(A/N: The speech may be a bit confusing in this chapter so just to clear a few things up. Speech indicated by "these speech marks" show actual speech spoken to another character. Speech using ' ' is for internal thoughts to ones self and speech in italics like this is for inner voices, a subconscious kind of, there to advise and order one's thoughts to achieve results. Hope that helps!)
"What did I do wrong?" she questioned herself. A voice in her mind answered back. Nothing. You did nothing at all but love.
Banging her fists down against the railings in frustration she shut her eyes not willing herself to cry. 'It made no sense. He made no sense' she thought.
Returning back inside her bedroom, leaving the balcony overlooking the garden courtyard, she was deep in thought. Throwing herself down onto the bed carelessly she thought about her life with Vegeta, did he really even love her at all? She used to be so sure when she would catch him sneaking glances at her throughout the day when he thought she wasn't looking and even when they made love he frequently said it, but now his actions said otherwise.
She was clearly over-thinking things, making a mountain from a mole hill as you'd say, but confronting Vegeta should soon put her mind at rest, right? He loved her, and that was all there was to it.
But what if she was wrong?
Not knowing what to think any more she decided confronting the Saiyan Prince was her only option.
She hoped her greatest fear was not about to become in reality, her worst nightmare.
After going over the situation in her mind dozens of times and still coming up to the same conclusion, she shook her head in desperation, her hands fisting the bed sheets beneath her as she buried her head deeper into the pillows. No, she couldn't avoid this. She needed to talk to him…oh how she wished she didn't have to…but she had to…to know for sure. It was the only way.
He may have spoken those harsh mean words to her two years ago when his defeat in the battle with Cell was still fresh in his mind, but he was different now. She was different.
Although she could not help but notice that since that day they had been growing further apart albeit she had always been under the impression he had long since forgiven her, but now she couldn't be so sure. Not any more. Frustrated, confused and upset Bulma could no longer concentrate as the same questions were continuously replayed in her mind.
"Why? Why do I feel this way?" Bulma asked herself glumly.
You need to know the truth. I have kept this from you for your own good for what may have been too long but it seems as though you are ready now to know. To know it all.
Suddenly it was as if a light bulb had been switched on in Bulma's mind and all became clear. Areas once darkened by disillusioned thought now bright as day. With her mind no longer clouded she found herself able to think clearly. Her clarity was soon short lived as her mind was assaulted with memories.
Swallowing, she began to plough her way through thought after thought, observing that she was with Vegeta in the majority of them. She smiled as she reached one in particular of the day she and Vegeta went to the beach before Trunks was born. Reminiscing she remembered how much fun she had had that day and how she had gotten Vegeta to ride a banana boat with her. Still laughing she had failed to notice the memories where after she had told Vegeta she loved him and he had failed to answer time and time again before avoiding her for days on end. Coming down from her memory high she paused, catching a fleeting glance of Vegeta's face as she had said those three deadly words. She had seen his facial expression dart from shock to denial and back again, his brain to mouth pathway impaired, unable to formulate a reply.
How did she miss something like that? She shook her head, trying desperately to convince herself that that was in the beginning, the early days. Not now, not when so much had changed between them. They had Trunks for god's sake. He loved her and she wasn't going to allow anyone to tell her otherwise.
I'm sorry Bulma but it's true. He no longer feels the same away about you. H-He..he…Not knowing how to continue, her conscience just said it. He never did.
"N-N No." Bulma stuttered in shock. Composing herself she knew it couldn't be true. It just couldn't be. He hadn't said anything.
Aaargh! Bulma…she was beginning to get on my nerves, her denial of the truth, disgusting. Bulma quit the pretence already. Surely you must know Vegeta well enough by now to be aware of the fact that he was never one to openly talk about his feelings. How does that saying go? Actions speak louder than words! The voice interrupted sharply.
Feeling herself loosing the willpower to defend his actions any longer, Bulma reluctantly agreed and nodded her head. She could not deny that at least, he was still extremely introverted but thanks to her he had opened up a little over the years.
