A/N I am such a nerd, I creep nerds out... WARNING: Rape early in the story. I tried to tone it down as best I could, but even I'M not liking it... You'll know it when you see it, so you can skip it. I don't mind if you do.

* soft piano interlude... *

Vegeta was five. He was waiting outside a conference, beside an effeminate man he vaguely recognized as Zarbon. Unlike most Saiyan children, who would fidget, Vegeta sat perfectly still in his chair, assuming the regal posture that had been drilled into him since he could sit up.

Someone was yelling behind the big double door. It sounded like his father, but he couldn't hear the words he was saying. His mother continued right behind, shouting at someone, but damned if he knew who.

Several minutes later, his parents emerged from the conference room, looking angry and harried. Frieza followed behind. A few more words were exchanged, but Vegeta blocked them out. Why should it be important to him?

Little did he know that the conference, the yelling, and their whole discussion – it was all about him.

The next three words Frieza said registered, and would stick with him for the rest of his life:

"Seize him, Zarbon."

Before the prince could even think, someone grabbed him from behind. There was a large explosion, and then nothing.

Vegeta would remember this forever as the day his life turned inside out.

Later, when he was awake, Frieza summoned him and said

"Now, Prince Vegeta," He began, cutting Vegeta off before he could protest. "I trust you will serve me well, lest your father join your mother in the afterlife?"

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now...

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now...

Seven years later, a twelve-year-old Vegeta sat in his bed, wet from his recent shower, his knees pulled up to his chest. Raditz was beside him, trying to offer some words of comfort.

"When Nappa finds him, he'll rip him to shreds. You'll never have to worry about him again." Vegeta acknowledged him with a sort of shrug.

Just a couple hours before, someone stronger and meaner than him had decided to play friendly, and bought Vegeta a drink. They'd actually had a pretty nice conversation going when the drugs in Vegeta's drink kicked in and he blacked out.

Some time later, Vegeta had come to, naked and tied to a bed, his mouth gagged. And Diive – the warrior who'd done this to him – showed Vegeta just how mean he was capable of being.

Vegeta did his best to betray no emotion as he was repeatedly stabbed into, without any lubrication, but nothing he did could stop the tears, or prevent his inevitable climax. Oh, the shame...

"You liked that, didn't you?" Diive purred, brushing a large finger over the wiry muscles of Vegeta's chest, making his skin crawl. "You dirty little slut. Lucky my two friends aren't here, otherwise I'd be obligated to share you." He forcefully angled Vegeta's hips toward himself; or rather, his still-erect member. "Lucky me," he said with a lecherous, leering grin. "I got you all to myself."

With that sentence, Vegeta began to wonder if Diive was ever going to let him go, all the while bracing himself for the torture to resume, when the door was kicked down and Raditz and Nappa burst into the room.

Diive ran out the door opposite Vegeta's comrades. Nappa chased after him, screaming exactly what torturous punishments he would put the bastard through when he caught him. Under other circumstances, Vegeta might've smiled, or even laughed a little. Right now he felt like crawling into a hole and dieing.

Raditz stayed behind, and began untying Vegeta's hands and feet. Niether of them said a word, even after the gag was removed, and Vegeta could speak again. The scene spoke for itself; Raditz didn't have to ask what happened.

Even after showering for an hour, sweat, blood, and other bodily fluids – Diive's and Vegeta's own – swirling down the drain with the soap, Vegeta didn't feel clean at all. He doubted he would for a very long time.

Raditz hadn't left his side since they'd found him. That was loyalty for you, but it was scant comfort to Vegeta.

"If it makes you feel any better," Raditz began, interrupting Vegeta's dismal train of thought, "you aren't the first person that Diive's... or him and his friends have..." He let his voice trail off.

"Raped?" Vegeta finished the thought for him, his voice trembling despite himself. "You can say it. I can take it." Even as he said that, both men doubted the sincerity of the claim.

"If I'm not the first one they've done this to, why is he still working here?"

Raditz smiled bitterly. "As long as we're loyal to him, Frieza doesn't care what goes on between us." He shifted, resting his chin in his hand. "We have to solve all our own problems."

