Gohan wasn’t. Saiyan babies are very strong…" Her voice drifted off, and Bulma knew that her face must have betrayed her sudden fright. Chichi rested a hand on hers. "Don’t worry, Bulma. If Vegeta’s not back in time, Goku and I will be there for you," she promised.

 Bulma gave her a wan smile. "Thanks, Chichi. I know. But he’ll be back. I just have a feeling—"

 A knock at the door interrupted their conversation, and brought Chichi to her feet. "Who could that be? Goku and Gohan aren’t due back for days." She rushed to the door. "Oh, hi! Long time no see."



Bulma peered over at the doorway, then smiled brightly at the sight of one of her oldest and dearest friends. "Krillin! Hey, how are you?!" she called.

 "Oh, hi, Bulma! Hello, Chichi. This is…a surprise." He glanced around the house in confusion. "Uh, is Goku here?"

 "No, he’s training at the Lookout with Gohan and Piccolo," Chichi said, then, noticing the little bald man’s strange manner, asked, "Is something wrong?"

 "Uh, no, it’s hard to explain. I thought I sensed…Vegeta’s ki signature. Goku told me he’d gone off into space to train, so—"

 For the briefest of moments Bulma’s heart leapt, at the thought that perhaps Krillin had sensed Vegeta’s imminent return. But her hopes were dashed as Chichi glanced at her in alarm, discreetly motioning to her womb.

 The baby. Vegeta’s blood ran through its veins, and the stronger it grew, the greater its energy would become apparent to anyone who could sense such things. An energy that must be unmistakably like its father’s.

 "Oh, I haven’t seen him in months," she said nonchalantly, self-consciously folding her hands on her lap, as if somehow she could shield the baby’s ki from their senses. "I doubt he’s come back, yet."

 Krillin shrugged. "Oh, well, I guess we were wrong."

 "Who’s ‘we’?" Bulma asked suspiciously, though she suddenly knew with dread what he would answer.

 Krillin motioned to the figure who had only just appeared at the door. "Oh, uh, me and Yamcha. We were training at Master Roshi’s and thought we would take a break, and when we headed this way, we thought we sensed Vegeta’s ki."

 "Hello, Chichi. Bulma," Yamcha said quietly as he stepped inside. He looked so dejected that she could almost feel sorry for him. He was averting her eyes, and she was glad. Though she no longer loved him, nor feared him, the events of the last few months had made her uncomfortable in his presence at best.

 Krillin seemed to notice at once the thick tension that had descended upon them. "Oh, hey, don’t tell me you two are fighting again. I really don’t feel like being a referee."

 Bulma looked up at him in surprise, at once relieved to realize that Krillin knew nothing—absolutely nothing—of what had transpired. You’re such a coward, Yamcha, she thought, smirking to herself. You didn’t even have the guts to tell one of your closest friends? Aloud, she said, "Don’t worry, Krillin. I was just getting ready to leave anyway. Poppa needs me to run a meeting for him early in the morning, and I need to get to sleep." She stood to leave, but in haste stood too quickly. The room started to swirl, and she had to grab the back of her chair to steady herself.

 "Bulma, are you sure you don’t want to stay the night?" Chichi asked in concern. "That’s the second time this afternoon you’ve gotten dizzy. You really shouldn’t drive."

 She insisted she was fine, but Chichi recognized the weakness that had accompanied her own pregnancy. "You need to eat more," she told her with meaning, having already explained earlier how the baby was probably taking more nourishment from her than a fully human child would.

The truth was that Bulma hadn’t ventured this far from home since she’d been in this state, and the long day out had taken its toll on her.

 "Hey Bulma, you don’t look so good," Krillin said, then shut up quickly as he realized she might not appreciate that comment. "Sorry, I just mean…you look kinda sick. I mean—"

 "It’s okay, Krillin, you’re right. I’ve been kind of under the weather. Do you think maybe you could drive my ship home?"

 "Sure, Bulma, no problem," her old friend assured her with worry in his eyes. Only when he motioned for Yamcha to come along did she realize what a bad idea that had been.

