A/N: Hi there! Finishing this story was one of my new year's resolutions. I just finished re-watching all of DBZ, since I forgot many details about the show. Next, I need to re-read this story to remember where my head was at when I started writing it. I'm sorry for the long... Very long... Three year delay, but this story is still on my brain and I intend to update it in February. Thanks for continuing to read and review, because that more than anything has convinced me I need to continue writing. - updated 1/14/2015

CHAPTER 9: ABANDON

(Bulma's POV)

It was one of those dreams. I knew I was dreaming, but somehow I was still trapped in the nightmare, at the mercy of my own subconscious.

I was back in the clearing, where Frieza had tried to attack me. This time I was running not only for my own life, but for the life of my unborn child. I scanned my surroundings desperately, waiting for Vegeta to save me again. But it was only Frieza and I for miles, and he was stalking me, toying with me because he knew I could not outrun him. He didn't see me as a defenseless pregnant woman; I was nothing but a minor annoyance, a distraction.

I stopped running and turned to meet my attacker head-on, despite the impossibility of survival. As Frieza approached, his cold half-metal body morphed into a muscled, fleshy form, and his alien features were replaced by more human-like qualities. His rigid, spiky hair and coal-black eyes were unmistakable.

"Vegeta, thank Kami you're here!" I said, but he wore the same murderous expression as Frieza. He said nothing as he leaned forward and closed his hands around my neck…

I woke abruptly. My body was shaking from the stress of the dream, and I wiped a thin layer of sweat from my forehead. I ran my hands over my flat stomach, breathing a deep sigh of relief. I felt silly, but for a millisecond I half expected to find a giant pregnant belly beneath the comforter.

It was a very warm night. So far that summer we had seen particularly harsh weather, and the heat refused to let up. Frustrated, I pushed the blankets off the bed and spread my bare-skinned body out over the full length of the mattress. I was used to it by now, but it always stung a little when I woke up and realized I was alone. He always left before the sun even had a chance to break over the horizon.

A mild breeze washed over me from where the balcony doors had been left ajar. He left them open again. I told myself it was because he was a careless bastard, but perhaps he did it knowing the breeze would cool me down, even if the air was dry and balmy. There was no telling with him.

I glanced at my alarm clock; it was just past three in the morning, and I could hear the gravity room's distinct droning from the other side of the compound. I wondered if he ever got tired, or if he just stubbornly toiled through the fatigue. He certainly showed no signs of exhaustion during our nightly encounters.

I laughed to myself, recalling the vivid memory of my first so-called encounter with Vegeta. Yamcha was only an afterthought to me now. I felt so disconnected from him that when a mutual friend called me and sorrowfully explained that she had seen him fooling around with some skinny blonde at a nightclub, I just shrugged it off.

After Goku died, everything else fell into the realm of triviality. Yamcha was cheating on me? So what. I was sleeping with one of the most morally skewed people on the planet? Who cares. My outlook on life grew increasingly aloof, and I blocked out things like guilt and doubt. It was so much easier that way.

My tryst with Vegeta had all started with a crush. A stupid little crush that seemed to develop out of nowhere. Maybe it was because he was the most interesting person I knew. He was, after all, an alien. Sometimes his lack of knowledge about Earth was endearingly child-like. Sometimes he drove me insane with his incessant bickering. I never denied my basic physical attraction for him, but it took me months to realize I actually liked him. For someone like me, a logical thinker, a veritable genius, falling for Vegeta was the most unreasonable thing I had ever done. It was exciting, and it was dangerous. It didn't make sense, but nothing did. And I was almost happy again.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment I decided to actively pursue him, but I started dressing more provocatively than necessary. Sometimes I would not see him for days, but I was always prepared, grasping for attention. He made me feel like an insecure schoolgirl. I never expected compliments or verbal acknowledgements of any kind, but I thought I could at least read it on his face. Nothing ever registered behind those dark eyes. He was always guarded, and when he didn't look menacing, he just looked bored. I began to wonder if he found me attractive at all, until that first night…

I was up later than usual, buried in a good fiction book for once. It was nice to get away from research papers and scientific dissertations every once in a while. Sudden, violent banging on my balcony door startled me so much that I almost fell down the side of the bed.

