Disclaimer: You know the drill. Dragonball does not belong to me. I’m not writing this for profit, just to release it from my angst-driven mind.


Part 5


Vegita was dreaming.

In his dreams he was standing in a fog which rolled on forever. Bulma was standing a few feet ahead of him, facing him, her face like stone. Each time he tried to reach out to her she moved further back.

"Bulma, what’s wrong with you?" he asked over and over. Finally she answered him.

"I’m leaving you Vegita."

"Why?" he asked, trying not to sound pitiful.

"Why do you think I would stay? You’ve always been so willing to leave me and Trunks for a good battle in a moment. How can you expect me to stay, to keep waiting for you to realise we’re the best things you’ve got in your life?"

Vegita frowned. How could he? How could he begin to explain that his distance had been caused by fear; fear to let anyone close, to trust? How could he explain that now they were bonded and now that he realised his mistakes he was going to try to make it up to her?

Bulma turned around and began to walk away again. Desperate, Vegita shot out a hand, grabbing her by the arm and spinning her to face him. But the moment he came in contact with her she changed.

It was Freeza.

"No!" Vegita cried but he was drowned out by the sound of Freeza’s laugh.

"You’ve lost her, you fool! I told you I would teach you the meaning of pain Vegita…Vegita.."

He awoke to the real nightmare.

Dende was standing above him, worry imprinted on his face. That, and his ability to sense kis, told him that Goku had failed to defeat Freeza and was being brought back to the lookout by the Namek they called Piccolo.

But something was wrong; it couldn’t have taken him this long to heal. They would have given him one of their senzu beans or Dende…

He sat up suddenly, grabbing the young Namek by the collar of his robe. "What did you do to me?" he hissed. "Why did I not wake up earlier?"

"Calm down, Vegita," said Dende, pulling himself from the Saiyajin’s grasp. "That is precisely why; you can’t control your temper. And we had hoped we could do this without you, for your own sake."

"Baka! You talk about defeating Freeza as if it were but an easy errand that needed doing," fumed Vegita as he climbed off the bed. "You should have known Kakarott didn’t have the balls to do this."

"And you do?" Dende asked. "By the Gods Vegita! She’s your mate! How do you think you’ll be able to defeat Freeza on your own when even Goku couldn’t?"

"You said so yourself. She’s my mate; I know what her wishes would be," he said solemnly.

"What would they be then?" Dende asked.

"She wouldn’t want to live this way," Vegita replied. In those brief moments Dende couldn’t see the younger Saiyajin who had killed his people for the sake of a few dragonballs. Instead he saw a man confronted with his fear and learning what it was to make the right decision, no matter what. They had all been wrong; Vegita was the only one who could defeat Freeza.

"Good luck," he found himself saying as Vegita flew away. Not that it mattered; either way someone was going to have to lose.


"Father’s awake," Trunks announced suddenly.

All three half-Saiyajins looked to each other nervously.

"What if this works before Vegita-san fights Bulma-san?" asked Goten of his older brother.

Gohan overlooked the machine once again. They were coming along well. The recalibrations had been done and the error contingencies counted for. But rewiring everything in such a way that the gate wouldn’t explode when a reverse current was passed through it in the right direction was taking time. Still…

"Trunks," he called out suddenly. "Go to your father. Try and warn him what’s going to happen in…let’s see…about 20 minutes. You’ll just have to hold Freeza off until the gate is activated, ok?"

The young boy nodded then was gone.

Gohan prayed that they weren’t already too late.


As Vegita flew he tried not to think about what he was going to have to do when he encountered Freeza again. Once he did, he couldn’t help but contemplate what was going to happen to Bulma; even if he went easy on Freeza, which was near to impossible, she was going to be hurt. And if he couldn’t bring Freeza down…well, she was going to die. That thought made Vegita feel as if his heart was being pulled out his mouth and everything else inside was coming along with it.

The only things that kept him going were the memories of being in Freeza’s army. He remembered, vividly, how bad it was to have to suppress his Saiyajin pride in the face of one as ultimately repulsive as Freeza. There was no honour, no dignity in his life then and he relied on that knowledge to steel him up for the task ahead.

