Touching a Naked Flame

Chapter 24

Vegeta was staring at the ceiling of the room that had been his for the past three years. Everything about the room brought back some kind of memory, whether he was fond of it or not. The obvious memories sprang to mind when he looked at the cracks in the ceiling. The small, snake like crack in the very centre of the ceiling he had become, somewhat, fond of. After every nightmare, he'd wake up, panting and sweating with exhaustion, and he'd always see the mark on the ceiling, which only reminded him that he was no longer trapped in a life that he couldn't control. He wasn't on Frieza's ship anymore; the cold metal ceiling that used to hang above his head when he awoke, no. He was on the most unusual and peaceful planet he'd ever come across.


This planet was an enigma in itself. The inhabitants were the weakest species in the universe, yet they seldom suffered from the threats throughout the universe; they only seemed to fight amongst themselves. Bizarre. That's one particular reason why he disliked this place. The people weren't united as one. It wasn't like the Tuffles and the Saiyans, the people on this planet were all of equal strength and capabilities. Yet they fought great wars, battling with heavy weaponry and machines – much like the Tuffles. Even when a threat presented itself (when he presented himself), they had no idea that Kakarot, their saviour, was in fact a Saiyan and had enormous strength. The androids will be arriving in six days and he, the prince of all Saiyans, will be fighting them in order to save the planet. That might not be the direct reason why he's doing it, but that will be the outcome. He was protecting this planet, and for what? What was he going to get out of it, other than the sensation of victory, coursing through his royal blood once again? Was it worth it?

…Yes, it was.

A ray of sun light was leaking through the heavy curtains and resting on his forearm. It was a pleasant feeling, he couldn't deny it. This place was peaceful but it was far from comforting. Most of the time he needed to be alone and living here would make that an impossibility. There would always be a hindrance. Besides, when he destroys Kakarot, that harpy of his would prove to be a nuisance and he'd probably end up killing her and the rest of that blasted family, so staying just wouldn't even be an option. Why was he even considering it, anyway?

A surreal blend of two smells was wafting through his room; freshly cut grass and oil. The smell tickled his nostrils and he inhaled deeply, trying to make the smell last longer and imprint it in to his memory, along with a few other smells he was fond of. One, reluctantly so, being the intoxicating scent of the woman's skin, as much as he would love to forget that very smell, a part of him would hold on to it. Even now, after her keeping her end of the deal and staying a fair distance from him, he could smell the faint natural fragrance of her femininity, which sent him back to the time when he had taken her right in this very room. The memory was becoming more distorted every day, proving that what he was doing was right.

A loud clanging noise, followed by a fit of high pitch giggling, and cry of disbelief, brought him out of his mental rambling and back to the ceiling of his dark room. He tried to ignore the sound but the noises from outside were becoming louder and harsher to his sensitive ears, so he stood up and cracked his sore neck, as if he'd been asleep all night without moving, and then he walked over to curtains. Pulling them both back and allowing the blinding sun light to engulf his room, he was, after a few seconds to let his eyes adjust, able to see the humans cavorting on the lawn with the brat. He slid the balcony doors open and walked out to the railing, allowing him a better look at the scene below.

The first thing his eyes scanned for - the woman - was bending forward into what look like some sort of transportation vehicle. His eyes lingered on her behind and the tiny shorts which she seemed to have started wearing again lately. He couldn't see her head, it seemed she was fixing the machine which was no surprise as that was all she ever seemed to do these days, and coddle the boy, of course. Focusing on the laughter, his eyes shifted a few metres away from the woman, where the brat and the insane mother were sitting on a disgusting pink sheet, surrounded by an array of different, but pathetically small, snacks. The brat was clapping his hands while the old woman smeared bits of cream on her face and acted like she didn't know it was there. Then he would point with the most dramatic look of sincerity in his eyes, until she eventually wiped it off and repeated the process over again.


That boy could be doing more important things than hanging around with that dim witted cretin. Was Bulma insane? Didn't she know what sort of effect this woman would have on her child? He shrugged to himself. He didn't really care.

The scene, as usual, seemed too relaxed, as if their normal day to day lives were just going to continue through the next couple of weeks. How long would it take to destroy a couple of toasters, anyway? An hour? A Day? …A week? No, surely it would be over within the blink of an eye, he had no doubt of how capable he was. That was a no brainer.

Just when he'd had enough of the useless creatures beneath him, he saw the old man, striding across the lawn towards Bulma; palpable distress in his step. Vegeta shifted on the spot and decided to see what had got the old man so wound up. Not that he cared. Maybe he would find some form of amusement out of them, after all.

