Naturally, DBZ is not mine.





Vegeta grimaced as he took in his surroundings. He must of died and gone to hell. Again. The shrill cries of tortued souls rang in his sensitive ears. Actually, it was the gleeful shouts of children standing in line to see that famous bearded man, but to the Saiyajin no ouji, it sounded the same.

Something tugged at the sleeve of his navy-blue sweater and Vegeta looked down at the entire reason he was there in the first place: Trunks. The lavendar-haired five-year-old clung to his father's side like velcro. His chubby little hand was tucked in the prince's grasp; the last thing Vegeta needed was for his overly curious son to wander off. The onna would kill him if he returned minus the brat.

Ah, the woman.

She was the motivating factor for Vegeta venturing out in below-freezing temperatures just so his son could sit on the lap of a man dressed as a lobster with a white beard. The day before Bulma had approached him and had asked with big, doe-eyes would he please take Trunks to see Santa at the mall. Vegeta had sharply barked "no" and had continued to watch his favorite television program, thinking that would be the end of it. It hadn't. Bulma had scowled at him with her hands planted on her hips.

"I guess you never want me to make love to you again. Ever."

That had caught his attention. He had wavered for a moment on the brink of indecision, raging hormones battling cool logic. Cool logic won. He had shrugged indifferently and casually changed the channel.

Bulma had let out a tired sigh and had shook her head. "Oh, well. I guess I could always ask Yamcha to take him..."

Those words had broken Vegeta. "Like hell that idiot's taking *my* son anywhere."

So now he was in the middle of a throng of hysteric infants in the exact same spot he had been standing for the past thirty minutes. Vegeta growled darkly and checked his watch for the fifteenth time. Could it get much worse?"

"Oi, Vegeta!"

It just got worse. The prince turned to see Gohan and Kuririn walking towards him. The young teenager was having difficulties restraining his younger brother who was waving estatically at them.

"Goten-kun!" called Trunks, waving back just as enthusiastically.

The smallest Son broke free of his brother's grasp and half-ran, half-tottered over over to them. He stopped short and peered up at Vegeta. Goten jammed his thumb in his mouth and stared at the prince.

"You can stand by me," offered Trunks, taking Goten's free hand and pulling the other boy in line next to him.

Vegeta glared down at the minature Kakkarot before turning back to the other Son. Gohan was leaning over with his hands on his knees, gasping for breath.

"Chased...half-way...'cross...mall," panted the teen in explanation.

Vegeta snorted to cover the chuckle that had almost escaped his lips. Kuririn, a diaper bag slung over his shoulder, moved into line next to him. He was carrying a squirming blonde bundle in his arms. Marron waved her chubby fists at Vegeta and gurgled. The prince offered her an index finger which she promptly stuffed in her mouth.

"Bulma?" asked Kuririn.

"Eighteen?" replied Vegeta.

The two married men nodded in understanding. Gohan had finally cuaght his breath and was busy herding the two hyperactive demi-Saiyans.

Slowly, the line diminished. Vegeta and Kuririn exchanged a horrified look as parent after parent dragged off screaching children. Finally, it was Trunks' turn.

Vegeta stepped up next to the seedy-looking photographer who looked like he customarily took photos of a different sort. Trunks merrily hopped into Santa's lap. Jolly old St. Nick appeared to be a stubbly man with a shabby white beard tied haphazardly over his five o'clock shadow. The stained red suit he wore would make the biggest slob twitch like a obsessive-compulsive patient. After having a hundred and four children burst out into tears on his lap, not to mention the six who ripped off the beard while screaming "You're not Santa!," this poor man looked like he needed a good, strong drink. Several of them, actually.

"Ho! Ho! Ho! What do *you* want for Christmas, little boy?" asked the imposter in a strained voice.

Trunks stared strangely at the man for a moment and Vegeta feared the worst. But the moment passed, and the boy began to recite his list.

"Well, I want a new game station, since I broke the last one over Goten's head." Vegeta heard the aforementioned boy giggle form the line. "I'd like a puppy dog. Or a pony. I want a sword like the one my future self had."

That comment earned him a strange look from Santa. Vegeta groaned and buried his face in his hands. Trunks continued.