"Damnit. Vegeta!" I groaned, sliding out from underneath the covers and trudging over to the balcony. I drew the curtains back and saw him standing there, arms crossed, trademark scowl and all. He was sweaty and his spandex was all torn up, and I worried briefly that he had blown up the gravity room again. The first time nearly killed him. Then I realized I surely would have heard it.

I pulled the doors back with more force than necessary. "What can I do for you, your highness?" I said.

He glared back at me, but there was a slight smirk playing at the corner of his mouth. "What do you think?" he asked.

"Not tonight, please! I was just getting settled into bed. You're not royalty on this planet, you know! You're not entitled to twenty-four hour service!"

He shrugged. "Fine," was all he said. He was fully smirking now.

"Is that… it?" I asked, incredulous. Suddenly self-conscious, I looked down at my bedroom attire. I wasn't wearing anything that could be considered revealing or embarrassing. What was he smiling about?

"Vegeta, I don't have the patience for your games right now. Do you need me to fix the gravity room or what?"

"Games?" he said, with a touch of venom in his voice. "An interesting accusation, coming from you. You seem to be an expert at playing games. You should know that your intentions are painfully obvious."

"What are you talking about?" I said, astonished and confused. My mouth hung open stupidly. The back of my neck was getting hot, and the heat was traveling up to my ears and cheeks. I must have been blushing like an idiot.

He stepped forward, and I was forced to step back a few inches into my bedroom to keep a reasonable amount of distance between our bodies. He moved closer to catch up to me, but I stayed in place this time. His toned body pressed up against mine, and I was immediately overcome with his potent musk. My toes curled and I gasped loudly as his calloused hands found my hips.

"Isn't this what you want?" he asked. His piercing gaze bore into me. I was so embarrassed I almost looked away. It wasn't like me to lose my cool, but my legs were threatening to give out. I was suddenly overwhelmed with yearning, but still too insecure to move.

He didn't need my verbal confirmation, but he did hesitate slightly when he cocked his head to the side and pressed his lips to mine. It wasn't forceful, as I would have imagined. Our lips brushed lightly. I wondered how long he had gone without intimate contact, and I suspected he wasn't used to being gentle.

He gained more confidence when I did not resist, and he deepened the kiss as he ran his hands down my back, over my stomach and chest, and pressed his firm body closer to mine. I was starting to remember how to function properly, and my fingers dug underneath his spandex shirt. He broke the kiss to remove it himself, and he kicked off his boots as he pushed me back, guiding me towards the bed. He was clearly in control, and I abandoned any thoughts of taking the reins from him.

I sat on the edge of the bed and watched him remove his spandex shorts, trying to keep my eyes on his face. I was about to follow his example, but he advanced on me, practically ripping my tank top and shorts in half. My body was on fire wherever he touched me, and I could tell he was holding back so much of his strength. I leaned back on my elbows and he mounted me, pushing me further back on the bed. His body smothered mine, and his skin was so hot it was almost alarming. He kissed me again, harder this time, and he lifted my body slightly off the bed, where his hands began to slowly massage the small of my back. I moaned against his lips, and he chuckled.

"What's funny?" I said.

"Shut up, woman," he snapped back. I could sense his eagerness, and I could feel how ready he was. We were on the same page, for once. I bucked up against him, and this had the satisfying consequence of making him growl, though he tried to bite it back. We locked eyes, and I was dismayed that he managed to keep himself guarded, even now. I saw a hint of desire in his expression, nothing else. My disappointment was fleeting, and soon the intensity of the moment consumed me.

Before long, I collapsed on the bed beside him, completely sated. My breathing was labored; he did not look phased, but he was just as sweat-drenched as I was. I gasped when I noted the time; had it really been more than half an hour? We both remained quiet, unmoving, and eventually I fell asleep. He was gone when I woke up the next morning, and that pattern continued for weeks.

The memory was still fresh in my mind, but since then I had several similar encounters to reflect upon. And he was still driving me crazy, in every possible way. As I drifted back to sleep, I could still hear the gravity room buzzing, and the tireless man inside occupied my dreams for the remainder of the night.

