Chapter II - Why Friends Donít Let Friends Drink Dragonsblood

Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies.
~Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

*****

The vast emptiness of space stretched out before Vegeta, dark and silent and void. He stood on the bridge of his ship, monitoring its route back to Vegetasei, back to home. It was a planet of fire and air. Volcanoes and desert mountains made up most of its terrain, and the air almost always sizzled with a scorching, dry heat. The wind howled ferociously all day and night, kicking up red and orange dust clouds. It wasn't lush and green and fertile, not like that low class planet, Earth, that he had just left. That planet raised its people to be soft and weak and spoiled. Vegetasei crushed those who were not strong enough to endure its harsh environment.

In all ways, its people were like the planet itself. They were a cruel race, warriors, not farmers or technicians. Saiya-jins carved their lives out of blood, sometimes theirs, sometimes others, but also in blood. Nothing less would satisfy. Honor, pride, duty, all the values of his people, was tied to blood. No matter where a Saiya-jin went, he always had a thirst for blood. To smell, to feel, to taste its rich, red sharpness. Always, always that satisfied a Saiya-jin. His people longed for power: the power to crush, the power to conquer, the power to kill. Blood was how a Saiya-jin achieved this power.

Vegeta longed for this too, but there were times when he wondered if there was more to life than just blood and death. Gods, you fool, stop it. He was only going to follow a useless train of thought. What was needed now was concentration, clear and undivided attention on the matter at hand: defeating Frieza. It wasn't that he didn't want more from life than just mere killing and bloodshed; he did want a prosperous future. However, if he allowed himself to be distracted now, when he was on the brink of becoming capable of defeating his greatest enemy, he and his people would not have one.

He must concentrate on expanding his powers. He was the Super Saiyan-jin. Only he could save his people.

Yes, but only because of that woman you've got locked in the cell. There was that voice again, the echoes of all the times he had ever failed, had been made to feel as if he wasn't good enough. It was there to remind him of his imperfection, of the fact that no matter how much he achieved, there was always more. Always more planets to conquer, more people to kill, more power levels to attain. Even when he had first transformed into the Super Saiya-jin, he had felt more power lurking within him, barely able to restrain itself.

And the voice had been there to remind him of how much more he needed to accomplish.

Sometimes the voice motivated him to do better. When he was younger, though, it hindered him more than helped. It rang with all the criticisms he'd ever received from his father, his trainers, Frieza, until one day he'd snapped and discovered that if he was to survive, he could not give a damn about what anyone else thought.

From that moment onward, he controlled his own thoughts. Except for the unusual moments when the voice focused on one particular thought he wasn't ready to deal with. This time around, it was the woman.

Without her, he was nothing. He knew it, Nappa and Radditz knew it, and so would his father and his people once they landed on Vegetasei. Worst of all, she knew it, too, and that gave her power over him.

He loathed his dependence upon her and had already vowed to himself that she would be more dependent upon him. No matter what it took, he would never let her power over him be greater than his over hers. It was perhaps the galaxy's greatest irony that its strongest warrior was nothing without its weakest. Chiudran, his home planet's resident guru and spiritual leader, would appreciate its unifying balance and the seamless circle Nature had built within herself.

All Vegeta could do was rage about the unfairness of it.

The woman was going to be his downfall. Even if she hadn't been the Key, even if she hadn't possessed the ki that complimented and augmented his own considerable life force, she still would have been a distraction. It took all the self-control he possessed not to break down the door to her cell and claim her as his own right then and there. To take full possession of that smart-assed, pouty mouth and tame it to his own liking. To cause her to moan at his very touch, welcome him warmly and fully into her body---

Fuck!, he cursed to himself. He could not afford to let his thoughts runaway like that. Yes, the woman was beautiful and exotic, the most appealing woman he had ever laid eyes upon. But she was still a woman, and a weak one at that. He had more self-control than this. Frieza had taught him that.

