Choices and Decisions

Choices

"Oh I hate him!" Bulma shouted as she smashed through the door to a large white and pristine kitchen that was mechanically enhanced everywhere, much like the rest of Capsule Corp.1 The woman with blue hair was dressed in a small black dress accompanied with matching purse and heels. She was the vision of a high society beauty, with the exception of her face. Tears had caused her makeup to run and she had the look of hysteria all over.

This sudden outburst surprised a man who was already in the kitchen. Vegeta had been fetching himself a drink after his routine work out. Having come from the training gym, he was clad in his customary short black tights and athletic shoes that Bulma had provided to him.

Upset with himself for being taken aback, Vegeta gave Bulma a short glance. He found himself further annoyed that his first instinct was to find her attractive in her black dress. He was additionally surprised when she stomped through the kitchen, her stiletto heels clicking on the tiles, toward him. Not giving him any acknowledgement she moved directly for the juice mix he had made for himself and guzzled it down in one great gulp. Wiping her mouth, smearing her red lipstick a little, she dropped the glass on the floor and began to search the fridge. Grabbing a six pack of beer2 she proceeded to open one and gulp its contents.

Vegeta could only stand and stare as the woman tore through the kitchen, creating a mess. Once done with one can she would throw it on the floor and open another. "Could you be a little tidier?" the Saiyan prince grumbled. "Your mother will see this in the morning and have a fit, probably blame the whole mess on me."3

"Will you just shut up!" cried Bulma, throwing a half full beer can at him, some of which ended up on him.

"Ugh!" Vegeta took a dish towel and dried himself off. "You're lucky I haven't taken my shower yet!"

"You stupid karate junkies!"4 she shouted, pointing an angry finger at him. "That's all you think about isn't it? Training! You don't care about anybody but yourselves!" Bulma leaned against the counter and put her face in her hands. "You're all the same, you never think about other people's feelings. Except for Goku, he was always the gentleman, but even he's an airhead."

"Don't put me in the same basket as those losers." Vegeta hated being compared to Goku, especially since he could never beat him. "So, are you going to tell me why you're so upset, or will I have to endure this tantrum all night?"

"It's Yamcha; he's been seeing other women behind my back." She sniffed in her tears and slumped further onto the counter.

"You mean that wasn't obvious?" snorted Vegeta.

"Oh shut up! Like you know anything, training all day, lousy freeloader."

"You don't want me here? Fine, I'll leave. I'll find somewhere else to train for the androids."5 Vegeta tossed the dish towel on the counter and began to walk away.

"No, wait," said Bulma, stepping after him. When he didn't stop, she bounded for him, catching her stiletto heel on a defect in the floor tile and effectively twisting her ankle. She let out a shriek of pain that caused Vegeta to turn around.

"What did you do now?" He looked down to see that her ankle was bent in an odd way. He knelt down and removed her shoes. He felt the twisted ankle and reset it to its proper position gently. Bulma wailed in pain. "Geez woman, I'm not cutting it off, just feeling to see how bad it is."

"I hurt it yesterday," cried Bulma, leaning on her elbows. "I didn't even want to go out tonight, but Yamcha said he wanted to see me."

"Will you stop talking about that idiot! It only makes you more upset."

For once in her life Bulma decided not to respond.

Carefully sliding his arm underneath her legs, he ignored her protests and picked her up. "Will you stop trying to kick me? You're only going to make your foot worse."

"I didn't ask you to carry me!"

"Yes, but if I didn't you'd be whining about it for weeks."

Bulma smiled and let herself relax. "You're right." She snuck a quick peck on his cheek. His face instantly flushed red. "Thank you Vegeta."

Vegeta mumbled, "You're welcome," and proceeded to Bulma's room. The hallway to which the bed rooms were adjacent was beyond the large living room. No light reached the hallway and Vegeta was forced to feel around for his hands were full cradling the woman. He had never been inside her room before, but he knew which one hers was. By the time he had made his way to her bed she had fallen asleep, her head on his shoulder. The prince allowed himself to crack a smile.

Placing her on the bed, he raised the cover over her legs. When he turned to leave the room, Bulma sleepily caught his hand in hers. "Please don't go. I don't want to be alone."

