Author's Note: Yes, I know, I have other stories that I really should be finishing before I start yet another one, but I just can't seem to help myself. Inspiration struck! It's not my fault! Blame inspiration!
So, this story, which starts 2 days after Bra is born and jumps around with time, is essentially a bunch of short stories about Vegeta's relationship with his children. And for those of you wondering, the title is taken from Fiddler on the Roof.
Trunks peered into the crib, needing to hover to get his chin over the bars. "Are you a hundred percent sure that Mom didn't just clone herself?" the ten year old questioned, raising an eyebrow at the child below him.
"No," his father replied. "Ninety-eight percent. Knowing your mother, there's always a chance that something odd is actually going on."
Trunks looked up at his father and smirked. "Yeah, I guess with Mom you can never be too sure. And I, personally, think she looks way too much like a clone for coincidence." He shrugged one shoulder before hopping down, opting to look through the bars at his baby sister. "I guess I'll have faith in Mom and believe that she actually had a baby the old fashioned way. Either way, the kid's been born and Mom's mood swings will stop."
When he heard his father snort, Trunks shot the man a horrified look. "They will stop now, right?" he asked, terror in his voice.
"Hardly," Vegeta said. "We've got at least two more months before that woman even begins to act sane again."
Trunks groaned before he turned to look at his sister again. "Can I live with Goten until then?"
"The hell you will," Vegeta countered. "I am not dealing with your post-partum mother and screaming infant sister alone while you play Kakarot's clone."
The ten year old huffed as he sat on the floor, crossing his legs and resting his chin in one of his hands. "You suck," he pouted.
"Duly noted," his father replied with a smirk. "But you know damn well your mother would have a fit if her 'precious baby boy' wasn't around to witness the 'miracle' that is your sister's first month of life."
Trunks snorted, turning toward the wall. "Puh-lease tell me that you guys did not make this much of a fuss about me when I was a baby. That would just have been embarrassing."
Vegeta's smirk disappeared, a solemn look coming upon his handsome face. Trunks had not received such adoration in his infancy, by either parent, and especially by himself. Bulma had been busy trying to make up for work she had lost during her pregnancy, leaving the boy in her mother's care. As for Vegeta himself…
The Prince of Saiyans had not intended to become a parent. Ever. Trunks had been the result of boredom, frustration, and hormones on both his parents' parts. And when his son was born, he had handled it badly. Regardless of what he had said, it was not that he thought that the boy was a worthless half-breed. Nor was it that he thought that he was a useless whelp. No, it had been much more than that.
Vegeta's entire life, until Trunks was a few months old, was nothing more than pain, violence, and hatred. There was no love in his heart, no compassion for anyone. Not even Bulma had truly touched him.
It was his son that started his real change.
His initial decision had been to push the boy away. He had not intended to stay on the Earth, and even if he had, he had not wanted the boy's love. Love was a weakness, love was a flaw. Love was an unreal emotion that creatures around the universe claimed faith in, but only until it betrayed them in the end. And Vegeta knew that if the boy gave him love, he would be the one to betray his faith. He knew he would be the one to teach the boy the true meaning of hatred.
And the thought that Vegeta could make his son as bitter, scornful, isolated, and miserable as he was, was more than he could stand.
So he had ignored the boy, blocked him out of his life entirely. Even the future version of his son, who had fought so hard to be in his father's heart, had barely managed to get direct interaction with him.
Watching Mirai Trunks die had made something inside Vegeta snap. It was a moment that replayed in his mind over and over and over again, and still haunted him. Knowing that all his son had wanted was acknowledgement, and that he had died without it, burned Vegeta in a way he had never been hurt before.
After all was done and over with involving Cell, though, Vegeta did not dive in to become father of the year. If anything, he pushed the boy even further away. He was convinced, after meeting Mirai Trunks, that if his son were in any way close to his father, it would only cause the boy's destruction.
Trunks was two years old before Vegeta started vaguely interacting with the boy, and even that had been fairly distant. When the boy was four, Vegeta deemed him old enough to start training. Oddly enough, Bulma had not discouraged it at all.
For years, it was the only activity that father and son did with each other.
If Vegeta were truly honest with himself, it had only been in the last few years that the two of them had formed a real relationship with each other.
"Well," Trunks said, stretching out as he interrupted is father's thoughts, "I think I'm gonna duck out of here before it starts screaming again."
"She," Vegeta corrected.
Trunks popped an eyebrow at his father. "What?"
"Not 'it', 'she'."
