Bulma sat on the couch, staring into space, the soap opera on TV ignored. What did she care whether Stella forgave Jonny? She had much more pressing things to think about. Besides, it was an old re-run, anyway - pretty much the only thing on television these days, except for the random news bulletins. Who had time to make new TV shows when they were all living in fear?
She glanced over, as she did many times a day, at the pictures framed on the mantelpiece. Photos of a young man with lavender hair and blue eyes. Trunks, her son.
She stood, walking over and picking up the most recent one. Trunks stood next to the time machine, a small smile on his face as he flashed a V to the camera. V for Victory. At least, that was their hope - and as she thought that, he eyes glanced over the time machine, where she herself had inscribed that very word.
Bulma sighed as she looked down at her son's face. Why was he taking so long? He had gone back as they had planned, told Goku of what was coming, and had given him the virus medicine before returning. But he hadn't stayed long. "I can't stand sitting here wondering whether or not it worked, Mother," he had said. "I need to go back, just one more time. I need to see for myself if they were able to stop the androids. I need to see that our plan worked."
Bulma knew she wouldn't be able to make him stay. He was stubborn like that - just like his father, she thought with a smile. And how he looked like Vegeta. Oh, his hair and eyes were radically different, sure - but they had the same overall build, although Trunks was taller. The same facial features, the way Trunks looked when he narrowed his eyes. And he could smirk just like the Saiyan prince did, too. When he did, it was just like Vegeta was looking back at her.
Bulma put down Trunks' picture and instead picked up another one, smiling down at it. It was one of the few pictures Vegeta had allowed her to take of him. He stood in front of his gravity chamber, arms crossed tightly, shooting one of his famous death glares.
"Fine, woman! I'll let you take one of your stupid photographs. But only so you'll SHUT UP about it! Your infernal screeching is getting on my nerves." That was what he had said, just before this had been taken. Bulma had been bugging him about it quite often, and it seemed to both confuse and infuriate him - he couldn't understand why on earth she'd want a picture of him. She was so glad she'd been able to get a couple, now that he was gone. Her face fell sadly, lightly touching her fingers against the photograph. No-one ever understood what she saw in Vegeta. She remembered, with a small smile, the look of shock on everyone's faces when she announced she was pregnant, and not with Yamcha's baby, but with Vegeta's. But there had just been something about him, something that made her want to dig through his cold and haughty exterior, and try to find the man underneath.
No, he had never once said that he cared about her, and she could pretty much count on one hand the amount of times he had actually called her by her name. But she could tell. There had been something in his eyes sometimes, when he looked at her when he thought she didn't notice, or during those nights when he had come into her bed. The look was always quickly hidden, but it told her more than words ever could, and that had been enough.
She wondered whether Trunks was spending any time with Vegeta, in the past. He wouldn't have to worry so much about his identity being revealed anymore - he would have already been born by now. Bulma looked up at another picture of Trunks, this time as a baby. He was being held by his grandmother as he reached his pudgy little hands up for a bottle. Yes, he must be about that age, back in the past. Maybe Trunks had told Vegeta who he was? Maybe he was trying to get to know him a little before coming back to this timeline? He had always wanted to know more about his father, and this was his chance.
Bulma hoped he hadn't been too disappointed. Vegeta hadn't taken well to Trunks as an infant, so she assumed he would handle suddenly coming face to face with his grown up son even worse. Trunks knew enough about his father not to expect to be welcomed with a hug and a ruffle of the hair (she sniggered at the thought), but Vegeta could always be hard to handle if you weren't used to him. But Bulma knew that deep down, Vegeta had truly cared for his son, just as he had for her.
Bulma padded down the hall towards her bedroom, still seething about her argument with Vegeta. Would it kill the man to even acknowledge his son? All she wanted was for him for pay Trunks a little attention. It wasn't as if she expected him to start singing lullabies or something!
She stopped as she approached Trunks' room. The door was ajar. Bulma frowned – she had put Trunks to bed a couple of hours earlier, and she knew for a fact she had closed the door. Creeping closer, Bulma peered through the gap, and her heart seemed to skip at what she saw.
Vegeta was standing over Trunks' cot, staring down at him. He didn't move, and his features were still drawn into his ever present scowl, but as he looked down at his sleeping son, his eyes seemed to soften. Just a little.
Bulma's presence didn't go unnoticed for long. His head suddenly snapped up and he glared at her, standing in the doorway. His expression didn't bother her, though – she was used to his death glares – and she walked into the room to stand beside him, looking down at Trunks too.
"He's cute, isn't he?"
Vegeta snorted. "Cute? He looks ridiculous. Whoever heard of purple hair on a Saiyan? And you insist on dressing him in the most idiotic garments." he said, his eyes glancing over Trunks' pyjamas, adorned with cartoon kittens and puppies. Bulma rolled her eyes.
"Whatever. He's adorable and you know it."
Silence for a few seconds. Then –
"His name is stupid, too."
Bulma turned to face him, glowering. "And what is wrong with his name, if I may ask?"
