I do not own Dragonball Z or the characters attributed to the series...Violence ahead, if you have an abhorrence to this, turn away now...
Vegeta shot awake, heart pumping; his brain on fire from the damnable side-effects of this fucking virus he had been cursed with. His hand fisted against his head. It was getting worse...much worse. His hand swept the night table, searching frantically for the stash of senzu he knew Bulma kept there, sweeping off books and the lamp as he groped hurriedly. Damn it, where were they?
His hand enclosed around a small packet, yanking it up and shakily putting one into his dry mouth. He relaxed a bit as the senzu repaired, for the time being, the damage that the virus was wreaking on his system. God, how much longer could he go on like this? He laid back down, his hand groping silently for his woman's, wanting to feel the simple relief of her presence. He touched nothing but air, turning his body towards her spot; empty and cold in the waning light of the moon. Vegeta shot up out of bed, a dread unlike any he had ever felt before, rolling through him. Where in the hell was she? A glance across the room showed no lights in the bath...another sharp pang of alarm ran through his body. He swung his legs out of bed, throwing on his training shorts; frantically searching out her ki. Nothing near-by, he could get no reading out of her at all. God, what had happened to her? Parisia. That had to be the answer. Bulma knew not to leave the compound alone for any reason. For her not to be anywhere on it meant that someone had taken her. His fist clenched convulsively. Damn it, he would rip that fucking bitch apart. There would be no escape for her this time. Why had he just not killed her that night so long ago, when she had first threatened to open her fucking mouth about their plans?
Vegeta raced back to their room, throwing on the replicated armor she had made for him. He had to find her, before Parisia did something to her. His heart constricted painfully at the thought that she could be dead already. No, he had not lost her yet; and he would not lose her at all.
Bulma winced as she was drug before Frieza, the guards employed with the task of bringing her to her destination caring little whether they injured her or not. Ahead of her, she saw the rapidly approaching double doors that marked the entrance to Frieza's throne room. She was going to die.
Not alone. I won't be dying alone. That single thought fortified her for the confrontation to come. At somepoint she would find a way to inject him with her creation. Any remorse she might have felt for using it in such a purpose had fled...fled with the death of her brother. Frieza was a black plague on the universe that needed to be wiped out. If this virus would do that, then she would gladly use it. She just needed enough mettle to stand up to the bastard oppresor and take him down. Bulma didn't want to get that close to him, but it looked like she would have little choice.
Oh God Vegeta, I'm sorry...sorry for so many things. Sorry for leaving that blasted bed, for not paying attention to your warnings...for not finding you a cure. She choked on a sob; he would die, just like she was going to and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. Vegeta had trusted her and she had failed him completely. Had he missed her? He had been so exhausted; had he even awakened yet and realized she was gone? Bulma wasn't even sure what time it was. Time had become relative at this point. She stretched out a bit, opening her heart to him; trying to feel him through the force of their bond. Something large and all encompassing hit her, a rage beyond her comprehension and fear. There was a terrible fear. The force of the emotions shining at her nearly caused her to drop to her knees with the impact. Vegeta . He was coming.
Vegeta had sensed her. Frieza was on Chikyuu. His ship was more then likely docked at the ambassador's palace. He rocketed off towards the faint signal that had been shining at him for the past hour. God, he couldn't be too late, he couldn't be too late. He had felt her for a moment, through the strong ties of their bond. Enough to know she was alive and well. More then likely Frieza would keep her that way in hopes of using her against him. Parisia...damn you. I will see you dead by my hand for this. He only hoped the training had payed off. He had to be a Super Saiya-jin by now. His circumstances left little room for doubt. He either was, or he wasn't. Bulma's life depended on it. Bulma...I'm coming.
Kakkarot collapsed onto the beach, his back laden with weights. Oh God, how much more of this would he have to do? Roshi had allowed him no rest, adding and adding to the weight on his back; sending him further and further with each exercise he was given. Kakkarot had no idea how much he carried on his back now, but the five mile swim had been only the beginning.
"Are you ready to quit, boy?" Gohan's raspy voice invaded the cloud of self-pity he had been slowly wrapping around himself. Kakkarot lifted his head tiredly, glaring at the old man.
"Hardly!" He spat. "I'm merely resting."
Gohan smiled down at him. "Rest time is over...it's nearly dawn and you have yet to till the garden."
"Huh?" Kakkarot looked at him in confusion, eyes widening as Gohan dropped another enormous weight on the sand before him. Oh God...not more.
"Come on, Kakkarot, or is all your talk about defeating Frieza just that? Talk?"
Kakkarot pulled himself to his feet, groaning; his black eyes burned with anger. "I am a Saiya-jin. Nothing is out of my reach, old man." He stumbled to where Gohan stood. "Where is Master Roshi? Shouldn't he be the one commanding me?"
Gohan's mouth curled into a slow smile. Such a fighter; such spirit. He would have enjoyed having a son such as this. Strong, spirited...defiant. Kakkarot was special, and he would succeed. Of that Gohan had little doubt.
"Roshi is off entertaining some..." he coughed, "...some friends."
Kakkarot snorted. "You mean he's off chasing women. Gohan, how can you tolerate him? What kind of a master runs off to chase after women? There is no discipline in this."
"Roshi was my master, Kakkarot. It is not for you to question his methods or his life. He has been long-retired...be glad he gave you a chance to train under him. You will never have the chance to train with anyone better."
Kakkarot bowed his head. "I suppose. Still...how is he going to know how I am doing if he's never around to see?"
Gohan laughed, clapping Kakkarot on the back. "Boy, this is only your first night. You have yet to accomplish anything."
"Fine!" Kakkarot growled. "Lets get on with it." He slipped the weights off his back, preparing to strap the larger one on.
"Why did you take those off?" Gohan looked at him mystified.
"I thought you wanted me to put these on." Kakkarot stabbed a finger in the direction of the large weight, resting beside Gohan's foot.
"Oh, I do, Kakkarot, along with those." Gohan nodded at the pack that Kakkarot had dropped.
Kakkarot looked at him in disbelief. "I..I..."
"Do you or do you not wish to defeat Frieza?"