"My father would never let someone get away with this. Especially not if I'm concerned."

Raditz sighed, shaking his head sadly at he young prince's naivete. "Look at how Frieza treats you, treats us – we served him loyally for years, and how does he repay us? He destroyed our home. Do you honestly think your father had any power under him?"

Vegeta looked up at Raditz, his big black eyes innocent despite what he'd gone through that night, and the past seven years. "So then... my father wasn't really king?"

"Well, yes, he was, but I doubt he did much more than fill some legal position."

Vegeta didn't respond, and there was silence.

Wishing. Everyone does it, whether they know it or not. You don't have to voice it mentally or verbally – you just have to feel it. You have to want it, with every cell in your body, every iota in your brain, and every last microscopic shred of your soul. Sometimes, you don't even know it yourself.

Though he was unaware of it, and would continue to be so for some time, it was that night that Vegeta began to wish.

I could use a dream or a genie or a wish to go back to a place much simpler than this

'cause after all the parties and the smashin' and crashin,' and all the glitz and the glam and the fashion,

and all the pandemonium and all the madness, there comes when you fade to the blackness,

and when you're starin' at that phone in your lap, and your hopin' but them people never call you back.

Eventually, after almost a year, much distress and and Diive's maimed, mangled and twisted and castrated corpse, with an expression that showed very clearly just how much pain he'd been in when he died, was left "mysteriously" (read: by Nappa) in the morgue (later joined by the bodies of his two friends, just to be on the safe side) Vegeta was finally able to get over his rape. The only evidence he had of the horrible night were some very bad memories and a couple scars from tissue tears on his... sensitive orifice. Once the incident had mostly faded from his mind, and when he turned fourteen, he started to think about his future.

At first, despite the circumstances of his servitude, Vegeta had actually found it quite fun to be "up there" with the elite, knowing he was at the top. Despite his age, his battle skills and strength impressed many, and for a while, he was quite popular.

Now... well, after all the fights that resulted in destroyed training rooms, the rivals he'd gained and eliminated, and the multiple styles of armor he wore to look different from others, he kind of faded into the background. Old news, he was now.

Oh, he tried to do something else. There were different bands of mercenaries that would visit the bases Vegeta stayed at. Sometimes, they were even recruiting.

"Are you positive you want to do this?" Raditz asked for the millionth time that afternoon. "You're not exactly a team player."

"I'm positive, mom." Vegeta replied sarcastically, pulling his boots on.

"You'll do anything to get away from Frieza, won't you?"

Vegeta turned to see Raditz, an aloof and cold-hearted warrior, looking oddly sympathetic.

Without answering, the Prince turned back and continued putting on his armor.

He wasn't the only one arriving at the tryout. Dozens of people of all races and ages – his age and older, that is – were all hoping to become a member of this team.

"The test is simple," their leader, a tall man named Tojo explained. "beat as many members of my team you can handle, starting with the weakest. Whoever beats us all including me, beats the most, or beats us the fastest will get a spot on the team. I'll come personally to pick up our winner."

Vegeta was humiliated. Miserably. How, you ask?

Vegeta was the first to actually reach the fifth fight. Tojo was getting into a small speech: "Gongrats, Vegeta the Saiyan. you do truly seem to be what we're looking for. I hope this will be a fight to-"

Tojo never finished his sentence. He was interrupted when Vegeta fainted.

No, not from nerves or exhaustion, from internal blood loss. He woke up in sickbay with a needle feeding some else's blood into him – Nappa's, if you were wondering –and stitches from where they had to remove his spleen, which had been blown apart during his fight with the third member.

He remained in sickbay overnight, with Nappa by his side, (he still hated being alone at night, when he wasn't frightened out of his wits by being so) embarrassed beyond belief. He'd lost the fight before it had even began. Okay, granted, that wasn't much you could do about internal blood loss if you had no clue you you had it, but still, it looked bad.

"Hey, from what I heard, Vegeta, you were one of three to even get to their leader."

"So I failed miserably, but I still have a ghost of a chance – is that what you're saying?" Vegeta asked. He would've crossed his arms, as he tended to do when he was being pessimistic, but the needle in his hand would've made that quite difficult and painful.