Immediately Vegeta shut off that train of thought, too. He had been out from under Frieza's thumb for almost ten years, but the uncertain, volatile nature of his early childhood continued to haunt him. It's over and done. He cannot touch you. He is too afraid, Vegeta tried to reassure himself. He breathed deeply for several moments, banishing the old demons once again to the darker, deeper recesses of his memory. He would not fail this time in his attempt to kill the bastard. He would not---

Suddenly, a strangled cry echoed from the back of the ship, and Vegeta's thoughts were interrupted by the cause of that miracle. The woman had once again woken up from a nightmare. Though he hadn't spoken more than a handful of words to her since boarding the ship, Vegeta discovered that he had a mild telepathic connection to her. If she were in a state of heightened emotional distress, he could sense it. He figured the connection had developed because of her status as the Key, but some vague thoughts at the back of his mind whispered that it was more than that.

He mentally heard her cry out again, and though irritated by her weakness, Vegeta rose and journeyed to the back of his ship, waving a grumbling Nappa away and back to bed. This problem was his, not his guards', and since he never slept for more than one or two hours at night, the woman was not depriving him of sleep. Just sanity, Vegeta smirked ironically.

Punching in the code to unlock the door, he walked in and was surprised to find it in complete darkness. Doesn't the woman know to touch the light pad? Vegeta seemed to remember hearing something about Chikyuu being fairly well-advanced technologically for such a small, insignificant place. But if they hadn't developed understanding of simple electric lighting, how advanced could they be?

Reaching out to touch the light pad, a small box posted about shoulder-height on the wall to the immediate right of the door, the cell was instantaneously filled with light, so much so that the woman whimpered in pain and hid a face in her hands for a moment. Vegeta sighed, irritated by the prospect of playing nursemaid. He was Prince was gods' sakes! Why the hell was he taking care of this weak, blathering woman?!?

Because you want to, echoed the unbidden thought in his head.

Deciding that analyzing his thoughts right now wasn't a good idea, he studied the woman's condition. She was filthy, pale, incredibly thin, and huddled in the far corner. Her frail bodied trembled slightly and tearstains glistened on her cheeks.

Vegeta hissed in a sharp breath of air as he was once again struck dumb by her beauty. For the briefest of moments, he felt true pity for the girl. She was like a goddess, ethereal, winsome, tempting, even in her current pathetic state.

Suddenly she snapped her head up and looked him straight in the eye, her gaze a white-hot flash of fury. "What do you want?"

Her glare and sullen tone crushed any pity Vegeta felt for her.

"Nothing, woman. If just came to see if there was anything you needed."

"Of course I'm in need, you stupid ape! I haven't eaten in three days, I'm thirsty, I'm tired, cold, and in desperate need of a change of clothes and a bath! If you've got any of those to offer, I'll gratefully accept. If not, then leave me the fuck alone!"

Her statements were answered with a ki blast shot into the wall, right above her head. It wasn't strong enough to do anything more than dent the wall, but it impressed the hell of Bulma. She stared back at the Prince, wide-eyed with fear.

"Woman, don't ever call me ape or monkey. Got it?"

Bulma just nodded, her sea-green curls cascading over her back like a waterfall. Vegeta wondered desperately what it would be like to plunge his hands in all that rich silk, to bury his nose in her fresh, clean scent, to have that soft down trail across his torso as she kissed---

"Uh, excuse me? Hello?" the woman said, tearing him from his fantasy. Unable to hide his sudden embarrassment, his face quickly flushed red, and he wanted nothing more than to get away from her. He started for the door, completely forgetting everything except the desire to escape.

"Hey! Wait a minute!" her indignant voice followed him into the hall. "What about breakfast? Or at least a bath?"

The image of her bathing sprang instantly to his mind, further pushing him towards the edge. "Get it yourself!" he growled over his shoulder, walking away even faster.

