Disclaimer: *shuffles through files of witty, original disclaimers* Ah, I'm not in the mood. I do not own DB/Z/GT. There.

A/N: IMPORTANT NOTE : My computer has decided to be stubborn, and the italics aren't working. A lot of Vegeta's dialogue is just him thinking, so in order to show this, his thoughts will appear like ~this~ until I can figure out how to fix this annoying problem. Also, there is one section which is a dream. This was supposed to be in italics as well, so just bear with me on that one. Phew...not that that's over...This is my first attempt at a DBZ fic that will actually require CHAPTERS!! *gasps from the audience* Yes, yes I know, amazing, huh? So please!! Read and tell me what you think! O, one more thing - this is NOT a yaoi. Just to clear up any questions you may have. Vegeta loves BULMA. But at any rate, on to the fic! *runs away at several cries of 'get of the stage', 'shut up!', etc.*


The morning was beautiful - ironically, cruelly, beautiful. The azure sky was free of clouds, save a few scattered white wisps, and the sun shone down gloriously on the lush, green hills below. Reflected sunlight sparkled in clear streams splashing over smooth stones, casting dancing beams of light on the banks and plants alongside the water. Flowers opened bright petals to the daylight, and animals basked in the luxury of the sun's warmth. It was as if the day was mocking the small, grim group of friends and family huddled below.

Vegeta sat on the edge of a boulder apart from everyone else, arms crossed in his usual stubborn manner. He glared at the glittering stream before him; it too seemed to sneer at the misfortune at hand. Yet everything was eerily quiet; the stream was silent, no birds sang in the trees . . . all seemed to be dulled into silence. The only sound was that infernal infant's screaming, but even that was dimmed to a vague irritation pricking the back of Vegeta's mind.

Finally, the ominous silence was broken by quiet sobs emerging from the small house around which the group of people was gathered. That simple sound cut through the air like a knife, bringing with it all that had been feared crashing down upon them with near crushing force.

"He's gone . . . Goku's gone!!"

Vegeta's eyes widened against his will as the words spoken by another confirmed his fears. His scowl faded, changing to a look of denial and disbelief, his stunned expression reflected in the water below. Two strangled words escaped his lips.

"Kak . . .karot . . . No . . . "

The world began to spin, his surroundings blending into one indistinguishable blur. A wave of dizziness swept over him, and he had to clutch the boulder with both hands to keep from falling off it. In that moment, everything he had been striving towards, all that his life had built up to, was erased in an instant.

Kakkarot was dead.

* * *

Vegeta fired blast after blast of scaldingly hot energy at the training droids which encircled him in the confinement of his gravity chamber. The controls were set to 450 times Earth's normal gravity, and Vegeta's breath came in labored, rasping gasps. Sweat poured from every pore, his muscles ached from being overworked, and his limbs were nearly dead with exhaustion. Still, he glared venomously at the droids above him, and his rain of attacks did not cease.

He did not know how long he had been in the chamber, but it must have been several hours. He did not stop to eat or tend to his tortured body, and most importantly, did not rest. Sleep was a dangerous enemy; with it came dreams, and his mind was already swamped with bitter memories.

~How could you die like that, Kakkarot?~ He growled in his thoughts, though his voice contained bewilderment, and even a twinge of . . . fear? That only made him angrier.

~You were a Saiyan! You have survived vicious battles, and surpassed even my incredible strength! How could you let yourself be taken by a mere virus?! HOW, Kakkarot?~

Vegeta cried out as a blast hit him full in the chest. He slammed into the smooth, tiled floor, a jolt of pain running up and down his spine on impact. Cursing his stupidity for letting his mind wander, he attempted to get up, but collapsed back onto the floor. Growling with frustration, he managed to pull himself to the controls and deactivate the gravity enhancor.

"Normal gravity restored." The robotic, female voice was accompanied by a dull buzzing sound as the weight in the air lifted, and Vegeta leaned wearily against the control panel.