"Kid, you're a Saiyan, for crying out loud." Nappa said, giving Vegeta a friendly whack on the arm for emphasis that probably left a bruise the size of a shoe. "Just watch, their leader will come to pick you up in no time flat."

The night grew old. As the hours slowly ticked by, Vegeta stopped feeling lightheaded from blood loss and began feeling lightheaded from exhaustion. The crescent moon was out, it's faint light streaming through the sickbay windows, lighting small patches of the floor.

And still no Tojo.

"Nappa, what time is it?" Vegeta asked tiredly.

"Huh?" Nappa breathed, apparently very close to passing out.

"Please don't fall asleep on me." Vegeta begged. "I asked you what time it is. I can't see the clock from here."

Nappa sighed, aggrieved. "It's almost two hours past midnight." He said, clearly wishing he didn't have to tell Vegeta that.

The Prince let his head fall back. "They've must've left hours ago." He mumbled in disappointment into his pillow.

It was quiet for a few moments, then Nappa patted Vegeta's arm. "I'm sorry, kid."

Vegeta didn't respond. When he was sure Nappa wasn't looking, he brushed the tears from his eyes.

But that's just how the story unfolds, you get another hand soon after you fold

And when your plans unravel in the sand, what would you wish for, if you had one chance?

So airplane, airplane, sorry I'm late; I'm on my way so don't close that gate.

If I don't make that then I switch my flight, and I'll be right back at it by the end of the night.

"Repeat that again. Slowly."

The medic gulped, or did the the best he could considering his current position Nappa had him in. "L-Lord Vegeta was found in his quarters, on the floor. Beside him was an empty container. Painkillers I prescribed for his strained bicep. He'd overdosed on them."

"Please put me down now?" He asked.

Nappa dropped the medic. "When can we see him?"

"I'll let you know when he is conscious, sir." The medic left the room so fast that, if the Harry Potter series existed where Nappa and Raditz were from, Nappa might've thought he'd Apparated.

"Great." Nappa snapped as he plunked down beside Raditz in the hall. "Just great. How can someone so powerful be so stupid! Who takes that many painkillers in one shot!"

When Raditz didn't respond, Nappa let his hands fall to the ground beside him, and continued with his rant. "I mean, it says right on the bottle "Do not take more than two if under six feet tall" and Vegeta's only five foot three! And the entire bottle was empty!

"WHY AREN'T YOU SAYING ANYTHING!" Nappa finally snapped to his unresponsive comrade.

Slowly, Raditz raised his head from where he'd buried them in his knees. Unless it was his imagination, and Nappa wasn't the kind of man who saw things that weren't there, Raditz looked a little sick, like his intestines had been grabbed and twisted roughly.

"I've been quiet," he started, trying to keep his voice even. "because I was thinking.

"Nappa, the bottle was completely empty."

"I know that!"

"I wasn't finished." Sighing, the long-haired Saiyan looked away from Nappa. "Vegeta may not have the most common sense, but he's not stupid. Those things are strong – he knows you're not supposed to mess around with them. If he'd taken even just a pill or two over the recommended dose, let alone the whole damn bottle, he'd notice something was wrong. They found him in his bed – he could've been going to sleep, Nappa. If he'd known what they would do to him, shouldn't he at least have shown some sign that he was trying to call for help?"

Nappa narrowed his eyes at Raditz. "What are you saying?"

Again, Raditz sighed, this time leaning the back of his head against the cold, metal wall he sat against. "Nappa... what if this wasn't an accident? What if..." He turned to look the former marshal in the eye. "what if he took them all on purpose?"

Nappa stared at Raditz like he'd just jumped up all happy and bubbly and said Frieza's brother Cooler proposed to me and I said yes! Suicide was considered cowardly by non-warrior races; to Saiyans, it was the height of dishonor – and that was just Saiyans of the lower castes. To think that Vegeta, the proud Prince of Saiyans, would make an attempt on his own life, was laughable to the very last degree...

Nappa would've responded – probably to question Raditz's sanity – when the doctor called them in. Vegeta was conscious, which meant the time for theories, however likely or far-fetched, was over. They could just ask Vegeta himself what happened.