Vegeta pushed her hand off of his gently. "Go to sleep. I'm just going to get you some ice." He left for the kitchen to grab an ice pack from the freezer. Personally he never used these because he just wanted to heal as quickly as possible, never mind the pain. Ice would be good for her bruising foot. Besides, Vegeta wanted to help her get better. She had done the least for him in the past.6

Returning to her room he found her sliding out of her dress while sitting on the bed. Despite only faint street light filtering through curtains, Vegeta could yet make out the curves of her body. Attempting to be uninterested he walked forward and made a small 'ahem' noise. Startled, Bulma dragged the cover over her shoulders. "Will you knock?"

"I brought the ice," he grumbled, proceeding to the bed. Lifting the cover at her feet he wrapped the ice pack securely around her bruising ankle. Condensation from the ice dampened the bed sheets. Ignoring her squeals of pain, he held her foot down with the ice pack. "Stop squirming around, you don't want to hurt yourself more."

"But the ice hurts!"

"No it doesn't! It's just ice. You know it will make the swelling in your foot go down. Now go to bed, and stop acting like a child!"

"You're right," she yawned, "I'm real sleepy." Bulma nodded, her eyes closed, and then rolled over. The Saiyan prince pulled the cover down over her feet, careful of the ice bag. Allowing himself a few more seconds staring at her sleeping frame, he left her room. He shut the door as noiselessly as possible then laid his hand upon its cool metal. Vegeta let a slight sigh for the woman beyond that door leave his lips. She had wanted him to stay, why did he not? If he had, would he be in that bed with her right now? Shaking that nonsense from his head he turned to walk down the hall to his own room.

*

Vegeta awoke late in the morning to the cruel realization that he had not showered after his session last night. Bulma had interrupted him. In hindsight he did not mind the interruption all too much. There was something sublime about his moment with that woman the night before. Secretly he had been jealous of Yamcha for his philanderer's ways. Yamcha had as many as he could ever want, while Vegeta had not even had one in his entire life. And that fool let Bulma get away from him. Bulma had intelligence, boldness, wealth, and an aura of inclusiveness that had put even Vegeta himself at ease. If he, Vegeta, could see all of this, why then could Yamcha not?

Being able to smell himself without even trying the Saiyan prince went straight to the shower. To his luck Bulma was already there, stepping out. He caught a glimpse of her curved form before he turned away out of respect. Attempting to keep his tough persona he folded his arms over his bare chest.

Seeing him Bulma giggled. With a fresh towel wrapped around her she limped over to him. Laying a soft hand on his sinewy and scarred shoulder she said, "You don't have to be so formal you know. You've been living here for a while now."

Vegeta turned around and looked up to her bright blue eyes. He despised how she was taller than him, but could not help but fall out of focus when looking into those eyes. "A prince must show respect, no matter where he is."

"Indeed," she said, playfully pinching her nose. "Now get your cute little butt into that shower this instant mister, you smell horrible!" She gave him a pat on the rear as she walked out the door. From the other side of the wall, Bulma added, "When you're done meet me out in the garden, okay? I left you some clothes. Don't worry, they're not pink."

"Will you just go away woman!" he shouted down the hall. Grumbling he shed his limited clothing and stepped into the shower. Secretly he reveled in the lingering smell of the woman who had just left it. Turning on the water he let it sift slowly through his hair, taking away the dried sweat with it. Leaning against the tiled wall he let the weight of the situation cascade down with the water from the shower head. He couldn't read her very well, but he could guess what she wanted from him, which was the same thing he was looking for from her: companionship. Vegeta was presently worried that somehow he was going to make a mistake; he was never good in social situations.

*

Bulma sat on a leather couch in front of a large television set. She was clad in blue silk pajamas that rippled suggestively about her figure. As she had prompted him to do so, Vegeta sat across from her on the same couch in his customary work out shorts. Bulma had made them both cocoa but he had not touched his. He did not like sugary foods.

