Vegeta watched out of one of the small round windows as the same crap-heap planet he had left over a year ago grew gradually larger as he approached. He had been thousands of light-years away when the alarm telling him to return to Earth had gone off, and he had turned around immediately, just as he had told himself he would. There was still three weeks before the androids arrived. Plenty of time to reacquaint himself and get settled in.
He had ascended to the Legendary not too long before he had had to return. An unpleasant incident on a poor, dirty planet with nasty, grubby inhabitants had triggered it, and consequently the place would always hold a fond place in his heart. It was too bad he had ended up destroying most of it, but really, the Universe was better off the less that remained. Now however, he had a good grasp of the mechanisms involved, and better control over his increased power. It had blown his mind at first, the amount of pure power that flowed though him, it was truly a thing of beauty.
He was going to land at Capsule Corps. He knew the other losers would also be preparing for the fight, and it would be easiest for him to be fairly close to them. It would also mean less interference from curious civilians and national military. He hadn't been gone so long that the locals would have forgotten the strange goings on at the Capsule Corps compound. It was a good cover for his arrival.
There was also a very good chance of a home-cooked meal, one of the things he had almost forgotten, living off re-hydrated space packs.
Another advantage of landing there, it was probably one of the most likely places to be free of the woman. After all, she was off building a new life for herself away from her friends, wasn't she? She had deliberately left Capsule Corps, so Vegeta felt safe in assuming she wouldn't be there. He would see her eventually, but he wanted to get his bearings first. Who knew? Maybe she would be ready to be sensible and be his.
He was a bit more forgiving now that he had finally achieved one of his goals, and he was willing to overlook the woman's past irritating behaviour as long as she didn't do it again.
She'd probably do her nut when she saw the state that months in Space including several take-offs and re-entries had left the GR in, though.
Vegeta touched down and the door hissed open. He stepped outside and took a moment to enjoy the feel of real sunlight and the freshness of the air. He'd almost forgotten them as well.
Bulma heard the ship land - it was pretty loud, after all - but she refused to go out and greet the bastard. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction. Let him come to her. She was sitting in the kitchen, she knew he'd be in eventually. Their last conversation, and everything she'd gone through since then, had almost killed any generous feeling she had for him. Almost, but not entirely. No matter what he did to her, she would never be able to disregard him completely. Not now.
The asshole had left, for Space, no less, not just for Europe, without saying one word to her about it. She had at least tried to give him a proper goodbye when she had thought she was the one leaving him behind, but he had rejected it. He had been cruel, even then. Unnecessarily so. And then when she'd contacted him on his ship, her reception had been even worse. Well, if he truly didn't care about her, she didn't need him. She'd handled everything on her own, giving up her new life in Berlin when necessary, and coming back to Capsule Corps, and so far, she thought she'd done alright. Great, under the circumstances.
And here he was, just waltzing back into her life when he felt like it. Well, he was going to get the welcome he deserved. Her parents were out, at least, so they wouldn't be interfering until later.
Vegeta walked into the kitchen having decided that no one was home. He was a little disappointed in the security of the place. Not a soul had come to investigate the landing of the ship, not either of the Briefs, nor an employee. But he didn't see that as an argument to resist raiding their food stores.
But when he saw Bulma, sitting calmly at the dining table, her face already chilled to below zero in preparation for talking to him, he came to a sudden, almost embarrassing stop. She was sitting at the side of the table, so he could see her figure and her face in profile. She was still beautiful, even if she had cut her hair.
Then he noticed what she was doing.
"What the hell is that?!" he asked with a tone of morbid fascination and horror.
"What does it look like?" she replied airily, still not looking at him.
"It looks like a fucking baby, is what it looks like!" he replied, still shocked.
"Congratulations, that what he is," answered Bulma, spoon-feeding the gurgling infant some yellow slop from a bowl in her lap. It was sitting in a highchair, wearing a bib and a dark hat with cat ears on it. At the moment, its attention seemed torn between investigating the dark-haired stranger in its midst, and receiving as much of the yellow goo as possible.
