Disclaimer: I don't own Dragonball Z.
A/N: This is set during 'those three years' before the androids arrive. I'd place this at about a year after Trunks first appeared in the normal timeline. If people like it, I might consider carrying the story on, but for now it's just a one-shot.
Vegeta lay in the thick grass, staring up at the night sky. Here, far away from the city lights, the stars burned bright, littering the sky and making it sparkle.
It was here, that Vegeta allowed himself to think about the past. His past, and the past of his people.
The star which was once Planet Vegeta's sun was not visible from the city, but out here it burnt bright, shining like a small beacon- one that should have called him home. Unfortunately, that home no longer existed.
Vegeta had not had a home in over two decades. He had spent the majority of his childhood on Frieza's ship, his adolescence on Frieza's various planets in between missions. As and adult, he had hardly taken a break between the grueling purging assignments. Always on the move, he didn't have time to contemplate what his life had become.
That was a good thing.
But now, now he was trapped on Earth; bound by his promise to beat Kakarot- a vow that he could not back down from. Now he was forced to stay in one place, and as such, all the demons of his past had caught up with him.
He didn't want to think of what he was, in that sense. And yet, it was always there in the back of his mind, ever since the day he admitted it out loud, thinking that his life was over for good.
"He made me what I am. Don't let him do it to anyone else."
He was a monster. A murderer. A soul that was irredeemable.
And he was alone.
He had lived alone, he would die alone. And as much as he hated to admit it- even just to himself- he was not immune from the emotions that plagued the humans around him.
Even when Nappa and Raditz had been alive, serving under him, he had been by himself. He had never communicated with them more than necessary, he had never wished to. Really, he was an empty shell… so very different to the man he was supposed to have become.
He should have been a Crown Prince, in the real sense of the word. He should have spent his childhood in the palace, his adolescence sneaking into the whore houses under his father's nose, his adulthood leading a strong army…
He should have been a King.
And yet he now had only two subjects- the third class clown, who would not bow to him, and the fool's son. He was Prince only in name, and his Saiyan culture was set to die when his own life ran out.
Thinking of his home world always made him think of her.
She had been the one person with whom he was not alone. She had understood him, always, as if their souls were always joined.
She had been beautiful, her voice a sweet sing-song, her scent that comforting smell that said home. It saddened Vegeta, now, to realize he could no longer remember her name… it had been so long since he had seen her.
The humming of a distant plane broke him out of his reverie, and he lay still, eyes closed, listening to the sound of the engine as the aircraft flew overhead.
Strange, the sound was getting louder… too loud. With surprise Vegeta realized the small aircraft was landing, a mere hundred meters from where he lay. Who would possibly land out here, at this time of night? And why?
With shock, he caught a flash of blue as the door opened on the ship, sending light streaming across the field. The pilot jumped to the ground, slamming the door much harder than necessary, sending the field back into darkness.
Vegeta remained still as she stomped across the grass. How did she know he was here? Why did she follow him like this?
He waited for her to speak, she was getting close now, but words never came. Instead, she stopped, only ten meters from him, and sat down abruptly. It was then that Vegeta realized she didn't even know he was there.
He kept himself perfectly quiet… he was skilled at remaining hidden, and she wouldn't detect him. He didn't know what he would do next… surely she wouldn't stay till the sun came up? Why was she here? Why this spot?
"Fuck!" she suddenly screamed, making him jump a little. He heard the sound of a fist thumping the ground, once, then twice, then again, and again, until she fell into a strange rhythm, small grunts of pain escaping from her as she hit the ground. Still, she didn't stop.
By now, Vegeta found himself thoroughly confused. The beautiful woman did have a tendency to lose her temper, but that didn't explain why she flew fifty miles into the middle of nowhere, just to pound the ground with her fists.
Suddenly, she stopped, her breath coming in quick gasps. Vegeta frowned to himself as he heard the rhythm of her breaths change again, could it be that she was ill?
Abruptly she let out a howl, losing herself completely to despair, and Vegeta realized that she was crying. Pathetic was his automatic response, although deep down, he found himself curious as to what had upset her… and oddly moved by her pain.
The only light came from the stars- it was near to nothing- but still, he could see her small shape hunch over on the ground, as she continued to sob. She was shaking now, too, and Vegeta realized that she would be cold. He was used to night temperatures, but the spoilt heiress wouldn't be.