It was an odd day; he and Bulma had spent the whole of it together. They had just walked around the city and the corporation, Bulma talking about this or that. She did talk much more than most people, but Vegeta enjoyed it because that meant he didn't have to say anything, only listen. She was also handy in social situations because she would answer for him in public or at stores. Vegeta did not feel comfortable in public.

Now, here they were, in the living room, alone, in their night clothes. Vegeta tried to look bored and tired, but he was actually excited, his whole body pumping with blood. In his mind were licentious thoughts about what he would like to do to Bulma, but he didn't follow through. He wanted her to want him; that's really what he had been looking for his whole life.

Bulma began their conversation by asking, "Could you tell me what it was like for you when you were a kid?"

"Why do you want to know that?"

Bulma shrugged. "I guess I'm just curious. I mean, you didn't grow up on earth. Everyone else I know did, even Goku and Piccolo. But you, you grew up in space, didn't you?"

Vegeta nodded. "I was Freiza's personal ward. I grew up under his control on many different planets and inside many different ships and stations." His intent was not to be short or angry with his words, but that was how he felt they were expressed.

"Alright," she said, unfazed by his tone, "Well I know where you grew up. I grew up right here at Capsule Corp." Bulma gave Vegeta a sweet smile and stretched out on the couch. "You've met my parents. What were yours like?"

"I can't remember my mother," Vegeta said, folding his arms over his chest. "It's customary with Saiyans though. Kakarot was just one of many children who would have been sent out to other planets as newborns. Just because I am prince doesn't mean that I get any special privileges."

"Oh, I don't doubt that," said the blue haired woman, resting her feet on Vegeta's lap. "No, as the prince I'm pretty sure you'd have your butt worked off your whole life to be the best you possibly could. I may not know what you've been through, but I can say I can understand, at least a little. I mean my whole life because I never had any brother's or sisters I had to be the genius who would in the future take over from my dad. He's the best dad I could ever hope for, but that doesn't mean that I didn't feel a lot of pressure." Bulma sighed and ruffled her hair. "I'm sorry for running my mouth off again; I'm not letting you say anything at all. Everybody always says I talk too much."

Vegeta smiled and proceeded to lift her feet from his legs. Kicking off his shoes he stretched his legs out on the couch and replaced her legs on his lap. He attempted to ignore the difference in length and enjoy the moment. "Who is 'everybody'?"

"Oh, you know," began the woman with blue hair, "The guys: Krillin, Goku … Yamcha."

"I thought I told you not to talk about him," Vegeta grumbled.

"Well it's a little difficult hun, he was a big part of my life." Bulma shrugged and looked vacantly into the distance. "I began searching for the dragonballs when I was just a kid. That's how I met Goku. He had one with him and it came up on the dragon radar. We soon met Yamcha in the desert. He was a bandit, and if you can imagine, he was deathly afraid of women."

Vegeta chortled. He enjoyed watching her talk. In the damp light of the living room everything about her seemed magical. Clad in blue silk that almost matched her hair and her eyes she was almost a wisp, an intangible object he was only just grasping for in thin air. Realizing that she was real, that the heat on his legs was from her, another living creature, was almost more bizarre than if she were a ghost. In all his years he had never been party to such an alien feeling. It frightened him, but also liberated him from all of the hate and wretchedness he had felt his whole life. This was a woman, a woman he could touch and feel and talk to. He could not let this feeling disappear. "All women or just you?"

"Hey!" she exclaimed, playfully kicking at him. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"You're a real handful; I'm not surprised that fool couldn't handle you." He touched her sore foot softly. Lifting it carefully he examined the large purple and blue bruise that had appeared on its side. "Your foot is looking better."

"Thanks," she said with a smile. After a long pause of letting the prince massage her ankle, Bulma said, "So, are you saying you could?"

Vegeta spent long moments staring into her eyes. His face expressionless but his heart a maelstrom, he finally said, "Maybe."

"Oh ho," Bulma scoffed, placing a well pedicured foot on Vegeta's chest. "Being bold are we? Well, mister prince, if you really wanted me, why didn't you try earlier?"

Vegeta adopted a sour visage. "You were unavailable before, now you're not."

"What about last night? Why did you not stay with me?"

"You were drunk. I don't like to be around inebriated people."

