Empire: A Family Affair
Chapter 1: You Take Her
Planet Earth – East City
Queen Bulma rubbed her temples. She was in her main lab on Earth. It was late at night and all the lab technicians had been gone for hours. Only the queen remained, staring at a computer screen. She sighed and turned the screen off.
I'll fry my retinas if I don't get some sleep, Bulma thought. She stood and moved towards the entrance. She noticed a white stuffed animal sitting on one of the tables. She sighed and picked it up.
"Bra," Bulma whispered. She squeezed the neck of the demonic-looking thing.
Instead of heading to her chambers, Bulma trekked through the darkened hallways of the East City palace to the conference room. When she arrived, she immediately sent out a call to Vegeta-sei. She knew that it was at least morning in Venova.
Vegeta should be up.
Vegeta-sei – Venova
King Vegeta was pulled from his morning meditation in his training room by the voice of Raditz. Though it was foggy, Vegeta heard something about the woman being on the transmission and asking for him.
It should be well after midnight where she is. What could she possibly want? Vegeta thought as he stood. He followed Raditz to the conference room where Bulma's tired face awaited.
"Leave us," Vegeta said. Everyone vacated the room hastily. Vegeta glanced at Bulma. "Why aren't you resting, woman?" he asked tersely. Bulma frowned.
"Hello, Vegeta. It's nice to see you, too." She looked away from him for a moment. "I was working, if you must know."
"You'll work yourself to death, woman. I can tell that you haven't been resting properly. It's not healthy," Vegeta said. Bulma looked back at him.
"Is that so? Well, I don't recall asking for your opinion on my workload. I don't want your opinion on my workload and how I deal with it, either. 'Kay? I don't tell you how to conduct your diplomatic meetings, do I?"
"I didn't call to debate this, Vegeta. I called to talk about your daughter," Bulma said. Vegeta blinked.
Ten years ago, Bulma had wanted another child. That was when Trunks was five. It took Bulma until Trunks was eleven to conceive. By then, Vegeta had begun a five-year diplomatic trek across the galaxy. Trunks was still also in his training on Vegeta-sei. Now, Trunks was fifteen and in his final year in training.
Vegeta had missed the birth of their daughter, Bra. When he had finally met the child, she was already a year old. Needless to say, Bulma was none too happy with the situation. What confused everyone was that while Vegeta only saw Bra at the most twice a year, the child was absolutely taken with him. Her adoration for him knew no limits.
"What about her?" Vegeta asked while trying to sound as if he did not care. Bulma could tell this was a front; Bra was his pride and joy.
"She's getting a little out of control here. Do you know what it's like for her nanny trying to control a hyperactive half-Saiyan four-year-old? I thought Trunks, Goten, and Gohan were bad at this age. Bra makes them look like saints," Bulma complained. Vegeta raised an eyebrow.
"What do you mean?"
"Trunks and his buddy were mischievous. He was just naughty. Bra likes to try and pick fights with anything and everything. You remember how Trunks used to destroy his stuffed animals?" Bulma watched Vegeta nod slowly. "Bra hasn't grown out of that phase yet. She not only destroys them, she shreds them into pieces and leaves their insides hanging out. She even got hold of one of my sharp tools and went to town on every pillow in the West City palace's living quarters. There was cotton everywhere. You know what she told me afterwards?"
"I just want to see the insides," Bulma said in her sweetest voice. Vegeta could not hide his smirk, so he looked away. Bulma frowned. "She likes to pick fights with my techs and even some of the Saiyan guards you put on duty here. She needs discipline, Vegeta. Not boxing gloves."
"She's four, woman. It's time that she starts the training program," Vegeta said. Bulma shook her head. "Woman, she's Saiyan..."
"HALF-Saiyan, Vegeta. She's also a princess." Then Bulma shrugged. "Unless you want your baby fighting in wars..."
Vegeta blinked and glared at Bulma. It was a cheap shot that she pulled, but he did not want to see his daughter involved in any type of bloodshed. He'd rather see her follow in her mother's footsteps or have her married off. He noticed the thoughtful expression spread over Bulma's face.
"What are you pondering, woman?"
"You've always said that Trunks is more human than Saiyan." Bulma brought Vegeta back into her focus. "I think Bra is more Saiyan than human."
"Is that a fact?"
"Do you think she wants to be trained?"
"I'm not sending her to train, Vegeta. She's just a baby."
"Woman, she doesn't have to go to the army. When she turns sixteen, she can decide that for herself. Right now, she just needs to learn to harness all this excess energy you say she has. Why don't I ever see it?" Vegeta asked.
