Author's Note: Well, well, well! It's been a while! My excuse is terrible writer's block! It is the DEVIL! Finally I forced myself to sit down and write this chapter. And it's huge! I wanted to knock out a huge one for you guys, you deserve it! I hope you guys like it! Enjoy.
Chapter Thirty Four: Shinboku (Reunion)
Hysteria bubbled in her throat. Her eyes, wide, unblinking, stared at Vegeta. She was shaking, disbelief filling every fiber of her body.
Trunks was crying, his tiny arms flailing next to the body of Nana and a growing pool of blood. She jerked her gaze down at her son, and almost in an automatic way, took several steps toward him and picked him up. Then she turned and walked away.
The look on Brolli's face was one of pure shock. His skin was nearly translucent it was so white. Trunks' twin brother was held in his arms, quiet. Bulma prayed he was alright.
"He's s-sleeping," Brolli stuttered, showing the child's pale and sickly face to Bulma. She stroked a finger across his clammy forehead and cheek, then her eyes met the black of Brolli's.
They stared at each other hard. His dark eyes gazed intensely into hers, almost as if he was searching her soul. She tried to stop her violent shaking, but it refused to dissipate.
She gently pushed Trunks into his other arm. When her hands were free, she grabbed ahold of Brolli's arms, squeezing them fiercely. He was still staring at her.
"Take the princes to the infirmary."
He stayed rooted to the spot for a moment, then, "Bulma..."
She shook her head. "Please. Please go." Her voice was quivering, and she was on the brink of breaking down. She began drawing in deep breaths, trying to calm herself. She felt like vomiting, and she swallowed awkwardly.
Brolli jerked his head aside, his gaze hardening as he looked at who was behind her. "I will return shortly."
When he left the ballroom, Bulma hesitated to turn around. There was no sound in the ballroom, so she knew he had not moved from his spot.
She buried her face in her hands. She shuddered painfully as her thoughts raced. Everything was suddenly so different, everything was changed. Things that she thought were true were now false, and things that she thought were false were now true. In the blink of an eye, her entire life had changed, yet again. Her mind exploded unbearably.
He is alive. He is here.
So many people dead.
Trunks and Vegeta.
She turned around.
He was watching her, visibly shaking. He wore no shirt, and what was left of his blue spandex pants were in shreds. His body, from what she could see at this distance, was very thin and malnourished, almost as bad as he had been when he had gotten the Saiya-jin plague. He was covered from head to toe in scars, wounds, and dried blood. His hair was matted and unrecognizable. He was filthy and covered in grime. Behind him, his tail hung limply, bent in several different directions.
Her hand went to her throat. She took several hesitant steps toward him, unsure of herself.
He dropped his bloody sword to the ground, and with the sharp metallic clang, she stopped.
The tiny, unsure waver in his deep, hoarse voice made her stomach clench and her heart skip several beats. She had not heard his voice in over a year. Feelings surged inside her in unbelievable levels...so many memories, so much of everything. The emotions she had forced her mind to hide, to forget—they wanted to explode in desperation to the forefront of her mind. Everything was so wrong right now...
But everything was now so right.
She ran to him.
His arms opened with no hesitation. She collided into him, nearly knocking him over, her fingers clutching at him desperately. Together they trembled against each other, no space in between their bodies as they clung to one another.
His fingers threaded into her hair, and she felt and heard him draw in a deep, agonizing breath. She felt his chest vibrate before she heard the words, "I have waited for this moment for so long. I do not even know what to say right now."
Tears burned her eyes and a sob escaped her constricted throat. She felt every emotion possible to feel at that moment. She feared letting him go, was afraid to move away from him, lest he disappear like one of her dreams. She was so scared that this really was a dream, a figment of her imagination, a memory twisted in desperation. Or maybe she was dead. She did not know, but either way, she did not want it to end.
"There is too much to say. Just don't say anything. Just hold me," she whispered, and his hold on her tightened even more.
"Your Highness! Oh gods—!"
A huge chorus of voices erupted from the top of the stairs. She heard cries, screams, and shouts of outrage. Feet rushing down the stairs reached her ears, and then she began hearing gasps and words of shock.
