Somewhere Only We Know

I thought I would take the afternoon off to write the next chapter of "Illusoire". Instead, this came out…

I know this is not a particularly original idea, but it's one of my favorite 'what-if' scenarios. I've tried a few things that are new to me here; a first-person narrative, a one-shot, and a fairly large time span in a few thousand words. Please let me know what you think.

Dragonball Z belongs to Akira Toriyama. This is just a little non-profession, not-for-profit entertainment. The title of this story is from Keane's song of the same name. You guessed it; I don't own that either.

She's talking to me, but I do not listen to her words. Her glasses, which are bulky and cover her large, dark eyes, slip down her nose and she quickly adjusts them. I've stopped listening to her, not because I don't particularly care what she has to say, but because I do not understand it.

It makes me want to strangle her. I despise it when people talk over my head. It doesn't happen all that often. No, on Frieza's base I am not only one of the strongest, but am among the more intelligent as well. While others favor brute force, I surpass them as I have paired strength with strategy and tactic. Most here are idiots; it is I that talk down to them. But not with her. No, she is smarter than me, and she insists on demonstrating it with her complex, scientific diction.

I clench my fists at my side, knuckles white from to the strain of my own power. She stops talking and stares down at my hands; her eyes widen. She's clearly confused by my actions. It's humiliating enough being her latest test subject, and yet she insists on talking about the mechanism in a manner I do not understand.

She bites her lip and leans away from me, as though she's just decided that I am dangerous. I snort.

"Well," she glances down at the clipboard in her hand, and then her dark eyes are back to focusing on me. "Vegeta," she says my name as though she's reading it from the tablet, familiarizing herself with it for the first time. She is a fool if she thinks I believe she hasn't heard of me before. I know I am feared, mocked, talked about behind my back. Hell, I am feared and mocked to my face. Besides, this woman is supposedly a genius. The moment Frieza gave her my name she ran every possible background check she could.

"Lean back," she continues, setting her clipboard down and picking up a medical device. She places it in her ears, tucking a strand of hair back into her cap. Her hair is strange, soft looking and a peculiar shade of blue. As she places the stethoscope on my chest and listens to my heart, her eyes fill with excitement.

It is then that I notice, only because I have nothing to look at as I lay on the examination table, that when she blinks, her eyes do something strange. As though the irises are not hers.

I frown. "Contacts."

Her hand jerks away, as though it'd been burned. I glance at the limb, inches from her chest, and frown.

"What?" she manages, though her voice is weak and she does not look directly into my eyes. So I was right.

"Your physiology," she says, once again picking up the clipboard and wisely changing the subject. "It is fascinating. I haven't seen anything like it before."

"And you will not." Because I am one of the few left.

"I think," the woman speaks, her eyes darting to my tail before once again studying the paperwork in her hands, "I have met another Saiyan before. On Earth."

I do not respond. I do not make small talk with people, and certainly not with weak scientists that I have been given to.

"He had a tail, just like yours," she sighs wistfully. "And he was incredibly strong. Almost enough to save our planet."

Almost saving isn't saving. She's an idiot to dwell on the past.

"I guess it's silly to think about what could have been," she shakes her head, some of her blue bangs falling from her cap. With her fingers, she shoves them back into hiding. "Do you know if there was a Saiyan on planet Earth?"

I shrug. I do not. It is possible, of course. Saiyans were often sent to destroy planets with weak inhabitants. I know this woman to be incredibly frail; I do not have my scouter handy, but I would imagine her power level to be insignificant. Nothing a Saiyan brat couldn't candle.

Her wrists are small, and her arms lean. I gather the rest of her to be the same, but she is covered in baggy clothing and an unflattering white lab coat. It then dawns on me - the contacts, the cap, the clothing – she must be attractive. At least mildly so. It wouldn't take much to catch unwanted attention in place like this.

I chuckle.

She blinks, her eyes doing that strange thing at the irises again. I briefly wonder what color her eyes really are, before reminding myself that I do not care. I just want to get off of this examination table, test whatever dangerous contraption she's been working on, and get back to training.

