Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ

Thanks to Barb for her beta skills.

Chapter Twenty-One


Bulma posed in the full-length mirror framed in intricately carved wood. She turned to the right, sucking her stomach in beneath her silky undergarments, pouting at what she saw. She wasn't fat, but she was getting on into her thirties.

A cool breeze wafted in from the balcony, sheer pink curtains blowing in the wind. Her room was overrun by servants as they raced back and forth with some task or another. A glint of sunlight caught in the mirror, and Bulma turned her attention to the balcony.

The sun shone brightly over an azure ocean. Once returning to Capital World, Vegeta had razed Frieza's palace in the north to the ground. No longer would either of them be haunted by the memory of their master while they walked cold hallways or entering the throne room. Vegeta had built them a new palace on the shores of the equatorial ocean, as close to the warm sun they could get.

Choosing the stone for their new home had been quite a fight. Bulma had wanted rose marble, imaging the perfect castle she had wanted as a child. Vegeta had stubbornly disagreed; there was no way he was going to allow his home to look like some candy land fantasy. He had wanted turquoise for his walls in honor of the royal Saiyan family.

In the end they had compromised. Bulma had discovered the greatest find in the century. Kerithiam Quartz. It seemed that the space pirate Saffron had quite the pile hoarded. It had cost Bulma a pretty penny, but she had secured enough to construct the palace's outer walls. Now the palace gleamed blood-red on top of a green carpet of lush grass, beside the tranquil waters of the ocean. Bulma got her rose marble for the women's quarters and Vegeta got Turquoise for his rooms. In the center where everyone met, courtiers, servants and royals alike, was white marble, a symbol of unbiased beliefs, balance, truth.

Her thoughts were interrupted as Delia waddled up to her. The beautiful courtesan was heavily weighted down by child. Her and Raditz had made their courtship official once they returned from the Ice-jinn world, and had immediately started on their new family. Jarrell was happy with his new father, and was excited about the new addition to the family. He strutted around in his shiny palace guard armor, telling everyone within hearing how he was going to protect his new baby brother or sister from anyone who even thought of messing with them.

Raditz was training Jarrell in the ancient profession of a bodyguard, and his first assignment was the young prince. Raditz instructed Jarrell thoroughly on the manner of serving his lord, and the boy took his job very seriously. He followed Trunks around relentlessly, his face stoic like his new father's, but in the end the boys would just end up wrestling, youth overriding responsibility.

Trunks had taken to court life with the adaptability of a true Saiyan, his feral past forgotten, (with only the loss of a few livestock) and even though Trunks was much stronger than the blonde-haired boy, they got along tremendously well.

Delia carried with her an elegant white gown, encrusted with pearls, with a short scarlet cape that fell to the waist. Today was the day that Vegeta and she would officially announce their place in the universe. It had taken many months to regain order in the chaos that had ensued with the deaths of Frieza and King Cold. Everything had fallen into place much easier now that Vegeta and Bulma had presented a united front.

Trade had been restored, and the economy was booming. Bulma had managed to gather together all the first-born children of the ruling lords of the various worlds. She hadn't threatened, instead she had demurred, and many families thought they were sending their children off to receive a top-notch education. Bulma was sure that her new charges were treated with the most loving care possible, thereby securing the future of her own children through the love of her youngest captives.

"Aren't you ready yet?" bellowed Vegeta from the doorway, sending several servants scurrying. Still afraid of Vegeta, Delia would have run too, but her belly wouldn't allow it. Slowly she backed away, taking Bulma's dress with her.

Bulma threw her hands up in the air, whipping around to confront him. "I would be if you would stop interrupting me!"

Her instant bad mood melted away when she looked at her mate. He was dressed in royal, pearl white dress armor. Beneath it, his black suit formed against his legs and arms, showing each ridge of his delicious muscles. He wore matching red-tipped, white boots and gloves, and sweeping over one shoulder was a crimson cape that fell to his heels.

He looked so strong and imposing, and absolutely, breath-taking handsome. She couldn't stop the small smile of appreciation that curved on her lips. He smirked in response, covering the distance quickly. He swept her up in his arms, kissing her deeply.

Bulma melted into him, moaning against his lips. Her soft breasts pressed against his hard armor uncomfortably, but she didn't care. Her husband was delicious, and she wanted to savor every last bit.

Her fingers traced down the strong column of his neck brushing cool stone that encircled his throat. She pulled back from their kiss, her eye catching the bright red necklace that Vegeta wore. A soft smile whispered over her lips as she remembered the first time she had given her husband a gift. She had to admit that the Torque of Kingship looked better around his neck than on the floor while she was having the life choked out of her. How far they had come, she thought. No longer would she ever fear the harsh hand of her husband, either for herself or their subjects.

He put her back on the floor, a seductive glint in his eye. Over his shoulder, Bulma noticed Delia trying to make a break for it.

"You don't have to leave, Delia. We are done."

Vegeta let out an irritated growl of disagreement, but Bulma waved him off.

"Look at her. If she leaves now, she'll never be able to get back in the room. She's about ready to pop." In true kingly fashion, Vegeta ignored the pregnant girl. He had yet to forgive her for her betrayal so long ago, and wasn't above voicing his displeasure that his bodyguard had made her his mate. Bulma pushed against him, when he loomed towards her, intending to finish what he started.

"We don't have time for that right now, Vegeta. Why don't you go check on Trunks?"

Vegeta sneered in disappointment, but he knew she was right. The coronation was one event that they couldn't be late to.

"Well, hurry up then," he snapped.