"He has returned to us!"
She heard a clatter of swords and spears and knew that everyone was falling to their knees. She felt Vegeta stir in her arms, his arms loosening from around her. She realized almost too late that his arms were leaving from around her because he was no longer conscious.
Bardock and Turles were next to her instantly as she struggled with his weight. Even with his extreme weight loss, he was still very heavy.
"We need to get him to the infirmary, now."
"Our King is severely malnourished and has been purposefully starved. He has multiple healed broken bones that we will need to reset and repaired. He will need various surgeries. His skin is heavily scarred and mutilated. We will need to perform surgery on several of the scars, depending on what His Highness prefers, but many of them will cause him pain for the rest of his life unless we do something. There may be other permanent damages that we are not aware of yet. This was just after a few moments of examination."
Bulma held silent for many moments after one of the palace doctor's finished speaking. There had been a council quickly assembled in the underground science wing of the palace as Vegeta was rushed to the infirmary below ground. The generals, scientists, and several Lords, including Bardock and Turles were all there. Brolli was...thankfully...absent.
Vegeta was still unconscious. They had left him that way because they did not want to put him in a regeneration chamber if he needed surgery.
"What do you wish us to do, your Highness?"
Bulma rubbed her forehead. She was literally a nervous wreck. She just wanted this to be over with.
"Fix him. Repair his broken bones. Do whatever you have to do to make him better. Leave his scars. I will leave that up to him."
She continued to stand there as the men left. In just a few moments, her husband would be going into surgery.
She heard several women's voices, and turned to see Brolli escorting the twins into the conference room with the two of her remaining ladies in waiting.
She immediately snatched up Vegeta, wanting to squish him against her as hard as she could. He was awake and gurgling at her with joy, as if he hadn't gone through a horrible, traumatic experience just an hour ago. Apparently a quick stay in a regeneration tank was all it took to make him better.
After giving him several moments of loving, she took Trunks into her free arm and hugged him as well, tears gathering in her eyes. Poor Nana...that wonderful woman had done everything to protect this little boy. She had given her life.
Ahri, very tiny and slender, the exact opposite of most Saiya-jin women, stood there with tears on her cheeks. Shiori, very tall and muscular in a sleek way, was standing there stiffly as if she was trying to hold herself back emotionally. Then she spoke.
"Lady Haruna, Lady Ahri, Lady Nana, and I were in your room waiting for your return with Prince Vegeta when we began hearing odd but muffled noises. Immediately Lady Nana took Trunks and went into hiding. She told us to hide as well. Lady Ahri and I managed to hide in the armoire just as the lizard lord came into your room, dragging your limp body and with Prince Vegeta under his arm. Lady Haruna...she was such a keen subject of yours when it came to self-defense after one of your other ladies had been raped so long ago. She had her knife on her. The lizard struck her unconscious immediately without even a fight. We continued to hide until after he left you and took the baby. Lady Haruna woke up before we left. We were too scared, Your Highness. We saw her check you, then run down the hall in search of the Prince. Shortly thereafter we heard a muffled scream. We sat in the armoire...crying."
Lady Shiori fell to the ground on her knees, her face red and tears falling freely. "Your Highness...we could have saved her if we were together. Maybe things would have turned out differently. Lady Nana and Lady Haruna could be alive right now if it weren't for our cowardice."
Brolli stood by, still extraordinarily pale and quiet. Bulma looked at him and then at her ladies.
She handed Trunks to Lady Ahri and placed her free hand upon Shiori's shoulder. "My dear, you could not have known how this was going to turn out. Do not consider yourselves cowards because you did not try to help. More than likely you would have gotten yourselves killed. Lord Frieza was an assassin and a cold-blooded killer. Lady Haruna was brave for what she did and she will be honored, along with her family. I know that she tried to save Prince Vegeta, and for that she will never be forgotten. But if I had lost all of you, my heart would have been destroyed. I am just thankful that I have you two left. Please do not be upset. I need you ladies to be strong for me right now. I need everyone..." A sob burst from her throat. She drew in a shuddering breath and looked at Brolli. "I need everyone to understand what I am going through right now. Everything has changed. Everything."