As she nodded, her face had brushed up against one of the several Egyptian cotton pillows that adorned their bed and she found herself reminiscing about the way she used to rest her head upon Vegeta's arm after a bad dream, holding him tightly, close to her, willing her vivid imagination to go away. She recalled him scolding her for her weakness after which he would just lay there, awake and emotionless.
Inhaling sharply, she raised her head from the pillow in shock as she became aware of the bitter truth. He had in fact been sending her signs all along showing his disinterest but she was just too ignorant to notice. Too oblivious with the love and devotion she held for him that she had absent-mindedly refused to acknowledge them.
So now you see.
"B-But with Frieza…he once said that Frieza didn't allow his soldiers to form relationships with any being so I…thought…" Biting her plump crimson red lower lip she could not go on. Her inner voice picked up the slack as usual, for that was the way it had always been whenever Bulma could not be exactly that, just Bulma.
Faced with tough business decisions concerning the future of Capsule Corp, or too emotionally fragile to cope after being the recipient of Yamcha's recurrent drunken rage for yet another night. Instead of lowering herself and forgetting her pride for little more than a fraction of a second to ask for help, would refuse, not wanting anyone to see her weakness. Not even her family, those who loved her the most. Dr. Briefs, Pansy Briefs or her little sister Bruna Briefs, no-one at all knew what she was facing. She had made it a point to stand tall, bearing each and every burden alone. Pushing away anyone who got too close. Her stubborn nature never permitting her to break down, no exceptions. She was strong, she had to be, the world depended on the great Bulma Briefs to do what she did best, invent. Invent and captivate the attention of millions. Be the diamond that shone out of the sand and she was never known to disappoint.
From the discovery of this child genius, the whiz kid, the prodigy, Bulma had worked hard to become the mastermind behind every great Capsule Corp invention. It was her desire to keep out-doing herself, exceeding expectations, breaking barriers that no mortal thought possible, pushing herself far beyond her physical and mental capacity, wanting to have the safety of knowing she was the best of the best, forever craving that extra inch of personal satisfaction that set her apart from the world. How great that was, but it was her strive for emotional indifference and independence that had been taking its toll. Forcing her to pay a price she could not afford.
The thick concrete mental walls she had spent years creating, coming crashing down as she watched. The cracks in its surface deepening to reveal large divisions within their foundations, its sturdy structure deteriorating, being reduced to rubble as each day passed. She knew her breakdown was inevitable unless she did something drastic. So she created it, or her to be more exact. The solution to her every problem. A means to an end, only to be summoned in times of great desperation or intense need, otherwise forever remaining in the background. The spectator. Lace Briefs.
So who am I, you ask?
I am the voice of reason. Bulma's closest confidante and I go by the name of Lace. Lace Briefs that is. Whilst I may be nothing but a figment of Bulma's imagination I am just as real as any of you. Always watching her every move, like an unforgettable show on TV. Despite the fact that I am Bulma, I am also Lace, kind of like an alter-ego if you will. Siamese twins sharing the same body. I have my own personality and she has hers, only she is more dependent on me than I am her oddly enough. I am more practical and level-headed, the one who is able to remain calm when the going gets tough; whilst Bulma is precise and tactical, carrying the brains and the brawn.
We are not to be confused, Bulma and I, for it is she who is the genius behind the Capsule Corporation, not I. She is able to manoeuvre her way quickly out of tricky situations in a way that I cannot, although her lack of thought towards the repercussions of her actions is her largest flaw. Nevertheless together we are Bulma Briefs, but without each other we are nothing but shells of our former selves.
Casting her mind back to what she had said, Bulma had thought that he just wasn't used to having someone care for him after all the years he had spent under Frieza's control...the day he died, was the same day she was sure of it.
Recollecting that eleventh hour, she remembered watching on in silence as he cried, breaking down, shattering every last wall of resolve he had…releasing years of emotional and mental trauma in a bid to save the future. He didn't know that she knew. Hell! She still didn't even know how she had managed to find herself in the midst of a death battle on Namek. But she had.
