The two days came and went, and Vegeta never showed up.
Bulma sighed as she settled into her bed for the night. She turned on the audio monitor so she could hear Trunks in his room, all the while thinking about her son's father. She had easily replicated his armor and uniform from her old design (even upgraded it a little bit), but the jerk apparently didn't seem to care anymore because he hadn't shown up to claim it. It was a week after his return to Capsule Corp, and there had been no sign of him, much to Bulma's annoyance. Here she had taken time out of her work schedule to get his armor and uniform ready for him in the deadline he set, only for him to blow her off.
Of course, everything runs on his time, Bulma thought as she rolled her eyes. She set the right volume for Trunks' radio set in his room, and set the monitor down on the nightstand in her room. With a yawn, she crawled under her sheets, eager to take advantage of Trunks going down early to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Too tired to mind the red light from the volume on the monitor, she pushed the thoughts of Vegeta out of her mind and finally fell asleep.
Three hours later, the red light flared up for a second, but Bulma was sound asleep and didn't hear the sound of a window opening coming through the monitor.
Vegeta easily climbed in through the window to Trunks' room, before silently closing the window after him. There was a Winnie the Pooh nightlight in an outlet on the far wall, giving the room a dim glow. His dark eyes swept the room, his nose crinkling at the strange smell he was picking up. He didn't notice the sound monitor Bulma had set up in the room because she had blocked it from sight, since the red lights didn't let Trunks sleep. He did notice the crib though, his gaze finally settling on it.
Vegeta had told Bulma he didn't care about his son, and that was no lie. He'd been so enraged after their little reunion that he'd simply stayed away, figuring to hell with his armor. He had done some light training, focusing more on mentally preparing for the androids since he was at his physical peak, but the thoughts of his son kept creeping in. Slowly, against his will, he started developing a mild curiosity that only intensified as the days passed.
After fighting an inner war with himself for days, he finally decided to see the boy up close. He was planning on leaving the planet after the whole ordeal with the androids, but first, he wanted to see the boy.
To his relief, Bulma kept the brat in a room alone. That made it even easier. He didn't want her knowing of this, not wanting to give her any false hope. The brat meant nothing to him, but he deserved the right to see his own flesh and blood at least once, alone, without anyone hovering over him. Vegeta scowled and walked over to the crib, peering down over the rail at the sleeping baby as he crossed his arms over his armor.
There he was. Trunks was on his back, wearing blue pajamas with little baseballs and footballs all over it. There was no denying it; the kid was real. And he was his son. Vegeta stared at the boy, a range of emotions whirling together in his dark eyes as he stood there for what felt like hours.
How different things would have been if this boy had been born while he served Frieza. Having a child under Frieza's reign would have resulted in the child's death if it was a girl, or immediate recruitment into Frieza's army if it was a boy. Staring at the baby in the crib, Vegeta knew now what he had always known: he would have never been able to hand over his son to that lizard bastard. But back then, he would have had no choice, and what precious little remained of his sanity would have been shattered completely at seeing the tyrant getting his hands on his son.
Even though Frieza was gone now, his powerful influence left lingering poison deep down in Vegeta's soul. It was impossible to shake. No matter what Bulma told him or thought of him, how could he deny the horrible things he had done under Frieza's reign? Even if he wanted to take it all back, like he so often did on nights when he woke up to screams from his slaughtered victims in his past, he couldn't. He was corrupted, and when he died, he knew exactly where he was going.
After all, he'd been there before.
No, it was definitely good that he was leaving the planet after the androids were destroyed. The boy wouldn't know him, and that was for the best. He would be safe here, on Earth, with Bulma – a hell of a far cry from the situation his own father had left him in. Though he had told Bulma nastily that it was his gift to his son, there was a lot of truth to that statement. That was the best thing he could ever do for the boy. Destroy the threat to his world, and then leave.
Trunks shuffled a little bit in his sleep, before turning over onto his side and giving his father his back. Vegeta's eyes, which had grown distant as he lost himself in thought, sharpened at the movement. It was then that he noticed that the boy didn't seem to have a tail.
With an angry snarl, Vegeta reached down over the rail and easily used his ki to burn a three inch cut through Trunks' pajamas without harming the boy's skin. The prince put his hand in and pulled the baby's diaper down a little, before pressing his hand to where his tail should have been. His eyes widened when he realized there was no stump.