Vegeta managed to stop himself from spluttering. Just because the woman had a baby, it didn't necessarily have to mean anything. Just because the woman had a baby that she was feeding, alone, apparently very comfortably, didn't mean anything. He tried to investigate this logically. It could easily belong to someone else. After all, the woman didn't look like she had been pregnant any time recently. She looked just like he remembered her, except for the hair, of course.
"Are you… watching it?" he asked.
"What do you mean?" was Bulma's arch reply.
"I mean, are you merely minding the child temporarily?" he snapped back, not appreciating her duplicity.
"No, Vegeta, I am not babysitting."
He waited for more, but Bulma kept her lips decidedly sealed, her eyebrows raised snootily, and her attention on the baby. "Woman, I demand that you explain the presence of this child immediately!" Vegeta ordered with frustration.
"What do you mean?" she said again.
He snarled and moved closer to her. "Who is the child?" he growled.
"His name is Trunks," Bulma replied idly, spooning more of the food into the baby's eager mouth.
She was making this feel like pulling teeth, but Vegeta supposed he didn't really deserve a ready explanation, having just turned up with no warning.
"And who are his parents?"
Bulma hesitated and something flittered in her eyes, making the spoon in her hand shake. She quickly put it back in the bowl so as not to give herself away. Trunks made a confused noise as he watched the food be withdrawn, his mouth hanging open as if he was playing Charades, but he was ignored.
Frustrated even more, Vegeta seized Bulma's arms and pulled her to her feet, forcing her to look at him. "Who is his mother?" he asked, his voice hard and steady.
"I am," she almost whispered. "He's my son."
Vegeta felt something cold slither into his chest, like betrayal, regret, disappointment. She had become a mother in his absence. What did that mean? And where was this man that had taken his place? Unless…
"And who… Who is the father?" Vegeta asked. She turned her bottomless blue eyes up to his hard black ones.
"Oh, Vegeta… Who do you think?" she said, her voice soft with something almost like pity, but it might just as easily have been fear.
He shook her once, not hard. "Tell me," he said, his voice just as soft, but desperate.
"You are, Vegeta. You're his father."
His hands went limp and slipped from her arms as he tried to process this information. Bulma whirled away from him, snatching Trunks up from his highchair and carrying him through to the other room, where she paced back and forth with him. She was going through something of an emotional crisis, but all the baby cared about was that he had been taken away from his lunch before he had eaten his fill, and so he started to fuss. Bulma shushed him absent-mindedly as she paced.
Everything she'd feared when she had hesitated to tell Vegeta about her pregnancy came back to her. What if Vegeta didn't want him? She knew the Saiyan's opinion of humans in general, how would he feel about a hybrid son? Especially since he was the proud Prince and all that. Like it or not, the Saiyan empire, or what was left of it, now had a half-human heir. Would Vegeta allow that? What if he didn't? What if he intended for the Royal family to end with him? Bulma had no idea how Saiyans felt about infanticide. Normally, she would have said they were against it, anybody would be, but they sent their babies of by themselves to fight and conquer worlds, didn't they? Bulma couldn't be sure Trunks was safe from his father, and when it came to her baby, she needed to be sure.
"Are you telling me that that is my son?"
Vegeta had followed her into the room, and he now stood in the doorway, supporting himself with one hand against the jamb. His voice sounded hollow, shell-shocked, but also as if he was coming to a conclusion somewhere in his mind.
Bulma spun, and stood facing him, her heart racing as she tried to think of what to do. She didn't know that Vegeta would hurt Trunks, but she couldn't risk it. However, she knew that any action she took to try to prevent it would only infuriate the Saiyan. Trunks seemed to have become aware of his mother's distress and had gone silent, food forgotten as he looked around curiously, twisting in Bulma's arms, trying to see over his shoulder.
