Bulma kept her eyes closed and her face raised to the light streaming in from the dome overhead long after the last echo stopped reverberating. Though she remembered everything clearly, it was like a hazy dream seen through a veil that allowed her to perceive outside herself. It didn't matter if it were impossible or defied logic. It didn't even matter if it was all a hallucination born from her most frantic needs and wishes. To her, it didn't even matter if it were real or imagined.

At the end of her endurance, something had brought her here. It was like she were a leaf blowing on the wind with no choice but to go where it took her. With no reason to resist, and no strength to do so even had she desired so, she had found herself here. After speaking with the Yardracian and learning that this was a place to shed burdens, she felt a surge of desperate hope. At that point, she'd have tried anything to dull the ache. Anything, that is, but betray Vegeta's mandate that she stay out of his head. She'd die first. She wasn't certain, though, that dying was exactly what she was doing by following his orders. But if she were dying, then wasn't he? Then how could he bear it?

Did he hate her that much?

So the elder had told her to unburden herself, and if the Ancients found her worthy, they'd ensure her plea was heard. Bulma didn't think that was likely unless they somehow forced Vegeta to hear. She smiled a bit at that though as the memory of singing 'the song that never ends' at him nonstop for days until he caved and let her apologize.

With that thought in her mind, the decision was somehow made without her realizing. She had suddenly begun to sing, and she imagined Vegeta could somehow hear her. For a moment, her heart swelled with utter joy.

Floating in the sensation, she let it fill her. Words pooled in her throat and lifted from her lips without effort, as if something outside herself were directing her. She spoke in a language she had believed was purely scientific - used to bypass confusion from the many languages of Earth - but now dimly recalled as a language her mother had used in prayer. Prayer? Her mother had been fascinated with prayer and religion. She had learned the rules, nuances, intentions, histories, mythologies, legends – anything she could – about every religion alive or dead she could find.

Bulma herself hadn't really followed a religion, after all, she was on a first named basis with God and knew for a fact that he was a green alien that slept and shit like everyone else. Beyond Kami where the Kais… and after them, maybe even a true, real creator out of the chaos… the truth was, she didn't know. It had, however made sense to keep awareness of Earth religions because of how often it impacted the direction of science. Humanity chased God to prove or disprove the existence of God, and justified or forbid scientific advance because of the desire to narrow the gap between God and Science.

Patched together memories and dreams allowed her to recall the Latin words of prayer and she submitted wholeheartedly. It was as though someone else were drawing these sensations and words from her with greedy indulgence. It didn't matter. In these moments, Bulma absolutely, irrevocably believed in… something… beyond understanding. She would gladly give her misery, loneliness, and prayers for what she was given in return -


It was like Vegeta was with her again – inside her mind, sharing with her all that she was feeling. She felt…. Whole.

And then, it was over. She held on to the sensation as long as she could, but inevitably, it began to fade. As the last voices – had that really happened? – stilled and the otherworldly vibrations let go of her soul, she finally lowered her head and opened her eyes. Completely drained, she gasped and would have fallen to her knees if a strong but gentle grip hadn't steadied her arm from behind. She felt dizzy a moment, but allowed the Yardracian to lead her to a seat. After days of feeling the soul-crushing misery of just how separate she felt from Vegeta... She still felt hollow, but - she could breathe now. It ached, but she didn't feel on the verge of collapse.

The relief was a hot flood that would have made her drop had she not already been sitting. She didn't feel the overwhelming sensation of Vegeta surrounding her any longer, but it was…. Ok. At least, she didn't feel like she was dying anymore.

She smiled up at the Yardracian and took his hand when he offered to help her stand. When their fingers touched, he rocked back, his eyes widening in surprise. Bending close after a moment, he peered at her intently before blinking lazily. She might have tried to pretend she hadn't noticed except the sheer size of his orbs were enormous. There was literally nowhere else to look. Green irises the size of her face focused on her so intently, she might have started feeling self-conscious about his stare, except that his grip on her hand had tightened considerably. She hadn't thought it was possible for such a frail, old hand to have that much strength.

