A/N: Last time I posted it, it went a little crazy on me. All I've done is change a line and add a new one. Besides that, it's unchanged. Let'shope it works now.
BAD NEWS GUYS! The folder containing my stories on my 'work' computer isn't opening for some unknown reason. I'm having the tech guys look at it but who knows how long that's going t take. And though I could always go at FF to retrieve old chapters, the two new ones are unaccessable. AND my 40k+ unpublished peice! And it wasn't even finished so all my hard work gone!
So to those who are patient enough and will hopefully still want to read it when I get it back, thank you. You all can probably tell that this has gotten me royally peed off! :(
Maybe a review or two will help?
They arrived home in silence, both parents heading their own way, Bulma to put Bra to bed, Vegeta to the gravity room. As much as the afternoon had been at some points nice, it had put them in a mood that neither wanted to worsen.
Bra woke up after a couple of hours, her eyes still downcast as she walked right past her mother to watch some TV. No matter how many droning kid songs played she didn't seem to smile once, no matter how many times the colourful airhead presenters told her to. In the corner of the living room, Bulma had taken up some paper work but always kept one eye on her daughter. She would often ask if Bra wanted to talk about it, but after a few ignored answers the concerned mother gave up. She did take regular breaks to sit beside the girl and pull her close. It would soothe her for a while, but that heavy sadness would creep in again after a while. Finishing early, Bulma didn't know what else she could do to help but leave her to it.
In the next room, Bulma pushed the intercom button on the far wall. The button she used was one she had promised to use under very special circumstances. The other end answered with a very gruff "What?"
"Vegeta", she sighed, "don't start with all that is this an emergency? I told not to interrupt crap, ok? I can't deal with that right now." There was silence from the other end. Trust him not to ask. "Bra's still upset-"
"She's a child; it's natural to sulk-"
"Yes she is a child, Vegeta! And as a child she's very vulnerable! I don't know what Pan said to her but Bra must have taken it to heart, especially since she's always been strong willed. Can't you please drag yourself out of that hole early for once? I don't know how to help her?"
"And you think I can?" he grumbled.
"Maybe if she saw her papa actually care for her, then yes!"
On the other end, Vegeta ground his teeth. There was that word again. Papa. Bulma could've said father but no, it had to be papa. It weighed more on his shoulders that the 8oox gravity he was stood in. And how dare she imply that he didn't give a damn?
Twenty minutes and a clean shower later, Vegeta marched to the living room, slowing down as he reached the door. He spared a glanced at Bulma who was leaning heavily against the armchair before he followed her gaze to the source of their worries. Bra was slouched low between two massive cushions with her feet hanging over the edge. The TV flashed from channel to channel as she searched for nothing in particular.
-click- "I love you, You love-"click – "Order now and get a free-" click- "the migration pattern of these extraordinary fish-" click- "All this on the next exciting episode of Drag-" click-
Bra stopped momentarily to look up at her father standing next to her. She couldn't read his expression, which was rare for her. The child took this as a sign that he wasn't happy and, in all honesty, she didn't care. She was in a bad enough mood without him making it worse.
"What is this all about?"
She looked at the random channel she had landed on and shrugged. "It's about sponge that lives in the sea and makes burgers. It's funny," she added in a deadpan voice.
"I didn't mean the programme, Bra," Vegeta sternly replied, "I mean why are you lying there feeling sorry for yourself?"
Her thumb pressed even harder on the remote controller. - click – "A whole new wooooorld-" click – "We were on a break!" - click – "Drink up me hearties yo ho!" - click -
Finally having enough, the prince whipped the remote out of her hand and turned the damn babble off. "Hey!" she moaned grabbing it. He tossed it none too gently to another sofa before addressing her again.
"You will tell us exactly what's the matter this instant!"
Slapping him on the shoulder, Bulma hissed at him. "Vegeta! What did I say earlier about her feeling vulnerable?"
He turned to her. "You'd rather I didn't ask? From what I've heard, you couldn't get her to talk at all."
Bulma bit back the snide remark she had prepared when she realised it was for first time she had heard the girl speak for several hours. And she was no longer slouched on the sofa. "You know, your people skills still needs a lot of work."
"Ha, looks who's talking."
She didn't like to hear her parents argue. Even if she was mad at one of them, or both of them, she'd never want them to be mad at each other. She was so close to breaking, she was so close to just telling them no matter how they'd react, if only it would make them stop. Almost, until Trunks' ki flooded the building. In a matter of seconds his purple head popped round the door.
"Um, is everybody ok? Chichi told me about what happened earlier so I thought I'd head home."
