Chapter V - Whores and Amnesia

*****

"He who angers you conquers you."
~ Elizabeth Kenny

*****

"No."

"Woman, we've been through this..."

"I know. My answer hasn't changed."

"Grrr."

"Growling will get you nowhere."

"Dammit, woman!" Vegeta snarled. "You WILL wear it!"

Bulma glanced at him, seeing his intense frustration with her clearly written on his face, but paid no mind to it. She scowled right back at him, "There is no way in the nine hells that I'm wearing that...uniform."

Vegeta pinched the bridge of his nose, counting to one hundred, trying very hard not to blast the damned stubborn female away. He'd left earlier that morning, albeit reluctantly, to train and give her some privacy. The Prince was being something he never was: considerate of someone else's feelings. And here she was, throwing it back in his face, obviously still extremely pissed about the previous night. Her anger in turn pissed him off. He'd given her pleasure last night, taking none for himself so that she could be well rested for their arrival on Vegetasei.

Now, because of her blasted temper, they were already ten minutes late in departing. He had kept his father and the entire Court waiting, all because of her. It wasn't that he gave a damn about what any of them thought, but it would mean more questions to answer. Which meant that he'd have to be diplomatic in order to salvage his honor. Which then meant he'd be late in beginning his training, and thus, ultimately, late in returning to her that evening.

And all because she refused to get dressed.

"Woman---"

"The name's Bulma."

"Whatever," he huffed. He could feel tense pressure building in the base of his skull, right where it met his neck. If this argument continued, he knew it'd only be a matter of minutes before the throbbing pain would travel up to press incessantly against his temples, not to abate for at least several hours.

Vegeta looked at Bulma. She sat primly perched on his bed, hair still a bit damp from her earlier shower. A towel was wrapped tightly around her, covering most of the important parts. However, it still left her very long, very supple legs open to his hungry eyes. Not to mention her delicate shoulders and arms, or her graceful, porcelain neck. How he longed to kiss it and begin a trail up to her luscious mouth, to plunder the treasure found there. A treasure that at this moment was causing him many problems, he grimaced.

He buried thoughts of seducing Bulma to the back of his mind, though to his frustration they hovered on the surface of his subconscious. Now is not the time, he repeated to himself several times. He also reminded himself that it was all her fault. Her fault for being so damned beautiful, for being a distraction, and for their being late. Hmm...she deserves to be punished, he thought and then grinned evilly.

"Woman," he whispered low and soft. "Come here."

"Humph," she replied. "No way, monkey boy."

"AHH!" he screamed, reaching the end of his limits. He was even more angered by his loss of control. The little female obviously still didn't understand her position, even after his demonstration last night. He knew another was in order. He frowned at the thought that it would make them even later. But does it really matter...Logic escaped his mind as it latched onto another excuse to touch the woman, to gently pry into her stubborn psyche and bend her yet again to his will.

Slowly, he began stalking across the room to the bed.

Bulma watched the myriad of emotions run across Vegeta's face. She was delighted that she could cause the mighty Prince of Vegetasei to lose so much of his precious control. Her smile faded, however, as she saw Vegeta begin to gradually move towards her, was even more alarmed by the predatory gleam she saw reflected in his obsidian eyes. Dammit, not again...She didn't think she could hold out against him so soon after his latest tender assault.

She leapt from the bed, raising her arms into a defensive position, not noticing that the towel had loosened somewhat. "No!" she yelled. "Not another step..."

Bulma cursed inwardly at herself as she heard her voice begin to crack and was even more frustrated because she didn't know if it was panic or need that caused her display of weakness. She resolved to resist as long as possible, though from her fast capitulation the night before, she knew it wouldn't take long for him to storm her defenses.

But then, Vegeta seemed to hesitate in his hunt, looking puzzled and unsure. Maybe I'm off the hook...for a little while. She couldn't stop a small wave of disappointment from washing through her.

Vegeta, meanwhile, had been fully prepared to demonstrate his sweet power over her, but then he'd seen the fear, the panic, in her eyes, and mixed with it was something else. Longing, perhaps. A certain wistfulness. A knowledge that her resistance wouldn't last long, but that fact didn't really bother her. The Prince was startled with the realization that she was admitting an attraction to him to herself. She'd never seemed to do that before, and Vegeta felt pleased that she was slowly, it seemed, letting a little light through her walls on her own. It would make her transition into her new life easier for both of them.

Instinctively, he knew that if he pursued his current plan of action, he would damage the little bit of progress he'd made. He stopped halfway across the room, strengthening his resolve to leave her alone. At least for now...

