A/N: Here we are. This is the last part of the Trilogy. It's been two years since I began writing the first part. It's crazy to think it's been so long. I'm not sure how long this one will be. I was thinking 20 chapters? I mean at this point, we kinda know how they feel for each other so… why not?
So, here we go.
I'm sick, so bare with me. For the next little while. I can barely get out of bed. Urgh.
Copyright; I do not own Dragon Ball Z.
Part 1: Painful Memories
He was alive.
His hand in hers was the proof of that. Not many words were said, but in a way, not many could be said. Her heart had shattered when she had found out about his death, and frankly, she had feared that she would never see him again. Right now, nothing that had happened mattered, and that included Buu.
She felt Vegeta gently squeeze her hand back, even if he was peering ahead, instead of looking at her. She could hear the cheering coming from everyone, but it felt so far away at the same time. This was her family.
Bulma could feel Trunks pulling at his father's other hand, and she smiled even more. In their son's eyes, Vegeta could never be anything less than a hero. Even when he strayed, he prevailed, and Trunks' admiration for him only grew stronger each day.
Everyone seemed happy, but Vegeta appeared to be locked away within himself, and she could guess what was going through his mind. However right now was not a time to dwell on bad thoughts. The evil had been chased away, thanks to everyone's help, and they could all be together.
She knew that some mood might be sore, and there was a good way to bring everyone's joy back. A party. After all the hard work everyone had put into defeating Buu, they all deserved it. And who better than her to throw a little reunion party for everyone?
Today would be for rest, and tomorrow would be for partying.
Bulma quickly glanced around, making sure nobody was looking so Vegeta wouldn't throw a fit, and she buried her face in his shoulder. Never again did she want to experience the heart wrenching feeling of having him ripped away from her. She had never thought about her life without him in it, and she wished for it to remain that way.
Bulma pulled her mouth away from his skin, so she could whisper to him. "Let's go home."
Vegeta wasn't one for celebrating, and crowds. Yes, he had grown more comfortable around everyone over the years, but she always felt like he thought he didn't belong. Since the day had been high enough in emotions already, she felt as if being alone was what he needed.
He loved her, there was no doubt about it.
But right now, he looked away, in his own world, as if he required time to think, and she wanted to offer him exactly that. Bulma felt him nod, and she pulled away, ready to get a capsule out for herself. But to her surprise, Vegeta had something else in mind.
Trunks was the first to take off, while Vegeta wrapped an arm around her, and followed behind their son at a slower speed. A small gasp escaped her lips, as she watched everyone become smaller by the second. Apparently she was going to have to call them to let them know about the party.
Subtlety, she pressed her face against Vegeta's chest, enjoying the warmth, while he offered her a rare flight.
The festivities were over, and Earth was finally at peace once again.
Bulma had been so caught up in everything, that she hadn't allowed herself to think back on everything that happened during the past few days, which had seemed like an eternity.
Never before had they been so close to destruction, so close to losing everything. Nevertheless, once again, the fighters had pulled through, and the world had been saved again. It had been costly, but they had finally been able to resume their previous life. Obviously, some changes had been made, but they had adapted.
This day had been good, and a nice way to turn the page for everyone. It had felt great to have everyone back together again for a party. It had been just like old times, including Goku being late. At first, it had created a bit of a friction, but quickly enough, it had been dissipated. On top of that everyone had been there, and stayed late, including Vegeta.
Although he had changed during the years, he had taken another step during the whole Buu problem. It seemed he had understood certain things, and made peace with others. At least, it was the feeling she was getting. Never before would he have mingled with people in such a manner in the past. He was slowly coming around, and she had no worry that one day, he would really feel at home on Earth.
The relationship between her and Vegeta didn't feel different at all either. During the party she had seen him, smiled at him, and he had returned a few gestures. Bulma was truly happy, she simply at this thought that didn't want to leave her mind. No matter how she tried to push it aside, it just kept coming back, and bothering her.
Just like it was doing now, it was keeping her up at night.
Like many nights in the past, she was alone in the bed, attempting to sleep, but she could not find rest. The person that occupied her thoughts the most was Vegeta. She was very proud of him, and everything he had done for Earth. She knew how he was and for him to put himself on the line in such a manner, it meant a lot. It was as if for the first time, he was considering Earth as his home.
