Author’s Note:Thanks to my fellow Muses Lex, Kira and Mei for their awesome betaing.
Disclaimer: I don’t own them, sadly. *sniff sniff*
I dedicate this chapter to Jita-Kun. YOU ROCK ONNA!
~The Pen is mightier than the tongue~
"Okassan," called Bulma breathlessly as she entered the kitchen. "Papa said I should help you," She said as she swung open cabinets and cupboards in search of their finest china tea set.
"Oh hello dear," Mrs. Briefs smiled at her daughter as she expertly took the tea cups Bulma held in bunch against her bosom and gently placed down on the counter. "How was your date with Yaumcha?" She asked conversationally.
Bulma blinked. ~Who? ~ "Oh right…Yaumcha," Bulma rolled her eyes. "He was in a bad mood," Bulma shrugged as she reached for a packet of tea biscuits to arrange on the tray. "So it wasn’t much of a date."
"Well, give him some time Bulma," Mrs. Briefs advised as she continued to work busily. "You’re both so young…" Mrs. Briefs sighed and paused for a moment. "You know," She began turning to look at her daughter. "Your father and I didn’t get along very well when we first met. In fact," She giggled. "We couldn’t stand each other."
Bulma stared at her mother with wide eyes, quietly listening to her mother not knowing how to respond. "Well, never mind that," Mrs. Briefs laughed and resumed her preparations.
"’Kasan, who are the visitors that Papa was talking to outside?" Bulma asked thinking about the flamed haired one. She couldn’t place her finger on it, but there was something magnetic, almost dangerous about him, and she was instantly taken with his appearance.
"Oh the Saiya-jin?" Mrs. Briefs responded, and then let out a sigh. "I just think they’re adorable, especially that short one. He’s a Prince sweetie!" Mrs. Briefs exclaimed. "And they came to ask your father for help. Can you believe it?"
"Wow that's incredible 'Kasan!" Exclaimed Bulma smiling brightly, "I wonder why they need Papa’s help?"
Mrs. Briefs shrugged. "Something or other about some powerful enemy they are at war with," she explained. "They should be speaking with your father in his office right now. Why don’t you take these refreshments up to them Bulma dear, and ask your father if I should prepare the guest wing."
"Hai ‘Kasan!" She chirped, as she grabbed the tray with steaming tea, a biscuit sliding down to the ground as she left the kitchen, her excitement showing at chance to see the Saiya-jin evident.
"Be careful dear!" Mrs. Briefs called out after her daughter.
Dr. Briefs sat behind his desk, his chin resting on top his clasped hands, as he pondered over the Saiya-jin no Ouji requests. It certainly wasn’t impossible, but it surprised him that he hadn’t thought of it before, but then, he had no inspiration for it.
"Well," Vegeta pressed. "Can you do it?" The other two Saiya-jin behind him waited expectantly with crossed arms.
Dr. Briefs raised his brows and sighed. "I don’t see why not. It is certainly possible. However, it will take me some time to-"
Bulma, who had stood outside eavesdropping for the past few moments, chose that moment to make her entrance. Knocking once, she slowly opened the door and peered into her father’s office.
"Excuse me Papa," Bulma said softly, keeping her eyes fixed on the wall behind her father’s desk. "Okassan, sent me up with these refreshments for you and your guests."
"Come in child," Dr. Briefs smiled warmly, unlike his earlier display as he motioned for Bulma to enter. Nappa watched the display of emotion with silent but obvious disgust.
Bulma walked the rest of the way into the grand room, and carefully set the tray on the large cherry coffee table; then began to pour a cup of tea for each Saiya-jin and her father. She daintily handed the first cup to the Prince who accepted the cup with a nod. Bulma frowned inwardly, disappointed that the Prince did not speak or even meet her eyes. ~Guess, he feels too important…~ Bulma thought grumpily.
She continued, handing a cup to Nappa and Raditz respectively. She cringed slightly from Nappa’s unimpressed scrutiny, and Raditz’s blatant leering. Lastly, she poured a cup of the hot tea for her father, and hastily brought it to him along with a couple of biscuits, seeking refuge beside him.
"Papa," she said after a moment. "’Kasan would also like to know if she should prepare the guest wing?" She asked then waited expectantly for an answer.
Dr. Briefs looked over to the Prince. "Vegeta no Ouji, should I tell my wife to prepare rooms for you and your men?"
"How long before you have prepared what I need Dr. Briefs?" asked the Prince in turn.
"Um…well," Dr. Briefs stammered nervously. "I would have to do some research, make some calculations, draw some plans, then the actual construction…we could be talking months," bristled the doctor.
"Four weeks Dr. Briefs," Vegeta said in a tone that broached no argument. "I don’t have months to spare. My people do not have months to spare. My empire is at war, and although we have held our own for quite some time; our enemy is quite powerful and merciless. I must ascend to destroy him! Four weeks Dr. Briefs that is all I will allow you."
Bulma chewed on her lip nervously as she watched her father mull over the Prince’s ultimatum. Dr. Briefs wasn’t one to back down from a challenge, but she could imagine his insecurity at the Saiya-jin no Ouji’s demand. Bulma stole another glance at the short yet stocky Prince.
Though he did not seem as old as the other two Saiya-jin with him, especially the tall bald one with the perpetual cynical look, or the other one with the extremely long layered hair that made her uneasy with this ogling looks, Bulma figured the no Ouji’s age to be no younger than 20, but no older than 30 human years.