Kakkarot swallowed hard; slowly reaching down and pulling the pack of weights back onto his sore back. He had thought himself strong. What a joke. So much for the legendary Saiya-jin strength.
"I do." His eyes drilled into Gohan's. "I do."
The rendevouz had gone as scheduled; the ships safely encapsulated. Toma stood looking around at the group of people that sat around him. He had lost no one.
"The next target is just a few hours away. The heart of Frieza's empire, and the home of his main palace and residence. It is, as of yet, unnamed, though I don't doubt that he will*would* name it after himself. As of right now, it is merely known as Planet Seventy-nine. One of thousands that has been assimilated into his collection. Frieza's last known postion was believed to be this planet, though I have no idea whether or not that is still the case. Many of his most loyal followers have flocked to his palace to be a part of his court. We can deliver a devestating blow to him by destroying it. "
"What do we do if he's there?" Krillin looked around worriedly. "I mean he has his own fighting ability, not to mention that his palace isn't going to be as poorly defended as King Cold's was."
"That's true." Toma looked hard at the small group. "We have the energy absorbers. This is where they will come into use. They can absorb massive hits of energy for your ship, as long as they remain unharmed."
"Even energy amounts such as someone as strong as Frieza would put out?" Yamcha could barely believe it.
"Yes. " Toma's eyes drilled into him.
"Alright then, what's the plan?" Yamcha stared back, ready to end this battle with Frieza. He didn't doubt there would be another one with the Saiya-jin after this was all over and done with.
"Same as before, except this time we stay in a group. There will be no deviation from this path. You will be wingmates to each other. When someone is targeting a shot, the rest will guard his back. This planet will be tightly monitered, so it will be in and out. Bardock will orbit until we are done, then lead us to the next available planet to set down on. Is this understood? There can be no single hero in this or someone will more then likely die. "
"Here's to hoping Frieza's on this berg, so we can see him dead once and all." Yamcha's voice rose in excitement. "I'm ready to go back home."
"We all are, boy, we all are."
"Well, Ms. Briefs. How good to see you again." Frieza sneered down at Bulma from his elevated throne.
"Ms. Briefs?" Bulma attempted to keep her voice steady as she faced him. How did he know? The air around her was fetid; malodorous and heavy with the stench of corrupton and evil. She shuddered inwardly. How had Vegeta been able to survive on this ship for as long as he had, being forced to endure Frieza and his sickening taunts; such a proud man forced to bow before this monster. Never again, Vegeta...you will never have to bow to him again.
"My dear Parisia was kind enough to fill me in on what she has learned about your parentage. You know, now that I think about it, I remember your father very well. A cowardly yet brilliant scientist, wonderful designs. This very ship as a matter of fact was of his design. He died on it, sobbing like a baby. Quite fitting, don't you think? I do believe your mother has given Ginyu many years of pleasure. It is a shame he is no longer with us. She must be very lonely. I'll have to see about rectifying that!" Frieza laughed virulently, enjoying the look of offense that had settled on Bulma's face.
"You're a monster! How dare you belittle the people whose lives you destroy!" Bulma was cognizant of a growing swell of rage emanating from Frieza, something that had been building slowly since she had arrived, yet only really manifested itself completely at just that moment. She braced herself for whatever was to come, praying she would get a chance to use the damn virus on him.
"Yes, well those who are weak are hardly worth my recognition and esteem, now are they? Someone such as yourself, yet you're not completely weak, are you?" Frieza's tone had taken on a venomous quality, leaving her cold. She straightened her shoulders, unwilling for him to see her fear. He feeds on fear...
"What do you want from me?" Wasn't that truly what was at the heart of the matter? He was using her for something, more then likely Vegeta; meaning she had limited time to actually stick him with the virus.
"Oh, I want many things from you, things you have apparently been giving to other people; such as the Saiya-jin or should I say Vegeta. You must be a talented whore for him to keep you alive this long, either that or he truly appreciates your inventions. Vegeta never really seemed the sentimental type. Parisia tells me you have a little bastard with him. We'll have to make sure that he meets an untimely end. Why right now Zarbon has taken several men to raid your little hide-out. Parisia also tells me that you are expecting another unfortunate child with the Prince. " Frieza stood, tail lashing out.
Bulma shrunk back from the look of demented fury that raged in his red eyes. She watched apprehensively as he stalked down to her. Frieza stopped inches from her face, his lips curled back in an ugly sneer.
"He was mine and you took him from me. Vegeta might have fought it, but eventually he would have been left with little choice but to accept what I offered him. " His hand snaked out, latching onto her chin. "Until he met you. " He studied her face for a moment...judging, observing. "I can appreciate the draw you must have been for him. You certainly are not short in the beauty department and your brain is one to be rivaled I am sure." He held up a small device, shoving it in her face so she could see it. "Do you recognize this?"
She nodded lamely. Her energy absorber. Somehow he had gotten his hands on her energy absorber. God, no!
"Such a wondrous creation and one I must thank you for. Why without you, I would have never known the benefits of having such an invention. I am going to make great use of this and of you in my empire, just like I am going to use Vegeta. He was always so special, so beautiful and angry. So desirably violent. A man to be sure; a killer fit to serve in my army. It will be so good to return him to the fold."
"Vegeta will never turn to you for anything. He is disgusted by you...you revolting bastard!" The blow came hard and fast against her face, laying her flat on the floor. Bulma tried to raise, but couldn't, her body collaping under her. She glanced up; Frieza's foot was pressing down painfully on her body. Oh, God! The baby! She tried to roll free, but he was too strong, the pressure of his foot growing stronger and stronger. She thought her ribs might be breaking under the weight. She coughed, spitting up blood.
"You have finally given me the one thing I need to get everything I want from Vegeta. He will sacrifice himself in a moment to save you, won't he?" Frieza bent down, speaking softly, tauntingly near her ear. His voice deceptively smooth and gentle. "Am I right?" His foot ground in ever so slightly
Bulma tried to shake her head no despite the agony her body was in, her breathing ragged and wheezing. The baby, he was killing the baby. She tried to work her hand down to her pocket. If she could only reach the virus...