Watching him crucially from the moment he had blasted Frieza, laughing evilly saying "Rule number one…never turn your back when you're up against Vegeta, because with me the battle is never over and there's a good chance I've got a couple tricks up my sleeve…"
Assuming Frieza was too injured to defend himself from further onslaught she witnessed him powering up two further medium sized ki balls smugly shouting "Feel my wrath!" before releasing them into the dirt cloud surrounding Frieza's supposedly charred body.
"Never underestimate the power of a true Super Saiyan. So while you gloat about how strong you are, I'll be the victor." His arrogance and naivety in light of the situation was unbelievable.
As soon as the thought passed her mind, Bulma felt herself wanting to rush out onto the battle field to warn him as she caught a glance of an off-white thick tail emerging from the fading dirt cloud, she watched as it swayed dangerously to and fro, from one side to the other like an angry grandfather clock. Making the first motion to move she was interrupted by Lace.
No! You must NOT interfere.
Stopping herself and regaining a hold on all sensible logic she remembered that she was a) too far away for him to hear her and b) valued her life. Looking back up at his face she had witnessed his classic smirk soon fade into an expression of sheer unbelief and terror. Refocusing her attentions on the dust cloud she saw Frieza emerge, appearing unfazed from his ki attacks and waiting for Vegeta to make the next move, if he dared. He put absolutely everything he had into those attacks, yet nothing. Feeling for the man that stood before her, Bulma turned her head. Not willing herself to watch his impending death like she had watched Yamcha's on Earth.
She had slinked back behind the cliff face. Only relying upon her ears to just about inform her of the scene ahead.
"Don't look so surprised Vegeta. I'll be right with you but first I must exterminate the mighty midget."
Frieza exclaimed before lowering himself down to the ground to stand beside what must have been Gohan.
Sounding smug, I heard Frieza's voice again. "Now then, would you like to have another shot at me?" Risking a glimpse at the scene just mere yards away, I realised that Gohan had more courage, bravery and determination than the Saiyan Prince himself, who still hovered in the sky, frozen mid-air with fear.
"Vegeta how can you be so cold-hearted?" Frieza's sarcastic voice proclaimed, breaking his death-like trance, his eyes beginning to take in the horrific scene before him. The foot of Frieza was upon Gohan's head at this point crushing his bones one at a time. Crack. Crack. Crack. Even from where I was hiding, I could still hear the sound of Gohan's bones being crushed ever so slowly. Grinding.
"Can't you see that the boy is in pain? I guess you're just too petrified to help him aren't you?" Frieza said laughing at Vegeta, before continuing "What a shame, he was such a brave little kid…too bad…it's hard to find good friends in this world."
It was hard to believe that Frieza had even made an effort to sound remorseful at that moment when he happily chose to kill for a living. The audacity of this lizard freak was unreal.
Smirking the tyrant increased the force applied to Gohan's head causing him to scream out in pain. His voice cried out to Vegeta to help but he could do nothing. I saw that. If he attacked now they were all dead without Goku but little did I know, Vegeta was thinking the same thing. He could not just stand by idly and watch another member of his race exterminated. Not now. Not again. He was not a coward. He was the Saiyan Prince for god's sake. That must have meant something.
"There, there, it will all be over soon." Frieza said in a last pitiful attempt to placate the boy. Gohan opening his eyes took one last panicked look at Vegeta before accepting his fate. Closing his eyes once more, he waited for the inevitable.
Tears pooled out of my eyes in an uncontrollable manner, I had broken my promise to Chichi to ensure Gohan's safety, I had sat back and watched him die, I had failed. Blanking out all around me I allowed myself to slip into unconsciousness, not wanting to wake up to this nightmare.
Awoken by a loud shout, I rose up groggily to my knees, feeling weak, not wanting to be reminded of my failure. As I sat up, I looked around, surveying the area. Namek no longer looked how I remembered it to be, entire islands were gone, large debris was flying through the air, even the cliff I hid behind was half destroyed. It looked like a broken civilisation and in reality, it was. Scanning the area for the others, I saw Vegeta and to the side of him was little Gohan. How he had escaped Frieza no longer mattered to me. He was alive. My heart swelled with joy until I noticed that Frieza was pointing one deadly finger at him, attempting to kill him the same way he had killed Dende, the healing Namekian boy. My smile faded, this was it.
