Written for Salmastryon, for the prompt "Bulma and Vegeta, Broken Pieces."


All the lamps in the lab save one were off. She'd dismissed the researchers hours ago.

"Are you still beating your skull against the same thing?" Vegeta asked, with an edge of insulting disbelief. Bulma didn't turn around.

"I put the pieces back together yesterday," she replied. "Bit of a puzzle, but easy enough. Figured out the cause of failure this morning at eleven fifteen."

"So why the hell are you still here?"

She didn't answer. Vegeta stalked his way through the cluttered workshop. On her desk were blueprints for a dozen different inventions, quite a few inspired adaptations of the Ice-jin healing tanks, and a new version of the Dragonball radar, for all the good that would do her.

"I can't find a way to fix him," she eventually admitted, voice hitching just barely. She kept staring ahead into the desk lamp's harsh light until she was blinded by it.

"Even if you found a way to fix the body, he's not in it anymore," Vegeta said abruptly. Bulma's fingers curled slowly into fists. She didn't stop staring straight at the lamp.

"I supposed it must all seem very silly to you anyway."

"More like ridiculous."

Unsurprised, she closed her eyes.

"Not as silly as wasting your time here when you could be fixing your mother. The woman's been howling since yesterday."

She flinched, even though she'd known that would happen.

"...He died the way he'd lived," Vegeta said, voice -- not soft, exactly, but a little quieter. "That's the only proper way -- even for an egg-headed, motor-loving paper-pusher like him and you. Now stop being pitiful already."

"Saiyajin," she said like it was an insult, but after a few seconds she let out a shuddery breath, clicked off the lamp and pushed herself up on her feet.