"Because she's always the perfect little angel when you're around," Bulma muttered. "Besides, Bra misses her 'Daddy' dreadfully." Bulma smiled at Vegeta.
Vegeta frowned. He had been bewildered when the name had come from Bra's mouth. Trunks had always called him "Father." Naturally, Vegeta had ignored Bra until she started crying bloody murder. The way Bra said the name was so inexplicably endearing that Vegeta would move the stars if she asked.
"Fine. Just know that just because she's the princess of the Empire doesn't mean she gets special treatment," Vegeta said. Bulma raised an eyebrow.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"She'll get no special treatment while she's in boot camp. She'll get her ass kicked just like everyone else." Vegeta looked thoughtful. "In fact, they're likely to be harder on her than anyone else. I'm surprised the boy has the temperament that he does."
"They'll be harder on her because she's the princess?" Bulma asked. Vegeta nodded. "Why?"
"You don't want a weak monarch, do you? I think the bratling might have an even tougher time than the boy, though."
"Two reasons. She'll get hassled like Trunks did for her coloring, of course. But, the second is because she is a female. She'll constantly be picked on."
Bulma did not appear too worried about this. After all, Bra was as tough as they came. She took almost nothing lying down. In fact, Bulma was more concerned with those who would make fun of her daughter.
"When should I send her? She probably won't want to leave me here..." Bulma thought of her daughter's separation anxiety. For some reason, the child got anxious about almost anything. Bulma looked away from the screen and got lost in her thoughts. Vegeta noticed this and cleared his throat loudly. Bulma snapped her head towards him. "Hm?"
"Go to sleep, woman. And stop working so much. The galaxy can deal without you trying to kill yourself with so much of it," Vegeta said. Bulma scrunched up her face.
"You're definitely one to talk, Mr. I-Love-War." Bulma crossed her arms. "Killed anyone lately?" she asked. Vegeta smirked and leaned forward.
"No, but I can definitely change that. I can start with my own wife if she doesn't go get some rest."
"Your threats don't work on me, sweetness." Bulma unfolded her arms and stretched while yawning. "This is why I can't be around you for too long. I'll go crazy."
"You know you miss me," Vegeta said. Bulma looked at him wearily. It was true; she missed him a lot and she was sure he missed her, too. Both were entirely too stubborn to admit it, though. So, she simply stuck her nose in the air and turned her head away. Vegeta, hoping for some sort of rebuttal, frowned and did the same. "When are you sending the girl?"
"I really wish you would refer to our children like they are our children, Vegeta," Bulma said.
"They don't seem to mind it. Why should you? I don't ever say your name." Vegeta glanced back at her. Bulma was shaking her head. Vegeta sighed. "Just tell me when you're sending her."
"I'll send her tomorrow, meaning she'll be there in a week. She'll be coming with a few attendants. I warn you; she bites," Bulma said while winking. Vegeta shook his head.
"Woman. Sleep. Now," Vegeta said sternly. Bulma nodded.
"Okay, okay. Stop repeating it to me." Bulma yawned. "G'night, Vegeta." Bulma's face disappeared from the screen.
Vegeta stared at the black screen for a moment before turning to leave the empty room. He went to find one of the older servants. He found the one called Khia. Khia was one of the older women who worked in the palace. She trained the ladies-in-waiting for Bulma. She was also a no-nonsense type.
Perfect, Vegeta thought. He cleared his throat when he found Khia ordering some of the new ladies around. Khia turned around to face him. She just stared at him like he was the one who should show him the respect. The ladies behind her all bowed in respect, though.
"Yes, your majesty?" Khia asked. Vegeta folded his arms over his chest.
"The princess will be coming to stay with us for a while before she starts training. She will arrive within a week. Ready her suite for her," Vegeta said stiffly. Khia nodded. She turned towards a few of the ladies and moved her head. Three of them ran off quickly towards the living quarters to do as Vegeta asked. Khia looked back at Vegeta.
"Will Princess Bra be requiring an escort of any kind?" Khia asked. Vegeta smirked.
"That's where you come in," he said. Khia raised an eyebrow.
Back on Earth, Bulma was snuggled up in her big white comforter and soft pillows. She was sleeping quite soundly when a loud, blue-haired four-year-old tore through the bedroom doors at the speed of light. She was waving something in her hand and giggling loudly. She jumped on her mother's bed and shook her awake. Bulma groaned in protest.
"Mommy! Mommy! Look it!" Bra yelled. She held up her new prize.