There it was, there was a but.
As much as she just wanted to be relieved, just like she had been when she had been reunited with him, she couldn't. Bulma didn't doubt Vegeta, but she couldn't forget about his transformation. For nearly ten years, they had lived together, and during that time, she had seen Vegeta transform into a new person, while remaining himself. But that day, at the tournament… it was as if she had been face to face with the Vegeta from Namek.
She wanted to say it was a little slip, which it was an accident, but it wasn't. He had made the choice of his own accord, and perhaps it was what bothered her the most. Bulma didn't want to lecture him, or fight with him, she only wanted a reason. Granted he didn't owe her one or anything, but it was just a feeling she couldn't chase away.
She had known him for so long, but at that precise moment, she hadn't known him. It hadn't been Vegeta standing in front of her, it had been a stranger. The man she loved had decided of his own will to become a stranger. The only thing she couldn't understand was why. Why did he choose to become evil? Could it be that something was bothering him so much that he couldn't stand it?
Bulma was quickly brought out of her thoughts when she heard the door creak open. She couldn't help but glance in direction of the clock, and noticing the time. 2am. Was it already so late?
Last night, she had not seen him at all. As soon as they had arrived home, he had disappeared into the GR, and it was then that she had first realized that perhaps, Vegeta was feeling guilty. At first, she didn't even think he would have come to the party, today, but he had shocked her by being there, and middling with everyone. Well, his version of middling.
The tension had not been present while everyone had been there, and perhaps it had lightened with Goku's arrival. But, once the house had been empty once again, he had returned to the GR, until now apparently. Actually, it was then that she had gotten the feeling that Vegeta was avoiding her just a bit. Could it be that he remembered what happened as well? She didn't want this to create a strange relationship between them. After all, she didn't despise Vegeta, or she didn't want to kick him out or anything.
She could feel Vegeta closing the distance between them and her heartbeat sped up a bit.
Vegeta had put all of his efforts, and his energy into fighting for them, and he had even sacrificed himself for the sake of the planet. She was not seeing all the bad, she was just wondering what had gone wrong, what had caused that to happen. Bulma was aware that Vegeta hadn't always been happy, and she wondered if perhaps it was the problem.
When she had noticed this, she could have said something, but she hadn't.
Now though, her lips were burning with the words.
They should have talked it over as soon as everything had been over and done with. Since Vegeta wasn't much of a talker, she should have taken the first steps. Yet she didn't know how to begin covering what happened without sounding like she was accusing him of something.
She wanted to have the same exact relationship she always had with him. They had never been afraid to say what they were thinking, and things shouldn't change. Still, she kept her lips closed as he slowly joined her in bed. Vegeta turned to his side, his back facing her, much like usual, since Vegeta wasn't much for cuddles.
Bulma tilted her head to the side before parting her lips wanting to ask. Her fingers were twitching, her toes were curling, and she felt as if she had begun to sweat. Deciding it was enough, she turned to her side, and put her hand on his shoulder. She knew she had his attention, but he didn't move to look at her.
Now that she was recalling the previous events, and focusing on them, it was making the whole thing much harder. His face, his evil laugh, she couldn't get it out of her mind.
A sigh escaped her lips as she decided to sit up in the bed, her whole body twitching way too much for her liking. Immediately, he knew that something was wrong, but he didn't utter a word. Vegeta already had a feeling that he knew what she wanted to talk about. When she was ready, she would speak, she always did.
He turned his head slightly to the side this time, remaining completely silent.
"Why did you do it?" she asked, wrapping her arms around her legs.
"Are you not happy with your life here with us?" As more memories filled her mind, her heart became heavier. "I watched you kill all these people without regrets, destroying our friends..."
For the first time, he moved, and all she could do was observe as he sat up in the bed, imitating her position. To say that he was a bit annoyed was not explaining it well enough. To be honest for a while, he had somewhat hoped that it wouldn't come up. Everything that happened wasn't really how he wanted it. Perhaps he had even done certain things he wasn't exactly proud of.
Many years ago, he wouldn't have fought by their side. He would have either tried to take care of the problem on his own, or he would have been fighting them instead of the enemy. Buu was the first time he was fighting with them as a team. It had felt for a moment as if he had fallen so low. His main wish had often be to beat Kakarot, to show him he was stronger, and maybe he had been tired of his own failure.