The Prince lay on a hospital bed by the corner, staring at the wall. He was pale, and had a needle in his hand, feeding him the enzyme that would attach to the painkiller in his body and carry it out through urination. A slight smell of vomit lingered in the air, as he'd earlier been forced to regurgitate the pills that were still in his stomach.

"Hey, kid." Nappa greeted him with false cheeriness. "How you feeling?"

Vegeta just shrugged. "Who wants to know?"

Raditz was quiet. Nappa tried another tack. "So... Vegeta... dork-face right here-"


"-has this dumb idea that you took a whole bottle of pills on purpose. I mean, have you ever heard anything so stupid?"

The Prince was silent.

Nappa's joshing smile began to slip at the edges. "It... isn't it? Vegeta?"

"Raditz is smarter than you give him credit for."

Both Saiyans were caught off guard. Vegeta hardly ever complimented them, and when he did, he always phrased them like "You're no dumber now than you were before" or "I've seen clumsier." He never once phrased a compliment normally, let alone in someone's defense.

Vegeta turned to his fellow Saiyans, revealing what he'd been hiding from them – tears. "I'm sorry, Nappa." He shook his head, visibly choking back a sob. "I just can't take it anymore. The beatings, the taunts, the helplessness – I can't even take my own life right." He focused his glassy eyes on the stained ceiling. "Zarbon was right. I am worthless."

Raditz, for the first time in his life, was speechless. Nappa looked as though he might hit Vegeta, except all that would really be doing was kicking the poor boy when he was down.

"The doctor says I'll be free to leave in a few hours." Vegeta said, changing the subject.

"What will you do then?" Nappa asked, still livid. Words continued to fail Raditz.

Vegeta shrugged. He didn't say anything more.

A few hours later, Raditz and Nappa were readying themselves to leave. They had to wipe out the population of Planet Insert-Funky-Name-Here, and it was the first mission they'd done without Vegeta in a while.

"I'm worried about him." Raditz admitted, pulling on his battle jacket. "We just left him – what if he tries something again?"

"Tch." Nappa breathed out between his teeth. "Knowing Frieza, the horned bastard will be too stubborn to let Vegeta die – he can't let the poor kid escape, after all." He spat bitterly.

"True." Raditz agreed, slipping on his scouter. "But that's not the only thing – remember what happened last time we went on a mission and left him?"

Nappa suppressed a shudder. "Yeah, all too well." And it was true – the image of Vegeta's face, bruised and swollen almost beyond recognition, still haunted his nightmares. Just as well, the paranoia after the whole Diive incident had never fully faded from either of them.

"But, there's not much we can do about it." Raditz sighed in resignation. "Orders are orders."

Just as he said that, the automatic doors flew open.

"Wait for me, you imbeciles!"

"What the – Vegeta?"

The sixteen-year-old Saiyan Prince stood before them, arms crossed over his chest. "Leaving without me, are you? Nice try, but no."

"But – Vegeta-" Raditz spluttered. "You just got released from sickbay!"

"Yes, and?"

"I'm-" Raditz searched for the right words. "Are you sure about this?"

"Are you questioning me?"

The older Saiyan opened his mouth, then shut it again.

"What we're asking," Nappa said uncharacteristically calmly, "is are you sure you're not not rushing into things after your... after you took all those pills."

Vegeta raised an eyebrow. "I have no clue what you're talking about, Nappa." He made a big show of walking past the larger, now thoroughly confused Saiyan.

As Vegeta passed Raditz, though, the former Royal Guardsman could've sworn he saw his prince wink.

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now...

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now...

"Look!" Raditz yelled to his fellow Saiyans.

Vegeta and Nappa turned, seeing Raditz pointing at the sky. Both gasped softly when they saw the moonless night sky blaze with shooting stars.

"Holy..." Nappa breathed, forgetting all about the ashes of the people he was standing over.

Even Vegeta, the stoic one, was staring slack-jawed at the sky. The blutz waves reflected of the falling stars wasn't enough to evoke the transformation to great ape, but it still sent a thrill though him that had him mesmerized.