The foot shifted, descending on her arm with a sickening crunch; she moaned, pokers of red-hot flame searing through her as she gasped for a single breath. Oh no! Bulma wasn't going to be able to give the virus to him. She sobbed quietly, a raw choking sound filled with agony and despair and grief. No, nonono. It wasn't supposed to be this way! She should have at least gotten one chance to inject him with the stuff. Her last coherent thought was of Vegeta. She had failed him again. Forgive me...
Kakkarot blinked rapidly as the rising sun crested over the horizon, blinding him in with its brilliance. He sighed and went back to work. He had been tilling this godforsaken garden for well over an hour; at least five hundred pounds strapped onto his back. He had gotten no sleep and he missed his mate. Chi-Chi. He had attempted to initiate contact through their bond, but had not reached her. Her ki was strong and healthy, so he assumed that she was asleep. Soon, Chi-Chi, I'll be home soon.
"Are you still working on that tilling, Kakkarot?" Gohan's voice was like a knife through his brain. Damn it, didn't the old man sleep at all?
"I'm getting there!" Kakkarot's voice sounded rough even to his own ears.
"Well hurry up so you can come and get some food. A strapping boy like yourself needs to keep his energy!"
Kakkarot shot him a glare, Gohan's baleful glance in his direction doing nothing to settle his irritation. His stomach growled uncomfortably, food would be so good right now. He was so hungry and he had become spoiled by Chi-Chi's amazing concoctions. Was it possible for anyone to cook as well as she did? Kakkarot was struck with another pang of longing at the thought of her...wishing they were together, locked in an embrace. He had spent many long nights, like that, simply holding her sleeping body tightly against him in his embrace; caressing her face, smoothing the beautiful black hair. Kakkarot still marveled that a Saiya-jin warrior such as he could have found such a delicate, beautiful creature. He supposed delicate was the wrong word...he snorted in memory of Chi-Chi beating the hell out of him with a pot. She had spirit and fire to match any Saiya-jin woman.
"Are you going to stand there drooling all day, Kakkarot, or are you going to come and eat? The Master is here for breakfast and wishes to speak of your progress." Gohan turned abruptly and rambled back down the hill.
"Gohan, wait...I'm not done." Kakkarot stared after the retreating figure. Why argue? If Roshi wanted to talk he'd gladly oblige him, especially if it meant food. He through off the weights gleefully, racing after the retreating figure. Maybe now he would be able to get somewhere.
Bulma came to in a fog of pain and hopelessness. She had missed her chance...she had missed her one chance to kill Frieza. She had failed Vegeta. Oh God...her breath hitched in a painful sob, her throat aching with the force of it. She tried to move, but couldn't. Her arm was broken, she was pretty sure of that and she'd guess several ribs and quite possibly her back. The baby...she tried to sit up, coughing violently; falling back down on the floor, the sharp pangs of pain vibrating through her body overwhelming her in their magnitude. Slowly, agonizingly she wiggled her hand over to her belly, letting it drop over her abdomen. Her body seemed to radiate with pain from every single pore; she couldn't be too sure if this part did, too. The pain from her back and ribs seemed to encompass the whole of her body, leaving her weak and helpless. She heard soft laughter in the distance, taunting her with its scorn.
"Lord Frieza, I think she's concerned about the little bastard she's carrying." It was Parisia's voice, so cool and mocking.
"Well, by all means, Parisia, this is your chance for your revenge. Please feel free to take it." Frieza laughed jeeringly. "You did say Vegeta had no interest in the brat." More laughter, rabid and insane.
Bulma felt the panful grip on her hair; yanking her broken body up.
"No...damn you, bitch." Bulma struggled fiercely, the adrenaline and desire to save her child giving her strength, but Parisia was so strong. She was just so strong and she held on so tightly. Bulma sobbed, trying weakly to detach herself from the woman's painful grip. "No." She begged, "Not the baby, please, not the baby."
Parisia gripped her hair tightly, making sure she held it as closely as she could. She wanted nothing more then to cause this bitch pain. Their eyes met; the hate-filled black orbs, glittering with an insanity Bulma had never seen the like of before, meeting the tear-streaked, blue pools.
This is why Vegeta had not wanted her, this woman was the reason that Vegeta had turned away from her and denied himself to her. Damn him! Damn him to hell and damn his bitch with him. She screamed in rage as her fist connected with Bulma's abdomen, throwing every ounce of strength she had into the blow. Bulma had already given him one bastard, she would not give him another. Parisia would see the other little brat dead as well. Vegeta would know the mistake he had made and he would know that he had lost everything because of his own lack of vision.
Bulma groaned in despair and agony as the fist connected, doubling her over in pain and shock; her hair ripping out of Parisia's hands. No. NoNoNo. Please not the baby. She sobbed brokenly as she felt the first stabbing feeling of fire, alighting her abdomen in a blaze of pain. Oh, God, she had not felt anything like this since she had given birth to Trunks.
"NO!!!!" She screamed out hysterically, "No!!" She collapsed in a heap, her body broken; her spirit diminished. Dimly, she opened her eyes, staring at the hard, cold floor below her, her mind unable to form any cohesive thought save one: she was dying and her child was going to die with her.
"Oh yes, my dear Bulma. When we are through, you will understand who the master is and Vegeta will be mine."
"Lord Frieza!" A guard burst in, his face alight with dread and excitement. "Prince Vegeta is captured and is demanding to be brought before you."
Frieza raised an eye. "Demanding, he always was so woefully demanding. I wonder if he is as demanding in all of his pursuits. Well certainly, let's not keep the Prince waiting. Show him in." He chuckled malevolently. "Won't he be in for a surprise?"
Vegeta stood still, feeling the ki of his woman slowly slipping away. No! It was getting weaker and weaker. He had turned himself into the guards, demanding to be taken straight to Frieza, but they had taken their time, giving him ample opportunity to digest what the weakening ki meant. "Woman..." His voice was a soft whisper; despairing and fearful.
