Gohan stared at the daunting pile of books in front of him. He cringed as he flipped through the first textbook, looking over all of the advanced scientific diagrams and equations. His mom had brought the books over for him several weeks ago, and he had told her he was diligently studying every night. That wasn't exactly true, but it would be true soon. He was going to move out of Capsule Corp later that day, and it was only a matter of time before his studies became his top priority again.
The teenager sighed and closed the textbook, shoving it away on the desk Bulma had put in his room. He leaned back in his chair, looking out through the window when he suddenly heard his brother and Trunks' high-pitched voices in the backyard. Almost immediately, Vegeta's rough voice barked over them, and then there was silence. Gohan curiously peeked out, seeing Vegeta standing out back with Goten and Trunks both sitting in the grass in front of him, listening to every word the prince was saying as though it was gospel.
Gohan frowned and looked away. A month had now passed since both of his excursions through Vegeta's mind, and it had only taken days for Vegeta to shake off the effects. Not so much for Gohan, though. He was "repaying" Vegeta by having spars with the prince every day, which were more intense than they had ever been. But the spars weren't the problem. His body craved the fighting, and with Vegeta's help, he was slowly learning to control the lingering bloodlust he still felt now that it wasn't crippling in need. If anything, it was all making him much stronger than before. No, the problem wasn't physical anymore.
The problem was that he couldn't forget the things he'd seen. Even when he didn't consciously think about it during the day, his dreams would bring it all back at night. Gohan stared down at the cover of one of his books, unconsciously tapping his desk with a pencil. He thought about making an attempt at studying a little before his mom came to pick him and Goten up, but he just couldn't bring himself to do it. Instead, he sighed and got up, deciding to step out and maybe get some fresh air.
Goten and Trunks were now standing, squared up a few feet away from each other in battle stances. Vegeta was slowly circling them, paying close attention to their form and balance, but moreso to Trunks. When he finally gave a subtle nod, the two boys launched into each other and started their fight under the close watch of the prince. Vegeta crossed his arms as he followed the moves of each boy, and that was how Gohan found them when he finally stepped outside. The teenager came over to stand next to Vegeta, crossing his arms as well.
Gohan cocked his head to one side when he saw Goten just barely block a kick aimed for his chest. Trunks was relentless in his attacks, and it showed that he was hands down the more advanced fighter of the two, even though they were both raw. Still, Gohan couldn't help but marvel at the speed of the little boys.
"Man," Gohan finally said, "They sure are fast for their age."
"Hn. That speed might be acceptable for your brother, but Trunks can do better," Vegeta scoffed.
"I dunno, Vegeta. I sure wasn't moving like that when I was four years old," Gohan noted, gesturing to Trunks who finally landed a punch into Goten's face, ending the fight. Goten cried out, staggering backwards and sitting down on the grass.
"OUCH! TRUNKS!" Goten wailed, covering his nose as his eyes watered. "We said NO hard hits!"
"Sorry, Goten," Trunks offered, though there was a satisfied smirk creeping over his face and the smallest hint of insincerity in his voice. It was just a small fight in the backyard of his home, but winning any fight in front of Vegeta filled him with a pride deeper than the little boy could ever articulate.
Trunks looked back at his father, searching his features for approval or pride, or just a sign that he was pleased, but Vegeta's hard scowl hadn't changed. Trunks' smirk wavered, and as he turned back towards Goten, it was replaced with a look of disappointment. He was only four years old, but he already knew that when it came to fighting, he would likely never impress his father.
Trunks came up to Goten and offered him his hand. Goten sniffed, and then took it as Trunks helped him stand.
"Sorry," Trunks said again, patting his best friend on the back. This time, he meant it.
"Trunks," Vegeta barked, getting his son's attention. "Tell your mother to ice the boy's face before his harpy mother sees him later. And after dinner, you and I are going to work on fixing your sloppy technique. Now get lost, both of you."
