Disclaimer: I own nothing

Prologue

Everything hurt. Muscles he did not even know he possessed seemed to be on fire. His teeth chattered – the basement had always been cold but now that the vents were motionless, warmth had been sucked out of his very skin. He shut his eyes tightly, refusing (reality) to even glance at the full length mirror conveniently placed in front of him. Limbs that were too thin, skin that was too pale, hair that were too red... deletedeletedelete. Almost unthinkingly, he flexed his wrists under the soft bindings that held them prisoners against the cot he was propped up onto. A half-mad laugh escaped his lips; if he had not managed to break out when he was still (himself) at full strength, he had no hope of doing it now that he was (a monster) so weakened.

"SHOOT! THEY ARE TOO CLOSE! … THE PALACE..."

His ears barely registered the terrified screams reaching faintly into his cell like soft waves into a faraway cave; the outside world was now as real as a dream.

"It is peculiar for one of you to have a brain like one of us."

His voice surfaced Leviathan-like from the stormy ocean of his memory, drowning out the approaching sounds from behind the steel door.

"Only idiots try to solve their issues through the usage of blind strength."

He had bristled at the soft insult but refused to react, knowing (hoping) it was motivated by fear – that day, he almost destroyed his bindings. When was that? Weeks, months, years ago?

"It is loathsome to see such potential reside in such a monstrous vessel."

He had completed all the tests correctly. The scientists thought he was guessing the answers and was lucky enough to never guess wrong. He was confident they would not look too closely into that, busy as they were in believing in their superiority; he just wanted to have some fun with their bewildered faces as they shook their head in denial. The tests were not easy, not even for him, but he had always been smarter than his lot, almost as smart as...

"I am the best among my kind, you know? Which is why I am their king."

He had noticed; he had calculated the probabilities and concluded that it could not be just luck; he had taken into account only the facts, not the appearances, but he still considered appearances so very important.

During the first round of treatment, he had fought with everything he had, roaring and biting and squirming in his cot as the chilling liquids were pumped into his veins. He had done all he could. He should have done more. He gnawed on his lower lip, chewing it viciously as the ground shook under booming footsteps and the horrified screams moved closer to the door. They went on for a while until, finally, silence reigned once again. Well, not really.

"What the hell do you mean you killed all the guards?! How do we find him now! The palace is a goner..."

The cold finally managed to kill the burning flames in his muscles; he balled his hands in fists, feeling the prickles of the needles still dripping fluids in his veins. He was too tall.

"That door! It's that door! Stop the Oozarus, you idiots, stop them! The door, the door, the door..."

The ceiling started to crumble and for a second he dared to hope it was going to crush him. A ray of light suddenly cut through the darkness that surrounded his tightly sealed eyes; he bit back a disappointed sob, he was back to check on him and he could not show any weakness.

"Oh gods... Those monsters..."

Yes, he was one, wasn't he?

"Shut it Nappa! This is not the moment!"

He felt the needles in his arms being pulled out and frowned, the treatment was not done yet. He instinctively started to fight as hands started working on his bindings and grabbing at his shoulders.

"Vegeta! Can you hear me? Goddamit, answer me!"

"Paragus, this is hardly the way! Vegeta? Vegeta, please calm down, it's over, we've found you, it's all over! Can you open your eyes?"

He tilted his head towards the familiar voices – was this a new trick? Strange, it was not his style.

"He will never hear you if you speak so low Zorn! Hey, you idiot, listen carefully! Your stupid plan unaccountably worked and the Tuffles are all gone! We are free and it's been decided you'll be our king. So open your eyes already or I am going to slit your throat and grab the throne for myself!"

"How is threatening him a good idea, Paragus!"

He felt a slight smirk pulling at the edge of lips as he heard the hated/loved voices. Of course the plan worked. It was his plan. Curiosity won over fear and he slowly blinked his eyes open, the sun piercing them sharper than a dagger. The creature that met his stare was a disgusting pale larva with slender limbs and a hairless face and burgundy hair...

"Ah, see Zorn? Told you that was the way to..."

"DON'T LOOK AT ME!"

I have been toying with the idea of writing this story for a while and, now that Cold Space, my other project, is almost finished, I think I can concentrate properly on this. Thank you for reading and do let me know what you think!