He felt out with the bond, searching the flux of emotions surrounding her, drawing back in agony. Such despair and agony and pain; so much pain. Oh God, woman, I'm coming. Everything will be alright soon. He tried to fortify her resolve, sending her love and comfort and anything else he could possibly think to communicate to her. She was strong; one of the strongest women he knew. He had made such a terrible mistake; been the worst kind of fool believing her inability to fight made her weak. She wasn't, though. His woman had stood strong in the face of terrible injustice and danger; overcoming all the odds to stay alive, losing everything that mattered to her. Her spirit and mind were strong, strong enough to survive anything. Even this. Please Bulma...just hang on. Vegeta had not understood--he had claimed to love her, to want her, but he had not understood what that meant. He had believed he could hold his emotions at bay and in check; giving them to her only in the quiet heat-filled moments of their passion. God, he had been so stupid. His eyes flickered shut briefly, the bond deepening as he let go of the last vestiges of the wall that he had kept erected like a fortress around his heart. She had seen this only once, the beauty of the man that loved her completely, unconditionally. The man who was not afraid of the weakness she represented; the man who recognized the power she held within him and throughout him. She had drug it unwillingly from his soul once before, laying him bare and leaving him unprepared for the vulnerability that would radiate through him whenever he was near her. He thought little of that now, this was her, his mate; he could entrust himself to her completely and return everything she had given him in full. He gave it to her completely and freely, his soul opening for her to feel. Maybe it would give her the strength to hang on, to fight.
Vegeta glanced up as the guard came back, arm lifted to propel him inside the throne room.
Vegeta's fist met his face, coldly. "Don't even think of laying hands on me. " The guard collapsed in a heap, jaw broken, face mashed. Vegeta smirked coldly, hand raised; a blast of energy shooting through the guards chest. He looked up, shutting his emotions down, sealing away all that he had just shared with his mate moments before. "Frieza..." He stepped over the fallen heap and strode into the room, eyes glowing with rage. This was it. This was where he found out what he was made of. He had to be the Super Saiya-jin, it had to be so for himself, for his son...for her.
Zarbon hovered in the air, observing the almost eerie silence of the compound below him. So this was where the Saiya-jin were secreting themselves? He had checked and sensed no significant powers. Vegeta must be on his way to Frieza. He chuckled darkly at the thought. Good, let the little monkey boy find out what it was like to have Frieza's attentions focused completely on him. That should be a real come-uppance to the arrogant little bastard. Kakkarot was no where to be found, either. Had they both gone to Frieza? He could feel various ki in different places. One in particular intrigued him, it was almost Saiya-jin in its power. He lowered himself down, motioning the troops he had brought with him down as well. They hardly seemed neccesary now. Whoever remained would offer up little resistance.
Chi-Chi emerged from the house, Trunks cradled delicately in his arms. She hoped Bulma was alright. The toll the virus was taking on her was becoming immense. Perhaps Vegeta had been able to help her, though Chi-Chi would never be able to understand completely what Bulma saw in the arrogant bastard. She could admit he was handsome to look at; devestating actually and strong to boot, but his personality...he had the personality of a stump. Surely, there had to be more to him. Bulma didn't strike her as the type of woman who would stay with an ass. Chi-Chi had watched him once as his eyes watched Bulma, dark and smoldering and passion filled. He had watched Bulma with a possession and a hunger that Chi-Chi had never witnessed before; one that still left her shivering. It amazed her that she could see such deep emotion in his eyes, but yet in person he seemed completely indifferent to Bulma...showing emotion only when she was threatened or hurt. He had been that way yesterday, when she had found him and told him of Bulma's brother. Vegeta had looked at her briefly for a moment, and in his eyes she had seen the depth of his feelings for Bulma, some spark of vulnerabilty that had faded quickly. He had growled at her, bading her to take care of Trunks while he saw to whatever details needed to be seen to, the look gone and replaced by a cool mask of indifference. Yet she was unable to deny what she had seen and later when he had come to her, asking if she would let Trunks stay with her so that Bulma might rest, she had seen within him a gruff gentleness reserved for his mate only, the desire to do something small and kind for Bulma shining brightly in his eyes. Hopefully, it had worked and Bulma was feeling a bit better, though Chi-Chi knew Bulma would never completely be at peace until the virus was gone from Vegeta. What a toll Frieza and his evil manipulations had taken.
She knocked lightly on the lab door, knowing Bulma would not be resting or grieving as long as Vegeta still carried the virus within him. Bulma was as mad about Vegeta as he was for her, something Chi-Chi just found astounding. How could cold, arrogant Vegeta inspire such deep emotion out of anyone? He seemed to Chi-Chi a violent, evil man. Threatening and brooding and dark, yet Bulma looked at him with such love it broke Chi-Chi's heart.
Kakkarot had tried to explain it to her one night, while they lay spent in each other's arms--talking quietly of love and loss and the bond that united them, the Saiya-jin bond.
"I still don't understand what Bulma sees in that arrogant bastard of a Prince." She had been angered by some random outburst of Vegeta's thqt day, putting him down, hoping that Kakkarot would see him for the bastard that he was. "How can a woman love a man with a heart as evil as his?"
"Vegeta was a good man, Chi-Chi...still is inherently; he's just...lost. He could have been the greatest King Vegitasei had ever seen; was going to be, until Frieza and his father got a hold of him. You don't understand, Chi-Chi, what it was like on Frieza's ship, under his command; the pain and humiliation and shame." He had shuddered in her arms, long dead memories bubbling to the surface. She had seen the haunted, hollow look in his eyes and held him tighter.
"You suffered too, yet you didn't go tripping down a darkened road. You held true to who you were."
"I didn't bear the brunt of Frieza's fury or desires..." He shuddered at the thought. "...not like Vegeta did, plus my father was there; an anchor I could hold onto. Vegeta didn't have that luxury. There has never been anyone in his life who cared enough to stand by him, to be his anchor until Bulma."
"So if he's so lost, how can he love Bulma; how can he accept what she offers?"
"Bulma sees the man he was, the man he could have been and she loves him for that and for what he is now. She knows what Frieza did to him, what he still does to him...and she loves him, she accepts him. More then that...she believes in him. Vegeta only needs to believe in himself and believe in his love for her. Once he figures out that their bond is his strength and not a weakness, there will be no one to stop him."
She had stared at Kakkarot, vaguely frightened by his surety that Vegeta would be unstoppable with Bulma by his side. He had smiled down at her, kissing her nose lightly.