"Curse you, Kakkarot!" He burst out suddenly, clenching his fists so hard that blood dribbled down his palms. "I can't even train without you intruding into my head! Why can't you leave me alone!!"

Exhausted, he collapsed on the chamber floor, the smooth metal cold against the bare skin of his chest. Vegeta snarled as his muscles refused to cooperate, and even as he fought it, a black curtain began to descend over his consciousness. Slowly, his senses dimmed and his body succumbed to darkness.

* * *

There was nothing. His surroundings were completely blank, colourless, shapeless; an enormous void that seemed to stretch forever. Vegeta's mind was awake, alive . . . yet the nothingness penetrated even his very being. Vegeta lifted his hand, turning it over and curling and uncurling his fingers in front of his face. He felt the movement, saw the movement, yet it too seemed not to be a part of him. He was part of the nothingness. He couldn't think, couldn't speak . . . all that he could feel was confusion and longing, and an impending sense of lack of meaning.

Then, abruptly, it all changed. The monotonous surroundings shifted in a flash of vibrant colour, and he found himself in a hot, dry landscape, spotted with cliffs and a scattering of brown clumps of desert grass. Vegeta lay on the ground, Royal Saiyan armor torn, his body adorned with various injuries. He tried to move, but agonizing pain shot through every part of his body. He was sharply aware of the new absence of his tail. Further away, another body lay in the dust, though it was not dead.

Kakkarot. The one who had defeated him. With that thought, and urge, a desire, a vow to beat the other Saiyan arose in his being, dominating over anything and everything else. At that moment, Vegeta became more than the nothingness.

Then the scenery changed again. Now he dangled helplessly in the air, suspended by a cool, leathery limb coiled tightly around his neck, choking him while a rain of kicks and punches hammered his body mercilessly.


While the lizard-like tyrant tortured his body, only one coherent thought was able to form in Vegeta's mind; Kakkarot. The only one who could stop Frieza . . . the one who could succeed where Vegeta had failed.

Once again, everything around him blurred and re-arranged. Now he was hurtling through space, searching. Searching for Kakkarot, the one who had defeated Frieza, the one he must in turn defeat to maintain his hold on his honor, his pride. He was the Prince of Saiyans! He would track down that third-class who had somehow defeated and surpassed him, and beat him once and for all. He would prove to all that the Prince of Saiyans was not one to be humiliated. This was his drive, his purpose, the meaning to his life - it was what kept him from fading back into that ominous expanse of nothingness.

Then all of a sudden, everything was ripped from him once again. Kakkarot was writhing in agony, but it was not at Vegeta's hand. Vegeta watched in horror as the only surviving member of his race began to decay before his very eyes. The taut muscles became sunken as the days passed, his skin became waxy and pale. Slowly, ever so slowly, Kakkarot died, but not because of him; a blasted virus had claimed the Saiyan's being.

And then Kakkarot died - with hopelessness and disbelief crashing into his conciousness like waves breaking over jagged rocks, Vegeta felt the meaning , the drive in his life slipping away from him as Kakkarot's spirit left the Earth. As Kakkarot, the being who had kept Vegeta living, kept him driving towards one goal, vanished, Vegeta felt himself cast back into nothingness. Without his motivation, his ambition, his pride. . . he was nothing. Nothing but a listless spirit of a dead race, wandering aimlessly through a sea of blankness.

* * *

Vegeta awoke with a start, breathing heavily. His skin was clammy and wet with cold sweat, which poured from his body and dripped onto the floor. Vegeta shook his head, bringing a wave of dizziness. The dream - nightmare - had seemed incredibly real . . . a low growl escaped his throat. He would NOT allow Kakkarot's death to effect him so. He would find something else to sustain him . . . after all, he had not yet reached the legendary level of Super Saiyan! This would become his new drive. Forget Kakkarot.