"What's so funny?" One of brows, thin and blue like her hair, arches.

"You are hiding your body, and your eyes," I comment, my own sliding closed as she continues to poke and prod me with medical equipment. It smells strongly sterilized and hurts my acute senses.

"You are a man," she says, as though it is something of an epiphany to her. I cock open an eye to see her staring at my bicep as she clenches it with a metal device. "It is natural for you to make a spectacle of yourself. I, on the other hand, am a woman. I do not get rewarded for commanding attention."

I watch her eyes narrow, her face pinch. A smirk tugs at the corner of my lips, but I hold it back. This woman amuses me. It is obvious that before she was here, on a planet I have not bothered remembering the name of, she was used to making a spectacle of herself. It pains her to be caged.

"If you had any strength to speak of, you could do whatever you wished."

She rolls her eyes. "I am brilliant. It has kept me alive." The device closes around my arm, the woman's own arm muscles bulge pathetically; I let the smirk break. She is trying to cause me physical pain. Amusing. "There is no need to draw further attention to myself. Not here."

I lie still on the table as she finishes her examination. When she is done, she tells me I can go. I do not look at her as I exit her lab. When the door slides closed behind me, I hear the woman sigh from inside the room. Her studies must have not shown that my hearing is superior to hers. That, or she's a genius that lacks a shred of common sense. I would not be surprised to learn that the latter is true.

It had not been my idea to have a test subject. The idea seemed morbid to me, as if having living, breathing testing animals wasn't bad enough, Frieza had given me a person to try out my latest invention.

Vegeta enters my lab and removes his gloves. I don't even have to ask him today. He is slipping into our routine. This makes me smile.

He is very attractive. He removes his shirt next. I would probably have swooned at his looks and status of prince alone, if that part of me hadn't died along with my planet.

But he's a prince of a destroyed world, a ruler of a dead race. I can't imagine the grief he feels. I am one of the few of my own kind left, but I do not bear the burden of being their fated avenger. No, the only reason I'm still alive is because I am too proud to stop living. I've entertained the idea, but never seriously enough to go through with it. Even a miserable existence is better than none at all.

Vegeta's file says a lot about him; it says that he is short-tempered, and extremely strong. I know the strength is apparent by his title of one Frieza's top minions, but I have deduced the fact that he loses his temper easily by the amount of disciplinary actions he's undergone. I frown, like the one he's currently enduring.

I did not like speaking back to Frieza. It only draws notice, and attention is precisely what I am trying to avoid. There are worse things, of course, like being tortured and killed, both of which I'd like to avoid in the future at all possibility. That is why I came to Frieza in the first place and told him of the possible negative effects of the Chamber. My research showed the possibility of failed organs and flattened bodies. My death would surely follow the moment one of his henchmen, Zarbon or Dedoria, perhaps, or even one of the Ginyus, hopped in and met their end.

Frieza had given me a cold glance when I informed him of the possibility of error; he'd swirled the wine in his glass, and shrugged.

"Vegeta," he said, glancing at the beautiful green skinned man beside him. "He completely disregarded my orders, and he's due for punishment for his last act of defiance."

Zarbon did not look surprised at his master's words, though a bit of amusement did flicker in his eyes. "Yes, my Lord. I will send for him."

"Just tell him to be in the scientist's…" Another swirl of wine, and he frowned at me.

"Bulma," I replied.

"Tell him to be in this Bulma's lab in 0800 hours." His mouth crumpled, and he shook his head. "Otherwise, I find better means to carry out his punishment."

I was still not keen on the idea of having a test subject, but Vegeta's file proved he would be a perfect candidate for my invention. I do wish that it could have been someone else, though. Vegeta is not talkative, and I am in desperate need of people to converse with. There are many other scientists on Frieza's base, but we are in a sort of competition with one another. We respect one another's research, and I am not the only that is less-than-thrilled about using my talents to fuel an evil empire. It is difficult for us to do little more than discuss schematics over lunch.