"Don't worry, Chi-Chi, Bulma holds him in check. He may not admit that, but he won't do anything to dishonor himself in her eyes."
Chi-Chi hoped Kakkarot was right, though anymore she was beginning to see a slightly more human side to Vegeta; more then she had ever thought she would. She frowned at the lack of response from the room, noticing for the first time the door, which was slightly ajar. She started to push it open; maybe Bulma hadn't heard her, when a heavy hand descending on her shoulder stopped her. Chi-Chi jumped, whirling around to face the person.
"Hello, my beauty, looking for someone?" Zarbon's voice was gentle and smooth. Chi-Chi looked warily at him. He certainly was handsome.
"Who are you?" She hitched Truks closer to her, her free hand slipping round to her swollen belly. Where were Bulma and Vegeta? What was going on?
"I'm Zarbon, love. Might I inquire as to who you are?"
"Chi-Chi." He was so smooth and handome; flirtatious even, yet there was somethinig strange; wrong even. He seemed an almost malevolent creature. She backed up a step, unsure of what to do. Pregnant and holding Trunks she stood little chance of beating him or of even fleeing. Kakkarot... Could he even hear her? He had said he they could communicate through the bond...how, though? She couldn't remember.
"You're not scared of me, are you?" Zarbon took a step closer. "A beautiful woman such as yourself has no reason to fear me. I'll take care of you." Zarbon smiled coolly, noticing the purple-haired brat she held. "That has to be Vegeta's brat, he has the misfortune of looking just like the bastard. It's a shame he didn't get his mother's gorgeous looks. " He reached out a hand to to caress the baby's skin. Chi-Chi moved slightly, maneuvering the boy away from his touch. He smiled again, this time the malevolence she could sense so clearly around him shining forth from his cool smile. "You're not being very friendly, Chi-Chi." Zarbon eyed her swollen belly cuttingly. "It would be a shame if you had an accident, I think perhaps you should think of what's best for you and your baby."
"You...you would hurt an unborn child? We've done nothing to you." Chi-Chi shivered uncontrollably, his chilling words like ice. Oh God...Kakkarot, where are you?
"You will find, my love, that I am capable of doing a great many things." He smiled again, closing the distance between them. His hand cupped her chin gently, lifting her face to look at him. "Now what's say you be a good girl and tell me what I need to know."
Vegeta walked the distance to the Frieza's throne boldly, his face a careful study of arrogant boredom. Bulma was here somewhere, weak, but alive...barely. He attempted to search her out; to find her location, finally ascertaining that she was somewhere by Frieza.
"Well, Vegeta, I'm so glad you could join us. Your beautiful little whore was getting lonely. She will be so glad you decided to join our little fun."
Vegeta clenched his fists at the jibe, but he kept his face smooth, impasive; he betrayed no hint of the rage and turmoil that churned inside him. Bulma, I will destroy him for you, for us.
He came to a halt in front of the throne, eyes narrowed; lips curled in a sneer. "Where is she, Frieza?"
Frieza smiled tauntingly. "Do you remember the fun little games we used to play, Vegeta?" He studied Vegeta's face for any betrayal of emotion. "The ones that always landed you in the regeneration tank?"
Vegeta felt the first crumbling of the barrier he had erected in the outer hall begin to crack and break. Bulma, what had he done to her?
"I don't have time for stupid games. Where is she?"
Frieza watched him speculatively, assessingly for a moment; he flicked his wrist to a guard who stood off to the side, rimmed in shadows.
"Bring Ms. Briefs to the Prince." His face took on a manic glow as he watched the guard haul the broken body of Vegeta's mate to the Saiya-jin warrior, smiling as he beheld the look of shocked rage and denial.
The guard tossed her to Vegeta, turned on his heel and retreated behind Frieza. He stood watchfully, awaiting the next command from his Lord.
Vegeta caught Bulma, his eyes taking in the brutalilty of her condition; slowly lowering her-- gently, softly-- to the floor.
"Oh God, Bulma!" His voice broke, his throat swelling closed at the sight of her beautiful face contorted in pain and despair. His eyes swept the length of her body, taking in the painful set of her arm, and God...blood...there was so much blood. She moaned incoherently, her glittering blue eyes flickering open for the briefest of seconds; meeting his. She raised her hand limply, trying to caress his face.
"V..vi..virus..." She coughed, copious amounts of blood choking her voice. "The virus." Her voice was barely registerable; a harsh, broken whisper in the stillness of the room.
"Hush woman, don't talk. I am going to get you out of here, just hang on." He held back his fear amd anguish from her, terrified she would sense it and quit fightinig. She had to fight, she had to stay alive.
"No...V..Veg...Vegeta, pl...please. I...virus...pocket." She slipped out of consciousness, her sapphire eyes slid closed heavily. He listened for a moment, desperately trying to hear the sound of her breathing. It came, harsh and labored, but it was still there. She wasn't dead yet.
"Hang on, woman...please." His face contorted in anger as he gently slid his arms out from under limp body. "I will kill you, Frieza." He stood; moving away from her, flaring his ki as he walked towards the throne.
"You know, Vegeta, I could have her healed quite nicely. All you have to do is agree to my terms, unconditionally." Frieza stood, watching the Prince approach. Such a proud, arrogant man. He had the countenance of a god. He would have him one way or the other.
"Like hell I will agree to anything you want. I am the Super Saiya-jin...I will destroy you and take what is rightfully mine."
"Parisia tells me you have managed to contract that nasty virus of Doctor Zuad's...I could help you get rid of it. I do believe the doctor himself managed to have an accident with it. I hear he works night and day looking for a cure. He is very close."
Vegeta stopped, powering himself up fully; allowing the heady rush of power to flow through him and out him from every pore of his body. Yes, he was the Super Saiya-jin. How could he have this amount of power and not be. He threw back his head and screamed with his power, unmindful of the room shaking and breaking apart around him.
"Vegeta, Vegeta. Why must we do things the hard way; why must you always destroy my things?" Frieza smiled cruelly. Did Vegeta really think he had a chance; that the stupid bitch would survive long enough for him to win? Vegeta was strong, very strong; unfortunately for him however, not anywhere near as strong as he, Frieza, was.