Bulma took her foot off of his chest. Shifting her weight to her knees she leaned over him. "I'm not inebriated now." Slowly she slid her hand over his chest. The skin between the scars could feel her touch and energized him in such a way that all of his vigor was used to keep himself in control. The hairs on his chest prickled under the sensation of her lightly stroking hand. "All of these scars, they're like the medals for the battles you've been in."

Vegeta chortled and cupped her face with one of his hands. Her skin was smooth as silk on his calloused and weathered hands. The lonely prince wanted to kiss that milky visage. An almost shy smile formed beneath his hand. "I've been in battles my entire life. I was the best; no one could beat me; no one but Freiza … and Kakarot."

"Shhh," she cooed, kissing his forehead. The sensation of her lips did not leave his brow. "I'm not allowed to talk about Yamcha, so you're not allowed to talk about them. Not right now anyways. They're not here, only we are." She leaned further forward; her lips parted, and ready to kiss him.

Vegeta outdid her and kissed her in a passion he could not remember feeling once in his whole life. He was no stranger to battle high, or the adrenaline that would remain after he won, but this was a completely different feeling. The Saiyan was careful not to be too rough, but was finding such a task difficult at the moment. As he kissed her and felt her body beneath his hands he knew what he could do if he were not alert. Releasing Bulma from his embrace, he sat up on the couch and gazed off into the distance.

Bulma raised herself up beside him and rested her hand on his shoulder. "What's the matter?"

Vegeta adopted his usual stoic visage and kept his eyes on a point in the distance. The hand on his shoulder was troublesome and did not aid in his attempt to regain his composure. "I have never been with a woman. I am … unfamiliar with what I may do. I know that I could … break your bones with very little effort, and … I don't want to."

Bulma looked to his face in surprise and sadness. "Never? In your entire life?"

Vegeta shook his head. "I have lived my life as a warrior. I have not had time for anything other than that until I came to live here."

Bulma turned to face him, kicking her leg over his. The woman kissed his lips lightly and pressed her forehead against his. She held eye contact with him, her arms draping from his neck. "I am not worried that you will hurt me. An old friend of mine once told me that if you believe you might hurt someone then you will. So put those thoughts out of your head so we can get down to business."

"And who would this old friend be?" the prince asked, playfully sifting his hands beneath the bottom of her nightshirt.

"Not telling," she said as she pressed her lips to his once again. "So, hun, where were we?"

*

Vegeta woke early the next morning, the dawn light shining on his face. Beneath his arm was the woman he had spent the night with. Nearly confused at how the night had gone before, he remembered in embarrassment that he had told this woman so many intimate details about himself. No one before knew anything about his life, save for Kakarot. During that one moment Vegeta was dying and had felt it necessary to relate his story. The words and feelings he shared with this woman were shared not out of haste, but out of other emotions. Lust was easily identified as one of these emotions; however, there was something more to it than that.

Bulma shifted unconsciously in her sleep. The movements of her naked body next to his excited him. Annoyed by the light shining in his eyes, he stepped out of the bed to close the blinds. Unused to being naked when not in the shower, the prince felt chilled. Upon closing the blinds Bulma's soft and sleepy voice told him to come back to the bed. Obeying, he slid under the covers and wrapped his arm around her waist.

Vegeta did not know what to feel about this situation. Currently he was comfortable and warm, and didn't want to lose that feeling. He still had the androids to worry about, but he also had to live his life. For the time being he would continue to be with this woman in a mutual need for companionship. Love was not an issue, for as far as he knew Saiyans did not recognize love as an emotion or state of being. Vegeta accepted that this affair would not last forever. For now he was content to fall into these thralls of infatuation. He still desired to train, to become a Super Saiyan7, to beat Goku, but at present, he was to continue his sleep as long as he could.

