READ THIS BEFORE YOU PROCEED
This is a Goku and Bulma romance. I realize that they are not a 'conventional' couple, I also realize they are not together on the show. Now because they aren't together in the normal DBZ timeline, I needed to stretch the characters a bit. So in this Bulma is a bit too weepy, (my take is she's suffering from post-partem depression after the birth of Trunks) and Goku is less dense. Having said that, if it bothers you in any way, please stop reading. You will not like this story.
If you are still here, read at your own risk. I'd love to hear what you think of the story, and if you have any constructive criticism, by all means share. But I'd like to ask you to please refrain from personal attacks. If you do enjoy this story, I suggest you check out some of the other marvelous g/b writers out there and to support them with positive reviews. It seems our community is the cause of some controversy and is often being flamed, so just send them a nice word or two if you have the time. Well, now that I've taken up enough of your time. Enjoy! (and don't say I didn't warn you!)
Peter Pan V.1.2
(minor revisions grammar wise, nothing essential to the plot)
"All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can't you remain like this for ever!" This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end." -James M. Barrie
Her hands twitched at her sides, the desire for violence only thinly held back in her fragile grasp. Bulma was furious! Her friend had seen her innocently sleeping with Goku a couple days ago and chose now to bring it up and insinuate… she couldn't even finish the thought she was so outraged.
"It's not that! I was leaning against him and I guess we just fell asleep. You know I would never cheat on Vegita! God, I never said my relationship with Vegita was perfect, or even that stable, but I've never once looked at another man! " Lauren was set to let the last statement go, so Bulma was a bit delusional. That was nothing new. It was the next comment –or rather the accusing tone that accompanied it- that set her off. "How could you think I would not only cheat, but use one of my friend's husbands to do it with?"
"How could I think that?" she repeated incredulously, "Of course you would never do something like that! You're Miss Perfect, I can't believe I forgot for a moment." Her words were laced with sarcasm, and her eyes flashed dangerously. "News flash, sweet pea. You've been cheating on him since day one. Get off your high horse and smell the adultery!"
"I- how could you say something like that? You know I've been faithful." Instead of angry, for once Bulma just looked exhausted.
The quiet in Bulma's voice forced her to calm hers as well.
"There's more then one kind of cheating. You may not have let another man put his hands on you, but it's no less serious. 'Mind, Body, and Soul.' Ring any bells?" Lauren took pity on her friend –she'd see how long that word held up after they were finished- and decided to explain. "With Vegita, it's all about passion. You have this chemistry between you, this undeniable electricity. You fight and you fuck and it's dangerous and sexy and animalistic and you –love- it. But you don't love him." she held up a hand to stop Bulma's protest, "Don't deny it. Goku is the one that you let in your heart, and he's in the one place Vegita can't touch, the one place you won't let him touch. It's always been that way."
"You're wrong. Goku's my best friend. But that's it, he's nothing more." She said it with complete conviction.
She'd never once thought of Goku as more then a friend, she had a hard enough time thinking of him as a man.
"C'mon Bulma, you can't honestly believe that." Two pairs of eyes met and held. "He's the one you run to when things go wrong, he's the one you hide behind. You tell him things you don't tell anyone else. You confide in him when the father of your child –not the mention the rest of your friends- are left in the dark. You have complete, unconditional trust in him- and you don't trust anyone Bulma. If that's not being emotionally unfaithful –I…who knows."
"I-" She shook her head. What was there to say to something like that?
Both women sighed.
"Bulma, you know I love you. I'm only saying this because I'm your friend. I mean, haven't you ever wondered why you haven't had a single healthy relationship? It's because no guy can touch you. No man is going to make a commitment to you knowing he'll always be number two in your life."
"Yamcha cheated on you. And he was wrong to do so, but don't delude yourself into thinking it was all his fault. Maybe if you had looked at him like you looked at G-"
"Don't. Just…why are you doing this?" She blinked back tears.
"Because it's time someone should. It's not a secret, Bulma, everybody knows. You think Chi-chi doesn't? She sees the way he looks at you. She sees how he adores you. From before he could remember, you've always been the girl he's measured everyone else against."
"Well she has him now doesn't she?" Bulma couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her and Chi-chi had never been close but she couldn't believe the other woman would think….