"Thanks, Trunks, but you didn't have to come back early," Bulma said, before looking back at Vegeta. "But I could use some help, seeing as somebody's just being difficult."
"You have the gall to call me difficult when this whole thing could have been sorted out immediately after the problem roused. Instead you back down in front of Gohan and insist that there was no problem at all!" He crossed his arms and faced his wife completely. "Dragging this out has not resolved this woman, and yet you complain that I'm the one to make it worse?"
Trunks walked over to his little sister and placed his large hand on he head. "Hey, hey, let's not get carried away you guys-"
"Oh, and would Mr Saintly like to give me anymore advice? I tried my best but I couldn't hug her the whole freaking time!"
"You could if you really wanted to; Dende knows how you mollycoddle the both of them."
Trunks pulled Bra's little head to his chest in an attempt to block out the shouts. "Mum, dad, could you not do this now?"
"What you call 'mollycoddling', I call actually being around!"
"STOP IT!" Bra ripped off the hand that held her and walked between the bickering couple. "Stop fighting, please!" With that, she dashed from the room as a sob escaped her and didn't stop until she had reached her brightly coloured room, slamming the door behind her hard enough to make the wood crack. The adults downstairs could only stare dumbstruck at the ceiling.
The next morning saw the Briefs family at the table finishing off their large breakfast. The men were practically downing their coffee but Bulma had hardly touched hers. She just kept stirring it round and round until Vegeta could no longer handle the ting of her mug on his sensitive ears.
Setting the spoon down, the blunette sighed, "Something's seriously wrong. I've never known her shut herself up like that. Sure she's lost her temper loads of times, but it's never lasted this long."
"No kidding, and the way she lost it when you guys went into her room last night- I was downstairs and she still hurt my ears."
"Well son, the next time a girls door says 'Do Not Disturb' on it, then you'd better do as it says," she replied. Vegeta's frown deepened, knowing this was also directed to him. Getting up, he went to continue his morning training sessions. Bulma shook her head. Training, it gets old, she thought.
Around mid-morning, there was a polite knock at the door. Of course his instinct was to ignore it, so he turned away and continued like it didn't happen. The knocking happened again, this time louder and more forceful. Years of experience had told him that ignoring it a third time would only lead to hassle and with that the red glow of the room faded to white as earths natural gravity was restored.
"What have I told them about disturbing me?" he grumbled. He opened the door to find Trunks smiling slightly and completely unfazed by Vegeta's harsh "What do you want?"
The teenager smiled widely. "Hey dad, look who I managed to find!" stepping to the side, Vegeta could now clearly see his young daughter sitting on the grass several feet away and by the looks of it she was warming up.
Raising an eyebrow, Vegeta opened a telepathic link to his son. 'How'
'I simply said that I was disappointed that I haven't seen any of her moves yet, but seeing as it's been less than a week when she started than I guessed I wouldn't have missed much.'
'And you let her competitiveness do the rest?'
'Yep, wonder where she gets that from.'
Watching his son amble back to Bra, the elder prince took a second to admire his sons plan. It was so simple he wondered why he hadn't thought of it. In the bright sunlight, Bra squinted as her father walked over and stood in silence.
Trunks knelt down to her height and tapped her on the shoulder. "I told you dad would watch didn't I? And he's here to help if one of us gets hurt." He clapped his hands and held them up ready to take her punches. "That is, if you're strong enough to hurt me. Show me what you've got!"
Secretly, Ba had been eager to channel her rage on something but had not known how to without wrecking her room. When her brother had suggested training, the little princess jumped at the chance to get into a good spar. Despite the fact that her brother wasn't fighting back and he remained knelt on the grass to keep at her height, she saw it as her first real spar.
Her endurance had certainly increased over that last few days. It took a lot longer before she started showing signs of slowing down. Stepping back, Bra caught her breath, her cheeks blushed from the activity. As she finally managed to breath again, she heard Trunks chuckle.
"Wow, I'm impressed; I had to actually block my face a couple of times. Dad sure has taught you well. Let's see what else you can do by next week?" He stood at started to head back to the main building.
"Wha-? Trunks, where're you going?"
"To work! It's okay, dad's still here, he can help you!"
Her shoulders slumped when he was out of sight. Looking to her right, Vegeta was staring in the direction his son had left before he looked back at her. Before she could say anything he turned to face her completely with his arms crossed as usual.