Gohan was the only one who noticed the way Trunks winced and his shoulders dropped. The teenager raised an eyebrow, but Goten barreled past Trunks, and just like that, both boys raced into the compound. Gohan glanced back at Vegeta, who was already heading off towards the gravity chamber.
"Hey, Vegeta, wait up," Gohan called out, jogging after the prince. "Hey, don't you think you're being kinda hard on Trunks? He's doing pretty well-"
"Don't tell me how to train my own son," Vegeta dangerously cut in, warning in his eyes as he shot a glare at Gohan.
"No, no," Gohan defensively said, waving his hands a bit. "I'm not trying to tell you how to train him, I'm just saying-"
"Trunks is spoiled by his mother and his grandparents. If anything, I am too lenient on him. He lacks discipline," Vegeta growled.
"I don't think-"
"What time are you leaving again?"
"Oh, um…my mom said she'd be by around four with my grandpa, so they can put my things in the car."
"Good. So why don't you worry about preparing your things for that, instead of trying to analyze the relationship I have with my son? When I want your expert opinion, I'll fucking ask for it."
"Alright," Gohan relented, recognizing the threat weaving between Vegeta's words. The only one who could continue an argument with Vegeta when his voice was like that without fear of bodily harm was Bulma. Gohan's respect for the genius heiress had definitely risen quite a bit over his time at Capsule Corp, that was for sure. He decided to drop the subject, silently following Vegeta into the gravity room.
"What should we engage it at today?" Vegeta asked, scanning over the control panel. Gohan had learned quickly that it didn't matter what he suggested. Vegeta would use that number as a minimum, and always go over it. The teenager frowned, and awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck.
"I'm not really up for sparring again, to be honest," Gohan admitted. Vegeta looked over his shoulder at him, raising an eyebrow. "I mean, we've been doing it every day, Vegeta."
"I know. I've been there every day," Vegeta sneered sarcastically. "You know that it's what you need, boy."
"Yeah, I know," Gohan sighed, burying his hands into the pockets of his pants. "But I'm just kinda tired of it. It doesn't hurt to take a break every now and then, right?"
"It doesn't hurt when one isn't resisting primal urges to slaughter innocents," the prince said, articulating his words slowly like Gohan was stupid.
"I don't know, I've been feeling pretty good lately. I mean, I was going to stop sparring and training eventually, so might as well start slowing it down a bit, so I get used to it," the teenager responded with an indifferent shrug.
Vegeta turned around, facing Gohan directly. The prince could barely stand the anger rising in his chest, even as he tried keeping it in check. He himself would kill in a heartbeat for the power dormant inside of Gohan, that enormous power that was beyond anything he had ever imagined possible. He clenched his hands into tight fists, trying to control his temper, but it always struck a nerve thinking how dismissive Gohan was of his strength.
"You are at your physical peak, Gohan," Vegeta slowly explained. "You have to continue training now, while your body is changing. You can become more powerful than you've ever been, but you have to harness that power."
"I know, but I mean, there's really no point," Gohan said, shrugging again. "We're at peace, and there's no threat to the Earth. I can control my power now and I think that's enough for me. Besides, I'm really behind on my schoolwork," he added, frowning in worry over the amount of work he'd be catching up on soon.
Vegeta stared at him for a few seconds, before sighing in defeat. He couldn't force Gohan to train or spar regularly once the boy moved back home. But while he certainly didn't approve, he did understand. Gohan had practically grown up being pulled into epic battles left and right. Where Vegeta was from, that was a way of life, but the prince now recognized just how different a lifestyle Gohan had from other human boys his age. For better or worse, Gohan was just as much one of them as he was a Saiyan. If he wanted to try living more of a "normal human life" without constant fighting, that was his decision to make.
"Fine," Vegeta finally spit out, turning around in irritation. He surveyed the gravity settings again. "Then if you don't want to spar, get out and stop wasting my time. Some of us around here do care about getting stronger."
