Hero's Welcome

Disclaimer: Characters and settings are the property of Akira Toriyama, I'm just borrowing them for some non-profit fun.

It had been hours since the battle against Majin Boo had ended and still neither Bulma nor Trunks showed any inclination to release Vegeta. He shifted slightly, his stiff posture betray his discomfort but he didn't push them away from him and they clung to him as if they were afraid he'd disappear if they let go.

Academically Vegeta understood it. He shouldn't have survived the battle. Technically he hadn't survived it and he still half-way expected King Enma to show up and drag him off to HFIL to set right the mistake that had been made when he returned to life along with all the good people who'd died during the battle. He understood why they acted like he could vanish at any moment but he didn't quite understand why they cared. Only a few days ago the woman had watched him kill several hundred people in his efforts to convince her oldest and dearest friend to treat him like a serious threat. And the boy...

He made a conscious effort not to abuse the boy every day. Vegeta wanted to be a decent father but his own childhood had been dominated by brutality and it was the only thing that came naturally to him. Not being abusive was a long way from being a good father. It had taken the prospect of immanent death to get Vegeta to hug his eight-year-old son for the first time.

Vegeta smirked wryly; that gesture truly brought him full circle. The first time his father had hugged him or told him he was proud of him had been just before King Vegeta had sent him to Frieza; just before his father had made him a sacrifice for the good of their people. The first time Vegeta hugged his own son and told the boy that he was proud of him had been just before Vegeta had chosen to sacrifice himself in a desperate bid to secure the safety of his mate and his child, the only people he truly cared about. Apparently they cared about him too.

"I think Trunks is asleep," Bulma whispered. "Why don't you put him to bed." Her voice carried a suggestive tone and inspired Vegeta to be very careful not to wake Trunks up as he carried the boy upstairs. He was surprised at how much more natural it felt to hold his son this time, the second time he'd done it.

Bulma followed him up to Trunks' room. She pulled back the covers then tucked Trunks in once Vegeta had laid him in his bed.

Then Bulma took Vegeta's hand and led him to their room.

Vegeta grinned at his mate's unusual aggressiveness. He let her push him back onto their bed. Normally her touch was an invitation, this time she didn't have the patience to wait for him to respond. Bulma's hands clenched around his fingers, never letting go for a second. She broke off their kiss to suck on his throat then layered kisses across his collar bone as she sought to fill her sense with him, to prove his reality to herself by touching every part of him. Her slight weight shifted over him deliciously.

When he couldn't take her assault passively any longer Vegeta pulled her close and rolled them over. Bulma writhed beneath him as their sudden change in position drove him deeply into her.

Vegeta paused a moment just to watch her. It had been more than a decade since he first saw her and she was still the most desirable woman he'd ever met. Especially at moments like this when her expression held only undisguised need for him. Her eyes locked on his; an endless blue drawing him in. "Vegeta," she whispered. Then there was no more hesitation.

Once their passion was spent they lay together quietly. Vegeta hand rested on Bulma's back. She used his shoulder for a pillow as her fingers traced random patterns on his chest.

Vegeta didn't really want to break the mood but he hated having things hanging over his head. "You're not going to bitch me out over the humans I killed at the Tournament?" he asked.

Bulma flinched. "Goku explained about that," she said. "I know it wasn't you, it was Bobbidi making you act like that."

Vegeta was surprised then a suspicion entered his mind. "When did Kakarrot have time to talk with you? You've been hanging on me ever since I got to the Look Out."

Bulma shuddered violently, her arms tightened around him with a strength he hadn't known she possessed. "It was right after... Oh god; I felt you die Vegeta!"

After that Vegeta couldn't think of anything to do or say except to hold her while she cried.

Once he was certain Bulma was deeply asleep Vegeta gently disentangled himself and flew out the window. He landed on the roof. //Kakarrot!// he commanded mentally.

//Yeah 'Geta?// Goku responded sleepily.

//Come here. As much as I dislike seeing you, having you in my head is worse.//

Goku appeared a few moments later still dressed for bed. "What'd ya want to talk about?" he asked with a yawn.

"You didn't tell Bulma that I allowed Bobbidi to take me over," he accused.

"Didn't see the point," Goku replied.

"Yes, your ridiculous human custom of not speaking ill of the dead," Vegeta interrupted.

"Naw, I didn't tell her 'cause it didn't work," Goku said.

"I killed over three hundred people to force you into a battle which provided Bobbidi with the energy he needed to revive Boo. Boo went on to kill everyone you care for; your son, your mate, your friends, everyone on this planet in fact," Vegeta pointed out.

Goku shrugged. "It all worked out in the end. You couldn't stop loving Bulma and Trunks even when you tried. You only went through with that suicide attack because we thought Boo had killed Gohan..."