 The ride back to Capsule Corp was a silent one. Bulma kept to herself, and even tried to close her eyes and sleep. But once she glanced at Yamcha, and was sorry she did so. He was looking at her in the strangest way, and her face flushed.

 He knew.

 She was certain of it when he told Krillin to go on ahead, that he wanted to talk to her. For a panicked moment she was afraid to be alone with him, but she told herself that was crazy. She’d known Yamcha half of her life. What had happened on New Years Eve was the impulse of a drunken and desperate man. She knew he wouldn’t hurt her.

 Especially knowing what Vegeta would do to him if he dared.

 Alone with her in her living room, he finally broke his silence.

 "You’re pregnant." It was a statement more than a question.

 She nodded.

 He sighed deeply, his eyes closing sadly as he took it in. She knew this was hurting him, and she really did feel sorry for him now. "That son of a bitch," he muttered in a poorly controlled anger. "He does this to you…and just leaves?"

 "He went to train," she said steadily.

 "Just like that? Bulma, don’t you remember what a hard time Chichi had?! She almost—" He couldn’t finish the sentence. He shook his head. "I can’t believe this. Bulma, if he really cared about you—"

 "He does!" she yelled, though she knew even through her frayed nerves that she was probably trying to convince herself as much as Yamcha.

 "But to leave you like this, for months—"

 "Yamcha, he doesn’t know," she told him plaintively.

 Yamcha heaved a deep sigh. "So, what are you gonna do if he doesn’t come back?"

 "He will," she told him with certainty.

 "Okay." He knew better than to argue with her. "I guess I’ll be going, then." He turned to leave, but then stopped. He walked back to her, took her hand and looked into her eyes, with such gentleness that she didn’t even think to pull away. "Look, Bulma, I just want you to know…I may have screwed up our relationship, but…I’m still your friend, no matter what. If you need me for anything at all…"

 Her smile was just as sincere as she knew he was being. "Thanks, Yamcha. I appreciate it." Yamcha was a terrible boyfriend. But she knew that as a friend he was loyal.

 As he left, Yamcha’s question echoed in her mind, as she herself wondered, And what will I do if he doesn’t come back?



The gravity of the goliath planet seemed to pull on every cell of his body, and he knew without a doubt that the forces were far greater than anything he had simulated in the GT Chamber that Bulma had built him. He smirked to himself as he imagined her yelling at him that if he weren’t careful he would end up as flat as a pancake on the surface of this forsaken world… It seemed that she had berated him on a daily basis for one thing or another, usually because he had pushed himself past the limits of his own endurance. Yet each night she would massage his tortured muscles, lightly kiss his bruises, then make love to him until the day’s frustration dissipated in the bliss of their passion. And in those moments, it wouldn’t matter to him what he had or had not accomplished that day, as long as she was there to hold him through the night…

 A pang of loneliness rushed through him as he wondered how long it had been since he had seen her. One hundred and three days, he thought dully. One hundred and three nights. Days of training that had still brought him no closer to Super Saiyan. Nights without her, alone with his thoughts, his dreams…his nightmares. He remembered his dreams vividly, for he woke from them often. They were of her, of their time together, of a happiness that seemed so far away, and would leave him miserable each time they dissolved into the reality of his waking solitude. Unfortunately, the nightmares were just as vivid, evoking the horrors of his past. The childhood cut too short, the youth of abuse and humiliation at the hands of Frieza, the years of cold-hearted murder and destruction that shamed him now. He would awake in a cold sweat, his heart pounding, just as when similar images had haunted him while he’d been on Earth. The only difference was that Bulma was not here to hold him, to warm him with her kisses, to soothe him as she always did when he awoke from the demons of his past…

 Woman, I can not escape you no matter how much I try, he thought wryly as he lay down in the space capsule to sleep. And once more he sank into the exhausted rest that was no rest at all…




…The raven-haired woman was beautiful, with dark eyes that smiled at him as she cradled him in her arms. "I love you, Vegeta," she whispered, as if it were a secret just between the two of them. She kissed him on the forehead. "I love you, my son…"