What Vegeta's file has failed to mention is that he is a haughty, arrogant bastard. He seems bitter about having to be here; not just on my examination table, but alive in general. It also doesn't hint at how observant he is.

I am no longer sure of the exact amount time I've been here, how long since the destruction of Earth, but in all the years I've been nothing more than a slave, no one has ever noticed that I'm wearing contacts to blend in. His file doesn't say that he is witty or cunning either, and it doesn't mention anything about how, when he's trying not to smile, a muscle at the base of his strong jaw jumps.

"Do you require anything further?"

His deep voice interrupts my thoughts, and I shake my head, studying the screen displaying the status of his organs. How long had I stopped working, letting my thoughts of this man wander?

"Uh…" I swallow. I am sure he can hear it from where he sits a few feet away. "Almost."

I print the results, and go to collect them on the other side of the room. "Do you know anything about my project?"

He grunts, his dark eyes sliding closed. "No."

I nod. I may have done my research on him, but Vegeta does not seem interested in me or my background in the slightest. "I've been working on it, on and off, for a few months. It is one of the… less evil projects I've come up with."

He pulls his shirt back on, never glancing at me. "A torture device, I assume."

I laugh. It's a strange sound. I do not laugh often, not anymore. "Only if things go poorly."

At this, one of his thick, dark brows raises. With question, or with interest. Turning his head, he glances at me curiously. "Frieza has sent me to test out something that will only harm me by the off chance?"

I sigh. He's decided that this is a far better punishment than usual. It isn't, of course. Things could go very, very wrong. "I have developed a training room," I explain. "It should do nothing but exponentially increase one's abilities in a short span of time."

He smirks.

Crossing my arms, I continue, "In theory, of course. There is the chance that things could go… south."

"Tell me more about this training room," he says, expression pensive, completely disregarding my warnings despite the fact that I haven't yet outlined them in detail.

"Well," I file the printed material and then turn to face him, resting my backside against the counter. "It's quite simple, really. In space travel, there are gravity controls on the vessels which allow its occupants to walk around the craft freely." His eyes have narrowed with my words, and I know he is formulating the possibilities. He is a fighter first, like my friends were, and I cannot blame him. "I originally developed the idea when hearing about a planet in the S-quadrant. This particular planet has extremely low gravity, but valuable resources. It's difficult to mine, due to the impossibility of remaining on the ground. Being that it's a small planet, I tweaked the device to raise the gravitation force so that the workers could stay grounded."

Vegeta nods. He is more intelligent than the other warriors I've come across.

"Frieza wanted to know if I could increase the gravity," I blow at my nonexistent bangs. They are purposefully not hanging in my face, but old habits die hard. "He knows that warriors on planets with higher gravity are naturally stronger. The idea is that spending long amounts of time in the Chamber will produce more powerful fighters."

"How much?" Vegeta asks. "How high can you simulate gravity?"

My index and middle finger press against my mouth, eyes squinting in thought. "I do not know the limits yet. At the moment, I know it's possible to create upwards of one-hundred times normal gravity." When he smirks, I continue, "I do not, however, know if it's possible to withstand upwards of one-hundred times normal gravity."

He's brushed off the possibility that he could ever be too weak to withstand anything. I frown.

"That's where you come in."

The smirk has yet to fade from his features, and he nods. "That is where I come in."

I am outside the woman's lab. She slides the door a fraction, studying me, before allowing me inside. We are done running tests. I am glad, and more than a little eager to get straight to my punishment. I feel the smirk on my lips as the shapeless scientists leads me to back of her lab, through another sliding door where the Gravity Chamber lies.

I have been here three days straight since she gave me the go-ahead to test the gravity. She monitored the controls at first, ordering me to go easy. I scoffed, but allowed her to have her way so we could get on with the training. She slowly bumped up the force, carefully monitoring my vitals, before deciding that my superior Saiyan anatomy will not fail after a few strenuous push-ups.