Had he not been born with it, or had Bulma removed it?
The second thought filled Vegeta with a rage the likes of which eclipsed any semblance of sanity. Half-breed or not, tainted blood or not, he would never forgive her if she removed the boy's tail. Reaching up, he roughly fisted the back of Trunks' pajamas and lifted the boy clear out of the crib. Trunks blinked through heavy eyes as Vegeta turned him around to examine his skin closer through the hole in his pajamas.
The baby's skin was smooth and unmarked.
He wasn't born with it.
Vegeta couldn't believe it. Even Kakarot's brat had been born with a tail! How the hell could his son not be born with one? What a fucking joke… even in this, Kakarot bested him!
Trunks squirmed and whimpered in his grasp, his father's rough, torn glove on his smooth skin of his backside making the baby highly uncomfortable. Vegeta immediately withdrew his hand and raised the boy up, still holding him with one hand by the back of his pajamas. The prince cocked his head to the side, his eyes both curious and disgusted as he turned Trunks this way and that while he examined him like he was anything but a baby.
Finally, Vegeta grunted, his upper lip curling back in disgust.
"No tail. Wrong hair color."
A few doors away, Bulma slowly turned over, squinting in her dark room. She could have sworn she just heard Vegeta's voice. She looked around with a yawn, wondering if he'd shown up in her room or if she was still dreaming. Then she heard a rise of static, before hearing his gruff voice through the monitor next to her.
"Definitely wrong eye color…"
Suddenly wide awake, Bulma reached for the monitor and brought it close to her. She couldn't see anything, but the red lights were rising up every now and then with the volume on the other end. She heard a familiar grunt before hearing Trunks babble a little in response.
Vegeta was there, in Trunks' room! Bulma couldn't help the smile that spread over her features, before she shook her head in happy disbelief.
That sneaky jackass…
Meanwhile, oblivious that Bulma was listening in, Vegeta stared at the boy, seeing his own features reflected back at him. There was no doubt about it. This was his son. He turned Trunks around a few more times with easy turns of his wrist, continuing to examine the boy.
"Hn. What a weak, pathetic thing you are, half-breed," Vegeta finally scoffed in disgust. Trunks was staring at his father with wide eyes, before looking up at that wild flame-shaped dark mane. The baby stared at it in awe while Vegeta sneered, "You don't have one ounce of Saiyan in you, do you, boy? Though you do have a substantial ki for your age, it's still not impressive, brat. Our bloodline is filled with Saiyan Elites, and you are nothing but a half-breed, tainted with human blood. You don't even have a fucking tail. What a disgraaaaAAARGH!" Vegeta screamed when Trunks suddenly grabbed two tight fistfuls of his hair.
The baby giggled and yanked. Hard.
"Unhand me at once, you brat!" Vegeta snarled, wincing in pain as he instinctively raised his free hand to grab one of Trunks' chubby wrists. Trunks' grip only tightened more, and the prince was quickly realizing that this boy was definitely not weak. Not wanting to harm the boy by crushing his wrists, Vegeta growled and yanked Trunks back from him completely, while the boy damn near ripped his hair right out of his scalp. Trunks just laughed in delight as his father now held him at arm's length away. He babbled away while Vegeta gave him a dirty glare as he rubbed his aching scalp with his free hand.
"So, it seems you have some strength after all, boy," Vegeta said, studying Trunks more intensely than before. The baby clapped his hands in amusement, not at all intimidated by the fierce scrutiny he was under and happily oblivious to the bombardment of emotions raging inside of his father. Vegeta exhaled deeply through his nose, before slowly nodding.
"Very well then. Let's see just how strong you are, kid."
Vegeta raised his free hand up to Trunks, palm up. A second later, and a small blue ball of ki appeared, hovering an inch from his palm. Trunks instantly stared at the ball of ki, a look of curiosity on his face. Vegeta watched the boy's reaction, before making the ball grow a little bigger. He levitated the ball of energy so it was about five inches above his palm and right in front of Trunks' face.
Trunks stared at it for a few moments, his eyes narrowing. Vegeta's teeth were grinding together, his heart pounding. Deep down, he knew he was being completely absurd. He had handled raw energy for the first time when he was twice this boy's age.