Even as he thought this, however, the feeling of meaninglessness crept back into his subconscious, pricking his mind and crawling beneath his skin. What would happen once the Super Saiyan level had been attained? With no- one worthy of battle, he would be right back where he started. Again. Angrily, Vegeta snarled, and despite the protests of his aching muscles, rose and staggered to the gravity room's exit. Snatching a white towel from its hook and draping it over his shoulders, Vegeta left the chamber, expression as dark as the sky had become.

Vegeta glanced briefly at the blackened sky, ornamented with silver stars and dark purple clouds. One eyebrow twitched in surprise; how long had he been training, anyway?

~I must have been unconscious longer than I realized~ Vegeta thought to himself, with more than a little bitterness. ~Blast you Kakkarot! Will you never leave me in peace?~ Vegeta scowled and stormed into the main living quarters of Capsule Corp, flicking on the light in the kitchen

Had he not sensed her presence a second before, Vegeta may have jumped to see the woman sitting in the kitchen when he turned on the lights. It was her appearance that rattled him most. Bulma appeared ragged and worn out. Her pink bathrobe was drawn tightly around her, and she clutched it with one hand as if she was extremely cold, despite the fact that the house's temperature was constantly kept at the highest level of comfort. Her hair, which had been drawn back carelessly into a loose ponytail, was beginning to break free of its constraints to hang in messy turquoise wisps about her face. Most disconcerting of all, her eyes were red and swollen from crying, and large black circles hung beneath them from lack of sleep. She looked up at his when he entered, her gaze exhausted and pleading.

~Kakkarot! Must you continue to torment us so?~

"Go to bed, woman, or at least hide your face. You look terrible. " Vegeta almost regretted the harsh words, but he knew Bulma would understand. He still had a million thoughts to sort out, and common courtesy had never been one of his strengths. He turned his back to her and began raiding the refrigerator.

He felt Bulma's presence get up from her seat at the table, quietly place her mug of coffee in the sink, and come silently up behind him. She placed a hand on his shoulder, cool and oddly soothing against his hot and sweaty skin.

"You should go to bed, too. You look more worn out than I am."

"I have training to do." He moved out from under her hand to begin preparing a pile of sandwiches on the counter.

Bulma sighed, a sound completely exhausted and full of defeat. That surprised Vegeta. Normally Bulma would have either flown off the handle or made some catty remark. To have her sounding so vulnerable was a shock to him.

~Kakkarot, you stupid fool. What are you doing to us?~

Bulma's voice broke into his thoughts.

"You need to sleep. You haven't come out of the gravity room for nearly a week." Vegeta cocked an eyebrow, but did not reply. His mouth was full of sandwich anyway.

~Kami, had it really been that long?~

"Please, Vegeta, come to bed, just for tonight at least. You're going to kill yourself if you keep working like this."

Almost against his will, Vegeta felt himself giving in to her words. He was tired, though he loathed to admit it. And rest would benefit his training. He turned around to face her, though he plastered on a mask of great reluctance.

"Fine, woman. But only for tonight. I'll be back out training first thing in the morning."

He half expected her to protest, and was slightly taken aback when all she did was smile, eyes glimmering with relief.

"Thank you." She moved beside him, placing her arm about his waist to lend him whatever support she could give. Though he protested profusely, he was grateful for the added support; his battered, tired legs were beginning to give out on him. The couple slowly made their way to the stairs, the pile of sandwiches still on the counter, forgotten.

When they reached the bedroom, Vegeta flopped down onto the bed, not even bothering to remove his sneakers. The bliss of finally lying down to rest consumed him, and he found himself slipping into sleep. His reverie did not last long, however, as a few seconds later the overhead light flicked on. Vegeta opened one eye slowly, glaring at the offending fixture. Bulma stood by the light switch, arms folded and face set with her typical no-arguments expression.

"What now, woman?" He growled testily. "I went to bed, see? Now let me sleep." He turned over and slammed a pillow over his head to signify discussion was over. Bulma merely strode across the room to the bed and yanked the pillow out of his fingers. Vegeta glared up at her from half- lidded onyx eyes.

