……………………………………

What Could've Been

……………………………………

"Your justice will be complete upon returning to our home," Gero said as he sat with Bulma in his private Yacht, miles and miles from shore. He owned his very own private island, as incredible as it sounded. The good part about it was that no press was allowed onto the island without his permission or within twenty miles around it.

During their honeymoon, he'd had her twins flown in so that they could spend the next two weeks with her. Bulma smiled as Trunks and Bra sat at the table and colored over large pieces of coloring sheets. "Vegeta will hate me. The news must've been all over the media by now," she replied, pushing her hair behind her ear.

"But it's over. At least for him. Now you just have to bring down his uncle. You must concentrate on that because he is the most dangerous of all. I was shocked that the elder Vegeta was able to get him and the wench bail so quickly. He must have many contacts on the law's side," Gero said thoughtfully. "If we can't accomplish anything with proof, we may need to buy a few people of our own."

Bulma shook her head. "I'm sure the police and the FBI have been trying to bring him down for years, but he has kept his identity quite secret. There has to be something I can do to get him to incriminate himself," she murmured mostly to herself.

Gero looked away from his laptop and turned to her. "Maybe we can plant some devices in his office? Hear a little bit of what he talks to his brother about? But Bulma dear, you have to be extremely careful when going about this. I don't think I need to remind you of how dangerous these men can be if you are caught."

The blue haired woman nodded, but already her brain was turning with some type of untraceable device that she would be able to plant in Vegeta sr.'s office. All she needed was a few hours in the makeshift lab on Gero's island and she would have her device ready to go by the time they returned home.

She tried not to think of how things would be between her and Vegetawhen she saw him again, but she found that her mind didn't give her any best case scenarios. Everything would inevitably turn into some type of heated argument about her betrayal and she was preparing herself for the hurtful things she knew would come. They were even now. Her revenge was complete and she would not apologize for it. All that was left now was to bring down his father and his uncle.

…………

"Shut that shit off, will you?"

Duke merely rolled his eyes at Vegeta as they sat in the entertainment room. He had been channel surfing, while his brother had been fixing himself a drink, as he had been prone to do in the past two weeks. Duke knew that though Vegeta refused to show it, he was hurting inside because of Bulma's betrayal and marriage to another man. Just now they had been hearing a brief report on the arrival of the pair back from their honeymoon. What had set Vegeta off was hearing Bulma talk to the reporters about how happy she was now that she was married.

"You want to talk about it?" Duke offered. He regretted it when he saw the look on his brother's face. "Fine. No need to kill me just for asking a simple question," he muttered, turning back to find a movie on the television.

Before Vegeta could bother to even reply, there was a knock at the door and the maid stepped in, announcing that Bulma was at the door with his children. Vegeta felt his eyes narrow darkly, and really, he should've expected that she would be by to rub his face in the entire situation. Well, he had a few things he wanted to get off of his chest.

He made his way out of the room and down towards the foyer where he could hear the children asking random questions about the house. He couldn't help it when his eyes finally settled on her, and his stubborn heart told him just how much of it she still held, even after the betrayal. She looked beautiful in a very plain looking white sundress and her long hair in loose, long waves.

He didn't bother to acknowledge her as the children ran towards him and Vegeta lowered himself to take them both into his arms. Turning, he walked off towards the room Duke was in so that he could watch over the children while he and Bulma hashed it out. When he returned to the door, only the children's bags were there. Vegeta marched out the door and caught her as she was opening the door to her luxury car.

"Are you too much of a coward to stay and listen to what I have to say?" Vegeta asked her, the liquor working its way into his brain and making the hurt feel more raw, especially with how beautiful she looked.

Bulma sighed heavily, steeling her heart to what she knew was next. She had been thinking about it every night while she had been on her fake honeymoon with Gero. She shut the door to her car and turned to look at him. "I won't apologize for what I've done," she said calmly.

Vegeta's eyes possibly darkened even more in his rage. "Of course. You're no longer that clever, rude little thing you were when I met you. Back when you didn't let money rule your life, though you lacked it more than anything. I used to like that Bulma, the one with a dirty face and a dirty mouth. What happened to her? Who is this whore who sells herself for money?"