But this kid had a high ki for his age, and he had strength beyond his age as well…
Trunks reached out and tried to grab the bright, blue, glowing ball in front of him. Vegeta immediately seized his hand so he wouldn't get burned.
"Not like that, child," Vegeta growled. He turned the baby's hand to the side of the ki ball, his hand engulfing Trunks' little one. Trunks watched with wide eyes as Vegeta rotated their hands, and the ball of ki rotated right along with the motions. Vegeta smirked a little at the captivated look on the boy's face, before slowly pulling his hand away from Trunks' hand.
Father and son both were wearing the same shocked look as Trunks slowly raised his hand, the ball of ki hovering over his little palm. Trunks couldn't believe the new toy he now had, while Vegeta was floored that the boy was actually controlling energy! Granted, it was very little energy, but it still spoke of enormous potential. Not only that, but it reinforced the fact that regardless of his physical appearance and being born with no tail, this boy had the blood of a Saiyan Elite in his veins. No third class and no son of a third class Saiyan could do what this child was doing, not at this age.
"Astounding," Vegeta mumbled, shaking his head in disbelief. Trunks' face scrunched up and he suddenly started shaking his hand, trying to get rid of the ball that seemed stuck to his hand. Vegeta's eyes widened.
"No, wait, don't-shit!" the prince yelled, barely moving his head out of the way as Trunks launched the small ball of ki right at his face. It exploded against the wall and startled Trunks, who immediately burst into tears. Vegeta gawked at the hole in the wall, oblivious of the crying baby who was still hanging from his grip on the back of his pajamas.
"Unbelievable," Vegeta whispered. He barely had time to wrap his mind around just how strong this boy could grow up to be when Bulma suddenly barged into the room.
"What's going on here?" Bulma demanded, frazzled when she heard an explosion of all things from the baby's room. She snatched Trunks away from Vegeta, bringing him close to her to soothe him. "There, there, sweet boy," Bulma cooed, trying to get the baby to stop crying. "It's okay, baby. It's okay. Daddy scares everyone when they first meet him."
Vegeta scowled at that, finally turning to look at her while she rubbed Trunks' back. She blinked in surprise when she saw that his pajamas were ripped at the back. Looking up, she examined the wall that was partly caved in behind the prince. Good thing there was just an empty guest room on the other side. Tomorrow she would move Trunks to another room, maybe the next one over so he'd be closer to her. Finally, she looked at Vegeta.
"What the heck happened in here?"
Vegeta stayed silent as he watched her soothe their son. Quite suddenly, he was reminded of his own mother. Something in his chest hurt and he shook his head, looking away.
"Nothing," he finally answered, crossing his arms over his armor. Bulma looked at him curiously as Trunks quieted down in her arms. The baby laid his head down on her shoulder with a yawn, his exhaustion coming back to him.
"Do you want to wait outside while I lay him back down?" Bulma whispered.
Vegeta's scowl deepened as he kept his gaze off to the side. He didn't want to stay. Truly, he didn't. He'd seen the boy, and that was enough for him. But, he did need his armor, so he might as well get it since he was already there.
"Fine," he finally spat out, turning and stalking out of the room, not sparing either of them a glance on his way out.
Bulma sighed as she watched him leave, before giving Trunks a soft kiss on top of his head as she continued rubbing his back. Her mind wandered to Vegeta and the exchange she'd heard over the audio monitor up until the explosion. Vegeta hadn't come that night to get his armor and his uniform. If that had been the reason, he would've come to her directly. No, he had purposely sought out Trunks, and she couldn't help the surge of hope she felt at that. If he didn't care like he kept swearing he did, then he wouldn't have ever come back.
That man and his damn pride, she thought with a shake of her head.
She emerged a few minutes later from Trunks room after making sure he was asleep again, closing the door quietly behind her. Looking over, she saw him leaning on the wall a few feet away, his arms crossed over his chest, one foot crossed over the other. He didn't react when she looked at him, keeping his gaze straight ahead.
"Are you still mad at me?"
He looked away when she came to stand a few feet in front of him. He stayed silent, stubbornly glaring off at nothing as Bulma sighed. He scowled when he started picking up on her familiar scent.
