Last chapter, peoples! Thanks so much for following this story, love you all! BTW, I totally made up any of this medical/scientific crap here. Believe none of it. Also, it's very early in the morning but I can't wait so there may be a few mistakes. If this is the case I might re-upload later.
Disclaimer: This is for my own strange sense of amusement.
Prompt: How To Save A Life, by the Fray
Chapter 4: Awake.
He was tired, so tired.
He was tired of fighting for what would never be his. He was tired of trying to be the best, he was tired of trying his hardest and receiving nothing, and he was tired of feeling so alone. He was tired of not understanding, tired of trying to understand, and tired of being the only one left. He was tired of dealing with that darkness that still lay quietly in the deepest corners of his heart, tired of pretending it wasn't still there, and tired of pretending he didn't want it gone.
He had been tired of fighting for his life daily under Frieza, and now he was tired of fighting for his pride daily under the shadow of a dead hero. But it wasn't just that his very soul was tired (and it was, make no mistake), but he was physically tired as well. He was tired of lying here helpless and tired of that burning in his chest. He was tired of wanting to sleep only to be forced into consciousness by pounding headaches and fast heartbeats. He was so exhausted…all he wanted was a little bit of uninterrupted rest. Was that so much to ask?
Something was different about this tiredness. It felt too smothering, too….dangerous. He could feel his strength slipping away slowly, and it only seemed to worsen when he reached to take it back. The harder he fought the darkness that threatened to consume him, the closer it came. Sometimes it felt like the pain was dulling, but that didn't reassure him in the slightest; why, he wondered, would it feel so dull and numbing, if he hadn't been given any medicine yet?
An unaware human might say that this strange tiredness was just a result of lying down for so long. After all, how long had it been since he'd truly moved? A human who knew better might say that it was just the effects of being comatose, and that he should be tired after all his heart had gone through.
Vegeta knew it wasn't either of these things. This numbness, this exhaustion, he'd felt it before. Only a few select people in the universe, all of which he knew personally, could ever know this feeling and live to tell about it. He'd felt it once already, and it was so sickeningly familiar that it actually frightened him. He had secretly prayed every day that he would never feel this feeling again, but here it was, in all its haunting glory.
It meant he was dying.
I'm so tired, I can barely think. The little cat-naps that I barely have time to take aren't helping me at all, no matter how much coffee I drink.
I was never a workaholic type person. I was a scientist who was blessed with riches and my dream job, which, to be perfectly honest, is more of a hobby to me than anything. Being who I am basically allowed me to go to and from work whenever I pleased (though I suppose that'll be different when I become president), building whatever I imagined at any given time...yeah, I had life easy. Working hard wasn't something I often did unless I just wanted to for the hell of it; I so rarely have to push my limits if it doesn't come from one of Vegeta's manipulative challenges, or hell, even my own challenges. If you don't dare me, or if I don't dare myself, work is not hard. Ever.
Amazing how things can just turn around like that in the blink of an eye, huh?
I have never worked so hard in my life. I have never felt so panicked, so helpless. I'm doing everything I can, and it's still not enough.
I'm so close.
Using Chichi and Gohan's blood as testers, I've created a sort of 'prototype' for the medicine. I compare the results of the two and take the human results away from Gohan's, leaving only the Saiyan results. After I make sure it won't...boil their blood, or something, I test it on Vegeta's. I always do this last; I don't want to have to take a lot of blood from him when he's already fighting for his life.
It's fascinating really. This virus is quite the adversary. It attaches directly to his red blood cells (which causes the pain as the blood pumps through his heart), so when the white blood cells in his immune system go to attack it, they can't, or else the red blood cells would be vanquished too. I've never seen anything like it.
The medicine is partially working. I go from microscope to petri-dish and back again, watching the powdered form of it peel away the virus and letting the white blood cells attack it. It's so close to being complete, but it doesn't separate the cells entirely. It's like it's barely hanging on by a string, and yet that's still enough to rip the red blood cells into pieces when the white cells start to attack the virus. That, as anyone could guess, would be problematic.
He doesn't scream as often now, and it goes without saying that that's not a good thing. I go to check on him regularly, every half hour, just to make sure he's alright. With all the people Daddy hired (thank God for fathers), it doesn't really put me behind schedule...or at least, any further behind than I already am. Vegeta's had the virus for almost six days. I'm running out of time.