At this point, Radditz was coming out of his room. Upon seeing his lord, the soldier readied himself for a standard granting, but the stormy expression on Vegeta's face made him flatten himself against the wall instead in a desperate attempt not to get in his way. The Prince rushed by the soldier, muttering under his breath about women, sea-green hair, and insanity and didn't stop until his had slammed himself into the training room.

Radditz peeled himself from the wall as the vigorous sounds of the Prince pushing himself to his limits and beyond began. The Royal Elite Guardsman was a seasoned warrior and had learned many years ago to suppress his emotions. That skill was valuable now, as he contemplated the reason, or rather the person, who caused his lord's ire. Radditz wanted to laugh out loud like a little boy.

Instead, he settled on a knowing smile as he made his way to the galley for food.

*****

"Get it yourself," Bulma mumbled under her breath, irritated by the violent mood swings of the Saiya-jin Prince. She would have liked to have been able to punch him or something. Anything that would take that stupid, annoying, arrogant smirk off his face and make him realize that he really wasn't better than anyone else.

Her desire to take Vegeta down a peg or two was interrupted by a low, long growl from her empty stomach, reminding her that she had several needs more important than the Prince to attend to. Bulma then focused her thoughts on all that she needed to do, short of actual escape. There was no doubt in her mind that she could get away from these short-tempered gorillas if she wanted to, but she knew Vegeta would come after her.

And the price of his rage would be too high. It already had been. Thoughts of Yamcha flooded through her again, making her feel even greater guilt at the erotic dreams she had been having about the Prince, his murderer. True, she and Yamcha hadn't had a perfect relationship, and there had been times when he'd cheated on her. But he'd never been cruel to her, or killed any of her friends. So why was it that this Prince of the Saiya-jins awakened feelings inside her that made her love for Yamcha look like a grade-school crush?

Bulma then shook her head, wanting to just stop thinking about everything. She needed to herself some credit. Not many people would have been able to make the sacrifices she had so far and hold it together. She was strong; she could handle anything, especially the arrogant, though sexy, monster who held her prisoner.

She chose to ignore the "sexy" comment about Vegeta, chocking it up to delirium brought on by exhaustion and hunger. Bolstered by her mental pep talk, she rose from the corner of her cell, grateful for the light and the open door. She peaked her head outside the cell, hesitant about what she should do now.

Oh, what the hell, girl? Just do it!, she scolded herself. The damned monkey had told her to take care of her needs herself. Secure in that knowledge, she crept out into the hallway so as not to disturb anyone. While she could put up a good display of bravado in her head, she didn't think she could stay together should one of the Saiya-jins decide to jump her.

Padding softly down the hallway, she soon found that it opened up into a large, circular room that contained several doors and another hallway. Though she had been hungry, her nerves were taut right now to eat. She was also beginning to notice a faint but foul odor slowly creeping around her and upon further inspection discovered it was her.

That decided it. Bath, new clothes first, food later. Gathering all her courage, she dashed across the lobby-like area and into the other hallway. Looking further down the darkened passageway, she saw two open doors, directly across from one another. One looked like a kitchen, and the other was obviously a bedroom. Grateful to know where the food was, Bulma then entered the bedroom, having noticed another door in it that might lead to a bathroom.

As she crossed the threshold, Bulma was not surprised by the Spartan quality of its decor. There was a large bed, a nightstand, and a chest of drawers. No knickknacks or bric-a-brac to give a hint as to whose room it was. She was surprised, however, to discover two doors in the room. The first she opened turned out to a closet, which contained nothing more than a few blue gis, similar to the one Vegeta always wore.

Anxious over the discovery that she was in his room, she decided the best course of action would be to leave. However, she did want to inspect what was behind door number two, and Bulma had never been one to ignore her curiosity.

Opening the other door confirmed her guess that it was a bathroom. However, the luxury found in this small room contrasted extremely with the barrenness of the bedroom. A vanity spanned one wall, with what looked like two fully functioning faucets and sinks. Mirrors paneled the walls on all sides. Walking into the room, her feet sank into a deep, blood red carpet. A separate shower and tub were across the room from the vanity, and she assumed that the door on the wall opposite her led to a commode area.