He was still irritated, however, that she was refusing to wear the concubine's uniform he'd brought to her. It was what she'd be wearing from now on, so she might as well get used to it right away. He also wasn't about to let her go around wearing those rags she'd been wearing when he first brought her onto the ship.

He was determined to win this argument, but also didn't want to completely crush her. The woman's spirit was admirable, almost Saiya-jin even. Vegeta had learned many ways to break a strong spirit, mostly from his early childhood spent with Frieza. On the flip side of that training had also been an education in which spirits didn't need to be broken in order to gain cooperation. These individuals only needed a bit of aggressive persuasion at the right moments.

Sighing, Vegeta said, "Relax, woman...Bulma," he corrected, seeing a flash of anger once again in her eyes. He smirked, amused that he could get a rise out of her so quickly.

"I'm going to give you a choice."

Surprise clearly shown on her face. This was definitely an unexpected turn of events. Bulma would never have figured him to be the compromising type. I bet there's a catch...But she was intrigued, and so relaxed her defensive stance. "Okay. What are they?" she asked warily.

Vegeta grinned, a true smile, pleased that she was listening. "You may either way this uniform," he said, holding up a wad of delicate material. "Or you may go as you are now. Either way, you will be leaving this ship."

"You bastard!" she screeched. "What the fuck kind of choices are those?"

The Saiya-jin no Ouji smirked again. Such fire. He truly enjoyed riling her temper. She was both beautiful and intelligent, with a sharp wit to match his own. Now that he'd made the decision to yield to whatever it was she stirred in him, he found himself looking forward to their verbal battles. They both had strong wills, promising for many stimulating debates. At least it will distract me from wanting to throw her to the ground and claim her again and again. He was momentarily distracted yet again, as her towel had managed to loosen even more from her barely-controlled rage.

However, time was short, and thus he squelched his lust. "Woman, I did not say they were choices you would like. However, they are yours from which to choose. Do know this, however, going out as you are now will show you to be nothing more than a palace whore, open to blatant stares and nasty comments from any who choose to do so. I will not lift a finger to protect you from their censure. You will be seen as a slut and treated as such."

"And like that, that scrap of cloth you're holding offers any protection either?"

A look of bewilderment crossed Vegeta's face, but then he remembered she knew nothing of Saiya-jin customs. "This scrap of cloth, as you put it, marks you as mine---"

"Oh, great! Private whore is much a better position than palace slut! Fuck you and your choices---"

Just as she had cut him off, he interrupted her tirade. Not with words, but with his mouth. Before she even knew what was happening, she was being pressed into Vegeta's body, his lips capturing hers and devouring her. His arms tightened around her waist in a vise-like grip, and his tail wound its way around one of her thighs. She didn't even have time to resist and so just yielded to his demanding body.

Vegeta broke off the kiss as abruptly as he'd started it, pleased by her heaving breathing and flushed face. "By wearing this uniform, you are not being labeled my 'private whore.' It is just the opposite, in fact. This dress marks you as my concubine, with all the rights and privileges due such a position of honor. You will be treated with respect, not derision and contempt."

Confusion clouded Bulma's eyes. "What the hell is the difference between a whore and a concubine?"

"A lot, actually. A whore can be used by just about anyone at anytime and has no protector. She is the lowliest of slaves, usually not even worth clothing."

He felt Bulma shudder at his blunt description, but it was better she knew where things stood. Though her choices were limited, she did have a choice. She deserved to know the full impact of her decision.

"A concubine," he continued, "on the other hand, is the highest rank a pleasure slave can achieve. She commands respect for her master highly favors her. As long as she obeys him, she can come and go as she pleases. No one can accost her or treat her with disrespect."

Bulma went limp in Vegeta's now loosened embrace. Her choices, as they were, came as a low blow to one as prideful as herself. She could feel panic and despair rise within her, but she forced them down again. No weakness would be displayed by her. She'd demonstrated too much as it were right now.

She pulled away from Vegeta, slightly surprised he let her go so easily. Stepping back, she looked into his eyes. "Very well," she said icily. "I will become your concubine versus a palace whore, but know this. I will never, never yield to you willingly again."

Anger sparked in Vegeta's eyes. "I'd rethink that, if I were you, woman," he ground out. "Rarely does a palace whore rise to concubine, but a concubine can fall to palace whore in the blink of an eye."

He saw her blue eyes widen, but then crinkle with mischief. "Well, I'm not quite sure what being the key means, but I'm willing to bet that it's a position of even more prestige than a mere concubine."