"Bra, you must have spontaneously combusted and are burning uncontrollably. I have to be the only person in this entire palace that can put you out." Bulma sat up slowly to see Bra's three attendants finally catching up with her. They noticed the angry queen. "Because that is the only conceivable reason that you would be waking me up this damn early in the fucking morning!" Bulma yelled. She looked down at the giggling little girl.
"Mommy said fucking," Bra said with a big grin. Bulma sighed; she could not stay mad at her daughter. Then she noticed the red splotches all over her white sheets. Then she saw Bra's clothing. Then she noticed Bra's hands and what she was squeezing.
"Sweetie, what are you holding?" Bulma asked. Bra opened her hands to reveal a few severed fingers. Bulma gasped. She looked at Bra's attendants. One of them was holding a hand that was wrapped in gauze. Bulma looked back down at Bra, who was still giggling. "Bra, how did you do that?" she asked. Bra held up a hand.
"Like this." Bra pointed at the wall and shot an energy beam. Bulma grabbed Bra's hand and lowered it with a laugh.
"That's enough, sweetie." Bulma looked at Bra's attendant. "Give Daria back her fingers."
"But I want'em," Bra said with a pout. Bulma sighed and snatched the fingers away from Bra. Bra frowned as she watched her mother hand Daria back her severed fingers.
"What do you say, Bra?" Bulma looked down at Bra. Bra crossed her arms. Bulma shook her daughter gently. "Bra?"
"I'm sorry," Bra mumbled.
"Apology accepted," Daria said through clenched teeth. She scurried away to get her hand fixed.
Bulma sat Bra on the floor and looked at her daughter. The child's clothes were smudged with blood, as were her face and hands. The odd thing was that she did not seem to mind. At this age, Trunks had been afraid of mosquito bites. Bra was already cutting off limbs.
The half-Saiyan princess could no longer reside on Earth. At least until her power was brought under control.
I have to rethink letting her attendants go with her. She might kill them on the way there, Bulma thought. No, she's not that violent. Just... misunderstood.
"Bra, let's get you changed. I have a surprise for you," Bulma said. Bra's blue eyes lit up.
"A surprise? Really?"
"Yep. It has to do with Daddy, too."
An hour later, after Bulma had finally gotten her daughter bathed and dressed, she told her what the surprise was. She did this as they were walking towards the ship that would take Bra to Vegeta-sei. Once Bulma showed Bra her very own ship, the child was happy as can be. Then Bulma told her that she would not be tagging along for the ride.
That was when the tears came.
"I don't wanna go without you, Mommy!" Bra cried, hugging the white stuffed animal she held dear. Bulma smiled.
"I'll call you every day while you're in space. I'll even call you once you get there. Plus, I won't be here all the time. I'll be here only sometimes," Bulma said. Bra wiped the tears from her eyes and sniffled.
"You will come to Daddy's planet?" she asked.
"Of course. It's my planet, too. I live there as well. I have to see you and your big brother," Bulma said. Bra's face brightened considerably.
"Trunks is there?" she asked. Bulma nodded.
Got her! I knew she'd go for the Trunks card, she thought.
"Yep. He'll want to see you, too. So be a good girl on the ride. No destroying things or cutting off fingers, Bra. I will tell Daddy if you are a bad girl and Daddy won't be happy if he hears that you have been mischievous," Bulma said. Bra nodded.
"What about my nannies?"
"Mina will be accompanying you. That is all. Now, your ship will leave you if you don't hurry. Give Mommy a hug." Bulma reached out for Bra. Bra hugged her mother tightly. Bulma tried to let go, but Bra held fast. "Bra honey, let Mommy go," Bulma said.
"Mommy, I don't wanna leave!" Bra cried. Bulma sighed and picked her up. She looked at Bra.
"Listen, sweetie. Mommy will come to Vegeta-sei really soon. Right now, she just has to take care of some things here. That is all. Daddy will take care of you on Vegeta-sei. You know Daddy loves you, right?" Bra nodded. "Well, Daddy won't let anything happen to you while Mommy's not there. Besides, I'm sure Daddy will teach you how to shoot big, big blasts," Bulma said with a laugh. Bra smiled.
"Really?" she asked. Bulma nodded.
"Yep." She put Bra down. "Now, go get on the ship. Mommy will call you soon."
"Do you promise?" Bra asked as she took Mina's hand. Mina started to guide her towards the ship.
"Of course, sweetie."
Bulma watched her daughter enter the ship. She felt her eyes starting to tear. She quickly wiped the tears away. Then she noticed someone holding a handkerchief out to her. Bulma looked up and saw Brolly standing there. Bulma took the handkerchief and wiped her eyes.