Decisions

A mountain exploded on a lone and barren world. Rocks of a red hue flew in every direction through a vaguely orange sky. Through the debris flew the man responsible. Vegeta, prince of all Saiyans, or what was left of them, was in a ripe mood this day. Months of training gone by and he had almost nothing to show for it. A plateau was hit and he could not surpass it. Kakarot had passed that same plateau years ago but Vegeta could not figure out how. Everyone close to Kakarot believed it to be Krillin's death, or the urgent need to defeat Freiza. Vegeta had the androids to worry about, but no sudden urgency was attributed to them. Not yet anyways. Another other factor that was part of Kakarot's transformation was also impossible for Vegeta to obtain for he had no one close to him he needed to protect. No one, that is, other than that woman: Bulma.

The only two thoughts on his mind these past months were obtaining the level of Super Saiyan and the time he had spent with that woman. She had made him feel what he had not in a very long time, as well as new sensations and emotions. Companionship, longing, even love, all things to which Vegeta was unfamiliar were created by his relationship with her. He was happy in her presence, but there was something wrong with the situation that he couldn't place. Everything about being with her and being wanted by her was too much for him to handle and so he left. Constantly he reminded himself that he needed to train, to beat the androids, to be better than Kakarot. Vegeta wanted events to unfold the way they should, and being with an Earth woman was not part of the plan.

In his angst and anger he destroyed several more mountains. This was a deserted region of the planet he currently resided on and nothing but rocks were going to be hurt. Before his time with Bulma, the prince wouldn't have cared about accidentally killing some creature. Their brief romantic interlude had changed something inside him and he was almost worried about himself.

Having trained for a good fourteen hours, Vegeta returned to his ship. It was a ship Bulma and her father had designed for him to train under immense gravity, and to soar through the cosmos. The ship's design was based on a type of ship all of Freiza's henchmen used, including Vegeta years and years ago. This trip was also to route out the last of their bases and colonies, when the prince found them. All of their influence anywhere near the Solar system had been eradicated, thanks to Vegeta. He had not done this task out of kindness, but rather for revenge.

Entering the dusty and travel worn ship, Vegeta instantly heard a soft beeping sound. That sound was coming from the control panel. A small green light was flashing on the screen indicating that he had a piece of video mail. Grumbling he opened the mail, knowing exactly who it was from. Bulma's face appeared on screen and a computerized voice said, "Now opening message."

"Hi Vegeta," came Bulma's voice slightly distorted by the electronic recording. "I know you don't want to hear this, but yet again you're at the end of your fuel supplies. Looks like you're going to need some repairs too so you'll be grounded for a while when you get home. When you get this either manually input Earth's coordinates or call me and I'll do it for you. See you soon!" The computerized voice returned and said, "End of message."

"Stupid woman," grumbled Vegeta, closing the air hatch. Strapping himself in for the lift off procedure, he punched the coordinates for Earth into the keypad. "I've been flying through space a hell of a lot longer than she has!" Stretching his arms, he waited for the G's to disappear before he undid his belt. Yawning, he punched another command into the control panel and a tubular casing came up from the floor. The case was a cryogenic device Vegeta asked Dr. Briefs to install. Usually he would train with the extra gravity function the ship employed, but this time he was tired, and decided he would sleep until he arrived at Earth. At this point no more training would help until he found a way off of the plateau he had hit.

*

Upon arriving back at Earth Vegeta was surprised Bulma was not there to greet him. Dr. Briefs was there with his cat, waiting for Vegeta to step out. "Hello my boy, how was your trip?"

Vegeta ignored the question and looked around. "Where's your daughter? I thought I would have heard that annoying voice by now."

"She's in the kitchen," began the doctor, "But I think I should tell you something so you're not too surprised."

"Surprised?" the prince scoffed, "What could possibly surprise me?" Vegeta stormed off, not looking back once to hear what the doctor was about to say.

"You never know," said Dr. Briefs under his breath.

"Bulma!" Vegeta called, entering the kitchen. A tray of half prepared food was left out on the counter. "Confounded woman, where are you?"

"Oh Vegeta!" squealed Bulma, coming from the hallway bathroom to give him a hug. "I'm so glad you're home! How was the trip?"

Releasing her from the hug, his eyes went immediately to her stomach. In the hug he could feel that she was bigger than he remembered, and now he could see why. "So, I see you got back together with the womanizer."

"Who, Yamcha? I guess he comes around a bit, but he's real busy with the Taitans8 and all. What made you think that?"