She also noticed a shallow linen closet, stock-piled with thick towels, a variety of soaps and shampoos, and several bottles of bubble bath. What the fuck? The mighty Prince takes bubble baths?!? she thought, surprised. An image rose unbidden in her mind of the fierce Vegeta sitting in the oversized, claw-footed bathtub, surrounded by a huge mountain of light, fluffy bubbles. She couldn't contain her laughter at the ludicrousness of this.

A sound coming from the hallway brought her out of her fit of hysteria. Creeping slowly back to the door of the bathroom, peering into the bedroom, hoping whoever was ever in the hall didn't see her. When she saw no one, she breathed a sigh of relief.

Suddenly, a large hand clapped down upon her shoulder, lifting her from the ground. She was roughly hauled from the bathroom and thrown down upon the bed, not seeing the face of her attacker until she sat up groggily on the still-bouncing mattress. She expected it to be Vegeta, but her hazy vision focused on a man taller than he, with a coarse, shaggy mane of hair falling past his waist.

Radditz...she tried to remember. He was Goku's brother. The large warrior leaned over her, glaring. "What are doing in here, girlie?"

Bulma cringed at the thunder in his voice, and while it was raspy like Vegeta's, it was also louder and had more bluster. She knew she was really in trouble now and fumbled for a few moments for a coherent answer. "I...I was lo-looking for a place to change clothes and maybe take a bath."

Radditz lifted one bushy eyebrow in doubt. "And you thought you'd do this in the Prince's private bedchamber?"

"I didn't know it was his room!"

The other eyebrow rose.

"Alright, fine. I do know. But I didn't at first! This is totally not my fault! Look, I mean, I didn't try to cause any harm, I'm really sorry, let's just forget about this..."

As Bulma heard the obsequious words tumble from her mouth, something snapped inside her. Why was she apologizing to this overgrown monkey? She didn't owe him any explanations. If anything, it was them who owed her. They were the ones responsible for her current state of misery.

"You know what? Fuck the apology! I don't owe you assholes anything! He said to get whatever I needed for myself, and that's what I'm trying to do. If you've got a problem with that, Mr. Hairy-Ape-Monkey-Whatever-the-Fuck-You-Are, take it up with Satan in hell 'cause I'm outta here!"

Fueled by the rage she'd just vented, Bulma pulled herself off the bed and made her way past the stunned warrior. She tried to hurry, though, because any moment she expected him to grab her and punish her for her insolence.

However, she was not expecting the loud, raucous guffaw that exploded out of him.

She turned to see Radditz doubled over, slapping his knee, tears forming at the corners of his eyes. All her fight went out in that moment, and she sank dazed to the floor. The Saiya-jins were going to destroy her sanity.

Radditz stopped laughing a few moments later, though he was still amused by her spunk. For such a weakling, she definitely had spirit, a quality that would serve her well on Vegetasei if used in moderation. Looking at her small form sitting pathetically on the floor, a wave of protectiveness washed over him. He remembered another spirited girl, his daughter, Amalya. He estimated that she would have been about this woman's age had she not been killed at age ten by a sandtiger.

He decided then and there that he would be the woman's protector at court, with or without the Prince's permission. She would have difficulty adjusting to the harsh life of the Saiya-jins. Many would resent her alien heritage, or they would want to make the blue-haired beauty their own.

"Girl," he said, startling her out of her reverie, "What's your name?"

"Bulma."

"Well then, Bulma, you're dirty and look starved. Let's do something about that, shall we?"

She eyed the hulking man warily, but could see no guile or mockery in his face. Bulma found she had little choice but to trust him. Swallowing to calm her nerves, she simply nodded.

"Good. Follow me."

