A/N: If you think you recognize me, you're correct. I have changed my name from REfreak to THERE'SAfreak because it incorporates my real name better. I think it also shows how I have progressed as a writer through the years and my earlier work now makes me blush in embarrassment. I would have had this story up so much earlier since I had started working on it right after I published Watching Her Sleep but school and my xbox prevented me from that. I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I own no part of Dragonball Z or the Dragonball Series.


And the Flames Dwindled

Earth was safe.

Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Earth, this phrase had to be stated often in recent years. In the past decade, the planet had been plagued with evil beings that chose the fragile grounds of the planet as their starting point. Yet today was a day for rejoicing, because today the Earth was safe once again from danger. The strong and ruthless Buu had been brought down from his reign of terror and celebration quickly spread throughout the globe. One party that had to be the best of the best though was filled with the bravest fighters of the world and their family and friends.

Capsule Corp. had been buzzing for the past few hours with plenty of people themselves buzzed or even further along the path to being completely wasted. Now the party was finally quiet and cleaning bots were picking up the multitude of trash that littered the hallways. Many guests of the household were asleep on the atrium floor, and the whole building seemed to be at peace again now that the night had taken over the sky completely.

Only one thing disturbed this peace. Trudging down the hallways of Capsule Corp. was a hunched over figure in white boots. Although tired, this figure was still restless. Jet black hair still stood proud and tall, no matter how many rough battles it underwent. Large muscles tensed as the man opened the door and flew onto the top of the dome to assess the events. From his spot on the roof he could see the two teenage lovebirds lying on the lawn as they chose to spend the night looking at the stars in each others arms. The man let out a smirk at the sight. He was far from calling anything "cute" but any normal person who believed in romance would say this sight was. Yet the scene was doing nothing from distracting him from his current problem. A very strong emotion was plaguing his mind all throughout the celebrations. He could not escape the feeling. The man crossed his arms and clenched his eyes shut, allowing the emotion to finally flood over his being.

Guilt.

Vegeta felt completely and utterly guilty. In his mind, he was the whole reason this terror was allowed to begin, and that was because he was weak. Before tonight, he believed that emotions made him weak. Vegeta was only partially right. All his life he had be raised and trained to be a ruthless warrior. Nothing mattered but fighting and honor. Pride in strength was the only way to live for a Saiyan. Through this desire to have the "old" Vegeta back, he allowed some disgusting creature to enter his mind and bring the dark past out of him. "How could I be so foolish?" Vegeta asked aloud. "Did I really believe that by becoming a mind slave I would be free?"

Now he realized that he would be free. Being "soft" and having a family were not emotions that made one weak. Longing for power and false pride were desires that made a person weak.

"I lived by my strength alone, uninhibited by foolish emotion."

Gaining more strength was not how someone became powerful. The real reason he realized now was having a true unselfish goal to fight for.

Family.

It was his family that caused him to put everything on the line in his extremely prolonged fight with Buu. On numerous occasions, Goku, had to remind him of this. Every time he was right and every time it irked Vegeta that a man he once detested with every fiber of his being had to tell him that. No matter how much he loved to fight, he had come to realize now that there was a true purpose. Once he had fought for the sheer rush of adrenaline that swirled through his whole body with every jab and energy beam. Even during Buu he had felt the same power as well. Yet now the images of blood and pain were replaced with images of his wife and son. The urge for shielding them overwhelmed the urge to hear bones snapping and cries of horror.

For a brief moment, Vegeta wondered if his father would approve of his choice.


Moonlight crept through his son's bedroom window. On the floor by the door were three toys stacked up in a pile. The rest of the room was tidy save for the fact that two miniature Sayains were underneath the covers. Vegeta walked towards his son when he noticed that the boy was not fully asleep yet. "Dad?" Trunks whispered, his purple bangs slightly covering his face.

"Yes, my son?" Vegeta asked

"I'm sorry, I-" The thought was interrupted when the Prince held up his hand.

"Don't be."

"You've made me proud, my son."