Vegeta, red in the face, pointed at Bulma's belly. "It's pretty obvious."

"Oh," said Bulma, concealing a smile behind her hand. "It's just been so long, I forgot that you didn't know."

"Know what?" Vegeta stepped back a few paces.

"Oh, hun, you're going to be a daddy soon. Little Trunks here is going to be born in just a few weeks."

"Trunks?" said Vegeta, his eyes as wide as saucers.

"Yes, Trunks, your son."

The Saiyan prince was a statue on wobbly feet. It was a small piece of information, but held so much weight for him. A son, a being of his blood, was growing in this woman's belly and she wasn't even a Saiyan. He knew it was possible; Kakarot's son Gohan was enough proof. Vegeta had never imagined that such a thing could happen to him.

"H-how?" was all he could utter through his trembling lips.

"Well, hun, it's pretty obvious," said Bulma with a charming smile. "We may not have been together long, but long enough to get this little guy started." She rubbed her swollen belly unconsciously. "Though, it kind of begs the question why I and Yamcha never got pregnant, after so long and all."9

"Don't patronize me," he growled, regaining the strength in his legs. "I'm not stupid, I know how it happened. I just can't believe it. I'm going to be …"

"A dad?" Bulma finished. "Yeah, isn't it amazing? And I'm going to be a mom! I'm so excited. Once I found out I started buying all of the things for the baby."

"When did you find out?" Vegeta asked, looking her directly in the eyes.

"A few weeks after you left," she answered. Continuing her preparation of dinner, she added, "At first I was scared, but I came around to the idea real fast after talking to my mom."

Vegeta turned away and crossed his arms. "Well, I may not have been around, but you should have told me."

"Yeah, and have you so freaked out you'd never come back?" she replied, chopping vegetables. "No, I think things worked out for the best. You're home, and the baby will be born soon. Under a month I think. Guess how long the repairs to the ship are going to take?"

"Two, right?" said Vegeta with a sarcastic smile.

"Not sure," said the woman fiendishly. "I'm sorry, but you're stuck here mister Saiyan prince."

Leaning heavily upon the counter Vegeta could not pry his eyes from the woman as she was preparing dinner. When he last saw her she was a vision of beauty, curved and spry, every part of her being in place. In the months since he had been on Earth she had changed drastically. Not only her belly, which was painfully obvious, but her whole demeanor denoted a great metamorphosis. At present Bulma exuded an aura of dependability that even Vegeta felt he would be drawn into, while he had the notion he was the only one not being responsible. Total fear enveloped his character so thoroughly that it engulfed his senses and caused him to fall to the floor.

"Oh my!" Bulma exclaimed when she turned her head. Vegeta was lying face down on the kitchen tile, unconscious. In her state all she could do was turn him over so that he could breathe clearly and call for her father. Waiting for Dr. Briefs to enter the kitchen Bulma retrieved a washcloth and dampened it with the tap. Placing the cloth on the prince's head, Bulma gently kissed his lips. "Welcome home."

*

Vegeta awoke in a both familiar and unfamiliar place. He was in the room Bulma had provided him in her house in the Capsule Corp. compound. For the past months he had been living in the space ship and had nearly forgotten this room. While living at the compound he rarely ever spent time within this room, except to sleep. The last nights he spent here were in Bulma's bed.

Waking in near darkness without the familiarity of the ship's interior, he wished that Bulma were with him, just as she was in nights past. Vegeta contemplated whether she was his woman, to keep and protect, possibly even love. She was bearing his child, and happily at that. "My child," he hummed, gazing at the ceiling in the dark. Pondering the situation with which he had been presented, he was glad. The child was a boy, which meant that he could carry on Vegeta's royal line as a Saiyan. His name, Trunks; Vegeta didn't quite like it, but Bulma had the right to name him. All Saiyan mothers named their children: one of their few rights.10 Yet Bulma was a human, not a Saiyan, and so not all of the same rules applied. "What a conundrum," Vegeta hummed.

"Indeed, my boy, it seems so," spoke the voice of an old man. Dr. Briefs was standing just inside the door. "So, how was your sleep?"