That and the fact that he had been a murderer before and held and especially vicious hate for Freeza. He had changed recently, but that part of himself still lived and he fell back on that like a lifeline. If he didn’t, he was going to crumble into a million different pieces under the knowledge that he was going to have to destroy the most needed part of himself. Her.

"Yes," Vegita thought to himself, a deeper than usual frown on his features. "I could do this once, I can do it again. It is going to be painful; but she would want things this way."

At least, that was how he felt until he saw her.

It was obvious Freeza had been waiting for him for some time now. He was floating in the air, with his - no, Bulma’s - slender arms folded. Vegita could have sworn that, had Bulma had a tail, Freeza would be nonchalantly swinging it back and forth.

"Well, you’ve healed up nicely," Freeza said, grinning. "It was hard to notice the other night, my Prince, but you haven’t aged a bit in the past years."

Vegita shivered with disgust. "I was never your Prince, Freeza." He flew forward slowly and began to power up, breaking the barrier to Super Saiyajin effortlessly. The pleasantries would be done with in a few moments, if he had anything to say about it.

"No, but you were hers," said the monster. "Regularly, I believe, by human standards. And now she is mine, so that changes things. Doesn’t it?"

Maybe this won’t be as difficult as I thought, Vegita told himself as he flew forward with a cry of rage hurtling forth from his lungs. Bulma or no, Freeza was not going to survive this. He would leave her body if Vegita had to beat him out with his bare hands. Vegita would send him back to the hell he’d escaped from, maybe to somewhere worse if that were possible.


Chichi watched as, in the few seconds since re-awakening, Goku’s face went through the whole spectrum of expressions. Confusion at what had happened, relief to find they were both still alive, curiosity over what had happened to Bulma, then focus and fear.

"Goku?" she asked. "What’s happening?"

He shifted on the bed in Dende’s lookout, as if to gauge the chances of him getting up anytime soon. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t good either. And, looking into Chichi’s face, he wasn’t so sure that returning to the battlefield straight away would be fair to her. Clearly, he remembered how she had been on the point of dying for him.

"It’s Vegita," he replied finally. "He’s fighting Freeza again."

Chichi nodded. "I know, he left here just before we arrived. Do you know how he’s going?"

Goku closed his eyes. "He’s doing well, all things considered. I think Freeza was tying to make him mad; so that he would fight."

"Why on earth would he want that to happen?"

"If Freeza defeats Vegita easily, it’s no fun," Goku said, sitting up. "Although I wouldn’t do it, because there’s no honour in it. But I think Freeza’s gone too far, maybe. Vegita’s really mad. He could win this."

"That’s good, though, isn’t it?" asked Chichi. "I mean, Freeza won’t get to the dragonballs. And Vegita would hate to be defeated twice in a row."

Shaking his head, Goku sighed. "There are worse things than being defeated. Vegita doesn’t realise that yet."

"Goku, you’re scaring me," Chichi admitted in a whisper. "What makes you say that?"

"I don’t know," he admitted, his voice suddenly all innocence and naïveté again. "I just have this terrible feeling; like things have got this course that they’re following and nothing we do can change it."

Chichi smiled. But it wasn’t a true smile; it was one meant to comfort while hiding her own fears. She’d had to use it too many times already, she thought, so once more wouldn’t change things. "It will be okay, Goku," she lied. "I’m with you. It will be okay."


"Gamma gun!" Vegita released his attack for a second time since they’d begun fighting. Freeza had avoided the first one; but he would not avoid this one. A few blasts landed Freeza in the chest, distracting him long enough for Vegita to appear behind him. With a firm blow to the back, Freeza was once again tumbling towards the ground.

Satisfied, Vegita watched him fall. Everything was going the way he had hoped it would. His desire for revenge and bloodlust had all but blocked out the fact that he was, essentially, fighting Bulma. In fact, he could barely think anymore; so strong was the cry for no-holds-barred combat in his mind. It had been too long since he’d been challenged so well.

Suddenly, a few feet from a crash that would have shook the world, Freeza disappeared.