Vegeta walked closer as she dithered, and Bulma grasped Trunks a little tighter. "Don't hurt him!" The words quietly escaped her lips before she could stop them. Vegeta stopped dead.
"What?" he asked.
"D-don't hurt him, Vegeta, please…" she repeated.
"You think I would harm my own child?" he verified, scandalised.
"I, I don't know, I mean, I'm not sure," Bulma hastened, but she knew she wasn't making things any better.
Vegeta looked at her steadily, and there was no sign of any ill intent in his face or stature.
"I will not, I promise you. Now come closer, I wish to examine him," Vegeta soothed.
If this truly was his child, his son, it was heart-warming to see how the woman cradled it to her bosom, protecting it, apparently genuinely caring for it. Impossible, incredible. He would never have thought that she would want anything to do with any part of him. He found it amazing that she had not simply aborted the boy with disgust the instant she discovered her pregnancy. Why would she want his son? Why? He hadn't even been there, he had nothing to offer her. He hadn't even been congenial during their last conversations.
Bulma hesitated, but then she crossed the room and sat on the couch. She looked at him, waiting for him to join her. Vegeta conceded and sat next to her, and she gently removed Trunks from against her shoulder to sit him on Vegeta's leg, taking the man's hand and placing it against the infant's back to protect him from falling. Removed from his mother, Trunks now looked up at his father in confusion.
Vegeta's first thought was, he's so small. How could something that size ever grow up to be a person? It seemed ridiculous. And he was so soft, all baby-fat. And his existence was so precarious, if he took his hand away, the baby wouldn't even be able to sit up on his own. He would fall over backwards and hit the ground without being able to stop himself. The baby gurgled up at Vegeta.
"He has your eyes, I see," said Vegeta ineffectually. "And purple hair," he added with a slight frown.
"My father's hair was the same colour when he was younger," replied Bulma, watching their interaction carefully. She was trying to make sure Trunks was safe, but she could feel herself become less and less diligent. There had always been a part of her that had wanted Vegeta to be there, and now she couldn't help but trust him, and bask in the moment as her son found his father. "And you know, when he's angry, he looks just like you," she added tenderly.
Vegeta looked at her in shock. Could there really be anything of him in this child?
"He doesn't feel much like a Saiyan," he criticised sternly, still not fully believing it was true. To his surprise, Bulma let out a bark of laughter.
"Try getting him to do something he doesn't want to do, and then tell me he isn't a Saiyan! Why do you think I cut my hair? He practically gave me whiplash pulling on it," she said. But Vegeta was caught up in watching her smile. She looked happy, she shone with joy the way she'd used to before she had died in that carbon monoxide leak. That seemed so long ago now.
"And if you still don't believe me," she took the boy back gently, placing his front against her chest, with his little arms holding onto her shoulder. Then she pulled down the back of his nappy, revealing a little scar at the base of the boy's spine. "He had a little violet tail when he was born. All the doctors were amazed, they said they'd never seen anything like it. We had to cut it off, you understand, don't you? He would have done that… giant monkey thing that you do. But don't worry, I took pictures, if you want to see."
Giant monkey thing. Was that how the ignorant humans understood his people's sacred Oozaru form? And they'd cut of his son's tail. Of course, they had. Vegeta wished he had the man who had taken a knife to his child in front of him now, so that he could twist his head off like a bottle top. But, Vegeta reasoned, trying to calm himself down, at the time, the woman had expected to raise the child alone. It would have been too much to ask for her to deal with an infant Oozaru. She would almost certainly have been killed, and Vegeta realised that that would have upset him very much indeed. He could understand and forgive her decision to mutilate his son, but it would take a while for him to fully come to terms with it.
Bulma lay Trunks down on her lap, and shifted as close as she could to Vegeta, so that he could still look closely at his son.
"Why didn't you tell me?" asked Vegeta quietly, half-afraid of the answer. He remembered how scared for her child the woman had been just moments before. She had thought he would not want the child, and seek to destroy it, presumably because it was half-human and he had always scorned her race compared to the noble Saiyans. But he would show her that he would be a good father to the boy, strong, and a good mentor.
