Author's Notes: Final installment. Don't worry though, I've got a Vegeta&Bra one-shot brewing in my head so be on the look out for that!
"Are they any better?" Trunks looked at his father as the shorter man dragged his feet into the kitchen in slight grogginess. He cocked his head curiously- Vegeta was normally very composed.
"They were like heaters. I couldn't sleep all night because of how warm they were," Vegeta snatched the coffee pot and poured it into his mug that Bra had made him the previous Father's Day. 'Universe's Best Dad'. The World didn't matter; what was beyond it did.
"But you stuck it out like a dedicated good helper, husband, and father," Trunks lifted his hands in a cheesy thumbs-up, "I didn't think you had it in you, Dad!"
His grin faded when he saw Vegeta was ignoring him and drinking his coffee.
"Is that the soup of great despair?" Trunks motioned to the pot on the stove.
In answer to his question, Vegeta just glared at the pot. "Yes," he practically hissed.
"… I wanna try it," Trunks decided.
"I'm not nursing you back to good health," his father snorted with a roll of his eyes as he took another drink of coffee.
"I wonder if it'll be better or worse now that it's been out all night," Trunks wondered aloud, grabbing a fork and poking the soup in question.
"I'm sure if you threw it out in the dirt and had it brave the elements it'd be delicious," came Vegeta's smart-ass suggestion.
Trunks just smiled though. Some people thought his dad was mean- he personally found the quips hilarious. "I'm not sure I'm that confident in the super-soup."
"Don't name it," Vegeta scowled, walking over now and staring down at the soup for a long time.
"I can't believe you fed Mom and Bra this crap and you didn't have the guts to try it yourself," Trunks said, experimenting to see if he could get his father to stupidly eat the soup by bullying him.
"I had a bad feeling about it. Saiyan instincts."
"You still gave it to Mom and Bra."
"Prettyyyy mean, Dad."
Vegeta let out a huff at his side and he poked the light film that had appeared at the top of the soup. When his finger penetrated the translucent cover that had formed overnight on the meal he was ashamed to say he cooked himself- the soup made a pop noise like it had been deflated and it sank into itself like the prince had just shot a ki-blast at it.
"Disgusting," Vegeta scowled.
"And you fed your family that. Gross."
"You're my family too," Vegeta looked at him, "I think it's only fair if you suffer as well," and he pointed at the soup matter-of-factly.
"What?! Nuhuh! No way, you can't make me touch that!"
"You're far weaker than me-- you've been slacking in your training. I can make you do whatever I like. So," Vegeta grabbed the spoon and took a scoop before holding it in front of Trunks's face, "suffer."
"You sure you aren't still possessed by that Babidi creep, dad? That's sounding mean even from YOU," Trunks stepped back slightly and Vegeta stepped forward.
"You're harassing me. This is punishment."
"Ehhhhhhh," Trunks whimpered as he stared at the spoon for a long time, "What kind is it? Tomato?"
"Chicken! It's chicken soup!" Vegeta cried out angrily, obviously annoyed nobody could even identify his food, before he shoved the spoon in his son's mouth.
Trunks spit the soup out in the sink and he grabbed the spoon and took a big scoop. "You're poisoning me! You know what will happen and you're feeding me this anyway! MOOOM-" he was silenced to another spoon shoved into his mouth and Vegeta clamped his son's mouth shut before he pinched Trunks's nose so he couldn't breath.
The younger Saiyan's eyes widened and Vegeta smirked victoriously, "Swallow and I'll end your suffering swiftly."
Trunks held out as long as he could but finally he needed to breath and he swallowed.
"The suffering has only begun," he sighed out softly as Vegeta grabbed his coffee and took another drink, standing proudly with his back turned to his son.
"DADDY!" Bra cried out and Vegeta sighed, setting down his cup and he left the room to go find the little girl.
Trunks watched his father leave, making sure he was far enough away by his power level and he hurried over to the pot of soup. "Bad decision, Father. You'll rue it tonight," he smiled evilly as he got a spoonful of soup and walked over to Vegeta's very strong, black, coffee.
Nah, there was no way he'd notice. He was too tired to taste it and the coffee was too strong for that possibility anyway.
With a quick plump! the soup was dropped into the mug and Trunks laughed quietly to himself at his clever plot before repeating the step a few more times for good measure.
Then he groaned at the sudden vertigo he felt and he quickly shuffled off to find the medicine cabinet to beat the soup before he would end up bedridden all day like his sister and mother had been.
"You okay, Daddy?" Bra stared up at her father curiously, "You look… ill," she smiled despite her worry. She had learned that word from him recently and she wanted to use it!
Vegeta looked down at his daughter. It had been about thirty minutes since he'd finished off his cup of coffee and returned back to Bra and Bulma. Bulma was sleeping still so Vegeta had been stuck helping Bra wash up. They were in the bathroom and Vegeta blinked, "I'm fine," he insisted.