Instead of focusing on his goal, he had formed a family, and he had nearly forgotten old grudges.
It had all been about himself, not about others. It wasn't until the end that he had realized some things. Vegeta never had anything, but in that last moment, he had understood that he did have something. Because of everything that happened, and his own mistakes, he had almost lost all of it.
To think that he had been so angry about losing her that he had accepted to merge permanently with Kakarot. To say that he was relieved that such thing didn't happen wasn't even beginning to describe it.
Vegeta knew the whole thing had been on her mind the whole time. After they had been reunited, she had smiled, and never mentioned it, but he knew her. He had just been waiting for the moment the topic would come up.
He felt guilt.
Vegeta turned his body slightly, before putting his arms around her waist, and burying his nose in the crook of her neck. He had felt so weak, and before he used to despise such things. Yet there he was again, chasing away his strong façade in front of her.
Bulma couldn't hide the smile that appeared on her lips. "But then, you sacrificed yourself for us. In one gesture, you gave us the greatest token of love."
He never said I love you, but with such things, he never needed to. By giving up his life for their sake, she knew Vegeta would go to the end of the Earth for her if he had to. Her life was more important to him than his own. Often she had thought he was selfish, but it was all a front, it wasn't real. He had lost one family, and apparently he was willing to do whatever he needed to keep his new one.
He still hadn't answer her question, but she wanted to make some things clear first. Vegeta might not appear as someone who was insecure, but she refused to believe that he was strong all the time. Everyone had their moments. Bulma grabbed his face with her hands, and pulled him away from her body. She bent down and pressed a kiss to his lips.
"Don't worry, I still love you," she said, taunting him.
There was no need to drown themselves in feelings, or in bad thoughts. Things happened, and truly the one thing that had broken her heart the most had been to lose him. She wouldn't go through that again. She loved him, she always would, and she would stick with him through it all.
Right away, a tiny blush appeared on his cheeks. "Blasted Woman," he said before gazing away. "I wasn't worried. Why would I be concerned about something so trivial?"
She glued her lips together, holding back the urge of rolling her eyes. So proud. This was the Vegeta she knew, the one she had lived with all those years. Slowly, she went back under the blankets, and lay on her side. Suddenly, she felt a strong pair of arms wrapped themselves around her waist.
Once again he hid his face in the crook of her neck, and she felt his warm breath tickling her skin. Bulma put her hand on his and her smile grew. "You're welcome."
They could have just laid that way without saying a word, but she still wanted an answer. He didn't need to say he was sorry because she knew he loved her, and their son, but she wanted a reason. Her heart needed one. Still, instead of asking again just yet, she decided to wait and see if he would say something. Perhaps he was struggling to come up with an answer.
Vegeta could hear that her heart was still beating faster, and he knew she was patiently waiting. Problem was he didn't really have an actual answer to give her. The reasons for what he had done was hazy, and in the long run, even he himself had realized how useless it had been. Perhaps a part inside of him had wished to taste darkness again.
"I was lost."
Bulma bit on her bottom lip, nodding slightly. She then raised her hand, and gently caressed his hair, her fingers disappearing through the thick dark mane.
"Not anymore," she said pressing a kiss against his head.
By himself, Vegeta had found the way back. Nobody was perfect, and we all made mistakes along the way. It never changed the way she felt about him, and his sacrifice had meant everything. It was more powerful than any word, and she would cherish that. She did not intend to lose him again, but she would remember what he had done.
If he had been anyone but himself, she would have probably shared the pain she had felt when she learned about his death, but he was Vegeta. He didn't do mushy, and he didn't do feeling. Although at the thought her eyes became a bit teary, she reminded herself to not dwell on the past; he was here with her now. She imitated his actions, and buried her face in his neck, feeling relief wash all over her.
For the first time, everything was normal. Well, normal according to their standards.
After everything they had been through, perhaps it was finally time to just have a regular family time. It was true that a threat could still appear, but if they could defeat someone like Buu, then she had no worry that they could handle anything that would come their way.
