Chapter 4: Go Take a Hike!
Gray clouds loomed above as Vegeta and his family began their trek through the murky water that filled the valley. Vegeta and Trunks both carried large backpacks over their shoulders, filled with all the necessities, and of course some less than necessary supplies, for a few days worth of camping. Bra and Bulma both wore their rubber boots with the intention of staying clean. Bra, however, was defeating the purpose of said boots as she splashed about, stomping her feet through the nearly foot high water.
"Bra, stop that!" Bulma chided, wiping a splotch of mud from the hem of her skirt. "You're going to get all of us filthy, and I severely doubt we'll be finding any showers at the top of that mountain." She emphasized the term mountain as she gazed up ahead, dreading the hike through the thickly forested and rather steep hillside.
"Mom, I don't think that's tall enough, or even the right shape, to be considered a mountain. It's more like a large hill," Trunks pointed out, wishing he had bit his tongue shortly after speaking those words.
"Thanks for the optimism Trunks, but I'm pretty sure it will take us all day to make it up there, hill or mountain," Bulma replied dryly, but her eyes were on her all too energetic daughter.
Trunks was grateful his sister was still stomping about, seeing as it seemed to distract his mother enough to prevent her from lashing out at his comment.
"Vegeta, carry your daughter!" Bulma demanded.
The four of them stopped.
Rather than being upset about her ability to splash around being taken from her, Bra beamed brightly as she ran up to her father and held her arms up expectantly.
Trying not to look at his daughter's eager face below him, Vegeta looked back at his mate with a scowl. "Why the hell can't we just fly to the top of that damned hill?"
"I already told you!" Bulma snarled, her voice raising with each word, "We've already caused enough trouble and attention here with you going ape-shit and blowing up protected natural territory! We don't need you going Super Saiyan and flying around like a lunatic, scaring the few campers left on this site!"
Vegeta's scowl shifted to a small smirk at the mention of scaring the humans, but he still thought it was ridiculous that his mate cared so much what the other humans thought of her and her family.
Still anxiously awaiting being picked up by her father, Bra giggled and blatantly hollered, "Monkey poopy!"
The statement was more than enough to catch everyone's attention. Vegeta, Trunks, and Bulma turned to her with an equally confused stare.
"What?" was all Bulma could conjure up as she tried to figure out why her child was randomly screaming about animal excrement.
"Daddy's gonna go ape-shit!" Bra exclaimed, earning raised brows from her father.
At the repeated statement, Trunks and Bulma both immediately caught on.
"Bra, don't say bad words like that," Trunks replied quietly.
"But mommy said it," Bra whined, her smile fading.
"Don't say everything mommy says," Bulma replied calmly, mentally slapping herself for using that term, "Sometimes mommy gets frustrated with your eccentric father and uses words she shouldn't."
"Daddy says bad words too," Bra protested, stomping her foot in the dirty water begrudgingly.
"You should never repeat anything your father says. Most everything that comes out of his mouth is ridiculous anyway," Bulma replied.
Trunks rubbed his temples, wondering how he turned out the way he did with such bad parenting. He could only hope his sister would be smart enough to not listen to either of their parents.
Vegeta took no offense to his mate's stab at his social and vocabulary skills, instead smiling at the idea that his daughter would use what she learned from him; actions and words.
With all her patience run dry, Bulma narrowed her eyes dangerously at her ape husband. "Vegeta, would you just pick your daughter up! I'd like to get up there and set up before lunch time!"
Bra's eager smile returned to her face and Vegeta finally bent down, scooping his daughter up effortlessly and slung her over his broad shoulders to allow her to sit atop of them, just above the large bag he carried. She squealed in delight, kicking her muddy boots about, sending the dirty water and clumps of mud flying in every direction, but mostly smearing across Vegeta's otherwise bright pink shirt.
"At least take her boots off! We don't have much clean clothes left for you and I'm not about to let you run around shirtless like some barbarian!" Bulma hollered before pressing her fingers to the bridge of her nose in an attempt to make the pain disappear.
Apparently the comment had really tickled Bra, as she immediately broke into a fit of giggles and began beating her fists against her chest while grunting like a primate.
With his head turned to leave his face just out of Bulma's sight, Vegeta smirked at his daughter's antics which he was certain would send his mate into a further fit of rage. Feeling rather 'generous' as he would put it, he decided to oblige his mate's demand and reached up to remove Bra's still kicking boots.