He reached his hand up to Bra's ear with the towel and began to dry in any place he might have missed on the first pat down.
"Daddy, you should go back to bed," Bra huffed up at him.
"I need to train."
"You should go back to bed."
"I need to train."
"You should go back to bed."
"I need to train."
Vegeta looked at her, "What?" he exasperated.
"You should go back to bed," Bra said in a sugary tone, smiling at him innocently.
"You're pushy," Vegeta rolled his eyes, "I'm fine. I've braved worse things than a sleepless night."
"Shut up, I know."
"Then go back to bed."
"You know what?" Vegeta put the towel over her head, "You're just like your mother."
Bra just grinned as she took the towel off her face. She removed it from her eyes quick enough to see the prince's strong figure in the doorway, his hand clenched tightly around the frame that kept the door in place. "Daddy?" Bra crawled off the toilet and she began to walk over to him.
"Daddy? What's wrong?" she looked up at him curiously to see her father's face a weird shade of green.
"You are ill!" Bra gasped.
"I am not. Shut up."
Vegeta opened his eyes to shoot her a look of irritation before he put his free hand over his mouth and he gagged silently, "I think I'm going to vomit."
"YOU ARE ILL!" Bra declared again for good measure, pointing at her father accusingly as he suddenly shot for the toilet just in time to empty his guts into it.
"Uh…" The little girl stood there for a long time, trying to decide what to do now.
"MOMMY! DADDY IS ILL!"
"What?" Bulma groaned awake as the little girl ran up and leapt onto the bed, shaking her awake. She still had a slight fever but she was feeling much better.
"Daddy is ILL," Bra was staring at her mother with a stubborn firmness that made it hard for Bulma to reply with logic.
"Your Daddy doesn't get ill- err, get sick," she changed her wording when she realized she was sounding far too much like Vegeta to be normal. "He's a Saiyan."
Bulma scrunched her nose up slightly, "You sure?" Bra nodded so quickly that Bulma had to take her word for it. "Where is he?"
"He's in the bathroom. He threw up," Bra frowned up at her mother sadly. Bulma noted that Bra was in clean clothes so Vegeta must have bathed the little girl for her. He never ceased in surprising her with that tenderness he showed for his daughter.
But the tenderness didn't overcome a new development. Sick? Vegeta? It made no sense to her, she'd never seen the man sick before in her entire married life with him. Hurt? Yeah. Never sick though.
"You go find Trunks, okay? Stay with him for a while," Bulma kissed her daughter's forehead sweetly as she grabbed her robe and wrapped it around her body.
"Mommy," the firmness made Bulma look at Bra, "Daddy fixed you. Now you fix Daddy," then the little girl promptly turned on her heel, in a manner far too much like both of her parents for Bulma not to notice, and she padded out of the room to do as she was told.
Now it was time for Bulma to do as SHE was told. Time to fix Vegeta. Not that she was too sure she was going to be able to do that, though…
To say she was shocked when she walked into the bathroom and saw her husband coiled up slightly against the toilet while his hand reached up to flush whatever he had thrown up was an understatement. To say she was surprised to see him gag a little bit and shut his eyes in misery as his hand slipped slowly back into his lap was definitely an oversimplification.
Bulma couldn't help but just stare at her prince as he shakily took a deep breath and kept his eyes shut. Vegeta wasn't beat up all to hell on the outside. This wasn't something she could slap a Band-Aid on and then send him back to the GR. Prince Vegeta was sick. She was just astounded by it.
She was equally stupefied by how vulnerable he suddenly appeared. Bulma Briefs had always known that her husband was not a large man. She didn't pride herself on his height or lack-there-of, it was the way he carried himself that more than made up for it.
It stunned her. To see him so quiet on the floor, his eyebrows scrunched together in pain, while his mouth opened in wordless torment.
Vegeta was sick.
It took a good minute before she could get over how much that initial thought floored her. "Vegeta?" she said softly as she stepped in more. His eyes opened and he looked up at her with glazed over eyes.
"What happened?" Bulma carefully slipped down so she was kneeling beside him. She tried to approach her husband like he was a scared stray animal on the streets. She found he was less apt to attack her verbally when he did that.
"If I knew, I'd fix it," was his reply, his voice hoarser than usual.
"Oh, you're a mess," she sighed, reaching her hand up to his forehead and she gasped at how warm he was. "You're on fire."