"Argh. You son of a-" Bulma sprung back from the bonnet of the hover craft and stuck her scorching thumb in to the moist sanctuary of her mouth. Far too focused on her pulsing thumb, she was unaware of her father's approach, and jerked when she saw him from her peripheral. "Hey, dad." She smiled and slowly removed her red thumb from her mouth.

Dr Briefs forced a crooked smile from beneath his twitching moustache and stiffened his arms against his sides like a soldier standing to attention. "Bulma, I really think you should reconsider." He twitched a bit more, then crossed his arms in order to look unfazed, but when it came down to his daughter, there was no way she would change her mind; not even for him.

She sighed, picked up a wrench from the floor and resumed her focus within the bonnet of the jet. "Don't worry about me, dad. Me and Trunks will be fine." She began to work on something which Dr Briefs was unable to see.

Her words send a splitting shock through his chest, and he stepped closer, "Trunks too?" he implored, clenching his fists.

"Yeah," she said immediately, "there's no way we're missing out on all the action."

Dr Briefs sighed in exasperation and raked a shaky hand through his lavender hair. Usually, it would be Bunny who would be fussing over the principle of the situation but for some bizarre reason, she was happy to allow Bulma and Trunks to follow the others on the day the androids arrive. Didn't anybody have any sense anymore?

"It's extremely dangerous for a child," he assured, backing off slightly, knowing that his argument was frivolous.

Bulma stood up straight, oil smeared against her forehead and shoulders, and she wielded the wrench, pointing it towards her dad's nose. "Dad, I know what I'm doing. Relax, will ya!" she smirked, and dropped her arm to hang limply at her side. It didn't matter what her father said, she wasn't going to be told what to do. It wasn't like she was a child anymore. Even when she was sixteen, he seemed to let her do a lot more things than he allowed her to do nowadays. She had proved that she was capable of looking after Trunks. Hell, it had been almost a year already. She knew what she was getting herself into and she wasn't stupid enough to get too close to the action.

"I don't think-" Dr Briefs tried to continue, but was cut off by the sound of the bonnet slamming shut.

Bulma tapped it with a grin of accomplishment on her face, gazing at the jet with adoration glimmering in her eyes, and then she dusted her hands together. "Look, if it makes you feel better, I'll take this baby out for a test drive first," she smiled, picked up a damp cloth from the ground and dabbed it across her moist forehead.

"I'm not worried about the vehicle, Bulma. It's those androids that I'm concerned about!" Dr Briefs choked, casting a glance at Trunks and Bunny who were still valiantly carrying on with the cream gag.

"Tch. Hey, we've got Vegeta, remember? Those androids are toast!" Bulma declared, holding the damp cloth up victoriously.

Defeated, Dr Briefs closed his eyes, "If you say so…" He honestly couldn't comprehend why his daughter had so much faith in that boy; after all he'd put her through. "…But I'm not happy about it." He turned around and sauntered off, back into the house.

The words that her dad left her with were unfamiliar. Never did her father sound so disappointed, but didn't he know what sort of person she was? He still didn't understand? She was forever ambitious, adventurous, and courageous. Why should anyone try to take that away from her? She rolled her eyes, turned around towards Bunny and Trunks and laughed when she saw all the cream that had been smeared liberally across Trunks' face. She wanted to go over to him and clean him up, but the oil on her hands told her otherwise. She looked at her little hover jet and grinned again, thinking of the adventure ahead. Trunks' first adventure…It was so exciting!

She had promised that she'd take the jet out for a quick drive, that way, if there was anything wrong with it she had six days to figure it out and fix it. No problem. It was only the early afternoon and with the summer approaching, there was plenty of daylight to fit a little cruise into the day. Yes, she'd fly around the countryside for an hour or so and then come back with a firm set of results in mind. Again, she turned to look at her mother, "Mom, can you watch Trunks for an hour? I'm just going to take this thing for a drive," she said sweetly, while tapping the bonnet with the palm of her hand and leaving an oily imprint.

Usually, Bulma had Trunks with her at all times, so giving Bunny the opportunity to baby sit would be like giving honey to a bee. Bunny's eyes widened and she smiled beautifully, "Why, of course, dear! Be careful!" She quickly turned towards Trunks and began to babble in some obscure language that only he seemed to interpret and respond to.

