It wasn't the darkness that was creepy. Bulma was a creature who found such darkness comfortable; it freed her from the shackles of propriety, civility, and humanity, and she wore it like a second skin. The night was to her as the sunlight was to a fat, lazy, cat stretched out on a windowsill.
No. It wasn't the darkness. It was the smell that unnerved her. It was the scent of old, wet earth; it was the stench of crawling things, half dead and wholly mad, scraping out existence by preying on things less wary than need be.
Loathe as she was to touch the slime-slicked wall of broken and crumbling stones, she needed it to guide her in the pitch. Where she needed to go was the furthest from the light.
At the end of this underground, forgotten, catacomb was a legend.
Vegeta, Saiyan Prince.
She had been one of likely thousands who had chased him across the galaxy, charged with capturing or killing him for crimes against life. He had been a fugitive long before she had become a bounty hunter – in fact, he had inspired her to pursue the profession. He hadn't been much older than she when he had been party to purging her world. Children, they had been. It hadn't mattered his age when he destroyed her planet, nor had it mattered her age when her planet had been annihilated around her. From that moment on, she had become a demon obsessed – because only a demon could catch a devil.
On her collar was a golden, embroidered emblem that she supposed was supposed to look like a sun system with a protective shield around it. To her, it looked like a pumpkin. Yet the crest gave her immediate access to anywhere she wished to go without question or resistance. It marked her as a Galactic Peace Agent, charged with protecting the public and subduing the most violent peace violators. To her, it meant bounty hunting.
She had been ordained in the ministry as the youngest member ever to pass the trials required to be accepted into the guild. She had quickly become their best. She had no lack of resources, and she designed most of her equipment herself. She may look harmless, and even enticing – but so did bloodwater to someone thirsty – the scent of the water made even the most slaked pallet desperately parched, but drinking it was a death sentence if you were allergic to bleeding out from every poor.
Seven years she had been chasing him. Sometimes she got close – so close she could see the sly, taunting smirk he wore as he slipped through her fingers yet again. After a time, she realized he was leading her. She may be the best, but it was being said that the Saiyan Prince was a ghost – that he had never lived and was invented to be the target of hatred in order to steal attention from the real monsters. No one had seen or heard a trace of the elusive Prince in four years. No one… but her.
And when the trail grew cold, suddenly, there would be a clue found just so in just the right place in just the right time.
He wanted her chasing him.
Until she had given up. Abandoned him, let him go…
It had been a ploy to flush him out, but after nearly half a year, she had almost convinced herself to adopt the lie as truth. She didn't know when she had crossed the bridge from someone worth saving into something savage and rabid. Had she known the moment she had approached the event horizon, about to cross over, she wouldn't have hesitated. She had followed him willingly, fulling knowing he would swallow her. And he had. He had breeched her mind, violated her soul, and warped her to be a twisted image of himself.
He had become everything to her; she lived and breathed to hunt him. She thought like him, adopted his patterns, and disdainfully walked away from everything so she could submerse herself into his world, his way. She was his dark disciple and she worshiped him with her need and her hatred. She had been corrupted by him to such a point that it had nearly broken her to stop chasing him.
He must have felt the same intolerable ache as she had when she had left the chase…
Because suddenly, for no reason at all….
He had turned himself in and had said only these 5 words again and again, no matter what was said or done to him, "I will speak with her."
And so, after years - she finally finds herself face to face with him, separated only by a thick panel of plexi-glass – and strangely ornate ki supressors she knows are grafted to the bone of his neck, wrists, ankles, and the base of his tail. She knows because she is the one who designed them specifically for him. She knows he knows it too; he actually nods his head to bring her attention to one of his wrist cuffs, cocks his head at her, and grins in appreciation. She can't help but to grin back. He is pleased despite – or probably because of – the nature of the taunt. The Saiyan designs describe a great trail undertaken by one in the royal line, one that would require a victorious end to merit such handsome jewelry.
Neither of them speak, and after minutes, she turns to leave. She will not be the first to speak. He has taught her patience.
She is rewarded with his low, velvety purr, reaching her ears through the holes in the plexi-glass. "The Dark Horse has won the race and has earned her prize. She wishes it of me, yet she would leave before getting it. Is that wise?"
She stops and looks over her shoulder. "I'm no dark horse when the race was thrown – but it doesn't matter because you've lost, either way. That was the prize. So. What makes you think I didn't get what I wanted?"
His eyes dance with mirth and he smiles, revealing pointed canines. "Yes, yes. I have thrown the race. But by doing so, have I not manipulated you into getting what I want as well?"
She knows he refers to her abandoning the chase – allowing his capture and forcing her to confront him has kept her ensnared in his web.
She turns around and returns to stand before the glass, way closer than she knows she should. Who had been hunting who all these years? Did it matter? Maybe she did want something from him. She had so many things she could say, so many questions… they suddenly seem so pretentious and naïve, now. But…
This time, she smiles at him. "So. We both know we walk to talk to one another. Maybe now we can have a real conversation."