Eventually, when they found a spot relatively clear of ash, they lay there for hours, watching the stars fly by. From far away, they didn't look like Saiyans, they didn't look like warriors who had destroyed countless races and planets – they just looked like people.

Okay, people with questionable fashion sense in the middle of a field of death, but still.

"You know..." Raditz whispered, afraid to break the quiet. "I heard this old legend a few years ago – apparently, if you wish on a falling star three times, before it disappears, whatever you wished will come true."

"...Okay, aside from the obvious issues with that legend, is it even possible to wish on a shooting star three times before it's gone?" Nappa asked.

"Not a clue." Raditz shrugged. "It's just a legend."

Just a legend, Vegeta thought to himself.

Vegeta was a bit of a planner when it came to conquests of other planets – and because he was a planner, he was sensible, and sensible people generally don't believe in things like wishing on falling stars.

Just for that one moment though... he could let himself believe was some other escape from Frieza.

Somebody take me back to the days before this was a job, before I got paid,

before it ever mattered what I had in my bank; yeah, back when I was tryin' to get a tip at Subway.

Back when I was rappin' for the Hell of it; but nowadays, we rappin' to stay relevant.

I'm guessin' that if you can make some wishes outta airplanes, then maybe I'll go back to the days

before the politics that we call the rap game, and back when ain't nobody listen to my mix tape

and back before I tried to cover up my slang, but this is for the hater, what's up Bobby Ray?

So can I get a wish to end the politics, and get back to the music that started this shit?

So here I stand, and yet again I say, I'm hopin' we can make some wished outta airplanes.

Vegeta sighed, standing on the fringe of the marsh, just behind the tree line. He'd been sighing quite a bit, mostly when he was sure his comrades couldn't hear him. There were a few reasons for the sighing.

Firstly, he learned through eavesdropping that his father had, in fact, followed his mother to the afterlife.

Last night, when he should've been asleep, he overheard this conversation between Raditz and Nappa:

R: He looks so peaceful when he's asleep.

N: Yeah, I know. It's weird.

R: Considering how he looks when he's awake, I have to agree with you on the "weird" part.

N: Can you imagine how he'd act if he learned that his father was dead?

R: God, that would probably kill him. I know how much he cared about his father, and I wasn't even his protector.

N: Yeah, and not even a month after Frieza took Vegeta away... I still can't believe he killed the king.

Vegeta hadn't slept at all after hearing that. The next morning, he couldn't quite bring himself to tell his comrades that he'd overheard them.

Secondly, he was just sick and tired... of everything.

He was sick of being Frieza's favorite whipping boy. Sick of being called a/n [insert degrading adj.] monkey. Sick of being sent on the same mission over and over. Sick of being treated like dirt, like nothing.

And above all he was sick and fucking tired of being sent into combat just to continue being useful to Frieza.

Angrily, Vegeta kicked the tree closest to him. He was a Saiyan, for crying out loud! Combat was the most popular pastime of his people, yet somehow Frieza had sucked all the thrill and enjoyment out of his fights. All he did it for now was to stay relevant.

If Vegeta could make a wish out of a falling star, he'd wish to go back before there was all these politics involved in his battles, and when no one truly cared how strong he was, and before he'd been forced to stop using his slang because it was "sloppy, vulgar and disrespectful."

Well, Frieza could go to Hell for all he cared.

All he wanted – what he absolutely, truly wanted – was to forget all these stupid politics and rules and just get back to the fighting that started it all – was that too much to ask? Or had he done too much – killed too much – to deserve anything from the universe?

He was snapped out of his contemplation by a back-up pod entering the atmosphere – carrying Raditz, no doubt. They'd called for him a few days ago, when Vegeta had very nearly lost his head – courtesy of the natives.

It almost looks like a falling star... Vegeta thought.

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now...

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now...

And before he could stop himself, he closed his eyes, and recited a wish three times – the wish he'd been holding in for a long time, without ever really realizing it.

He kept his eyes shut for a long time, until his scouter beeped and Nappa was demanding to know where the Hell he'd gone.

Sighing, Vegeta walked grudgingly back into his Hellish excuse for a life.

I could really use a wish right now (oh whoa, oh oh oh)

"Raditz... is dead."