He must have noticed her discomfort and loosened his grip.

"Apologies, lady," he chirped, his accent suddenly thick. It was an introspective tone, and the use of the word lady was more of an observation of her sex rather than a title. "My species is very telepathic and as such, we rarely contact one another without the protection of clothing. It prevents unintended telepathic transference."

Bulma didn't bother feeling violated – she'd had Vegeta of all people in her skull for so long a snapshot of her thoughts wasn't really all that off-putting. What had she been thinking of in that moment? Nothing obscene, she was sure. At least, she thought she was sure….

"You should know then," he said with mild interest, "that you have a life growing…here…" he placed his free hand over her abdomen.

Confused, Bulma looked down with acute self-interest. A what now?

Reality shifted as her blood all but surged through veins suddenly too narrow. A life?

The half of her that was totally unsurprised battled the half that was completely and utterly thunderstruck. At total war with herself, her eyes remained frozen on her midsection with such intensity, one could mistake she were trying to see through her own flesh.

From somewhere far away, she heard herself wheeze. The sound was so ridiculous and the situation so typical she started to laugh – after all, it was the worst time ever so of course she was pregnant! Within seconds, she burst into hysterical tears. Not knowing what she felt except panic, she ping-ponged from laughter to sobbing until an unholy wail – completely out of place inside the trans dimensional church – very rudely took over.

Completely unable to control herself, Bulma looked pleadingly at the ungodly alien who had so eloquently burst her bubble moments ago. He seemed in a panic of his own, and his expressions quickly melted back and forth from "dear God what is happening" to "all will be well," to "what the fuck, you crazy woman!?"

The last expression actually did the trick to sober her. It was one she knew well, despite how warped it was superimposed on the face of a toad. She was pregnant! A warmth hit her in the chest and spread.

I'm gonna be a mom…

Not a second later, the warmth fizzled.

Vegeta's gonna be a dad!

Finally deciding how she felt, Bulma threw her head back and laughed.


Vegeta stepped through the door of strange carvings. He no longer felt the eyes following him – but he no longer cared. In fact, he felt strangely numb but wasn't alarmed by it. Instead he felt more… solid… than he had in days. Like before he had been functioning with only half of his senses and now, some of them were returning. It was far from the unwavering strength and balance he was used to, but it was a start. In the least, he didn't feel the anxiety he could now admit he had been feeling. Having no understanding or reference of the sensation before, he could now declare without question that it was something he never wanted to feel again. Part of that was deciding that he had forgiven the woman because he had wanted to, and not because he hadn't a choice. Not having a choice was what had made him angry in the first damn place, after all.

Vegeta had been armed with understanding when he had followed her into the holy place – being in her head for so long had given him the ability to guess her logic - but true acceptance hadn't started until after the disfigured male contributed further human insight. Vegeta may even forgive Nappa for overstepping his place in exchange for this information.

The woman hadn't betrayed him because she had lost confidence in him; Vegeta could accept this. Looking back, he wondered why he questioned it in the first place. Hadn't she herself once chosen death over submission? He flinched as the vision of torn, bleeding flesh erupting under the lash of a ki whip broke into his mind uninvited. She herself had forced his hand, and a wave of sour disgust shifted behind his ribcage. No. She would never steal his memories because she believed life was more important than death. That meant she had believed he would regain himself.

At least – she had at first.

What he hadn't understood was why she felt justified in permanently sacrificing not only his memory, but her own the second time. That meant she had believed they would not recover. She had chosen to forget him and she had not even given him the choice at all. For what? To survive?

What was the point in surviving if what survived was an empty shell?

Why would she – someone who accepted death over submission – choose to submit?

Today in the woods, he learned something he hadn't considered. Perhaps she hadn't chosen to submit?