His features were well defined, and very masculine, which Bulma found attractive. There was an air of importance around him. Regality. He commanded all respect and attention and rightfully so, he was royalty after all. Bulma knew well what that was like. After all She was the Princess and sole heir of her father’s Corporation. Bulma smiled inwardly. Hai, Prince Vegeta would do very nicely for what she had in mind.
"Well Doctor?" The Prince demanded.
"…Um…well…I…uh…that is…" Dr. Briefs was at a loss for words. Four weeks was just too short notice for him to prepare something feasible, and he was about to tell the Prince so when his daughter interrupted.
"Otosan, if I may," Bulma said carefully, inwardly hoping that her scheme would work. "And your highness," she said bowing respectfully for the Saiya-jin Prince. "I have been recently working on a new a project that I believe may suit the Prince’s needs." She said momentarily locking eyes with Vegeta.
Nappa let out a sarcastic snort causing Bulma look up. She gave him a hard stare, which made the large warrior bristle. Vegeta watched the little exchange with interest, and then gave Bulma a quizzical look. She blushed and quickly tore her gaze from his to stare down at her boots. Once again Nappa opened his mouth to comment only to be silenced by a dangerous glare from his Prince.
Dr. Briefs looked (got rid of ‘on’) at Bulma with gratitude as well as interest. How could he have forgotten Bulma?! She was his protégé after all. His daughter had exceeded his abilities sooner than he ever could have expected. What ever she had in mind to help the Saiya-jin no Ouji attain his goal was sure to be a success.
"Well out with it girl!" Dr. Briefs insisted unable to hold back his enthusiasm. "Tell us more about this project!"
~Hai, do to tell us little one~ Thought Vegeta to himself as he watched Bulma intently. This human girl had caught his interest since he had met her outside earlier. Vegeta had come across all kinds of exotic creatures and species in his lifetime, but this small human girl was absolutely…delectable. And much too young, he thought with some regret. He could smell her innocence. She was untouched, yet there was a certain gleam in her eye. A corner of his mouth twitched slightly up with knowing. Behind that innocent veneer was a minx ready to pounce. The Doctor must be having a hell of a time keeping her under control, mused Vegeta. If this weren’t a diplomatic trip, he’d actually consider taking on the little human as an aside. He had no doubts that the Scientists little senjo of a daughter would make a most pleasurable diversion. Unfortunately, there was no time for such distractions. He had priorities to attend.
Encouraged, Bulma gave her father a broad smile, and continued to animatedly describe her idea. "Well, I have been working a design for a new capsule ship that will conform to varying levels of gravity according to its passengers. The default setting would be that of Chikyuu, but it can be easily reset. I wager if the Prince trains over a period time, gradually increasing the gravities settings his body will adjust to the pressure therefore increasing his strength." Bulma finished turning to look expectantly at Vegeta for a reaction.
He hid it well, but Vegeta was extremely intrigued with the girl’s proposal. Dr. Briefs daughter had obviously inherited his genius if not his looks and thankfully so. The latter obviously came from the girl’s mother who, from his earlier glimpse was still ‘tight’…Vegeta scowled inwardly. What was it about these Chikyuu-jin women? Before he had arrived here he had never given any female of any kind so much as a one-time look over. A rub off from Raditz, he supposed. That lecherous bastard had been tagging along with him for far too long. Perhaps it was time to send him back to Vegeta-sei. The overt looks of interest he had given the young girl hadn’t gone unnoticed by him either. Knowing Raditz he probably had a scheme to get the little chit in bed. Well, he had another thing coming. For one, the situation would prove a diplomatic blunder and Vegeta nor his father take kindly to scandals and embarrassments by any of their subjects, including the higher classes. And secondly, if he the Prince himself wasn’t allowed to cavort and carouse during this mission then there was no way in hell any of his subordinates, Raditz especially were going to engage in such frivolity.
"Why that sounds fascinating Bulma!" Exclaimed Dr. Briefs as he came around the desk to hug his daughter earning him more disgusted glares from Nappa and even Raditz. "Been holding out on me all this time child. For shame!" He chided giving her a wink.
Bulma couldn’t help but smile widely in return. She loved her father very much, and although she could be a handful at times, head strong and rebellious, she was still her daddy’s little girl and he supported her in whatever he could. "Domo arigato ‘Tosan," Bulma said as she hugged her father, her cheeks once again rosy with blush.
A rude cough from Nappa interrupted the pair and was once again silenced by the Prince’s hand.
Vegeta looked on at the emotional display with detached amusement. ~These humans are a peculiar lot~ he thought then mentally shook his head. He needed to stay focused on his mission.
"Four weeks." Said Vegeta locking eyes with Bulma. "I shall remain here while you undergo the project, and resume with my training. Nappa and Raditz will return to Vegeta-sei." Both Nappa and Raditz started at this, but smartly bit back any protests. "At the end of the four weeks," continued Vegeta, "I will return to Vegeta-sei in this….gravity ship." Finally, Vegeta broke his gaze with Bulma to look at her father. "You shall be compensated properly Doctor If your daughter’s invention proves valuable and I ascend," his gaze turned back to Bulma. "You will have the gratitude of millions of civilizations."
To be continued…
End Notes: Hai, I know I promised a citrusy treat, but it’s gonna have to wait just one more chapter. Until then, the lemon shall continue to marinate.