"I'm going to miss my baby, Brolly," Bulma said. Brolly nodded. Bulma turned to go back inside as the ship took off. "It's going to be so much quieter around here. Did you know she blasted one of her attendants' fingers off this morning? Classic," she said.
"Seriously?" Brolly asked. Bulma nodded.
"She is definitely her father's child."
A week later, Vegeta stood outside in the yard, watching a large ship land. Why had Bulma seen fit to put a four-year-old on such a large ship? He looked to his right. Khia was standing next to him. Her face was the picture of austerity. With a sly smirk, he looked back at the large ship.
How much has the woman indulged the girl? Vegeta thought with a frown. The ship opened and three very exasperated guards exited. They stopped in front of Vegeta and bowed.
"We present to you Bra, the princ..."
"Say it right!" a high-pitched voice screamed from the ship. Vegeta rarely would entertain such stupidity, but he wanted to see if the soldiers would actually obey. He put up a hand to stop Khia from halting the frivolous act. The soldiers sighed and one fought the urge to roll his eyes.
"We present to you Bra, the prettiest princess in the universe." The guards stepped to the side, revealing the blue-haired demi-Saiyan and her nanny.
Satan in the form of a child, Vegeta mused. Bra was the image of Bulma in a four-year-old's body. Her long blue hair was in curly ringlets. She smiled happily up at her father.
"Hi, Daddy!" she squealed. Vegeta's eye twitched and fell on the large, white thing she was dragging behind her. It was nearly the same size as she was. It had an almost demonic feel to it but because it was white, one had to assume it was a children's toy.
How is that even possible? Vegeta asked himself.
"What the hell is that?" Vegeta asked, pointing to it. Bra held the white thing up with ease.
"This is my favorite toy in the whole world. It's my bear. My nanny Mina gave it to me." Bra motioned to Mina. "This is my nanny from Earth, Mina, but I call her Mimi."
Vegeta took a lingering look of disgust at the stuffed toy. Then he looked at Mina. Mina cowered slightly under his gaze. Vegeta then glanced back down at his daughter. She was fixing some of the fuzz on the gigantic bear. This spoiled creature before him could not possibly be his offspring. He turned towards the maddened guards.
"You three may return to Earth. The princess will be receiving new guards." Before the sentence was even completely out of Vegeta's mouth, Vegeta felt something tugging at his right arm. He looked down to see Bra holding on to him. "What?"
"I don't want them to go," Bra whined, on the verge of tears.
"Tough." Vegeta nodded at the soldiers who did everything short of running back to the ship. Vegeta was not quite prepared for the high-pitched shriek that Bra emitted thereafter. He looked down at her. She was only making noise; there were absolutely no tears. Not a single one.
"You can't send them back! I want them!" she screamed. Vegeta opened his mouth to speak. Before he could say anything, a blur of black passed him. Bra's cries were halted as Khia lifted the child off of her feet by the collar of her dress.
"A little less noise and a little more shut the hell up!" Khia yelled. Bra stared blankly into the strange Saiyan woman's eyes. "Saiyan princesses do not whimper and screech. I have seen babies cry less in a day than you have in five minutes." Khia dropped Bra unceremoniously on the ground and Mina helped her up. Khia crossed her arms. She glared down at the teddy bear.
"Khia, take the girl to her quarters and make sure she's settled. Get her out of that frilly thing, too," Vegeta said. Khia nodded. Bra looked up at the sinister-looking woman again. Then she looked at Vegeta. Vegeta inclined his head and Bra followed after Khia with Mina in tow.
Vegeta stood on the concrete for a moment before heading back inside. He immediately sent out a call to his wife. When Bulma's face popped up on the screen, he took a deep breath.
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY DAUGHTER?!" he yelled. Bulma simply smiled.
"She's a monster, isn't she?"
"Well, fix her to your liking, oh mighty one. I literally had to pry her off of me to get her on the damn ship. I won't tell you what she did to one of her poor attendants. That's why she's only up there with one."
"That child is monstrous. She starts the boot camp next week. When will you be back here?" Vegeta asked.
"In a month. I just have to wait until the delegation gets out of session. Then I can put Seventeen in charge and leave." Bulma raised an eyebrow. "Why? Do you finally miss me?"
"No. I was just," Vegeta paused, "curious."
"Sure. Well, I miss you." Bulma crossed her arms. She saw the smirk cross Vegeta's face. "Yes. I caved in first. After five years, I finally said it. I miss you. There, are you happy?"