"I want a flying Nimbus like Gohan's. Oh, and I'd like for my tail to grow back," stated the boy, pointing to his bottom. "That way I can be the Prince of all Saiyans, just like Papa."

Santa and the photographer exchanged a dubious look.

"Take the picture," hissed Vegeta quietly to the man beside him.

The photographer hurriedly obeyed the disgruntled prince. As soon as the camara snapped and whirred, Vegeta stalked over and swept up the still rambling Trunks. He tossed the appropriate amount of money towards the photographer and snachted up the picture of Trunks on a very bewildered Santa's lap. His son leaned over his shoulder, still calling out requests.

"We'll wait at the food court!" barked Vegeta to Kuririn as Gohan helped Goten hop into Santa's lap.

The grumpy Saiyan shoved his way through the crowded mall corridors. Once at the food court, he stood in yet another line. Kami, he wanted this day to be over.

Vegeta stepped up to the counter and glared murder at the pimply teenager in a marroon and navy uniform.

"How may I help you?" squeaked the boy, obviously the victim of puberty.

"Two large hot chocolates. Extra whip cream for the boy."

"Yes, sir!" replied the teen before scurrying off to complete the order.

Vegeta sat Trunks back on the ground and placed his hands on the child's shoulders to keep him from wandering. Out of the coerner of his eyes, he saw someone come up to stand behind them in line. Vegeta turned to get a better look at the newcomer. A lucious redhead waited behind him, a compact poised in front of her face as she reapplied her lipstick. She had curves that would make a Barbie sick with jealousy. She glanced up at Vegeta and smiled demurringly.

"Hey, there," she purred as she snapped the compact close.

Vegeta grunted in reply and turned away. It was times like these that he wished he had allowed that onna no baka to convince him to wear a wedding band. From what Yamcha said, the gold rings acted as a charm to ward off unwanted attention. Vegeta had a feeling that such powers would come in handy right about now.

"A handsome guy like you can't possibly be here alone," continued the redhead, as she flirtatiously tossed flame-colored lockes over her shoulder.

At that moment, Trunks peered around his father and stared up at the woman. She batted her eyelashes as her brain slowly processed this new development. Obviously undaunted, she bent down towards the five-year-old, giving the world an unhindered view of her plentiful cleavage.

"He's precious! Is he yours?" she tittered, pointing to Trunks.

"Yes," replied Vegeta.

The redhead looked around, searching for any potential mothers/wives in the vicinity. Finding no such persons, she continued her unabashed advance.

"And what's your name, sweetie?" she asked with a cheesy grin, hoping to impress the boy's father with her children skills.

"Trunks," muttered the boy in reply.

"Oh, what a clever name!" she said, looking up at Vegeta and batting her eyelashes at him.

The prince snorted. "His mother named him."

"Yeah," added Trunks. "And she would call *you* a brainless bimbo."

The redhead's mouth dropped open in disbelief. Vegeta turned away to conceal the smirk that tugged at the corner of his mouth. The woman stammered for a moment as she tried to figure out how to respond.

"Here you go, sir," interrupted the cashier as he handed Vegeta two styrofoam cups filled to the brink with froathy hot chocolate. "Have a nice day."

The prince nodded in reply. He pushed past the shell-shocked redhead, trailed closely by Trunks.

"Bye, bye!" the boy stated sweetly, a smirk identical to his father's on his face.

Vegeta led Trunks over to a table partially concealed by fake shrubbery. They settled down on the hard metal chairs to wait for their comrades. Trunks slurped up his hot chocolate, swinging his legs back and forth. Vegeta settled back; the worst was over. Now he could go home and forget that this day ever happened.

"There you guys are!" called Kuririn's familiar voice.

The others shuffled over to their secluded table. Goten skipped cheerfully over to them, looking unscathed by the Santa incident. Marron, however, was shrieking her tiny lungs out. Kuririn was bouncing her and cooing reassuredly, but the distressed infant refused to settle down.

"Gohan, can you hold her while I go get our food?" asked the weary father.

"Sure," replied the teen as he took the squirming baby out of his hold.