Brolli looked away. He fisted his hands, then turned around and left.
Shiori and Ahri came to her then and hugged her. "Forgive our forwardness, Your Highness. I think we all need this," Ahri murmured, squeezing her friends and the babies all at once.
Bulma nestled against her ladies and let herself be held, something that never happened because of her status as Queen. She let herself be loved by these poor ladies, who were experiencing their own loss as well.
Bulma fed the twins and let the ladies take the children away with strict instructions on what to do. They left with a huge guard, with Lord Turles in tow by her order. She wanted to make sure someone she trusted with her life was with her children.
The palace was on lock down, along with the city. No one was coming or going anywhere unless it was to leave or come to the palace, and only with searches and permission from the Generals.
It was going on the third hour of surgery for her husband. Only once had there been an update. One of the doctors had come in to let her know that his broken bones had been repaired, including his tail, but more than likely he would need physical therapy to regain use of it, if he ever did.
They were fixing some torn muscles and ligaments and then they would be done with the first of more than likely several surgeries. After his surgery he would be placed into a regeneration tank for only a short amount of time, for they did not want his body to heal fully—only partially—just in case one of the repairs was not done correctly.
She had not realized she had fallen asleep until there was a small nudge at her shoulder. She lifted her head and rubbed her eyes. It was very early in the morning at this point, and she had not gotten any sleep. She must have passed out.
A doctor, looking slightly terrified at having touched her, stood by ringing his hands. She blinked at him, and then stood.
"Y-your Highness, His Highness is asking for you."
Bulma started. "He's awake? Why was I not retrieved after his surgery?"
The doctor began fidgeting even more. "We were ordered to let you sleep by Lord Bardock. He said you needed your rest."
Bulma frowned. "How long was I asleep?"
He was profusely sweating at this point. "T-three hours, Your Highness."
Bulma sighed and rubbed her forehead. More than likely the twins would be hungry, if the fullness of her breasts was any indication. She had the surgeon go retrieve a palace servant, who went to her chamber. A few minutes later, Lady Ahri, yawning and wearing a silken night wrap, came in with the twins. They began mewling when they saw her. She fed them as quickly as she could, but with them still being so young, they weren't very efficient eaters. About a half hour later she gave the babies back to Lady Ahri, who sleepily took them away.
The surgeon was waiting patiently outside the room. She followed him down the winding halls until they reached the regeneration room. Nervously she entered, watching as a group of doctors, nurses, and scientists helped their returned King get better. She heard his voice mumbling answers as they talked reverently to him, and she swallowed the lump in her throat. Tears burned in her eyes as she clasped her hands against her heart, and she bit her lip nervously as someone cleared their throat when they noticed her presence.
Everyone bowed deeply and curtsied. She nodded in thanks, and they departed without a word to give them privacy. The door clicked behind her, and they were alone, except for a few people inside the regeneration tanks.
She stepped silently over to the small bed he occupied. He was sitting up against several white pillows, a blanket pulled up to his waist, and he was wearing a thin infirmary gown. She noticed immediately that he was clean, his hair proudly jutting upward in its familiar flame. His skin was pale and scarred, but the blood, dirt, and gore was gone. He had both of his arms in temporary casts; from what she could see under his clothing, his shoulders were bound in some kind of stiff mechanism, presumably because he had broken another bone, possibly a collar bone. Several of his fingers were taped and bound. He had a needle in his hand, providing nourishment, fluids, and pain medicine more than likely. On his face was a mask, giving him oxygen. There were wires emerging from under his gown, connected to a monitor beeping steadily by the bed. She couldn't see what was going on under the blanket, but she assumed the lumps meant more temporary casts.
Even after surgery and a short stay in a regeneration tank, he looked like he was in such bad shape.
Her hands went to her mouth, and she had to hold herself back from sobbing. Even still, tears began pouring down her cheeks.
His hand lifted weakly from the bed, reaching for her. "It is not as bad as it looks," he said, his breath puffing against the mask on his face.
She sat down in one of the chairs by the bed. Shyly, she grabbed the hand that he had offered her. He sighed when her fingers grasped his. He tightened the hold to near pain, but she accepted it.