...

Now when I saw Vegeta on the compound, he usually ignored me, unless he was demanding food or, of course, forcing me to fix something he broke. I think he felt vulnerable around me, but I never felt comfortable enough to ask how he felt. He wasn't like Yamcha at all; he didn't stay in bed with me, cuddling and chatting. I never expected that from him. I couldn't shake the feeling that he was somehow ashamed because he was "mating" with a human. He was all about his purebred Saiyan ancestry, and I was a black mark on his record. This thought consumed me for hours at a time, and it brought with it an intense bitterness. I was more unpleasant towards him now than ever before, and my mood swings were becoming more difficult to control. And to top it off, I constantly felt nauseous...

The day he left started out like any other routine day. He found me in my lab. I grabbed my toolbox almost instinctively.

"What did you do this time?" I said. He didn't answer right away. He was looking over his shoulder and peering around the lab, searching for something.

"There's nobody else here. My parents are at a business luncheon," I said, realizing the suggestiveness of my statement. Vegeta had an unfathomable look on his face. He walked up to me, still with the same unreadable expression, and put his hand against my stomach. I didn't know whether to be creeped out or turned on.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

He cursed under his breath and met my gaze. "I'm leaving," he said.

I sighed. "Okay. See you tonight?"

He shook his head. "Not what I meant. I'm leaving this pitiful planet. Your gravity machine doubles as a spaceship, is that correct?"

I barely processed his words. "You're leaving... ? Why?" My chest swelled with sudden emotion, and my heart rate spiked. I think my reaction surprised us both.

"I don't owe you an explanation," he said, annoyed. He noted the tears forming in the corners of my eyes. "If you must know, I am going into space, to train."

I felt relieved. "Alright. Okay. How long are you going for?"

"Indefinitely."

"But... but what about...?" I sputtered. I was about to say me, but I stopped myself, and let the implication linger.

"Don't make the mistake of thinking you have any influence over my decisions," he spat back. "The only thing that has changed between us is that now I know what kind of woman you are."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" I jumped from sorrow to anger in an instant. "What are you saying?"

"You're a genius. Figure it out."

He turned and headed for the exit, and I followed him outside. "You can't just say something like that and leave! Don't ignore me, Vegeta! Damnit!" I caught up to him and shoved myself against his back, attempting to get him to turn around and face me. It worked; he turned, and his expression was blank, not furious like I had expected. Fury would have been preferable; he was guarded and empty again.

"It's not healthy for a woman in your condition to act this way," he said, catching my wrist before I could hit him again.

"Oh? And just what exactly is my condition?"

He didn't answer. Instead he leaned forward and crushed his lips against mine, a goodbye kiss for which I was unprepared. I pushed his chest away to break the kiss, and he didn't resist.

"I hate you," I said. It was the only thing I could think of to say; I wanted to hurt him, but I had no ammunition. He held all the cards, as usual.

"You will," he said cryptically, before disappearing inside the gravity room. I stood back, giving him sufficient room for take off. There was no stopping him at that point. The ship roared to life and immediately lifted off the ground.

As I watched it disappear into the cloudless blue sky, I didn't know if Vegeta would ever return. His absence was hard for me to handle, and I dreamed of him coming back almost nightly from that moment onwards. I was jumping to conclusions, of course. He returned soon after his son was born. But someday I would have to say goodbye to him all over again, and I knew that next time it happened, there was no coming back.

...

A/N: I'm back! Sorry for bypassing some of the traditional B/V stuff, but I wanted to spare you guys the usual beginnings of their get-together and just thrust you into the middle of it, for the sake of pacing the story. I look at most of the chapters as standalone mini stories. In regards to the limey-ness of this chapter, I really think it's just crude to detail every little sexual act and body part, so the vagueness was intentional.

Also, I was reading through my chapters and noticed that the little dividers I put in between sections of the chapters have all gone missing! I'm not sure why the *** disappeared, but I'm concerned that is disrupts the flow of the chapters, so I may go through and fix that at some point…

Thanks to everyone who has reviewed during my long absence. The reviews are what motivated me to start writing again. I really love this story and I still want to give it my best shot. Thanks for reading!