Damn it, he wanted to stay angry at her. Hell, he wanted to hate her.
"I just need my armor, woman," he growled through clenched teeth.
"Come on, Vegeta, don't be mad at me. It was just as much a shock to me, you know," she told him, her voice quiet since they were just outside of Trunks' room. "And on top of that, I had to do it alone."
The slight hurt in her voice wasn't lost on him. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall.
"I told you I didn't want any children." His voice matched hers in volume.
"But you never told me why."
"What does it matter?" he hissed.
"It matters because Trunks is here now," she told him, placing her hands on her hips. "We can't send Trunks back where he came from. That trip was definitely one way, let me tell you."
His lip twitched as he resisted a smirk at that. He forced a sneer on his face, trying his hardest to cling to his anger. It wasn't that difficult when he went over her words again and found a point he was still raw on.
"Trunks," he scoffed in disgust."What a stupid fucking name."
"Hey, it's tradition, you jerk," Bulma snapped defensively. "Besides, what would you have named him?"
"His name should be Vegeta. That is tradition. Every heir to the Saiyan throne is named Vegeta. It was my father's name, and it should be my son's name."
"Well, how was I supposed to know that? You never told me." Bulma raised an eyebrow, before smirking knowingly. "Besides. I thought that he was only my son?"
Vegeta opened his mouth to respond, before closing it when he realized he had nothing to say. He opened his eyes and glared at her, hating that triumphant look in her blue eyes. That damn shade of blue that she'd passed down to the boy. Oh, how he hated that color.
The prince snorted. "You're right. What do I care what the brat's name is? The boy means nothing to me," he said, before looking away again.
Bulma stepped up to him, opening her mouth to press him as to why he'd even come back then, when his smell suddenly blindsided her. Crinkling up her nose in disgust, she leaned back from him a little.
"Geez, Vegeta! When's the last time you took a bath?" Vegeta kept his eyes away, but his cheeks were suddenly burning. He was glad for the poor lighting as Bulma laughed at him. "What, are you planning on melting the androids with that stench?"
He growled and looked back at her. "For your information, I've bathed regularly. I've simply had nothing else to wear."
"Well, you have a whole lot of clothes here. And not only that, but I made you a new set of armor with a new battle uniform," Bulma told him with a frown. "By the way, Vegeta, you said two days and you didn't show up, you ass."
"Well I'm here now, so where is it?" Vegeta demanded angrily.
"Ha, with that attitude, I might just let you go looking and smelling like crap to the fight with the androids," she told him with a poke in the chest. "Now go take a bath and then meet me downstairs, and then I'll give it to you. You are not going to wear that brand new armor with how bad you smell."
"Stupid woman, do not give me orders," Vegeta snarled, swatting her hand away from him. The last thing he wanted from her was her touch.
"Ugh, fine then," Bulma snapped. "Go fight the androids like this. Everyone will probably drop dead once you're within range from how bad you'll be reeking by then. If you happen to change your mind, I'll be downstairs, your highness."
Vegeta growled low in his throat as she turned and walked away from him. What an utterly insufferable woman. Once she was out of sight, he raised his arm and sniffed himself. He didn't smell that bad… muttering curses under his breath, he pushed away from the wall and headed towards his old bedroom.
Twenty minutes later, Vegeta was descending the staircase, wearing only a pair of his old exercise shorts with a white towel around his shoulders. He had to admit, these showers were much more convenient than bathing in a river like he'd been doing. Once he got downstairs, he did a ki sweep for Bulma, scowling when he sensed her down in the labs. He raised one end of his towel and wiped his face down, going to sit on the sofa in the living room to wait for her when he walked right past the mantle.
He stopped and turned to look, his curiosity getting the best of him. He let go of his towel, gazing at the picture frames that were there. There were a few of Bulma when she was younger, but he'd seen those before. What caught his eye were the rest of them, all pictures of Trunks. Vegeta stared at each picture, seeing how much smaller his son had been, and how much he'd already grown and changed in his absence.
Bulma tilted her head a little as she watched Vegeta curiously. He was staring intensely at a picture frame on the mantle in the living room and either was ignoring her or hadn't noticed that she was there now. She smiled a little at what he was looking at.