Maybe it would be time to convince Vegeta had he didn't have to train so much. Bulma glanced up at the man who was currently holding her before slightly shaking her head.
Bulma was zoning out while holding her coffee mug. She had truly believed that the talk her and Vegeta had the previous day would have fixed things, but she had been wrong. She had been sincere in everything she had said, so she refused to think that he didn't believe her. However, that could only mean one thing. Vegeta was the one who couldn't forgive himself.
She thought that now that Buu was dealt with, that perhaps Vegeta wouldn't be as harsh himself, and with his training, but she had it all wrong. Either he felt a powerful guilt, he was forcing himself to work harder than before? Could it be that he felt he had been powerless against Buu? Did he wish he had taken care of the evil himself?
Sometimes, it was hard to guess what was going through Vegeta's mind because he wasn't one to share. The emotional conversation they had the previous night had gone more smoothly than she had ever expected, and he had surprised her. Even after all this time, he knew how to show a new side of himself.
"Mom? Hey MOM!"
Bulma blinked, snapping out of her reverie, as she heard her son's voice echoing through. Had she really been so out of it that she hadn't heard him come in?
"What is Trunks?" she inquired, before putting down her empty mug of coffee.
"What does Dad eat for breakfast?"
She frowned. "What?"
Trunks sighed before sitting on the chair next to his mother. This was a plan he had long thought through, but since his father didn't tell him much, he had to ask his mother. "I wasn't able to help Dad with Buu, I wasn't strong enough."
The thought of Buu left them both with a bittersweet feeling for fairly similar reason. Because of the whole thing, Vegeta had isolated himself more than he ever had in years, making her feel like they had taken a few step backs. For Trunks on the other end, it was the dreading feeling of losing his powerful father.
Nobody could beat his dad, and he couldn't die. He didn't care what happened out there, because he knew the truth.
"I want to become like him, so I need to eat like him."
Her son's words brought a smile to her face, as she ran her hand through his purple locks before messing up his hair. "I think you eat like your father already."
Nonetheless, Bulma rose up, before heading towards the fridge. Over the years, her cooking skills had not improve, no matter how much she had wanted them to, especially for Trunks. But, quickly enough she had accepted the fact that, she would need to rely on her mother for that domain.
Bunny was accustomed to having more than one saiyan in the house, hence why the fridge was always filled with meals ready to be warmed up. Of course, with Trunks and Vegeta, it usually only lasted for a day, before her poor mother had to start all over again, but Bunny had never seemed to mind it.
Bulma looked through the freezer, where she grabbed a brand new box of waffles, and took it, ready to toast the whole thing. While she began preparing Trunks' food, he was sitting at the table, constantly fidgeting. He wasn't sure if his parents had talked about what happened, but if they had, then he hadn't been included.
A few things his father had told him were still vividly present in his mind, and no matter how strong he was trying to be, some of them made him feel uneasy.
Trunks glanced at his mother, who was reaching out for her pack of cigarettes, wondering if he should talk to her about it.
As Bulma lit up her cigarette, she felt her son looking at her. As per usual, she thought it was because she was smoking. Neither Vegeta nor Trunks were a big fan of this habit she had picked up a year back. Apparently, it was offensive to their sensitive nose.
She had tried to be considerate, and stop, but so far she hadn't been able to. Maybe it was because it was her only way to relieve stress; they had fighting, she had smoking. It wouldn't surprise her if it was to fight her anxiety, since ever since her father had nearly fully given her control of Capsule Corp, she had found herself busier than ever.
Bulma usually tried to not smoke in front of Trunks, to at least spare him, but sometimes, she would start smoking without realizing it. Especially now since she was so preoccupied with her own thoughts.
She quickly put it out, before hurrying to finish Trunks' breakfast. Once she reached the table, and put the plate in front of him, she noticed the look in his eyes. Something was definitively wrong with him. Trunks was a bit like his father, in the sense that he would often keep things for himself for a long time. However, he would usually end up spilling the beans.
Quietly, Bulma sat down beside him, her hands resting on the table, as she waited for him to speak. After the Buu incident, she had assumed he was fine, which had perhaps been a mistake. She hadn't been there all the time with him, so she didn't know exactly what he went through. Surely, it was something no eight years old should experience.