Turning smartly, he made his way further down the hallway, stopping in front of a door Bulma had missed in her earlier explorations. Radditz smoothly opened the door to reveal another room. He punched a small box on the wall just beside the door, and light filled the room. Bulma remembered vaguely seeing a similar device in her cell. Is that how Vegeta had activated the lights in there? If so, then the Saiya-jins were more technologically advanced than she'd given them credit for.

The new room then occupied her attention. It was a bedroom, and though considerably smaller than Vegeta's, it was also more luxurious. Thick, burgundy pile-carpet covered the floor, and the walls, including the ceiling, dripped with mirrors of every shape and size, making it possible for one to view oneself from every conceivable angle. The big showpiece of the room, however, was the bed. It was in the center of the room on a raised dais and was round in shape, covered by a black satiny coverlet and heaped high with pillows. A large canopy swathed in transparent black gauze hung over it.

The room screamed sex.

Wisely, she made no comment, but did look askance at Radditz. He had the grace to blush slightly and clear his throat before answering.

"Well, you see, this ship is the Prince's personal one. Whenever we travel somewhere, this is the one the Prince and one or two guards use. Sometimes on longer journeys, the Prince brings along some, uh, female, uh companions. And, and this is where they, uh, sleep. Yes, yes. This is, uh, where they sleep."

Bulma's face grew redder as Radditz rambled through his explanation. She raised her hand for him to stop, letting him know she understood. The embarrassed soldier sighed with relief. He gestured for her to enter the room.

"Well, then, you'll find the bathroom through that door. Everything you might need, including some clothes, should be in there. When you're done, just come to the galley, and you can eat."

Bulma murmured a faint word of thanks and didn't realize the warrior had left until she heard the door quietly slide shut. Now that she was alone again, she felt a huge wash of relief. She was grateful for Radditz' fatherly concern, but the events of the last few days were still too new, still too raw, for her to attempt to form any bonds with these strange creatures.

Snapping herself from her thoughts, she made a beeline for the bathroom. The bedroom carried too many whispers of forbidden pleasures for her to be completely comfortable in it. Unfortunately, however, the bathroom proved to be just as sensual and dark.

Both the vanity and the large, sunken tub were made of a black, marble-like material. Burgundy silk covered the walls, and she was relieved to discover a considerable lack of mirrors in the room, though she did find one hanging right above the tub. It was vaguely disturbing, but she pushed all erotic thoughts from her mind.

Looking into the linen closet, she found towels, shampoo, and soap, much like those in Vegeta's bathroom. However, she also found candles, incense, and a few other interesting devices that she just labeled miscellaneous bath toys for adults. These she left alone, taking only a fluffy towel and some citrusy-smelling soap. She learned that the faucets for the tub and the sink were similar to those on Chikyuu, only for hot and cold water you pressed buttons instead of turning knobs.

As she let the tub fill with steaming water, Bulma went in search of clothes. However, she found nothing but skimpy lingerie and erotic-looking costumes. She decided her only course of action would have to be to wash her current clothes, teal shorts and a white tank top, in the tub after her bath.

She stepped into the warm tub and regretted her lack of time to luxuriate. However, her hunger was growing, so she quickly scrubbed away the grime and dirt from her body and hair. Then she washed her clothes and hung them to dry.

Now her only problem was what to wear to go eat. A towel wrapped around her, she padded from the bathroom and into the bedroom, hoping perhaps to find clothes more appropriate than those in the bathroom drawers. There was no closet in the room, but Bulma did find a small nightstand with one drawer. However, it was filled with more lingerie, though things only in ivory. She found a satin robe that was long and deemed she had to make do with that.

As she was turning back towards the bathroom, robe in hand, Bulma couldn't help but notice her reflection in the many mirrors. Her pale blue-green hair and translucent skin stood out in shocking relief against the darkness of the room. She did look better than she had since being kidnapped and really didnít know the next occasion she would be able to choose her clothers.

She decided to indulge herself a bit and returned to the drawer with all the ivory underwear, selecting a lacy thong and a push-up bra. She rationalized that she had to wear something under the robe, and as her things were wet, she had very little choice. Besides, it wasn't as if anyone was going to see her in them.

