The Bite

By Elbereth in April Copyright 2002

Disclaimer: I don't own Dragonball Z. How I wish I did!

A/N: In the alternate universe, Kakkarot somehow ended up being born before Vegeta so he is 3 years older when this story starts (age 16). Radditz is one year older than him (age 17). As for the names, I call A/U Vegeta by the name Vegeta (makes sense) as he is the main character. In order to avoid confusion, I am calling the DBZ Vegeta by the name Hito. Hito means Adult. I could call him Mirai but it doesn't really fit. I hope this meets with everyone's approval. And yeah, I know this Vegeta is more vulnerable than *our* Vegeta, but he's grown up differently and he's still young (age 13).

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Chapter One

The last things he remembered, before the rejuv tank, were Kakkarot bending over him, licking his blood from lips contorted by an evil smirk. The searing pains from his body, especially his tail and his shoulder, spurting blood from the mark of Kakkarot's bite. The bite that had exploded through all his mental shields as if they were nothing, ripping at his defenses and his mind until he screamed with the agony and could no longer keep Kakkarot out of his head. He'd gloated over him, pounding through every corner of his mind, reading all his secrets and feelings and fears. . . probably even after he'd blacked out. And then Kakkarot had thrown him in the rejuvenation tank and gone to report it all to Frieza.

Vegeta shuddered. He didn't remember getting out of the tank and to his own room, but he woke up lying in a bed. He supposed it had been Radditz. Vegeta didn't want to open his eyes. He didn't want to come fully awake, because he knew Kakkarot would still be in his head.

Slowly, he reached up one hand and felt for the bite mark just above his collarbone. Still there. He opened his eyes.

And froze. He wasn't in his own bedroom. He looked around in growing fear. He was in a room he'd never seen before. Not Kakkarot's. And it couldn't be Frieza's, not with that picture of cuddly kittens on the wall.

He was alone, so he sat up. His heart was beating wildly and every sense was on alert. By the shape of the walls, he wasn't on Frieza's ship. And by the color of the sun streaming in through the slits of the closed blinds, he wasn't on Frieza's base planet. He took a deep breath. 'Where am I? What could have happened? Is this some kind of trick? Could it be an illusion?'

No. And he could sense Kakkarot far away and very, very faint, but he wasn't actually *in* his mind. Kami, what was going on?

Well, only one way to find out. The door was made of wood, and had to be opened by hand. Vegeta paused before opening it, catching sight of his reflection in a mirror on the wall. He was wearing his training body suit and boots, no gloves or armor, but he looked presentable enough, he was clean and healed. He paused to make sure he didn't *look* as scared as he *felt,* then opened the door.

A hallway. Empty, uninteresting. He started down it, tense and battle- ready.

__________ ____________

Trunks was tying his shoes in preparation for going downstairs to eat breakfast when he felt a ki just appear in the guest bedroom. He assumed it was Goku, the only one he knew who could instantly materialize places, then blinked in confusion. No, it was his father's ki. But his mom and dad were supposed to be in town.

Then he frowned, even more confused. No, it was *not* his father's ki- -and yet it was. But it felt all wrong, and far too weak.

Trunks stood up, opened his door, and entered the hall. It was a boy just barely into his teen's. A Saiyan boy. It *was* his father.

The two teenagers stood frozen, staring at each other. At 13 years, although still accomplished, Vegeta had had less practice at concealing his emotions. At 15 years, Trunks had been reading his father for a long time. This young Vegeta look-alike was afraid. But at the same time, he was dangerous. Trunks immediately tried to seem as unthreatening yet alert as possible.

Vegeta spoke first. "Who are you and where am I?"

"You're at Capsule Corp, on Planet Earth," Trunks answered soothingly. "And I'm Trunks Vegeta-Briefs. I'm half-Saiyan."

Vegeta's eyebrows rose. "Vegeta?"

"We're related." Trunks smiled.

Vegeta's eyes flickered. "How did I get here?"

"My best guess--having some experience at this sort of thing--is that my mom's time machine--which has been malfunctioning, that's why she went to town--had some sort of temporal anomaly or breakdown and brought you here from, apparently, an alternative timeline or even our own past."

"You're saying I'm in an alternate future," Vegeta puzzled his way through this, blinking.

Trunks nodded. "You are Prince Vegeta the 23rd, right?"

Vegeta tilted his chin up, as if suddenly reminded of his image. He crossed his arms and regarded him with a sudden blankness of expression. "Yes."

"Well then. That's my best guess."

Vegeta stared at him a minute, then smirked. "You're crazy."

"No, I'm serious!" Meanwhile, he was sending out a mental call to his parents, "Get back here, quick!"

