-4-

Vegeta stared down at the beautiful woman he — by some stroke of luck — called his wife. Bulma lay sprawled beneath him. The soft glow of morning highlighted the rise and fall of her chest, flushed cheeks, and matted hair. 'Thoroughly fucked' was one of his favorite looks on her.

The column of her throat beckoned. He leaned in to kiss it while contemplating an encore.

"Mmm," she sighed sleepily.

Ah, he knew that tone. She was exhausted, even now her breathing was evening out. What time had she come to bed? He couldn't recall, having fallen asleep waiting up for her.

Damn. Perhaps waking her up so early for this wasn't the best of ideas.

He gently pushed off. She made a half-hearted sound of protest as he wiped her clean, but was half-way asleep by the time he tucked her in under the blankets. With a final kiss to her brow, Vegeta pried himself away, ignoring the instinct to stay and watch over his mate.

He headed for the spare bathroom by the kids' rooms so as not to disturb Bulma's sleep while he cleaned up. Along the way, hushed voices caught his attention. He slowed to a halt.

Trunks and Bra were coming down the opposite end of the corridor, the older boy bent to whisper in his little sister's ear. "—just remember, don't tell Dad or—"

"Don't tell me what?"

Trunks froze, the color draining from his face.

"Papa!" His daughter's face lit up and she came dashing towards him. "I'm BLEEDING!"

What?! For a sickening moment, Vegeta couldn't breathe.

"Bra, you snitch." Trunks slapped a hand over his face with a groan.

Bra came to a halt by his boots and raised her skirt to show off her bleeding knee. A tiny wound. But the impression it left was huge. Vegeta scooped her up before laying murderous eyes on his son, the same glare he had leveled enemies with. "Boy, you have five seconds to explain yourself before I send you to the afterlife."

"Dad, c'mon. We were playing outside and she tripped. No big deal, I swear."

"Tunks says I might get a scar like you, Papa!" Bra announced excitedly.

"Bra!" Trunks hissed with desperation, begging her to stop making the situation worse.

Vegeta tightened his fingers over his daughter. "Oh, he better hope you don't. Trunks, go make breakfast. Your mother worked late last night, so you'd best be quiet. I'll deal with your lack of common sense regarding the care of your sister later."

Trunks made a sour face but dragged himself off to the kitchen without further protest. Vegeta shifted Bra's weight in his arms, brushing back her fly-away hair. "Let's get you fixed up."

"Okay."

He carried her to the bathroom and set her on the sink. "Is this the only place you're hurt?" he asked, looking at the graze on her knee. It was already scabbing over. Thank you Saiyan genes.

"Uh-huh."

Such a wound for a Saiyan was inconsequential, but he wasn't about to take any chances with his little girl. He cleaned the wound and dug around in the cabinet, pulling out a box of all-purpose band-aids.

"Nuh-uh, not dose ones. I wannit the ones with the staw-bees!"

Vegeta sighed and kept searching.

"Papa?"

"Hn?"

"You have lotsa scars."

Glancing down, he saw Bra scrutinizing his torso. It was the same look Bulma gave when puzzling out a malfunctioning invention.

"Did you fall down too?" his daughter inquired.

If anyone else accused him of tripping over, Vegeta would have ended them. Permanently. But Bra's world-view was small and innocent. She meant no insult, and she certainly couldn't comprehend the suffering or horror that he had endured and inflicted to earn his scars. Like hell he was going to ruin that innocence just yet.

"…Something like that."

"Oh… You're really clumsy, Papa."

His cheek twitched. Thankfully Bulma wasn't around to hear that one; he never would have lived it down.

"So it would seem. But what's important is that I picked myself up again. Every time."

Her little brow furrowed with contemplation. "You didn't cry?"

A few unpleasant memories resurfaced. "…Only when it really mattered."

She fell silent, and he resumed his search for the bandaids.

Ah. Finally. A box of bandaids with cartoon strawberries smiling obscenely at him was tucked away in the far back corner. Someone really needed to organize this cabinet better. Vegeta dug it out and peeled open a plaster, smoothing it over his daughter's knee.

"How's that?"

Bra lifted her leg to examine his handiwork. "It's crooked."

"Then fall more symmetrically next time."

She laughed, her whole face lighting up. At least someone got his sense of humor. The sound was infectious, wriggling under his skin and easing the tension in his body he wasn't aware he carried.

Despite himself, he smiled back. "Alright, Princess. Let's go check on your brother."

"Okay." She made grabby hands, and Vegeta picked her up. As they walked towards the kitchen, her chubby fingers traced a scar on his shoulder.

"Papa, did your Papa help fixit your hurts too?"

His mouth thinned. His father? Now that was an old wound. Time had mostly healed it over but it still stung when dug at. "No, he didn't."

Couldn't.

Or wouldn't.

A side-glance found Bra watching him with big blue eyes. He stopped his thoughts before they ruined the morning.

"What do you think Mommy would like for breakfast?"

Bra gasped and bounced in his arms, excited to know the answer. "Staw-bee pancakes!"

Vegeta smiled and carried her off to the kitchen as she chanted the words over and over.


~xox~

Bra wasn't watching where she put her spoon. It missed her mouth, smearing mashed sweet potato over her cheek. She rubbed the mess away with the back of her hand, eyes fixed on her parents.