Vegeta marched towards the door, turning around at the last second.

"Where is the brat?"

Bulma rolled her eyes, used to her mate calling their son a brat by now. At first she had been irritated, but she had gotten used to it. The endearment didn't seem to hurt Trunks's feelings so she had let it go.

"Probably with his nurse getting ready."

Trunks's nurse, Elle Geir, had dropped a surprise on them a couple of months ago---a twelve-pound boy with sparse dark hair and a tail. No one had known she was pregnant until the last month, and when she birthed a Saiyan child there had been a few raised brows. Raditz was quick to tell his Queen and mate that Miss Geir had been on very comfortable terms with Nappa before they had left, lest they turn their suspicious eyes upon him.

Elle had been stoic on the matter. She refused to talk about her relationship with the father of her baby. She named the boy Kyabetsu, and lavished him with loving attention. Vegeta noted that Nappa's father had shared the same name, but he kept that information to himself.

"Have you heard anything from that idiot?"

Bulma raised a brow, but didn't turn around. Delia was helping her into the heavy dress, and she hadn't been aware that Vegeta was still there. A small smile quirked on her lips, her mate as such a voyeur.

"Yes. Everything is coming along just fine."

Vegeta snorted and exited the room. They had left Kakarot and his wife Chi Chi in charge of Glace, the Ice-jin home world. Vegeta hadn't wanted anyone but a Saiyan in charge of his new acquisition, but in a moment of rare sentimentality he didn't want Raditz to be so far away.

Now that he had absorbed King Cold's domain into his, running the universe had become ten times harder. Bulma assured him that leaving Kakarot in charge was the best thing to do. He was obliviously loyal, but Vegeta wasn't sure if he was as loyal to his Saiyan king as much as he was to his human queen. It didn't matter to Vegeta, as long as he was loyal. He didn't want to deal with any more uprisings during his reign.

He had been surprised at Kakarot's efficiency. When he had left the Gelid City was in turmoil, the walls had been broken and many lay dead. Within months the city had been repaired, and any revolt in that sector had been squashed.

The most surprising of it all was the planet that Vegeta had blown up in order to defeat King Cold. The once frozen planet had turned itself into a sun, which now blazed brightly. In one hundred years the ice on Glace would be melted and land would appear in five hundred years it would be unrecognizable. Bulma's curiosity had skyrocketed, she had wanted to learn the secret to the sun's mysterious conversion, but Vegeta had pulled her away towards Capital World, and this time she didn't protest.

"Are you going to tell him that it's really Chi Chi running the show?" Delia asked while securing the last of the buttons on Bulma's dress.

"Are you kidding me? His male pride couldn't take the blow right now. Let him think that a Saiyan male is ruling half his universe." Once the dress was secured she reached over, picking up a polished wooden box.

"Isn't he going to be mad?" Delia put the finishing touches in Bulma's hair, making sure no strands had come lose.

"Probably. But he has his plate full right now. Besides Chi Chi runs that place with an iron frying pan. By the times he finds out, he won't care that a woman is running everything."

"What about, Goku?" Delia opened the box, reverently picking up the item from inside.

"He's doing his part. Notice, no more revolutionaries. They divided the work pretty well, I think. She takes care of the administration, and he whips up on anyone who threatens it."

Delia shrugged in response, fastening the necklace around Bulma's neck. She stepped back as Bulma turned to face the mirror. She fingered the delicately carved stone around her neck. It was an exact replica of Vegeta's necklace, the Torque of Kingship. She smiled warmly and stood up.

She nodded to Delia, and left the room making her way to the outside of the Hall of the Kings. Waiting for her was Vegeta, dressed in all of his kingly finery, and next to him was their son. Trunks was dressed in his princely garb, but he didn't look to happy about it. He shot a look at Elle who frowned at him. Bulma hid her smile, knowing her wild son wasn't happy about wearing clothes, much less itchy, starched ones.

She bent down, hauling him up into her arms. He had quickly learned to curb his strength when around her, protecting his delicate mother from his power. His father was a different story. Vegeta encouraged him daily to attack with all his might, making him stronger with every bout.

Vegeta lips curled slightly as he gazed at his wife. She was wearing a full skirt, with a tail that followed behind like a pool of water. The bright white color set off her eyes, impossibly making her more beautiful than when he first saw her. Her teal hair was swept off her neck, and decorated with the jewels he had given her.

He swept Trunks from her arms, knowing full well that he was getting too heavy for her. She curled her hand around his bicep, standing just a little too close to be formal. Together they faced the door of the Hall of the King. Trunks should be in between them as they entered, but Vegeta loathed letting him down.

Since the return of his family, he had lathered them with attention in private, and even in public on occasion. His Saiyan brain knew that he shouldn't be showing so much affection for his family. They could easily be stolen from him by another enemy just like Cold. His heart knew that was wrong. By showing his affection, he was telling everyone what was the most important to him. He had ruthlessly terminated a rebellion that had threatened his throne, what would he do to someone who stole something he truly cherished? He trusted fear to keep his enemies at bay, and his caring that he showed his family to keep his friends close.

Inside the hall the royal families from all the worlds were waiting inside. They would flank them on all sides as they strode forward. At the end of the hall sat three thrones, two for adults and one tiny one for a child. Before they sat they would be crowned, in the Saiyan tradition, marking them for all to see as the King and Queen of the Universe.

Showing themselves in a united front as rulers, as companions, and as a family. The royal family of Vegeta, unstoppable, relentless and merciful. And all would bow in recognition of their power.

The End