"She doesn't have him now. That's the point. She has his body, but you've always had his heart." She laughed, but it was a harsh sound lacking any warmth. "I wonder if the idiot even realizes how in love with you he is."
She left then, leaving Bulma alone with her turmoil and confusion.
It wasn't possible. She was wrong, she had to be. She stared out the window. The sky was so blue, so clear… so unlike her muddled mind. A day like this you could see for miles…
"Why do you want to wish for a boyfriend anyway?"
"Well, I… well that's just what you do when you get older. Don't you ever want to get married?"
"I don't know… I guess. Bulma?"
"I'll be your boyfriend."
"It doesn't work like that you moron. There's a huge difference between a friend and a boyfriend." Honestly, she always had to explain things to him. "Boyfriends are…different. And you have to be in love with them."
"Oh. So what kind of boyfriend are you going to wish for?"
"I don't know. He's got to be strong, and dangerous and proud and…and a prince! What about you?"
"I don't want a boyfriend. Blech!" He squirmed at the thought.
"I meant what would you wish for in a girlfriend, doofus."
"I don't know." He scratched his head. "I guess she'd be like….well, you."
The memory came somewhere from the back of her mind unbidden. She smiled a little at the thought of it. Well her prediction came true…a little too true, but his was way off. She wasn't anything like Chichi!
She tried to push her conversation with Lauren out of her head. Of course he'd want a girlfriend like her, she was the only girl he had really known. Besides, they were just kids.
She reached for the phone and dialed the number from memory.
"Hey Chichi, what's up?"
"Not much, just making dinner."
"Dinner?" she looked at the clock, "it's barely two in the afternoon."
"Well, there's a lot of dinner to make."
"Oh. Um, Chichi? Is Goku there?"
"Could you tell him I called and send him over when he has a chance? I need to talk to him."
"Yeah, will do Bulma. I have to go. It's was nice talking to you." Click.
Bulma stared at the phone in her hands. Chichi was just busy, that's why she was so abrupt. And she was sure it must just be her imagination that put the darkened tone in the other woman's voice when she asked for Goku. Chichi was by no means shy, she would have said something long ago if she thought there was anything going on between her and Goku, right?
Bulma absently pulled some bread out of the refrigerator and started preparing sandwiches. It wasn't until she had several plates stacked with food that she stopped and realized she was doing it. She always made food when she knew Goku was coming over. It was just a habit. She told herself it was just because he flew over here faster when he smelled food but –no. It was just a nice thing to do for a friend. She ignored the fact that she hated to cook and rarely even made anything for herself. Its not like Goku didn't work up an appetite saving her butt over and over again…she owed it to him.
Predictably, as soon as she finished preparing the food she turned around to find him seated at the table. The rustle of the curtains the only thing to give away how quickly he got there. She placed the sandwiches in front of him and watched as he inhaled them. She took in how wide his mouth opened, the crumbs that coated him from the food that missed his mouth, and the belch he let out as he finished and leaned back in his chair. Surely they were joking? How could she love…that?
"That was great Bulma, thanks! What did you want to talk to me about?" She stayed silent for a moment more. She knew firsthand she wasn't the greatest cook…hell, compared to Chichi she didn't even deserve to call herself a cook. But Goku always praised her like she was the female Emeril.
What did that mean?
That Goku was a nice guy? That somebody must have taught him some manners. That she was lethal when insulted?
Surely not that he had feelings for her… She was overanalyzing things again. She hated when she did that. Sometimes she envied the ease with which Goku accepted the world.
"It was nothing… just something my friend said to me earlier. I think I just overreacted. Now I just feel silly."
She rubbed her eyes. Why did she ask him to come over anyway? She hadn't seriously thought she would tell him what Lauren had said. The conversation had just upset her and she needed to talk to someone.
"He's the one you run to when things go wrong…"
"What's wrong Bulma?" He had a concerned look on his face. His eyebrows were furrowed and it struck her how young and innocent he looked. Young, innocent and one of the most powerful beings in the universe… he always was a walking contradiction she thought fondly.
"Nothing." She forced a smile for his sake.
"Did Vegita say or do something?"
"No, I said nothing was wrong."