Bulma shook her head and smiled, picking up the damp cloth and wiping her hands on it, before dropping it to the floor again, alongside her tool box; concluding that her hands were clean enough. Swiftly, she opened the roof and climbed in, switching on the ignition and eventually taking off in to cloudless sky.

Trunks watched the jet in awe, his bright blue eyes gazing at the red and white exterior. When it zipped off into the distance, he squinted, trying his hardest to prolong the image of the thing that had taken his mother. Just when little bubbles of tears were about to form in his eyes, something else deterred him from crying. Soon after his mother had disappeared, he saw that man, flying through the sky and heading the same direction. He blinked the tears away and replaced his sadness with confusion, but his confusion soon switched in to sheer joy when Bunny's face appeared right in his line a vision with a huge glob of cream on the tip of her nose.

A vast canopy of green was beneath Bulma as she flew steadily through the sky. She was hovering low enough to absorb the scenery and all its beauty. Everything was so green; the trees and hills for miles and miles, and tranquil too. There wasn't a person in sight. She'd picked the spot carefully and decided to circle around it until she found a decent place to stop and rest for a bit. Half an hour had past and the jet had gotten her a good forty miles from home, which was excellent timing for something she'd merely whipped up in a couple of days.

She swooped down low when she saw an opening within the cluster of trees and she carefully lowered herself down and beneath the canopy to land. Once the whir of the engine had ceased and the utterances and light fluttering of leaves blowing on their branches was heard, Bulma lifted up the roof and climbed out of the jet. As soon as her foot hit the wax of the long grass, she felt at complete ease, sighing in contentment and making her way through the mass of trees and other vegetation. She had no idea what she had planned to do here, but as soon as she began to hear the trickling of water, she knew she had to follow it until she reached her new goal.

The sun was piercing through the flesh of the trees, gracing her with gentle warmth and adding flecks of illumination to her porcelain skin. She waded through the branches, treading on discarded twigs which the trees could no longer carry, and sinking into the damp, mossy ground as she grew closer to the desired destination. Then, as she pulled back a grotesque looking branch, she saw it - a small stream, accompanied by a grass verge and bordered with clumps of blue bells, basking in the faint sunlight. For a second, Bulma thought she might have strode into a dream land, somewhere too far beyond the conscious imagination, but as she pinched her forearm and felt the sharp sting - she knew it real.

The flourished scene was too tempting to simply capture through a single image, she had to feel it, smell it…She sniffed the air. It smelled like damp compost and a slight sweet twinge of apples. Gracefully walking over to the edge of the grass verge, she took off her pumps, sat down and dipped her feet into the cold water. She closed her eyes and tilted her head back, trying to burn the moment into her memory, because, hey, there was a chance that the world may no longer exist in a week or so. Every sound was perfect. There were different birds calling out to one another, some sounded as if they were hopping from tree to tree above her head, whilst others sounded as if they were pattering across the grass alongside her.

The cool current flew over her ankles, quickly driving down the stream on an everlasting journey. Just like she was. Whatever was happening – or happened – in her life was for a specific reason and she accepted it and carried on because that's what she was meant to do. Keep moving. Never stop. And never regret.

Bulma opened her eyes again and took another look at what was in front of her. On the other side of the stream, there was a large rock, half of its face covered in lime green mould. Beside it was a small white flower, shimmering in the sunlight, and beside the flower, hovering aimlessly, was a giant bee, buzzing its monotone buzz over the sound of the stream. Bulma noted to take Trunks to this place sometime. He'd love to see all the little creatures and feel all the different textures the outdoors had to offer.

The cracking of a twig snapping prompted Bulma to flinch, but with enough self-restraint, she kept her eyes focused on the bee as it edged closer to the glowing flower. There was two guesses what or who was behind her. Either it was an animal, like a dear of some kind (and hopefully not some blood thirsty beast) or it was Vegeta (who was quite blood thirsty, all the same). But as she heard heavy footsteps treading closer towards her, she could point who it was.

But why?

She bit her lip and kicked up a few bits of debris from the bed of the stream, allowing the small bits of shell and dirt get caught between her toes. Anything to keep herself from breathing heavily or suffering from a heart attack. Why had he followed her? She was so happy to finally find a bit of peace and quiet and now he shows up. Even despite him telling her to stay away from him – which she had. Now he had come to her?

"It can't be a coincidence, you showing up here," she said, her shoulders low and her feet splashing lightly in the water.