He didn't know how much time had passed, when she finally quieted down, shifting until she lay on the grass. She continued to sniffle, small sobs escaping her lips every now and then, but between the gasps full of anguish, the small sense of peace that Vegeta gained from the clearing began to creep back again.
She seemed to notice it too; she sighed, shifting so that her hands supported her head. She remained awake, though; her breathing did not slow down to the regular pattern of sleep.
"I should have married Son," she mumbled to herself, staring up at the stars. Vegeta's eyes widened at her admission… Kakarot! She was pining after Kakarot?
"Who am I kidding?" she continued with a snort, "It'd be even worse. He loves fighting more than he loves his own wife… bloody hell, why do all men have to be such jerks?"
Vegeta realized then that it must have been Yamcha, that boyfriend of hers that she was crying over. He never paid much attention to any of the humans, so he didn't know what was going on with them now. When he thought about it, though, he couldn't remember the last time he had seen the weak man around.
"I just don't want to be alone," she whispered softly, pleading to the heavens above. "No one understands me."
Vegeta was surprised to hear this; the pretty woman always had friends around her. He had never thought that she of all people would be lonely.
She lay silent after that, and Vegeta continued to watch the black form of her, so close to his own. He could see the rise and fall of her chest, and heard the occasional shuffle as she moved both arms and legs. The wind bore the sweet smell of her skin, and Vegeta couldn't help but admit to himself that he did find her attractive. And how long it had been, since he last lay with a woman…
But going down that road would only lead to disaster. She was, after all, Kakarot's close friend, and no doubt the younger Saiyan would disprove if he found she was having relations with a man like himself. Not only that, but he lived and depended on the housing and equipment her family provided… to establish any sort of sexual relationship would risk his training, in more than one way.
No, she was a woman he could appreciate from afar, without her even knowing. It would be far better for him to find a local whorehouse, than to crawl into bed with a woman he would be forced to see almost every day. He had never met a woman for that more than once, and had always kept the brief encounters impersonal. It would be foolish to change his habits now.
Still, his mind drifted as he lay there, briefly pondering what life was like for Kakarot, or what it had been for his own father, with a wife at his side- a female in the bed every day. He would never admit it, but it almost made him feel jealous. Frieza had deprived him of the pleasure of ever being with a Saiyan female, something he truly grudged. He was sure a Saiyan woman would taste all the more sweeter…
He grumbled aloud, realizing too late his mistake. She sat up abruptly, her head whipping round in his direction. He could tell she was scared, her breathing had increased rapidly, coming out on ragged gasps.
"Wh… who's there?" she asked, panic evident in her voice. "Who's there?!"
Vegeta remained perfectly still, unwilling to show himself. After a moment she stood up, and began moving quickly back towards her ship, stumbling wildly in the long grass. He saw her moving in the wrong direction, too far to the left, and jumped up as he heard her scream, coupled by a large thump as she hit the ground.
He was over to her in a matter of seconds, picking her up from the rocks upon which she had landed, a little way down a steep bank. She screamed, wriggling and crying incoherently, clearly in a state of terror.
"Shhh! Shush woman, it's me!" he said, grunting as she slammed against his chest. "Bulma," he tried again, "calm down. It's me, Vegeta."
She stopped then, slumping against him unceremoniously, her breathing erratic. "What?" she whispered after a moment.
"I…" he began, groping for an explanation, "I wanted to get some late night training done. I was flying overhead when I heard a scream, so came down to investigate. What the hell is going on?" he added, hoping the angry demand would be believable enough.
"There's… there's someone here!" she whispered, clutching onto him as if he were her last lifeline.
Vegeta snorted in reply. "It's just a wild animal," he answered, "the type you humans call 'boar'. There's no one else here."
"Oh," she said, sighing in relief, "okay. I… I'll just go home now," she continued, "I was just working on some astronomy, that's all." She squeezed his arm briefly, moving close enough that he felt her warm breath on his face, "Thank you. Don't… don't stay out too late." She planted a small, chaste kiss on his lips, then pulled away, seeming to find her ship quickly.
Vegeta watched her ship fly off, the wing lights blinking like stars on their way back to Capsule Corporation- the closest place he had to a home.