She wasn't really sure what to say. So much was on her mind—so many stories that she needed to tell him, so many terrible things that she had done, so many wonderful things she had done...
The issue that weighed the heaviest on her mind was what she was most terrified to tell him. She wanted to tell him desperately, but she was so afraid of the consequences, of what it could mean, or even what it would do to him.
His hand left hers, and she glanced up into his eyes as she felt his fingers caress her cheek. Color flooded her face and he chuckled and dropped his hand, as if exhausted from that mere movement.
"Vegeta—I...I really do not know where to begin..."
He smiled, something that had always been rare in the first place, and she could see all the love he had for her in his dark eyes. Hope was also so very stark, so clear in his face, that it took her breath away. She felt her heart melt and joy she had not experienced in a long time soared inside her.
"Why not from the beginning?"
They spent many hours talking. Bulma wasn't even aware of how much time went by until doctors and nurses began coming and going, checking on him and giving him medicines, and then adjusting this and that on him. They even eventually removed his oxygen mask, but left on the rest of his monitors. Other patients began leaving tanks and departing the room. Eventually he was given some very bland food, and she had a laugh at the disgusted look on his face. Her normally serious husband even joked about how he had been starved for so long, and the first food he got to enjoy tasted abhorrent.
It was odd, but she felt very shy with him. She could tell he felt slightly nervous as well, but it could have been because he was feeding off her emotions. They had been apart for over a year; it was almost like they were meeting for the first time but somehow knew each other.
She told him mostly of the war, leaving out anything too traumatizing for her or him. It felt nice to vent to him about the troubles she'd had with the generals, and they even had a few laughs. She could see the pride he felt for her grow with each passing story. He praised her for her ideas, leadership, and abilities. Shock registered on his face several times as she told him one tale or another. His disbelief over some of the things she went through wanted to make her giggle, because she wasn't even telling him the worst. She would leave those for another time.
They reached a point in their conversation where they both became silent. Bulma wasn't really sure what to say after she had just gotten done telling Vegeta about the battle of Tibernoa. He had not talked about his time away from her at all. She assumed it was all just a horror story and he did not want to speak of it.
He cleared his throat awkwardly. She looked up at him.
"So...I saw two children in the ballroom when Frieza was slayed." He fidgeted a moment, clearly uncomfortable about something. "Is one of them...mine?"
Bulma melted and laughed at the same time. Her heart was breaking for this poor man, who had missed out on absolutely everything involving his children's lives. He did not even know that he was a father of twins.
His face was incredulous at her laugh, and it was clear he had been afraid neither of them had been his. Maybe he had thought she had miscarried again after he had been taken, for they had purposefully hid her pregnancy when Frieza had talked to them on the vidscreen. He literally had no idea what had happened concerning her pregnancy.
She squeezed his cold fingers with both of her hands, a big smile lighting her face. In reaction, he smiled back, anticipation and optimism appearing suddenly in his features.
"They are both yours, Vegeta."
The smile fell off his face. He blinked several times, confused. Then it was like realization dawned on him all at once.
"You...you were pregnant with twins? You had two babies?"
She nodded, leaning forward in her excitement. He tried to move closer to her, but it was next to impossible for him to move. He winced in pain, but he ignored it and moved his other hand to her face.
"That is nearly unheard of in Saiya-jin births! Bulma...you carried twins this whole time, through a war...you fought numerous battles, saved our planet. I can't even imagine what you went through," he murmured towards the end, trying to convey all of his emotions in the tone of his voice and through his touch.
Bulma felt tears blur in her eyes. The urge to be closer to him was so enormous, so painful, that she almost threw caution to the wind and jumped into his bed. But she knew she had to be careful. She held it in, and just touched his skin carefully instead.
"Do...do I have an heir? A son?" he asked, hopeful but trying not to be too excited at the same time. They had talked so long ago about this very subject, and she remembered him saying that he did not care if it was a son or daughter—that whatever she gave him, he would be happy with. Then he told her naughtily that he was planning on having many more children with her in the future. She almost laughed aloud at the memory. Most royals only had one child on Vegeta-sei, and for centuries it had only been a son. For him to want more than one child had been unbelievable to her.