Trunks picked up his fork, feeling the uncomfortable silent, as he attempted to eat. It would be okay to tell his mom wouldn't it? It was a conversation between him and his father but… she was his mother. His father had often told him that what happened between the two of them, wasn't to be known by anyone else. Surely it didn't always apply to his mom too right?
"Mom, can I tell you something?"
A tiny smile of victory adorned Bulma's face, as she tilted her head in direction of her son. "Of course, Trunks. Anything."
She had no problem with her son wanting to be like his father, the only thing she wished for was that he didn't remain the same way when it came to feeling. She didn't give a damn how hard Vegeta trained him, she wouldn't let Trunks be afraid to feel. Vegeta was the way he was, and it was fine with her, but she wouldn't let that one mistake be repeated.
"You know when Dad…"
He still couldn't say it. Trunks refused to admit his father had died. He was too strong for that.
Bulma nodded, letting him know it was fine to skip those words, and continue.
Trunks couldn't bear to look at his mother, so instead, he decided to find his plate of waffle rather appealing. "He told me he was proud of me."
Bulma bit on her bottom lip to stop herself from smiling like an idiot. She knew that Trunks was always working as hard as he could to live up to the image of his father. She was well aware of the effect of such praise on him, and although she probably shouldn't tell Vegeta she knew, she was dying to thank him.
Trunks could see his mother was rather happy, and so had he been, even though the situation hadn't allowed him to be. Every day, he had trained as hard as he could just so his father could be proud of him, yet it had happened during such strange conditions.
Thinking about the moment nearly made his eyes sting with tears, but he remembered his father's words as he tried to act like a real saiyan, meaning he wouldn't cry. "Dad also told me to take care of you."
Those words hit Bulma harder than anything else. She hadn't been there, yet she could get a clear view of the scene. She could only imagine how bothered by that statement Trunks had been. Although it had been necessary for him and Goten to fight, she had always felt that he had been too young for it.
Bulma did the only thing she could think of, which was wrap her arms around her son, bringing him into a warm embrace. At first Trunks struggle a bit, as per usual, since he always felt uncomfortable when she hugged him, in case someone saw him, but quickly enough, he relaxed.
She pressed her head against his, before running her fingers through his hair.
What Trunks said echoed through her mind, and made her realize just how much Vegeta valued his family. It was now clearly impossible for her to let him believe he had screwed up beyond repair. After all the emotions he had invested into this, someone needed to let him know it was okay to stray once in a while.
Night had fallen again, and unlike the previous evening, Bulma had the intention of fully clearing things up with Vegeta. Apparently last time, he hadn't completely emptied his heart out, and she didn't care if they had to fight over it, this matter would be solved and taken care of.
Yes, he had done something wrong by killing a few people, whom had been brought back to life, but he had always mended for those sins. For a while, she had thought that perhaps he preferred that life, to his life with her and Trunks, but the more she was finding it, the more she realized that he was happy with his current life.
He loved them.
Now what she intended on doing was making sure he knew that they loved him as well. Vegeta represented the world to Trunks, whom was willing to train every day, just to be even a quarter like his father. And to her, well he was everything. He was also the proof that anyone could change.
Currently, Bulma was sitting on the edge of the bed, her eyes fixed on the clock, waiting for Vegeta to come out of the GR, and into bed. Gone was the time where she allowed him to avoid her. Tonight, a confrontation was going to happen. She might have to get Trunks in a bit of trouble, but it would be worth it.
Plus, she had a feeling Vegeta wouldn't be too hard on him.
She remained in that position as the minutes ticked away, and soon enough, it was well past 2am. Bulma, who had been overworking herself, could feel her energy slowly slipping away, and she knew that if Vegeta didn't show up any time soon, he would probably find her asleep on the floor.
It took until 2:30am for him to finally arrive.
The sound of someone turned the doorknob snapped Bulma back awake, and she quickly reached out for the remote, before turning on the TV, as if she wanted to pretend she had been busy.
Slowly, Vegeta entered the room in his usual attired, which consisted of tight spandex shorts. His eyes fell upon Bulma for a few seconds, but since she never glanced his way, he simply headed for the washroom. What he didn't know was that she was waiting for the perfect timing to speak.
Bulma patiently delayed the moment until he was nearly in the washroom. Then, she spoke the dreaded words. "Take care of your mother?"