He chuckles and steps closer to the glass. "If we are to be on equal ground, little one, are you not obligated to tell me your motivations since you know mine?"
Her breath catches, but she fights not to let her shock show. She hadn't known whether or not to believe him… over the years the clues he had left had become more and more suggestive. Eventually he had declared outright that he thought of her as his possession, and looked forward to the day she realized the feeling was reciprocated. She had thought it a mind game, and it likely was – but perhaps because he had been telling the truth…
"No," she whispered. "But I will in the spirit of cooperation."
"You wish to cooperate with me? How interesting," he muses playfully.
She frowns. "I used to want to kill you."
"And now?" His voice is a caress.
She studies him a moment. "I want you to suffer," she states simply.
He tosses his head back and roars in laughter. After a moment, he peers at her, eyes sparkling. "Bulma… Bulma the lab rat. You are no killer or dealer of pain despite what you may wish, you have no stomach for anything so crude or vulgar such as torture. You may have created the ornaments I now wear, but you couldn't force yourself to commit an act you believed distasteful. You are the best at capture – but the worst at killing. You have no blood on your hands whatsoever."
This time, she can't hide her shock. "Don't be surprised, little blue lab rat. I can smell it on you. You are clean… as clean and sterile and lifeless as the pussy between your legs. I'm flattered. You've given all of your time and attention to finding me…"
Bulma steps within a foot of the glass and snarls. "Yes. I enjoy the labs. But who's the murderous, undersexed, rat in a cage? A cage you know I invented. I may not kill you, but take care. I have the means to damage you. Maybe not killing you would be the torture you think I'm so against."
Vegeta leers at her with clear lust. "Woman, I beg you. Please try."
They stare at each other for long minutes, saying nothing. Vegeta smirks and glances down the length of her body. "It is not her skill for torture that is of use to her against me, but her flesh instead. She knows this."
Bulma looks at him with hard eyes, takes off her jacket, throws it on the mossy ground behind her, and steps within inches of the glass. Vegeta puts his hands against it and his fingers feather over it as though he were caressing her. He rests his forehead against the transparent material near the holes, sniffs deeply with his eyes closed, then gives her a heated, slow once over. When his breath fogs against the glass, she unzips her uniform blouse and lightly presses her unbound breasts to the plastic. He licks the glass and fumbles with his pants to stroke his cock.
She closes her eyes and imagines his tongue against her heated skin. "And the horseman would break the dark horse to ride her if he could….," she whispers.
"Turn around," he demands huskily. "I want to see the rest of you."
She doesn't even hesitate. Perhaps she's lost her head, but she turns around as he asked and leans against the glass so he can see her ass. Despite the ki supressors, she feels a pulse of his ki through the glass that zaps her right to her core. Her knees nearly buckle with the shock of an unexpected orgasm, small as it is. She recovers quickly and jumps from the glass to looks at him – he is grinning at her knowingly and has some of her hair in his fingers. He smiles languidly at her, eyes full of hungry promise. She steps away and grabs her coat from the ground.
She doesn't look at him as she speaks. "There's an alien travelling from planet to planet killing with ki. This wouldn't be odd, but his ki signature is strange. So is his method. He skins and guts them, then removes their bones in one piece through a single cut from neck to groin. It's like he's taking trophies. Not even you did that." She glances up at him. He seems interested so she continues. "The tissue left behind is blackened and calcified. He's elusive and secretive and always one step ahead. No one knows murder as you do, and can disappear so completely like you can. You know what he is?"
Vegeta simply nods.
"Help us find him, then," she states.
He chuckles. "The guild did well to choose you to approach me. I know you resisted – but mark me, you'd have come to me eventually. This just gave you an excuse. Even so, you know you were manipulated. You've had the most success, if you can call it that with all the help I gave you, in tracking me. Knowing all of this, you still turn the situation to your advantage. You know I will help you, little human. But - what will I get in return? Will you enter my cage and let me shove my tongue down your throat and my cock up your cunt? Hmm or maybe you prefer the other way around?"
She grins sardonically. "Aside from a chance to play mind games with me, you'll get nothing. Oh, I'm sure you can appeal for better accommodations, though. A cage with a window, maybe? Or better food…?"
"The only view I want is in front of me and the only meal that appeals to me is there as well. Tell me, little one, that your solution is to release me. I can be rid of your alien problem for you within days," he raises his eyebrows and licks a canine as he glances down her body once again, eluding to an unspoken promise of all the other things he'd do if he were released.
Bulma smiles. "I have no doubt." She turns to leave. "But you're still not getting out of there."
"Little blue lab rat…"
She turns to face him.
"In return for your gift," he holds her hairs up and runs them through his lips to taste them, "I offer one of my own – in the spirit of cooperation." He glances down towards his feet.
She follows his eyes but pauses when she sees unmistakable movement. He's been masturbating this whole time and he'd been waiting for her to notice. When he's certain she's watching, he comes all over the glass in hard spurts.
When he's finished, she flicks her eyes up to meet his gaze. He grins.
She grins back and turns to leave.