"No!" Vegita cried, feeling cheated. He looked around desperately, but there was no sign of the monster. "Don’t hide from me you coward!"

"Who’s hiding?" a soft taunt came from just above Vegita’s head before he suddenly felt himself blasted to the ground. He landed hard but was about to get up again when he was blasted again. And again. And again.

Each hit felt worse than the one before. And there was no break between them for Vegita to rise. He could feel his mind drifting to someplace else…

"What are you doing?" a soft voice again, but this one sweet and enticing.


"There’s someone else who gets direct access to your mind? Of course it’s me."

"What do you want?" he asked.

"You should know the answer to that," she replied. "I want you to win, Vegita."

He tried not to yell and failed. "Don’t you think I’m trying! You’re tougher than you think."

"That’s not me, Vegita, but you won’t accept that. And that’s why you’re holding back. Because you believe I’m still in there somewhere."

"You must be…you would not surrender."

"Vegita," her voice was laced with sadness. "I’m sorry. I don’t even think I’m alive anymore. He’s…"


Vegita was brought back to reality by the goosebump-raising sound of Freeza’s laugh. The onslaught was briefly halted and Vegita, badly wounded, lifted himself out of the hole in the ground his impact had created. His ki flared with rage at seeing his enemy rejoice.

"What’s so funny?"

"Oh Mighty Prince of the Saiyajins," Freeza stopped his laughter with sarcasm. "I had never expected…and she buried her secret well…I thought it was only for lower class Saiyajins…"

"You’ve gone mad. What on earth are you blabbering about, Freeza?" Vegita asked, more annoyed that confused.

"Her last defence is broken," stated Freeza with glee. "And now I have access to what she fought so long to hide from me."

"No…" Vegita’s eyes widened with disbelief.

"Funny. I never saw you as the bonding type. Now both your minds are MINE!"

"NEVER!" Vegita cried. But Freeza just smiled. Both knew it was over; once Freeza had access to Vegita’s mind through the bond, there was no hope left for the Saiyajin.

But for Vegita, it meant something more entirely. It meant that all Bulma’s efforts had been for nothing…Freeza had the secret…which meant that she…

It was all Vegita needed to know to let go. To release that final, consuming hope that she could still be saved…that tomorrow he could wake up beside her and today would all be just a bad dream.

As the last remnants of night slipped away over the western sky, Vegita gathered energy for his last attack.


"Ready?" Gohan asked.

Goten, standing poised in front of the KTC, began charging up. "Ready."

In a few moments, if everything went as planned, Goten would fire a decent-sized kamehameha at the small orb, which would be converted and activate the gate. Then, cross circuits and trans-dimensional amplifiers would reverse the polarity of the gate, reversing the suction and dragging anything which would fit through into the world beyond.

Unfortunately, Gohan thought, there were way to many ‘ifs’ in the equation.

Still, no one successful got anywhere by thinking about it.

"Ok," Gohan said to no one in particular. "Here goes nothing. Ready, Goten."

His younger brother nodded and assumed a position eerily reminiscent of their father.


Gohan went through a mental checklist. New equations entered into the program…


Cross circuits checked and double checked.


Reverse polarity ready to go.


KTC recalibrated.


The KTC was hit and the gate ignited, even more brightly than before. Of course, this was the first time they’d ever seen the gate so Gohan and Goten were both shocked into silence, squinting their eyes against the white glare of it. Suddenly, the gate began to pulsate and the room filled with energy rolling off in waves.

"You know," called out Goten above the thrum of the generators. "If this is how it was on the other side, I’m not surprised Freeza noticed it!"

"Um, well, I have given it a bit of umph," confessed Gohan, trying to watch the computer readouts through the glare. It was pointless though; Freeza’s soul could travel through the gate and the sensors may not even pick it up.

"A bit of ‘umph’?" Goten was incredulous.

"Well, maybe a lot."



"When I’m old enough to drive, remind me not to let you near my car."