"Woman! I am TRYING to sleep!"

"Not like that you're not." she replied commandingly, forcing him into a sitting position. Vegeta was too tired even to fight. "Look at you! You're a mess! If you think I want you bleeding all over the satin sheets you better have your head examined, buddy." Despite her own exhaustion, she was already bustling around the room, gathering disinfectant items and a first- aid kit.

Vegeta grinned in spite of himself. This was more like the woman he knew; though her voice wavered slightly and her eyes were still red, she somehow managed to remain an imposing figure.

Bulma knelt on the floor in front of him and carefully began cleaning and bandaging his various wounds. Vegeta barely acknowledged the sharp sting of the woman's infernal medicinal devices; he was too intent on studying her expression.

As she worked, countless emotions flickered across Bulma's young face. The most frequent, however, was very clear and easy to identify; sorrow. Vegeta knew perfectly well what she was thinking of, or rather, who she was thinking of. Everyone had been showing the same emotions since the day of Kakkarot's passing. It angered him to see his mate in such pain over an idiotic, third-class warrior such as Kakkarot.

~Why must you plague us so, Kakkarot? GO AWAY!!~

He jumped at a sharp stab of pain in his left arm. He glared at Bulma, who apologized and continued cleaning the cut. The distant expression remained on her face, however, and a few seconds later another jolt of pain shot up his arm.

"Kami, woman! Will you watch what you're doing?!"

"I'm sorry, I wasn't concentrating . . . "

"Well then concentrate! If you're going to insist that I sit through this ridiculous procedure the least you can do is be careful for once!"

Bulma threw down the roll of bandage she had been applying to his arm and slammed the lid of the first-aid kit. She jumped up, fists clenched and body shaking visibly with rage. Sapphire eyes blazed in anger, and though they shimmered with moisture, no tears fell. She glared at Vegeta, and when she spoke her voice shook.

"Can't you have any respect for me right now? One of my oldest friends just died!! Don't you think that entitles me not to have to worry about your trivial needs every single second?? I know you hated Son, Vegeta, but at least try and have some respect for what I'm going through!"

Any other person would have backed away in terror at Bulma's outburst; she could prove extremely intimidating when she chose to. Vegeta however, rose to his feet at well., anger level matched with hers. His face was drawn into a fierce scowl, and he stared down the woman before him eye-to-eye.

"You don't know anything, woman! If you are not going to let me sleep as you originally suggested, I am going back outside to train." He shoved his way past her, heading for the door.

"What for?"

The sharpness in her voice stopped Vegeta in his tracks. "You've always talked about beating Goku, now . . . " there was a slight pause as she choked on the words. "Now he's gone! Can't you forget your training for once? Son is dead!! Try to show some compassion!!"

Vegeta whirled to face her, obsidian eyes flashing with mounting fury. A faint blue aura surrounded his body as his anger rose and his self-control evaporated.

"Shut UP!!"

He had not intended to yell, but his anger was so great the words erupted from his mouth at full volume. Bulma stumbled backwards, eyes widened with shock . . . and fear. Vegeta noticed none of this.

"Don't you think I KNOW what has happened? You think I can shrug off emotions like a machine? I only wish I could! How would you feel if all you had ever worked for, all you ever desired was stolen from you before you had the chance to prove yourself? I have spent my entire life working to be the strongest, straining, toiling, striving to beat Kakkarot as he once did me! It was this goal that kept me living one day to the next, this goal that gave me something to work and live for! How do you think it feels to have everything you have based your life upon stripped from you in mere moments? Do not lecture me on compassion, woman!! You know not of which you speak!"

Bulma's had was over her mouth, her eyes squeezed shut. A single tear leaked out from the corner of her eye and ran down her cheek, dripping off her chin to splash on the porcelain floor. She opened her eyes, the blue of their centres intensified by her tears. Slowly, her expression hardened.

