Smoke

Bulma's purse was hanging on the coat rack, near the door to her lab. Because she was not entirely sure where her shoes had ended up, she moved cautiously as she padded barefoot to retrieve the bag, stepping around the broken electrical components and scattered tools. They'd been in a hurry, so when Vegeta had swept the clutter off her lab table to make room she hadn't done anything to stop him. Now, looking down at the shattered pieces of her projects, beginning to consider how long it would take to rebuild everything that had been broken, she began to feel regret. And annoyance.

She had a strong suspicion that he had been a virgin.

Vegeta was still dressing. Bulma walked back to the lab table and perched on one of the stools, began to dig through her purse, her eyes pointedly adverted from him. "Look," she said, when she heard him get to his feet. "That was stupid. We aren't going do it again." Then she did look at him, though only from the corner of her eye, trying to see if she'd hurt his feelings. She didn't know if she had the power to do that, or even if he had feelings that could be hurt.

His back was toward her, so she couldn't see his face, but there was a sneer in his voice. "Woman, don't flatter yourself."

She knew that she needed to keep him on the defensive. If she allowed him to see weakness in her he'd never relinquish the advantage. "Whatever," she said, and found her smokes at last.

Bulma bent her head to light the cigarette, cupping her palm around the flame protectively, though there was no breeze in the lab. Her bra was tangled around the legs of the table, and she debated reaching down to grab it, cramming it into her pocket of something, but decided that would be too undignified.

When she looked up again he was standing across the table from her, which was alarming because she hadn't heard him move. She took a slow drag from her smoke to buy time to compose herself before saying, "What?"

"Give me one of those," he demanded.

She rolled her eyes. Flicked ash on the floor - the place was a mess already anyway. "Do you know how?"

The only answer he gave her was a glare, so obviously he didn't, but she handed the pack over anyway.

She couldn't help feeling intrigued as she watched him shake the cigarette out of the box and light it. How could hands that powerful handled something as fragile as a cigarette - as fragile as herself - without doing damage? His movements as he brought the cigarette to his lips were a careful reproduction of her own, unintentionally feminine, though he couldn't have known any better. This isn't his world, she thought with renewed wonder.

He inhaled, and burned the cigarette down past the flitter in one astonishing drag, drawing the smoke down into his lungs all at once.

Bulma came around the table to pound on his back as the coughing bent him double. "I told you," she said, when he could breathe again. He turned his head to glare murder at her through watering eyes, but by then her hands were moving on him again, across the tensed, hard muscles of his shoulders, and down the small of the back, toward the little nub of a bobbed tail.

"This is so stupid," she said again, more to herself than him, and didn't stop. He made a small sound of agreement, but took her by the wrist anyway, guiding her back toward the lab table.