Trunks just shrugged his shoulders. "Whatever. 'The Little Bundle of Joy' has a scream that puts Mom and Aunty Chi-Chi to shame, and I do not want to be here when it…she…starts going it again." The boy shook his head as he got to his feet and made his way for the door. "Why you and Mom wanted to go through this again is beyond me. The screaming, the crying, the vomiting, the diapers…it's been two days and I'm sick of it. How you're going to deal with this for the next few years…" That was the last thing the boy said as he left the room
Vegeta approached the crib and leaned on it as he gazed down on his daughter. Trunks was right, the girl was a perfect clone of her mother. Vegeta couldn't help but wonder if it was some sort of freakish Saiyan gene trend. The second born child always seemed to be the spitting image of the parent whose gender they matched. Goten was identical to Kakarot, who was identical to Bardock. Raditz and Gohan, both firstborns, had been a perfect mixture of their parents. Even in his own family, Trunks had been a perfect blend of both himself and Bulma. Every feature that boy had could be pinpointed on one parent or the other, but the number of traits each parent got seemed perfectly split. Bra, on the other hand, was her mother's clone.
The prince suddenly felt his blood chill slightly in his veins as a thought struck him. He, personally, was almost a mirror image of his father. Significantly shorter due to the brutality of Frieza, but otherwise identical.
Could he have been a second born?
Vegeta shook his head, clearing his thoughts. There was no point in obsessing over such a thought. There was no way to ever find the answer, so why worry?
The prince smirked down at his sleeping daughter. "I really have changed, haven't I?" he whispered. He slid his hand in to the crib and graced his daughter's face with his finger. "Of course, you don't know that, do you? You only met me two days ago. You have no idea how much of an ass I am." He chuckled as his daughter's eyes opened. "I will try to keep you from finding out as long as I can, princess. It should last…two months, tops."
"I say it goes for at least three," Bulma said, yawning as she entered the room.
Vegeta glanced at his wife. "You should be resting, woman," he softly said. "Your body has not yet healed."
Bulma chuckled as she tied off her robe and approached her husband, kissing him on the cheek. "Vegeta, I was on bed rest for the last month of the pregnancy. I need to move a little bit. Don't worry, sweetheart, it's not like I'm leaving the house."
The prince grunted softly, turning his gaze back to their daughter. "You should still be in bed, Bulma."
The heiress smiled softly as she nuzzled against her husband's neck. She loved it when he used her actual name. He only used it on the rare occasion that he was feeling sentimental. "Just give me a few minutes, honey. I promise, I'll let you know if I feel weak at all, and I'll go right to bed."
Vegeta gave no reply, continuing to stroke the baby girl's cheek. He found his mind wandering back to a train of thought that had been constantly playing since he found out that he would have a daughter. What do you do with a girl? Will I be able to train her? Will I even want to train her? What happens when she hits puberty? What will happen when she wants to start dating? Would I even let her date? How old would she have to be before I even consider it?
What if she hates me?
"She won't hate you, Vegeta," the heiress said, again nuzzling his neck.
Vegeta turned and tried to glare at his wife. "Stay out of my head, woman."
Bulma just laughed as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "You're the one with the telepathic abilities, buddy boy," she giggled. "No matter how hard I try, I can only get in when you let me."
Letting out a huff, the prince turned back to the crib. "How do you know that, woman?" he asked. "How can you know that she will not hate me?"
"Trunks doesn't hate you," she pointed out.
"Through freak chance," Vegeta countered. "That boy has had every reason in the world to hate me."
Bulma shook her head. "No, he doesn't," she pushed back. "Maybe you weren't there for him when he was a baby, but you have been a very real part of his life for several years now. He loves you, Vegeta, because you are his dad. Not just his father, but his dad. You listen to him when he talks about what he and Goten spent all day doing. You let him train in the gravity room, even though it means that you have to hold back on your own training. You keep him from flying through the walls when he gets sugared up and rough houses with Goten. You correct him when he makes mistakes, and you do it in a reasonable manner. When he needs to be yelled at, you yell at him, and when he just needs a quick scolding, you just give him a smack on the back of the head and tell him not to do that again." She stood upright and smiled brightly at her husband. "You are a good dad, Vegeta. And I know that Bra is going to love you just as much as Trunks does."
The prince looked at his wife, his face completely blank. "You should be resting, Bulma," he whispered.
Bulma nodded. She kissed her husband on the cheek again, smiling brightly. "Okay, honey. Bring her to me if she starts crying, she'll probably be hungry."
Vegeta nodded back as he watched his wife leave the room. He turned yet again to stare at the wide eyed child by his side. "I cannot promise you that I will always make the right decision by you, princess," he whispered. "But I can promise you that I will always try, and that I will have your best interest in mind."
Bra stared up at her father, and showed him a big, beautiful smile.
And Vegeta smiled back.