Yet he was missing something. He could accept she hadn't accepted defeat. Yet he couldn't see how this was possible. There was no other outcome. She had taken their memories. There had been no plan to recover them. In fact, he was certain she took their memories because there was no way to recover them… which reinforced the idea that she had submitted. It made no sense.

It wasn't until he saw her in the holy place that the missing element fell into place.

She had faith. Wasn't it strange that the scarred male had used that very word? Yet Vegeta hadn't understood until he saw Bulma singing. Even the Ancients themselves had been unable to resist responding to her. How could he resist?

His entire life, he had bent under the will of others. He had bent, twisted, reshaped, and reinvented parts of himself in order to survive, but he had never given up the core of who he was. He hadn't a plan.…. But survival in itself had meant a chance at redemption. Not knowing when or how didn't matter because knowing whether he lived or died, he had never given up. Bending his actions to the will of another was not the same thing as submitting his will.

She hadn't known how they would regain themselves – but she had had faith that they would – or at least faith they'd die tryingeven if they themselves didn't understand what they fought for. She believed it so much, she wagered everything on it. Her faith was more powerful than her intellect, more powerful than his strength.

It was so reckless, so arrogant.. so crazed… so Saiyan of her, he felt a surge of battle lust.

After all, wasn't it Saiyan battle lust that had brought them back together? Impossibly, she had stolen a vessel from under Frieza's thumb, followed him to one of the most notorious prison planets in the universe, crash landed on it, and helped him break out – all without knowing who he was or why she was doing it.

The fuck that came afterwards was no less than what it had to be as a conclusion to their whole misadventure.

He grinned smugly at the memory of her flesh singing against his own.

It had been sublime

He sighed but didn't bother to acknowledge his sudden, violent hardon. There was nothing he could do about it right now, anyway.

Vegeta lightly pushed off the ground with his ki. He had a few hours left and had somewhere to be. As the ground blurred below him, Vegeta felt a ligthness beyond the obvious weightlessness of flight. The toad had been correct in that he had found peace inside the holy place.

Vegeta sped up. The only way to secure that peace for her, though, was if he were never took it for himself.


Nappa didn't bother looking over his shoulder. As the Prince approached, he instead looked over the precipice of the site he had chosen, at the scenery spread out below and beyond to the horizon. It was an alien planet, but it had a strange beauty. The sky was a swirl of hazy purples and blues the color of a darkening bruise as the daylight gave way to evening, and behind the distant mountains, an orange star's last stubborn rays peaked from behind clouds stained pink and yellow. There was a species of large, membraned bird that flew in flocks, diving here and there in arial acrobatics. The trees were plumed in shades of various greens and hid dozens of various ecosystems judging by the magnitude of animal calls. Even the scent in the air was fresh and earthy.

Vegeta stepped around him, pulling over his shoulders the woven shirt given him to wear by the Yardriacians. Dropping the garment to the ground, the Prince stepped around the large Saiyan to sit on a log prepared by Nappa for just this. Nappa himself sat on his own section of tree trunk opposite the Prince, set on its side rather than vertically. For his purpose, he needed the Prince to sit slightly higher than himself, and their difference in size meant the Prince's shoulders were even with Nappa's eyes. Perfect.

Nappa began to hum. It was a deep, subsonic sound, more felt than heard. For such a purpose as this, ki manipulation was guided by feel rather than conscious control. Saiyans bit one another during copulation; the venom in Saiyan saliva physiologically altered the hormones of each partner and prevented the two kis from rejecting one another. In essence, repeated biting forced each organic ki to think of the invading, foreign ki as itself, and over time, the hormonal changes were permanent.

For tattooing, altering the biology of another in such a way was grossly unsuitable. Mates alone changed the physiology of their counterpart. For tattooing, a temporary harmony was best.

Nappa's humming made the blood calm. With tranquil lethargy, he could feel his ki sink and flatten as if in lazy slumber. He could feel Vegeta's ki respond to his own almost immediately. It was expected; a level of trust was needed and Nappa had not only raised the Prince, he had been one of only two Saiyans to give the Prince's telepathic mind balance.