Today, she allows me to train without distraction. She does not even hover by the window to watch my every move. She has come to the realization that her contraption is safe, but she is hesitant to allow anyone know this yet. I do not mind her caution, as it ensures that I am the only one training at such an advantage.

I still laugh that Frieza has determined this a suitable punishment. Radditz and Nappa, my fellow Saiayns aboard Frieza's main base, have wisely not questioned what I am testing. They fear the worst, and do not want to hear anything remotely humiliating or else face my wrath. I make no move to inform them, because I do not trust anyone. Not even my closest accomplices. If it were to slip that the science woman was in fact not torturing me, I would be removed from this project.

I train for hours, until I have difficulty breathing and my muscles feel wholly worked. I am not satisfied with leaving, but I know there will be more training tomorrow.

The woman hands me a towel as I exit, and frowns.

"I told Frieza there was still some difficulty." Her voice is soft, as if willing me to be on her side. I nod. She is being reckless, but it is to my advantage so I will not complain. Her safety is nothing to me, and my strength everything. "He is leaving in three days," she continues, lowering her dark, false eyes. "I think we can keep this up for another three days, and then it should be easy. You are welcome to come by and train, and I will continue to work on other projects. I also need to fabricate some data that proves this thing is dangerous…"

I leave without a word, and do not come the following day until after I take a trip to the sparing quarters, only to find that my hard work in the woman's contraption has definitely paid off.

When I arrive at her lab, she glances up from her worktable. "You're late."

She does not bother me further, and though I briefly question her motives, I do not care enough to make conversation with her. She is the last of her race, at Frieza's hands. It is enough motivation to want him dead, though I am unsure why she has chosen me. I am just as much of a bastard as Frieza. We both destroy worlds without remorse; we are both selfish and power-hungry. She is unwise to put any trust in me.

When I am training, I wonder what her name is. It is a strange thought, and I am not sure she has ever given it to me. As I crank up the gravity further, I decide that I will get her name. Perhaps if I ever succeed in defeating Frieza she will be rewarded for her foolishness.

The gravity shuts off, and I turn to see the woman smiling at me from the doorway. My fists compress. No, I will not reward her. She has no business interrupting my training.

"I had lunch ordered," she says, stepping away from the doorway as though to let me pass. I glare at her.

The smells of the food from the cafeteria enters the Chamber. My traitorous stomach growls.

Smiling, the woman winks. "I know how large Saiyan appetites can be," she begins opening the various containers, setting the majority on one side of the table and taking a seat on the other side.

I grumble, barely audible and possible not at all to this woman's pathetic senses, and take a seat. As I eat, I am aware that she is watching me from beneath her lashes. I also realize that she's discarded the gaudy glasses she always wears. Her eyes are large, though still dark and obviously fake, and her nose is demure. It sits well with the remainder of her features. I add it to the list of things I do not give a shit about and continue eating.

We do not speak; I return to the Gravity Chamber after the meal. She goes back to fiddling in the lab. The following day when I arrive she tells me that she's invented something for Frieza. It should be enough to divert his attention to my being in her lab. No one has seemed to notice, of course, and so I nod before disappearing into the Chamber until late afternoon.

I can hear her talking outside the lab, and I can smell the food. She has ordered lunch again, and I power down the Chamber and join her for a meal.

Today she tries making small talk with me. At first, it is maddening. I do not wish to share anything about my planet with her. She asks me about the 'scary bald guy I'm always hanging around', and the 'cute tall one, with the crazy hair'. I really don't wish to discuss anything pertaining to those two idiots. Though they have trained with me in the evenings, noticed my power level, and have said nothing. They respect my title enough to not voice any suspicion.

She watches me while I eat, her own pathetic portions only half consumed. She's surveying me, as though I were one of her tests subjects. Which to some extent I am, but her gaze is still infuriating.

The following day, she makes conversation once again over our midday meal. Her ability to assess my character is impressive. Today she steers clear of my planet, my personal life, and my companions. She wisely sticks to making observations about our shipmates. Her tone is joking, and there is a wit about the way she speaks I hadn't noticed before. The woman is more cunning than I'd originally given her credit for.