Her hand connected with his face before they could both blink. "Youkilled her Vegeta, with your doubts and your betrayal first. I am what you made me. If you hadn't been stupid enough to believe your mother and your ex, we would've been married and living happily with our children in your house outside the city. I grew into what I am so that it wouldn't hurt so much to see you and have you around and remember that you were the first person I ever trusted outside of my street friends, and the first person to betray me."

He let out a mirthless laugh and then a pained sigh. "You're going to blame me for everything. Fine. You got your revenge, you made me feel like shit. Thank you, maybe now you'll livehappy and care free. Here, take this as a memento of how much I hurt you. I bought it three years ago and I was going to give it to you before it all went down the damned drain," Vegeta snarled, pulling a small box out of his pocket and throwing it at her feet.

Bulma glared at him but said nothing, nor did she move down to take the small box. Vegeta turned and walked back towards the door, no expression on his face. "I will be back for my children Sunday afternoon. Trunks is allergic to potatoes and Bra has a favorite book she reads every night. If you find it in that thing you call a heart to read it her, she'll love you even more," she said before he could walk into his home.

Vegeta stopped to listen and then walked in without a backwards glance. Only then did Bulmareach down for the box. When she opened it, the tears gathered in her eyes before she could stop them, but she got into her car and drove away without shedding one. A beautiful engagement ring sitting in the passengers seat.

………

Narrowing her eyes, Bulma tapped her foot as she waited for Vegeta sr. in his office. She knew she had willingly walked into the lion's den, but the listening devices had been planted and she needed to test them out. Currently, the little sensors were sending a feed to her laptop and they would be recording the next conversation.

"Can I help you with something?" asked a voice from behind her.

She smiled and turned to regard the man that could've been her father-in-law once upon a time. "I want to request a meeting to discuss how to raise the sells of our company," she said sweetly.

Vegeta sr. walked passed her and sat at his desk, looking imposing and the man of power that he was. "You have no say in our meetings."

"Might I remind you that I own a share of this company now? You can't deny me my request unless you would like to get sued," said Bulma calmly, taking a seat at his desk and crossing her shapely, boot clad legs.

"What are you up to, woman? My son is divorced, you are married, you have money. What are you doing here?" asked the man.

Bulma smiled, the air of smugness basically radiating from her. "I want to make those who hurt me pay," she said slowly, meeting his eyes head-on.

Vegeta gave her an expressionless look. "Have you found out who those people are?"

"I have… not. But I won't give up hope. Now, about the meeting," she said seriously.

"We work well with the plan we have now," he nearly cut in.

"I think we can do better," Bulma said snidely.

"I will not be blindsided by a foolish little girl playing at being a big business woman. You don't have the years I do. You know nothing of this company," he snapped.

Bulma smiled coolly. "But I know something about you."

"I'm sure you do," he said unconvinced.

"It's truly cold to fuck your son's wife and get her pregnant. Add to that the fact that you allowed him to believe that the child she popped out is his when in reality she's his sister," Bulma said, smug once more.

Vegeta's eyes narrowed. "You havea very active imagination, girl. It can get you killed one day."

Blue hair was flipped over a slim shoulder. "Would you believe me if I told you that your threats don't scare me? I have to wonder if your son finding out about your lies scares you. He will hate you and remove you from the pedestal he has you on. Can you live with that, dad?"

"What do you want?" he asked darkly.

"I want you to take me seriously in this company, and I want you to kick Nappa to another floor. I don't want him around here, especially when I have the restraining order. Your cooperation for my silence. Nothing more," she said seriously.

Vegeta regarded her carefully, trying to sense if she was speaking truth. "What shall I do if this knowledge does come to my son? I will blame you."

Bulmaleaned back and let out a small breath. "If your son does find out, it won't be through me. Only you and Tamara know and I will make a deal with you. If you keep your end of the bargain, I will take the secret to my grave," she said. Though she wasn't planning to really do it. She'd wait until she took down Nappa and Vegeta sr. for that. She stood and looked at him. "Take me seriously, that's all I'm asking for."

Vegeta sr. wondered what she was trying to accomplish with this little deal, but he would let her think she held some type of power. After all, if she became too troublesome, as Nappa had predicted, she could be taken care of easily. "Fine. Talk to my secretary and schedule the meeting," he said calmly.

