A/N: This was supposed to be part of the LJ community challenge of Sins. I chickened out and never posted it. I've changed my mind on it now and figure it's worthy of posting.
In the heavy grasp of the thick summer heat Vegeta stumbled into his hostess' basement lab. He was intending to snatch up rolls of extra bandages Bulma kept around and escape into his room. The Saiyan no Ouji had been distracted in his retrieval operation by the room's décor. He'd never been in this room before, and therefore had never been privy to the small private space, which held a large waist height table, a wall of filing cabinets, and a door leading to a small bathroom. The top of the cabinets were crammed with metal, glass, and wooden sculptures each bearing the characters that made up the woman's name. Nearly every space of the wall was covered in framed documents, mementos and photos. He was slightly in awe of this shrine to the woman.
She thought Vegeta seemed despondent when she startled him in her doorway hands clutching bandages. She nearly felt guilty about disturbing him, however she had no patience to clean out the poor bot who'd have to clean the growing puddle of blood dribbling from his chest off his elbow. Then there was the blood that wasn't landing on the floor, instead a steady stream was running down his thigh, diverting at the knee and spiraling down into his boot. For a moment she thought she'd seen a glimpse of something unguarded in him.
"I'll help you, come on, I'll help bandage you up." He'd turned on her by now, but complied and shuffled back into her shrine. She dropped a pile of glossy paper books on the edge of the table. He knew enough to wait for her to prepare, her stomach was getting stronger, and her skills were also improving. He found her to be less stressful if he just let her work. She was quick, efficient, and both respectful and careful with her contact, even going so far as to show concern for his pain.
He laid on his side atop the table, she'd forced a pillow on him, which he begrudgingly accepted and used. She was quick and thorough, qualities he appreciated, however he'd come to recognize that it was all or none with the woman, and held his tongue while she looked over the wounds before finally settling on starting with his thigh as it seemed to have renewed its flow. His eyes drifted to the photos on the walls again, taking in each in turn. He knew he'd be here awhile, and that it would be worth the lost time now rather then later.
He heard her pull strips of something off a sticky roll, then the snips of scissors before her hands were laying papery tape in a rectangle on his thigh. He glanced at her work before returning to analyze the photos.
The wall seemed to be a complete chronological account of her major achievements. He felt something cold gnawing at him, a disgust for all the smiles in the photos, the false adoration, and fakery. He seethed over the unjustness of her situation as he ran through the first line on the wall. Bulma as a small baby, then a toddler, and so forth up until the corner where a photo was framed opposite of a crude marker drawing of what seemed to be a chemical compound laid out in different colours. He felt a prick, a burning sensation, ending with her hand holding gauze over the spot. She'd injected him with something, and he could feel a warm numbness worming through his thigh. She is making a 'shh'ing noise as he raises his head to reiterate his wishes about pain medications.
The woman turns and talks to him, describing what she's done. He is both shocked and relieved at her confession – she'd designed a nerve-blocking agent specifically for him. The tape she'd used to frame in his wound earlier was the boundaries, or as she called it, the net. Once the line was connected it would hold within its boundaries in a 3D shape the nerve agent. It was injected, and went to work nearly immediately. The moment the continuity in the barrier tape was disrupted the nerve agent would be released and be disposed of harmlessly by the body. His relief came from understanding that she was beginning to comprehend him and his wishes. She sutures his leg carefully, yet to leave him a scar.
He continues to look over the photos having nothing better to do. The seething has turned to anger. In no photo does she wear the same clothing twice. Many of the later photos involve elaborate jewels and clothing. Her life seems opulent and rich with all the comforts of wealth. When she bandages his sutures up she leaves the barrier tape in tact without asking. He turns his head to avoid making eye contact with her, his opal eyes landing on upon another row of photos. They're tacked up right beneath a low shelf, the angle and position indicate this row is only intended to be seen by the occupant of the table-desk he is currently laying upon.
The first photo showcases the woman and Kakarot in their youth. She is holding a machine gun on her hip, dressed in pants with one leg cut off and a top he's come to associate with the word 'bikini'. The child Kakarot sitting cross-legged on a yellow cloud dressed in a blue gi. Both their faces are split into wide grins. The next photo includes the original pair along with Scarface and Baldy, they're standing centered around a grown Kakarot and his small child, the half-breed. Next is a photo with Bulma posed in front of one of the early model capsule ships – she's on her way to Namek. Lastly is a much longer glossier image. It's different then the rest, unframed, creased, and held on the wall by corners tacked down with tape. It's a panoramic shot of the Gravity Room at dusk. The sun highlights the summer clouds in pinks, purple, and vibrant oranges – its beautiful. The curved shape of the ship is a dark sillouette in left of the image, on top the shadow of a man sitting cross-legged at the apex of the dome.
The photo shares a strip of tape with a large set of blueprints that covers the remaining two thirds of the wall. The worn papers are covered in scribbles of many colours. The edges curl off the wall like the entire sheet wants to escape in a flutter. He recognizes them having spent enough hours being forced to answer questions while Bulma leans over them scribbling fiercely to keep up with his replies.
She is prodding at the leaking chest wound to determine her course of action. The truth of the matter is she is wishing that he'd stop bleeding so she'd have no reason to have to suture another jagged opening of his flesh. It needs to be cleaned; the edges can't be identified under the blood. It's a personal desire not to cause him any pain, it's why she's expanded the scope of her knowledge to begin to include medicine. The wound turns out to be a line that has skipped and hopped around his pectoral muscle. It's burnt flesh, probably a ki blast that brushed on its way by, burning off the flesh it touched and searing the rest nearby.
She repeats the process with the tape on his chest. She injects him quickly twice to numb the area and efficiently begins to treat his burns. She follows his gaze to the photo tucked under the lowest bookshelf. It's meant to motivate her, remind her what she's working for, what she's sacrificing herself for. There is nothing more important right now, nothing that can't wait.
"It's the only way I know how to help." She sighs and starts wrapping the white bandages around his torso. She has to lean in closely to pass the roll around his broad chest. When she finishes he's looking at the photo again. When his eyes rove around the room he realizes its filled with nothing but him; his gravity room, his demolished training bots, his blood on the pile of used supplies in a tray on the desk.
He realizes it now, he doesn't envy her any longer. Life has stopped for her, she said so herself. While he strives to reach his goal, growing constantly, she was limited, paralyzed by the potential for their forthcoming destruction. She was worried, in her own way, that if she failed to contribute her utmost then they would fail. She was backing a black horse and had put nearly everything on hold from her life to ensure his success. Her survival could be dependent upon him.