"Well, I was wondering if we could talk…"
Vegeta rotated his head to crack his neck, so he wouldn't punch the control panel in frustration. "About?" he grit out.
"Just some effects I'm having from, well, you know, what we went through. I wanted to see if you-"
"Hold on," Vegeta interrupted.
Without another word, he walked past Gohan out of the gravity room. The teenager blinked a few times in surprise, watching as Vegeta disappeared into the compound. Finally, Gohan shrugged, figuring that maybe the prince had sensed something amiss with Trunks or Goten. He leaned back against the wall and waited, but he wasn't alone long. Soon, Vegeta was walking back in, and this time, he was carrying two bottles of beer. Gohan had barely looked over at him, when he quickly had to get a hand up to catch a thrown bottle at him.
"Vegeta…" Gohan warily said, eyeing the cold bottle in his hand. "I can't drink this. I'm too young."
"You saved this goddamned planet, kid. I think you can have one drink without anyone bitching at you about it," Vegeta scoffed, ripping off the top of his own beer bottle. "Besides, I need a drink before one of these conversations you always start up with me. Don't worry. I won't tell your banshee mother."
A horrible influence. Chi-Chi's words regarding Vegeta had never been clearer in Gohan's mind. Still, he was a fourteen-year-old boy, and his curiosity got the best of him. After all, who knew when he would have a similar opportunity? Gohan slowly removed the bottle top, and then ventured a sniff. He then ventured a tiny taste, and he cringed in disgust.
"Oh man, that's awful," Gohan grimaced. "It's so bitter."
"Apologies. Next time, I'll bring a tall glass of chocolate milk for you," Vegeta sneered, rolling his eyes before chugging down almost half of his beer in one shot, much to Gohan's disgust.
"Well, anyways, I wanted to talk to you about what we went through," Gohan finally started. He slid down so he was sitting, and rested the beer bottle on the floor next to him.
"Out with it then," Vegeta ordered, casually leaning back against the panel. "What are these effects you're dealing with?"
"Nothing physical," Gohan sighed, pulling in his legs so he was crosslegged. "In fact, I'm fine, except for when I'm sleeping. I keep having these nightmares, seeing things all over again."
"Not unusual for what you experienced. They'll go away."
"Are you going through the same thing?"
Vegeta didn't immediately answer, instead choosing to take another swig of his beer. He was still trying to get over the trip through his memories – memories he wanted to forget. Gohan might've thought it was effortless, but it wasn't. The physical after effects hadn't lasted long, but he too, was suffering from intense nightmares. It had gotten to the point where he had slept in a guest room alone for a couple of weeks, because he woke up so disoriented and on edge, that he almost killed Bulma one night in cold blood. Even the handcuffs to drain his power hadn't helped – he still wound up on top of her, with his hand around his wife's throat in a fit of madness, before she got him to snap out of it.
Vegeta turned away, giving Gohan his back. He frowned at the memory, deep down questioning his own sanity. He and Bulma over the last week had shared the same bed again per her request, confirming his belief that she was, at the very least, as crazy as him.
"Something like that," he finally answered, raising his bottle up and chugging down the rest of his beer.
"But it's weird for me, because I keep seeing you doing other things that I never saw you do. I don't know if they're real memories, or if my mind is just making things up now. But I don't like it," Gohan quietly admitted.
"Like what?" Vegeta asked. He turned back a little and gestured towards Gohan's beer bottle. The teenager grabbed it, and threw it back at the prince, too fast for a drop to spill. Vegeta caught it effortlessly and turned away again.
"Well…like a couple weeks ago, for example. I had a dream that you and Nappa were trying to get answers from this alien couple, and that you…um, set them on fire…" Cracks spread on the beer bottle in Vegeta's hand, as Gohan scratched the back of his head awkwardly as he continued, "And then, Nappa doused them with water before they died, so you could do it all over again-"
"When did you see this?" Vegeta roughly interrupted.
"Man, I don't remember exactly, but I keep seeing things like that at night."