Bulma nodded and didn't let her skepticism show on her face as she walked out of his office. After stopping to talk to the secretary, she walked off to her office. On her way there, Vegeta stepped out of the elevator and they brushed shoulders. He pushed her away harder than was necessary and Bulma grit her teeth in anger. She understood that he was angry but if he kept looking to get on her nerves, he would eventually find her and she would kick his ass.

She stepped into her office and moved towards her computer, quickly typing in her password and accessing the program she had created for the sensors. It was recording even now as Vegeta and his father spoke about business and Vegeta sr. questioned his son about the mood he had been in for the last few days.

"It's none of your business, old man," Vegeta replied in annoyance. "I'm here to discuss business, not my personal life."

Bulma shook her head to herself and sighed. If he was talking so curtly with his own father, he truly was angry. She tried not to think about it while they discussed business and was relieved when Vegeta said nothing more to his father and left. Just as she was reaching over to shut off her computer, she heard Nappa's deep voice as he entered after the younger Vegeta had walked out.

"The transaction went as planned. The police got there a minute too late," said Nappa's voice.

Vegeta sr. paused and then cleared his throat. "The girl is becoming troublesome."

Nappa gave a nasty laugh. "Didn't I tell you that she wouldn't just sit around and twiddle her thumbs? The bitch is trouble personified."

"Fuck you, Nappa," Bulma hissed at her computer. "You'll see how much trouble I can be very soon."

"She will be dealt with in time. Now, I need you to contact the Ox King. Tell him that the Shadow wants to meet with him," said Vegeta.

Bulma frowned and mulled the nickname over. Shadow? She'd have to consult her father and as him if the name meant anything to him. May in his time her father had known something about that name. She left her computer recording before locking it and then walking out briskly. Unbeknownst to her, Vegeta and Nappahad been about to give her a confession.

"We need to take care of the girl before she finds out that you were the one who ordered she be separated from her family," said Nappawith a sneer. "I never thought the little bitch would survive when she left."

Vegeta sr. just steepled his hands and leaned back in his chair. "You are sure that you left no evidence of her kidnapping behind?"

"It was clean. The girl had been left with a babysitter. It was all too easy to make the woman unconscious and then snatch up the little brat from her crib. She proved to be a nuisance from a very young age. Wringing her little neck will be a true dream come true," Nappa said.

"Patience, brother. All in due time. For now, we must bide our time. We will soon have all that we want and with no one to threaten us," said Vegeta darkly.

Nappa just chuckled and nodded. He was literally stewing in anticipation. The time would come when the little blue bitch wouldn't have anywhere to hide. He just hoped that he didn't have to wait for too long. He might get impatient and do something he wouldn't regret.

……

That night, as she sat in her bed with both Bra and Trunks already fast asleep next to her, Bulma twirled the ring Vegeta had thrown at her around her index finger, looking it at it from various angles. It was beautiful but with a simple design. She suspected that despite it being simple, the diamond in the center alone must've cost Vegeta some pretty zeni.

She could remember the time she had lived in his home quite clearly. She had talked and acted so… uncouth for lack of a more simple word. Despite all the heartache and the rift between her and Vegeta, she would always be thankful that he had taken her in and tried to make a better person of her.

There was a soft knock at her door and she called the person to enter. Gero stepped in and offered her a small smile as he walked over and took a seat on an arm chair near her bed. "Did you want to speak to me?" he asked.

Bulma nodded. "My father says that the person responsible for my abduction was The Shadow. I had my computer transfer the recordings I made at the office today to my computer here. Vegeta sr. is The Shadow," she said quietly.

Gero nodded grimly. "I figured as much. I've heard a lot of talk about him in the underground. He's a dangerous man."

"He was the one responsible for…" she choked. "He allowed Nappato keep me as his slave," she spat, blue eyes like flames in her face. "He has to pay, Gero. Promise me you'll help me take him down," Bulma pleaded.

Gero took her hands in his and squeezed them tightly. "I promise you, my dear. But we must go about this the smart way. It will take us a bit more time to gather the proof we need to take him down. If you are willing to wait, we will take both of them down," he assured her.

Bulma just nodded and sat back against her many pillows, her eyes straying towards her babies. "Vegeta told me that he had bought this before our relationship broke," she said, showing him the ring.

The old man looked at it and then at her. "Vegeta is causing you grief? Would you like for me to have him killed?"