Still clearly amused by all the primate references she'd heard that day, Bra continued to kick and beat her chest, that is until she found herself starting to fall backwards off her father's shoulders. She let out a quick yelp, and before Vegeta could grasp her legs to prevent her from falling, she had already grasped her little fists full of his hair.
Trunks, the innocent bystander, nearly stopped breathing as he saw the sudden change in demeanor on his father's face as Bra pulled herself back upright using Vegeta's unruly hair as leverage. Vegeta's face twisted in an obvious combination of pure pain, infuriation, and a strong attempt at composure.
Though unable to see her husband's face at the moment, Bulma knew what was happening.
Even Bra sensed her father's sudden change and quickly released the locks of hair, dropping a few strands that had been accidentally removed. Her smile once again quickly faded, as she feared her father's anger.
To everyone's surprise, Vegeta remained calm and slowly removed the tiny boots from Bra's now still feet. After tying the laces of both boots together, he slung them over his left shoulder, just under his daughter's leg.
Several hours passed in uncomfortable silence as the Vegeta family made their way up the rather steep hillside. It was almost high noon, as the sun peered between small gaps in the dark clouds looming directly above, making for another excruciatingly hot and humid day. The combination of unbearable moist heat, strenuous physical labor (at least for Bulma), boredom, and the constant reminder of an impending rainstorm of doom overhead, the family was close to their boiling point, and as always, Vegeta was the first to voice it.
"This is ridiculous! I refuse to waste anymore time walking up this damned earth!" Without giving anyone a second to respond, Vegeta yanked his mate against his chest, wrapping one arm firmly around her waste, the other hand grasping his daughter's left leg which still hung over his shoulder. "Hold on!" was his final warning before he shot into the air and took flight up through the thicket of trees surrounding them, leaving Trunks behind to ponder whether or not he should follow.
"Vegeta!" Bulma hollered, obviously not too pleased with her husband's decision to disobey her orders. "I told you not to use anymore of your damned Saiyan powers!"
Bra giggled, her eyes wide as she wrapped her arms around her father's thick neck and took in the wonderful views, one of which included her brother soaring up beside her.
"Quit your bickering woman! There aren't even any stupid humans left to see," Vegeta retorted.
Any other day Bulma would have risked her life and taken a swing at the only thing keeping her from falling to her death below, but she was much too fed up with all the walking and lack of luxury, not to mention (and she really would never admit it) Vegeta was right; there was nobody left on the campgrounds. Everyone else had taken off the day before the storm was predicted to hit, with the exception of the Goku family, but even they took their camp to higher ground. Bulma just prayed to Kami that Chichi wouldn't bring the subject up.
Bulma let out a long sigh, something she had been doing a lot of lately since she'd been spending so much quality time with her family. Feeling defeated, she clung to her ape of a husband and joined her daughter in taking in the sights.
It didn't take long for them to reach the peak of the hill, even with Vegeta's restraint, not that a Super Saiyan holding back was really that much different than going all out, at least not to a human.
Vegeta landed softly on the flat land just past the peak of hill, Trunks following immediately after. Bulma quickly pushed herself back away from her husband, taking her bubbly daughter down into her arms in the process. "Help me get her boots back on," she spoke, meaning for Vegeta to assist, but he was of course uninterested in her demands and Trunks instead responded, removing the boots from his father's shoulder and attempted to slip the boots onto his sister's kicking feet.
"Bra, seriously, you need to settle down!" Bulma chided as she struggled to hold her still.
Despite the wriggling, Trunks swiftly slipped Bra's little boots back on, and Bulma quickly set her down.
"Alright boys and girls, now it's time to find a good site and set up camp!" Bulma announced as cheerfully as she could manage. Not only did she have to fool her family that this would be a fun adventure, she really had to fool herself.
Apparently Bulma's luck was starting to turn for the better. She was able to find a small clearing surrounded by dense trees, which would provide sufficient shelter from the wind, and of course some privacy from whom she would assume would be their neighbors as soon as they caught wind of their arrival. Not to mention, the clearing allowed the returning sun to shine down and dry up the soaked earth. Although the skies were clearly, and this was technically a good thing, Bulma still couldn't help but wonder if this was some sick joke, seeing as the rain stops only once she's out of the flooding area. Either way, she was bound and determined to make this camping trip enjoyable for her family, and then never do it again!