"I'm sorry," she stated, voice calm and level. "But sometimes you can't just think of yourself. We're all suffering too."

An ear-splitting wail pierced the silence between them, and Vegeta resisted the urge to wince at the grating noise.

~All the shouting must have wakened the brat. Marvelous. Just what I need right now, a screaming infant.~

The two of them stood facing each other a moment, Vegeta barely keeping control over a rain of verbal abuse ready on the tip of his tongue, Bulma frighteningly calm and collected. She stared at him a few more seconds before brushing past him and through the door. Before she left, however, she looked over her shoulder to cast a cold gaze on her mate.

"I'm going to tend to our child. I suggest you get some sleep if you're going to insist on training tomorrow . . . however pointless it may be." With that, she turned and strode down the hall and around the corner, but not before Vegeta saw the glimmer of tears on her cheeks.

A mixture of emotions welled up inside him, and he paced the room angrily. He had to get away; away from the pain, the anguish . . . away from that blasted Kakkarot who seemed to be everywhere. He punched one of the bedroom walls in his anger, the plaster and paint crumbling and caving away before his fist. He did not even notice the rivulets of dark crimson blood which now trickled over his clenched fingers, or the torn skin on his knuckles. All he could think was to leave, to get away . . . he had to get away!!

The urge filled every part of him, surging through his body, taking control. He was barely able to think as he snatched up the capsule containing his Saiyan armor and some emergency capsules of food. He did not bother to open a window, but merely blasted through the glass instead, speeding towards the space-ship nestled on the back lawn of Capsule Corp's extensive grounds. Upon reaching it, he barely paused to touch the ground before pounding inside, typing in any coordinates into the computer, too crazed to think. He didn't care where he was going, as long as it was far away; far from this cursed planet, and far from Kakkarot.

* * *

Bulma's head shot up as a blinding flash of light lit up the room, and the roar of a massive engine filled her ears. She let out a strangled cry and leapt to her feet, running to the window. Flinging the curtains aside, she watched helplessly as the space pod became a distant speck of light, then disappeared altogether, taking with it the one man she could find solace in.

Trunks gurgled happily behind her, pulling himself into a standing position by aid of her pant leg and peered out the open window. He clapped his chubby hands in delight and exclaimed in odd gurgles and baby noises at the bright, pretty trail which now streaked the sky; the trail made by the departing Saiyan Prince. Bulma sank onto the window seat, face contorted with a new pain. Trunks cocked his head curiously to one side, patting his mother's knee with plump fingers in an attempt to comfort her.

"Ika ba ba looko mama?" He looked up at her with wide, worried blue eyes that did not yet understand pain and hurt. Bulma raised her head from her hands to look at him, then with a sob swept the baby into her arms and clutched him to her, rocking slowly back and forth. He was now all she had left, all that remained of the man she knew would not be coming back.


A/N: Well, what do you think? Yeah, sorry about that whole italics deal. I realize that in the anime, Vegeta asked for the gravity room after hearing about the approaching Androids. As this is the other timeline and before the Androids have appeared, I realize this situation wouldn't have come up, but I think he would have asked for the GR anyway for the sole purpose of reaching Super Saiyan and beating Goku. As you can see, I worry a lot about little details =P. O, and by the way, I actually DON'T hate Goku! ^_^ As this chapter was from Vegeta's point of view, however, most thoughts towards Goku would have to be scathing in order to keep our favourite Saiyan prince in character. (Actually, I don't think Vegeta hates him either, he just tries to convince himself that he does because he feels he SHOULD hate him. But that's just me.) At any rate, I hope to have the next chapter up soon...though when I'll have the time to type it up is another mystery altogether. O, I have a question for all of you who have been so wonderful as to read this...what do you think about the chapter length? Was it too long? Too short? Ok as it is? And if anybody has a title idea better than the current one, PLEASE tell me! I'm horrible at making up titles.... But enough of my blabbing! Please! Review the fic! ()):^) ~Mira