Vegeta didn't acknowledge him at first. He could see it for himself; Raditz's power was dropping like a stone – a sure sign, if anything, that he was dead.

"He deserved it." Vegeta mumbled. "Beaten by power levels barely over a thousand..." He felt betrayed, almost – Raditz, one of the last three – no, scratch that, four Saiyans left in the universe was gone – dead by the hand of his traitorous little brother. All because Raditz had insisted they get backup, because they weren't strong enough...

Serves him right, Vegeta thought.

If Nappa thought Vegeta was being insensitive, he didn't say. "We can leave this planet for later..." Like they had a choice. They had barely been enough with Raditz; without him, they would have to regroup and get backup – backup that wouldn't kill them.

"Mm..." Vegeta mused. "These 'Dragon Balls' sound intriguing." He looked off to the side, lost in thought. "Make any wish come true..."

He abruptly stood up. "Let's go!"

"To bring Raditz back to life?"

Vegeta paused for a moment. That seemed to be the most obvious choice... they were down to two Saiyans – he refused to acknowledge Raditz's brother as one of them – and it seemed like the right thing to wish him back... so he could serve beside them under Frieza...

"Get real." Vegeta snapped. "We're better off without him." He's better off wherever he is now – Hell or not, nothing could be worse than Frieza... As he thought that, another plan was forming in the back of the Prince's head.

"How about immortality for ourselves? No death! No age!" I'll be able to kill Frieza. "Just an eternity of combat!" He added, hoping to talk Nappa into going along with his plan.

"Ah...!" The older Saiyan exclaimed. "Now that's a wish!"

Some time later, as their pods took them further and further from the blast-scorched planet, Vegeta was musing to himself "The power of Kakarot's son... Impossibly high for a Saiyan child..."

"Maybe his reading was wrong." Nappa said.

Vegeta shook his head, despite the fact Nappa couldn't see him. "I don't think so." He disagreed. "Not with the amount of damage Raditz suffered from that one strike. It seems that mixing Saiyan and Earthling blood begets a powerful hybrid..."

"A Super Saiyan, eh...? So if we spawn a flock of them for ourselves, we could build another Saiyan empire!"

"Don't be stupid." Vegeta retorted, meaning more the Super Saiyan part than anything. "Do you want a lot of ingrate brats running around with powers greater than ours?" Children with such powers that are monsters, like we are? He thought. Or would we make them monsters, like Frieza made us?

"Oh... Right..."

"We must exterminate all life on Earth!" Even as Vegeta said that, he doubted the sincerity of his words. There are no Saiyan women left... would I, the very Prince of the Saiyans, really throw away the last hope for my people? Have I fallen that far?

"Now, then," he said, resting his head back on his seat. "time for a long sleep.

"I can't wait... to wake up!"

As Vegeta and Nappa would find, nearly a year later, their plan wouldn't exactly go off without a hitch – problems such as suicide attackers, Raditz's freakishly strong little brother, a death and an ass-kicking were a few of the things involved.

I could really use a wish right now (mm, mm-m-mm)

Long story short, Vegeta had long since decided, and still believed, that going to Earth turned out to be a mistake.

Or, to be more specific...

The dumbest, stupidest, craziest, most asinine, moronic, insane, shocking, unbelievable, unimaginable, amazing, wonderful, beautiful, indescribably perfect mistake he'd ever made in his life.

"Vegeta... have you ever made a wish? Not about ice cream or anything... like, a big wish?"

The Prince eyed his wife oddly.

"Yes." He responded flatly.

Like, like shooting stars

"Did it ever come true?"

Oh-ooh-whoa-oh-oh ooohhh, oh oh oh...

Vegeta smiled – not his evil little smirk, a genuine smile of happiness. To Bulma's shock, he embraced her quite suddenly, brushing her hair from her cheek, and kissing her forehead as he did so.

I could really use a wish right now

"Yeah." he whispered, then chuckled, his breath hot against her ear. "Yeah, you definitely came true."

"I... What?"

"I wish someone would come into my life, and this time, change things for the better," Vegeta pulled her closer, if that were at all possible. "That was my wish... and that's you, woman."

A wish, a wish right now (right now)