 He smiled up at her brightly, with a happiness that he felt only when he was with her. Though he was only three years old, he knew that these moments alone with her were special, and so very different than the times he spent with his father, or the many servants who saw to his needs. Everyone else was so cold, so detached…his father almost frightened him. And sometimes he could see that she was afraid of him too…

 A booming voice startled him and he began to whimper as he clutched at his mother even more tightly. "Woman, what are you doing to that child?! Do you want to make him weak? He is the Prince of all Saiyans—"

 "He is my son, Vegeta," she said defiantly. "And your son as well. Can you show him no love at all?"

 "Love is for the weak, not the Saiyan Elite," he said angrily, ripping the child from her, causing him to cry even more. At an arm’s distance he held him, his gaze hard and filled with disgust. "Listen to him, crying for his mother," he said disparagingly. "This is what you have done to him. Well, no more!"

 The King motioned to his servant, ceremoniously handing over the child as if he could no longer bear to look at it. Vegeta screamed even louder as he watched the look of horror on his mother’s face as his father stretched out his hand, a glowing ball of blue energy taking form in his palm…

 "No, Mother…. Vegeta moaned in his sleep. The dream would always end here…but tonight his fatigue was too great. He could feel himself willing himself to stay asleep, to find out what happened next…

 "Nooooooooooooooo!" he cried, tearing himself from the servant, propelling himself through the air into his mother’s arms, making her cry out in astonishment and terror as the energy blast intended for her hit him square in the back…

 It hurt too much to cry, and he would not have, even had he been able to. For all he knew was that she was safe--his mother, his life. She was cradling him in her arms, and even as he slipped into darkness he felt at peace because she was holding him, whispering his name…

 He was immersed in water, something covering his mouth and nose, giving him air to breathe. He felt too sleepy to be afraid. His eyes wouldn’t open, and yet he could hear everything going on around him. Men’s voices, saying something about the Prince…That was him! Then the voice of his father, making his heart pound with sudden fear, although he couldn’t remember why…

 "So the brat’s power level is up you say?"

 Another man answered him. "The blast nearly killed him, your Majesty. His Saiyan healing ability has made him twice as strong as he was. But—"

 "But what, speak up, now!" his father boomed impatiently.

 "It’s not something I would recommend doing again," the man replied timidly. "You nearly killed him."

 "No, I nearly killed his Mother. He just chose to get in the way. You should have seen him fly! It was incredible! No, despite all her misguided efforts to soften him, he will be a bloodthirsty warrior. Enough to save his people from Lord Frieza."

 "And his mother? What shall we tell him when he comes out of the Regen chamber?"

 "She is to be kept away from him. I will tell him that she is in seclusion for her own protection. Nappa will undertake his training now. He’s three standard years old. He no longer needs a mother."

 Tears that he had not the strength to shed welled up in his eyes. The screams that struggled to come out were stifled in the lump in his throat. Of course he needed his mother! No one would take her away from him. No one!

 "Oh, one last thing, Doctor. I want his memory cleansed of the entire incident—"

 No! He would never forget! He would remember! Remember it all…



Vegeta awoke with the tears of over thirty years ago on his face, and the lump that had been in his throat poured onto the floor in the form of his own vomit. His head was spinning in the surreal state between waking and dream, but the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach told him that this was not a dream, not a nightmare, at all.

 "I remember, Father…" he said hoarsely, disgust dripping from his words. "I remember."



Bulma awoke with tears in her eyes, knowing that the dream had been no dream at all. Not hers, nor even his. It was real. It had happened. And suddenly so much seemed to make sense. His fear of love. His aversion to it. His insane obsession to be strong, the Prince of all Saiyans. He’d admitted to her that Frieza had made him the monster he was. But she knew now that his Father had set the stage for his transformation. Vegeta had been a sweet, loving little boy. And that bastard had taken it all away from him, pushing him to be something his mother had tried to prevent. What had become of his mother? Had the King banished her, or killed her? Had Vegeta ever seen her again? More importantly, had Vegeta ever learned the truth? Or were those repressed memories beginning to surface only now? What must he be going through? she thought with despair, wishing for the umpteenth time that he were here.