"No, but about every other night. Though, it was a lot better when you weren't sleeping in your room. I don't really know why though."
Vegeta seemed to visibly relax at that, but when he turned around to face Gohan, he had a serious look in his eyes. They both stared at each other in uncomfortable silence, before Vegeta walked over towards the door. Gohan was already getting up before Vegeta even gave his order.
"Follow me. We'll see what the woman has to say about this."
They both easily pinpointed where Bulma was as soon as they walked back into the compound. It wasn't hard when they heard something shattering to pieces upstairs, and then heard Bulma shrieking-
"I said, NO PLAYING SOCCER INSIDE THE HOUSE! BOTH OF YOU ARE GOING TO GET IT IF YOU DON'T START LISTENING!"
There was immediate silence, which made Gohan chuckle.
"They're a handful, huh?"
Vegeta grunted, rolling his eyes as they made their way upstairs. "And they actually fear her more than me, so what does that tell you?"
"Really?" Gohan laughed.
"Yes. Apparently the threat of a spanking from a human woman strikes more fear than the threat of being blasted to bits from a Saiyan. Don't ask me why."
"So long as something works, right?"
"Hn. If all else fails, two fast executions is always an option," Vegeta grumbled, walking past his son's room without looking in. Gohan glanced in though, and both boys were sitting down, quietly playing video games. Goten looked over his shoulder and gave his brother a huge grin and a wave, and Gohan waved back before following after Vegeta.
Bulma was sitting up in bed in her room, feverishly typing away on her laptop when Vegeta and Gohan walked in. She shot them a quick glance, without slowing down her typing.
"Hey guys, I ordered catering for lunch, it'll be here in about an hour," she informed them, biting her bottom lip as she scrolled through some emails. "I just have to get back to a few suppliers, and then I'll see where they are if you guys are already hungry-"
"Woman, I think this boy is having the same nightmares that I am ever since we used the simulator together," Vegeta bluntly interrupted.
Bulma immediately looked up in surprise at her husband, before looking over at Gohan, who almost looked embarrassed. She closed her laptop and set it aside so she could stand up.
"What? Are you sure?"
"Fairly. He told me some things that I dreamed about, and it can't be a coincidence." Gohan cringed a little at the thought that his nightmare had been a flashback of real violence Vegeta had waged once upon a time. He snuck the prince a glance, but Vegeta wasn't looking at him as he growled, "I'm sick of this boy being in my mind. Do something about it."
"Just give me a second!" Bulma told him in exasperation, digging for paper and something to write with on her nightstand. "It's probably just a lingering effect of the telepathy, but I need to know more to be sure. Gohan, do you remember what you've seen and on what nights?"
"Um, just a few things…"
A few minutes later, Gohan was sitting down on the edge of the bed with Bulma, while Vegeta leaned back against the wall. The prince remained silent, listening as Gohan tried remembering specific things, and cross-checking the information against his own recollections. It was disturbing that they were sharing his nightmares. No one had the right to visit those memories without his permission.
"Wait a second," Bulma interrupted her note-taking. "When Vegeta was sleeping in the guest room, you hardly saw anything?"
"Yeah, it was definitely the best sleep I've had since we used your simulator."
"Oh, well there you go then," Bulma brightly said. "Vegeta was staying in the guest room at the end of the hall. He was sleeping further away from you and things got better for you, even though nothing changed for him. And since you're not dealing with this every night, I'm sure it'll all go away once you go home. Just call me tomorrow if it doesn't, and we'll figure something out. Okay, kiddo?" she asked, giving Gohan a side hug.
"Sure thing," Gohan said, blinking in surprise. Bulma released him and then grabbed her laptop, opening it back up again.
"That's it?" Vegeta demanded angrily. "Just, let's wait and see what happens?"
"Well yeah, I mean, it is a little unexpected, but your minds are still very receptive to each other based on what you went through. Just you sleeping further away helped Gohan out a lot. With a little more time and with him at home, it should be alright."