By now, the bee had made its way to the sweet flower and was, she guessed, lapping up all the nectar it could get. She smiled, then realised she hadn't received an answer, but there was no way she was going to give in and show him any attention. With her eyes glued to the bee, she watched it as it backed out of the flower, hovered over it in a bit of struggle and then take off in her direction. It flew past her, narrowly missing her nose by a few inches and carried on buzzing in that direction. She turned around and followed it, only to see the bee being dramatically shooed away by the mighty hand of the 'Prince of all Saiyans'.

Vegeta was grimacing and clawing the air in an attempt to frighten and ward the strange and noisy creature away. God knows what it wanted but he wanted nothing to do with it. It had to be disposed of, but if he blasted it, the woman wouldn't stop whining.

Bulma stifled a laugh with her palm, while lifting her feet out of the water and standing up. Eventually the bee got the message and buzzed away beneath the mass of skeletal branches. Bulma saw Vegeta physically relax, as his shoulders loosened and the lines on his brow faded a touch. But that was all irrelevant. The point was – why was he here? He wanted something. Otherwise he wouldn't bother with her.

She bent down and brushed the bits of grass and algae from her feet, and then snapped back up, noticing Vegeta tapping his foot impatiently.

"Well, go on. Spit it out, already…I have to get back to Trunks," she said and bent down again for her shoes.

Vegeta watched her in amazement. She had changed, indeed. Not just physically. Her attitude towards him had altered. She was still fiery but it was as if she was completely disinterested in him; not even looking at him when she speaks to him. He didn't know whether he was happy with that.

"The boy can wait," he said, watching her balance on one foot as she tried to crush her wet feet into her shoes. Foolish woman. He paid close attention to her ankles. The milky colouring, slipping in to the caramel coloured shoe. Something about them was rather enticing and he felt the tiny hairs on the back of his neck stand up. When she lifted her head up and placed both feet firmly to the ground, he frowned and chose to look at a rock on the floor instead.

"Hm,well, hurry up, then. I have things to do y'know." There were many things to do, but she could push them aside for at least another hour. She was more concerned about Trunks being subjected to Bunny's form of entertainment for that long. For all she knew, they were probably still sitting in the garden, only now, Trunks would be asleep while Bunny had cream on her nose and would be cooing to herself.

Vegeta growled at her tone, "and you don't think I have more important things to do, other than waste my time with you?" He glared at her now and Bulma only laughed aloud.

"Oh, get over yourself. You've come here for a reason, now either tell me or go away." She looked up and squinted at the little patch of sun that was aiming at her, "and if I'm not mistaken, you're already a super Saiyan now. What more could you possibly have to do?" Her eyes lowered to his immediately after the words left her mouth.

He scoffed and looked to the side, "there are no limitations to power, foolish woman," he cracked a small smirk, and then folded his arms defensively.

Bulma stared at him for a few moments. He was a super Saiyan. She'd never really had the chance to think about it properly. He said he was a super Saiyan but she had yet to see him transform. That would be a sight, alright. She mulled over the image of him glowing like a God, next to this stream, the water glittering over his skin. There was no way she was still having these thoughts. She had to ask… "Um, ok…Hey, you've been a super Saiyan for a while now, so I'm guessing you're pretty comfortable with it, right?" She began to kick up bits of grass.

The question roused his curiosity and his eyes locked on to hers, trying to read behind her assumptions. Why was she asking such a question? Was she actually interested? Of course she was. Who wouldn't be interested? "What's your point?" he said after a couple of seconds.

Bulmas cheeks flushed red and slowly, she forced her eyes to meet his. At that moment she must have depicted a shy school girl, declaring her crush, but in reality, she was only asking the alien father of her child to show her his super powers. Pretty normal, right?

"Can you…Show me?" she said in almost a whisper, her eyes shining with hope as they glued themselves to his.

Vegeta thought about this. Seriously thought about it. If he showed her – which he wasn't going to – she would be the first being to witness his transformation. Was she worthy of something like that? He didn't want to, but something was pushing him to do it. A voice in the back of his mind was shouting him to show off his power, to make her tremble in awe at his strength and superiority. He wanted her to faint with joy. He wanted her…to want him again. That thought stirred an internal rage, a battle between his mind and his body. He clenched his fists tight and his jaw began to set as he ground his molars together.

The sound of the flowing water, bashing against stones and pebbles, grew louder and hummed in Bulmas ears as she watched Vegeta fight himself, once again. The idea of slapping him was, oh, so tempting. But then his hands opened.

"Why would I want to waste my energy for you?" he said, exhaling through his nose.