When the Prince's ki was sufficiently at rest, Nappa's humming changed pitch, though remained subsonic. He glanced up and noted Vegeta's lidded eyes. The Prince was relaxed, and if Nappa hadn't known better, he'd believe Vegeta was half asleep. The larger Saiyan flicked his eyes to the horizon. As planned, the sun had set. The planet's alien moons were faint, but together, provided just enough light.

Sharpening his ki so that it vibrated in a fast succession of pulses, Nappa pierced Vegeta's skin. Invisible in normal white light, the glow of blutz waves made Vegeta's skin dance in patterns and swirls; pictographs in Saiyan scroll, each one in an allotted place. Nappa's own flesh had been covered long before he came into service as an Elder. He had one spot remaining: in that spot, upon his death, would reflect the sum of his service to the throne. Should he die dishonorably, his tattoos would be scored from his flesh and in that spot, the mark of a traitor would be branded. Should he serve honorably, a tattoo in the form of a single word would be gifted him. Saiyan script was simple and beautiful, but meaning could be embellished drastically with the most subtle of flourishes, or the most extreme of ornate additions. In legend, perhaps once or twice, an Elder in Nappa's position had on their service tattoo the name of their liege included.

Nappa had no such hopes.

Until now, within the most darkest places of his soul, Nappa had fervently wished that this last remaining spot would remain completely empty. The nature of the spot meant it could only be filled upon his death when his service to the throne was completed. As Vegeta was the last Prince, only he could provide the tattoo. If he fell first and gave Vegeta the chance to Mark him, he would in essence… be abandoning Vegeta. To Nappa, that was a failure. If the spot remained empty, it meant Vegeta was dead and Vegeta couldn't die without Nappa by his side.

But now, Vegeta was not to be the last Prince.

It tore at Nappa. Pride that the house of Vegeta was to have another, one who he could serve as he had served Vegeta. And yet such a thing meant that Nappa would no longer be at Vegeta's side when the Prince finally fell.

And that was why Vegeta had asked him here. It was an unspoken thing, but Nappa had understood it the moment Vegeta had ordered him to mark him that morning in the woods. Vegeta had three spaces of his own, unmarked by tattoos. One the name of his Mate, which he was adding now.

He studied the design. It was alien and strange, even written in Saiyan script. The woman's name was at odds with everything. It was human and soft, even depicted in the sharp lines and swirls of Siayan lettering. Yet… somehow…

Nappa felt a tug at the corner of his mouth.

That woman. Everything that made her undesirable somehow twisted together to make something that not only worked, but enhanced the strengths of his Prince. Any weaknesses were relentlessly rooted out and fortified, every flaw was brutally reshaped to form something new and impenetrable. Nappa grunted and shook his head in amusement. It was about fucking time the stubborn asshole Prince had realized it, too. Weeks spent in total decimation and the answer was right there. Simply give in. One couldn't be reborn unless one allowed the broken parts of themselves to be shed first, yes?

Nappa didn't look up when he heard a twig snap behind him. He had smelled her long before she was within range of hearing. At least she didn't have the scent of a god damned bitch in heat, any longer. That had been nearly insufferable. Had he the physical strength to force his will on the Prince, he'd have locked the couple in a room for another week, as was proper for one moving through phase, but no. Nothing was ever so simple with Vegeta. The asshole always had to do things his own way, which usually meant the hard way.

Nappa flicked his eyes upwards. The Prince would, of course, know she had been near. It was obvious to the grizzly Saiyan that Vegeta was intensely aware of her, but since he hadn't acknowledged her, Nappa did not, either. At least, not yet. Inevitably, she would turn protocol on its head and would leave him scrambling to figure out what the fuck he was supposed to do. Not that Vegeta ever did anything to help – the bastard didn't even know what protocol was until it suited his own purposes to use it. It was a damn conspiracy.