"You have two sons."
His smile was so big it had to be hurting his face. She giggled at his delight. "Two? Amazing. What are their names? I didn't really get to see what they looked like. How old are they? What are they like?"
His questions came pouring out of him, and she was only too happy to oblige. At hearing their names, he told her he was glad and proud of her for picking the names she did. It was tradition that the heir was named Vegeta, so that was only to be expected, but that he was pleased with his other son's name made her exultant. She had been worried what he would think.
"May I see them?" he asked, noticeably nervous but eager at seeing his children for the first time.
Bulma left his side only briefly to call a servant to retrieve the twins. It was mid-morning or afternoon by now, so she wasn't sure if they were asleep. She needed to feed them anyhow.
When Vegeta saw his sons for the first time, it was truly a memorable moment. The look on his face was of pure amazement. Bulma doubted that he had ever had any type of interaction with a baby, but to see the way he held his heir for the first time was nothing short of incredible to her. He was only able to have Prince Vegeta placed on his chest because of his arms being in casts, but he attempted to awkwardly hold him anyhow. Vegeta and his son were mirror images of each other. To finally see it was beautiful.
Bulma adjusted her tiny son in her husband's arms and pretty much held him so that Vegeta could get a better look at the Prince. The way the two stared at each other was adorable. The baby even gurgled at him.
Then came Trunks. When Vegeta saw his lavender hair, he laughed. "I see why you named this one after your father."
Trunks was a lazy, but very happy baby. He cooed and made all kinds of cute noises at his father. Vegeta was clearly transfixed by both children. Her heart was so swollen with love that it nearly hurt to breathe.
The babies began fussing shortly after being introduced to their father. Vegeta was holding his heir against his chest, rubbing his back through a thin blanket, when it began. Bulma found herself blushing vividly when Vegeta asked what was wrong with him.
"They are hungry. I need to feed them."
Just then Turles and Bardock filled the doorway. Vegeta looked up at them and cocked his eyebrow. "I'm surprised you two are alive still."
Bulma outright laughed when she saw the looks on their faces. Lord Bardock bowed cockily and smirked. "Your Highness, may I be so bold as to say that I am glad to see you here and well. But as far as us being alive, it wasn't for lack of Her Highness trying to kill us off. She had us at the forefront of every battle."
Bulma scoffed and stood, handing Trunks off to the head of her royal guard. She then took the fussy baby from Vegeta. "Hardly! You two were stuck to my side like glue. I couldn't get rid of you even if I tried!"
There were some laughs, and then Turles said from the back, "Your Highness, there are some matters that need attending to. I hate to disturb your family time, but they are important."
Vegeta opened his mouth, but Bulma spoke, all without realizing that Vegeta had been preparing to answer.
"I was wondering when someone was going to hunt me down. Things must be in utter chaos right now. My Lords, please take care of what matters you can, for I need to feed these ravenous beasts. Then I need to eat myself. After that, I shall grant audience to anyone who needs me. Let's say, about an hour?"
They nodded. "Please alert the kitchens that I need something prepared for myself, and also for His Highness. The bland meals they gave him are not to his liking. Something light, but delicious, please."
She handed Prince Vegeta to Turles and waved both men off. The Lords knew that they were to return the twins to the ladies-in-waiting, to be prepared for the Queen's feeding. She said she would be along shortly. They bowed and left.
When she turned to Vegeta, the look on his face was stunned. She cocked her head to the side in question. "What's wrong?"
"It's nothing. It's just that...to see you ordering those men about, and them obeying you without hesitation...for them to come to you and not me...it is just remarkable how far you have come. You were Queen...but that title is nearly worthless in Saiya-jin society. It is an empty title meant for the woman that produces the requisite heir. But you...you are truly a ruler. A real Queen. A woman that led her people to victory."
Bulma felt her heart pounding in deep strokes. To hear those words from Vegeta, the King of Vegeta-sei, her long-thought dead husband, was staggering. The months of horror she had experienced, the struggle she had endured with everything—the generals, the battles, her pregnancy...to hear that from him was so wonderful.