Bulma let out a snort that was half laugh. "No thanks. I don't want my kids growing up orphaned. I can deal with him the way we are now. It's not easy, but I'm trying not to let him get to me."

"You still love him, it's not going to be easy seeing him every time you two have to drop off the children," Gero said lightly.

Bulma nodded. "I know, but despite it all, I just can't imagine my life without him in it, not matter how hate filled his words are every time we see each other. I want to kill him at times, but…"

"He's the love of your life. Have you thought about what you will do once our marriage is over?" he asked her curiously.

"You mean will Vegeta and I be together again?" she asked. She shook her head. "We've hurt each other too much. I don't think anything will ever get fixed between us. We'll just raise our children and go on with our lives," Bulma said softly, running her fingers through Bra's soft hair.

"Well, nothing will happen with you in that set of mind. You haveto be positive. After all, the both of you are still young. There's time for you to fix what was broken," Gerosaid before standing. He leaned over to press a kiss to her forehead before bidding her goodbye and walking towards the door. He turned back to her and gave her a serious look. "We'll get this men, Bulma, and when we do, they will answer to all that they took from you."

"Thank you," she said honestly. He nodded once and walked out after shutting the door. Bulma reached up to turn off the lamp and sat in the darkness for a long while, her mind just chasing itself in circles. She was so tired of the pain and the lies surrounding her life. It all had to end soon or she would go crazy. But if Nappa and Vegeta sr. thought that she would be easily disposed of, they had another thing coming. She had a few lives left to ruin before she could truly be happy.

Bulma set the ring in the drawer of her nightstand and wondered if one day she would be able to wear a ring that was a true symbol of love.

The days seemed to be progressing too damned slowly for Bulma, even though Gero promised her that he was on The Shadowstrail and that he was digging his own grave. Nappa had kept his distance, but there had been moments when they ran into each other when she was on her way out of the elevator and he had been about to get in when she felt as if he were just imagining how her blood would look on his hands. Bulma shuddered in disgust as she thought of the bald bastard and continued her sketch of the new type of generator she was designing.

Trunks and Bra were playing in a huge section of the backyard that Gero had had designed just for the two of them as a playground. "What doing, mommy?" asked Trunks.

It took Bulma a moment to realize that it truly had been her son who had asked her full question and had not mumbled shyly at her, and she set down her sketch to pick him up into a hug. "I'm doing some work," Bulma replied with a wide grin. "Do you want to see?"

Trunks nodded and Bulma lifted the sketch pad to show it to him. Trunks looked at the scribbles with curious blue eyes and Bulma had a crazy moment of wondering if he understood what it was that he was seeing, but then the boy jumped off her lap and ran off to play with his sister when she called him over.

She stared at him for a long moment until she just let out a sigh and returned to her sketch. Maybe Vegeta had been what was missing in Trunks' life in order to get him to talk like a normal child. "At least you're doing some good in their lives," she muttered to herself.

"Talking to yourself?" asked a deep voice from behind her.

Bulma closed her eyes and refrained from hanging her head. "It's impolite to sneak up on people," she muttered, not bothering to turn to look at him.

Vegeta walked over to the children and they let out happy squeals as they greeted him and jumped into his arms. "Miss me, brats?" he asked with a slight smile.

Bra nodded enthusiastically. "Momma takes us swimming and uncle Gero will bring a puppy!" she said happily.

Vegeta's eyes narrowed at the mention of Gero and he turned to glare at Bulma but found that she had gone back to her little drawing. He set Bra down on the slide when she wriggled out of his grasp, and then set Trunks down in the sandbox before storming towards the woman, a sneer on his face. He stood in front of her, blocking her light and glaring down at her.

Bulma let out an annoyed sigh and looked up. "Would you mind getting out of my light?"

"I will just warn you once that I will not have that man raising my brats in my absence," he growled.

"And you think that because he gave them this playground and he's getting them a dog that it means that Gero is raising them? Wow Vegeta, you're even more backwards than I thought. Those are all material things. They'll need you for the nurturing part. I don't want to fight, so I think it's best that you leave," she snapped, dismissing him coldly.

Vegeta knocked the sketch pad from her hands and forcefully pulled her up so that they were nearly eyelevel. "Don't you dare dismiss me as if I were the old man. You may have him wrapped around your finger, but batting your eyes doesn't work with me anymore."