Papa sat on a kitchen stool, his face as grumpy as the troll in her Saturday morning cartoons, only the troll didn't usually bleed bright red from a cut on his brow. Mommy was sewing up Papa's hurt. he didn't look happy about it, but still he allowed her to fix him. After all, Mommy was very good at fixing broken things; she had fixed her toys more than once.

"Can't you and Son ever go easy on each other?" Bulma asked.

"Tch. That is not how true warriors train. Besides, I gave Kakarot as good as I got, and more."

"Yeah, yeah."

Bra adjusted her spoon and this time found her mouth. Blergh. Her nose scrunched at the taste of cold vegetables. With a careful glance to make sure her parents weren't watching, she spat the food back on her plate.

"This is entirely unnecessary," Vegeta grumbled. "You know it will heal on its own."

"Not before bleeding all over the damn place. Besides, it's deep enough that it might scar, and I think you have enough of those." Bulma finished her stitches and put a bandage over the wound. With a warm smile she leaned in, nudging her nose to Vegeta's. "There. As rugged as that might look, I've grown fond of your face the way it is."

He huffed, his large hands grabbing Bulma's hips and pulling her closer. "Why do I tolerate you?"

Bulma nuzzled his cheek. "Let's go to bed and I'll remind you."

He started to smile, but then his eyes slid to the side where Bra was still pretending to eat. "Echalotte." She snapped upright at his sharp tone. "Did you finish your dinner?"

Her plate was mostly untouched. "Uh… not yet, Papa."

"Stop dawdling."

Her head lowered at his reprimand. Papa rarely told her off; she didn't much care for the experience. Sullenly, Bra pushed her vegetables about on her plate, kicking her feet into the kitchen counter below.

"I'm going to wash off," Vegeta said, and left Bulma to pack up the first aid kid.

Still sulking, Bra smooshed her peas into her plate. "Mommy?"

"Yes honey?"

"Why do you helpit Papa? I don't think he likes getting fixed."

Bulma laughed. "Ah, your father just thinks he's too tough for help. But truth is, he's not used to getting any and doesn't know how to ask for it."

"He doesn't know how?" Bra asked, amazed there was something Papa couldn't do.

"Nope. So I just help him."

Bra reflected on that as she swirled her food into paste. Papa was always helping her and Tunks and Mommy and even the whooooole universe from evil bad guys. It didn't seem fair that he couldn't ask for help in return.

"Mommy?"

"Yes?"

"Thanks for helping Papa."

Bulma smiled and came to sit by her. "Of course." She brushed Bra's bangs out of her face. "That's what families do: help each other. Because we love each other, right?"

Bra beamed. "Right!"

"Now finish your dinner."

"Ugh," Bra whined, dropping her head forward in defeat.


~xox~

Blood splattered the ground where Vegeta walked. His wife would be pissed. Bulma hated when he made a mess but in a roundabout way, this was her fault. Sure, he might have asked Bulma to increase the intensity of the training bots but she was the one who exceeded his expectations. If he didn't know any better, he would think his wife was trying to kill him.

Goddamn she was amazing.

Still, he had underestimated her upgrades and now suffered the consequences. With some luck, he hoped to make it to the bathroom before anyone noticed.

He limped passed the living room where Bulma's mother was keeping an eye on Bra.

"Oh my!" Panchy exclaimed. "Vegeta sweety, don't you look a fright."

So much for not getting noticed.

At Panchy's announcement, Bra's head jerked up from her coloring book, her eyes going wide seeing the state of her father. "Papa! You're hurt again?"

He paused. "It's nothing. Keep drawing."

Bra ignored him, hurrying over and grabbing his hand. It made his heart tighten to see how tiny her fingers were compared to his. Bra examined his wounds, her brow furrowing mightily. What had got her so worked up? She had seen him injured before. But before he could ask, Bra sprang off down the hall. "Wait, Papa. I'll helpit!"

Ah, goddamn it. Off to fetch her mother, no doubt. With a heavy sigh, Vegeta followed. May as well get this over with.

But he didn't get far. The patter of little feet heralded Bra's return, a box of bandaids held in her chubby hands. She looked at him with the same determination he had seen countless times on her mother's face.

"Okay, Papa. Let Bra take good care of you!"

Well fuck. How could he say no to that?

With a sigh, he sunk into a sitting position before her, and allowed his daughter to play nurse.

Just like her mother.

"You have so many hurts," Bra tutted as she stuck plaster after plaster on him. At least it wasn't the goddamn strawberry ones. "Don't worry, Papa. Families helpit each other."

He peeled open an eye to look at his daughter's earnest face. Family… Did he ever imagine he could have such a precious family after everything that had happened to him?

Bra was opening another plaster when he scooped her up into his arms and hugged her tight.

"Aren ilgnen kalor, Echalotte," he whispered fiercely in her ear.

"Papa!" she squealed, and soon her laughter filled the corridor as he tickled her sides and nommed her tiny neck.


~xoXox~


AN: Inspired by Okebtrash's adorable picture of Bulla patching up her papa with bandages. 3

See it here: okebtrash DOT tumblr DOT com SLASH post SLASH 175264594724 SLASH princess-bulla-and-papa-ι-д-ι-impost SLASH 175264594724 SLASH princess-bulla-and-papa-ι-д-ι-im