They met in the air, fists clashing together in a brutal volley of punches and kicks. Vegeta threw punch after savage punch, missing each time as Frieza phased away; faster then Vegeta could see. Damn him, where was he? He couldn't risk an energy blast; not with Bulma lying on the floor. He didn't have time for this. He twisted to his side, seeing Frieza hovering, watching him in amusement, above the floor. Fuck! The bastard was only a few feet away from Bulma.
"You know, Vegeta, I only have to fire one blast and she's dead. Gone forever, and you will still be mine. All I have to do is give you a memory wipe. You'll believe anything I feed you after that. Can you imagine the possibilities? What I could force you to do. The beauty of it is you would do them all willingly for me, too."
"Fuck you!!" Vegeta launched himself towards Frieza, fist raised; prepared to deliver a stunning blow to the bastard. He stopped mid-air as he saw Frieza raise his hand, a pinkish-hued glow emanating from his palm.
"Now you're getting the idea, Vegeta." Frieza cackled rancorously, the look on Vegeta's face was almost too good to be true. "I thought you were a Super Saiya-jin, Vegeta. What happened to all that so-called power? Is this really the best you can do?" He aimed his hand downward, smiling as he watched the look of defeat and desperation spread across the Saiya-jin Prince's handsome face.
Vegeta fired blast after blast, trying to distract Frieza away from Bulma. He couldn't lose this battle, there was too much riding on it to lose now. He had to have hit Frieza with these blasts, he'd aimed everyone carefully. He hovered, waiting for the smoke to clear; gasping as he saw Frieza was gone. He looked up and down--nothing. Where in the hell had he gone? Vegeta lowered himself to the floor, moving silently away from Bulma, his tread catlike. The bastard was here somewhere and he would find him. He had been so fast. Even with his new strength, Vegeta had barely been able to keep up with him. He reached out, attempting to find Frieza's ki. His head snapped upwards, seeing Frieza coming at him, hard. He wa so fast! Vegeta had no time to react as Frieza's foot connected, smashing him down to the floor. He struggled to stand, spitting blood as he came back up, flying up after Frieza who had taken back to the air again. He had to beat him here. Bulma's ki was running dangerously low. He had no more time. He came to an abrupt halt as Frieza disappeared, reappearing below. His foot perched on Bulma's already broken body.
"NOOOO!!" Vegeta flew downwards like a rocket, landing on her other side, fists clenched.
"Are you so afraid of me, that you would use a woman as your shield?" Vegeta spit the words out, fury clouding every sense of reason he had. Frieza would not inflict anymore damage on her. He would not allow it.
"Ahh, Vegeta, you do amuse me so. Bulma is merely the means to an end, the bait to catch my fish so to speak. I have given you my terms; surrender yourself completely, give me everything I want and she will be healed. I will even given her freedom to her. She need never look upon you or I again."
"Damn you, Frieza! DAMN YOU, FRIEZA!!" Vegeta roared with anger. How could he agree to what Frieza wanted? God, what it meant for him. Bulma...Bulma would die if he didn't. He had no more time to dally, and it was becoming painfully obvious with each passing moment that he had failed to achieve the Super Saiya-jin level he had sought for so long. It was hopeless. He looked down, trying not to throw up; how could he give himself to Frieza? The very thought repelled and disgusted him. Vegeta glanced at Bulma, his mind searing her features into his brain. She was so very beautiful and for the briefest of moments she had been his. He swallowed hard, his mouth dry. She was going to die if he didn't make his descision. He loved her with everything he had. He knew that now. Bulma could be free. She and Trunks could be free. There unborn child...she would always have a part of him with her. Vegeta swallowed back a sob. To go through the rest of his life, being forced to serve this monster; to be forced to subjugate himself to this things every wish. He had left this life behind, had found something infinitely precious. Something he had never thought to have in his entire life. Was this the pay back for his mindless killing and purging in Frieza's name? I had no choice. God, he gave me no choice! Why couldn't he drag himself away from the ruins of his fucked up childhood, why couldn't he get away from Frieza? To have found you, to have found you and to have to give you up now, Bulma how do I let you go? To never know her touch again; yet his own death was imminent. Especially if Frieza could not find a cure soon. Without the senzu, his death would come quicker. Bulma... I t will always be you...raise my son well. I will find my way to you in another life. You have my word as a warrior... as your husband.
"Vegeta, I am growing impatient and she is running out of time. I can finish her off now." Frieza's foot pressed down lightly, drawing a moan of agony from her mouth.
"Fine, fine, Frieza. I will agree to your terms. Just heal her." Vegeta looked away from her; choking back tears of grief and despair, his heart broken and destroyed. He would not let Frieza see him brought to this, would not allow the pain of his loss to show. He was the Prince of the Saiya-jin, not a weak child. Frieza would never see him this way again. Vegeta struggled to gather himself, to mask the pain in his heart. He had just torn this wall down, finally after so many years he had been able to release it; had been able to willingly hand himself and all he was to another person. Trust them with that part of himself he had thought never to give away in his life and now he was losing it. Frieza would never know that. Vegeta would ensure that he would never know the depth of his feeling for this woman, that he would always belong to her. That was his and his alone, just like she was. Vegeta would lock it away, safe and protected in his heart. Frieza would never touch it, no matter what he did.
"You've made a wise choice, Vegeta. I assure you, you will come to appreciate your descision." Frieza stepped away, retreating back to the throne. Vegeta shut his eyes in despair.
"V...Vegeta." His eyes snapped open, meeting hers. God, he could lose himself in those eyes. He knelt beside her, clasping her limp hand in his gloved one.
"Woman, it is going to be alright. You're going to be healed now. I've seen to it."
"Vegeta..." She tried to sit up. "The baby..." She broke off, sagging limply to the floor.
"Bulma...no, don't." He held her down gently. "Just lay still. They are going to come and get you."
Bulma's eyes blazed into his, clear, coherent for a moment, seeing for a moment the hopelessness and despair and loss. God, she saw so much loss, as if his world had been taken away from him. She could make it all out so clearly, even through the strong haze of her pain.
