Author's Note: This was initially going to be a one-shot, but I could hardly leave her dead, could I!? So, there is more to this, but it's not turning out the way I wanted it to… I sat on it for too long, I've forgotten how to make it sound right. If I get an enthusiastic enough response, I'll post the rest. This is just a little pet project for me, it's like physiotherapy for my creativity, those muscles have atrophied, badly! So if I do post the rest, chances are it'll get significantly better as it goes along.
Vegeta was in a bad mood.
He had been for a few days.
Today wasn't helping. The Capsule Corps compound was crawling with people, all of them moving slowly, morosely, in their black clothes. It was infuriating. But at least they were being quiet about it.
He stayed in the GR, training. Vegeta didn't know what all the fuss was about. So the woman was dead. So what? She hadn't died in battle, or anything else that would warrant any kind of honouring ceremony. She had gone quietly, easily, by accident. And she was supposed to be so smart. Evidently, she wasn't smart enough to save herself. Vegeta hadn't even noticed it happen.
It annoyed Vegeta, all the people. He stayed away from them, just like any other day. But he could still feel it as each new arrival walked past the GR. He could hear their footsteps on the grass and it irritated him as if they were walking over him, over his brain. He could hear what they would never have dared to say to his face.
"How can he train on a day like this?"
"Has he no heart at all?"
Yes, it irritated him so much it was almost painful.
But why should he care? He didn't care. He was Vegeta, the Prince of all Saiyans, the Legendary. He didn't have to justify himself to any weakling humans. Just because he wasn't attending their stupid remembrance, their funeral, wasn't that what they called it? He seemed to remember that was what the old fool had blubbed to him when he had invited him. It was pretentious of the old man to even ask him. Why would he go, and stand around with a bunch of crying humans looking at the box containing her remains, listening to strangers prattle on with inane stories from her past while he tried not to gag on the smell of the flowers?
There was nothing to honour, anyway. The woman had been a loud, shrill, annoying, emotional, crazy bitch. The people outside hadn't had to live with her. He had. He had put up with her for long enough as it was. Vegeta knew what they thought, but they were wrong. He didn't owe her anything. The Prince of all Saiyans didn't owe anybody anything. Just because she'd opened her home to him didn't mean she'd done him any kindness. It was the proper course of action when dealing with a Prince.
They should be grateful to him that he hadn't killed her himself. He had threatened it enough times. They should be thanking him for never going through with it. He was strong enough, infinitely stronger than her. He'd lost count of the number of times he had protected her, or that she had needed his strength for some trivial chore. Why did she persist in buying those jars of condiment that she was too weak to open herself? Another argument against her intelligence. And how many times had he rushed to her after hearing her scream only to find a fleeing insect as the cause? Just how she had reached adulthood without even being able to dispose of a simple lower life-form was beyond him. And she continually proved her weakness by being overly grateful for what little strength he did expend on her behalf. Every opened jar or scorched bug carcass earned him a kiss on the cheek as thanks.
Vegeta knew that third-class fool, Kakarot, was outside. He had arrived the night before to help in the preparations. Vegeta had not condescended to speak to him, and the idiot had mercifully restrained himself from seeking him out. There were other ki strong enough to stand out arranged at the front of the crowd. The Namek, and that weakling human the woman had associated herself with among others.
Vegeta knew he would be ashamed to have such a pathetic excuse for a warrior at his "funeral," though he doubted anyone on this planet would be foolish enough to hold one for him in the unlikely event that he should perish and they survive. That was fine with him. It would never be worthy of a Prince anyway. The woman probably would have insisted though, since she was so moronically sentimental.
And it wasn't as if he had ever actually declared himself her protector. He wasn't at fault here, regardless of how the humans would look at him if he went outside. He had been legitimately occupied at the time of her death. All the other times he had gone to her aid, he had been doing her favours that she did not merit. A Prince does not answer the beck and call of a human female. No blame could be laid at his door for this. It wasn't as if the woman had screamed, she hadn't made a sound, unaware she was dying as she worked alone in her workshop. He hadn't found out the woman was dead until hours afterwards when her simpering mother collapsed into a shrieking, hysterical heap.
Vegeta engaged several of the battle droids that equipped the GR. He felt like he needed to battle something, punish and destroy something, instead of just moving through katas and doing pushups as he usually did.
If she hadn't known, if Earth's great genius hadn't been able to tell that her machinery was leaking carbon monoxide, slowly poisoning the air around her, then how was he supposed to have known? He could not have been expected to save her. If she had made a sound, if he had been able to smell the gas, then she would undoubtedly still be alive today. He would not have failed. But her death had gone unnoticed by everyone. He could not be blamed. He was never meant to be responsible for her.
He could hear the beginning of the ceremony, the solemn dirge of the religious man her parents had hired to preside over the group until they put her in the hole they had dug especially for the occasion. Vegeta thought that was a particularly dirty, disrespectful way to dispose of her body, but he couldn't be bothered to interfere in their foolish human customs. Let them do what they want and leave him alone.
He focused on his training, pushing himself in order to drown out the sentimental nonsense going on outside. He kicked, punched, dodged, attacked, and blasted in extreme gravity until it hurt and he knew he was doing it right.
After all, the stupid woman hadn't called out for him. They had no right to look down on him for failing to save her. It had never been his responsibility.
Vegeta concentrated on the fiery burn in his muscles as he fought against the intense pull of the floor of the GR to swing his leg out in a roundhouse kick several metres off the ground, sending the droid crashing to the floor in a very satisfactory manner.
It had been carbon monoxide poisoning. Not an enemy he could have fought for her. Not something he could have killed. Not something he could take revenge on.
Knowing he had more strength than he could feel, he charged a ki blast between his hands, and fired it at a droid with a cry as he forced himself to push his limits. The shot was more powerful than necessary and the droid disintegrated into particles.
She hadn't cried out, he hadn't known what was happening. If only she had given some indication that she was dying while he trained, oblivious, in the yard. But she hadn't, and it wasn't his fault, and he didn't feel guilty. He didn't owe her anything, not a damn thing, no matter what everyone else thought. They hadn't lived with the woman, and they hadn't been there when it happened. He had.
He hadn't known, and he wasn't responsible, and he didn't feel guilty. So what if it had been his new GR that had filled the room with the gas that killed her? He hadn't asked her to build the damn thing.