 Please come back to me, Vegeta…



Her voice touched his mind, and he felt her sadness through his own.

 It all made so much sense to him now, and yet it made no sense whatsoever. All this time he had thought Frieza solely responsible for the hardening of his heart, among other travesties. Now he knew the truth. And it challenged everything he had ever held sacred.

 His father, who had been his role model in life, who had taught him what it was to be the Prince of all Saiyans, who had instilled in him the pride that was his main motivation in life…

 …had lied to him. Had robbed him of his mother, of his childhood, for no other reason than to make him strong. King Vegeta had been incapable of love. He’d seen that as his strength, and had wanted to model his heir in his image. Even if it had cost him his Queen.

 Vegeta closed his eyes, reliving that last time he had seen his mother, the scene that had replayed so many times in his nightmares that he knew it now by heart.

 "I love you, Vegeta…"

His mother was hugging him close, so close that he had to move his head to breathe. Why was she so sad? And where had she been all this time? Would she be going away again?

 "Mother, don’t leave me…" He was so afraid. He clung to her in fear, even though his father had shoved him away any time he had tried to embrace him. Only with her could he be himself, free to feel as he wished, free to say whatever was truly on his mind…

 "I have no choice, my son. But please, listen to me. Remember the love that we share, you and I. And never let him take that away from you. No matter where I am, I will always love you. Even the Saiyan Elite can love…"

 "I love you, Mother…" he wept, even as the guards came to drag her away from him, and his father roughly pulled him away…

 Sent away for her own protection. To keep her from Lord Frieza. That was what his father had told him. The truth was that the Queen had found ways to see her son, even when the King had exiled her to the Summer Palace. The furious monarch had learned the truth and decided that her influence was still too great over the Saiyan Prince. She had to be sent off-world for good.

 "For her own protection, boy. You’ll see her again some day. After Frieza is gone…"

 But the King was gone long before Frieza. And then had begun his apprenticeship in Hell.

 His father had said that love was for the weak. He’d believed it too, and wondered why it had never troubled him that his Father had therefore never loved his mother. Or him, for that matter.

The King had considered him a weakling. Until that day his power level had soared, and he’d learned to fly…

 Only now did he see the sick irony in the fact that his father had had to nearly kill him, for him to prove himself of any worth.

 He’d thought himself as strong as his father, even stronger. Yet now their similar traits sickened him. The painful memory of his father’s attempt on his mother’s life had given him one ray of hope in himself, however. He was not his father. For he knew with certainty that he would rather die himself than ever harm a single blue strand of hair on Bulma’s head.

 He’d hurt her emotionally, though, he knew. Through their bond he had felt her sadness, her desperation even, that last day. She’d been troubled by something. He closed his eyes, seeing her again, watching her face, hearing the tremor in her voice as she’d begged him not to go. Her ki had been strange in some way, stronger perhaps, but he had attributed that to her anger. He had destroyed her by refusing to say that he still loved her. He’d let her slap him, knowing that he deserved it. After all, he had claimed her as his own publicly, then run away in shame of his own emotions. Then she’d closed herself off to him, shutting him out of her heart and her mind…

 "I don’t need you! We don’t need you!"

 "We…" he whispered painfully, the pieces of the puzzle beginning to interlock. At the time he hadn’t thought twice on her words, assuming that she was referring to the people of Earth, saying they didn’t need him to protect them…

 Only now did it all make sense: wanting to talk to him about something, closing her thoughts to him, so that he would not know, that strong ki emanating from her, not hers at all, but belonging to the child inside her…

 His child.

 Their child.

 "By the gods, Bulma, I’m sorry," he wept, as one only could with the knowledge that no one was around to see or hear.

 For a long time he lay there, shedding tears that were a lifetime in the making. For his mother. For the image of his father that was lost to him forever. For himself. For Bulma. For the baby he wasn’t quite sure how to be a father to.