"It wasn't out of guilt over your brat," Vegeta said quickly. "He defeated Cell, that Boo could take him out that easily... I couldn't think of anything else that had a chance of success."

"You saw that Goten was gotten to safety as well as Trunk."

Vegeta chose not to respond to that.

"Look, you wanted to fight me. I was only supposed to be back for one day and after seeing Bobbidi's first couple flunkies you assumed Gohan could deal with Boo. I figured the same actually. When you realized that you miscalculated you gave up everything to try to make it right," Goku said. "You even remembered to word the wish especially to bring back the people you'd killed along with everyone Boo killed even when you figured that wording would keep you from being revived. Face it Vegeta, you're just not evil."

Vegeta looked deeply offended. Then he sighed. "Perhaps not completely, but I would have chosen to become evil..."

"You thought Gohan could handle..."

"I wanted Bobbidi to erase my feelings for my family!" Vegeta exclaimed. "I wanted that because I can't kill you when I look at you and see my mate's childhood friend and the father of my son's best friend instead of seeing my enemy, the rival who took position I should have had by right!"

Goku flinched. "Is beating me really that important to you?"

"YES!" Vegeta exclaimed then calmed. "Or I thought so but in the end I chose them over defeating you didn't I?"

Goku smiled. "Yeah and you even fused with me. I really didn't want to fuse with Gohan or Mr. Satan. Gohan has his own life to live and Mr. Satan..."

"Is a worthless bag of hot air."

Goku didn't disagree. "And you didn't kill Boo when you could have."

"Do not tell yourself it was my choice to spare him," Vegeta said. "Because I will be telling you 'I told you so' when he goes on another rampage."

"You mean you only did that because I told you to?" Goku asked. For a second his eyes took on the hard clarity of his battle mode then he looked away from Vegeta and started stammering. "You know I wouldn't... And Super Saiyan Three doesn't really work for me now that I'm alive again. We're probably pretty close to equal now."

Vegeta gritted his teeth as he realized that Kakarrot had finally figured out that he had deferred to the younger Saiyan's judgement simply because Kakarrot was stronger than he was. Goku was obviously horribly uncomfortable with the thought that Vegeta was afraid of him on some level. Vegeta was disgusted with himself for not being the stronger of the two and for not being able to overcome the conditioning of his childhood.

"Stop trying to be nice Kakarrot," Vegeta snapped. "You are stronger than I am."

"... And once you get used to the idea of Boo being around I'm sure you won't mind him," Goku babbled on. "Even though you died fighting him it wasn't anything personal."

Vegeta grunted but didn't outright disagree.

"I mean I wouldn't ask you to spare someone like Frieza."

"An easy promise fool," Vegeta snorted. "There will never be anyone else like Frieza for me and he is already dead."

"Boo will be a good ally the next time a bad guy come along..."

"Assuming he isn't the next villain we fight."

"And if we can teach him the difference between a battle and a spar can you imagine the sort of sparring partner he'd be?" Goku finished enthusiastically.

Vegeta looked at him oddly. "I don't know what is more disturbing: Your insistence on being nice or when you remind me that you are Saiyan underneath all that human crap you continually spew."

"Geeze Vegeta, you don't have to make 'nice' sound like a four letter word," Goku complained.

"It is a four letter word moron." Vegeta rolled his eyes.

Goku looked baffled for a moment. "Like a swear word," he corrected.

"It should be one of those as well," Vegeta stated with a smirk.

Goku sighed and gave up the fight.

Vegeta's head cocked to one side as if he were listening to something in the distance. "The woman's ki is rising," he said. "If I'm not there when she wakes up she'll make me listen to her screeching." Vegeta's mouth quirked slightly. "You should get home as well Kakarrot, your mate's screeching is ten times worse than mine."

"And Chichi has that frying pan of hers," Goku admitted. "But why would she be mad if I'm gone when she wakes up?" he finished cluelessly.

Vegeta shook his head. "You really are a moron. You've been dead for seven years. It will take time for it to sink in for your family that you are back," he said. "And, unlike you, your wife can't sense your ki to verify that you are alive."

"Oh. Thanks Vegeta, you're pretty smart."

"Consider it a debt repaid," Vegeta ordered as he thought about not having to deal with Bulma knowing that it had taken him nearly throwing away his family for him to figure out where his priorities truly lay.

Goku touched his fingers to his forehead and vanished.

Vegeta went back inside and slid into bed beside Bulma. He feigned sleep rather than having her suspect that he'd ever been elsewhere.

Bulma spooned up against his back and draped her arm over his waist. He felt her nuzzle he back of his neck. "I was so afraid I'd lost you," she whispered. "First to your past, then when you... Don't scare me like that again Vegeta."

Vegeta didn't reply but he moved his hand to cover Bulma's in a silent promise.