Vegeta attempted to sit up but his limbs were too heavy. "What's the matter, why can't I move?" he asked, nearly panicked.

"Now, I'm no medical doctor, but I'd say it's because you're too mentally fatigued." Dr. Briefs shut the door and proceeded to sit on a chair near the bed. The room was dark, save for the street lamp barely seen through the window. "You've been sleeping for about three days now. I've never seen someone sleep that long at one time without life support. I guess too many things came at you at once." Dr. Briefs made an almost invisible movement and Vegeta heard a click on a surface near his head. "I brought you water, thought you might need some when you woke up."

Using as much energy as he could muster Vegeta lifted himself to drink the water. He had not noticed how thirsty he was until the water touched his lips. Gulping the water down, he fell to the bed when he was done. Looking to the other side of the room he saw the doctor's silhouette. "Why are you still here?"

"Just wanted to tell you something about Bulma," he began, "Before I forget."

Vegeta grumbled, "And what would that be?"

"Oh, just that she may seem very sure of herself now, but she wasn't for the first couple months of the pregnancy." The chair creaked as the old man shifted his weight. "For a long while there she thought the baby could have been Yamcha's."

Vegeta closed his eyes upon hearing those last few words. Feeling hot tears beneath his eyelids, he blinked them away. "How did she figure out who the father was?"

"Well, as you know," continued Dr. Briefs, "You were with her closer to when she found out. But just to be sure, when she was far enough along, she had Yamcha come in to do a test." Dr. Briefs gave out an indiscernible sigh. "You should have seen how happy she was when she found out it wasn't Yamcha." Dr. Briefs stood up from his chair and approached Vegeta. Laying a bent and wrinkled hand upon the younger man's naked shoulder, the doctor added, "For what it's worth, she always wanted you to be the father." Content, Dr. Briefs departed from the room, leaving the door open.

Annoyed by the light, Vegeta felt the need to close the door. He was sure the doctor had left the door open to prompt him to leave his bed. Vegeta scoffed at the idea of an old man trying to get him, the prince of all Saiyans, a powerful warrior race, up and moving. After moments of trying to lift his body off of the bed he found that possibly he had indeed needed the doctor's help. As always he pushed himself to overcome any obstacles. Only now his obstacle was his own mind, which had broken down after too much stress. At least he could be spurred on by the resolution that Bulma had wanted him, and that he was going to be a father. After decades of loneliness and hopelessness arising from being one of the last of kind left in the whole universe, he had caused the creation of another, his son. The notion filled Vegeta with energy and he could stand proudly. Deciding to see Bulma, he slowly emerged from his room and proceeded down the hallway.

*

In the last few weeks before the baby was born Bulma had been inviting Vegeta to her bed. At most Vegeta would hold her or rub her belly, barely sexual in any way. Finding sublime comfort in those nights, he cherished them. During these weeks he made training a second priority for the ship's repairs had only just been finished. After coming to a plateau in his training Vegeta wasn't too thrilled with what he had accomplished. He had to take his work up a notch, but he couldn't fathom how.

On one of these splendid mornings was when Bulma's water broke. Both of them were woken by the shock of the wet sensation. Groggily, the prince sat up while Bulma jumped out of bed. "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!"

"What is it?" yawned Vegeta.

"What do you think, you idiot!" Bulma grabbed a jacket from the closet and pulled it on over her nightgown. Picking up her purse, she continued, "I'm having the baby!"

"Now?" Vegeta asked, jumped out of bed hastily.

"Duh! The bed's all wet because my water just broke! C'mon, we need to go to the hospital!" Bulma took off in the direction of the door. "Don't forget to -- ahh!" The woman bent over in pain.

Vegeta was at her side in an instant. "Are you okay?"

"Just a contraction," she said, breathing heavily. "I'll be okay for now, just go tell mom and dad, and make sure they understand what you're saying, okay?"

Vegeta nodded with a sardonic smile. "I'll be back shortly." Speedily he told both Dr. and Mrs. Briefs of the situation and returned to Bulma.

She was sitting on the bed, in the middle of another contraction. Tears were running from her eyes. Having been on many battlefields Vegeta could recognize fear in a second, and it exuded from every part of this woman's being.

