Vegeta grunted and looked up from his breakfast. His eyebrows rose when he found his daughter standing on the tiled kitchen floor wearing what could best be described as a bright red pillow.
Bra beamed at him. Vegeta would go to his grave before admitting how his heart melted each time she did.
"I'm a staw-bee!" she announced proudly.
Ah, so that's what it was. A strawberry. Vegeta finished his last mouthful of food before leaning down, offering his arm to her. Bra waddled over in her cumbersome costume and he scooped her up into his lap for better inspection.
"Why are you a fruit?" he asked her, getting to the heart of the matter.
Bra grinned. "Papa, it's Halloween!"
Right, that Earth festivity where children dressed up and demanded sweets from strangers. A perplexing custom, but bold.
"Why a strawberry?" he insisted. Why not something with a little more bite? Of course, he had his suspicions. This had Bulma written all over it.
"Mommy likes staw-bees," Bra explained.
Vegeta's mouth thinned. "That she does," he agreed. "What's your brother dressing as?"
"Tunks is with Goten. He's a big boy, he says — he says he's too old."
Vegeta's eyes narrowed. That lazy good-for-nothing son of his was hanging out with Kakarot's pup instead of his sister on a holiday? Clearly the boy was overdue having some sense beaten into him.
"Do you like staw-bees?" Bra asked, kicking her soft, pudgy feet into his stomach.
He allowed himself a rare smile and grabbed her ankles with one hand, lifting her up to dangle before him like a fish on a line. She squealed in delight.
"I do. In fact, this strawberry looks especially tasty, and ready to eat," he growled.
Bra twisted in his clutches, her arms flapping helplessly. "No, Papa! I'm not for eatin'!"
"No one says no to a prince!" Vegeta countered, leaning in with a wicked smirk. "You had better run, or I'm going to gobble you up."
Bra screamed excitedly as Vegeta set her down, her stubby legs carrying her off into the living room. He gave her a generous head start before prowling after. Entering the room, Vegeta could see half of a bulbous strawberry peeking out from behind the couch.
"I smell something edible," he growled, pretending to look around the room. It was important to build up a pup's self confidence after all.
A muffled giggle echoed from behind the furniture.
Vegeta started exploring the hiding spaces of the living room, peeking into the coat closet, under the coffee table, and behind the curtains, pretending to grow more frustrated each time he found nothing. There was another giggle behind him, and the pitta-pat of tiny feet as Bra relocated. Clever girl; he had gotten too close to her position.
Sadly, her stealth needed some work. Time to teach her a lesson.
"What's that I hear?"
"Nothing, Papa!" Bra squealed and charged off.
He dashed after her, capturing her in a heartbeat, tumbling them to the floor with her safely held in his arms.
"Gotchya!" he said, playfully biting at her fat little legs that stuck out from her costume. Bra's shrieks of glee echoed through the house.
"Papa noooo!" she begged through fits of laughter. "Mommy, mommy, helpit!"
"You think that Earth woman can save you?"
"Aun-nee 18!" Bra begged.
Vegeta looked up, and all the blood drained from his face. Horrified, he discovered Android 18 and Marron standing in the doorway. They stared back, just as surprised to see him on the ground nibbling at his daughter's thighs.
"…Marron, where's your camera?" 18 asked flatly. "Your father will never believe me."
Vegeta stood up so fast it made instant transmission obsolete, righting Bra to her feet at the same time. Heat rose to his cheeks.
"The fuck are you doing here?" he snapped.
18 smirked. "Bulma and I are taking the girls to a Halloween party."
"Oh, you're here!" Bulma said, walking into the room with a big bag of candy.
"Mommy!" Bra yelled, running over to Bulma. "Papa says he likes staw-bees too and— and den he tried to eat me!"
"Did he now?" Bulma asked, glancing at Vegeta with an amused expression.
He crossed his arms, looking away with a huff. Even the tips of his ears were burning.
"You didn't use ki shots in the house, did you?" Bulma asked her daughter sternly.
"Nuh-uh!" Bra protested.
"Okay, good girl. Well, we can deal with your father later," Bulma said, straightening Bra's costume. "We have to get going or we're going to be late for the party."
"Meet you in the car," 18 drawled, giving Vegeta a last smirk before shepherding her daughter outside.
Vegeta's eyes slid to Bulma and narrowed, his gaze accusing, blaming her for having been caught in a vulnerable moment. "I expect recompense," he snipped at her.
Bulma took Bra in one hand, meeting his gaze as she walked past him for the door. "I'm sure I can offer you something tastier than a strawberry to sink your teeth into."
Vegeta's eyes tracked her, admiring the sway of her hips despite his annoyance. He didn't doubt her offer.
Bulma grabbed her keys and purse, then turned to Bra. "Alright honey, say bye-bye to Papa."
Bra hurried over and leapt up. Vegeta caught her mid air and pulled her in for a hug.
"Bye, Papa!" she gushed, placing her tiny hands on his cheeks and leaning in to give a wet kiss.
He grimaced but bore it well. "Don't think you can escape me so easily next time," he warned, putting her back down. She started waddling off.
"Echalotte?" he called.
She stopped and turned. "Yes, Papa?"
"Aren ilgnen kalor," he told her.
Bra grinned. "I know, Papa!" She cupped her hands together in a clumsy attempt at a heart.
Outwardly, Vegeta maintained perfect stoicism, but inwardly, his chest constricted in a way that made his past deaths feel like child's play. It was a pain he would bear endlessly for her.
Bra toddled after her mother — who was giving him a keen look that he refused to acknowledge — before exiting the house to start their day. His superior hearing picked up Bulma asking Bra, "What did Papa say to you, honey?"
"It's Saiyan, Mommy."
"Yes, but what does it mean?"
"You-are-my-heart!" Bra sing-songed.
Vegeta tracked their ki signatures until he could no longer distinguish them from all the other people in the city. He turned and went to the GR to begin his training for the day.
AN: Beta-read by the illustrious Artephile / Marcella-Duchamp.
I had a hell of a week and needed a bit of fluff. Some belated Halloween gushiness for you all ^_^
I kind of head-canon that Saiyans didn't really say 'I love you' even in their own language, but probably had phrases that were equivalent (if more literal). Since the heart is such an important organ for life, calling someone 'your heart' would have been a huge honor in Saiyan culture… Or so Vegeta tried to convince Bulma later on when she called him a sap, and he got butt-hurt about it XD
And yes, I'm still 100% committed to making 'Echalotte' be a thing!