Quickly donning the ivory clothes, she reveled in their silky texture, and then towel dried her hair. She wished desperately for a blow dryer to help tame her wild and wavy locks, but had not found one. By this time, though, she was ready to damn her hair because she was so hungry.

She found Radditz seated at a table in the galley, peeling what looked like an orange, only it was blue. Upon hearing her enter, he gestured for her to take a seat next to him, only glancing at her as she rounded the table.

He dropped the fruit.

She looked like a goddess. Her blue hair flowed wildly down her back, and her skin glowed with a radiant inner light. The harsh light of the galley penetrated the thin material of her robe, letting him see clearly what lay underneath.

Bulma had frozen instantly, worried that she'd committed some sort of cardinal sin. "What's wrong?"

Coughing, he tried to regain his composure and asked, "Isn't there something more appropriate you could wear?"

Bulma looked down at her robe-clad figure, silently thanking the gods she'd had the sense not to wear any of the other stuff she'd found. If Radditz reacted badly to a robe that covered her from head to toe, how would he have reacted if she'd worn something skimpier? Then she remembered what little underwear she had on and couldn't suppress a grin. At least he can't see that!

"No, there isn't. This was the most decent thing I could find."

She began to move again towards the chair next to Radditz, but he shook his head, pointing to the chair across from him. Confused, Bulma did as he bid.

"Whatever," was all he said to the matter of her dress. No need telling her that Vegeta's favorite color was ivory and that it was what he always made his "female companions" wear. The Prince probably wouldn't be done training for another few hours anyway. By then, her other clothes would be dry. He wouldnít even see her.

He finished peeling the fruit and handed it to Bulma. She sank her teeth into its fleshy sweetness and sighed contentment. Radditz grinned at her, but said nothing, only taking several more exotic-looking fruits from a bowl in the center of the table. He sat and peeled them, handing each to Bulma as she finished the last. It was a ritual he'd performed with his daughter every morning when he was home. At least, it had been before she'd died. He tried to push the thoughts away.

Bulma wanted to ask him why he was being so nice to her, but was afraid to for fear that he'd get angry and turn mean. Instead, she asked a simpler question. "Why don't you eat some fruit?"

"Saiya-jins don't eat fruit."

She waited for more to be added, but after several moments of silence decided that she would have to ask more general questions to get a better answer.

"So...what do Saiya-jins eat?"

"Meat."

Several moments of silence.

"What kind of meat?"

"Red."

More moments of silence.

"How do you like your meat cooked?"

"Raw."

"Oh."

The silence that followed was one Bulma was unwilling to break. She had become full by this time, and Radditz rose from his chair. He returned an instant later with a glass of some cool red liquid. She looked at it curiously, as it had a highly odd scent.

"What is it?"

"Dragonsblood."

"Uh, that's okay. I'll just stick with good, ol' water.

"It's alright. It's not really the blood from a dragon. If it were, it'd be thicker and green."

Bulma let the story on how he'd found that out slide.

"I've got some knowledge of Chikyuu, but the name for a drink similar to dragonsblood escapes me. What is that you drink to relax?"

A frown marred her pretty features for a moment.

Radditz explained further, "It's a brown-yellow color, comes in a bottle...

Understanding shone in Bulma's eyes as she yelled, "Beer!"

Radditz nodded recognition, though he could have sworn that the name of the drink he'd been thinking of was also the name of an actual person. However, that thought was lost when Bulma still refused the drink.

"I don't need anything."

"It will help calm your nerves."

"What's wrong with my nerves?"

"I don't know, but you seem awfully damned talkative."