She suddenly felt herself slammed into the wall, Vegeta pressing into her violently. However, no lust sparked in his eyes, just rage. "Never, never threaten me, woman!" he snarled. "You will keep that lovely mouth of yours shut about what happened on Chikyuu!"

Bulma gulped nervously. She'd never seen Vegeta provoked to such anger. She about to question him, but then a beep came from a radio on Vegeta's belt.

"Sire," Radditz' voice broke through the tension between them. "Your father, the King, demands your presence on the bridge. He wishes to know what is delaying our departure from the ship."

Dammit! That man has to have the worst fucking timing in the whole galaxy, Vegeta raged inwardly. However, his father was King, and it wouldn't do to delay him any longer. Releasing Bulma, he pressed a button on the com unit and replied, "Fine. I will be there shortly."

Turning back to Bulma, he glared at her again. "No word to anyone, remember."

She was still too frightened and confused to do anything but nod.

"Good," Vegeta said. He leaned into to graze her lips in a soft kiss. "It is still your choice what to wear, but do realize that if you go as you are, anyone may also do this."

Saying that, he reached for the front of Bulma's towel and pulled. It promptly fell in a wet mass at her feet.

"Bastard," she hissed, frantically reaching down to grab it.

The Prince admired the view for a brief moment before turning towards the door. Before exiting the room, he glanced back at Bulma, once again towel-wrapped and fuming. He answered her insult with one of his own.

"Whore."

He smirked with self-satisfaction as he heard her sputter with indignation. Score yet another one for me...

Vegeta's satisfaction was short-lived, however, when half-way to the bridge he heard her yell back.

"Monkey boy!"

The door slammed then slammed shut, cutting off her hysterical laughter at his expense. He was very tempted to go back to the room, but then he heard the King's voice shouting over the ship's intercom system, demanding his presence.

Muttering to himself, pride wounded, he stalked to the bridge.

*****

Radditz and Nappa were already standing at attention by the time the irate Prince reached the bridge. The first thing he saw was a huge image of his equally-irate father on the holo-vid screen, glaring daggers at hi heir.

"What took you so long, boy?" the Saiya-jin no Ou demanded.

Vegeta's face twisted into a slight snarl. "I owe you no explanations, old man. My time is mine to do with as I please."

"Not when Frieza is here waiting for you!" came the enraged reply.

The King did have the satisfaction of seeing his son's usually implacable face fall in utter shock at his announcement. To rub salt in the would, he added maliciously, "Zarbon is here as well."

"Fuck!" the Prince yelled. "What the hell are they doing here?"

The King sobered, knowing it unwise to discuss the powerful lizard tyrant on an open communications link, even if it was a frequency reserved only for royalty. "That can be discussed later. Just get your weakling tail down here now!"

Rather than engage in more words with his son, the King cut off the transmission, leaving Vegeta startled and anxious at the presence of the two people he hated most in the galaxy. The Prince began pacing, momentarily unsure how he should react this unexpected news.

A shudder ran through him. Frieza. He hadn't seen the bastard lizard in almost ten years. Memories of the humiliation and torture and pain he'd suffered at the tyrant's hands came flooding back. Vegeta released a howl of rage at what he saw as an invasion of his home. He grabbed the console to steady himself, nearly crushing the delicate metal in his uncontrolled grasp.

He felt strong hands encircle his wrists, looked up and saw Radditz' worried face. Vegeta snarled, jerking away from the other warrior, but remembering himself at the same time. He straightened, banishing the memories to his subconscious.

"Thank you," he whispered, acknowledging Radditz' silent sympathy. Only he and Nappa knew the true extent of Vegeta's suffering at Frieza and Zarbon's hands, as they themselves had witnessed it. They had also even bore the brunt of it at certain points.

Vegeta inhaled a deep, soothing breath, preparing himself for once again meeting his enemies and having to treat them with at least a hint of civility. The knowledge that he would very soon pound both of the fuckers to dust gave him added strength. He also had just thought of a way to distract himself and get revenge on Bulma.

Stalking to the intercom, he bellowed, "Woman! Get your fat ass down here! NOW!"

*****

After Vegeta had left, Bulma remained against the door for several moments, laughing her head off at his embarrassment. Finally, finally, she gotten to him. Her humor, however, was short-lived when she remembered her new station in life.

