Disclaimer: I don't own or profit from DBZ.
A/N: Sequel to Free My Heart. You really need to read it first to understand this story.
Although I feel that Free My Heart is better as a stand alone, it was kind of a dick ending. This story is going to have a lot more supernatural undertones and tons of angst. Also there will be action (that is to say, movement) since they are no longer imprisoned. If it seems like emotionally the story is moving fast, it's because they have already spent so much quality time together just talking. They may have spent a year apart, but they are going to pick up emotionally almost immediately where they left off.
Also be sure to check out another B/V story I will be posting later this week. Fixation is a psychological thriller, crime drama and a romance. All my favorites in one!
Twelve months after the destruction of Earth.
Free My Soul
Bulma lifted her face to the limeade sky as the warm Namekian breeze ruffled her newly pixie cut hair. It had been a year since she felt solid terra firma of any kind beneath her feet. She hadn't realized until now how disconnected she had felt, floating in space on a hunk of metal. She and the rest of the human survivors had been living on the remains of Frieza's ship, working tirelessly to repair what they could and salvaging what they couldn't. The entire time, they stayed in orbit around the shattered graveyard of Earth, perpetually mourning everything they had lost.
Goku had stayed by her side for a time while they grieved. They worked together to rebuild the ship using her technical savvy and his immense strength. With little else to talk about, he told her of the battle that transpired on Earth. Delayed on Snake Way Goku arrived too late to save his friends and family, something which weighed heavily on his usually light heart. One by one he fought Frieza's men in long painstaking battles. Many times Goku had been beaten down, but every time he rose back up, stronger than ever. Finally it was just Goku and Frieza, everyone else was either dead or rioting in mutiny, destroying the ship before fleeing.
Goku confessed to her the despair he felt facing Frieza, the tyrant who killed everyone he cared for. He told her of the thrill of battle racing through his veins, along with the certainty he would win, the absoluteness there could be no other outcome. The knowledge it was his destiny to put an end of such a terrible evil. His confidence burst through his skin in a golden glow, giving him the power to defeat Frieza.
In that moment just before the end, Goku saw the heart of darkness, the true face of evil. He had just seconds to escape Earth using the power of his mind to transport himself to the ship, before Frieza self-destructed, choosing to kill himself and destroy Earth rather than face defeat.
For six months, he stayed to help her, before suddenly announcing that he could feel the pulse of evil in the universe, encroaching upon them. With only a few words of assurance he left her achingly alone with only the other survivors for support.
A few months after that her situation on the ship become untenable, dangerous even. She rubbed her fingers over her suddenly dry mouth, ignoring how her hand shook. She took one of the escape pods, directing it to Namek. On this tiny green planet was the solution to all her woes. The Namekian Dragon Balls were powerful enough to wish Earth back into creation. With a single turn of phrase she could resurrect the entire human civilization. She could put everything back the way it was, before Frieza—before Vegeta.
Bulma took out her newly created Dragon Ball locator, programming it to narrow her search parameter. For the last year she had been able to work on other side projects besides making Frieza's ship inhabitable. The locator was one of them, but thankfully some things she didn't have to recreate. When she originally was captured she had been wearing her utility belt with her capsule kit containing her essentials like a house, hover bike and a recently added assembly of weapons. A quick search of the dungeon where she had been stripped revealed storage holding prisoner's possessions, including her belt.
Bulma stood at inside the shaded entrance to a deep cave where she secreted her new home while on Namek. She was dressed for adventure in an Army green sleeveless tee and multi-pocketed kakis for all her survival odds and ends, and a pair of sturdy hiking boots. On her hips she strapped on a pair of laser guided pistols. Before Frieza's arrival she hadn't used a gun since before she met Goku on her first search for the Dragon Balls, but now she was alone again, on an alien world which could be overrun with any amount of dangers. As she looked out across the flat bluish plain with only a smattering of toothpick trees, trepidation struck. The path stretching out before her looked immense and empty. She was the last hope for human-kind, but she was only a woman. She had brains and wit, but that wouldn't protect her from a monster looking for lunch.
Swallowing hard she threw down her capsule, closing her eyes against the puff of smoke. She swung her leg over the hover bike, adjusting the locator on the handlebars so she could read the grid easily. She shot one last glance over her shoulder, into the cave, before she tightened her mouth in grim determination. She kick-started the bike, heading out across the desolate plain with only a tiny dot to guide her.
Some hours later she arrived at her destination. She stopped the bike, taking the time to reexamine her coordinates. Frowning she looked ahead, realizing she was on a ridge, and the Dragon Ball was in the valley below her. She swung off the bike, taking her locator with her. As she neared the lip she heard frightened shouts, and instinct bade her to drop down on her belly to avoid being seen. She crawled the rest of the way, her crystal eyes widening at the scene below her.
