The Wretched Part I - Chapter 1 - NCDavis
Disclaimer: All characters herein are property of Akira Toriyama. This work of fiction is for entertainment purposes only.
The story takes place after the end of DBZ. Bulla is 17.
Bulla twirled around in front of her assembled family, showing off her jacket to perfection. "And last, but definitely not least, I found this adorable Fradi denim crop. It'll go so well with my Prenda skirt, and Mom, you know how hard it is to match pinks."
Mom shook her head. "Indeed I do, dear. I'm glad you found such lovely things, but I'm afraid I can't dawdle any longer. I really need to work on those propulsion diagrams." Her mom got up and kissed her on the cheek as she headed out the door.
"Yeah, propulsion," Trunks chimed in. "Speaking of, hey, Dad, weren't you going to show me a new move in the gravity room before Bulla trapped us for her fashion show?"
"Listen, Trunks," Bulla replied, "you need all the fashion help you can get."
"And seeing your pink Frada will help me out how exactly?" He rose from the arm of the sofa and tweaked her nose. "See ya in the grav room, Dad."
The last one in the room, her father straightened up off his favorite spot on the wall and headed towards her on his way out as well. He stopped and gazed at her a moment. "Nice jacket."
A man of few words, her father. "Thanks, Dad."
She could tell by the microscopic tilt of the corner of his mouth that it'd pleased him to have said the right thing, and satisfied with that, he left her alone to follow her brother.
Bulla started to gather up the strewn about clothes. She had done well. She'd fulfilled her role. Mom was the brains; Dad and Trunks the brawn. A perfect yin n' yang of human know-how and Saiyan pow-pow. And she, she was the oompf, the wow, the... Bulla sank down on the sofa. The darkness that had been with her of late taunted her. Who was she kidding. Being the fourth wheel was fine, unless you had a tricycle. She was the odd one out. She clinched the clothing in her fists, bitterness consuming her. She was what was left.
Bulla gazed around the table as her family chatted away at supper later that night. Well, Dad didn't do chatter, saving words for when it really mattered. He sat at the head of the table, dark, spiky head bowed over his rack of pork, content as always to let others do the talking. Mom was too excited to eat much. Her hands were moving a mile a minute as she described some new idea to Trunks, her short aqua hair bobbing in emphasis. Trunks' own lavender hair, cut so similar, bobbed in equal excitement over the prospects. The owner, former CEO and head scientist of Capsule Corp., preeminent tech goods company in the world having a dinner meeting with the current CEO, a.k.a Big Brother, who at that moment turned to ask Dad -- a.k.a the prince of the lost Saiyan race and one of the greatest warriors in the world -- if it'd be alright to skip his training session to look at Scientist Mom's proposal. The prince did not look pleased until CEO Bro/Proud Half-Saiyan Warrior promised to do two sessions the next day.
And her normal contribution to table talk? What she'd done in school that day and the latest from the Orange Star High junior class grapevine. That's it. She was no dummy, but she was no genius either. Her throat tightened. Her Saiyan blood counted for something, she was tougher than the average girl, but she hadn't been trained since childhood to fight like Trunks had. God, Goten's little niece Pan could probably kick her butt.
"Something wrong, Princess?"
The sound of her father's voice broke her reverie. That her father had asked in front of everyone stopped the conversation cold, leaving all eyes fixed on her. How silly, nothing was the matter. And she'd tell them so, play her role-- "Why."
"You've usually filled us in on the latest gadget you have to have by now." He glanced at Mom. "Not that your mother's given you a word in edgewise."
"Oh you." Bulla barely registered her mother's playful swat. What was she doing? Get yourself together, girl. Here's the perfect opening ... play your role. Just say ... just say ...
"Why." Why did it matter now? But it did.
"Okay, Sis. I'll bite. Why what?"
She saw their amused faces. They thought this was a joke. That she was a joke. Aren't you? "Why wasn't I trained to help run the company--"
"You? Run Capsule Corp?" Trunks roared back laughing. "The way you spend money, we'd be bankrupt in a year."
"Trunks!" Her mother turned to her. "To be honest, Bulla, I didn't think you were interested. When I used to try to explain formulas to you, you'd try to fold the papers into dresses for your dolls."
Her mother reached out to touch her hair; she pulled away. Her mother was stung by her reaction, but she didn't care. "There's more to the company than science: finances, human resources, marketing, public relations."
"Well ... yes, you're right. If you really are interested in one of those--"
"Why wasn't I trained to fight."
"Your mother was still speaking, Bulla."
Whatever trace of humor was gone from her father's face, from all their faces. Good. Father's was the most intense. Could he sense it, the darkness that had broken through the shiny, happy facade? She wanted to put it back ... no, no she didn't. "I was still speaking when Trunks interrupted; I was merely finishing my thought." She heard Trunks mumble, "You're in for it now," but kept her eyes on the prince. "Why wasn't I trained to fight, Father."
"We're going to be formal now, are we, Daughter?"
"Vegeta, Bulla, stop this." She could taste her mother's agitation on the air. "When did we cross into the Twilight Zone? You two don't fight."
"Maybe we should." She couldn't stop herself. His scent, his authority rode the air. How she longed to challenge it and oh how he knew it.
"What has gotten into you?" Her mother was on her feet now. "It's all been my fault, okay? I didn't train you for Capsule Corp., and I didn't want your father to train you as a warrior. He had Trunks. I wanted a child for myself."
"But you have Trunks as well." She rose, stalking her father's end of the table. Her mother dared grab her arm. She stared deep into those frightened blue eyes. "Let go of me, Human." The woman wisely did as she'd been told, mouth agape in her stunned face. She turned her back to the creature to face the surging power that was her father.
He growled out his answer. "You want to know why I never trained you?" The sneer should have warned her, would have warned her she'd pushed him too far. But the thing strumming through her veins fed on his Saiyan anger, even as what she knew as herself fought to regain control. "It's simple, Daughter. You're not Saiyan enough."
A burst of shock stunned the darkness. She could push it back now, back through the crevice it'd found in the facade, into the walls she'd learned only recently were there. Her heartbeat, her senses dulled, became her own again. She could, she could ... she looked back at her mom's wounded heart, swiveled 'round to Trunks shocked face and back to her dad's pulsing anger. What was she doing? And not Saiyan? "Dad, I don't--"
"Oh no, my daughter. You wished to know. I'm happy to oblige. All Saiyans are born with tails. Except a few weaker members of our race. The weakest of them in fact. Genetic faults. Mistakes. Not worthy to bear the Saiyan name. You were one. Had you been born on Planet Vegeta, we would have shipped you to some barren rock to live out your brief, pathetic days, but more importantly, to prevent your defect from further contaminating the gene pool. As it was, your human mother would never have allowed such a thing, and I humored her and let you live. I even grew quite fond of you myself, told myself there was no shame in having a child born of my royal line be blemished. Yet there you stand, dishonoring your mother, proving the flaws of your birth. Train you? It would have been a waste of my talent and time."
Question after question died on her lips. Time slithered around her, the silence slamming each word into her brain. Flaw. Shame. Waste. She'd been right all along. After all the talent, all the best of this genius and this warrior had been given through the times they'd saved the Earth and through the golden example of their son, she was the remnant.
Dad's own anger was spent, draining from him without her own there to feed it. She saw it go, saw him realize hers didn't answer, his own awareness of what had just been said dawn in horror in his eyes. She looked away. She couldn't bear his pain and hers too. Turning towards the stairs, she paused by her mother. "I'm sorry, Mom," she whispered. "I just wasn't myself."