"And have you noticed," she laughs, a leafy green inches from her mouth, which she waves about animatedly as she speaks, "that Kui spent the entire time brown nosing his 'good lord and master Frieza'?"

I do not mind her criticizing the idiots on the base.

"His ass kissing is rivaled by none. Except Zarbon of course," she looks thoughtful for a moment, "but I'm fairly sure that's all literal."

I smirk at her charge of such a private, and more than likely true, accusation. For the remainder of our meal, she continues to poke fun of the all the idiots I hope to blast to the next dimension if I am ever to become strong enough. It is the best meal I've ever had, though the food was mediocre at best.

I feel little pieces of myself coming back each day I spend with Vegeta. I am unsure if he's really the amazing man I've built him to be, or if I am so starved of attention that I am making of something out of nothing. Either way, I do not care. He is the first person since my home was ripped from beneath my feet that I consider a friend. The term doesn't hold as much as it once did, of course. Vegeta is not 'friend' material in the traditional, Earth sense. I want to help him, though. I wouldn't mind for him to reach his terrible, bloody goals, and our mutual disrespect for everyone else has brought us closer. At least, it's given us something to talk about.

He's kind, though, in his own strangely stoic way. I got him to chuckle yesterday. It was more satisfying than completing the ki rifle, which Frieza claimed to be my single greatest invention.

I brush out my hair, and stare into my own dark eyes. They are still strange after all these years, even to me. Vegeta has asked me to remove the veil, but I am stubborn. We have that in common. Through our short, daily conversations, that usually involve little else than ridiculing our peers, I have found that Vegeta and I share more than just our mutual hatred of Frieza.

At dinner that evening, I overheard a group of purgers at the next table discussing the fact that the Saiyans would be sent off base the following day. My chest tightens at this news. I do not worry about his safety, but I am angry that he failed to inform me. Today he made no indication that he would not be showing tomorrow. He is the only friend I have, which I am aware is pathetic, but it still puts a damper on my day when he up and leaves without a word.

The following morning we have a science board meeting, where we discuss upcoming projects. Some of us form into groups for a few of the more difficult ideas, but I chose to work alone.

We are tossing around less-perfected theories when one of the men says he has a theory for encapsulating large objects into a containers that are only a few square-feet in volume. I blink as he continues to explain the shipping benefits of creating such a system.

I am well versed in how atom-compressing technology works. My father had it perfected years ago on Earth. We were able to encapsulate things into far smaller masses than shipping containers. The palm-sized ships are complex, but these scientists are more than capable of eventually mastering the technology.

I am torn between volunteering for this project and keeping my lips pressed together. It would be simple enough to recreate technology I am already familiar with, but at the same time, it is something I have held onto for so long. It is not nearly the most crucial or damaging device I have presented to Frieza before, but it is my father's memory. To give it up would be to distance myself further from my family, my planet, and my real life.

"I'll do it," I say. It sounds rather severe. Clearing my throat, I smile politely. "I have been toying with such technology already. I believe I am already somewhat close."

They nod, give the project to me, and continue with their other ideas. I do not speak for the remainder of the meeting. Instead, I reflect on how now that I have a friend, I have become significantly less selfish.

I will take on the capsule project because it will buy Vegeta more time. He can train in the security of my lab, and I can work slowly on a project that in reality I could turn out in hours.

As I gather my papers and exchange pleasantries with my fellow scientists, I tell myself that this is all for the purpose of defeating Frieza. It has nothing to do with any companionship I have formed with Vegeta.

I work alone in my lab and eat both meals in solitude. I try not to think of my only friend in the universe right now. He is more than likely killing hundreds of innocent people. I shiver. He's a monster, but it's something I've decided to look past. At least for the time being.

There is blood on my hands, face, and splattered across armor. I strip off the clothes and quickly shower when we arrive on base. We did well. In fact, Frieza was so impressed by 'our' accomplishments that he threw some extra credits in our accounts and gave us two days of vacation.