The tiny warrior hurried off. This only made things worse. The absence of her father only made Marron even more upset than she previously was. Gohan rocked her and spoke baby talk to no avail.

"Baka, didn't you learn anything?" snarled Vegeta. He removed the baby from Gohan's arms. Craddling her gently, he murmured to the distressed child in Saiyajin. Marron stared up at him with big, blue eyes. She gurgled slightly and then quieted, her eyes drooping as she was lulled to sleep.

The prince glanced up and caught Trunks's eyes. The boy was staring enviously at baby Marron. Realizing his father was watching him, he quickly turn back to Goten and continued to talk to the Son child. Vegeta silently wondered if he shouldn't start spending more time with his child. He didn't ignore Trunks, but he did not actively pursue what Bulma termed "father-son time." The concept was completely foreign to his Saiyan upbringing.

His thoughts were interrupted by Kuririn's return. The short man sat the food down in front of the ravenous demi-Saiyans. He then collected his daughter from his former enemy's hold. The group ate and chatted idly. Goten and Trunks compared wish lists while Kuririn and Gohan discussed the upcoming party at Kame House. By the end of the meal, plans had been made for Trunks to return home with Goten. Vegeta smirked. He was blissfully free.

The group parted, each going their separate ways. Gohan glanced back over his shoulder and shot a "how could you leave me all alone with *them*" look at Vegeta as the teen struggled to steer the two boys out of the mall.

"Behave for Gohan!" called the prince to his son.

"I will," replied Trunks.

Vegeta noted that as his son said that, he turned to Goten and winked while crossing his fingers behind his back. The prince shook his head and strode outside. Digging through his pocket, he removed a capsule. He frowned down at the thing; he would rather fly than use the slow-moving contraption, but Bulma insisted that he utilize the company's vehicles. It simply would not be good publicity for Capsule Corp. if the heiress's husband was seen zipping through the sky like some sort of alien. The tabloids were already hounding her bad enough as it was.

Since Bulma insisted that he conform to the Earthling's form of transportation, Vegeta always made sure to swipe her favorite motorcycle. He activated the machine and waited for the vehicle to decapsulisize. He mounted the deep blue motorcycle; switching the ignition, he revved the engine. Vegeta shot off across the mall parking lot.

As he flew around the curving road that circled the shopping complex, Vegeta caught sight of Gohan directing the boys towards a candy-apple red car. Piccolo sat in the driver's seat, idly drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. Vegeta had wondered how the boys had managed to arrive in a Chichi-approved manner. Piccolo must have chauffered the two Sons to the mall and simply waited while they went inside. Lucky bastard.

Frigid air whipped past the prince as he turned onto the main street that would take him back to Capsule Corp. He pushed the motorcycle to it's limit, weaving in and out of traffic. More than one person shouted obscenities at him. He simply smirked in response.

Vegeta pulled into the drive way and dismounted. He capsualized the bike and returned it to his jeans pocket. He strode purposefully inside and was instantly greeted by a rush of warm air. The scent of Mrs. Brief's special holiday treats wafted from the kitchen, luring him to one of his favorite rooms of the house. At one of the counters stood his wife, meticulously cutting out cookies. He could hear her mother in the adjoining hall, chatting merrily to an old-time friend on the phone.

"Hello, there! Where's Trunks?' greeted Bulma, whipping a strand of hair back and consequently smearing flour on her cheek.

"He's with Kakkarot junior," he replied gruffly.

Bulma nodded. She wiped her hands off her apron and moved towards him. As she whisked past the kitchen table, she snatched up a bundle of green leaves. "I have a gift for you."

She held up the sprig over her head and waited expectantly. Vegeta stared vacantly at her. Since his induction as a denizen of Earth, he had been bombarded by pointless customs. He couldn't remember what the point of this one was.

"This is mistletoe. Remember, silly? You're supposed to kiss whoever is under it. It's tradition."

Vegeta moved in and wrapped his arms around his wife. Who was he to break tradition? He slowly tasted her soft, warm lips. After a few moments, Bulma tossed the mistletoe aside and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Since Trunks isn't home..."murmured Bulma into his lips.

Vegeta grinned to himself. Maybe the horrific outing hadn't been so pointless afterall.....