"Mom, is it alright if I go find Goten?" Trunks questioned, feeling a bit guilty about leaving his mother to set up by herself, but wanting nothing more than to get free from the bickering that was soon to erupt between his parents. "We could go find some firewood," he added, hoping to sway her.
"That's fine. Your father and I can set up here by ourselves." Bulma mentally slapped herself for saying that. For some reason, she guessed her husband wouldn't be much help.
"Thanks!" Trunks slipped the large backpack off his shoulders, allowing it to hit the ground with a large thud, making it ever more apparent just how heavy it was, then disappeared into the forest.
Vegeta dropped his bag to the ground, even more carelessly than his son, and turned to his mate with a scowl. "Why does he insist on following around that low-class son of a clown?!" he snarled bitterly.
"Oh shut up and quit pretending you don't like Goku and his family," Bulma retorted as she bent down to open the bag Vegeta had been carrying.
Vegeta look absolutely mortified that his mate had accused him of such a thing. "I am not pretending! Kakarot is a disgrace to-"
"Yeah yeah! He's a disgrace to the Saiyan race, a race that includes a whopping two apes! Vegeta, I've heard the lines enough, and you, I, and everyone else whose been around you these last several years know that you and Goku are inseparable friends!" Bulma interrupted. "Now go set this tent up over there!" She forced a long bag at Vegeta and pointed to a random spot in the clearing.
Vegeta stood in silence for a moment, astonished at all the blasphemy spewing form his mate's mouth. How could she think such absurd things? He could never enjoy the company of a third-class clown! Could he?
Interrupting Vegeta's pondering, Bulma pointed again to the spot where she wanted him to set up the tent. "Get moving!"
Vegeta snapped from his dazed state and solemnly wandered over to the marked spot, his daughter skipping after him, nearly stepping on the back of his heels.
"Can I help Daddy?"
Vegeta merely nodded as he untied the opening to the bag and dumped it's contents onto the ground before him. He and his daughter stared down at what appeared to be a pile of some sort of cloth and long sticks.
"What the hell do I do with this pile of crap?" Vegeta muttered.
"Mommy!" Bra yelled.
"What is it honey?" Bulma called from over her shoulder as she struggled to find something deep within the second bag.
"Daddy wants to know what to do with this pile of crap?"
A proud smile graced Vegeta's otherwise hardened features.
Bulma closed her eyes tightly and counted to 3.
"Bra, what did I tell you about repeating what your father says?"
"Uhmm...." Bra pretended to innocently forget.
"Don't do it!" Bulma finished, knowing full well that her daughter was merely pretending. "Your father needs to build a tent out of those poles. There are instructions in the bag if he needs them."
Vegeta's smile quickly faded as he pulled out the supposed 'instructions' which appeared to be written in some form of ancient and foreign combination of pictures and words. After staring back and forth between what he assumed to be poles depicted on the 'instructions' and the infinite number of poles scattered in the grass, he gazed over his shoulder to his mate whom he discovered was in the process of setting off one of her capsules. He watched, his curiosity turning quickly to frustration as his mate simply set the capsule on the ground and stepped back, an instant perfect tent appearing momentarily after.
"Daddy, how come mommy got her tent set up already and you didn't?" Bra asked innocently.
"Woman! Why do you get the magical shelter device and I'm stuck with useless sticks and wads of cloth?" Vegeta bellowed, sounding just as childish as his three-year-old daughter.
"Because I only had one tent capsule, so quit your bellyaching and just build the damn tent. It's not that hard!"
"Does your tummy hurt Daddy?" Bra inquired, earning her father's attention.
"What?" Vegeta questioned, dumbfounded by the random question.
"Mommy said your belly aches," Bra replied matter-of-factly.
Bulma overheard her daughter's comment as she walked over to help her empty-headed husband, and smiled at her daughter's naievity.
In defense of what he was sure to be accused of, Vegeta griped to his mate as she stood between him and their daughter, "How am I supposed to follow this damn thing when all these sticks look the same?" He shook the instructions around for emphasis.
"You're daughter asked you a question. Don't ignore her."
Vegeta glanced down at his daughter, who was eagerly awaiting a response. "My stomach is fine," he stated plainly, then turned back to his mate, his patience wearing thin, and embarrassment over the tent-matter began to kick in. He couldn't help it if where he was raised he knew nothing of all the human contraptions. Even if Planet Vegeta had anything similar, he never would have touched them. He was a Prince! He was there strictly to carry royal blood and purge planets of unnecessary beings, not to play with nonsensical garbage such as this. But even being so, he knew he still looked foolish to the natives, and he especially hated that his mate constantly witnessed his inabilities.