"Hn." Vegeta looked Trunks up and down. "And how are you related to me?"

"Um. . ." Trunks had hoped not to be asked that. "Well, I'm your son."

Trunks read the shock before Vegeta schooled his face again. "And Frieza?"


This time Vegeta couldn't hide his reaction. His eyes went wide and he swallowed hard.

"Do you want some breakfast?"

Vegeta didn't seem to have heard. He suddenly powered up. He wasn't all that strong yet, but it was still enough to stir a wind and break out the window at the end of the hall. Vegeta shoved past the startled Trunks and ran to the window. He looked out. He really was on a planet he'd never seen before. Was this really the future? Was Frieza really dead?

Would this--half-Saiyan--want to send him back?

He leaped out the window and took to the air, not really thinking coherently. He felt too overwhelmed to be entirely rational.

"Hey!" Trunks yelled, and followed.

Trunks caught up with him after a moment. He just flew beside him in silence for a short distance, each one casting glances at the other. "Um, where are you going?" Trunks asked at last.

"I have no idea," Vegeta admitted, stopping.

"Listen, my parents are on their way back. . ." Trunks began. With a sudden whoosh, Goten came flying up beside them.

"I felt the new ki," he panted, "and I was on my way over anyway. . ." but before he could ask what was going on, Vegeta screamed.

Trunks spun back to look at him. His face had gone white to the lips and he was staring at Goten.

"Kakkarot. . ." he whispered. Then he yelled again and attacked him. He didn't expect to win; Kakkarot was surely stronger than him here, too-- wherever here was. But he couldn't let Kakkarot rape his mind and body again without a fight. If Kakkarot was going to take him again, it would be because he was too broken and bloody to stop him (as before), not because he cowered back in fear.

Goten yelped and dodged, not sure what was going on.

"Wait! Stop!" Trunks shouted, throwing himself in between. To be safe, Goten decided to go Super Saiyan. Vegeta fell back in disbelief as Goten's hair and eyes changed color and his aura sent off waves of heat and power.

"No," Vegeta said in a voice half-growl, half-sob.

"Goten, no," Trunks commanded.

Goten frowned and powered down just as Goku appeared via Instant Transmission. "*What* is going on?"

Vegeta stared, going even whiter. *This* was Kakkarot. He could feel him at the edges of his mind. And he was even stronger than this other, who had, it seemed, just effortlessly transformed himself into the legendary Super Saiyan.

He'd thought this place was his salvation. Frieza was dead here. But now he knew it was just another hell. Kakkarot was here, undefeatable as always, and about to torture him again.

"Stay out of my mind!" he screamed. "Stay away from me!"

He started to rush Goku, who was just staring in blank confusion, when Trunks flared to Super Saiyan and sucker-punched him from behind. Trunks caught him as he started to fall, unconscious. "Look, I don't know, OK? But he doesn't seem to like either of you, so go away. I'm taking him home. Maybe my parents are back by now."

__________ _____________

Vegeta floated in memories.

"How was the purge, Prince? Brother?" Kakkarot greeted them as they got of their space pods. He wore that familiar mocking grin.

"Go lick Frieza's boots, lackey," Radditz snapped.

Kakkarot just smiled wider. "I don't think that sounded very respectful. Should I go tell Lord Frieza you're being disrespectful to him?"

Radditz gritted his teeth. "The purge went fine. We're going to report to Frieza now. So go away."

"Report to who?"

"*Lord* Frieza."

Vegeta remained silent. He knew Kakkarot wasn't concentrating on the spoken conversation anymore than he was. No, whenever Kakkarot came near him, they battled by mind.

Vegeta remembered the first time he'd met Kakkarot. Vegeta had been 7 when Frieza had brought Kakkarot to be one of his Saiyan fighters. He'd been a friendly kid, never able to resist a challenge, following Radditz around, curious about everything, but not overly-bright.

He was incredibly strong, though, even as a brat. He'd also had enormous telepathic capabilities. Vegeta thought he might make a good Royal Councilor someday.

Then he'd gone on his first whole-sale planet destruction with Zarbon and when he'd come back, it was as if he was a different person. Neither he nor Radditz nor anybody else had been able to figure it out, but he was suddenly Frieza's, heart and soul.

Frieza had sent him off somewhere for special training. He was gone 3 years. When he arrived back on base, he reported in and then went looking for Vegeta.

They'd stood talking quietly and politely and then Kakkarot walked away. But while they were talking, Kakkarot had attacked. His mind had slammed into Vegeta's mind and tried to take control. He had tried to strip away Vegeta's protective barriers and invade his innermost being.

He'd come very close before Vegeta had figured out how to throw up a mental wall and keep him back.