"We made a pretty cute baby, didn't we?" she teased. He scowled when he heard her, but didn't look away. Bulma walked over to him, standing next to him. He didn't say anything, his eyes scanning over the pictures. The heiress observed him, and wanted to point out that his interest was beyond someone who supposedly didn't care, but she opted for a different approach. Pointing to the first picture, she started explaining, "This one was when he was two weeks old. Those were tough days. He hardly slept, and just cried and cried. The kid has a pair of lungs."
"Hn." Vegeta looked over the picture in question, his eyes unreadable as he remembered the strength Trunks had shown. "The brat is going to be powerful."
"Well of course he is," Bulma said, as if that was obvious. "He's your son, after all."
At that, Vegeta finally looked away, from the pictures and from Bulma. He quietly collected his thoughts for a moment.
"I won't be staying, woman."
"What do you mean?"
"After all this is said and done with the androids. I won't stay on this planet."
"Oh," Bulma said in disappointment. "Yeah, I remember you mentioning that. But seriously Vegeta, where will you go? Where will you live?"
Vegeta blinked in surprise; that wasn't what he'd been expecting her to ask. He frowned, searching for an answer, but he hadn't thought that far ahead. Truly, he could survive almost anywhere. Though it would definitely be in his best interest to lay low. While no one on this damn mudball planet seemed to understand the true extent of his violent past, he still had many enemies lurking in other galaxies. If they knew he was alive, then he'd be dealing with the same old bullshit from Frieza's reign: everyday wondering if someone was going to make an attempt on his life. Though he was powerful enough now to survive anything they could throw at him, that lifestyle would get tiring in a hurry.
But it seemed that's what he had to do.
"I don't know," he answered truthfully, giving a careless shrug. "Anywhere but here, I suppose."
"You know, you could always stay here if you change your mind. This is your home too."
Vegeta immediately turned back to look at her, trying not to show his shock at what she'd said. Home? The word had lost all meaning to him. The closest thing he'd had to a "home" were the damn rejuvenation chambers that had been prevalent on Frieza's bases. It was the only place where he was free from his horrible existence and the constant horrors and trauma he had to face on a daily basis. And even then, he usually had to withstand hellacious beatings to gain such a "reward."
He sneered at her, "This isn't my home, woman. My home, my true home, it was destroyed when I was a small boy."
"I know," Bulma said gently, knowing that this was a delicate subject. "But you have to understand that you can have a new home here. My mom loves you, my dad accepts you, and most importantly, your son is here. If you wanted to stay, you could. It'd also be great for Trunks-"
"Enough. Where is my armor?" Vegeta snarled, cutting her off. He just wanted to leave. This woman and her brat were not his concern, and he was determined not to be sucked in further with them.
Bulma sighed, recognizing that look in his eyes. She reached over and handed the capsule to him. Vegeta snatched it out of her hand, before turning and giving her his back.
"I don't think I heard your thanks," Bulma said sarcastically.
"That's because I didn't give any."
Vegeta ignored her irritated growl, clicking the capsule before tossing it to the floor. He grunted in approval when he saw the new armor set. Taking his towel off his shoulders, he tossed it on the sofa. Bulma blinked in surprise when he dropped his shorts right where he was, leaving him completely nude. Granted, she had seen him naked on more than a few occasions, but that had been so long ago. Bulma's face unconsciously flushed red and she looked away as the Saiyan looked over what she'd made, completely indifferent over the fact that she was there. In his mind, she'd seen everything there was to see.
Bulma snuck him a quick glance as he picked up his new armor set and examined it. He knocked on it a few times, his effort minimal but still producing enough force to shatter stone. The armor was still intact afterwards, so he hit it a little harder.
"Hn. It's stronger than before," he commented.
Vegeta looked over at Bulma out of the corner of his eye at her tone. He raised an eyebrow when he saw her staring up at the ceiling in avid interest. He looked up, following her line of sight, looking to see what she was looking at, but there was nothing to see.
The prince scowled, wondering what was wrong with her. Maybe she'd been hanging out with that scarfaced moron too much.
"Well, at least you finally did something useful around here, woman," he growled as he started to put his uniform on.
