"Really, Bulma

Summary: What if, in some twisted AU, Vegita was the one who pursued Bulma, and she was the one who held out against it for a long time? It may sound too romantic and out of character for Vegita, but if you read it you just might find that its not, really. This story takes place as a conversation between Chichi and Bulma over cards. Please review.

Never What It Seems

Rashaka

"Really, Bulma. How long are you going to keep refusing him?"

The Brief scientist let out a short, sharp sigh, and carefully lay a card down on the spread. Her eyes rested resolutely on the hand before her, and she didn't look up to meet Chichi's gaze.

"For as long as it takes for him to prove to me he has something to offer, and will hold to it."

Chichi raised her eyebrows at her friend. "What doesn't he offer?"

Bulma's eyes saddened slightly. "Love. Hope. Security."

The black haired woman frowned slightly behind her playing cards, before drawing carefully from the deck below. Chichi examined her hand, picked out a useless one, and dropped it approximately in the appropriate place. Irritatedly, Bulma reached out to straighten it and line it up with the others.

"I never thought you'd be such a hog for security, Bulma. You're so reckless it's hard to picture."

Her friend shrugged, and drew. "It's surprising sometimes what you find you want when you really pick yourself apart over it."

"And is that what you've been doing? Picking yourself apart over it?"

Bulma pursed her lips and discarded. "Maybe," she answered.

Chichi lowered her hand to look the blue haired woman in the eye. "Then maybe you're looking to hard. I know he's arrogant, and ruthless. But he can protect you, if security is what you want. And by his own words, if you accept him it will be forever. You can't get much more secure than that. Somehow, whatever that man may be, I don't think he's a liar. Especially not when lying now would serve him nothing."

"And love?" Bulma whispered softly.

"Maybe he does love you," Chichi said.

"Maybe he just lusts for me," Bulma retorted.

"Maybe for him, it's one and the same."

"Then he will never have me," Bulma snarled suddenly, drawing a card roughly and jamming it into her hand with the others. They stayed silent for a minute or more.

"You forgot to discard," Chichi stated calmly. Bulma looked blank a moment, then glared and slammed a card down on the pile near the rest of the deck.

"What did he do this time?" Chichi wanted to know, unwilling to totally change the subject just because Bulma didn't want to talk about it. It needed to be talked about.

"He brought me a bird."

"A bird?" Goku's wife inquired, her curiosity tweaked.

Bulma nodded, almost as if she couldn't quite believe it herself. "I woke up and he was in my room—uninvited of course. But he just stood there at the foot of my bed and held out his hands in front of me. When he opened them, a tiny finch was resting there, completely at ease between his hands. He could have crushed it faster than I could have blinked, yet the little thing was completely secure in itself. He put it in my hands and for one morning, I had a beautiful little pet all my own."

"I don't know Bulma—that doesn't sound like the gifts a man gives only to get into your bed."

The Capsule Corps heir didn't answer, only looked harder at her hand.

"He asks you everyday to be with him. He hasn't done anything else in the last two months."

"Well, before that he was no party man house guest," Miss Brief snapped acidly. "He constantly ordered us around, never did anything for himself, and always expected us to continue. He still does that."

"But now, interspersed between yelling matches, he HAS asked you."

"Relentlessly," was the only, somewhat grudgingly affirmative remark. She laid down the sixes of hearts, spades, and diamonds next to her.

Seeing this, Chichi sighed loudly, and dropped her hands to the table in a frustrated `humph'. "I couldn't even win at rummy if I was playing my husband," she said defeatedly. "I haven't had a single three-of-a-kind in this whole hour, and that leaves you ahead nine to nothing. There's no point in my deluding myself into continuing." Bulma sighed as well, and began carefully collecting the cards.

"Maybe you're right," she said at length. "I don't know why I keep saying no to him anyway. I can hardly breathe when I'm around him. I could stare at him for hours. All I ever think about is wanting to see if I can make him smile for real. But I just can't seem to say the word when he asks. He's not the man I'm supposed to love. He's not the kind of man I'm supposed to want to marry; he's none of those things."

"Maybe you need to stop thinking about what you should want and just go for what you do," Chichi replied finally, standing up and with the card deck in hand, walking out of the room.

~~~~~~~

The title, "Nothing What It Seems", was chosen because I presented all the characters here, Bulma, Vegita, AND Chichi, in a way they usually aren't seen. I'd like to think of it as a way they COULD be if given the right situation. After all, Chichi does sometimes drop the hen-pecking act and give good advice, or say something worthwhile and not centered on the family. It happened a few times in the Cell games. And many times Bulma acts serious instead of frivolous at important moments. In fact, the whole alternate-future-timeline of the Android Saga is a testament to one way she could have turned out—serious and deliberate and reserved (for the sake of Trunks, at that point in time). As for Vegita, who's actions you only hear about in this, well, its not as OOC as it sounds. Vegita always gets what he goes after eventually, right? So what if he just decided to go after Bulma? I think he would be as relentless in that, if it was a choice he made deliberately. Anyway, enough of my babbling. Thanks go out to Rinoa-chan and Laguna-chan, congratulations on your newfound freedom, even though you'll never read this cause you both hate DZ. I wrote this because it's odd, and you two are the King and Queen of odd.

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