She took his hand and squeezed it. "Thank you, Vegeta. You are right, of course. I was nothing short of a brood mare. Respected in name only, but not a real ruler. Not to mention an outsider. It was hard for the warriors and men of this planet to accept me. I had to prove myself as never before. I was never more strong than I was when you were stolen away from me, even though inside I was dying. Very few got to witness how I truly felt, but they were the ones that bolstered that strength and kept me afloat in my weakest moments. Those two men you just saw, they were the primary source of that strength. I could never show them enough honor, enough love, for what they have done for me." She smiled. "They even delivered your sons in the midst of the last battle of Vegeta-sei."
Bulma saw her husband's eyes filling with unwanted tears. He was clearly struggling with himself. It was all too much for him. She wanted to comfort him, but she knew that he was stubborn enough to not want it. He blinked several times, but it just made the tears fall. He clumsily dashed his hands across his face to try to hide it, but she saw. She moved forward, leaning across the bed, until her face was in front of his. This close, she could see tiny scars all over his skin, and how sunken his cheeks were from being hungry for so long.
"It's ok now," she whispered as she stroked his cheeks with her fingers. "Everything is going to be fine now. Everything that I went through...that you went through...it is over now. It's over, Vegeta," she whispered, watching as the tears continued to fall. He grabbed a hold of her then, and she put her arms around him as best as she could.
She held him for quite a while, until the shaking of his body subsided. Bulma could only imagine the torture he had been subjected to, and she knew that was what he was really crying about. That he was safe, and no longer would be harmed or starved or have anything like that happen to him again. Everything that had happened to him in the last few hours, between slaying the creature that he been his torturer and slayer of millions of his people, being returned to his throne and his wife, discovering that he had two sons, not to mention undergoing surgery and being told so many stories by her, she couldn't even imagine how he was feeling. She did not blame him for crying. In fact, he needed it. It was an emotional purge that needed to happen.
She too had tears in her eyes by the time she pulled away. His face was flushed and his eyes were downcast, undoubtedly from embarrassment at having broken down like that in front of her. She caressed his cheek, and he looked up at her, into her eyes.
She kissed him. She did not think about it, just did it. When her lips touched his, she felt him jolt. Whether it was because it was unexpected or something else, she did not know.
His lips weren't soft like they had been in the past. He was still dehydrated, and she could feel the dry skin against her delicate flesh. His lips trembled against hers, and she leaned in deeper, something she hadn't been planning on doing, for she had only wanted to give him a small, chaste kiss, but the thought flew from her mind as his lips parted and accepted her.
It was everything that she remembered and more. His taste, his feel. The longing that she always felt when near him surged to the surface. The need to be in his arms, to feel his bare skin against hers, hit her so hard she gasped. The urge to throw herself against him was painful. Desire, pure and powerful, flew through her veins in a way that she had only ever felt with him. His fingers found their way to the back of her neck, and then gently ran down the side of her throat, something that he knew always made her knees go weak. She moaned, her legs shaking as they struggled to keep standing. Her hands, desperate to touch more of him, gripped his shoulders, and he groaned, tearing his mouth away from hers.
Both breathing heavily, Bulma looked at him, not understanding why he had stopped kissing her. Then she saw the pain on his face. She gasped and withdrew her hands. "Oh, Vegeta...oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean—"
He laughed painfully. "It was worth it," he murmured, desire in his black eyes. It was clear that both had awakened a passion in the other that they had forgotten about, and they had both gotten carried away. In the middle of the regeneration room, of all places.
Color flooded her cheeks. Flustered, she said, "I should really go feed the twins. Undoubtedly they are screaming by now."
He nodded. "I will see you soon?"
She smiled shyly as she stepped away from him. "Of course."
Author's Note: Yay! Lol that's pretty much all I can say. Also, there are a few more things that I want to add and clear up before the end of this story. I'm assuming maybe one or two more chapters, then an epilogue! Please review and let me know what you think about this reunion of Bulma and Vegeta. I really struggled with this chapter, as you can see with how long it took me to write it. Let me know people!