After that he was always probing. Frieza would find some excuse to beat him nearly senseless and then when he was weakened by pain, Kakkarot would try another attack. He'd kept him out for 3 years, until yesterday.

"You're mine now, *Prince*," he'd whispered as he'd sunk his teeth into his shoulder.

______________ ____________

"No!" Vegeta sat up so fast he fell out of bed. He sprang up and almost fell over, panting and dizzy.

"Relax," said a voice. It was his own.

Vegeta focused on the person in front of him. 'Is that what I'll look like in--30 or 40 years?' They stared at each other.

"How old are you?" the grown-up Vegeta asked.


"What's the last thing that happened to you?"


"I want to see how similar our pasts are."

Vegeta did not want to mention the last thing that happened to him. Or what Frieza had done to him just before that. "I killed Nappa for going over to Kakkarot's side."

Hito Vegeta looked interested. "I think our timelines veered off early on, brat. I didn't even meet Kakkarot until I landed on Earth as an adult."

'Could this--me--protect me from Kakkarot?' Vegeta wondered desperately. "Can you kill him? Who was the brat who looked just like him? Is Trunks really your son? How can you let him alone around Kakkarot?" the words tumbled out.

Hito Vegeta raised his eyebrows. "I don't know what *your* Kakkarot was like, but this one is far too soft and good-hearted to be a threat. Don't get me wrong, he's very powerful. But he'd never hurt you unless you were trying to destroy the Earth or kill his family." He paused, watching the brat with his face try to accept this. "And that was his son, Goten. And Trunks is my son. They're both half-Saiyan. Kakkarot and I are the only full-blooded Saiyans still alive."

Vegeta looked stricken. "Radditz?"


"By Frieza?"

"No. . . a Namekian named Piccolo. Rein in your emotions, brat. They're weak. Don't do anything to disgrace me while you're here."

"Kakkarot's never tried to attack your mind?"

Hito Vegeta was startled. "No."

Vegeta wanted to believe him: it would mean this place was safe, after all. "I'm not going back."

Hito Vegeta started to speak, then stopped. He couldn't blame him.

"That. . . Goten. He can turn into a Super Saiyan."

"So can I," Hito smirked. "And Kakkarot, Trunks, and Kakkarot's other brat, Gohan."

"And his brats are both. . . safe?"

"Yes. Neither of them are a threat. Both as innocent and pure as their father. In fact, his oldest brat has married and gotten a brat of his own."

Vegeta smiled in relief, then repressed it when Hito scowled.

"Vegeta, how's it going? Do you need any help in there?" Bulma sent to her mate.

"We're fine, but come on in."

Vegeta's eyes went wide. He'd heard her. That was his older counterpart's woman (apparently) and he'd heard her.

The door opened and a lovely blue-haired woman came in the room. She smiled at Vegeta. "You were so cute when you were young!"

"Onna. . ." Hito said warningly as they both blushed. Bulma just giggled and walked over to stand in front of Vegeta. She looked him over, noticing his lean muscles and his tail.

"Pleased to meet you," she introduced herself. "I'm Bulma, Vegeta's mate."

A kind warmth seemed to radiate out from her. She was wearing a shirt with spaghetti straps and her bite mark was clearly visible. Without thinking, Vegeta reached out and touched it. All three felt a small tingle.

Bulma and Hito looked at each other in surprise, then back at Vegeta. "You're bonded," he whispered.

"Yes," she said.

"Kakkarot--he has a mate? Are they bonded?"

"Yes," Bulma said again. She and Chi-Chi had discussed their respective bonds at some length.

Vegeta willed himself not to touch his own mark. He still didn't know how it would affect things here. He could still feel Kakkarot if he concentrated really hard. He shied back from that thought.

"I'm sorry about this whole mix-up," Bulma went on. "It seems to be my fault. One of the proto-time machines I built malfunctioned somehow and created--well, a worm hole. I guess you got sucked in. Anyway, once I fix it, I can return you to. . ."

"I'm *not* going back," Vegeta insisted, power flickering around him unconsciously.

"Oh." "What should we do?"

Hito retreated inside himself somewhat.


"Well, we certainly can't send him back at his current power level. He has to be able to kill Frieza first."

Vegeta eavesdropped shamelessly.

"Are you going to train him then?"

"Of course. And he can have Trunks for company."

"What if he *never* wants to go back?"

There was a long pause. ". . .Let him stay."

Vegeta stopped himself from smirking.

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A/N again: OK, I know I'm supposed to be writing Ch 13 of "The Deception," but I got this in my head and couldn't get it out. I told you I always end up writing 3 or 4 things at once.

I'm feeling sort of insecure about this story, so please let me know what you think. Seriously now. It's not *only* that my entire existence centers on receiving reviews.