She would have known her presence was no secret, even if she didn't know how they knew it. She'd been around Vegeta long enough to learn it was nearly impossible to sneak up on a Saiyan. It was to her credit, then, that she stepped forward without pretense or preamble. She approached his shoulder - literally, because she was just…. tiny – and stood silently as she watched him intently.

He waited for her inevitable break of silence. It came slower than he had thought it would considering she didn't have Saiyan eyes and couldn't see what he was doing.

"What are you doing?" She whispered to him. She sounded interested, but not as puzzled as he thought she would. Oh that's right. She didn't have Saiyan eyes, but she had Saiyan DNA. She could likely see more than he thought she could. Without thought, he pressed into her mind and only realized when she jumped. Alarmed, he froze. Vegeta looked mildly bored, but Nappa knew better than to trust that assessment. Yet, the Prince's ki hadn't changed from the flatness of calm. Vegeta was now, however, looking at him with mild interest as opposed to apathy. Nappa got the sense that the Prince didn't object. That, for Vegeta, was the same thing as permission.

Bulma herself hadn't ejected him from her mind, and after a moment, Nappa dismissed the entire incident as not worthy of concern. He'd spent decades inside Vegeta's skull, reinforcing and binding as needed to keep the Prince going. Apparently, Bulma extended the courtesy of allowing the Elder to barge into her brain whenever he saw fit.

Nappa would rather die than abuse that honor.

Inside her mind, he was able to see as she saw. It was as he had expected, though he was still surprised. She could see the faint outlines of tattoos as they glowed in the moonlight… but, they were lack luster and flat. Ki was a living thing. It should move and breathe within the skin…

He allowed her the use of his vision.

The moment she could see through his eyes, she gasped in hushed awe. Without thought, she reached her fingers to caress Vegeta's flesh, but stopped herself just before making contact. Just as she was about to withdraw, Vegeta caught her wrist and pulled her a step forward. With his other hand, he splayed her fingers and lay them on the hot skin of his pectoral, just below his right clavicle. Her touch did something to them both, despite efforts on both their parts to suppress it. Being in Bulma's mind while connected to Vegeta's ki was almost embarrassing for Nappa, but the older Saiyan was much too pragmatic to bother with awkwardness. Instead, he rolled his eyes and waited for the moment to pass. Still, though, it was rude of them to force him to feel their arousal. If it weren't such a solemn and revered situation, he'd laugh at them both and tell them to go find a tree to hide behind and fuck.

The moment passed. Bulma realized she was still sharing Nappa's vision and looked more closely at where her fingers rested. It was the space where her unfinished name was being painted.

She could somehow see that this design was similar to the other designs – yet different. Unfamiliar with reading Saiyan script, but using Nappa's eyes and two years of being inside Vegeta's head as reference, she puzzled at the meaning of this tattoo. As Nappa continued his work, Vegeta watched her intently. He wanted to see the moment she realized.

When it happened, her knees nearly gave way and her breath stuck in her throat. She'd have fallen… but pulled resolve out of nothing but sheer stubbornness. Vegeta grinned maliciously. In that moment, he knew she'd almost collapsed but refused simply because she'd rather have died. She knew exactly what this tattoo said - and what it meant.

Standing before the Prince, her fingertips caressing the proof of her significance on his flesh, her shock faded. In its place, fierce pride bubbled up from the deep. As she was his, the proof of which was written on her face – he was hers. It said so right beneath her fingers.

The pleased vibrations of her miniscule ki soothed Vegeta in a way he hadn't felt since they were stuck in the caves of the prison planet, with his arms and legs wrapped around her and his tail to hold her in place. Her fingers flexed under his grip and he could sense she wanted to glide her touch over his other designs. His blood roared with approval; it was right that she should want to know the victories and losses of her chosen. He let go of her wrist so she could do so. Using Nappa's eyes, she could read the story of his life. His trials, his defeats – his unbroken will. With reverence, she touched them all; traced the lines and curves with a light touch that burned into Vegeta's soul.