"Trunks. What kind of name is that? He should have a good, strong Saiyan name."
"Oh yeah? Like what?"
Vegeta seemed to think for a few seconds. "Caulfa. Or Bruss. But really, he should have been named Vegeta. He is my heir, after all."
Bulma wrinkled her nose at his suggestions. "Those are terrible names. And anyway, Vegeta, it's not as if you were around when he was born to give your opinion on the matter." It was true. He had been away in space training while she had been pregnant with Trunks. It was too late for him to moan about her name choice now.
Silence again. "I'm sure he'll end up being a strong fighter." Bulma murmured. Vegeta snorted again.
"Of course he will, I'll make sure of it. He is my son, there is no way he will be a weakling."
Bulma smiled. This was what she had wanted earlier. For Vegeta to acknowledge Trunks, and here he was, calling him his son, talking about him with a hint of pride, even giving his own name ideas – even if they were horrible. But still.
"What is it, woman?"
"Can I take a picture of you holding Trunks?"
Vegeta looked at her as if she'd grown an extra head. "No." Bulma pouted.
"I said no, stupid woman!" he snapped, turning his back on her. Bulma just latched onto his arm, pulling. He didn't budge an inch.
"It'll just be for me. No-one else will see it, I swear." When Vegeta didn't answer, she continued pulling and whining.
"Fine." he finally hissed, eyes closed in exasperation. "But just to stop your incessant whining." Bulma beamed.
"Great! I'll be right back." she said, leaving to get the camera.
"What? Right now?" he called to her retreating back. "... Stupid woman." he muttered. He looked back down at his sleeping son. Bah, he didn't even know how to hold a child! Infuriating woman.
Eyes narrowed, he leaned down towards the cot. After a moment's hesitation, and with a look of curiosity, he extended a hand and poked Trunks a couple of times in the stomach. The baby stirred and immediately began bawling, not happy at his rest being interrupted.
Vegeta backed away, looking panicked. How did you shut it up? Bulma was back in a flash, the camera swinging wildly from it's strap.
"Vegeta! What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything, woman! I merely poked the child to rouse him, seeing as I'm going to have to hold him in a minute anyway!"
"I didn't mean for you to wake him up! I was just going to pick him up carefully and hand him to you, so he'd still be sleeping!" she shot back. Bulma leaned down over the cot, cooing as she picked up her son. "Awww, shhhh, Trunks, don't cry! Did mean old Daddy wake you? Awww..." When Trunks didn't quieten, she held him out toward Vegeta. "Here, you take him."
Vegeta balked. "What? Are you insane, woman?"
Bulma rolled her eyes. "Just take him!"
Vegeta gingerly reached out and grasped Trunks under the armpits. The baby just hung there, suddenly looking confused as Vegeta held him at arm's length, as if afraid he would explode. Trunks tried to twist in his father's grip, staring up at his face with what looked like wonder. Bulma laughed.
"Well, I don't believe it. You actually got him to stop crying!" she said, grinning. Vegeta huffed.
"Just take your damn photograph, Bulma. I'm holding the brat, aren't I?"
Bulma smiled at the rare use of her name as she raised the camera.
Bulma smiled at the memory as she walked over to her purse. There, from inside one of the many pockets, she pulled that very photograph, slightly creased now. She had kept her promise to Vegeta and not put it on display. She'd never shown it to anyone, except to Trunks. A wave of sadness washed over her as she looked down at the picture: Trunks dangling in Vegeta's grasp, looking up at his father. Vegeta looking back down with a look of mingled confusion, annoyance, and something else Bulma couldn't quite place. Pride? Amazement? Embarrassment? She could never quite decide, it was buried too deep.
She missed him. She missed him so much. She missed his glares. She missed how he ate everything he could get his hands on. She missed him storming into her lab, yelling "Woman! Your machines have broken again. I demand you fix them at once, and don't use such an inferior design this time. Do you hear me, woman?"
But she also missed the way he said her name, the few times he did. Those times he looked at her in a way that made her heart jump. The way he looked at Trunks.
Vegeta had cared about her, and their son. She just hoped that Trunks would be able to see that himself, back in the past. She glanced back over her photographs, her memories.
"Vegeta..." she said out loud. "I'm so very proud of our son. And I know that you would be too, even though you'd never say it. He is strong, just like you said he would be." She stopped, drawing a shuddering breath. "You'd probably just call me a sniveling weakling if you ever heard me say this, but I miss you. I wish you were still here."
But her photographs were all she had left.
This just came into my head randomly at about five in the morning. I originally started it as part of another story, but this is what came out.
I thought Vegeta probably would disapprove of the name Trunks. xD I'm not very good with making up names, but I tried to make the names he came up with follow with the way Saiyan names are based on vegetables. Caulfa = cauliflower and Bruss = Brussel sprout. I couldn't think of much else. xD
It's been many years since I wrote a fanfiction, so I'm pretty out of practice, but I liked how this turned out. :)