Bulma stared at him. "Anymore?"

His grip on her arms tightened until she grit her teeth and struggled to be free of him. "I won't let you control my life anymore," Vegeta hissed in rage.

She finally found a way to twist her elbows against his hold, pushing him away from her. "I never wanted to control your life, asshole. All I wanted was for you to love me," Bulma blurted before she could stop herself. Her eyes snapped to the children and she was happy to see that they were still playing and ignoring the both of them.

"You and I were a bad idea from the start," Vegeta said coldly.

Bulma managed a smirk. "I know. But that didn't stop us from going down that road. Whether you like it or not, I will always have a hold over your life. If I didn't it wouldn't make you so angry to know that I am married to another man. Just admit that you want me just as bad as you did years ago," she said smugly.

Before she could even blink, his lips had crashed against hers. Not forceful or painful, but hard enough for her to not be able to free herself from him. She finally tore her mouth from his and gasped out a few breaths.

"I guess the control goes both ways," he said, staring at her flushed face and pink lips. Her hands were clutching his shirt and the fronts of their bodies pressed together and neither made a move to draw away from each other.

"Would you have defied your family for me those years ago?" she asked suddenly.

A breeze picked up and ruffled his hair. "What does it matter now? I do not think of the 'what-ifs.' I have left the past behind," Vegeta said, eyes and voice as cold as an iceberg.

Bulma took a step back and felt relief flood her when he let her. Her breath left her long and soft as she nodded, feeling the sadness creep in at his words. Despite it all, she'd had some happy memories of when she had met Vegeta all that time ago. But Bulma supposed that it didn't matter anymore, after all, he didn't care, why should she? "The next time you touch me without my permission, I will break your fingers," she said darkly.

"It's good to see that you haven't forgotten your old tricks," Vegeta said.

Bulma had a feeling that his words were more of an insult than anything. "Get out of my house," she spat. "Before my husband returns. I don't need to remind you that I'm married, do I?" she asked him nastily.

Vegeta sneered. "Still a bitch, I see."

"Just like you still being an asshole. If we weren't in deep with all this baggage, I'd say we're made for each other. Now if you're done harassing me, say goodbye to your children and then leave."

"I came here to take them with me for the afternoon," Vegeta stated. It was obvious that he wasn't asking to take them. He was telling her.

Bulma felt a headache coming on and refused to let him keep messing with her. She nodded. "I'll go get a bag ready. Refrain from starting arguments with anyone else in this house," she muttered as she began to walk away.

"Daddy kissed mommy! Mommy kissed daddy!" Bra sang as she ran around the slide.

Bulma just put her face in her hands and shook her head before she stepped into the place that would be her home for the next two years or so. She just hoped that her baby didn't decide to spill the beans to Gero. Bulma really wasn't in the mood to explain anything to anyone anymore. Vegeta was always and exhausting man to deal with and she realized that he always would be.

……

"Bulma?"

She looked up from behind the welding mask on her face and turned off the welder in her hand. "Yes?" she asked Gero as he stepped into her lab.

"We've got him, my dear. I have my lawyers working up a case that will be foolproof and that will guarantee that he will spend his days rotting in prison. We found the man that was with Nappa the day you were taken from your parents as well," Gero told her in malicious glee.

Bulma nearly dropped the things in her hands but set them down on a table and walked over to hug the old man. "Thank you," she murmured, her voice cracking. "You can't know how much this will mean to my parents and how much it means to me."

Gero just patted her back. "I have an inkling as to how much it does mean to you," he said quietly. "But I must ask you to keep your distance from this all. The last thing I want is for you or the children to be hurt. From what you've told me of Nappa, he will be willing to do anything to hurt you."

Bulma bit the inside of her cheek and nodded. She'd stay out of the legal matter, but she had different ways to make Vegeta sr. and Nappa's lives miserable. She met her husband's gaze and finally nodded. "I'll stay away."

"Promise me."

She sighed heavily. "I promise to stay away."

"Good," he said with a nod. "I must return to my office, but we will have dinner together, yes?"

"Of course," Bulma said with a smile. "Here at home, or would you like to make a public appearance?"

"We can go out. I will havea car drive you up to the restaurant at seven," Gero said before walking out.