Grumbling curses under his breath and looking none too pleased, Vegeta stalked out of the bedroom without another word to either of them.
"Do you think he's mad at me?" Gohan wondered aloud.
"Who knows," Bulma sighed. "Don't worry though, he'll get over it. What about you? Do you want to talk about these thing you've seen? It sounds awful."
"Yeah, it was pretty bad, but it's okay," Gohan answered with a shrug.
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure. I mean, I just had to see it. I didn't have to live through it."
Bulma nodded, patting him on the back. "Well, regardless, it'll go away soon so don't worry. Now, are you hungry? Should I call up the people that are bringing lunch and see if they can come a little faster?" When she saw his half-smile in return, she smiled back. "Silly question, huh? Why don't you go downstairs and I'll see what I can do."
A phone call and a nice, promised tip later, and they were all sitting down for lunch about twenty minutes later. It was a nice, typical lunch, but Gohan picked up a few plates worth of food and politely excused himself after about fifteen minutes. He was fine when he was with one or two people, but he was still working up to four people. As soon as he felt the stirrings of those dark urges again, he simply removed himself, and they went away. He was getting better day by day, but he certainly didn't want to push or chance anything. Especially when Vegeta or Piccolo weren't going to be shadowing him anymore.
He was sitting alone, on the front steps of Capsule Corp, when an annoyed Vegeta stepped out right behind him, holding plates of food in his hands. Gohan looked over his shoulder in surprise, and then moved over. The prince sat down next to him, grumbling under his breath as he did.
"Bulma force you to come out here?" Gohan curiously inquired.
"Hn. That female doesn't force me to do a damn thing," Vegeta growled. Gohan shrugged, and looked down at the plate of food in his lap, picking absent-mindedly at it with a fork. He did that for a while, before awkwardly clearing his throat.
"You're not mad at me, are you?" he warily asked.
Vegeta raised an eyebrow. "Why would I be?"
"I know you're tired of me being in your mind-"
"You're not doing it on purpose," Vegeta responded. His eyes narrowed as he glared at the teenager sitting next to him. "Right?"
"No, I'm definitely not doing it on purpose. I thought maybe that they were just things my mind had made up…not things that actually happened," Gohan said, looking back down at his plate.
"Don't tell me you've been so easily traumatized, boy," Vegeta scoffed in disgust.
"No, no, I'm alright. It's only the lack of sleep that bothers me, that's all…"
"You sound like your idiot father when you try to lie."
"The dreams are just kinda intense," Gohan admitted. "I've never seen that kind of violence before. But I guess that was a Saiyan thing, huh?"
Vegeta considered his words for a moment, before picking up his own fork. He dug into the barbecue his wife ordered, and shoved a forkful of food into his mouth. He ate thoughtfully for about a minute, his eyebrows drawn together.
"Saiyans were violent, yes," Vegeta finally relented, surprising Gohan. "But that was because we loved to fight. For the thrill, the competition, the love of it. What you saw, had nothing to do with that. That violence was Frieza's doing. It had nothing to do with being a Saiyan."
Gohan nodded in understanding. "I'm glad Trunks finally got him."
"Hn." Vegeta couldn't help the smirk that crept over his face at the thought. Better Trunks than Kakarot, that was for sure.
"And I'm really glad that you're not like that anymore."
"Oh? And who says I'm not?" Vegeta asked, his smirk turning sinister. When Gohan blinked at him in disbelief, Vegeta laughed out loud, and looked back down at his plate, picking up his fork again. "Always prepare for the inevitable, kid. Yet another reason you should keep up your training after you go home. Times of peace don't last."
"I gotta catch up on school work first, that's the most important thing. I've fallen really behind. Maybe once I'm good with that, I'll make time for some training."
"Sure you will."
"I will, you'll see. Do you think we can have one more spar before I go back home?"
"Are you that eager to get your ass kicked before your harpy mother sees you?"