We spent far too much time in a revolting place. It smelt of smoke and sex, and the women were forward so long as you were able to give up the appropriate amount of credits. I remained at the bar, and found my thoughts drifting to a woman who was definitely not present. I had wanted, just as I did now, to be in her company.

As soon as I showered, I bid my fellow Saiyans farewell, and headed straight to her quarters.

I had never been in the science wing before, but I knew of its location. After rapping against her door, I hear shuffling within her quarters. I smirk at the stream of curses that impress even a seasoned purger such as myself. When she opens the door, she looks surprised to me.

Her look of surprise quickly melts into an angry glare. She crosses her arms over her chest, and tries to look intimidating. It would have amused me, if I hadn't noticed that she wasn't hiding herself. For the first time, her hair is not hidden beneath a cap but pulled back, and she's wearing a pair of sleep pants and a t-shirt instead of her baggy lab garbs.

I have been willing myself not to fanaticize about the woman, who'd been plaguing my thoughts at the most inconvenient times as it was. It was difficult with her true appearance a mystery, but it seemed thinking of her will prove more difficult now with solid proof that she has nice breasts.

She catches me staring, and a blush tinges her cheeks.

"You didn't tell me you were leaving," she says, backing away from the door and allowing me inside her chambers. It is small and bland, but clean and feminine looking. I shrug.

"I do not need to check in," I reply. "I am only tied to you so long as I am testing your Chamber."

"Yes," she smiles, her face alight. "I have bought us some extra time."

I do not care about the specifics, only that she has come through once more. I can prolong my training in her Gravity Chamber by day, and spar in the public facilities in the evenings. It has become a routine that I quite enjoy. Once I had looked forward to being sent out on missions, but now I find myself wanting to remain on base.

I'm a shadow of my former self. I have no planet, no people, and no throne. There is nothing but my pride and devotion keeping me moving forward. That, and this woman. I cannot imagine how she lives without such motivation. Then it dawns on me; I am her motivation. She is out to kill Frieza, through me.

"What color are your eyes?"

I am not sure why I voice the words. I found myself wondering while I was drinking, alone, at the brothel waiting on my companions, what was so great about them that deserved hiding.

She blinks. "Blue."

It is not an uncommon eye color. I have seen many women with such coloring.

Sticking a finger in her eye, she removes one lens, and then repeats the process for the other. Her eyes are striking. I do not understand the sense behind her hiding them.

"It's not that unusual," she says, watching me. "On Earth there were many varieties, and blue was a common coloring. Here, however, I find it draws attention to myself."

"Do no wear them any more," I say. I couldn't care less what her eyes and hair look like. It is frustrating to have them hidden from me, that is all. "It's more distracting being lied to."

Her body, I decide, is better off hidden from my view.

"I have increased the gravity in the Chamber." She smiles. "Doubled the capacity, actually."

This intrigues me more than her lithe frame. "Will it be ready tomorrow?"

"Yes. And I have ruled out any possible negative side effects, but that tidbit of information is going to stay between you and I."

She does not need my confirmation. I have no desire to tell anyone.

The woman takes a seat and stares at her small, pale hands resting her lap. "When you succeed in defeating Frieza, will you allow me to live?"

I shrug, though I've already decided that I will.

"Your fate is of no consequence to me." I watch her eyes, blue and vibrant and real, snap to mine and narrow dangerously. Everyone who talks freely with me is above me, everyone below me approaches me with fear in their eyes. Bulma is the only person who respects me but feel comfortable enough in my presence to speak her mind. "Though you may still have uses once I am in charge."

"I won't be a slave," she informs me, as though I am interested in bartering with her freedom. "I'd sooner have Frieza as my emperor. At least I know that you have a shred of decency."

"I will be in your lab tomorrow," I say, and because I have nothing further to discuss with her, I turn and leave her quarters without another word.