Bulma sighed to herself and pulled off her gloves, running a hand through her sweat matted hair. She really needed to find something to do with her time, otherwise she'd just get into more trouble. She looked at her blueprints and hoped that her new invention was enough to keep ideas of revenge out of her head.

By the time evening fell and she started to get ready for dinner, Bulma couldn't help herself and activated her computer to see if Vegeta sr. was still in his office. It was a damned shame that she hadn't thought of placing cameras along with the sensors. She sneered to herself when she heard Tamara's voice mingling with Vegeta's father. Bulma didn't need to hear anything to know what they were doing alone in his office. That dirty whore, and his own father… Bulma bit her lip and only considered it for a moment.

She picked up her phone and dialed. "I need you to meet me at the office."

"For what, fool woman?"

"It's life or death important. Don't argue and just go!"

"I told you that you no longer controlled my life," he snapped.

Bulma glared at her reflection, already decked out in a beautiful evening dress a deep plum color. "There's something really important that I need to talk to you about. It's not about me controlling you. It's something that will change your life. Be there. Now," she said before hanging up without hearing his response. Next she called Gero to cancel before she was out the door, leaving the children to the nanny, who had only arrived fifteen minutes before.

She grabbed her keys and made her way out to her car, hopeful that the guards hadn't noticed her escaping. Bulma honestly didn't think that she would need them tonight. She just hoped she was right.

Bulma arrived at the office first, and she had a feeling that Vegeta would come, even though he talked about hating her and whatnot. For all the talk, she knew that she still had a hold of his life and will. She paced around in her office and made disgusted noises as she wondered what Vegeta's father and Tamara were really doing. Her impatience got the best of her—and really, when hadn't it?—before she found herself storming down the hall towards the old Vegeta's office.

She knocked the door a few times and gave them enough time to be presentable before she let herself in. Vegeta's father was still fixing his pants while Tamara let out a screech and gripped her shirt closed to hide the important bits. "Wow," Bulma said with a smirk. "In the office and on the desk, kinky, Tamara. You're such a whore."

Tamara sneered at her. "You won't say anything. Unless you want to deal with me," she spat.

Bulma just gave her a look and smirked. "I'm not afraid of either of you. And guess what? Your little affair is over," she said.

"You agreed that you would say nothing to my son," Vegeta sr. said calmly, smoothing out his shirt and looking as if he hadn't just been doing his son's wife on his desk.

"I promised not to tell him about the baby that isn't his, not about you and that," Bulma said as she waved a hand at Tamara.

Vegeta merely began to fix his tie and smirked. "You won't say a thing," he said.

"Oh, I won't?" Bulma asked smugly.

"You've become too much of a problem for me now," Vegeta said. "I'm prepared to do what is necessary."

Bulma let out a sigh and shook her head. "You never should've separated me from my parents," she said quietly, her hand hovering over the weapon she had strapped to her thigh, under the gown. "You owe me more than you'll be able to pay in this lifetime," she said, staring him down.

"I don't owe anyone anything. I am what I am because I sacrificed and worked for it." Vegeta smirked at Tamara once before turning back to Bulma. "You shouldn't have come here alone. You don't know what you just got yourself into."

A hand came up from behind her and wrapped around her neck, pulling her back against a hard chest. "You have no idea how long I have waited for this moment," said Nappa sinisterly, his hand tightening around her neck.

Many apologies for taking so long and thank you for reviewing and even reading this far. This chapter may have seemed a little choppy, but I honestly tried my best so that it wouldn't be too bad. Forgive any errors that are bound to show up.

I just wanted to address something and hopefully I won't sound like a jerk. While I appreciate people still reading this story and reviewing, what I don't appreciate or like is you being rude about me not updating. Real life goes before writing, as any other author would agree. Second, if I'm not inspired to write, I won't write, no matter how many times one person reviews. I'm flattered you like the story, and I apologize for not keeping up with it, but in the end, it's up to me whether I'll continue or not. Being disrespectful about it is not going to make me update any faster.

Despite that though, I want to thank those of you who waited patiently. All I have left to say is that there is more than likely two chapters left that I will trymy best to complete. I have school, homework, and a big project ending in my FFVII account, so as soon as I finish with that one, I will try to finish this story. Please be patient and thank you so much if you take the time to read and review this chapter. Have a great week everyone!

Joey