Sensing the sudden change in Vegeta's demeanor and his apparent distress, Bulma motioned for him to crouch down with her, and spoke gently, "The instructions have letters beside each pole, so if you can't tell the difference just by length and orientation, you can find the matching letters on the actual poles." Bulma pointed to one of the poles on the instructions, then to the matching pole on the ground. "I'm going to go start unpacking things, but let me know if you need any help." Before standing back up, she leaned in and gave Vegeta a quick peck on the cheek, earning a small blush in it's place.
Bra smiled and clapped her hands enthusiastically, happy to see her parents showing each other affection. She bounded over to the opposite side of her father, planting a much sloppier kiss on his other cheek. "Can I help you daddy?"
"Hold this so I can see it," Vegeta replied as he handed the instructions to his daughter.
Bra obligingly grasped the piece of paper, proudly displaying it for Vegeta to see. "Mommy! I'm helping!" she called out proudly.
"That's nice dear," Bulma called back form inside the other tent.
Now with the understanding of matching the lettered poles, Vegeta found himself close to constructing the tent in no time, at least he thought he had it right. He took a few steps back, allowing the entire construction of poles and the instructions to be in view. He smirked arrogantly.
"Woman! I've completed the construction of so-called poles, now what do I do with the large cloth?"
"Drape it over the poles and fasten them as the other side of the instructions show!" Bulma answered back, still muddling around inside the other tent.
Picking up on her mother's reply, Bra quickly flipped the page over and held it out for her father.
Vegeta gazed from the poles to the cloth, then back to the poles again. Though uncertain how any of this was going to create shelter, he trudged over to the cloth and assembled it as the drawing illustrated.
Just as Vegeta had finished attaching the last corner of the tent covering, Bulma stepped out to inspect his job. Though she expected the tent to look half-assed, she certainly hadn't expected the sight before her.
There, lying before her haughty Saiyan husband, was an exact replica of the drawing on the instructions: a 2D build of the tent. Bulma was uncertain whether she was astounded by his lack of common sense, or his ability to take a 3D design and turn it into 2D. She stood speechless for several moments, just staring in awe at the completely flat tent.
"Vegeta," Bulma began to speak slowly while trying desperately to keep her cool.
"What? Astounded by the perfection?" Vegeta questioned haughtily.
Ignoring her husband's snide but idiotic remark, Bulma continued, "How do you suppose anyone would sleep in that?"
"How the hell should I know? You're the one who purchased the damn thing."
"You weren't supposed to build it exactly as you see it here," Bulma spoke firmly while pointing at the paper her daughter still held. "You were supposed to build it in three dimensions, you know, like something a person could stand in!"
Bra began to snort and giggle, and Vegeta's confident smile quickly transformed into his trademark scowl.
"Daddy! You're so silly!" Bra exclaimed.
Vegeta shot an accusing glare at his daughter. "You mean to tell me you knew it wasn't supposed to look like this and you didn't say anything?!" he hollered. Unable to contain his frustration, he quickly aimed a hand at his hard work, and without giving his mate a second to stop him, he released a concentrated blast of ki, blowing a hole not only in the tent, but several feet into the earth as well.
"Vegeta!" Bulma hollered while shielding her face from the shrapnel.
Bra giggled and danced excitedly, galloping over to the remaining fragments of what should have been a tent, and then stomping across it as if she were helping her father destroy it.
With the combination of relief from blasting his problem away and his daughter taking joy in the matter, Vegeta's frustration quickly subsided.
"Well, I guess we're all sleeping in one tent tonight," Bulma stated, hanging her head in defeat before walking away.
Whilst still jumping about, Bra hopped over to her father, grabbing his hands and pulling him to the debris. He stared down at her with a small smile. After glancing over his shoulder to reassure that his mate was clear from sight, he turned back to his daughter and joined her in their triumphant stomping.
A/N: Well, I hope this was almost as enjoyable as the first chapter. I don't think I can quite top the first one, but this one made my husband laugh quite a bit, so that must mean something. I have at least one more chapter in mind, which will show some more Vegeta & 'Kakarot' bonding, but after that, I think the camping adventure may be at it's end.
Thanks again for reading and reviewing! I love to laugh and smile, and I equally enjoy other people's smiles and laughter!