"I love you, Vegeta." She tried to smile at him. The baby...she had to tell him about the baby. "The baby..."
"The baby will be fine, woman. You need only rest." Vegeta had to get away from her, before he unmanned himself completely. Her simple declaration of love had nearly broken through the tighly controlled dam of emotions lurking below his surface. The pain and loss he could see in her eyes. It was too much. He could see Frieza approaching them...a petulant frown on his face. Good, the bastard was jealous, let him. Vegeta looked back down at her, smirking lightly; his eyes searing into hers with all that he felt for her. "Get well, woman." His mouth dipped down to hers, tasting her; memorizing every detail of her, opening the door to his heart ever so briefly, his soul assaulting hers with the memory of how he felt, of how they felt, embedding the torrent of raw emotion onto her soul. Never forget, woman, what you and I meant to each other. How could he walk away from this, how could he let this all go? His breath hitched in a quiet sob. Because he loved her. He would let her go, let her live because he loved her.
"Really, Vegeta. That's more then enough. Doctor Zuad is on his way. She will soon be in a regen tank; then you and I can get down to business."
Vegeta pulled away from Bulma's face, her eyes closing gently as she slipped back into unconciousness.
"I love you too, woman." He breathed the words against her mouth, praying she had heard them. I'm sorry, woman...I'm so sorry.
Kakkarot stood beside Roshi watching in awe and amazement as the stick and bone old man beefed himself up, gathering massive amounts of energy for what appeared to be an attack.
"It took me all my life to learn this attack, Kakkarot, so watch closely. " Roshi drew his hand back, cupping them slightly.
"HAAAAA!!" Kakkarot watched as a massive blast of energy formed and blew forth from the Master's cupped hands, hitting a deadened tree, disintegrating it; leaving an empty place in its spot.
"How did you do that?"
"It's very hard, Kakkarot. It will take you years to learn and perfect it."
"I don't believe you." Kakkarot cupped his hands to the side, imitating Roshi's stance.
"Go ahead and try, son, you'll see I'm right. It will be years before you have enough energy to do it." Roshi stood back and watched silently; Gohan beside him.
"HAAAAA!!" Kakkarot released the ball of energy he had formed, the streak of energy knocking Gohan and Roshi to the ground as it zoomed over their heads. Kakkarot grinned. All his life, my ass.
Gohan and Roshi stood up slowly; mouths agape as they stared at the grinning Saiya-jin.
"That took me over fifty years to accomplish, boy!! How in the hell did you manage it in five minutes?" Roshi could hardly believe his eyes. Gohan smothered back a smile. Obviously Kakkarot was much more special then even he had originally thought.
"It was nothing, Master Roshi. I don't know why it would have taken you so long, unless of course it's because of your weaker human structure. Why just the idea that you are capable of doing it at all is amazing." Kakkarot smiled wolfishly at Roshi.
Roshi opened his mouth to speak; freezing as he saw a figure descend from the sky.
"Piccolo!" Roshi dropped into battle stance, Gohan beside him as they prepared to meet the Namekian in battle.
Kakkarot whirled around, preparing himself for whatever enemy they had seen. Behind him he saw what appeared to be a Namekian, dressed in a purple gi and white cape and turban. What in the hell?
"Relax, old man. I'm not here to start a fight with you. I come seeking the Saiya-jin." His head inclined towards Kakkarot.
Kakkarot straightened imself, feeling self-conscious in the bright orange gi that had Roshi had insisted he had to wear. Saiya-jin armor was a lot more intimidating then this.
"I'm Kakkarot, what is it you need from me?"
"I need nothing from you, Saiya-jin, I come with information."
"What kind of information do you have for me?" Kakkarot was confused. What in the hell type of information would a Namekian have for him?
Piccolo lowered himself to the forest floor, approaching them slowly. Kakkarot was mildly impressed with the way he held himself, and the cool, confident gait he walked with. Namekian were pascifists at heart, yet this carried himself like a warrior. Piccolo stopped a few feet away from him.
"I'm here to tell you that Frieza is on the planet. He is aware of your location and has sent troops to your hiding place."
"What?! How would you know that? What do you know of Frieza?"
"For years Frieza has subdued my people's will, using the threat of death and violence as his means of keeping them in check. Under threat of my planet's destruction I was forced to spy on your group."
"How, we would have sensed you around the compound?" Kakkarot felt the first stirrings of real fear in his heart. Chi-Chi.
"I met with Toma under the ruse of buying your fuel. I gathered information this way."
Kakkarot's eyes went wide. "You bastard!"
"I'm tired of being held under Frieza's thumb. Your Prince Vegeta is aboard his ship now, along with your woman. I've come to offer my assistance in defeating Frieza."
"They have Chi-Chi?!" Kakkarot cursed himself for being so stupid. Why had he left her alone? If anything happened to her it would be all his fault. "How do I know I can trust you?"
Piccolo grinned wickedly. "You don't."
Kakkarot's eyes burned into his, assessing him, judging him. He seemed to be left with little choice. He nodded slowly. "Fine, I'll accept your deal, but I will kill you if you try anything."
Piccolo nodded. "Fine. As if you could kill me."
"Kakkarot, you can't accept the word of this villain. He'll betray you." Gohan's voice held a note of paternal worry in it.
"Gohan, I don't have much of a choice. My life's on that ship. I have to get there, now." He turned towards Roshi.
"Master, as soon as this is resolved, I will return..."
"Kakkarot, the door will always be open to you. Godspeed." Kakkarot had never seen the man wear a more serious expression. He bowed to him, turning to rocket off, but a strong hand stopped him.
"Take me with you." Gohan's eyes drilled into his. Kakkarot opened his mouth to protest, but Gohan's strong, determined voice stoppped him. "I want to help you, son. It would be an honor to fight alongside you."
Kakkarot stared at him, gratitude and honor shining brightly from his eyes.
"No, Gohan, it would be an honor to fight alongside you." His hand rested on Gohan's shoulder briefly before he grabbed him and rocketed off, Piccolo trailing behind.
"Gohan, you old fool." Roshi shook his head sadly. "Come back in one piece."