"I was nothing but pleasant… I don't understand this karma…" her prince groaned against the toilet and Bulma wrapped her hands around his body to ease him up against the wall. He shut his eyes again, "I took care of you and I'm contaminated now…" he shook his head mournfully as she ran her hand over his cheek a few times. It would never cease to amaze her how youthful his skin stayed despite all the hardships he endured. The scars that littered his body were so common that Bulma felt odd touching any rare part of his skin that didn't have an indentation in it. But the sin was, initially, nice and young. A Saiyan didn't age like humans did, he'd told her. No, they most certainly didn't age like humans. Vegeta always seemed to be blossoming, every day awakening even more handsome and regal than he had the day before.
Nobody would know how handsome her husband was, though. He never liked the press. Some of the paparazzi liked to say her husband was locked up in a basement and being used to give her beautiful children. In a way they were right; Vegeta hardly ever came out of the Gravity Room except to have sex and eat.
She sighed, running her hands along the shirt covering his broad chest and she began to gently lift it up over his shoulders, "You need to cool down," she softly cooed out to him. She got a grunt of acknowledgement but she was used to that. It meant 'yes'.
Or so she thought. Maybe she should ask to make sure. She'd been wrong about the color thing for such an awfully long time it was hard to assume anything anymore.
"Ugh? What's that supposed to mean?" Bulma demanded insensitively as she tugged the shirt off roughly and looked at him expectantly.
Vegeta looked at her for a long time, "Wha?"
"'What?'" She cocked her head, "It means, 'what?' ?" her eyes were probing.
"It means 'no'?"
"Vegeta, you're being very difficult and I don't appreciate it."
He shut his eyes and moved his head away from her. "It means… ugh."
"Is that Saiyan?" she asked.
"Since when did my non-verbal communication become so damn interesting? You got along just fine before," Vegeta snipped.
"Okay, then I was right. Cool," Bulma resumed her cradling of his face- this time with a cool rag. "If I were a lesser person I'd slap this on your face like you did to me yesterday."
"Good thing you're not like me, then," Vegeta's tired words came to her. There was no sarcasm in them.
Bulma watched him for a long time, her hands going through the motions slowly to gage his expression. His eyes opened and Vegeta looked at her with those charcoal eyes.
"You've always been such a mess…" She said softly to him, the words tender as she patted his cheek softly with the rag. "Ever since the day we met. You're always reaching for something practically unattainable…"
"Are you asking a question?" he asked dryly as he stared into her with a vacant gaze. He was putting those damn walls up again. Vegeta was trying to keep his emotions out of reach from her. Nuhuh, not again. Not after Buu. Ooooh no, she wasn't playing that game.
"Why are you always moving? Why can't you just rest for a while? Settle down completely? I mean, you can still train but… You know, don't make it the reason for getting up in the morning! I should be the reason you wake up. Bra should be the reason you function. Trunks should be the reason you… Appreciate peace," she smiled softly and Vegeta scoffed in amusement at her words, shutting his eyes again. "This restlessness though," she regained the serious note in her tone, "It's not healthy. You and I both know that after what happened-"
"That isn't going to happen again," he cut her off so quickly that Bulma retracted her hand to make sure he didn't slap it away in his anger. He was hard to predict and more times than she could count had her heart-to-hearts with him been cut off because he didn't want to hear the truth because it pissed him off.
"I'm going to make sure of that," Bulma curtly replied as Vegeta opened his those black eyes to stare at her.
Those eyes… Bulma never could say what it was in them that attracted her to him. Whether it had been the pride or the honor she felt radiating from them but in that moment she knew there was none of that. No. Vegeta was just a hurt soul. The things that happened on Frieza's ship had made him into the man she met and she had made him into the man in front of her right then. Those eyes were hard like a piece of black steel. Immovable. He was a stoic figure in her mind. She'd never forget the grief she'd felt when he had sacrificed himself or the glee she'd felt when he'd return.
"I'm glad one of us is keeping tabs," Vegeta pulled her back into the current situation. He was being sarcastic.
"… If I didn't know any better I'd say you've got food poisoning, 'Geta."
"I didn't eat that soup though," he shut his eyes again in pain.
"Hey, Dad, this helped me out," Trunks tossed in a pink bottle from the doorway, he had been walking by, "It'll help those cramps, too." Vegeta opened his eyes to look at his son who staring in with a sort of 'I WIN' look.
"You dirty fighter," Vegeta growled but his pride for his son was swelling. "How did you-"
"Mom always says you hardly taste the coffee- you chug it down so fast," Trunks innocently said before he hurried off before Vegeta lost his sense of humor.
Bulma blinked in confusion, staring at the doorway before looking at her husband on the floor beside her. He started laughing softly though, shaking his head, "I taught him well," he declared and Bulma smiled.
"You taught him something but 'well' is not the word I'd use," then she smiled, "Hah… The only person able to make you sick… was yourself," she grinned at him cattily.
"Shut up," he growled and Bulma just laughed and laughed.
Oh yeah, she'd always remember that when he insulted her cooking from now on.