They spent that training session learning about flips and mid-air kicks. Vegeta really wanted her to learn it before she could fly and not fall back on using her Ki to keep her up. The lesson did not go smoothly. Unlike the other times, Bra couldn't seem to focus long enough to carry out a full body flip and repeatedly fell flat to the ground. There was already streaks of mud on her face.
"If you stick to a rhythm in your head you could do it. Again," her father ordered.
Bra huffed but got back up for the umpteenth time. She bounced up and down on her tip toes a couple of times and shook her head. Under her scowl of annoyance was look of sheer determination. Her father must be right; it's all in the timing. Gathering all her strength in her legs, she ran towards him and flipped in through the air, landing on her palms and pushing the dirt away as the flipped again and again. All she needed to do was the perfect landing. One two three four, one two three-
As she had focused so much on her timing, she failed to avoid the patch of grass that was uneven. The difference was only slight, but during her early stages of mastering balance it threw her off completely. Her left arm gave way before she could push off again and her whole body tumbled to the ground and rolled with great speed and winded her, making her forget how to breathe for a few moments. When she finally stopped hyperventilating she sat up, her cheeks glowing pink with embarrassment. She avoided her father's sharp gaze as she flexed her arm, like he had one taught her to. It wasn't too sore, not enough to stop her but the sharp pain on her left got worse and worse. Checking it over, she could see a cut just above her ankle, not very long but it was deep and bright red droplets were being pushed to its surface before trickling down in straight lines.
She couldn't help the sting of tears in her eyes. Over the years she has had a lot worse than that, like the time when stepped on a broken shell at the beach. She was still only a baby and her tough Saiyan had not yet formed. Her whole foot had been bandaged up for a week but somehow this gash on her leg was a thousand times worse.
It was all too much as her tears started to run from her blue eyes as free as the blood from her wound. She pulled her leg closer and tried not to picture the disappointment in her father's face.
Vegeta watched with close eyes his daughter assess her body for any injury, pleased that it was one lesson she had only needed to learn once. When she took time to check her leg he had an inkling something was wrong. Moving closer her could hear her hidden sniffs underneath the stray pieces of aqua hair until she had to crain her neck to look at him.
"I tried, I really did… I can't help… I'm not crying! I'm not!" she heatedly added, wiping her arm across her eyes.
It was then he realised that she didn't want him to see her like this. That she didn't want to see the disapproving look on his face. He knew it because once upon a time he'd have expected himself to do so.
Crouching down beside her, he lifted her leg to get a closer look. As her leg moved, little drops of blood fell around the curve of her skin and dripped to the ground. He didn't know what she had cut it on but he'd check later, for now, this needed to be dressed. Without a word, he scooped her up and headed for the medical wing he had become so acquainted with. During the early stage of their relationship, Bulma had joked that he slept more there than with her.
As the prince stood up with his girl in his arms, she took the moment and wrapped her arms around him, and not just her arms but her legs too, burying her face deep into the crook of his neck. There was no point denying it now, she was crying her heart out as his shirt became wet and hot. He didn't tell her to stop but let her cry it out, feeling every shudder in their embrace.
What really got to him though was how quiet she was. No screaming or whining, it was like she didn't have the strength, or she didn't want to be heard. How very unlike her. This isn't just about her injury anymore, he thought.
The medical wing was at the end of the long west corridor, and her face was still planted to his shoulder. She made no sound apart from the odd escaped sniffle. The prince had to constantly check that she was indeed crying, or even awake, but he could plainly see her jewelled eyes open, tears were still trickling down her soft cheeks. He couldn't remember the last time she had cried silently, as if in hope nobody would notice her. He didn't think that she'd ever done it at all.
A little timid voice, muffled by his shoulder, piped, "P-papa?"
Grunting, he waited for her to speak. Her only response was the tightening of her arms around his neck. It seemed a long time before she could find the courage to talk. "You won't ever leave us, will you?"
That caught him completely off guard, causing him to stop dead in his tracks. Dumbstruck, he could only stand there, just feet away from the Medical Room doors, and let her words sink in. Those seven little words literally took his breath away as his mind was numbingly filled with white void.
Feeling her grasp tighten with worry, he forced his heavy feet to move, dragging his mind back to the situation at hand. His composure somewhat restored, he strode straight to a cot on placed his still weeping girl in the centre, so her feet couldn't dangle off the edge.