Bulma looked at him in shock. "I tried! I called you on the ship!" she said. Vegeta remembered the discussion with a wince. He had been so foolish and stubborn. "You said you didn't care," she finished sadly, looking back at her son.
Vegeta felt the uncharacteristic urge to put his arm around her, to draw her close to him and comfort her. As if she would take any comfort from that, it would probably just scare her all the more.
"I was angry," he offered as an explanation, and hoped she would take it as an apology.
"Yeah, I know. But moving away was something I felt I had to do. I had to rebuild my life from scratch if it was going to be worth anything," answered the woman, idly playing with Trunks' hands. "But then this little guy came along, and I suddenly felt like I was doing good, as if by helping him, I was somehow helping… helping you. I know it sounds stupid, but he really does look like you sometimes, and it was as if, by making sure he had a happy life, then maybe some of the crap that's happened to you would be undone."
Vegeta stared at her. She never ceased to amaze him. "Nothing can ever undo what has been done to me," he said gruffly. "But I appreciate that you would try," he added, trying to show her some emotion but finding it difficult.
"Vegeta, why did you leave?" Bulma asked suddenly.
The Saiyan didn't really want to answer, but he decided that if they were going to have family together, and if he ever wanted to share her bed again, then answering her questions was a step in the right direction.
"To train. And because I wasn't going to chase after you like a dog, but without you, there was nothing left to keep me on this planet," he said.
Bulma looked at him, her face slack but her eyes swirled with a hope she was fighting. "So why did you come back?"
"To fight the androids. I said I would defend you, and I will. Always. It's all I have to give."
Hs voice had grown deep and soft, and Bulma was already leaning towards him, her eyes half-lidded. Their lips met and they kissed deeply. Bulma put her hand to the back of her Prince's head as she leaned into him, and his hands went to her waist. They twisted where they sat and Bulma leant against the back of the couch, pulling Vegeta with her. As their kiss gained intensity, Trunks let out a squall, annoyed at being ignored. They regretfully separated, but Bulma kept Vegeta close to her with a hand on his face, despite Trunks' continued fussing.
"I forgot to ask. Did you reach Super Saiyan while you were in Space?" she said.
"Oh. Yes, I did," answered the Prince. Bulma waited for more but nothing came.
"That's all you have to say about it, after wanting it for so long?" she said. Vegeta looked confused, so she spoke again before she ended up offending him. She just took it as a personal compliment that finally ascending was not the most important or interesting thing to him right then. "You know you're going to have to show me some time, I've been looking forward to seeing you as a blond." She wasn't really teasing him either, she was sincerely happy for him, and she wanted to see the end result of all their efforts, his with his training, and her with her inventions. "I always knew you could do it, Vegeta," she added softly, watching his black eyes watching her.
She was going to kiss him again, when the mood was ruined somewhat by a stray kick to the stomach by the baby in her lap. She doubled over with an 'Oof.' Vegeta leant away, looking at the infant disapprovingly.
"Okay, tough guy, I get it," Bulma answered her son, picking him up again. "Why don't we go finish your lunch. After all, Daddy's not going anywhere, is he?" She looked at Vegeta.
"No, he is not," he answered, feeling strangely comfortable with that statement.
Bulma walked back to the kitchen, but stopped in the doorway to look back at him. "Welcome home, Vegeta," she said. "Now all we have to do is get along." Bulma pulled a face as if to say it was a daunting task, but then she smiled at him, and Vegeta didn't really think it was so impossible.
Author's Note: Ew! Mushy, or what? I wasn't aiming for an Attack of the Fluffbunnies ending, it just kind of turned out that way. Anyway, yeah, this is THE END, which, for a one-shot, I think is pretty good. Hope you enjoyed it, hope it left you feeling satisfied, and all that, not in a creepy way.