That was a good point, Bulma thought. But she had yet to see it and to see it from him would be, well, perfect. "I just wanted to see it up close," she shrugged and began kicking up soil again.

"You couldn't," Vegeta snapped and then shook his head.

"Why not?"

"Because I'd kill you."

Bulma cocked an eyebrow as she watched his stoic mask shift into a frown which resembled a face of concern, "but from a distance?"

"Not at my full power," he clipped. It was true. If he reached his full power, which he, now, wouldn't mind showing her, she would most definitely die from all the concentrated energy in the atmosphere.

Bulma shrugged again, "I don't mind. I just want to see you when you've transformed."

A silence set between them. Vegeta pinched the bridge of his nose, while, assumingly, contemplating a plan and Bulma watched idly, biting the inside of her top lip and nipping at the thin flesh.

Suddenly, Vegeta thumbed behind him, his eyes still closed as his conscience struggled. "Stand over there, by that ship."

Bulma looked over his shoulders and saw the shimmer of the body of her ship which was a couple hundred metres away. She could barely see it but judging by the clear tone of authority in Vegetas voice, she guessed he knew that that was a safe enough distance. He knew what he was talking about, after all.

Hesitating for a moment, Bulma looked back at the glossy image of the stream, sunshine and flowers, knowing that in a few minutes, this was all going to be blasted away. Then she jogged past Vegeta and towards her ship, this time allowing branches to smack her on the face, chest and legs.

She reached her ship, colliding with the bonnet, and then spun around only to see branches intertwining and obstructing her view of the Saiyan prince. For what seemed like an eternity, a deadly silence spread itself between them; the trickling of the stream couldn't even be heard any more. For a moment, Bulma thought that he may have taken off, receiving some sort of amusement out of leaving her hanging, but when the ground began to vibrate beneath her feet, she thought otherwise.

A turn of events was occurring as Bulma clung on to one of the wings of her jet. From what was only a mild vibration, soon turned into a minor earthquake/tornado, as branches came flying off trees. Leaves, twigs, stones and the occasional bird came swooping past Bulmas face. All the while, Bulma clung on to the jet, her nails clawing the metal when she felt the front of the jet lift from the ground and then drop back down again repeatedly. Amongst all the destruction, she could hear Vegeta shouting as he pushed himself beyond belief, and just when she was about to scream for him to stop, before her legs leave the ground completely, everything stopped.

The jet cemented itself back into the ground as did Bulma. She would have gawped at the destruction for longer but was completely distracted by the glowing specimen making its way towards her. By now, most of the trees were bare and were just fleshless bones that had been stripped by the intensity of Vegetas power. She gulped involuntarily when thinking what could have happened to her if she was standing just that little bit closer.

She squinted at the God like man, as he made his way closer, but painfully slowly. The glowing aura around him was making it difficult to see his face. Whether he was smirking, frowning or scowling because it had to be one of those three.

Bulma stood aside from her jet, now feeling safe enough to approach him, and as she stepped forward, the aura around Vegeta diminished and he was left clearly visible. Bulma had only seen Goku and that boy from the future from a distance, so she had never really had the chance to study such a marvellous transformation. Now, she was seeing Vegeta as the alien he was. He certainly wasn't human, despite the deceptive outlook. This confirmed it, yet again.

When he was a few steps short of her, she couldn't help but bite her lip to try and stop her mouth from hanging open. He was beautiful. He knew it, of course, but it was true. His hair was almost white and it looked so soft. She stepped close enough so that she could feel the warmth of his body, and she studied him fully; looking right from his feet to his head. He was wearing average human-like clothes; just jeans and a dark blue t-shirt, which contrasted spectacularly with his blonde hair and teal eyes.

Seeing that he made no attempt to discourage her, she took it to her full advantage and reached out a hand to feel his hair between her thumb and forefinger, "oh my God…" she whispered, earning a satisfied smirk from Vegeta.

This was the reaction he was searching for. She was impressed, there was no doubt. "Amazing…" she continued, her blue eyes wide and glued to the section of hair she was caressing.

Unguarded, Vegeta began to relax under her soothing touch, feeling the hairs pulling lightly at the roots and sending waves a contentment through his entire body. For a moment, he watched her and how fascinated she was, still allowing her to weave through his hair with her nimble fingers. Her eyes had never looked so big at this point and they seemed to have changed into the deepest oceanic pools he'd ever seen. He allowed himself to get sucked into her entrancement and slowly, he let his eyes close.