Gohan smirked a little, "I've been on a winning streak lately, haven't I? Three in a row?"
"Hn. Pure luck," Vegeta grumbled, angrily digging his fork into his food. "After I eat, I'll teach you a thing or two, half-breed."
"We'll see about that, Vegeta."
It was true, that by the point system they used, Gohan had won the last few spars. But it had more to do with them stopping the spars when Gohan happened to be ahead. The two were fairly matched, something that was obvious when they finally started another spar almost an hour later. Vegeta landed the first punch, instantly drawing blood which gave him a point. When Gohan went on the offensive after that and forced the prince to ascend first, he evened the score.
Maybe I will keep up with my training, Gohan briefly thought, right in the heat of the fight with Vegeta as he blocked a kick aimed at his head. But this spar was fun only because it was just that- a harmless spar with no one's life in the balance. He hoped he wouldn't have to fight one of those fights ever again-
In his distraction, Gohan never saw that hard right hook coming. It landed square into his jaw, and the next thing he knew, he was flat on his back, in a daze. He blinked up at Vegeta, who was leaning over him and wearing a triumphant smirk.
"Knock out. Instant win," Vegeta announced smugly. "Next time you spar with me, perhaps you'll give me your full attention."
"No kidding," Gohan mumbled, slowly sitting up.
"Your mother is here anyways. So get up and get your shit together, so you can all leave," Vegeta ordered as he walked away. Gohan winced as he rubbed the side of his jaw, before he sighed. Not how he envisioned leaving, but it was time to head back home.
Vegeta did his best to steer clear of everyone downstairs as Gohan showed what was inside his capsules Bulma had given him, so Chi-Chi could make sure he had all of his things. He was fully intending on staying out of sight and out of mind, even taking a slow shower so Chi-Chi and her sons would be gone when he was done. His plan probably would have worked, if Bulma hadn't sniffed it out.
"Vegeta, Gohan is going to leave. Hurry up so you can come down and say goodbye!" Bulma yelled over the running water of his shower.
He growled at her faded outline in irritation. "And what makes you think I care enough to say goodbye to that boy? Good riddance, I say."
"Vegeta, he's been spending practically every day with you! It won't bruise your ego if you just say goodbye, so hurry up!"
With that, Bulma walked out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her. Vegeta scoffed; that woman had another thing coming if she thought he was always going to bend to her will. He then picked up a fresh bar of soap. He had already scrubbed down, twice, but since he could still sense Chi-Chi, Gohan, and Goten on the premises, he started to scrub down a third time.
That is, until the water in his shower suddenly went from hot to freezing cold.
"Yes, Mom, I have the capsule with my textbooks. It's right here," Gohan said for what must have been the third time. He strongly resisted the urge to roll his eyes, making an effort to keep himself in check as he showed the capsule to Chi-Chi. Behind them, Goten was sitting in the driver's seat of his mother's vehicle, pretending he was driving and having the time of his life.
"Good. You better hold onto that, mister, because you are going to study as soon as we get home," Chi-Chi sternly told him. Gohan cringed, and then looked down when he felt a tugging on his hand.
"Are you gonna come visit? Huh? Are you?" Trunks asked, gripping Gohan's hand tightly.
"Yeah, for sure, I'll definitely try," Gohan kindly answered, before looking up as a freshly showered but angry-looking Vegeta practically stormed out of the compound. The prince made his way directly over to Bulma, and if Gohan hadn't known any better, he would've thought that Bulma was about to be killed in cold blood.
Instead, the heiress just laughed at whatever Vegeta snarled in her ear. This only seemed to piss Vegeta off more, before she visibly drew his attention to Gohan. He grumbled some obscenities, and then motioned for Gohan to follow him as he stalked away from everyone.
"GOTEN! What did you do?" Chi-Chi shrieked as Goten impishly held up the steering wheel in his hands.
"Oops!" Goten laughed.