Bulma's face just went blank. Then her mouth twisted into an ironic smirk. I guess Saiya-jins aren't very good at small talk, she mused. Realizing it wasn't something she could change, Bulma dropped the thought and returned her attention to glass before her. If she drank it, Radditz would be pleased, and if was the equivalent of beer, then one or two wouldn't hurt. Now, if it were Jack Daniels or Jim Beam, she be doing a strip tease after just one sip, but on beer, she'd be okay. She decided to just go with the flow and downed the dragonsblood in three swallows. It burned on its way down, but had a pretty good taste. She instantly wanted more.

Radditz shook his head at her request, already annoyed that she'd downed the potent drink so fast. "No, Bulma, three glasses of dragonsblood have been known to drive warriors twice your size out of their minds. You don't need anymore. Maybe later."

The look in Radditz' eyes told Bulma not to press for more dragonsblood now. Instead, she sat back in her chair and relaxed. The red liquid was helping her mellow out, and perhaps that's why the next question popped out of her mouth.

"Is the Prince married?"

Radditz' eyes bugged. He hadn't expected her to ask such a question and didn't really know how to answer. He decided that though it was an impertinent question, there was no harm in answering it.

"No."

"Hmm..." was all that Bulma replied.

Then she asked, "Why was I taken?"

Radditz yet again wasn't sure how to answer. She was the Key. Why would she have been left on Chikyuu? Before he could answer, though, she plied him with more questions.

"Am I to become one of the Prince's, uh, female companions? Am I his slave? What am I to him, other than this whole Key business? And what does Super Saiya-jin mean?"

The warrior truly felt pity for her confusion. He had honestly thought Vegeta had explained her importance but obviously he'd been mistaken. Radditz believed she deserved to know the truth and what was expected of her.

"You haven't been brought with us to be his Highness' 'female companion.' You do belong to him, but you are more valuable than a mere slave. With you by his side, he will be able to conquer his greatest enemies."

"But what does that have to do with being Super Saiya-jin?"

"Super Saiya-jin is the highest level of power we can attain, but it hasn't been done in over a thousand years. No warrior has ever met his Key, the one being whose ki is the complete compliment to his. With his Key found and by his side, a warrior can reach levels of power originally thought to be impossible. Legend states that a warrior will know his Key the moment his ki brushes hers. Thus Vegeta immediately recognized you as his and transformed to the Super Saiya-jin."

"So what you're saying is that the Prince needs me?"

Radditz hesitated. To admit the need of a person, fully and completely, was to give him or her total power over you. He was not in a position to grant this power over the Prince to her. So he settled for the diplomat's way out.

"Well, in order to transform into the Super Saiya-jin, yes, Vegeta does need you."

By this time, the dragonsblood had worked its way through Bulma's bloodstream, and she was feeling very relaxed. Radditz' admission also gave her joy. Now maybe she wouldn't feel so helpless in front of the Prince. He needed her.

She decided it was time for another glass of dragonsblood.

However, Radditz once again shook his head no. Bulma was none too please by this response. The drink hadn't tasted all that strong earlier, and beside, she felt fine. She really, really wanted more.

Grinning slyly at the older alien, she said, "Okay, but I can't guarantee if my nerves will stay calm. And when they're not calm, I talk an awful lot. I can't guarantee how quiet I'll be..."

Radditz took on a deer-caught-in-headlights look at her threat and quickly rose to make her another glass. It would put her to sleep, and she'd be fine. Before he handed it to her, however, he said, "You must drink this one slowly. Promise?"

Bulma smoothed her features into a look of angelic innocence, nodded, and grabbed the glass. She downed it in one huge gulp and let out a hurrah of victory. "Here's to me having power over the Prince!"

She then promptly slumped over the table, out cold, and it was at this point that Vegeta stalked into the room. Radditz knew by the look on the Prince's face that he'd heard Bulma's last comment.

He cringed as he expected a verbal bashing about his weakness and irresponsibility, but Vegeta stopped cold as he saw Bulma stretched out on the table, her robe loosened, exposing pale skin. He turned a pained gaze to his trusted friend and guard.

"What the fuck is she doing wearing ivory?"

* * * * *


Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 3