 The despair turned into rage as his ki began to surge. He had to get out of this capsule. He felt he would explode with the swirl of emotions within him, and then he would have no way to ever find his way back to her. Back to them. He ran outside, grateful that none of the three moons of this planet were full, and that his tail had not grown back. Were the Oozaru to emerge, he would wreck havoc on the Universe.

 "Father!!!!" he cried in fury, plumes of blue energy bursting from his body. The first moon took the form of his father, and he raised his hand towards it in a frenzied fit of repressed rage…

 …and the moon exploded in the sky. Like his planet. Like his life. Like so many worlds he had destroyed for Frieza, so many civilizations. How many mothers and sons had he torn apart? How many lives had he destroyed like the cold-blooded assassin he had been trained to be?

 The debris of the moon fell slowly outward, but his rage would not so easily dissipate. His ki burned gold as he shot out blast after blast at the second moon, watching it explode like its sister world, two barren satellites that were as much dust now as the planet Vegetasei.

 His homeworld was gone, but that pathetic ball of rock that had been his home for the past two years now beckoned him as he’d never imagined it would. It was there that he had become what he hoped would be a better man than his father had been. It was there that Bulma waited for him. It was there that his child would be born.

 No one would take this new existence from him. Not his dead father’s memory, or spirit. And certainly not those Androids whom the boy from the future had claimed would take his life and destroy his new home…

 His rage burned anew, channeled into a more noble purpose. Defeating Kakarrot someday would still be interesting sport. But defeating those Androids was now his primary objective. If he were to protect Bulma, and ensure their child’s future, he would have to destroy this threat before it took away all that mattered to him now in the Universe…

 My family.

 With renewed vigor he pushed his ki to the limit, until he was burning as brilliantly as a newborn sun. This time, he needed no mirror to tell him that his eyes were flaming blue, and his hair had taken on a golden glow…

 I am a Super Saiyan, he thought with a strange new calm. And I will protect my family.

 My family. I like the sound of that.

 He erupted into wild laughter that he never in all his years would permit himself again.




Bulma lay on the couch, too weak to move. At thirty-four weeks, this baby was sapping her strength to the point where she barely had energy to drag herself to the bathroom. Her mother had even had to help her bathe; the warm steam of the shower had made her so dizzy that she’d almost passed out. She’d remembered Chichi’s warnings to eat more than usual, but lately her appetite was greatly diminished. It was so much easier just to let her fatigue take over, and lull her into the blissful sleep where Vegeta spoke to her from afar, promising that he would be back very soon…

 Chichi’s eyes opened wide as she saw her for the first time since that day at the Son house. "Bulma, what are you doing to yourself!?" she cried, jarring her from her dreams.

 "Oh, hi, Chichi," she said tiredly, stifling a yawn. "I was just resting. I don’t feel much like moving around. I’m saving my strength for when Vegeta comes back…"

 Why was Chichi looking at her like that? As if she felt sorry for her? Didn’t she know that Vegeta was finally on his way home?

 "Bulma, here, drink some of this," she said soothingly as she brought a straw to her lips. The iced herbal tea was cool and refreshing, and seemed to give her more strength. Chichi’s concerned face came more into focus, and she smiled.

 "He’s coming soon, Chichi. He told me in my dreams…"

 "I believe you, Bulma," she told her, too softly for the others in the room to hear. "You’re bonded to him, aren’t you?"

 "Uh-huh," she answered almost drunkenly.

 "I understand, Bulma," Chichi said confidentially. "So I’m sure your instincts are right, and he is coming back. But you need to keep up your strength."

 The women’s intimate exchange was interrupted by Yamcha. He looked so nervous as he glanced down at her. "I got the Senzu, like you asked, Chichi." He brought it to Bulma’s lips. "Come on, babe. Eat this. You’ll feel better."

 "Stop fussing, you two, I’m fine. Anyway, how do you know that’s safe for the baby?"

 "Are you kidding?" Chichi told her. "I practically lived on these while I was carrying Gohan. It didn’t hurt him a bit."

