Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ

Game of Life

Prologue


Bulma picked up her pack of cigarettes and removed one from the box. She lit it and took a deep drag. Her body relaxed as she exhaled the content from her lung. She flicked the ashes in the tray, which was already filled with a mountain high of burned butts. Her fingers returned to the keyboard and immediately they danced across the keys.

Three years. Three years of nonstop fun with the computer as her regular companion, Bulma thought as she rolled her eyes. How in the world did she let Vegeta persuaded her into this? His charm? His oozing good-looking? His persuasive sexy voice? His rare moment of showing a hint of affection?

Maybe.

Bulma shook her head.

No.

It was all because he had challenged her and Bulma had fallen right into his trap.


Three years ago…

Vegeta stood by the door with a solemn look. After a second of hesitation, he walked over and sat beside her on their bed.

He returned, Bulma thought. She was confident he would. It had been especially hard on Vegeta to accept the fact that his action almost caused the destruction of Earth. She knew he did not care for the human that resided on her planet but she was darn sure he cared for her and their son. He might even felt a little responsible for their death.

"Vegeta. What is it?" Bulma asked, gently placing a hand on his arm. Bulma expected Vegeta to flinch. but he did not. A rare reaction or lack thereof, Bulma thought. Whatever was on Vegeta's mind, it had to be serious.

"Bulma…" Vegeta cast his eyes on the floor. "When I found out about your death and the Trunks, I was pissed and at the same time, I felt shame..." Vegeta paused. "and powerless. I did not protect you and our son. I failed you."

Bulma should have been surprised by the sudden declaration of weakness from the proud prince, but she was not. The man beside her was changed. He had tossed away his pride and admitted he was second best to Goku. He had tried to protect them by sacrificing his life, knowing full well that death would send him to neither hell or heaven. His soul would be consumed by nothingness. For that, she had forgiven him for the action he took at the tournament.

"Vegeta, I've forgiven you. At the end of the day, all I really care about is...that you came back to us."

Vegeta looked away. Bulma could feel he was uncomfortable. She could see the guilt haunting his dark eyes. Another rare emotion from the prince. He was probably also not used to the fact that another would trust him so unconditionally.

"Bulma, no matter what you say. I failed to protect you. I do not like this feeling. I do not want to feel powerless again. I want to be stronger. I no longer wish to bypass Kakarott in power. I..I" Bulma had never seen the man in such discomfort.

"I want to get stronger so no more harm fall upon you and Trunks ever again."

She felt her chest swelled with so much admiration and love for the prince. Her husband, who had been the biggest threat on Earth, just swore his eternal commitment to her and to Trunks. She finally attained the confirmation she seek from him after all these years.

"You will get stronger. I can enhance the gravity room any way you like so you can get stronger." Bulma rested her head on the Saiyan's chest. It felt right. She felt safe. She knew she picked the perfect man.

"The gravity room is not enough. It took me seven years to ascend to Super Saiyan two and that was with the boost from Babidi. Kakarott, on the other hand, turned into Super Saiyan 3." She felt his chest rose and fell. She could feel the tension as he spoke those words. However, she did not feel the animosity she once felt when he spoke of Goku.

"Goku has a simpler brain. His brain cells only know how to eat, sleep and fight." Bulma joked.

"No, he had one advantage over me during the seven years. He did not spend those years training alone. He sparred with stronger opponents than him, thus increasing his power to the next level." She felt two hands on her shoulder. Vegeta pushed her gently away from his chest and looked at her.

"I want something similar. I want to have an opponent I can train with."

"Goku's around now. You can train with him." She couldn't tell where this conversation was heading.

She could hear Vegeta snickered. "Kakarott is the worst sparring partner. It gets my blood boiling just thinking about it. He always thinks he is doing me a favor by keeping his strength at my level. The condescending fool."

"He doesn't mean it."

"Which makes it worse."

Bulma didn't want to continue the conversation involving Goku. It only stirred up bad feelings within Vegeta. "Is there something I can do?"

Vegeta let go one of her shoulder and pulled out an item from his pocket and handed to her. It looked like a game of some sort. She remembered buying this particular game for Trunks. Was it Fighting Bout 3?

"What's this?"

"It is a game. I saw Trunks playing it once and thought this might be the solution to my training problem."

Bulma flipped the cartridge back and forth, examining it. She didn't understand how this game could possibly help him. She looked at him and furrowed her brow. "I'm not sure I understand."

"This game is a fighting game where you, the player, can pick any opponents of your choice to battle. When you beat the opponent, you reach the next level. Their powers raise and so do yours."

She listened to his words carefully and the thought finally clicked. "You want me to build a real life version of this game?"

Vegeta smirked. "I am sure this is within your ability."

"Do you know what you're asking of me? We're not talking a simple gravity room enhancement," Bulma said, frowning.

The smirk never left his face. "I know, but who other than you could accomplish this?"

She felt a challenge hidden behind her prince's tone. Bulma was not about to show weaknesses in front of Vegeta, especially not when he questioned her best attribute, her brain. "I did say I'll enhance the gravity room. I suppose this is a type of enhancements"

"Good, now what I want is not merely a carbon copy of the game. I want to change the basic structure of this game."

"What kind of change?" Bulma was not sure she liked the idea Vegeta was proposing.

"Well, let me start with creation of the enemies…"


Back to present

Within my ability, my ass, Bulma thought. She would not have agreed to the request had she known this project could take away three years of her life. Now that she thought of it, he had tricked her with his act of showing his vulnerable side, luring her into agreement without second thoughts. He got skills, Bulma admitted, scowling at her own naivety.

Bulma kneaded her neck to loosen the tension from staring at the screen all day. She felt the strain and her head hurt from all the caffeine she was consuming. Her lungs felt polluted as well. She had not seen the sun for ages. Well, she was exaggerating.

Her finger hovered above the green button. "This is it. This is the moment that will free me from this hellhole." She muttered.

She pushed the button and the room illuminated with bright fluorescent light. The Capsule Corporation logo appeared on the wall size computer screen.

"Welcome to Capsule Corps Simulation. I am Giddymouse, your computer guide. How may I assist you today?"

Bulma smiled with great satisfaction. "I'm a genius."


A/N: All I can say right now is this is the beginning of a whole lots of trouble for the Briefs and the Sons. Anyways, I would love to hear your comments and I love constructive criticism! It is THE only way I can improve. Thanks for reading!