When she came to an empty spot on his left clavicle – the twin of where her name now lived on the opposite side – she paused. "What is this spot?" She asked softly.

Vegeta didn't answer. He flicked his eyes towards Nappa and cocked his head as if listening. As one submitting to Marking, the Prince did not speak until after the task was complete. It was less a rule than it was a tradition of habit; Nappa himself understood the relaxation required to allow one's flesh to be Marked simply made one too lethargic to bother with speech if unnecessary. That meant he'd have to explain. "The name of your child goes there," he stated simply and inhaled deeply. "A male, I think."

Bulma exploded.

"You knew!" she blurted before immediately scoffing. "Of course you knew. Because, why wouldn't you? Because, apparently, I now smell like a pregnant Saiyan instead of a horny one!"

Confused, Nappa peered at her as though she were the one not making sense. "It is the way of the phase," he stated as though that answered everything, "as I explained to everyone when…" it was then he paused and looked at her lecherously. "Oh, that's right. I explained it while you and the Prince were.. busy."

Bulma stood there mortified, and worked her jaw as if she were debating whether or not she should lose her shit. Without warning, she suddenly deflated and sighed. "Not that it's backwards or anything, but someone could have told me, you know! I mean – I came up here thinking I had this huge secret to share, terrified about how it would go over considering…" her voice trailed off when she caught Vegeta's gaze. Something in his look had made her pause. He seemed more alert, though still in a state of extreme relaxation.

"It was not my phase alone," he said softly. "Though mine by itself would have been sufficient."

Bulma stared with hard eyes at the Prince, as if blinking would deny her the ability to process his words. She cleared her throat. "You're telling me," she said without inflection, "that I went through puberty," she paused, "again – because I already did that shit when I was 13," another pause, "because of you," a breath this time to steady herself, "and because of that, I'm now pregnant" and for the finale, "which you expected but never bothered to explain to me!"

She looked from one Saiyan to the other and back again. When no one contradicted her, she frowned. "Well that's fair," she said sarcastically. "But, ya know. It's cool."

She sighed. Neither of them even bothered to look contrite. That on top of the past week of being ignored wasn't going to just disappear in two seconds simply because Vegeta seemed to have gotten over whatever his issue had been. If his good mood even lasted! Her pains went beyond her mood of the moment. She'd run out of sinzu beans before the Prince had gained enough control of himself to refrain from leaving nasty bruises and bite marks all over. They were healing, but after just over a week, the bruises were all in that nasty yellow, green, and purple stage.

None of that helped right now, though, so she shoved it aside and focused on what they were telling her. In a 'fuck the laws of physics' kind of way, it made sense. She was human, but she shared aspects of Saiyan DNA. She and Vegeta were telepathically linked to such an extreme, she had followed him across the galaxy despite having no memory of him. If what Android 17 said were true, it was because she was responding to Vegeta's phase. Actually, to their shared phase. According to Vegeta, even had she not gone through this second puberty, she'd have ended up knocked-up, anyway.

In the end, she had submitted to a galactic-sized, telepathic booty call that was so monumental, it changed how her own body functioned. Because why not?

It was then she realized that both Saiyans were watching her and she quickly forced the ridiculous grin from her face. They didn't need to know the joke. "What?" she asked instead.

"A name…" came Nappa's response.

"A name?" she replied, dumbly. She realized what he meant when he glared at her like she was a simpleton and pointed to the empty space on Vegeta's chest. Oh. Well, yeah. They been talking about a child literally 1 second before, after all.

So. A name. What?

"I don't know!" she stammered, suddenly feeling out of her element. Didn't she have months to get used to the idea and figure this out? And why put her on the spot alone? "Why is it up to me?"