"Look out!" Vegeta shouted. Moving faster than ever, throwing Gohan out of the way of Frieza's finishing attack, just saving him by mere millimetres. Following that red beam of deadliness, I could only gaze on as the nearby cliffs were obliterated to nothing more than fine dust. No sign of it having even been there in the first place.
"Thanks Vegeta, you saved us". I shook my head in disbelief. Even at the very end, Gohan was still being Gohan, polite and respectful, I thought. Maybe I would have laughed had the situation not been teetering between death and survival.
Vegeta smirked at Gohan's true gratitude, almost as if to crack a joke with himself. "I didn't save you." Vegeta replied gruffly. Taking his eyes off Gohan and facing forward he sneered "You're not worth it." Producing a small chuckle he stated. "I guess you guys just aren't up to my new powers" Is this guy for real I thought? He just got beat down by Frieza and he's going back for more?
Vegeta continued walking forwards towards Frieza unfazed. Rambling off something about being a super Saiyan, I saw Frieza's eyes widen slightly in shock yet he stood his ground willing him to explain. When he did not, I looked to the others to see if they knew what this super Saiyan was, there stares were blank as they watched Vegeta.
"At last the power is all mine Frieza"
Calling forth his power from within and allowing it to fill every last muscle fibre, Vegeta had stood there. Ki flaring around him, glowing blue. According to the others he seemed to have gotten strong enough to fight Frieza head on. I just hoped that it was enough.
Raising a rock from the ground using nothing more than ki he pushed it forward with the strength of his hand, aiming it directly at Frieza. He then began to attack head on, not leaving any room for retaliation. Punch, punch, kick, uppercut, he continued. Each blow was dodged by one bored and unfazed lizard.
"You're making me mad" he screamed. Punching with more ferocity, he attacked Frieza once more.
"He's winning. Look Vegeta's got him on the ropes now Gohan"
"No. He won't win. H-He cant."
Piccolo's fears were realised when Frieza interrupted Vegeta's onslaught saying 'Quit fooling yourself my friend, you're no match for my speed'.
"W-what?…Where did he go? I-I don't believe it…he vanished".
Looking around him, Vegeta could not see Frieza. "It's impossible"
"There's no…sign of him anywhere."
Hearing Frieza laugh, Vegeta was brought out of his daze about his disappearance, turning around. He saw that he had been right behind him all along. He began to realise that maybe he was not strong enough to defeat Frieza. Maybe he wasn't the super saiyan after all. Seeing the hopeful, confident look in Vegeta's eyes fade into the distance and knowing I could do nothing was torture.
"Nn-n-o. No. No"
Freiza continuing to laugh said 'Well it looks like you're not a super saiyan after all…so sorry I guess that makes you the loser'.
Too shocked to move as the realisation of how weak he was in comparison to Freiza. His ki was like a little drop of water in the vast ocean that was Frieza's power.
"Vegeta face it. Your fight with me is futile and useless. Just wake up, you're blind and delusional. You keep going on about being a super saiyan. But it's just a myth Vegeta. I've never seen one, have you? You're such a chump." Frieza said laughing at him.
Vegetas resolve was weakening, I could see it. He was trying to convince himself that Frieza was wrong, he was meant to be the super Saiyan like his father had told him all those years ago. Yes, Vegeta was the super Saiyan, he was.
"You're wrong. I am a super saiyan." Throwing one large deadly sized ki ball at Frieza I watched as the others watched in awe of his power whilst Frieza just stood there in the same position on the ground. Not moving. Did he not see the blast approaching? I thought.
"Idiot". Frieza jumping to dodge the attack at the last possible moment.
Upon Vegeta seeing Frieza had dodged his attack, he continued to fire ki ball after ki ball in the hope that he could hit Frieza. His frustration becoming apparent as Frieza effortlessly avoided each one and each light dotted the blue Namekian sky.
Moving closer to the cliff, I tried to shield myself as I felt the power from his attacks. It was frightening, the ground under me began to shake and tremble. Before I could even think to move, large pieces of the half-demolished cliff I stood under began to fall. One unfortunately hitting me on the head and managing to render me unconscious.