Bulmas chest began to pound as she felt her way through his thick hair, tremulously racking her nails on his scalp with just enough pressure to make him sigh quietly. She had missed this connection. There was definitely a connection between them, but why couldn't he see it? Or maybe he could and that's what frightened him the most. His face was completely relaxed and without any creases or frown lines which only heightened his beauty. Looking at him now, Bulma knew there wouldn't be anyone else. It wasn't possible. Her heart was swelling so much that it only confirmed any feelings which she had tried to bury for so long. It was hopeless. Even after all the hate and trauma. She still loved him.

Discretely, she moved her hand down to stroke his cheek, but was stopped abruptly when his eyes snapped open and his hand roughly clasped around her wrist. Bulma forced back a shriek of surprise as she stared directly into his teal eyes, no longer seeing a calm person beneath them, but something more - something dangerous.

The sun light was gleaming on to his, now, frowning face, as he held on to her wrist; this time she made no attempt to escape. "Whatever you're trying, woman, stop it now," he warned, let go of her wrist and then suddenly, returned back to his original state within a flash.

Bulma blinked consecutively and let her arm drop to her side in defeat, and then she gazed at him, wondering what was going through his complicated brain. Was there any point in trying to find out, anymore?

Vegeta crossed his arms and took a step away from her, as if she had some contagious disease, and then he sighed heavily. "I overheard your conversation with your father." Bulmas eyes narrowed at his words, "And for once I agree with the old fool," Vegeta huffed, awaiting her outrage.

"You were eavesdropping? Don't you know how rude that is?" she was known for having a good earwig herself, but when it came from Vegeta, it was just down right unacceptable.

Regardless of her objections, Vegeta continued, "you'll not be needing that jet because you will not be there when the androids arrive."

What did he mean, she wasn't going to be there? Was he planning something evil that she should know about, or was he playing the role of her father and telling her what to do? "Um, since when did you tell me what I can and can't do?" She placed her hands on her hips and waited patiently for his response, but the prince merely scoffed.

"Are you fucking stupid?" Now he was glaring at her with such intensity that she could feel her skin burning with anticipation. The harshness of his vocal bashings was far more than she could handle. Never had anyone had the guts to speak to her the way he did and get away with it.

She pointed towards him, "no, I'm not stupid, jerk!" She rolled her eyes, "and what about your promise?" Vegetas eyes widened with amusement at the word.

"What promise? I don't make promises to anyone, especially not you," he hissed and then guffawed.

Dejected, Bulma's voice croaked a little and her heart began to crash into her rib cage again. "Uh-yeah, you did. You said you'd keep us safe," she said sheepishly, behind a confident exterior.

He continued to laugh, and then ragged his hand through his hair, "oh, you must be joking, woman! I didn't say anything of the sort!" Why would she say such a ludicrous thing? To think, she had known him for over three years, now and she still could determine the explicit aspects of his personality - he didn't give a shit about most things.

Bulma winced at the sound of all the twigs snapping beneath Vegetas feet as he began to pace back and forth with rage. She felt the tears welling in her eyes but did not want to let them go and let him see how much damage he is doing to her. She was pretty sure what he had said those five months back, so why was he denying it? A man of pride – yeah right. She balled her fists, "yes, you did. You said-"

"Enough of this!" he screamed as his clenched his fists at his side and stopped pacing. "Let me correct you, human. I said, once the androids are destroyed, you'll be safe…And I will destroy them," He clarified to her and maybe to the doubt that was settling in the back of his mind.

Confused and hurt, Bulma pressed his anger further, now unconcerned about the disconcertment she was feeling, "then why are you so concerned whether I go or not?"

"You'll get in my way," he sighed, warily. He couldn't spend more than a moment with this woman without wanting to break her neck. That's what he could do. Break her neck and get it all over with. That way, he'd be able to get on with his life without her and her hindrance of a child.

"No, I won't," she chided. She wasn't even planning on seeing him. All she wanted to do was see her friends off before they fight. That was it. Why couldn't she do that?

His eyes met hers again, "this is my battle. I don't want you or your idiot friends there."

"This is everyone's battle." She placed her palms out in front of her, "this is the fate of the planet we're talking about, here."

Truthfully, Vegeta didn't want her there or anywhere near because he knew she would distract him. Just knowing that she was close would deter him from the importance of the fight. One slip and it could be over.

He stood inches away from her, "if you get in the line of fire, don't even think for one second that I'll protect you…That is one promise I'm willing to make."

Bulma gulped, the close proximity was overwhelming and his words crashed together to become something incoherent to her ears. "I – wasn't expecting you to."