And as soon as she said it, she truly wondered. Saiyans did everything with such severe finality it was like every decision had already been made long before a choice could ever dare to pop up. Why then ask her? She wasn't Saiyan. She had no idea what was expected of her and how those expectations fit with her own ideas and images that hadn't even begun to start forming.

Nappa had the gall to grin, and Vegeta continued to be of exactly no help. The bastard looked amused, though, like he couldn't wait to see what happened after a surprise reveal.

"It is the Mother who decides such things," the enormous Saiyan said with mirth. As if she should know that.

Curious, puzzled, and feeling like she was walking into a trap, Bulma frowned. "Why?"

Nappa stopped grinning and leveled her with an expression she understood to mean he took his words very seriously. "There is no station higher than that of Mother. Creation is the only gift shared between Gods and Mortals – and not all Gods have this power. Even the King will make way for a Mother, no matter her class, for it is from a Mother all of us have come, and it is a Mother to whom all of us return after death."

That…. Was not what she had expected. Bulma redefined her entire idea of Saiyans.

Ho-oly. Shit.

She peered at the empty spot on Vegeta's chest. The spot had a whole new meaning for her, now, but she still didn't know what to do. And, because she was wont to do, her brain grasped at anything else it could as a distraction rather than deal.

How would additional names fit in a spot that obviously looked like only a single name would fit? Well. Vegeta had been able to change her own tattoo with ki, so there was that.

She then wondered why her tattoo was visible when his were not.


He would have wanted the taunt to be visible in any light so that everyone could see it.


Vegeta had kept it that way, even after he was able to change it. Was it so she could see it? As if she needed the constant reminder on her face…

Maybe… he did?

She could remember vividly the look on his face when he'd come to her in the lab on Frieza's ship. Without his memories, he didn't know her and she could see the war waging inside him – he hadn't known whether or not to kill her or fuck her. And that was when the version of the name written on her chin had been his father's spelling and not Vegeta's own.

Something tugged at Bulma's memory. Frieza had used the wrong spelling of Vegeta's name. Why? Because the only reference the lizard had was the tatoo on Vegeta's mother. Nappa had once said the woman choses her Mate, and was raised or lowered in station to match that of the male.

The name on her face had been Vegeta, but Vegeta was the name of the royal house. Vegeta, then, was a position and not a name, and every Vegeta on the throne had a different spelling to differentiate them from one another. Just like 'King,' it was a title given to a ruler once they sat the throne, but not before it. Yet, Vegeta called himself a Prince. If Vegeta were a title, why did Vegeta not call himself King? It made no sense.

If Vegeta was named after the house of Vegeta, and not his father

Understanding thundered in her ears. Still, she had to be sure. "Vegeta. What was your father's name?"

His voice was matter of fact, but his answer was immediate. "Kalad."

Bulma fought the tears in her eyes. All this time, she'd assumed Vegeta had been named after his father. What she now realized was Vegeta had no name of his own. His mother hadn't given him one, which meant she had likely been dead. Because she'd given no name to her son, his father had given him the only name he could: a title instead of a name, a title that had become empty the moment the Saiyan empire had fallen.

No wonder he wanted his name to be visible. He had nothing – not even a name – but he had her. He wanted all the universe to see it.

Bulma also understood why Vegeta wanted the name of their child now. It wasn't because he feared for her life – that was impossible. If her death were inevitable and could not be prevented, he'd simply come along and the issue of choosing a name would be moot. No. He wanted a name now because he was anticipating his own death and he wanted to face it armed with a full canvass. The last piece fell into place. The only unmarked place left on his skin almost roared out loud at her.

Frieza. He was going after Frieza.

Rather than scream at him, argue, throw herself at him and scratch his face, sob and ask why – instead of succumbing to all that begged to tear loose, she simply stared at him. She couldn't think. Any moment, she'd crumble and the last two years would explode outwards like a volcano erupting.

"Name him Trunks," she said in a high, thin voice. "After my father."

She spun on her heal after that and ran away before they could see her crumble to her knees and break.