"Are you sure?" Gohan asked, finding it strange he was joking in a time of crisis. "Girls like umph." He caught a glimpse of his younger brother’s face. Geez, he resembled their mother at times too. He had the ‘not happy, Gohan’ look down to a fine art. "Gotcha. Ixnay on the umph-vay."

The two boys then lapsed into silence and waited.


High above them, two Nameks watched the affairs below with an sense of impending doom.

"You know," Piccolo said, "if there’s a time to interfere, this would be it."

"I can’t interfere - it’s against the rules," Dende said solemnly.

The older Namek glanced back towards the temple of the lookout where Chichi and Goku were talking. "You broke the rules for her."

"We owed Goku some favours; more than we could repay in a single lifetime. And don’t remind me. I’ve already gotten my lecture from the powers that be."

Piccolo smiled secretively. Perhaps the boy wasn’t a lost cause after all. At least he was retaining his sense of true justice. "Still, I don’t like this. Not one little bit."

"You heard what Goku said," Dende told him. "He was right. My hands are tied this time. As far as we’re concerned, things have already happened."

"Great," said Piccolo. "And, as usual, we’re the ones who are going to have to pick up the pieces.


Trunks squinted against the rising sun and tried to bury the feeling that he would be too late. He had honed in on Freeza and his father’s kis well enough but even flying as fast as he could, he was going to be cutting it fine.

As the sun rose, painting the world golden, he spotted them. Like tiny black dots against the dawn sky they floated, one glowing noticeably more brighter than the other. Vegita. Trunks recognised the build up to his father’s final flash attack straight away; he’d been on the receiving end of it often enough.

But Freeza wasn’t even flinching, wasn’t even bracing himself for the inevitable. As if it were all just some big game, some foolish little sparring match.

Perhaps it had been. After seeing for himself what it looked like to have Freeza’s soul in his mother’s body, he couldn’t imagine how his father had been fighting so far. Not so well, it seemed, if Freeza was this confident.

Still, and Trunks could feel it from where he was, his father was digging deeper this time. Something had changed in him, as if he were fracturing from the inside out.

"Final…." his father began.

I’d better stop him, Trunks thought. Otherwise ‘kaasan might be pretty injured when Gohan restores her…

As if in response to his thoughts, a cold breeze ran through Trunks’ soul, chilling his blood as it passed. It was the strangest feeling and it took the young Saiyajin a few moments to figure out what it was.


Gohan and Goten had done it.

Confirming it, Bulma was now slowly floating towards the ground; her ability to fly receding. She was shaking her head as if waking from a bad dream. She didn’t even notice Vegita gathering his energy.

And he didn’t notice the change in her. He was ready to release his attack.

Gods, no!

Trunks opened his mouth and pulled in the deepest breath ever and cried out, desperation riding in his words.

"Father! NO!!!!!!"



Vegita fired the attack, feeling the satisfaction that it was going to be a big one. He never saw the blast, though. At one moment the entire area was encased in light.

When the light faded, Vegita opened his eyes to see just how much closer to death he’d brought the monster when he felt something was wrong.

He couldn’t explain it. But it was like the time he’d left Bulma after Trunks was born. Fight it as he might, he felt…unpleasant.

Now was like that time, only a million times worse.

Then he saw Freeza. The blast had not made a direct hit; he seemed to have moved since the blast was released. But it had still done it’s job and Freeza was badly injured, blood coating his clothing and various cuts and bruises covering the skin which was exposed. Vegita guessed his death would be in the internal injuries, though.

The monster raised his eyes.

Blue eyes.

Clear, coloured like the tips of ocean waves, blue eyes.

No number of deaths could equal the pain Vegita felt.

And he knew from experience.

"Vegita?" she gazed at him as if he were a figure in a dream made real. She looked to her own body then to him again. As realization set in she fell to the ground like a stone.


It took a few moments for Gohan to regain the ability to see. At the last moment the gate had flashed violently, blinding him while he tried to watch the readings on the computer. But he didn’t need his eyes or the computer to sense Freeza after all. The distinctly cold feeling that settled in his stomach as the soul passed by into the gate was all he needed to know they’d succeeded.