Bulma. Bulma get up. Get up now.
Opening my eyes, I could only see darkness. Trying to move my arms seemed to be the next obvious thing to do, but I could not. Breathing became difficult as large boulders were piled on me. Their weight increasing dramatically as each moment went by. Crushing me. Using my strength, I tried to shift some of the boulders. The burning of my muscles increasing. The pain becoming unbearable but I persisted. Seconds becoming minutes, I lost track of how long I had spent under the rubble. Some time later I heard small boulders rolling of me. The crushing become less. My arms become free. Urging me to continue. With one final push, I was able to free myself from the rubble. Pushing myself away from the rocks and standing up, I look around. The entire cliff structure was no more. All that could be seen was bare ground for miles . Looking around for Vegeta and the others I spotted them on a nearby island. Frieza still standing, and holding what I thought was Vegeta. Jumping into the water immediately, I swam as best as I could to be closer. A few minutes passed and I reached them. If Gohan had heard me he did not make it known. I crept closer. The tension in the air was so thick, the atmosphere was almost unbearably hot.
It seems in the time I was unconscious, Vegeta had taken quite a beating from Frieza and was now sprawled out on the ground near death. Looking at Frieza he had his arm raised ready to finish what he had started. Finger pointing at one single spot on his left chest, ready to pierce his heart.
Vegeta closed his eyes, ready for the finishing move. The lines of his face deepened, his grip on the earth tightened as his tensed his muscles. He was going to die.
"Goku?" All eyes turned to face him. Naturally I too looked. Goku, was here?
"Hey…Kakarot…you made it" Vegeta said turning to face him from his position on the ground .
Frieza and Goku then began to talk and fight but I could barely hear them, let alone see them. They were moving faster than I could keep up with. The sounds of their fists colliding was all I could hear. Landing back onto the ground, I watched as Frieza attempted to kill Goku using his death beam once more. Throwing myself to the ground, I hid once more. I didn't want to get hit on the head again. Once the sounds of destruction slowed to a silent whisper I risked a glance at the scene ahead.
Goku and the others were somehow still standing. Wow, these guys are tough…
Vegeta suddenly began to laugh, although there was nothing funny about the situation at all. We were all about to die unless Goku defeated Frieza and he was laughing?
"Who would have thought a lowly soldier like you Kakarot. I commend you. Frieza you fool., you don't get it do you? Kakarot's not an ordinary saiyan." Vegeta explained sitting upwards. It seemed his rest from Friezas attacks had strengthened him some but not nearly enough to withstand another attack.
"He is a super saiyan." Friezas eyes widened slightly in surprise, but the thought was quickly dismissed. I too didn't believe it. It was just a legend after all. Vegeta thought he was a super saiyan and now he's on the floor inches from death .
"That's right, you heard me. If there is a god, he must be good for letting me live long enough to see this day. How great, this is a dream come true…to see you beaten by a saiyan." Vegeta continued to laugh.
Frieza quickly put a stop to Vegeta's talking by shooting a single death beam at his heart. It pierced his chest cavity completely and left him speechless as he sunk into the ground.
I could not take my eyes off of Vegetas body. The way his breathing began to slow. The blood that adorned his armour and even the blood that began to trickle from his mouth and his wounds. His arms clenched the earth under him as he struggled to hold on to life for that little bit longer.
"Kakarot…listen. Don't be so soft. Theres no stinking honour in…any of this." His breathing became more laboured. I could hear his lungs filling with blood as his heart struggled to continue beating.
"Its just a game, play to win. There are no rules." Vegetas eyes then began to glaze over, as if his entire life was flashing before his eyes. Every battle, every killing, every heart ache.
"You're going to have to get over your soft heartedness. Do it. Forget about your feelings. You have to, they'll get you killed. They'll get you killed Kakarot."
"I can't. I can't change who I am. Not on the battlefield. My feelings are my guide. Besides everybody deserves a second chance to change their ways, just like you had."