His own words being thrown at him caused Vegeta to come to a full halt. Slowly he closed his eyes, tilting his head forward a bit. Apparently, the brat had spoken with her. He didn't turn around to look at her, but his whole body showed just how stiff he head become.
Seeing how Vegeta was not speaking, Bulma stood up, before slowly aiming for his location. She almost expected him to leave, but he didn't. Instead he allowed her to press her face into his muscular back, her tiny arms wrapping themselves around his waist.
She could feel his heart beating, allowing her to tell that he was currently nervous. Vegeta didn't have to live up to any silly expectations he might have set for himself. All she wanted was for him to be himself. She had told them that many times, but then again, he was a very stubborn man.
"I love you Vegeta, and nothing is going to change that."
His continued silence was expected, but she intended on talking a bit more.
"Your son loves you as well. He thinks the world of you. Just now, he told me he wanted to grow up to be like you."
Bulma felt his body tense, so she decided to free him from her hold, so that, she could walk, and be in front of him. She grabbed his face with her hands so that he had no other choice but to look at her. His eyes were cold, but she knew there was some fear hiding in them.
Could it be that Vegeta was afraid his previous actions might cost him his family?
After all, except for them, he never really had a home.
Her blue eyes filled with tears, as she did her best to hold them back; Vegeta didn't like pity. However, this was not pity, it was her love for him, overflowing. "Vegeta, we won't leave you."
She snaked her arms around his neck, burying her face in the crook of his neck, where she could inhale his scent. Shockingly, she felt him wrapped his arms around her waist, brining their body closer together. Yet, he still didn't utter a word. Bulma knew that when Vegeta was this silent, he was being serious.
Bulma pressed a soft kiss against his heated skin, before sighing. "Don't be the one to go Vegeta."
In a way, they had waited so long for him to be with them, to enjoy his family life, that it would tear her heart up to find out that he couldn't go back to that. After everything they went through, why couldn't they look past this? She had no problem with it. Vegeta hadn't even been fully himself when everything had happened.
And most importantly, he had been given a choice, and he chose them.
He could have easily gone back to his old life, but in the end, he made his sacrifice for his family.
He words were ringing through his mind as he held her even closer. Almost all the time he had spent on Earth, he had wished nothing more than to leave, and retrieve his whole life. Then, as the years had slowly went by, he had just adapted himself, and had accepted the situation.
Could he really have been good if he had jumped on the first opportunity he had to return to whom he was?
Yet, almost to his surprise, he hadn't enjoyed being that person.
Perhaps nine years back, he would have been happy to be given that opportunity, but today, it just wasn't as satisfactory. Somehow, all of his dreams of power had lessened. Could it be that after accepting that Kakarot was stronger, he also could realize that this, them was enough for him? Kakarot, who was apparently the hero, was always seeking more adventures, new techniques, new combats, and new opponents. The idiot, who didn't even act Saiyan had a bigger thirst than him for battling?
Clearly Earth had driven him insane.
Or maybe she had.
Knowing her temper, and her emotional side, he had never thought she wouldn't have yelled at him. He even strongly believed that she wouldn't go anywhere near him for a long time.
But maybe they were all right. Maybe he had adapted to Earth, and perhaps it was not such a horrible planet.
Before he could venture in his thoughts any further, Bulma pulled her face away from his chest, before staring right into his eyes. "You know, I think you like it here. Us."
He arched an eyebrow intrigued to know where she was taking this. "Even now, you can't help yourself."
She didn't even allow him to process her words and their meanings, he felt her crash her lips against his, nearly devouring his mouth. If Bulma couldn't make him understand with words, than she would do it with actions. It had always been the easiest way to proceed with Vegeta anyway.
Vegeta nearly chuckled in her mouth. Obviously she couldn't help herself. Then again, he had always said she was a vulgar woman.
And as their embrace continue, all that remained was a slight pinch of guilt deep within him.
And now there you have it! I was kinda not planning where this was going at first, but now I got a clear idea. I wanted to get this part out first, cause well, it's obvious it caused them a small bump in the road. Vegeta is way more affective later on, you can see it, lmao. (No I'm not talking about stupid GT). So I guess, family bonding time?