"Goten!" he cried, searching out his brother in the glare. "We did it!"

No answer. He blinked quickly, clearing his eyes and when he could see again, looked at his brother. The young boy was standing perfectly still, eyes unfocused. I guess I’m not the only one who was blinded.

But when Gohan looked more closely he realised Goten could see but at the moment he was searching out kis.

"Goten? What’s wrong?"

"Oh, Niisan. We didn’t succeed. We didn’t succeed at all."


Oh Gods.


The mantra flowed through Vegita’s mind but it was ineffective in blocking out the truth.

He sat on the moist forest floor, Bulma’s body cradled in his arms, her blood soaking into his suit. He didn’t need to look at her to know her injuries were fatal. He had been the one to make them; he knew, all too well, what he had been planning to do.

"Bulma," he whispered. "Wait. We’ll get a senzu. Just wait."

She tried to shake her head ‘no’ but her spine was badly damaged and the barest movement seemed too difficult. Finally she just whispered, "too late."

"No, you can’t leave me," he told her. The tears threatened to flow but for Vegita crying meant defeat. And he was never defeated. "I won’t let you leave me like this."

She gasped for breath, cringing from the pain of broken ribs. Even with a senzu…the injuries were just too bad. He could feel her slipping…through the bond he knew she was about to leave him.

Don’t cry. Don’t let her see you cry, he told himself. It was no use. A single tear escaped the corner of one eye and Bulma raised the arm that wasn’t broken to brush it away.


"It’s okay," she told him gently. "You don’t have to say it. I always knew."

And with that, she died.

Vegita, still clinging to her broken body, let the truth hit him in all it’s stinging glory. And with the pain of a man who has been cheated of death but not anguish, he flung his head back, filled his lungs and howled like a wild animal.



The Saiyajin Prince’s son watched the events play out from what he hoped was a safe distance.

He watched as his mother’s body fell to the ground, as Vegita shot down from the sky to catch her just before she hit.

The trees blocked anything else from his view but with his extra senses Trunks knew the exact moment his mother died, the exact moment his father’s heart broke. And as Vegita’s howl rang out into the morning, echoing off cliff faces and scattering the birds, Trunks wondered if he’d made the biggest mistake of his life by accusing his father of being heartless.

"Mother," he whispered, "if only you were here to realise…"

When he was almost sure that the coast was clear he dropped down gently towards where his father knelt, Bulma’s body still clutched to his chest and the tears still drying on his face.

"Vegita?" Trunks asked, careful to keep his distance.

After what seemed like an eternity, Vegita stood up, still cradling Bulma’s body.

"Come on boy. You’re going to help me collect some dragonballs."


Trunks and Vegita both looked up.

"Dende?" asked Trunks. "What is it?"

I have something to tell you. Something I must say now or I’ll never be able to say it.

Vegita was instantly worried. It didn’t befit gods to be nervous. Unless the fate of the world was in their hands.

"Choose your words carefully, Namek," Vegita warned. "I am most definitely not in a good mood."

No amount of wording is going to get me out of this one, Vegita-san. It’s about Bulma. Or more specifically, heaven’s gate.

"What about it?" asked Trunks. He didn’t like where this was going and he could see his father didn’t either.

The hole she made in heaven and hell…we can’t fix it. It’s technical, beyond our powers. The hole into heaven isn’t a problem, but the one into hell…

Trunks thought for a bit. "So we’ll destroy the gate, won’t we? Will that fix it?"

No, it won’t I’m afraid. Bulma’s broken a strong set of rules here, guys, and we can’t fix it and we can’t let her get away with it either. And by we, I mean the Gods. So they figure, kill two birds with one stone. Piccolo will take good care of her, I promise. And she has the technical knowledge to make sure no one can get through from the other side…

"You’re stalling," Vegita said, his temper up fully now. "Just say it and be done with it."

There was the sound of a sigh. Bulma has to guard the gate between earth and hell. Which means she can’t be wished back.

* * * * *

To be continued…..

A/N: Ahhhhh! What a climax! Anyway, feedback. You know I want it.


Table of Contents
Part 4
Part 6