She took a proud step back, crossing her arms and taking a stand. He didn't have that much control over her. "I can handle myself, Vegeta. I don't need you or anybody telling me what to do. I think you're forgetting who you're talking to, here-"

"A fucking idiot," he sneered and shrugged.

"Excuse me?" Bulma gawped.

"I think you heard me clear enough." If being civil with her wasn't going to work, then he had to try plan B – be himself.

Bulma shrugged indifferently, "say what you like. I'm going tomorrow. I'm not missing out on the action."

"You're not," he said sternly as they locked eyes.

"Don't tell me what to do!" Bulma squeezed her fists so tight that it felt like the skin around her knuckles was going to split open.

Vegeta squared up to her, imitating her pose and pointing a finger towards the ground. The thought of killing her was becoming too tempting for him to bear. If he did it quickly, there would be no squeals and less hassle for both of them. "I'll say what I like, and you'll fucking listen, woman!"

As the words left him, Bulma spun around and lifted up the roof of the jet, ready to leave, but before she did she left him a few words.

"No, I won't. I'm sick of listening and conforming to you. Three years I've had to put up with your shit. You know what? I'm glad you're leaving me and Trunks 'cause I wouldn't want my son growing up thinking that the way you act is fine." She exhaled calmly without looking at the death glare Vegeta was giving her, and she climbed into the jet.

Vegeta's face was turning crimson as he tried to conceal his hatred towards this woman and of course, tried not to kill her.

With one hand on the ignition and one on the roof, Bulma finally narrowed her eyes at him, scrutinising him with the up most skill. "You may think you're fearless and powerful" He glared at her as she shook her head with distaste, "but you're the biggest coward I know." Bulma quickly lowered the roof, set the ignition and took off into the sky, leaving Vegeta to watch her hover off into the distance.

Just when she was out of rage, a surge of anger wrapped its way around his body and he screamed, unleashing a large ball of lightening ki into the sky. She was lucky she left when she did, otherwise he was certain she'd be dead by now.

A coward. A coward?

He was a lot of things, yes, but not a coward. How…dare she. He couldn't deal with this so close to the androids arrival. This is why he was avoiding her in the first place.

What was she doing to him?

Exhausted, he sat himself down on to the bed of broken branches and looked up at the cloudless sky, sniffing the air filled with singed wood.

The baby monitor was whirring away alongside the increasing hostility of Trunks' wailing. Bulma spun over in her bed and looked at the flashing red numerals of her alarm clock – 2:03. Urgh, she thought as she rolled off her bed and smacked the floor, completely intentionally, of course. Trunks seemed to be crying his eyes out a lot recently. There had to be an underlying reason why he would go from being the quietest baby alive to the one with the most violent cries known to man.

Walking over to the chair by her dresser, she threw on her night gown and began to shuffle towards Trunks' room, hoping to God that he'll quieten down quickly this time. She'd found that he'd tried to escape several times and that he'd chewed through the wooden bars of his crib, so she had to invest her time in creating a metal crib for him instead. It really was a prison for him now, but he had to learn to sleep on his own. Most nights she'd give in and let him sleep with her, and most nights his bawling seemed indefatigable. He had to grow accustomed to sleeping on his own. In a couple weeks he will be a year old. It was best to start the discipline early because even though Trunks was young, he knew damn well when he was being naughty.

By the time she opened Trunks' bedroom door, he had stopped crying and was sniffling back to sleep. That's when she squinted through the darkness of his room to see that the balcony door had been left open again. She should have guessed. Every time Vegeta sticks his stupid face in front of her baby, it makes him cry. Man, that guy needed to make his mind up. A couple months back, she walked in just to check on Trunks and Vegeta was leaning against his bedroom wall, just watching over him.

She tightened her dressing gown and paced over to shut the balcony door when, to her surprise, she saw Vegeta on the balcony, leaning against the railings and looking up towards the sky. What surprised her most was what he was wearing. It was the Saiyan replica armour which she had made for him during her pregnancy - the one which she had given him for Christmas. She smiled inwardly, assuming he subtly wanted to speak to her about something. Otherwise he would have disappeared by now. She gently slid the door shut and approached him.

Standing a few feet away from him, she placed her arms on the balcony railing for support, and looked up at the sky also; seeing that the sky was overloaded with clouds and nothing more. What's he looking at? The intensity of his gaze intangible and all she found herself doing was staring at him.

The armour looked good on him. It suited him well. Just another one of her remarkable inventions.

