"Woman, why would I want to go see that brat?" Vegeta asked angrily, crossing his arms over his chest as he prepared himself for a battle of wills.
Bulma put her hands on her hips, getting into her strongest battle stance. She pointed a finger at the flame-haired saiyan with a scowl on her face as she replied, "Because it's the nice thing to do, you jerk! If you're going to stay here you might as well learn social etiquette. Which includes going to see your friends when they have a new baby!"
Vegeta scoffed and turned away from the blue-haired woman. He couldn't care less about earthling customs, especially when they involved being civil to his rival's harpy of a mate. Turning back to his mate with a sneer, he pushed away from the wall he was leaning against and brushed past her none too gently, nearly knocking her off her feet.
"The last thing I want to see is another spawn of Kakarrot," he hissed as he slammed the gravity room door behind him. A minute later Bulma heard the sound of the gravity simulator and knew she'd lost that round against the stubborn saiyan prince. She set her mouth in a firm line as she determined not to let him get off the hook that easily.
She stomped through the halls of Capsule Corp until she found her mother playing with Trunks, who babbled happily at her goofy faces. "Mama?" he asked, blue eyes looking up at his mother brightly.
Bulma smiled and sat down on the floor next to him and picked up one of his toys. "Hey, there, Trunksy, what're you and Gramma doing?" she asked in baby-talk. Since Vegeta wasn't around to yell at her for talking like that she could do it without getting into another argument.
Trunks grinned, showing off his few teeth, and clapped his hands excitedly. "Mama an' Gwammy play!" he squealed and fell onto his back in his excitement.
Unable to tell her baby boy that she had more important matters to attend to – namely running the largest, most important business in the world – she laughed and started playing with him. She hardly noticed the time passing until she smelled dinner cooking. The afternoon had passed quickly and now she was behind in her work. Again. She sighed and stood up, bent over and picked up Trunks, and went into the kitchen to get his supper ready so he could eat with the adults at the table.
Twenty minutes later Trunks was throwing as much food around as he was eating while sitting in his high chair between Bulma and Vegeta, who tried his hardest to ignore the baby's disgusting antics. He couldn't understand why the humans thought it was so 'adorable' to see a child with mushy food smeared across his face and squishing between his chubby fingers.
"So, Vegeta," Bulma started calmly, "You'd better be ready to visit Chichi and Gohan after you're finished eating."
Vegeta glared at her as he ate, though she couldn't see him because she was too busy trying to get Trunks' food in his mouth. He rolled his eyes and turned his full attention back to his food. There was no way he was going to see that harpy and Kakarrot's spawn. He hated them. He hated the boy for outclassing him in the fight with Cell and he hated the woman for her ability to put his mate's screaming to shame. And he hated the newest spawn for existing.
Once finished eating, Vegeta pushed back from the table and stood. "I am not going to see that idiot's brat," he grumbled as he stalked across the room to the door. He felt his mate's ki spike in anger and shook his head. He really wasn't in the mood to deal with her temper.
"Vegeta!" she screeched. "Don't you dare leave this room." She banged her hands on the table as she stood up and marched over to where the saiyan was still standing, ready to make his escape. "Chichi is my friend and since you're my husband you're going to go with me to visit."
The prince whirled around and scowled at the blue-haired woman with fire burning in his obsidian eyes. He raised one finger and pointed at her. "She is your friend, not mine. I have no desire to see her. I hate that woman, and if I am correct, she hates me. It would be better for me to stay here," he growled, pointing now at the floor, "So stop telling me what I have to do."
That said, he pivoted on his heel and left the kitchen, the door slamming shut behind him. Bulma growled in frustration and went back over to the table to pick Trunks up from his high chair and went down the hall to the gravity room. Unsurprisingly, the gravity simulator was running again. She hated how he locked himself up in the gravity room when he was upset with her. Then again, it was better than having him destroying half the planet.
She shifted Trunks to one arm and banged on the door with her free hand. There was no way she was giving up in this fight. "Vegeta, you know Trunks is going to be, like, best friends with him, so you might as well meet him," she yelled through the metal door.
Inside the gravity room, Vegeta growled and continued throwing punches at an imaginary opponent. He imagined Kakarrot's face, actually, for he was the one who was the cause of his current unpleasant predicament. He tried to ignore the incessant banging on the door and the screaming that was, thankfully, muffled by the door. He launched himself into another series of punches and kicks and nearly toppled over ungracefully when the gravity suddenly lowered.
Regaining his balance, he turned to the door and clenched his fists at his sides as his mate came into the room with their son in her arms. She was glaring right back and he knew he had his work cut out for him getting her to give up on her demands this time.
"The emergency override, really?" he asked snidely as he turned his back on her and walked over to the gravity console.
"Dada!" Trunks yelled, reaching his arms out to his father and nearly falling out of Bulma's arms in the process.
Bulma watched as Vegeta's muscles tensed and sighed. After the Cell Games he returned to stay at Capsule Corp, but he hadn't really taken on his role of father. She sensed it wasn't because he didn't care for the boy, but rather a sort of apprehension toward dealing with him. He was clearly uncomfortable with the child's unconditional love. She shook her head and pushed her thoughts aside as she walked over to where Vegeta was standing, moving around him so he had to look at her.
"Come on, Vegeta, what's the big deal? He's a baby, he won't bite," she pleaded. "Please just come with me. Like I said, he and Trunks are going to be very close so you're going to see an awful lot of him. Just go see him. I'm sure Gohan would like to see you too."