With a close by first aid kit, he went through the old, old routine of cleaning, disinfecting and dressing her cut. She flinched slightly as the bitter sting clawed at her skin, but it didn't last long. After it was clean he used some stick on stitched, the kind that dissolve, to hold together the small but deep cut. She was temporarily soothed by the cooling cream, soaking into her flaming skin under a large square plaster. Clearing away the mess, Vegeta kept a cautious eye on Bra, his mind replaying her question over and over again, causing his actions to slow whenever he lost his focus. That was very rare for him. Dusting off his hands, he stood completely in front of her. She picked slightly at the plaster with feigned fascination. Closer he stood to her and crossed his arms. Whether he wanted to or not, he needed to talk things through with her and he was going to have to have her undivided attention. Since yesterday she had walked around with a grief beyond her years and there was no way her was going to let her do it for one minute longer.
"Bra, I need you to tell me why you asked that question."
She looked away in stubborn embarrassment.
"Bra…" he said again, his voice drawing out in a deeper voice. It wasn't angry, but he warned her in his tone that he could be soon. "Tell me now why you asked me that."
"Pan… Pan said that…" she whimpered, her seat making her eye height with his wide chest, especially as she avoided looking at him. Finally she squeezed her shiny eyes and in one breath yelled, "That her grandpa was always really happy and played with them all the time but he still wanted to leave and if he could do it why couldn't you!"
Her sobs became heavy yet again, only this time they were louder. Whether silent or shrill, every shake of her small frame made his chest ache (though he could never admit it out loud). Taking a second to ready himself, he slowly leant against the cot, palms flat either side of her. Still she kept her eyes shut until finally, Vegeta softly told her to stop. She looked him right in the face, only inches away.
"All of this over what Pan had said to you?" he said. "All of your tears and moping over what some brattish third class girl said in a moment of anger and jealousy? About her fooling clown of a grandfather and his decision to abandon them?" He half stood up again in bewilderment.
"But he loved them, she said so! And he was never, ever angry!"
He opened his mouth to make a remark about the younger Saiyan's immense stupidity, but shut it again when he picked up the unspoken issue in his daughters words. "You're thinking that because I do not always appear happy and my temper has, I'll admit, never been easy to control, and that I would have a greater reason to leave as well."
The unveiled look of fear in her glittering eyes confirmed it.
Tapping the mattress, he wished he could be any other place than there. The prince had never been good with his emotions, and they had only gotten worse since his life on earth had begun. This was something that Bulma could handle much better-
No, he decided. Not in this case. Since yesterday she had no real problem with her mother or her brother. He thought that it was just his attitude that had pressed the young girl. It obviously went much deeper and it was something only he could do.
Leaning down, Vegeta made sure he regained eye contact with his daughter. She squirmed a bit under his intense gaze, but she wasn't scared of him, not ever. "Bra, I need you to listen very carefully, because I'm not sure if I could ever repeat it." He took a comforting breath.
"I may never be able to smile like Kakarrot, or laugh like him, or play games for fun. I may never appear, as you put it, happy as he does. But that does not mean that I'm not. Despite what those fools your mother calls friends say, I am happy, Bra. But unlike Kakarrot, there are very few things in this world that can do this."
"If there aren't many for you and lots of stuff for Goku, then why did he leave?"
"Because," he murmured in a low tone, "too much makes him happy." At her confuse look, he added, "That fool has seen his life as one great adventure with a new challenge around every corner. Even the lure of his own family could not keep him rooted in one place for barely ten years. And though he was obviously happy with them, there are several reason why he can also be happy without them."
Here the prince gave a mighty sigh and closed his eyes. Now came the real hard part. "My life has never been an adventure. It's been one struggle to the next and it was only until recently, Bra, that I could find peace within myself to understand, no, to welcome this- happiness that I can only receive from three things."
Opening his eyes, he saw her face smiling for the first time since yesterday morning. He almost missed it. With a secretive grin, she whispered in his ear, "Like me and mama and Trunks?"
Leaning his forehead against hers, he allowed himself to whisper back, "Especially you and mama and Trunks."
She kissed him on his pointy nose and lugned at him, hugging him tightly. He plucked her off the cot and marched tall again with his regained posture of authority and headed in the direction of the living quarters, but before they had even reached the door of the Medical Room, Bra tapped his shoulder.
"So you promise that you won't ever leave us? Never ever?"
Vegeta chuckled at her childish wording, but took every word to heart. Reaching to grab her hand and stop it poking his skin again, he said. "I promise princess. I will never…ever… leave you."
Like the blowing out of a candle, Bra felt all of her sadness and stress of the past day vanquish, she and her beloved papa went back upstairs. On her little face was a smile that could have outshone the sun itself.
A/N: I really tried not to make it OOC, but with such cutness and sorrow, it's hard. And you don't think I've made Bra too whimpy do you? Or she cries too much? :S