The silence was chipping away at Bulmas sanity and she couldn't help but break it, "I see you opened your present, after all," she said, now staring ahead into the darkness, and being able to make out the outlines of trees and small buildings close by.

A rubbery squelching sound was tickling Bulmas ears and she cocked her head to the side to see Vegetas gloved hands, grasping on to the railings as if he was in some sort of pain; yet his calm features said otherwise. Even though there were no stars in the sky, Vegetas face seemed to be illuminated somehow. His God like presence was always striking. He was definitely royalty.

Thinking back to their earlier argument, Bulma frowned, still watching his hands intently. Despite thinking he had no control over her; here she was again, waiting for him to say something to her, like a love struck puppy. Maybe the silence was better, though. And why was he dressed up anyway? Was he going somewhere? All the burning questions she wanted to ask him but had to keep them bottled away because he was too temperamental. Then a thought arose.

"Vegeta…" she said softly, dropping one arm to her side and leaning closer to him. Vegeta quickly glanced at her, acknowledging her presence and then just as quickly looked back up at the sky. "…I'm not going the day the androids arrive," Bulma said, disheartened, and unbeknown to Vegeta, with her fingers crossed behind her back.

"Good," Vegeta uttered, shooting her a glance again.

She looked at his attire again, scanning the intricacies of her design and subliminally noting for anything that was out of line. Nope, it was perfect.

"Are you leaving soon?" she had to ask him that one question and thankfully, he didn't blow up, rather, he nodded slowly in response, "oh."

Again, he glanced.

A throb in Bulmas heart began to pain her again, as she watched him confirm his departure. A pain for her and Trunks. Impetuously, she reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder, to which he allowed to linger there. "Look after yourself, ok?" she whispered. Then he shrugged her off and sneered.

"You concern is pointless."

He hated that she still cared for him. This woman was such an... enigma. He had to force himself not to look her way. It would only worsen the situation. He didn't intend on seeing her again after this, but thought it best to let her know he was going.

Bulma shrugged and smiled, "someone has to care about you."

"You're wasting your time," Vegeta grunted, his tone laced with a hint of poison.

Bulma rolled her eyes, "I can handle you leaving, Vegeta, but if you get hurt or die-"

"I've died before – It won't happen again," He said too casually.

"I hope not," Bulma sighed and let her shoulders slump.

In his time, Vegeta had faced many opponents but this woman was something out of the ordinary. She was his most relentless enemy yet. Her concern for him was unyielding, regardless of how he spoke to her or treated her. It was bewildering. And overwhelming. And for once, he could hear his own heart beating, and that's when he knew he had to leave.

He had a great battle ahead of him. Something which will determine the rest of his life. He planned to do it alone, without Bulma and without the boy.

Without looking at her, he walked to the other side of the balcony and bent his knees a little. "Wait, you're going now?" Bulma intervened, her voice outlined with panic.

Vegeta stopped and turned towards her, cocking an eyebrow and awaiting whatever it was she had to say now…Which was nothing. She was just staring at him intensely. Now facing her, he could see that she was as radiant as always, in nothing but a silk dressing gown and whatever she had underneath; it was a mystery he would have to leave unsolved.

She sighed, and then composed herself, standing with her back straight and her chin pointing upwards slightly. "Good luck," she nodded at him, her eyes awaiting his reply. Vegeta took a step back, undecided whether to give her the satisfaction of him accepting her concern.

He frowned, nodded lightly, turned around and took off, leaving a trail of blue energy behind him.

A silence settled itself while Bulma stared at the tiny streak of light in the sky until it disappeared. She uncrossed her fingers and crossed her arms over her chest. Three years it had been. She had lived the majority of it with an arrogant Saiyan and his perpetual demands. She had carried his child and given birth to a beautiful baby – with who Vegeta had rejected. Although, she knew there was a soft spot in that dark Saiyan. Would she be the only one to know of it? Was she the only one to hold on to his secret?

She smelled the air around her – clear and fresh – leaving her open minded.

She had next week to look forward to, meeting all her friends again and surprising them with Trunks. Yeah, that was the plan. She didn't intend on seeing Vegeta again. Did she?

There was always hope.

-The End-

A/N – Well, that's it for my first fanfic – I hope I didn't disappoint. Those of you who have accompanied me on this journey, I want to say a massive thank you. You have inspired me to carry on writing 'til the end, even when all hope was lost, lol. I can't thank you enough :)

As always – thanks for reading and until next time ; )