 Reluctantly she chewed the bean, feeling renewal wash over her. "You’re right, I feel a lot—" She stopped mid-sentence as a wave of pain stabbed at her womb. "Oh no—"

 "What is it?" Chichi asked worriedly.

 Bulma’s face was white. "It felt like…a contraction. I told you those beans would hurt—" she began to cry in panic, but Chichi didn’t seem to share her fear.

 "No, Bulma. The senzu probably saved your life. If you’re having contractions it’s because you were completely dehydrated. Try to relax, and we’ll just time them."

 She tried to breathe deeply, closing her eyes so she couldn’t see them hovering over her. The pain had subsided, but a few moments later her eyes shot open in alarm as another passed through her.

 "Five minutes," she heard Yamcha mumble.

 When the third set of contractions had passed, Chichi turned to Yamcha. "I think you’d better get her to the hospital right away. She’s going into pre-term labor."

 Fear gripped her. "No, Chichi, it can’t be! It’s too early!"

 "Calm down, Bulma. I’ve been through this. They can give you something to stop it for now, and help you carry him a few more weeks. But you’ve got to go. There’s nothing we can do for you here."

 Bulma nodded, and Yamcha scooped her into his arms. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Vegeta was supposed to be here…

 "I’ll gather some of her things and drive over there to meet you," she heard Chichi call, as Yamcha took to the air, promising her it would be all right.




Vegeta watched impatiently as the huge Capsule Corp complex grew larger, then braced himself for impact as he crashed into the ground not far from the main house. If Bulma had seen him land she would be there waiting when he disembarked, just as she had that last time…

 But he found himself alone, and uneasily flew up to the balcony of her room, calling her name as he came face to face with…

 …Kakarrot’s woman?!

 The dark haired woman looked startled, but relief washed over her as she realized who he was. "Where is she?!" he demanded, panic beginning to grip him.

 "So you finally decided to come back," she chastised him.

 "What the--?"

 "She’d not here. She’s in the hospital—"

 His eyes opened wide with fear, heedless of what this woman might think. "What happened?" he managed, then cried, "Tell me, woman!"

 "Calm down, Vegeta. She’s all right. She just went into pre-term labor, but the doctors have stabilized her."

 Relief flooded him. Then, holding his breath, he asked, "And the baby?"

 Chichi eyed him keenly. "You knew about the baby?"

 He shook his head. "Not when I left. But I sensed…" Why was he explaining himself to this woman, when he needed to see Bulma? "Take me to her," he ordered.

 The damned woman seemed as unafraid of him as Bulma, as she glared at him, unmoving. "There’s something I have to tell you first," she said. "Yamcha took her to the hospital. He’s with her now."

 Vegeta thought he would explode with fury. "That bastard! What the hell is he—"

 "There is nothing at all going on," she told him firmly, having laid a hand on his arm, partly to calm him and in part perhaps to keep him from flying off. Not that she could. But something told him that for Bulma’s sake he should listen to her, and find out what had transpired in his absence.

 "He’s been a friend to her, that’s all—"

 "A ‘friend’?" Vegeta spit out.

 "Yes. He’s been checking up on her, just as I have been, these last few weeks. She needed you, Vegeta. That baby is draining the life out of her, and if you truly care about Bulma then you won’t make matters worse by going in there and pounding her friend to death in front of her. She doesn’t need that stress—"

 "Don’t presume to tell me what to do, woman!"

 "And don’t presume to know what it’s like being a human woman carrying a Saiyan child!" she shouted back at him. "That’s something only I can understand! Dehydration and stress nearly caused her to lose this baby, and if you go in there in a jealous rage, the ones who will be hurt will be Bulma and your child!"

 He was silent. Damn her, he knew she was right.

 "Vegeta, for whatever reason—certainly none I can see--she loves you desperately," she told him, in a tone that was reassuring despite her sarcasm. "So please, give me your word you won’t cause a scene, and I’ll take you to her."

 Reluctantly he nodded, knowing it was the only way this blasted woman would tell him anything.