It kills me seeing him like this. His skin is so flushed with fever, his breathing always heavy, his eyebrows knitted. Every time I come back to the lab, I'm crying. Every time I see him like that, terrible thoughts that I refuse to entertain go through my head, and I think...
What if I can't save him?
Yamcha snored heavily on the couch, his limbs sprawled in multiple directions, and I almost smiled.
But then that almost-smile fell off my face when I remembered why he's here, why I'm here. I really don't want Vegeta to die. We've lost enough people already.
Yamcha called me and Mother over to help out yesterday. Apparently, Trunks is a handful when he doesn't get what he wants. Mother was happy to go over. She's never liked Vegeta, that's for certain, but I think something about cooking for a full blooded Saiyan gives her this strange type of comfort. Me too, I guess. Not the cooking, of course, but you know what I mean. It's not like I talk to Vegeta all that much, nor is it like I'm in his presence often. But something about him reminds me of Dad. Not his personality, of course...I guess it is because he's a Full Blood. The natural aura of power they both had, the constant urge to fight, the love of movement...even though they were pretty much polar opposites, there was a lot of times where you'd see that they weren't all that different.
I jumped, realizing that Trunks had been calling me. "Sorry, Trunks," I said sheepishly, scratching the back of my neck. "What's the matter?"
"I wan see Daddy!"
I sighed. At first he'd just been pestering with 'Daddy', but when that didn't work, he started using his 'big boy talk', and had yet to see that it worked about the same. "Trunks, your Dad is sick right now, and your Mother doesn't want you catching it. You can see him later, okay?"
"Wan see Daddy now!" he said louder, glaring at me.
"Trunks, your mom said - Goten! Stop that!"
My baby brother, who is the spitting image of my father, has somehow gotten a hold of Miss Bulma's TV remote and is currently chewing on it. Now, for a normal baby, this probably wouldn't be much of a problem. But considering Goten is half Saiyan, and already has most of his teeth grown in...well, it wouldn't be the safest thing to let him do it.
He giggled as I took it and set it back down on the coffee table. "Go-go!" he said.
I groaned. "Gohan, Goten. Not Go-go. Gohan."
I face-palmed myself, which only made him laugh harder.
I turned and found my mother standing in the doorway that leads to the kitchen, wiping her hands on a hand towel. "Yeah?"
"Where's Trunks, honey?" she asked.
My eyes widened and I whirled, looking to the place where Trunks had been a half a second ago.
Yeah, that's definitely Vegeta's son.
He woke up when he felt hands on his arm. They are small and chubby, soft in a way that even the Woman's weren't.
Daddy. Okay. So...his offspring. And...Mirai was gone, right? Of course he was. He remembered, and besides, the Woman had said so. And he didn't have any other offspring, unless the Woman had neglected to tell him something, so it must have been Chibi Trunks. But that was...silly, because Trunks was downstairs with (shudder) the Weakling...and Kakabrat, now that he thought about it, and his son wasn't supposed to be up here with him, because he had a virus. And surely they weren't that stupid to let him come upstairs.
Maybe he was just imagining things. Could a virus give a person hallucinations? He didn't have clue. He never bothered learning about Earthling diseases, and besides, this one that he'd so conveniently picked up was rare.
The hands started smacking him, very softly. "Dad- " smack "-dy-" smack "-wake-" smack "-up!" smack.
He forced his eyes open, just so he could make sure he's not hallucinating (and so he knew to beat the shit out of someone when...if...he got out of bed) and saw two big blue eyes staring at him happily.
"Hiiiiiiiiiiii Daddy!" Trunks said, giving him a toothy smile.
His lips parted, dry and parched, but nothing came out except for a pained breath of air.
Trunks frowned and stood on his tip-toes as he leaned on his father's shoulder - he couldn't very well know that he was hurting his father, now could he? - and stared at him. "Daddy's sick?"
He very slowly pulled in some air - God knows he needed it - and finally spoke. "Yes, Trunks."
"Hmm...Feel bettah tomorrow, Daddy?"
Jeez, he's told the kid a hundred times to address him as Father. "I...no, Trunks. Not tomorrow."
Trunks pouted. "Why?"
Vegeta didn't answer.
"Wan fooood, Daddy?" Trunks said, switching tactics.
...Was he hungry? He couldn't remember. He was always hungry, wasn't he?