Trunks' eyes were growing heavier while Goten still remained asleep. "Trunks," Vegeta spoke again, "I meant what I said." Before the boy could ask what he meant by his father's statement, sleep had defeated him for the night. Vegeta smiled, no longer caring if the action was considered weak or not. He had just saved the earth from the worst villain to ever attempt to destroy it; a simple facial expression could not betray him.

Vegeta felt the blue-haired heiress approach the doorway before she made her presence known. "Are they asleep?" she whispered.

The Saiyan prince hesitated before responding. "Yes." He turned towards the door, but did not look at her. Instead he walked past her into the hallway in the direction of their shared bedroom. She closed the door to their son's room.

"Vegeta," she said as she placed a hand on her husband's shoulder. "Thank you."

"What for?" He gruffly asked as he entered their room.

"Do I have to explain? Everything of course."

Vegeta opened the door to the balcony and walked outside to once again look at the numerous stars up above in the night air. He sighed and continued. "Bulma, you should not give me your thanks."

Her feminine form still clad in a red dress followed him outside and stood next to him, resting her arms on the wall of the balcony. "Vegeta, you saved the world. Centuries ago, people were named the hero of their village simply if they saved a cow from a barn burning down. In my opinion, you deserve to be seen as the hero of the entire earth."

"Did he start the fire?"

"What? He who?"

"I asked if this hero who saved the farm animal started the barn."

"Well it was just an example, so I'm not sure."

"What if he did?"

"What if he started the fire?"

"Yes. Would he still be a hero?"

"I… Don't know. He made up for his mistake at least." Her husband grunted at her response. A silence fell over the pair. Bulma attempted to reach out and touch his arm, but stopped at his next question.

"What if I started the fire?"

His question puzzled her. "What fire?"

"The barn fire. What if I had started it?"

"Vegeta, you haven't set fire to any barns."

"Yes, I did."

"No, you haven't."

"Yes. I did."

She paused before asking her next question. "You're not talking about a real fire now, are you?" Her voice was softer and less joyful.

"No. I'm not."

"What exactly are you trying to say?"

Vegeta's hands gripped the edge of the balcony. "Everything was my fault."

"What? Vegeta don't say that."

"It's true, Bulma! I'm the monster here! This would have never happed if it wasn't for me. I was foolish and for that I was the reason this happened. For a time, I had only thought about myself and allowed for the destruction of the whole entire planet. I even helped him directly! I killed innocent people for the first time since I was on Namek! Because of my ignorance I assisted the strongest evil to ever threaten the universe-"

"Have you been listening to what you've been saying?"

"I- What?"

"Do you hear what you're saying? It's not like you're bragging about this happening. You regret it. You're sorry for what you've done. It's your guilt that prevents you from being a true monster."

There was that word again. Guilt. It was confirmed through Bulma that Vegeta did in fact regret his actions.

"Vegeta, hearing your voice was the happiest moment in my life," Bulma continued. "Knowing that you were there to protect us was incredible. Don't ever forget that."

"People of the earth..."

"How do I," he started to say before trailing off.

"How do you what?"

Vegeta sighed. "How do I atone for the mistakes I've made?"

Bulma chuckled softly. "You already have." She stood up straight and placed her hand on Vegeta's shoulder. "Come to bed. You've earned it." She walked towards the still open door to their bedroom and did not look back, knowing that he would come when he was ready.

Vegeta did not move for a few moments. He looked at the stars one last time in the direction he assumed his home planet had been. Again, the question of his father's approval entered his mind. Vegeta turned towards his bedroom and through the sheer curtains could see his wife's form on the bed. Whether or not his father approved, he didn't care. All that mattered was that Vegeta had figured out what truly mattered to him, and anyone who thought he was wrong could go to hell. He walked into his room and closed the door behind him.


A/N: Hope you enjoyed! Please comment! Looking in the future, I plan to write an Assassin's Creed story today and publish it in a week. I also plan to write a full-length Resident Evil story, but we'll see how that turns out when school begins again. Thank you everyone!