Though there might have been a huge difference in the Saiya-jin definition of whore and concubine, to her mind, they were one and the same. She was stuck with taking the risk of any random, disgusting Saiya-jin claiming her, or being stuck with the Prince for the rest of her days. At least until he tires of me...

She shook her head, as if trying to banish the thought. Bulma would be back on Chikyuu long before Vegeta could ever think of tiring her. Plus, there was the promise he'd made never to force her hand against him again, at least when it came to bedroom activities, and since she never planned to give into him again, she wasn't worried. Vegeta wouldn't harm her physically. If he were going to, he'd have done it already.

Remembering the feral look on his face when she'd mentioned being the Key made her rethink that conclusion. Vegeta had been pretty pissed. Why is it so bad if everyone knows I'm the Key? However, beneath Vegeta's anger she'd seen worry and anxiety. Something about her status was potentially threatening, and until she found out what it was, she'd have to trust Vegeta.

Smiling ironically over this strange turn, she walked to beside the bed, picking up the "uniform" Vegeta had dropped. Shaking out the wrinkles, she drew it across the bed, examining its cut before putting it on. There really wasn't any decision to be made. She sure as hell wasn't going into the Saiya-jin Court wearing nothing but a towel. Though this thing doesn't look like it covers much more...

The dress was made of a thin, gauzy material, black and almost see-through. It resembled a night-shift, but was obviously made for day wear. Although the material was thin, Bulma could tell by its texture that it was also durable.

Oh, well. If you can't beat them, join 'em, she sighed in resignation, pulling the dress over her head and smoothing it along the lines of her body. She was slightly shocked to discover it had no side-seams. Two panels of material covered her front and back, connected on either side by a small, delicate chain that draped across her both her hips. Her sides were completely exposed.

She stalked to the courtesan's den, determined to see fully how much of was visible. Maybe the towel is a better option, she though dryly as she approached the mirrored room. Upon entering it, she couldn't help but be overcome by a wave of nausea from the Prince's complete assault upon her body the night she'd had too much dragonsblood. She still couldn't remember how she'd gotten him off of her, but knew it had to have been violent, given the still-busted mirrors winking at her.

Bulma was grasped from her swiss-cheese like memories as her reflection in the unbroken mirrors caught her attention. The uniform definitely did expose more than a simple towel. The neckline of the dress dipped down to her navel, displaying ample cleavage. The material was also way more transparent than she'd originally thought. However, since there weren't any seams, the material bunched loosely over each breast, rendering her nipples invisible.

What alarmed her most, however, was how much leg she was showing. Her legs seemed to stretch forever, and since her sides were fully exposed from toe to underarm, her legs might as well have journeyed for eternity. Worse, she discovered, was that when she walked, no matter how fast, the front panel gathered between her legs, exposing even more flesh.

That rat bastard, monkey boy son-of-a-bitch...she inwardly cursed. She was fuming. How could this outfit be any better than a damned towel?

She was about to track down the Prince and blast him when she heard static on the intercom. Then, Vegeta's voice.

"Woman! Get your fat ass down here NOW!"

*****

Vegeta chuckled to himself silently. In the course of his years, he'd learned one thing for sure. All females, no matter what species, were vain. They hated any reference to them gaining weight. Bulma certainly was no exception. A woman was not as beautiful as she if she didn't suffer from vanity, at least to a small degree. The blue-haired vixen was most assuredly going to be pissed. Plus, he'd called her "woman," once again denying her the dignity of her real name.

He heard a screech of outrage and another door slam from the back of the ship and knew his prank had worked. Bulma was seriously fuming.

However, Vegeta's humor died the moment she stepped onto the bridge. He hadn't expected the vision she would transform into wearing the concubine's uniform, which left little to the imagination. He'd seen others wear the dress before, but he'd never realized how provocative it was until he saw it on his woman. With her in his line of sight, all he saw was legs, heaving chest, flashing eyes, a soft cloud of blue hair, and even more leg.

It took him several moments to remove his heart from his throat. "Woman, what the hell are you wearing?"

Bulma had been completely prepared to pound into Vegeta, but the look of raw, undisguised need in his eyes stopped her in her tracks. Never had anyone looked at her with so much emotion, so much passion. Not even Yamcha. She was mesmerized by the sheer intensity of his desire, his need.

She mentally stumbled over his question. "Wh-what do you mean?"

Vegeta's raw desire was quickly turning into raw anger. He stalked towards her until their noses practically touched. "I mean what I said, woman," he whispered, voice laced with rage. "Everything you have is on full display!"