I reread over Vegeta's file again last night after he'd left my chambers. The first time I'd studied it, it had been to gage what kind of a man he was. This time, with him being someone I knew fairly well, and possibly cared about, I paid closer attention to the details. Like how the prince was off world when his home had been destroyed. That he'd been only a child when Frieza made him one of his soldiers. That he was clearly unhappy with this turn of events.

When I meet Vegeta at the lab, paperwork and coffee in tow, he is surprised that I have adhered to his word. My hair is in a ponytail, but visible, and my eyes are free of any veil. I wasn't entirely sure why I'd listened, or why, for that matter, a part of me wanted Vegeta to see me as being attractive.

That morning, when I'd entered the cafeteria, I'd caught a glance or two in my direction. Nothing sinister. These men, who callously committed universal genocide, did not seem as evil here. No, this was their home, and while they were unhygienic brutes, they didn't make a display of killing one another or raping innocent women. There were plenty of brothels filled with scantly clad women for such activities.

It was a strange discovery that I pondered, filling up my morning cup of coffee, eager to meet the prince in my lab. When I arrived, he was already there, though he hadn't yet begun his training.

He's wearing his battle armor and navy spandex, as always, and makes no attempt to comment on my appearance. Even though he's the reason I made the chance in the first place.

"The controls are the same," I explain. "The only difference is the dial goes higher."

He grunts and enters the chamber. I wonder if he'd been waiting on me before training. I also wonder if Vegeta could admit to having friends, if he would consider me one.

I laugh, setting up the data for the capsule technology, planning to spend the remainder of the day buried in my work. The day is long, and I am exhausted.

The following morning, I awake to a startling discovery. Being around Vegeta has healed a part of me I never thought possible. It's also dangerously skirting the bounds of the one-sided friendship I've built up.

There is moisture between my thighs, and the memory of a satisfying dream burned into my brain. I am not repulsed by the idea, for the first time since being here, of sex. Perhaps it is because I have regained control of my appearance and have once again established mastery over my body. More likely, however, it is because I have finally found comfort in a man rather than terror.

Vegeta comes and goes for days, and I do little else but concentrate on my projects. I burn my finger one afternoon, and he shows no outward sign of concern. He tells me I am worse than a Saiyan child when I complain. Over lunch, however, he seems to desire my company. He likes it when I cut down the men who were once physically superior to him. I know now that he is incredibly strong, stronger perhaps than Frieza's right hand man. Not stronger than Frieza himself, though. When that happens, he will no longer seek shelter in my lab, and our friendship will be nothing more than a distant memory. If, that is, I am fortunate enough to survive.

"I am leaving tomorrow," he says, not looking directly at me. "It is a short mission. A week, two tops."

I nod. Our friendship is coming along nicely. I have not voiced my desire for more and he has started informing me about his thoughts and commitments. It's pathetic, but it's progress.

While he is gone, I will turn in the capsule project. There is not much more time to waste hiding Vegeta's advancement in the Gravity Chamber. I have caused slight suspicion with my appearance, there is no need to draw further attention to my activities.

I have always exercised complete control over my emotions. There are few things I still have power over in my life, but my thoughts and body are among them. Recently, however, I have failed in my mastery over both. Twice on this mission I let my hand take release, and both times it was to thoughts of the woman.

Bulma, I remind myself. I have yet to speak her name aloud, but not without her trying. I smirk at her persistence, and her poorly concealed frustration.

Today, after we completed our purge and set the coordinates back to Frieza's base, Radditz cast a slanted smirk at Nappa.

"Looks like Vegeta's ready to get back to his scientist," he snorted, as though the joke were meant to insult me.

I was not angered by his words. However, I was not pleased that my chest tightened upon hearing them. The idea, that the woman was mine, was not an unpleasant one. It was an idea I entertained for entirely too long as we broke planetary altitude.

Nappa had merely shrugged. He knew my strength was increasing, and that it was in some way due to her invention. It does not surprise him that I would link myself to whatever means I can to enhance my strength.

Radditz jokes that he wishes we were rewarded with vacation again, but I am content that we not be taking any detours.

When we return, I shower, and for the second time I find myself standing in front of the woman's chambers.

