DISCLAIMER- In no way do I lay claim to any part of Akira Toriyama's brilliance...unless my ownership of three of the Dragonball Z movies I got off of ebay count.

AUTHOR'S NOTES- This one-shot is my first serious attempt at a Dragonball Z fanfic concerning two of my favorite characters; the oh so agreeable Saiyan Prince himself and his son Trunks. Just note that all dialogue will be in quotation marks "..." and thoughts will be represented inside '...' Enjoy.

Under the Guise of Darkness

A full moon rose high above the horizon, illuminating the ground below the late night sky. The night was almost still, only a slight breeze stirred the freshly cut blades of grass. Even the fireflies seemed to have taken to slumber after a long night of instinctively searching for mates. Only a lone cricket seemed to stir. Hidden somewhere amongst the landscaping it sang out its song, rippling the night's thick silence.

And then the doorway of the gravity room fell open. Flew open was more like it. The flying shard of metal skidded along the back patio and rolled a few feet before coming to a screeching halt next to the house's back door. The lone cricket quieted, submerging the night into an eery silence. After a few moments, Vegeta stepped regally down from the room's doorway and onto the dew-covered grass below. He took a few steps and then paused as he noticed a light shadow by his feet. Lifting his gaze upward, he stared at the moon above him. Never again would he be able to transform in the presence of the full moon, never again would he be able to take the form trademark to anyone with Saiyan blood, never again would a full-blooded Saiyan be born. His race was nearing its end. Scowling, he redirected his attention to the floor and stalked towards the house in front of him.

He slid the glass door open silently as he stepped inside. Quietly walking through the kitchen, he came to the staircase and made his way silently up. He walked methodically to his bathroom and turned on the shower. Each simple movement pulled at and burned his already aching muscles. His entire body ached. It wasn't a sign of weakness but a sign of self-determination to push his body to a higher power level. Pain was but a mere side effect of his efforts to push himself further than everyone else, namely Kakarrot. Despite his outward disgust at the only other surviving saiyan, he acknowledged that he needed the third class's help. Of course he would never admit it, he had a reputation to hold up, the thought of the other saiyan dying of a heart disease and leaving him as the sole strongest defender of earth was beginning to bother him. The looming possibility of an android attack also haunted his thoughts. He now had no doubt as to who the boy of the future was and had no reason to believe what he'd said was untrue. Unfortunately that meant his demise was growing nearer as every day passed by.

"No," He said silently to himself as he stepped in front of his bathroom mirror. "I will not be defeated by a piece of machinery. The last of the Saiyan race will not fall to a compilation of circuits," He hissed as he gripped the rim of the sink and stared at himself disgustedly. "I won't make the same mistake I made in the future, I will not be defeated!" A loud crack cut his fuming off. He looked slowly down at the piece of porcelain that now rested in his palm. Contemplating how much Bulma would yell at him over the damage, he let it fall to the floor absently as he stripped off what was left of his tattered clothing.

Stepping into the shower, he let his muscles slowly relax under the hot water. He exhaled slowly as he absorbed the warmth and let the water rinse away the blood and grime coating his body. He stared at the crimson colored water around his feet until it cleared and then turned off the water. The air that greeted him outside the steaming shower was cool and almost comforting. Like every other night before, he pulled on a pair of shorts, slid open the balcony door and then stretched out across his bed. His eyes slowly closed as he started to drift off to sleep. The calmness of the night was disturbed by the muffled cries of a baby. He abruptly opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. No human would've been able to have heard the child, who's nursery was at the other end of the hallway, but he was saiyan not human. A frown crossed his face as the cries continued.

'Why isn't she tending to him,' He thought aggrivatedly as he stared at the pale illumination in his room. Growing tired of hearing the baby's cries, he rolled off of the bed and stepped into the hallway. 'I don't need this kind of disruption.' When he reached Bulma's doorway he paused. Through the wood of her door he could hear slow and rhythmic breathing. 'She's still sleeping!?' Pushing the door open, he angrily stepped inside and then stopped. Asleep before him, her body was highlighted by the light of the moon. Vegeta stepped forward, silently analyzing her. She seemed smaller, almost frail and pale like a porcelain doll. Her breaths, although rhythmic, were a little ragged and her face seemed almost sunken in. She appeared exhausted, almost to the point of looking ill. A crooked smile, not too different from his usual smirk crossed his lips. Although he'd never admit it, for whatever it was worth, the woman before him had taken him in and provided him with not only a shelter and a place to train, but hours upon hours of verbal sparring matches, entertainment, and most recently an heir. Backing slowly out of her room, he walked over the door next to hers and stepped inside.

Carefully shutting and bolting the door behind him, he approached the distant crib with a hesitant caution. He was a merciless fighter, reared and trained first by his father and later Frieza. Children, especially babies, were of no interest nor concern of his. For whatever unknown reason, he couldn't help but feel drawn to the nursery. Maybe it was to pay some secret gratitude to the woman who had unknowingly become his mate. More likely, it was to hold the next generation of the royal blood without drawing the attention of either women in the household. The last thing he wanted was to hear of them telling people that he was getting soft. Looking down into the crib, the wailing infant never ceased his actions. Vegeta winced at the boy's shrill cries and then grinned, knowing he had strong lungs.

"Someday, you'll be a strong fighter like every generation before you," Vegeta spoke as he lifted Trunks from his crib. The cries immediately halted once Vegeta held Trunks against his bare chest. The tiny infant, at least by Saiyan standards, cooed silently in his arms. "She removed your tail," He stated as he opened the balcony door and stepped out into the night air. "Not that I'm surprised. Somehow or another that seems to happen to every Saiyan on this planet," He frowned at the thought of Yajirobe. "You're a Saiyan prince without a tail. Its a disgrace...how she's trying to pass you as some powerless pathetic human. She doesn't understand what you'll never become." Baby Trunks squinted up at him through half-opened eyes. He stared back down at the infant in his arms. Placing a hand behind his son's still wavering head, he studied the newborn thoughtfully. "I wonder if my father ever held me like this," He mused as he watched Trunks groggily blink his eyes.

"Doesn't matter," Vegeta decided. "I was too young to remember, just like you are. You could never remember me if the android prediction is true. I am the last of the royal blood to ever have Vegeta-sei and you're the first to never know it." He clenched his jaw at the thought and fought the urge to power up amidst his anger. In his arms, Trunk's power level rose a fraction. He stared down at his heir and smirked. "You'll be strong. Of that I have no doubt." In the room next to the nursery, his ears picked up on the sound of Bulma rising out of bed. Quietly walking back into the nursery, Vegeta placed the now sleeping Trunks back in his crib and covered him up. "The last thing I need is your mother and grandmother ranting about how secretly sensitive I am." He cast a glance back to the far wall, hearing Bulma take hold of her bedroom doorknob. "You'll never know what you'll never have," He whispered as he cast his heir one last glance and then hurried to unlock the door. Once the bolt was undone he flew out the balcony door and deftly landed on the landing outside his room.

He paused as he felt Bulma's weak power signature enter the nursery. Anyone could tell she was still drained from the labor she'd endured by bringing Trunk's into the world. Nonetheless he could still pick up on her energy signature and knew she was moving to the balcony. He stepped just inside his room and watched as she stepped onto the spot he and Trunks had just occupied. She appeared to be alarmed at the open door as she looked around the ground below. He smirked to himself at her confusion as she stepped back inside the house. The woman knew a lot of things, but there were just some things she didn't need to know about.