The prince sat softly next to her and held her weeping form in his arms. Petting her head, running his fingers through her hair, he hummed, "Do not be afraid, you and the child are strong." He attempted to alleviate his fear and anxiety of the moment through consoling her. Standing up from the bed, he lifted her gently. "I'm taking you to the hospital now, so you have nothing to worry about."

"But the contractions are so close together!" the woman sobbed.

Vegeta kissed her forehead. "Hold on tight, I'm going to fly you there."

"Do you know where it is?"

Vegeta suppressed a grumble and replied, "Yes, don't worry; I'll take care of you."

*

The doctors marveled at how loudly the child cried when it emerged from its mother's womb. The babe hadn't even been slapped and he bawled his little heart out. After a mere eight hours of labor a new Saiyan named Trunks was born into the world. Like all Saiyans he was born with a tail, but Vegeta decided to remove it himself after the umbilical chord was severed.11 The child wailed ever more loudly as it was being cleaned and examined. Only when he was given to his mother did he quiet down.

"Hi little guy," cooed Bulma, unable to contain her happiness. Tears of joy ran down her sweat streaked face. "I've been waiting a long time to meet you, my little prince." Looking to Vegeta, she could sense a feeling of awkwardness coming from him. Directing him with a nod, she positioned the newborn baby boy so that he was facing his father.

For the first time Vegeta looked long at his son. Trunks was a chubby, healthy baby boy, with a tuft of purple hair on his head and a pudgy little thumb in his mouth. Unable to keep from smiling, the prince took the baby's hand in his.12 Instinctively the child wrapped his free hand around his father's small finger and grasped it as tight as he could. "Only minutes from the womb," hummed Vegeta. "My boy's going to be a strong warrior some day."

"Now don't you go getting anything dead set in your head there hun," said Bulma in her usual vivacious way. "He'll be head of the Capsule Corp. one day."

"Never said he couldn't," said the Saiyan prince. Kissing his woman on her forehead, Vegeta stood up. Adopting a grim visage, he looked to the open window. He had stayed long enough to see his son, but now he had to prepare for what Kakarot had assured him for the battle that would be the greatest of his life to date. "I'm going to say goodbye now, I must train for the androids." Instantaneously, Vegeta jumped out of the window and in a burst of energy was flying like a supersonic jet to the other side of West City where his ship was docked.

"Now where is he going?" yelled Dr. Briefs while Bulma and her mother were left speechless. Instinctively the baby began to wail from the absence of his father.

"Train, of course," said Bulma, cradling the newborn. "He's gotta if he's going to save the world Dad. I know it seems like he's running away, being irresponsible, but it's really quite the opposite. Vegeta is taking responsibility for everyone, not just us." Trunks ceased to cry and the new mother kissed his tiny little cheek. "You're daddy's going to come home, I'm sure of it. He's just got something he has to do first."

1 The company owned and operated by Bulma's father, Dr. Briefs, which has a monopoly on mechanics and electronics within the world of Dragonball Z (DBZ).

2 In the original Japanese edit of Dragonball Z beer cans were common and often consumed by Bulma. In the American edit the word beer was painted over with soda and other phrases.

3 Bulma's mother is the perfect housewife.

4 Chichi, Goku's wife, would call him and his friends this when she was annoyed with them.

5 The androids a young man told their group would arrive three years later and destroy their group. Vegeta was staying at Capsule Corp. because Bulma invited him and Dr. Briefs had invented the gravity program Goku had trained with that Vegeta was now using.

6 Referring to when the gravity machine collapsed while Vegeta was inside and Bulma's hasty actions saved him.

7 Legendary golden transformation of the Saiyan race to which Vegeta belongs.

8 The fictional major league baseball team of West City, the city in which Capsule Corp. resides.

9 Bulma and Yamcha had been in an off and on relationship since the beginning of Dragonball, DBZ's predecessor.

10 Author designed structure.

11 Trunks is never shown with the customary Saiyan tail during the series.

12 Before Vegeta fights in Babidi's ship during the Buu saga he mentions that he had never held Trunks, so therefore I gave him this interaction instead.