 "Good," she said, picking up a bag of Bulma’s things that she’d obviously been packing. "My air car is downstairs."

 "No," he told her. "That’s too slow." Ignoring her curses, he scooped her up and flew out the balcony, then off in the direction she instructed him.

 I’m coming, my love…



Bulma smiled with relief as the nurse detached the tubes that had been pumping glucose into her body. "Please ask the doctor when I can go home!" she called after the woman as she left the room.

 Yamcha was gazing down at her, with a smile of his own. "Don’t be in such a hurry. You should rest."

 "I’m fine, now, Yamcha. I want to be in my own house. Momma and Poppa will be home soon, and they can watch over me. I want to be there when Vegeta comes back. He’s on his way. I can feel it."

 His face darkened. "Bulma, you’ve been delirious for days. What makes you think--?" He gave up, not wanting to get into this discussion again. His face softened. "You know, you had me pretty worried."

 "Thanks for bringing me here, Yamcha. You really have been a good friend," she told him sincerely.

 But rather than be warmed by her words, he frowned. "Bulma, you know I still want to be more than that."

 She sighed. Not again. "Yamcha, I’m sorry. I belong to someone else, and you know that."

 "Someone who hasn’t been here in four months. Bulma, you don’t need someone like that. And your baby—needs a father. I…I could be a good father to him, Bulma."

 She knew he meant it, and it touched her deeply. But she couldn’t ignore what was in her heart. "Yamcha," she said gently, "he has a father."

 "Yes. He does."

 They turned as one, but even before she saw his face, her heart leapt with joy. "Vegeta," she whispered, tears filling her eyes.

 "Thank you for looking after my wife," he told Yamcha civilly, with a tightly controlled rage. "But you’re not needed here anymore."

 There was a warning in his eyes and his tone, that Yamcha seemed ready to ignore. But Chichi stepped into the room, motioning for Yamcha to follow her out. Reluctantly he obeyed, bidding Bulma a silent good bye.

 As soon as Chichi closed the door behind them, Vegeta’s face turned to hers, taking on the look of tenderness that he’d allowed only her to see. "Are you all right?" he asked, his voice choked with emotion.

 "Now I am," she wept, throwing her arms around his neck. His lips covered hers in a passionate kiss, even as their tears intermingled.

 "I’m sorry. For everything," he whispered between kisses. "I do love you, Bulma. More than you could ever know."

 "I love you, Vegeta…" she said softly, clinging to him. "Just promise me this isn’t another dream, and that you’re really here."

 For a long while he held her, then eased her gently back down onto the pillows. She smiled up at him weakly as his hands came gingerly to the place where their baby slept. "Foolish woman, why didn’t you tell me?" he reprimanded her, caressing the precious bulge in her abdomen with wonder. "I would not have left knowing—"

 "That’s precisely why," she told him with meaning. He nodded his understanding, as she asked, "Did you do it, Vegeta? Did you go Super Saiyan again?"

 Again he nodded, but that lifetime accomplishment seemed to interest him less at the moment than the miracle they had created together. "Bulma, I said something before I left. I told you…you were my weakness."

 "I remember," she said quietly. She’d wanted to forget.

 He gazed into her eyes. "The truth is, woman, that you are my weakness. And my strength," he added quickly. "You are everything to me. Never forget that. No matter how difficult it is to show you my love, or to say it, for reasons far more complicated than even I can comprehend… Never forget that I would be lost without you…"

 His voice was breaking with his admission, probably the most difficult of his life. She spared him from having to say more, pulling his face towards hers and kissing him again…

 "Hmmm-hmnm." A cough startled them, and Vegeta pulled away from her, his face crimson with embarrassment. The nurse stood there, holding a bottle of pills. She looked at Vegeta strangely, as if knowing that he wasn’t the same man standing at her bedside earlier. "Are you…the father?" she asked.

 "Of course I am!" he replied indignantly. "Did you think my wife would be kissing someone else?!"

 Taken aback, the old woman was speechless. "I’m sorry, I—"

 "Are those for me, Nurse?" Bulma asked, eyeing the bottle.

