Encounters:

Yamcha

Disclaimer – I do not own any part of Dragonball, Dragonball Z or any of its incarnations. I just enjoy playing in their world for awhile.

Okay, this one completely blindsided me. I never saw it coming, not in a million years. All right, so I'm not the sharpest guy around. But I've always said I could at least hold my own with Goku in the smarts department. But this? There was no reason at all for me to expect it to happen. So far as I knew, she hated the guy just as much as the rest of us did. She even told us that she thought he was rude, mean and totally unbearable. So, why…?

All right, to start with, I was really happy to finally get brought back by the dragonballs. And so far as I could tell, Bulma was happy to see me to. But, you could have knocked me down with a feather when I saw that he was there too, along with all those resurrected Nameks. All right, now I know that for some strange reason, Goku had sort of liked the guy. Go figure. All he did was bring his little freaky demons and the big bald guy down to earth to kill everyone. But, you know, Goku sees things differently a lot of the time. We knew that he had sort of helped on Namek, all right. Fine, I'll give that to him. He got Goku to that healing tank thing, and he helped out Gohan and Krillen a few times. But damn it, if it hadn't have been for the fact he was trying to outsmart Freeza, I tell you he'd have been very happy to blast everybody, including Bulma, into smithereens. All he really wanted was to get his gloved little paws on the dragonballs.

Anyway I got to thinking. Bulma and I go way back. I know her better than anybody, except maybe for Goku. And she was always one to side with the loner and the outcast. Well, hey, look at Goku and me. Both of us were both loners and outcasts. She changed that for me. We sort of grew up together, and then, well, as we got older, we found we both wanted a special boy or girl…friend. Turned out to be each other. We seemed to be really perfect together so far as I saw. That was the nice thing about her. She wasn't all society or something. She liked to get out there with us and do stuff. So, in a way, maybe it isn't so surprising after all. Vegeta made sure that everyone knew he's a real big loner and he's definitely an outcast. Bulma must have decided he would fit in. But, I really wondered what was going on in her mind when she invited him to Capsule Corp along with the Nameks.

Thinking back, I don't remember her saying much to the little creep in the days before he showed us what he was made of by stealing the Brief's space ship to go out after Goku. Why he had his shorts in such a knot over Goku not coming back I don't know. The dragon said he was alive, and we all just figured, well, he'd found something important to do wherever he was. You had to know Goku to understand. As long as we knew he was alive, we weren't worried. But Vegeta was all freaky about it. Then he steals the spaceship to go out looking for Goku. Like he was really going to find him out there?

Things seemed really back to normal and fine after he'd gone. We were all relieved so far as I could tell. Bulma and I went out and stuff, hung out together. But then, looking back, something kind of strange happened. One day, Bulma came out and was telling Oolong and me about some dream she'd had about Vegeta. When she got to the part about him being a good kisser, Oolong and I just stared. Where the heck did that come from? What was she doing having that kind of dream about that alien punk? The last I'd heard she'd been scared silly of him on Namek. So when did it change to getting lip-locked with the creep? Oh she laughed it off, but I tell you, I didn't think it was all that funny afterwards. Then, to make things even stranger, I remember now that she walked to the balcony and stared up into the sky. I didn't notice then, but now I can remember, the expression on her face was different when she looked up. She even whispered something, but I wasn't listening that close. There was no way I was going to believe that she actually wanted that bastard to come back. What's that cliché they say about hindsight?

After that, it was typical of Vegeta that he came back and managed to scare the shit out of everyone by crashing the ship right behind Capsule Corp. That was a day to remember all right. Of course, the ramp comes down and his royal ass walks down like he owns the place, and already trying to pick a fight. Now, I wasn't too sure what to do, and I wasn't paying that much attention to Bulma at the moment, as I was beginning to wonder if I should duck or not. So I didn't really notice the look on her face when she saw him. Thinking back, I think there was something in her eyes that startled me even as I looked away. She was relieved, and happy. But the look vanished quickly. She stepped right up between us when he jumped down and threatened me. Bulma is like that, smart and tough She faced that creep down. Now, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have let her if it hadn't been obvious he wouldn't hurt her. That was pretty weird. Here she was telling him he reeked, and the guy that murdered people, and destroyed planets for his day job, just stared at her. Then, when she poked a finger at his chest armor and ordered him inside for a bath, damn if he didn't follow her. All right, he didn't blast anyone, but he did glare daggers. Didn't matter, he still did what she told him to. I was impressed. That's my girl.

It started out being kind of fun, but its of those things where when I look back, there's a different take on it. It was pretty funny when we heard him shouting from the bathroom for the "servant woman" and Bulma shouted back at him. I thought it was great. She was mad and he was being a jerk and there was no reason for me to think otherwise. I was all ready for her to really dish it out to him. Then he came out with that pink shirt getup and we all just busted up. Of course, he sort of got pissed off and when we saw the look on his face we shut up real fast too. She never did really give him hell either.

Things just continued to change. I couldn't figure it out. Bulma and I still went out on dates, and still hung out together. But I noticed that sometimes she was a little distracted. Well, you know, she's a brilliant scientist and all, so I figure she probably had some project on her mind or something. Maybe her dad had her working on stuff. You never knew with her. So, I'd just chat up a few nearby girls to stay busy until she came out of her daydreams. No big deal.