She had expected him to shower her with compliments, not turn into some jealous asshole. "Listen up, dumbass!" she roared. "This is what you're making me wear! If you don't like it, that's your problem!"

Vegeta hissed, but stepped back a little as he realized he was out of control. Trembling slightly from both rage and desire, he said, "I didn't say I didn't like it."

Bulma blinked, twice. This man was truly going to destroy her sanity. "Oh," she whispered.

The Prince continued backing away from her, knowing he couldn't resist the urge to throw her down and take her right then and there if he continued standing next to her. Sighing, he said, "You just took me by surprise, that's all."

"Oh."

"Let me look a little longer, and then I'll decide."

Vegeta began circling her, looking her up and down, admiring the view from every angle. Bulma felt she was a horse on an auction block and said as much.

He laughed at her anger, remarking only, "At least I was wrong about your ass. It's not fat."

Bulma was stunned speechless by his compliment, given in such a sincere manner and in front of his Guardsmen. Radditz and Nappa, too, were silent with shock. Vegeta just ignored them, but did manage to temper his burning desire to say fuck off to everyone and drag Bulma back into his room.

Instead, he snapped at Radditz. "Fetch a long cloak! I don't want Frieza and Zarbon to get any ideas."

He turned back to Bulma as the warrior ran to do his bidding. "Listen, woman, there are some things you need to know before we do down. First, follow behind me, staying close. Second, donít speak to or look at any warrior until you are asked a question or told to do so."

"I thought being your concubine made me respectable," she protested.

"It does, but you're still a woman and a slave. No one can touch you or treat you with disrespect, but you must also remember your place."

He was rewarded by a low growl and a fierce glare. Bulma didn't seem to know many emotions these days except fear or anger. While she much preferred the latter to the former, she also missed joy and love and happiness. It was this realization that dissipated her anger. She had a new emotion to add: sadness.

Vegeta watched the anger drain out of her eyes, but before he comment on her change, Radditz returned. He grabbed the cloak and threw it around Bulma. It covered her head to toe, but still left too much leg showing when she walked for Vegeta's liking. However, there was nothing else he could do. Zarbon just better remember to whom she belongs. He knew the battle that would ensue between the two enemies if the green-haired alien took it to mind to add Bulma to his list of sexual conquests.

Frowning, Vegeta turned and lead the group to the door, which had just began lowering. Suddenly, he turned back to Bulma, saying, "Just one other thing, woman. If I do this, don't resist."

Before she could ask what "this" was, Vegeta pulled arm to him, grinding her mouth to his in a fast, hard kiss. He pushed her back gently when it was over, noticing she could only pant for breath. She looked at him for an instant with nothing but pure lust in her eyes.

Then he broke the mood by snapping, "Attach!"

The bracelets around Bulma's wrists immediately followed their orders, and she was once again reminded of her captivity and her enslavement. Vegeta saw the anger snap back into her eyes, and he laughed out loud at her predicament, turning once again to do down the ramp.

Bulma raised her bound hands to strike a blow on the back of the Prince's head, but Radditz grabbed her arm before she could. He merely shook his head in negation of her actions, and then gently nudged her forward.

Sagging her shoulders in momentary defeat, Bulma followed Vegeta down the ramp, Nappa and Radditz bringing up the rear. A harsh, vicious wind assailed her, and the atmosphere seemed to press in on her. She felt like she was slowly being suffocated and squished like a bug beneath a shoe.

She stumbled, grasping Vegeta's shoulder before sinking to the ground. Though annoyed, he turned and caught her before she completely fell.

"Can't...breathe..."she whispered, desperately trying to fill her lungs with oxygen that just wasn't there.

"Dammit!" Vegeta hissed, realizing that Bulma's human body wasn't used to the stronger gravitational pull of Vegetasei. Shit, shit, shit...his mind said over and over in his head like a mantra.

Scooping Bulma into his arms as she fell unconscious, he yelled to Nappa and Radditz, "Open the doors! Hurry!"

The two Guards sped at top speed across the landing strip towards the tall castle doors, Vegeta hot on their trail and cursing them as they struggled with the heavy doors. He didn't calm himself until they were in the relative safety of the palace. Radditz immediately set the interior room at a level that Bulma could withstand, and Vegeta sighed in relief as he heard her breathing deepen.

However, she was still unconscious when another pair of doors to the anteroom burst open and the King, along with Frieza and Zarbon, stormed into it.

Thus, whenever questioned later about meeting these powerful men for the first time, she could honestly answer that she did not recall the event.

* * * * *


Table of Contents
Chapter 4
Chapter 6