He heard the boy start to sniffle as he gazed at him with eerily blank eyes. "Daddy's really sick?"
"Really, really sick, Trunks," he rasped. He wasn't going to lie to his son. He had more honor than that.
Trunks' sniffling got louder, until he was all out bawling. Vegeta winced at the sharp sound so close to his ears, his headache worsening. "Hush, boy," he gasped out. "Hush."
Trunks immediately stopped sobbing - he knew that when his father said to shut up, you'd better shut up or you get the look and he'll yell at you. When Vegeta said nothing as the chibi looked at him expectantly, Trunks looked away, fidgeting. Vegeta closed his eyes again, his breathing shallow, and suddenly he felt more pressure on his shoulder, and something wet on his cheek.
Trunks had kissed him.
"Allll better?" the boy (was he two now? Had Vegeta missed his son's birthday?) asked hopefully.
Vegeta's mouth fell open, and he really had no clue of what he should say, but because he suddenly felt some foreign desire to be...what? A father? Is he qualified for that? He didn't know how to be a father. He didn't know how to love people. He knew how to destroy, to ruin. It's what he was trained for, what he was made for.
It had to be. It was all he knew.
But then, he thought about how God somehow graced him with a beautiful woman that put even his knowledge to shame, and how they have a son that's probably just as smart as her and just as strong as him, and he thinks that maybe that isn't true.
So he said, "Yes, son."
Gohan stood in the doorway, looking positively mortified. "Trunks, get back here!" he said, running in and picking up the purple haired child. Trunks struggled, demanding to be put down, but Gohan didn't comply.
"Sorry, Vegeta," he apologized. "I'll just take him so you can rest."
Vegeta gazed at him through half-lidded eyes for a moment, then licked his dry lips and said, "Where's my woman?"
Gohan blinked, not expecting the question, or even a response at all. "She's down in the lab, making medicine for you."
The Full Blood closed his eyes and slowly let out a hollowed breath, listening to Gohan's light footsteps and Trunks wails until both sounds disappeared far down the stairs.
He wondered if medicine would do anything now. Could you make a medicine in...why didn't someone come in here and tell him how long it had been? Why didn't he ask Gohan?
Once, his tired mind said, digging up an old, tired memory, once, you said you'd live until you defeated Frieza. Well, he died, so you said you'd live until you defeated Kakarot. And he's gone too. So what now?
Now, he'd live long enough to make sure his son married someone dark haired to get rid of that ridiculous purple gene.
His eyes opened for a moment and were instantly met with the dull white ceiling of the infirmary, only to flutter shut a second later. His ever dulling senses barely registered the fact that he heard someone running, and he ignored it, thinking that it was another dream, or another nightmare. He didn't open his eyes again until Bulma burst into the room as if being chased by a grizzly, a grin lighting her face as she started shouting at the top of her lungs.
"I DID IT!"
Vegeta had seemed to be terrifyingly still for the past few days, which I had determined was because the virus was starting to attack his nervous system too, therefore numbing out the pain. Well, if the pain was numbed before, it came back with a heavy, evil vengeance. With every tiny pill that was slid down his throat, his screams got louder and louder and louder. I gave him more shots to calm him, but with his adrenalin running on high, I might as well have given him a lollipop.
"Stupid Saiyan metabolism!" I shrieked as I tried to give him another.
"Shit, woman, that hurts!" he screamed.
I stopped and gaped at him. He...he talked! That had to mean he was feeling better, because otherwise he couldn't form coherent words!
It had been 6 days since the successful completion of the medicine, which I have yet to name. Vegeta has been screaming bloody murder non-stop, so much so that I've had Chichi take Trunks to her house so he can sleep, though Gohan and Yamcha have still been around to help (I've had the team create a ton more medicine, and given everyone in the house their own dose). I haven't really slept in over a week myself, but some extra heavy black coffee was always a friend of mine.
I have never been so relieved in my life. When I looked through the microscope and saw the virus being eaten away completely, I all but passed out with joy. It took me forever to realize what I had been doing wrong. I had eliminated a factor that was present in both Chichi and Gohan's blood. So, thinking it was only a human result, I didn't factor it into my calculations. There had been absolutely nothing I could do with the prototype until I went back and double checked all of my results...and here we are.