"Fool. You don't…know what you're dealing with." Vegeta continued to cough up more blood. He wouldn't have long now. His organs would begin to fail soon enough if they haven't already. It was hard watching him die, even after all the wrongs he has committed. It was so hard.
"No, theres more. He killed our home planet. It was him."
"Your father and mine, the whole planet. He blew it up. No one survived but us. Ask him if you want. He'll tell you. He's proud of it."
"Please stop talking Vegeta, it's sapping all of your strength."
"No listen. You have to hear this." The tears began to well around the corners of his eyes, but he would not let them fall. Not yet.
"We worked so hard for him. We did everything he asked of us and more."
His tears began to fall rapidly, as if to wash away years of torment and pain. It was at that moment I felt myself letting go. The man before me was no monster, for a monster cannot shed tears for his people.
"He took me from my father when I was just a little boy. He made me do whatever he wanted. And said he'd kill my father if I didn't. I did everything he asked, but he killed him anyway…along with everyone else. He was scared of us. Scared that a super saiyan would be born someday and rise up to overthrow him." This revelation shocked me more than anything. Looking over to Frieza I saw his smirk, I hated him. I hated what he did, he didn't care at all. That much could be seen. He was the monster.
"Please no more. Save your strength" Goku pleaded with Vegeta.
Raising his hand to Goku in a final plea, Vegeta begged.
"Kakarot please, destroy Frieza, he made me what I am. Don't..let him…do it…to anyone else. Whatever it takes…stop him. Please."
Words failing him, I watched on as Vegetas arm fell lifelessly to the ground. His heavy breathing stopped. His tears continued to fall for a moment longer, pooling on the earth beneath him before drying up completely. His features relaxed, frowning no more. He stopped struggling and embraced death as it took him away. He was at peace.
Watching him speak like that. Letting go of his pride, releasing years of emotional torment and pain he had held inside since the oblivion of his people. Just that very thought had once broken Bulma's heart into several tiny little pieces. He was no longer the monster he had pretended to be, his heart was more full of emotion than even Goku could hope to compare. That was the man Bulma had fallen in love with and that was who she believed he was.
'He never loved you Bulma. Its time that you knew the truth. I cannot shield you from the things you do not wish to hear.'
"No…" she was imagining things she thought, looking into his behaviour too deeply. Thinking up the impossible. She knew what he was and what he was capable of being, she had seen it on Namek. Trying to convince herself of this truth was hard as the mental voice in her head returned.
'Yes, you did nothing but love him, but you can't lie to yourself any more Bulma! You have noticed he barely speaks to you unless he wants something haven't you! Training bots, gravity room upgrades…350G's one day, 450G's the next, new armour after he beats himself senseless against your wishes, food fit for a Prince…the list never ends! Get it together Bulma! You know the truth so stop running!'
Pondering over these things she knew the voice was right. He no longer even argued with her, smirking she remembered the day he once told her he loved it because the fire in her eyes was alluring and reminded him of the Saiyan queen, his mother. It was something she also loved because he was so witty and quick to retort, no man had ever dared to challenge Bulma Briefs but this Saiyan was no mere man.
'He must have loved me at least once right?' Bulma thought as she continued to remember how he now spent longer hours training only to return when he knew she'd be asleep before leaving again before she woke and barely acknowledging her during meal times. If not for the fact that he still grunted responses occasionally and continued to grace her bed with his oh-so-mighty presence, she would have thought he didn't care. But it was all too clear. He had only stayed with her because he had a responsibility to Trunks and pitied her for the love and complete adoration she had for him…only out of pity she repeated.
She spat the word out of her mouth like it was poison. She hated the word, it made her feel weak which was all she was to Vegeta she painfully realised. A pitiful earthling who had managed to trap him by falling pregnant. Bulma couldn't believe it had taken her all this time to see the truth, he had practically said the words himself when she had told him she was pregnant! God…it was so clear. She sighed. It was too clear in fact. Crystal…
(A/N: Special thanks to DevilsDoCry for Beta-ing :) Check out his Vegeta fics, definitely unique and interesting :D Hope you enjoy this chapter all. I know you've waited for it for some time. Thanks to all who reviewed. Shall be updating more now that I have some free time to write. )