"Oh, please. I really ought to get a medal for dealing with you on a consistent basis," Bulma shot back, sneaking another look right as he pulled his blue pants up.
"What about Kakarot? Do you deal with him on a consistent basis as well?" Vegeta asked, fishing for information on how far the other full-blooded Saiyan had advanced.
"No. I've only really kept up with Yamcha."
Vegeta's scowl deepened at the mention of that idiot. He picked up his brand new armor and tugged it on over his head. Part of him was mildly curious as to what, if anything, had gone on during his absence between those two. But the other, more rational part of him submerged such foolish thoughts.
Honestly, he didn't care.
"Well then," Vegeta finally said, his tone harsher than before as he slipped on his brand new white gloves. "Make sure you tell that weakling not to even bother showing up. I will defeat the androids singlehandedly."
"Full of yourself much?" Bulma teased as he finally turned to face her, his outfit finally complete.
Vegeta smirked, the arrogance radiating from him. "These androids will pose no problem at all. I will destroy them without even breaking a sweat."
"Well, everyone else is still going to be there, so you're going to have to work together."
"Bah. I work alone," Vegeta said with an indifferent wave of his hand. He turned to leave when her warm hand suddenly caught hold of his arm. He immediately froze at her touch.
"Vegeta, wait," Bulma said, and his smirk disappeared at her tone. The prince looked at her, eyes narrowed in suspicion and his body tense.
Here it was. The request for him to stick around, or for him to be a father to her brat, or some other kind of nonsense. He'd been expecting it, and now he could only wait. He studied her blue eyes as she came up close to him. Of course, now with her this close to him, his blood started rushing.
Vegeta took a deep breath to regain control of his body, before growling, "Now what the hell do you want, woman?"
"Be careful out there, okay?" Bulma told him, studying his dark eyes as intensely as he studied hers. Vegeta raised an eyebrow curiously, and she continued, "Seriously, I don't want anything to happen to you. I know that you say that you don't care and all that, but, well, I…"
Her voice faltered. It was his destiny to die in this battle, and while she fully believed his training would pay off and he'd avoid that fate this time around, there was still that risk. The thought pulled at her heart in all the wrong ways. She bit her bottom lip, struggling to find the words, but she truly didn't need to say anything else.
He saw it all in the way she was looking at him. Vegeta was momentarily left speechless at the emotion that was directed towards him. Thousands of battles he'd been in, all violent and many he'd come close to dying in, and now he'd found someone in the universe who actually gave a damn whether or not he came back alive.
It was one more than he ever thought he'd have.
He swallowed and forced himself to regain his senses.
"Your concern is completely absurd," Vegeta finally growled, scowling at her. "I am a Super Saiyan. I have power beyond anything your limited human brain can imagine. Nothing can stop me, much less these walking toasters."
Bulma cracked a small smile. "Just be careful, is all I'm asking, you egomaniac. Promise you'll be careful."
Vegeta blinked at the familiar exchange. He stared at her for a few moments, his eyes narrowed in intense concentration. Finally, he looked away and gave a conceding nod. Bulma smiled and let go of his arm.
"Just remember that I won't be coming back once this is all done and over with," he reminded her, turning away and giving her his back.
"Yes, but you remember too, that you can if you want to."
He hesitated for a second, before turning his head a little and answering. "Trust me, I won't, and there's nothing on this mudball planet that will make me change my mind. Now tell that scarfaced weakling that I said not to show up. That fool will only get in my way," he growled.
Bulma sighed, shaking her head, but Vegeta was already gone before she could think of what to say. She looked after him for some time, before looking back over at the pictures of Trunks on the mantle. Each picture provided a reason for Vegeta to stay. But he didn't want to see it that way, and she didn't know what to say or do. He'd seen Trunks up close in person, and still wasn't swayed. If seeing their son hadn't changed his mind, she sadly concluded that it was likely that nothing would.
As fate would have it, she couldn't have been more wrong.
To everyone who read this far, a huge thank you. I'm very flattered that you guys stuck with me and that so many of you seemed to like this story, especially because I feel like half of the story was me just trying to get used to writing Bulma and Vegeta. Anyways, I hope I didn't disappoint with the ending.
The post-Cell sequel is up - it's under this account and it's called "Change of Heart." Check it out if you like. :) Thanks again!