Gohan wisely took the distraction and walked off after Vegeta, away from his mother who was yelling at his brother. When they had walked almost to the edge of the premises, Vegeta turned to face him.
"Remember what I showed you, boy, about how you can control yourself," Vegeta instructed. "Don't push too much. Ease back into things. Don't give your mother shit because I'm going to get blamed. Don't kill your brother. Don't-"
"I know, I know."
"Hn." Vegeta hesitated a second, before digging into his pocket. He pulled out a bottle of pills, and handed it to the teenager in front of him. "The woman gave me these for when I'm having too hard a time getting sleep. I've only used them once. You can have the rest."
"Are you sure? Don't you need them?"
"I can deal with the dreams better than you. This is just in case things don't improve on your end."
Gohan looked at Vegeta for a few seconds, before breaking into a bright smile. He regarded the prince with a mixture of admiration and respect. "Thanks. For everything. I appreciate all of it, Vegeta. You're a real lifesaver."
Vegeta looked uncomfortable as he scanned their surroundings, looking everywhere except at Gohan as he grumbled, "Yes, fine, but your harpy mother is waiting so hurry up and go over there."
"Right," Gohan turned away, and Vegeta slowly followed him back over to where everyone was.
"There," Bulma brightly said, emerging from Chi-Chi's car. "The steering wheel is good as new."
"Thanks, Bulma," Chi-Chi gratefully replied, glancing at the backseat where Goten was secured in a car seat designed by Bulma to withstand his strength. "They're such a handful."
"I know," Bulma laughed as Gohan came up to them. The teenager blinked as he was swept up into a tight hug. "Don't be a stranger!" Bulma told him.
"I won't," Gohan said, hugging Bulma back. "Thanks for everything."
With that, she let him go. He got into the car, and they all waved to each other as Vegeta came up next to Bulma. He crossed his arms as they watched them drive away, and then Trunks promptly whined, "When is Goten coming back?"
"Never," Vegeta answered, earning a hard elbow to his ribs from Bulma, which hurt her more than him.
"Maybe in a few days, sweetie," Bulma told the little boy, gently ushering him inside. "Now go get washed up. It's almost time for dinner, so you better be nice and clean."
Vegeta stayed where he was as Bulma led Trunks back inside. He rubbed at his temple, hoping that things would be back to normal now. Or as close as possible to normal. He didn't realize he was still standing in the same spot ten minutes later, lost in his pessimistic thoughts of how everything could still turn out wrong, until Bulma hugged him from behind.
She rested her chin on his shoulder. "You okay?"
"Why wouldn't I be?"
"Well, you've been spending a lot of time with Gohan."
Vegeta snorted in disgust at what she was insinuating. "I don't care that he's gone, you foolish woman. I just hope that he's in control."
"He seemed in control. You have to give him the benefit of the doubt, Vegeta. He's an impressive kid."
"You did a great job, just like I knew you would," she whispered in his ear.
"I suppose I did," Vegeta drawled, his tone changing to one that Bulma recognized all too well. She could practically hear the smirk in his voice as he added, "Hell, I probably saved the whole damn planet from Gohan going on a rampage. I wonder what reward I should receive?"
"Hm, I don't know, my prince," Bulma innocently responded, letting one hand playfully drift down his chest to his lower stomach. "We'll just have to see what I can think of later tonight."
"After all the shit I've been through, it better be good," he said as he turned around, pulling her close to him.
"When isn't it?" Bulma breathlessly asked against his lips.
He smirked, but before he could respond, they both smelled it. Fire. From the kitchen. Vegeta and Bulma both looked over in surprise and sure enough, there was smoke as the alarms started going off. A split second later, Trunks was barreling out of the compound, screaming at the top of his lungs, "I DIDN'T DO IT!"
Back to normal, indeed.
Thanks guys for the support and patience with this story. I started having massive writer's block with this story after, oh, chapter 2, lol. Your support definitely pulled me through it. Thanks again! :)