Vegeta frowned and raised an eyebrow. "Why would that brat want to see me?"
Bulma sighed and shifted Trunks' weight in her arms. "Because you're the closest thing he has to a father figure now since Goku's gone. You're the only remaining full-blooded saiyan. He needs you because you're the only one who'll understand what he's going through. Maybe he won't want to see you, but he needs you."
Vegeta's lip raised in contempt as he again turned away from his mate. "Why should I care?" he snarled. "I'm not the boy's father and I don't give a damn about him. Now leave me alone, Woman."
She shrugged off his callous reply and tried again. "Vegeta, if you don't go with me to see Chichi this minute then I'm shutting down the gravity console for a week." That threat had been known to work from time to time before. She was sure it wouldn't fail now.
Instead, the only response Bulma got was a half-hearted shrug. "Do as you like, Woman," he mumbled. "I don't need to train anyway. It's not as though I'm going to fight again."
Bulma felt a pang of guilt course through her veins as she watched the once proud saiyan trudge out of the gravity room. She hadn't seen him so defeated in a few weeks, so it bothered to see him like that again. He'd been different since Goku died. He hardly trained, and when he did it was only because he was mad and needed to rid himself of his anger by unleashing it in the gravity room. If he didn't do that, he would bottle it up inside until it ate away at his sanity. At first she'd been happy when he refused to train, but then she realized that, rather than it being his choice to spend more time with his family, it was because he was depressed.
'Maybe he's still upset over Goku's death. I know it still makes me sad sometimes. Much as he says he hates him, I know he meant a lot to him in one way or another,' Bulma mused as she closed the gravity room door and went back through the halls to the living room so she could set Trunks down in his saiyan-proof playpen. 'Maybe that's why he doesn't want anything to do with Goku's sons: they remind him of their father.'
Vegeta groaned when he heard the woman come into the room with Trunks. He curled into a ball on the couch in the dark corner of the room, hoping she wouldn't notice his presence. He chided himself mentally for not going to a more private place in the compound. He growled when he felt her sit next to him and run her fingers through his hair.
"It's ok, Vegeta," she whispered soothingly, "I won't make you go see them. I just thought maybe you wanted to see him since he is kind of a saiyan. But I understand."
Vegeta chose to say nothing in reply. He felt bitter toward her for assuming she knew what made him so reluctant to see the clown's offspring. She could never understand his shame. She could never understand how it tore him apart to see his rival's legacy living on, stronger than him, and just a boy! No doubt the younger one would have the same potential. It made bile rise in his throat when he thought about it.
Bulma frowned and scratched her prince behind his ear. "I'll take Trunks and go see Chichi and Gohan in the morning. You don't have to come." She leaned over and kissed his cheek and got up to go help her mother with the dishes from dinner.
Vegeta buried his face in his arms until he heard his son babbling across the room. He looked up and saw the lavender-haired baby looking at him expectantly. "What?" he asked.
The baby cocked his head and banged on the side of the playpen, silently commanding his father to let him out so he could cause mayhem somewhere else in the compound. When his father didn't move, he pouted and banged harder, making more noise. Eventually he decided the only thing that would accomplish his goal would be turning on the water works. It started with some sniffling and then a few stray tears before he started bawling his eyes out.
Vegeta just stared at the baby, feeling rather detached from the situation at hand. Under normal circumstances he would have shouted at the boy to be quiet, but he didn't care this time. Besides, the effort it would take to quiet the boy down was too much; he felt too exhausted to move though he hardly pushed himself in his training. So he shut out the screams of his infant son and retreated into the dark depths of his mind.
Several minutes went by before Bulma came running into the room to check up on Trunks. She swept him into her arms to calm him down, kissing his blotchy, tear-stained face as she cooed comforting words into his ear. Once he finally stopped crying, she turned to the saiyan who was still lying on the couch and frowned. "Well, were you just going to let him go on crying all night or what? Honestly, would it kill you to just take care of your son for a change?"
He blinked slowly and shrugged again before pulling himself into a tighter ball. He heard her exasperated groan and felt some guilt, but quickly brushed it off. It wasn't his job to coddle the infant. He never claimed to be a good father. Hell, he never agreed to acting like a father at all, so what did the woman expect of him? He didn't have it in him. He didn't know what to do in the first place.
Bulma saw the familiar shadow of hopelessness pass over her husband and took a deep breath. She couldn't be mad at him, not now. He needed her to love him; yelling at him wouldn't help anything. Bouncing Trunks in her arms, she paced back and forth through the room a few times before putting him back down in his playpen and handed him a toy.
"Please, Vegeta," she whispered as she walked out of the room, "Please be a father for your son."
Vegeta winced when he heard her words that weren't intended for him to hear. Slowly, he uncurled and stood up to go upstairs to bed. It was still early, but he was tired. He always felt tired and slept more often than not. When he was near Trunks, he looked down at the smiling boy and frowned again. "You will be great one day, boy," he muttered, "But not because of me."
Images of his older son from the future flitted through his mind as he watched his son playing. He was a strong man, respectful, a man of integrity and honor. He had good manners and he was humble and kind. He was a worthy warrior and still compassionate. He was all this without having a cold-hearted, twisted father with a dark past raising him. He didn't need a father and neither did the baby sitting there looking up at him with curious blue eyes.
And neither did the new spawn of Kakarrot. He couldn't even be a father to his own son, how could he hope to be one for his rival's sons?