The first thing she saw was Vegeta. Her entire being seemed wired to him somehow, singling him out in the crowd below was instinct. He was so handsome. Every memory, every fantasy she had of him came rushing back. Heat cascaded through her body, flushing her skin. Her gut cramped up and her breath froze in her chest. She curled her fingers in the loose dirt, her eyes glued to him. She scanned down his length, taking in his navy armor overlaid with a pearl breastplate, gloves and boots. Over his shoulder hung a bright crimson cape that cascade down the length of his body in long folds. He looked so different dressed in clothing. Almost like a stranger. He stood impassively, his arms crossed, his face set in a sever frown. Next to him stood a woman in similar, but less striking armor, and in her arms she held a large golden ball.
Bulma gasped at the sight. Vegeta had come for the Dragon Balls just as she. But why would he? His worst enemy Frieza was dead. What was he doing here? Who were these people he was with? What had he been doing for the last year? The woman next to him leaned closer so she could whisper in his ear. His body remained unflinching, his face unwavering as she spoke. Bulma crept closer, getting a better look at her. She was beautiful, taller than Bulma with a sleek warrior's figure and long blonde hair captured in a tail that whipped down her back. Her bright green eyes glittered in the sunlight and her perfect pink lips twisted cruelly. Bulma's hand curled, and dirt dug its way beneath her nails.
Her chest ached as if it was being viciously squeezed, and Bulma had to tear her eyes away to take in the rest of the scene. Various men and boys with the same green skin and antennas as Piccolo were lined out in front of their squat white houses. They looked afraid as they huddled together, the young children pushed to the back. More soldiers of obviously lesser rank milled around. It was clear Vegeta was their leader by the way they kept casting him glances.
"Tell us where to find the rest of the Dragon Balls and your lives will be spared." The woman spoke, and Bulma was surprised at how musical her voice was. Its lilting tone didn't carry the sharp edge Bulma would have expected. It was a voice for seduction. A voice a woman used to getting a man to do her bidding. Bulma glanced again at Vegeta, her eyes tearing under the hot sun. At her demand, the Namekians shifted closer together, but the woman merely smiled, and deep-down Bulma knew she was looking forward to carrying out her threats.
Bulma glanced around the valley, noticing that while there were a few injured Namekians there were no dead bodies or other signs of carnage. When there was no answer, one of the soldiers shot forward, dropping one of the men to his knees with a sharp blow to the stomach. Fright rippled through the villagers, but they remained rebelliously closed-mouthed.
"What say you, M'lord?" the woman asked, a sly smile curling her beautiful lips as she glanced at Vegeta.
"Set the houses on fire and toss them in one by one until someone talks," Vegeta ordered in a voice so cold it chilled Bulma to the bone. Gasping she rolled away, putting distance between them. On her back she covered her face with her hands, shading her eyes from the sun. Behind her she could hear shouts, and the crackling of fire. The acrid taint of smoke reached her, gagging her throat. She couldn't block any of it out, and when she removed her hands she saw the green sky through watery eyes.
Sickened, she couldn't process any more. She had to get away as quickly as she could. She didn't know this Vegeta. The person below her was a stranger. He wasn't the man who had made such passionate love to her while imprisoned together. He wasn't the hero who carried her to safety on his back, refusing to let her fall. He wasn't even the man who reassured her in the dark when she had been so afraid their first night together. The man in the valley was a monster. He was the monster who came to her world intent on murdering her friends, and destroying her way of life for his own goals. He was a monster looking for immortality.
Vegeta felt something familiar flicker on the ridge above him. He glanced up, his hawk-like eyes scanning the rocks looking for anything amiss. Seeing nothing, he returned his attention to the task at hand, but the flicker remained in the back of his mind, aching like an old battle wound. He watched as his men lit up the houses, the hungry orange flames licking the sky. His arms tightened over his chest as he glared murderously at the villagers, trying to frighten them into talking until he had to make due on his threat.
Sometime in the last year he had lost his taste for killing. Oh, he could still murder with the best of them. He beat Frieza's army into submission with his fists and the death of a few bad apples was necessary, but for the first time the murder of innocents left a bad taste in his mouth, and no amount of ale could wash it out.
One of his men grabbed a small boy, and a vein in Vegeta's forehead ticked. Grimly, he watched the reactions of the villagers. Seeing one man look away, his face etched in horror and fear, Vegeta motioned for the soldier to stop.
"You." Vegeta pointed to the man, walking up to him as a physical threat. "Where can I find the next Dragon Ball?"
The man swallowed hard, his eyes downcast. Vegeta grabbed him by the throat, pulling the taller man down to his level. "Tell me," he prodded, his voice cold. The man struggled to breathe as Vegeta's hard eyes bore into him.
"Guru, our elder to the east. He has a Dragon Ball."
Some of his peers hissed at him, but Vegeta didn't care. He nodded at the soldier to free the boy, turning on his heel to leave. Always aware, he noticed the derision on some of his soldier's faces as they left the Namekians unharmed. They were under new rule now. Vegeta's rule. They would obey him or die. Most of his men were murderous bastards, trained to kill by Frieza, but others appreciated Vegeta's new law of no unnecessary bloodshed. They were still terrifying, but they weren't complete bastards, either, and somehow that gave them a new sense of pride they had long been missing.
Vegeta walked away, his mind already dismissing the men behind him and focusing on the obscure flicker of energy rapidly moving away from him.