The door opens and she quickly tosses her arms around my neck. I stiffen at the contact. I have not been close to a female in a while, and never to this particular woman. Bulma is... different.

"I'm glad you're back," she grins, pulling away from me and allowing me to enter her chambers. "Would you like a drink?"

I nod, and she pours two beverages. Handing me one, she does not pester me about my mission. The woman, Bulma, she does not wish to see me as a murderer. It is a part of who I am, of course, but not the part she has become fond of.

"I am close," I say. It is the first time I've said the words aloud and it is satisfying to share them, to hear them clearly voiced.

She smiles, and there is hope in her blue eyes. If I were to fail it would surely mean her death. I do not entertain the thought for long, for I've decided to wait until I am certain I can defeat him.

Vegeta's been back from his latest purge for four days now. I like having him around far more than I realized. It isn't just me being selfish in my loneliness; I enjoy his company. Sometimes he picks fights with me, and other times he asks about my creations. He still isn't exactly talkative, but it's a vast improvement since the first day he was given to me as a test subject.

"What did you do?" I ask, as he enters the lab. At his confused expression, I clarify. "To get punished in this way? What was your crime?"

One side of his lip pulls upward. I love his smirk. "I put Guldo in the Regeneration Tank."

With a shrug, he is done with our morning conversation and disappears into the Gravity Chamber. I continue to work on the ki-shield I've been assigned, until I am literally tossed from my chair. My head hits the hard floor of the lab and I blink, trying to right my jumbled brains through the smoke and confusion and my throbbing skull.

I get to my feet and rush towards the Gravity Chamber. It has exploded inside of the room it was incased. Shattered glass and debris litter the ground, creating a mound with shards of metal protruding from the mess of it all. It's chaos.

"Vegeta," I call. It is all my mind can register. I could not have survived such an explosion, but Vegeta is strong, nearly unbreakable.

He grunts, and one of his dark hands frees itself from the rubble, followed by the remainder of his badly beaten form.

I rush to his side, but he wont let me assist in detangling himself from the remains of the Gravity Chamber. His eyes are on mine and his mouth forms a bloody, painful-looking smile.


"I have done it," he manages to say, teetering between consciousness. I have difficulty celebrating what 'it' obviously is, because the Saiyan before me appears to be more dead than alive.

"Congratulations," I deadpan, steadying him as he attempts to stand on his own. "Now let's get you go a regen tank."

He allows me to lead him out of the room, and for the first time I am grateful to see the tall, bald Saiayn in the hallway.

"Nappa!" I call, getting the man's attention. He does not even question me as he comes to our side, taking Vegeta's weight off me. "Get him to a tank."

Without a word, or even a nod in my direction, the Saiyan takes his prince and heads to the Med Bay. I watch as Vegeta's figure fades from my view and decide that, if he really has attained his fated state, then there isn't much time.

When he's succeeded, I'll have plenty of time to argue with him about things like morals and ethics and the proper way to run an empire. For now, all I can do is pray to the Kais that his destiny will be enough to save us.

The tanks beeps, and the liquid drains. Drops of it remain on my skin, in my hair, and cling to the contours of my muscles. I have to towel myself off when I step from the tank. A new set of clothes have been left for me, but my scouter is not sitting atop the pile as usual. I frown and dress, deciding that it will not be necessary anyway.

I will not go to Bulma until I've succeeded in killing the bastard that's destroyed both of our lives. I do not deserve her unless I am able to carry out our mutual goal.

Frieza is in his throne room, and before I've fully ripped the door off its track, I can feel my newly attained power breaking the surface. A golden aura crackles around me, and I can feel the energy radiating from my frame. Frieza glances at me as I enter the throne room. I notice as I approach that his scouter is in shards on the ground, and I see my reflection in one of the slivers of glass as I extend my hand towards him. My hair is yellow, my eyes teal.

I think of Bulma, and how after this moment she will not have to hide her own blue eyes any longer. It is a satisfying thought as I attempt to rip the bastard before me limb from limb.