 "Uh, yes, the doctor wants you to take one a day and stay confined to bed for the next three weeks to prevent more contractions until the baby is further along." She held out the pills and Vegeta took them and put them in his pocket.

 "Is there any other care she requires here, or may I take her home?"

 "Um, no, but you’ll have to wait for the doctor to release her—"

 Vegeta wasn’t waiting. Bulma opened her eyes wide as he scooped her out of the bed and into his arms. "Vegeta, all I’ve got on is a hospital gown!" she protested, though she was finding the whole scene completely amusing.

 "That’s all right. You’re going straight to bed," he told her as he carried her towards the window.

 They left the nurse screaming as he leapt through the window and flew off.

 "We’re going home," he told her. Our home.

 Bulma settled against him. Please don’t let this be another dream, she thought to herself as she snuggled against him.

 It’s time to live our dreams, she could hear him respond. And forget the nightmares.





He’d helped her to change into her own nightgown, settled her into bed, and brought her a cool drink. He looked at her now expectantly, wondering what else he could do to make up for all the time he should have been here caring for her.

 "Just lie here with me," she said softly in response to his silent question. He did so gladly. He’d missed lying with her like this. She felt so good in his arms, and he cursed himself silently for ever having parted from her. Between them, their son was sleeping. He knew it was a son. With as much certainty as he knew that he would die for them both, if need be…

 "Vegeta?" she asked timidly, too timidly for her.

 "What?" he murmured, his face barely an inch from hers.

 "You did it twice today. You called me—"

 "My wife?" he offered, sensing her hesitance. "By Saiyan tradition, you are my wife. From the moment we bonded, we were joined forever." He hesitated, worried suddenly that the finality of that might intimidate her. "I hope that’s not—a problem," he said uncomfortably.

 She smiled her reassurance. "The only problem you’ll have is if you ever forget it," she teased him.

 "I could no sooner forget it than I could forget to breathe," he replied in utter seriousness. He kissed her again, relishing her warmth, drinking in her scent as he hadn’t in far too long. How had he ever stayed away? What a complete fool he had been! It was then that he remembered the surprise he’d prepared for her before he’d left for home. He looked into her eyes. "I do recognize however, the necessity of certain human conventions." He reached into his pocket. "I found a large carbon deposit on the last planet that I was on, and I crushed it into one of those things you’re so fond of." He opened up his hand to reveal the glittering jewel that he himself had fashioned for her.

 "A diamond?" she squealed in surprise. "It’s…as big as a baseball!"

 He smirked with satisfaction. He’d had to outdo that Earthling with his pathetic little ring. "I didn’t have any way to make it into a ring, but I hope this will do for now."

 Her eyes had been transfixed on the huge sparkling gem, but now she fixed them on his. "You…made this for me?" she asked tearfully. It warmed him to see how moved she was. He had finally done something right for her.

 "I had to do something to make sure these pathetic Earthling males stop proposing marriage to you," he responded, then after a moment’s thought, added, "And if there’s some kind of ceremony you wish to have—you know, like Kakarrot and his woman had---"

 He knew he was probably saying this all wrong, but it would take time to learn all the ways of this world. Help me out here, woman, this is new to me! he pleaded silently.

 "This is the best proposal, and the most beautiful diamond, any woman could ask for," she promised him, reading his thoughts of insecurity. "The answer is yes, Vegeta, I’ll marry you!"

 She threw her arms around him, and he hugged her to him tightly, gratefully. Bulma, I was never taught how to be a good husband, or even a good father, he thought to her, unable to say these things aloud yet. But I promise you that I will try my best. And I will be true to you, and protect you and our child, with my life.

 I know you will. I always knew, she sent back to him as she gazed into his eyes with those deep pools of blue.

 "I guess the Dragon Balls gave me my wish after all," she whispered. He looked at her questioningly and she explained, "I’ve finally gotten my handsome Prince."

 He laughed softly as he brought his lips to hers again, knowing full well that he was the one who’d truly been granted a dream come true.


The Beginning….


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