"Cause I can talk to him for you if you want-"
"Nothings wrong Goku!" she screamed at him. She was immediately apologetic, that had come out harsher then she intended. It wasn't right to take her frustrations out on him. "I'm sorry, I guess I'm just feeling a little off today." Tears threatened her vision, but she refused to let them fall. She was just overreacting.
Goku thought for a minute. He knew something was really bothering her but he didn't know what he could do if she didn't tell him what it was. He hated seeing her unhappy, and it seemed she was more and more losing that happiness they had possessed when they were younger. He knew she thought he was still a child, that he never grew up. But if growing up meant becoming so much more cynical, meant losing that joy of…everything, then he was fine staying right where he was.
He wished he could take her back to that time himself. Back then, even when she was screaming at him eyes flashing and arms flailing, he knew nothing was really wrong. She'd get over it as quick as it had come on and then they'd be best friends again.
Now, everything was different. He could feel his Bulma slowly slipping away. With her taking more and more responsibility at Capsule Corp, and her tumultuous relationship with Vegita, not to mention trying to be a good mother to a half-saiyan… she was slowly crumbling under the stress.
And he, Goku, savior of the world how ever many times over, was scared.
He was scared because he was watching his best friend fall apart, and he didn't know a damn thing he could do to stop it. He felt completely powerless.
Bet she didn't know how much her 'care-free' friend did worry....
"Come on." He got up and tugged her hand. He overestimated his strength and she popped out of her seat and into his chest. He flashed her a grin and pulled her outside.
"Goku, stop! Where are we going?"
"Were going on an adventure Bulma, just like old times." He pulled her into his arms, ignored her startled gasp and took to the sky.
"Goku! What are you talking about? We can't just leave." The tears escaped her eyes and were slipping over her cheeks but she was laughing.
"Why not?" He watched the ground race by beneath them. He had always loved flying with her…and why couldn't they go back? She was so much happier then… He wanted to see her smile again, a real genuine smile.
"Because, that's not the way it works. How did it ever get in your head to go on an adventure anyway? Haven't we had our fair share of adventures?"
"But don't you remember how it used to be? Before… -before everything. When it was just you and me and the open skies on an adventure."
"Of course I remember Goku but-"
"Do you really remember? How it used to feel? You were so happy then –we both were. Everything was perfect." He looked at her, really looked at her, "Why can't we go back Bulma? Why can't we just leave now and go on an adventure. Just you and me, like it was before. Why can't we just take off right now?"
She didn't miss the pleading tone in his voice and the tears that escaped her eyes were for a different reason now. She tried to give him a smile, but she knew it didn't look convincing.
"You know I want to but-"
"So let's go!"
"No, Goku." She said it softly but he heard it too clearly. They were already miles from her house. He stopped and set them down in a deserted area. At first she looked everywhere but at him. He couldn't know how hard it was not to just throw everything away and go with him. What he was offering her…. But one of them had to be the grown up, and she supposed it was just her lot in life to be it.
She turned back to face him. "We can't leave, Goku. There are too many people that depend on us; too many responsibilities and obligations that tie us here. I want to but- think about Chichi, and Gohan and Vegeta and Trunks and Capsule Corp. and what happens if some big bad comes along while were gone? We're too old to go on adventures. You can't live in the past. That part of our life is over." the tears she thought had abated were returning now and she closed her eyes, willing them to go away. "Maybe some day…"
He returned her trembling smile, for once not being naive enough to believe the empty words.
He brushed away the tears that still fell down her soft cheek with his callous thumb.
"Don't cry Bulma."
She lifted her watery eyes to meet his gaze. It was filled with concern and it broke her heart to see her normally care-free friend worried. As much as she teased him about never growing up, it was one of the things she loved about him. It was a nice contrast to her cynicism.
Lauren's words echoed in her mind.
"Goku's the one that you let in your heart."
"It's always been that way."
She clutched him close to her, hanging on his body for support as if she was as unsteady as her mind. He wrapped her in his arms, pulling her even closer, and rested his chin on her head as she soaked his shirt in her tears. And for a moment, in each other's arms, they were together –the two of them- like it had always been, like maybe it was always been meant to be…..
And when hours later, the two pulled apart, and he flew her home; and she went into her house, and rescued the nanny from her son, and cradling the crying infant in her arms she whispered "It's going to be all right." She knew it was.