One thing I did see, however, was how everyone was nice to this guy. Bulma's Mom and Dad, who are great people, if maybe a little different, seemed to think he was wonderful and welcomed him and his lack of manners with open arms. Maybe they'd just gotten used to Goku so this guys appetite and stuff wasn't so strange to them. Well, they'd liked me when I was a desert bandit, so I suppose it's not that out of character. And to Bulma, he was just like another stray she'd picked up. She didn't seem to pay any attention to the tantrums or tossed furniture. Just took it in stride. That's what I liked about her.

The day the strange kid from the future came was really scary. The first thing that happened was that Vegeta just went all ballistic saying Freeza was alive and heading for earth. I will say I never expected to see that guy look scared, but he was pretty close there for a few minutes. It took Bulma and about a half a cow worth of ribs with extra bar- b- que sauce to calm him down. And even then he looked a little wild eyed. Now, I'm as brave as the next guy, but after what I'd heard about this Freeza, I am not at all blaming him for that reaction. Of course, what's the smart thing to do when a murderous alien is heading for your planet? You do like we all did. You charge out to take on Freeza, led by none other than Vegeta. Now, Bulma, being Bulma, had no intention of being left behind. She ignored his comments and said she never got to see Freeza on Namek and she wasn't going to miss it now. You know, that bastard actually had a glint of approval in his eyes before he started scowling again. What's with that?

Things got really tense. The kid from the future came and beat Freeza and his father too. And darn if that kid didn't remind me of somebody. Then, Goku turns up all dressed funny and has a long chat with the kid. The next thing you know we're hearing about Androids from the future and everyone dying and a heart virus that takes out Goku. You know it was just one of those days. So now, everyone goes off to train and get strong so we can beat the Androids. I wasn't too sure about the story, but Goku believed it.

When I remember those next days, I really wonder how I could have missed the signs. Bulma took to hanging out on her own a lot more, near the newly repaired gravity room that Vegeta trained in. What a show off. Had to try to beat Goku. Like he ever could! He kept Dr. Briefs busy rebuilding stuff while he blasted away at it. Then he really did it. I was sitting with Bulma when the idiot blew the gravity room up with himself inside of it. Why I didn't see what was going on then I have no idea. I guess the explosion just stunned me. Before I knew what was happening, Bulma dove into the wreckage after him. He tried to play mister macho by staggering up, but he only fell down again. Bulma caught him and cradled him in her arms. Yeah, I said cradled, both arms around him. She seemed a lot more concerned than I would have expected. Shit, she was a lot more concerned than I wanted her to be.

I made myself sort of scarce for a while. Everybody was all worried about Vegeta. I couldn't believe it when Bulma showed up with tears in her eyes. Over that little jerk. Dr. and Mrs. Briefs were very upset. Hey, so far as I was concerned it would have been better if the bastard had blown himself up with the gravity room. Who the hell did he think he was anyway? We'd always protected this planet just fine without his help. And now we even had Piccolo on our side. We didn't need his egotistical, sarcastic remarks. He wouldn't work with the team. We all knew that. Good riddance.

Bulma wouldn't leave him alone. She stayed in that room with him until she was sure he was going to make it. Nothing I said would make her leave. I sure as hell wasn't going to sit there with her, so I went out. Hey, Bulma knew I would never really care for anyone besides her. But if she was going to be all funny about this guy, well, I didn't have to watch.

Then, just to prove what a nutcase he was, the first thing Vegeta does when he can stand up is go right back out to the newly repaired gravity room and start training again! Damn, he was still wrapped in bandages. I snuck a peak. Okay, that was too much. But, Bulma was starting to be more obvious, and it even got through my thick skull. The thing was, he didn't seem to notice. Made me wonder. What kind of idiot was he? I don't care how many planets he'd been to, there was no way he'd have ever seen any girl as gorgeous, as smart and as wonderful as Bulma.

Puar tried to tell me he was trouble. She also tried to tell me it was too late. I guess I finally had to figure that out for myself. I still tried to hang out with Bulma, but it was getting clear that her attention was not on me. I figured that if I just stuck close the whole thing would blow over and she would realize that he wasn't interested. I did. I honestly did try. But, it didn't work. And one day, I saw him looking back at her…

Well, I guess I have to admit now that Bulma has pretty much decided on Vegeta. And once she's decided something for sure, you just don't get in her way. I'm not sure Vegeta knows it yet. But he will. Funny, after all of this time I've been with her, now I feel so alone. I know, Puar, you're there. And that helps. But, you know, Bulma's always been there too. But now she isn't. I'm kind of lost. I love her, though. And if I can only love her as a friend, well, so be it. I will be there for her. If she needs a hug, I'll hug her. If she needs to talk, I'll listen. If she needs a friend, I'm there. No matter what she needs, I won't ever let her down. That is what I'll do. There is one thing though, and I've thought about it a lot lately. Maybe I'm not the strongest of the fighters out there. And I'm sure not the bravest. But, if Vegeta ever hurts Bulma, I don't care how many fighters he's killed, I don't care how high his power level is, I will beat him. And no one, not Goku and not even Bulma will stop me. I swear that. Because nothing will ever make me stop loving her.