Title: The Visit

Date Completed: 20/03/06

Pairing/Fandom: Vegeta x Bulma (Dragonball Z)

Theme/s: #22- Cradle and #6- The Space Between Dream and Reality POV 1

The nursery was dark and lit with shadows cast by the eerie white light of the moon through the window. The net curtains fell to the floor and stood out brighter than the dark of the room, their white reflecting back. Blue walls looked grey and the baby's mobile created shadowed shapes swinging silently.

In the centre of the toy-filled room stood a cradle and inside, new and tiny, was a baby boy. He had wisps of lilac hair like a thin veil of gossamer over his soft head and chubby pink hands, arms, legs and feet and a round face sleeping sweetly without a care, a fear or a worry in the world.

Vegeta envied that look.

He peered over the edge of the cradle, watching the child, fascinated that new life was much more rewarding than destroying lives. Such an innocent child, unknowing of any true pain, of joy, of sadness… anger, revenge, destruction. Vegeta smiled down at the child. He hardly even knew of his toys let alone the real world. He was such a new baby, a couple of weeks old at the most. And yet here was a room filled with more toys than even a toy store could contain.

"That woman spoils you." Vegeta whispered, reaching down into the cradle and placing his hand gently on the boy's head.

He smiled fondly at the still sleeping baby, noticing how his nose matched his own and how his mouth was fixed into a miniature scowl, just like his father's.

Vegeta continued to look at his sleeping son with wonder, amusement and pride. He never would have thought himself a father, but yet here he was, looking at his first child. He stroked the boy's soft hair gently, for fear of breaking him.

The boy suddenly opened his eyes but remained silent. His huge blue eyes looked up at the man standing over his cradle. The deep blue absorbing every inch of Vegeta's face. Seeing those familiar eyes, Vegeta smiled. He may look like his father but there was no mistaking those orbs. They were the beautiful eyes of the child's mother.

Vegeta chuckled to himself, remembering how it had been many months since he had last seen that woman. He'd been gone a while, missed her terribly, but said not a word. He'd ignored every thought he had about her and right now, seeing those eyes, it all came back to him how much he missed seeing her. The baby blinked and tilted his head in a cute little way that made Vegeta want to pick him up and hold him, but the Saiyan prince refrained from doing so. Instead he leaned slowly into the cradle and kissed the boy's tiny head.

As though that were all that the baby needed, his eyes drooped shut and his scowl disappeared into an almost smile. His breathing indicated his slumber. Vegeta smiled, feeling so unlike himself. Fatherhood was unfamiliar to him; it was tugging at his heart and making him feel soft and warm, not hard and cold as he normally felt. He was feeling like he did when that woman confessed her love to him. He looked away from the crib. He was scaring himself with such thoughts. The thought of being loved scared him. The thought of loving something unconditionally as he did the child was filling him with fear. He closed his eyes, trying to convince himself that he was the same ruthless Saiyan warrior as before. He was going to become a super Saiyan no matter what. He could not form an attachment to the child. It would only distract him, slow him down and prevent him from reaching his goal.

Deep down he knew it was too late, but his pride blocked all that out and he managed to convince himself of indifference. Without another look at the child, without seeing that woman, he left out of the window, making sure he did not risk running into her in the house. He headed back to his spaceship and went back to his tortuous training in outer space.

POV 2

It seemed almost like a dream.

Bulma woke up with a feeling of unease. She had to go see her newborn son; her maternal instincts were going crazy. Something was wrong. Or at least different.

She rushed to the nursery, wrapped in a fleecy dressing gown. She stopped outside the nursery door, which was ajar slightly. She stopped dead in her tracks before she could push the door open. That voice.

It was low, in a whisper, but she could hear it. She could hear him. There was no mistaking that gruff voice. Her mind seemed frozen in shock. She thought he'd never come back, that he'd left her forever, angry with her for getting pregnant.

Closing her eyes she could still see the image of that day she told him, praying that he'd understand and be overjoyed like the soon-to-be fathers from the TV. She could remember the look of shock on his face, then the unbelievable steel of his eyes as he told her to get rid of it. The feeling of her heart sinking and breaking, of tears pricking her eyes and blurring the sight of him walking away, his back turned on her and their baby for what she thought was going to be forever. Yet here he was.

She looked through the gap in the door, seeing him through the shadows. He was at the cradle, leaning over.

Part of Bulma panicked – what if he was trying to kill her child? What if he returned to see if she'd gotten rid of the baby and was erasing his mistake? The thought was killing her, but another part of Bulma told her that everything was going to be fine, that Vegeta was just checking up on his child like every good father. A good father who disappeared for nearly ten months without so much as a goodbye. Her two thoughts warred with each other as she stood there as though in a dream, unable to say or do anything but watch. At last she was put at ease.

She heard Vegeta kiss her baby.

It was a weight lifted off her shoulders, a light through the darkness. It really did seem too good to be true, like a dream she never believed would become reality. Hope was restored. She knew he loved the child. He didn't hate him and he didn't hate her for having the baby. It was a joyous relief and the fact that she was still frozen in the doorway was the only thing stopping her from entering and kissing Vegeta and showing how much she missed him.

In the dim light she could make out his features, his fading smile. Then he headed hastily towards the window, opening it and climbing up onto the ledge. He paused for a moment, and Bulma was sure he was about to turn back and see her standing there, but her heart sank as he jumped out of the window without a second glance.

She stood there for a few moments, blinking away now forming tears as everything sunk in. She opened the door further, stepping inside the room tentatively as though it were a sacred place.

At least he had seen baby Trunks. He came back to see his son... she reminded herself, but her heart still ached at the thought that he didn't seek her out. He didn't care about her at all.

She stood in the spot where she first saw Vegeta standing, those few minutes ago and wiped away her falling tears, attempting to console herself with thoughts of how Vegeta had shown affection for her child at least. She leaned over the cradle, watching the baby sleep, his breathing rhythmic and quiet, his eyes shut and a faint almost-smile playing about his lips. The baby didn't know about his father. His father wasn't there at his birth; he hadn't shown up at any moment where the child was awake. Trunks could go through life without knowing Vegeta. Bulma didn't want that to happen though, and now that Vegeta had at least seen her son, he might even come back. Her heart rose with the thought of seeing him again. Next time, without the shadows masking him. Next time she could throw her arms around him and thank him for accepting her baby, for possibly even loving her baby, and pray that he could learn to love her.

She kissed Trunks on his tiny head, and whispered a goodnight, then left the room, feeling as though she was in a dream. A dreamy reality. It was like the space between the two, without being too unbelievable but still not quite reality.

She left it at that, keeping the nocturnal visit a secret from everyone, a treasured memory that filled her days with the hope that Vegeta would return and become the father she now knew he could be.

End