"I wasn't aware that this was a contest," Vegeta lied.
"Whatever." Bulma cut the transmission. She stared at the blank screen for a moment. "Jerk," she whispered.
One week later, in Venova, Vegeta had found that Bra adjusted rather well to life on Vegeta-sei. She was more curious than mischievous. She tagged after her father, wanting to know everything he did. She even watched him train and tried to mimic him when it came to the energy blasts. Bra did seem to have a problem with authority, though. She constantly told Khia to "kiss off," a phrase she had learned from Trunks and Goten. She also had an extreme superiority complex and some sort of separation anxiety. To put it simply, the child was an enigma.
The morning of Bra's departure to boot camp, she walked into her bedroom after her morning bath. Just Khia was waiting there, which was odd. Normally, only Mina was there, ready to dress her. Bra looked at her bed. A navy blue body suit was laid out for her.
"Good morning, your highness. Your father is taking you somewhere today," Khia said. Bra looked disdainfully at her wardrobe for the day. Then she looked at Khia.
"Aren't you going to dress me?" she asked. Khia's eyebrows furrowed and she cleared her throat.
"My apologies, your highness, but King Vegeta informed me that you are perfectly capable of dressing yourself. Where you're going, you'll definitely need that skill," she said. Bra gave Khia a scowl that would have put Vegeta to shame. "You should not keep your father waiting."
Bra silently dressed herself. She wrapped her blue tail around her waist. Khia came up behind her and braided her hair for her. It was quite different from the way Mina did her hair. While Mina's hands were always soft and delicate, Khia worked her hair quite rough. Khia handed the princess a pair of white gloves and boots. Bra put them on and followed Khia out.
Vegeta was staring up at the sky of Vegeta-sei. He was just outside the training grounds. The clouds were beginning to part. If one was superstitious, that meant that the day would be a good day. He smirked and turned around when he heard the pitter-patter of little feet. He saw his daughter approaching. Bra's sullen look seemed to disappear when she saw her father standing there. She walked faster over to him and stopped just before she got to him.
"Hi, Daddy!" she said loudly. Vegeta winced.
Why does she feel the need to squeak every time she sees me? he asked himself. He shook his head and opened his eyes.
"Where are we going?"
"You're going somewhere very, very special." He turned to face the entrance to the training grounds. He heard Bra sniff. He looked down and saw her wrinkle her nose just like Bulma. He shook his head. "Something wrong, princess?"
"It stinks, Daddy. What is this place?" Bra asked. Vegeta walked forward. Bra followed after him, staying under his cape.
"This is where you become strong, princess."
"But you said I'm already strong, Daddy."
"Stronger, princess. Don't you want to get stronger?" Vegeta looked down. The blue-eyed princess was nodding fervently.
Vegeta took her all the way to the back of the training grounds. There, a group of young Saiyan girls around Bra's age were sitting on the muddy ground. They were all dressed similarly to Bra. Bra stuck closer to her father as they all turned to look at her. A woman at the front noticed Vegeta and came over to him.
"Your majesty, is this the princess?" she asked while looking down at Bra. Bra hid behind Vegeta, squeezing his leg. Vegeta sighed and looked down at her.
"Yes, this is she." He looked back up at the woman. "No special treatment at all. She gets treated the same as everyone else. If she throws a tantrum, discipline her the same as anyone else. Only come for me if it's a real emergency."
"What constitutes a real emergency, sire?"
"I don't know. If she kills one of her classmates, that's a real emergency. If she loses a limb, that's a real emergency. Are we clear?" Vegeta asked. The woman nodded. Vegeta pried Bra off of his leg and kneeled down to look at her. "You're going to stay here for a while and train, princess."
Vegeta watched Bra's whole demeanor change in a quarter of a second. He could see the oncoming tantrum, but he decided to let it start so that Bra's new teacher could see what one looked like. Bra started to scream and scratch at her father's arms.
"But, I wanna stay with you!" she yelled. Vegeta frowned.
"Hey!" he said firmly. Bra stopped and looked at her father. "Your hissy fits don't work on me, brat. Now, do as you're told. You'll be allowed to see me every couple of months. Trunks had to do this. Now it's your turn." Vegeta turned Bra around so that she could face her peers. They were all looking at her with wide eyes. "Now go." He pushed her forward a bit. Bra started to walk forward slowly, still sniffling.
Vegeta watched Bra go and sit down next to her peers. Then he turned around and left without looking back. He knew that Bra had looked back at him. If he had looked back at her, he probably would have been compelled to oblige her and bring her home. He was not about to be sucked into that trap.