It scares me, how close I was to losing him. He was dying, halfway gone, and if I hadn't made the discovery of the medicine results when I did, I'd have lost him forever. Not even the mighty Eternal Dragon could have given him back to me. I was so close to being just like Mirai Bulma, so close to losing him...
On the seventh day, when Vegeta's screams begin to subside and he falls into a restful sleep, I finally sat down on our bed and cried.
After looking at a digital clock, I calculated that I had been out for 16 days. I would be told later that it took 10 days for the virus to be cleared out of my system.
Somewhere along the line of my recovery, my muddled senses picked up Kakarot's harpy and my son leaving the compound. They came back yesterday, I believe, and apparently the Sons and that Weakling are still here. This irritates me, but as long as I don't see them, I suppose I don't really care.
My legs felt like jelly when I stood, and even though I didn't stumble, my head pounded as if I've rammed it into a wall, and when I reached up to rub my temples, I felt the rough remains of stitches. It isn't long before I remembered where such a wound came from, and I wondered if my Woman has fixed the GR yet.
I was planning on heading to the kitchen first. For this reason, it surprised me to find that I had instead made my way into Trunk's room. He is asleep on his twin sized bed, fist in his mouth.
See, he's here.
I growled absentmindedly and pushed the irritating voice back, this time with ease.
The brat was wearing a shirt that said, "If you think I'm cute, you should see my Daddy". I scowled heavily at this, making a mental note to burn the hideous garment the second Bulma took it off him...preferably before his birthday party tomorrow, where everyone could see it.
I scratched my cheek absentmindedly, and grimaced in remembrance of a sloppy, two year old kiss. Almost instinctively, I pulled Trunks's fist from his mouth gently, trying not to wake the boy. His fist made a small 'pop' as if left his slightly slobbery lips, and to my dismay, his blue eyes fluttered open a second later. Trunks gazed at me sleepily, blinking, before his eyes widened in delight, a giant grin on his face. "Daddy!" he yelled.
I winced at the shrill sound, but Trunks, being a toddler, took no notice. "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, DADDY'S UP!" he shrieked. With that, he jumped to his feet on the bed and practically lunged at me. I grunted, almost dropping him, but the brat grabbed fistfuls of my hair and hauled himself back up.
"Ow," I protested.
He just giggled, still bouncing in my arms with excitement. "Daddy's UUUUUUUUUUUUP!" he cried.
I sighed as he wrapped his arms around my neck and squeezed with impressive force. On instinct, I nosed his hair, and he giggled again, apparently tickled. "You're making me soft, brat," I said, only half irritably.
I whirled, and Trunks squealed happily. The Woman stood in the doorway, looking positively exhausted, and I frowned.
"You...you're awake," she said, eyes wide.
I blinked at her. "Yes, of course. You cured me, didn't you?"
She swallowed. "I..." her voice trailed off, and she let out something that sounded like a cross between a sob and a hiccup, and suddenly, I was tackled yet again.
"If you ever scare me like that again I'll find a way to kill you myself!" she yelled, smacking my chest with her tiny fist. "Dammit, Vegeta! I thought you were going to die!"
I snorted. "Foolish woman. As if some disease could ever get the best of me."
"I hate you," she sobbed, hugging me tightly. "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, dammit, I love you so much."
I sighed heavily and finally wrapped my free arm around her, which ended up being the only thing that kept her from collapsing. I frowned suddenly, quickly sensing out her Ki. It didn't satisfy me any that it was jumping...I couldn't tell if it was from crying or from...
"Woman, did you take the medicine?" I demanded.
She hiccupped and looked up at me, nodded as she brushed away tears. "I gave some to everybody, even Trunks. Of course, I had to make sure it was 'baby safe' first, but -"
"Stop right there," I ordered, "before you start trying to explain to me exactly how you did it."
She laughed a watery laugh and squeezed me tighter. Trunks giggled happily and patted her hair, at which she laughed again.
"Daddy's up," he told her, giving us both a giant, toothy smile.
"I know, sweetie," Bulma said. She looked up at me then, blue eyes twinkling. "And he'd better stay that way for a good, long time."
I scowled at her. "Woman, believe me when I say you will never, ever have the chance to coddle me again."
She kissed me.
Thank you all for following Comatose and for REVIEWing. Guess it kinda took me a while to get off my lazy butt and actually finish it, eh? Well, now I can start that new one that's so popular in my poll.
Look for Weapon of Mass Creation, coming June, 2012!