Becoming a Family

Prologue: Homecoming

Disclaimer: Characters and premise belong to Akira Toriyama, I'm just borrowing them for a bit of non-profit fun.

"Come home," Bulma had said and in some ways it really was that simple.

Vegeta had come home to Capsule Corp and while the threat of the Androids was gone the Gravity Room was still there. It had been easy to slip back into his old routine of training for thirteen plus hours a day.

Vegeta had turned forty while training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, he'd been alive for just over four decades and for the first time in his life there was no one for him to strive to overcome. Frieza was dead, the Androids were no longer a threat, Cell was dead, Kakarrot was dead and by his own choice he wouldn't be coming back. And still Vegeta trained. In some part it was because it was all he knew. In some part it was because even if he couldn't prove himself in battle against Kakarrot he could still achieve a level of power beyond what the younger Saiyan had accomplished. But Vegeta also trained because the image of his son's lifeless body falling at his feet had found a special place among his nightmares.

Vegeta didn't understand it. He'd barely known the brat for a year. Trunks had been a warrior who's raw power exceeded Vegeta's own and yet the fact that he hadn't been able to prevent Trunks' death, that he'd failed to protect his son had cut Vegeta more deeply than the destruction of his entire race. Once Vegeta had told Nappa that he didn't want a lot of ingrate brats running around with powers greater than his and yet when Trunks had fallen Vegeta had forgotten to care about his own life in his efforts to make Cell pay for what he'd done. Vegeta had spent decades with Frieza, knowing that the bastard had destroyed Vegeta-sai and Vegeta had remained calculating as he waited for his revenge, even when he began to suspect that he might never be strong enough to defeat Frieza he hadn't given in to the sort of rage and despair that Trunks' death had stirred in him.

Vegeta hadn't meant for it to happen. He'd tried to run from it once he'd seen that he was walking into the same trap that had stolen Radditz's reason and left behind a shell but it hadn't done him any good. His son and his mate had somehow become a vital part of him. He never wanted to feel what he'd felt when Trunks died ever again and the only way he could see to prevent that was to make damn sure he'd never fail again the way he'd failed the future Trunks.

He was well and truly ensnared; a faint ironic grin tugged at Vegeta's mouth; so he might as well enjoy it. He and Bulma had gone back to having sex the night he'd returned. As with his training it had been easy for him to slip back into the routine they'd established before the Androids, before Bulma's pregnancy, with regards to their relationship. In fact the only thing that had really changed about Capsule Corps in the intervening months was the lavender haired toddler who now resided there.

Vegeta obviously couldn't resume the relationship he'd developed with Trunks during the year they'd spent training together in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. He didn't have the faintest clue as to what sort of relationship one could have with a squalling brat. So Vegeta superstitiously watched the demi-Saiyan child who was just beginning to learn to walk.

Vegeta had just finished his training for the day. He decided to eat dinner with the woman, the boy and her family. Sensing the boy's ki he detoured through the livingroom on his way to the shower.

For several minutes Vegeta stood in the door and watched Trunks play with his grandfather.

"Da!" Trunks squealed happily.

Dr. Briefs turned and nodded to Vegeta.

Vegeta considered leaving since he'd been spotted but at the same time he didn't want anyone getting the impression that he had been chased off.

"So do you plan on making an honest woman of my daughter?" Dr. Briefs asked casually after a few moments.

"What control do I have over her honesty?" Vegeta asked irritably.

Dr. Briefs sighed. "Just an expression Vegeta. An unmarried woman who is obviously sexually active; and a child is fairly good proof of sexual activity you must admit; is thought poorly of in our culture. The stain on the woman's honor is considered erased if the man she was with marries her."

Dr. Briefs chuckled lightly. "Of course Bulma would be rather upset with me if she knew I started this conversation; considers that sort of thing a bit archaic I believe."

Vegeta thought about what Dr. Briefs had said for several moments. Apparently his and the woman's relationship had, somehow, compromised her honor by human standards of behavior. Since he could do something to restore her honor and hadn't his honor was compromised as well. But Bulma didn't seem to think it was worth mentioning and since she was the only human who's opinion was even vaguely worth considering he decided it didn't matter to him.

Dr. Briefs looked a little embarrassed. "I guess what I'm really asking is if you intend to stay," he said. "Bulma is my little girl and you broke her heart when you left before."

Vegeta considered the older man. "I don't intend her harm," he said after a long time. He nodded toward Trunks and added. "Her or the boy. Not hurting people is something I have little experience with," he admitted.

Dr. Briefs grimaced at that. "All that I can do is ask that you try."