Zuad had brought Bulma's wrecked body to his emergency med bay. He had been given explicit orders from Frieza...save the girl's life, but first; the memory wipe.
"Don't worry, lovely girl. This will only take a moment, then you can go get in the regen tank and feel better. I am a great admirer of your work. I can't wait to work beside you." He motioned to the row of syringes that lay on the table. "Perhaps you can give me the final clue to my antidote. I must have it quickly. The venom that I altered with in the protein eats at my body now."
"V...venom?" Bulma looked weakly at him; she had noticed something odd with the protein, but had assumed he had mutated the protein to that state? What venom was he talking about.?
"Cobra venom; Chikyuu-jin cobra venom. One of their deadliest snakes. I introduced it to the protein I had cloned and it changed it--mutated it. It became a monster all in itself. I have the antivenom in these syringes...I need only try to recreate something to help eat the nasty protein in my virus." Zuad pressed a fist to his hand. "I just can' think anymore."
Cobra venom. Her pounding brain could barely comprehend it. Chikyuu-jin cobras. She had heard of them. That meant that if she could get out of here she might be able to save her husband yet; she had vreated a protein that might work against the beast he had created, it had just lacked something...was this it? Bulma moaned as another overwhelming wave of pain dhot through her abdomen and back. The baby...she had lost her baby.
Zuad placed a small wired patch on her temple, hooking the wires gently to a machine. "This will only really hurt for a few moments. Luckily, you are in no condition to fight me. That would only make it worse for you." He started as he noticed her eyes open, the blue orbs glittering with unshed tears. He smoothed her hair back. "Don't worry, in a moment you won't remember any of this. There will be no more pain...I promise. You will forget you ever knew him."
Bulma shook her head slowly. "No, please...Vegeta." She was too weak to fight, her head was so heavy. No, she couldn't let this happen. Vegeta, please...The tears spilled forth, sliding down her cheeks. Vegeta., what fate is this? How can I have every memory of you erased. No...it won't happen. I will never forget the love we share...never. I promise. I will see you and I will remember it all.
Vegeta stood impassively as Frieza circled him, bearing the silent insult quietly; unwiling to respond to Frieza's pathetic taunts. No, Vegeta would remember how Bulma had seen him. Strong and proud. The King of Vegitasei. He would not let her down in this. Vegeta would face his fate with all of his pride and dignity intact. Frieza would never bend him to his will again. He would die first. He would give only enough to see her alive and removed from this hell hole, then he would kill Frieza or die trying. What did it matter anyway. He would soon be a victim of this godforsaken virus. The least he could do was see that his loved ones were protected before it happened.
Frieza reached out, his cold hand gently caressing his jaw. Vegeta flinched but didn't turn away; standing fixed and unmoving as Frieza continued to circle him, his icy hand never leaving his face.
"Will she be healed?" Vegeta tried to swallow the bile rising up in his throat; Frieza's hand had moved to his tail, stroking...oh god...how am I going to do this? Bulma, all for Bulma...He fixed her in his mind. A shining light that had shone on his dark world so brightly. We never had enough time, Bulma. There would never be a light in his life again.
"Oh yes Vegeta, I will certainly heal her." Frieza smiled at him, enjoying the position of power he finally held over him. What a glorious day this was. Vegeta was finally at his mercy.
"Can I see her, afterwards...make sure the baby..." Vegeta couldn't finish. Did he even want to see her again? How would he look her in the eye, tell her he loved her or even be able to face her with the horrible knowledge of what he had been forced to do. She would turn from him in disgust if she knew.
"Oh, Vegeta..." Frieza's mocking voice whispered in his ear, the hand stroking his tail becoming more insistent...Vegeta shut his eyes trying to remove himself from the sick nightmare that he was trapped in. Bulma. All for you, Bulma.
"Vegeta I'm afraid the baby is no more...Parisia took care of that little detail for you, and Bulma...well Bulma will soon be receiving a memory wipe, so the likelyhood that she'll remember anything about you is..." He laughed softly..."highly unlikely."
Memory wipe? No! He couldn't lose her that way. Not after everything they had gone through together. That she would just simply forget. His mind races through a tunnel of memories...Pain and humiliation all by Frieza's hand, repeated beating after beating, a childhood of pain and suffering and sickening humiliation. No! No more!! Bulma on Hell, a victim of his father's treachery, his planet; his rightful throne blown away in one heart-shattering moment by this twisted, sick tyrannical bastard. Bulma, broken and bloody on the throne room floor; left to die, his child. They had killed his child!
The dam broke; flinging all thought away but one, he was the Super Saiya-jin. The power...God the power was incredible..."FRIEZA!!!" He flung his arms wide, trembling with the power that was racing through him. Finally, I have achieved what I was meant to.
"BULMA!!!" He screamed in exhultation as the raw power coursed through him. He was the Super Saiya-jin. Finally, his destiny was at hand.
Frieza stepped back away from the burning, flaming aura that surrounded the Prince. What had happened to his hair? It flamed like a yellow beacon and his eyes...the green eyes burned into him with all the hatred that ten years of abuse and shame had created. This was the Super Saiya-jin.
Parisia smiled fetchingly at Zarbon, noticing the small bundle he held on his arms. Vegeta's son. He had manged to get a hold of Vegeta's son.
"How did you manage to get a hold of Vegeta's son?" Parisia reached out to take the baby, securing him in her grip.
"They left him at the compound with that woman." He motioned to the unconscious form that lay against the wall.
"That's Kakkarot's mate."
"Well, she wasn't very cooperative. I had to get rough with her. She still didn't speak a word."
"I have no idea. He wasn't at their hide-out. I'd like to rouse her and see if I can give her some different type of encouragment; but I have to take this little brat to Frieza first."
"Here, let me. I'll be sure he gets to Frieza." Parisia smiled at him, lowering her eyes demurely.
"Alright, I suppose I can do that. That way I will be able to figure out where in the hell Kakkarot is." Zarbon turned his head back towards Chi-Chi; dismissing Parisia.
Parisia turned, looking at the small form in her arms.
"Time to go and torture your mother and father some more." She laughed happily. The final destruction of Bulma and Vegeta. She could hardly wait.
* * * * *