Bulma woke up months later at two in the morning with only one thing on her mind.
She NEEDED to get herself some pickles.
One hand supporting her large stomach, Bulma yawned as she slowly pushed herself up so she was sitting. She glanced over at her husband in bed next to her to make sure she hadn't woken him, but Vegeta was sprawled out on his stomach, face turned away from her and snoring away. Yawning again, Bulma decided to get up and get herself a bowl of some cold, delicious, juicy pickles. Oh, she craved other things at times too, but pickles still reigned supreme, enough so that she always seemed to have a jar nearby while she worked. She had joked with her friends that hopefully it didn't mean the baby would be sour – but there was a high chance of that happening, considering who the father was.
Just a few weeks to go, she reminded herself as she ventured into her kitchen a few minutes later, flicking on the light. She was technically only seven months pregnant, although her pregnancy was still accelerated – she was equivalent to about eight and a half months. Things were moving normally, just faster, much more so than with Trunks. The result meant that Bulma was consuming an obscene amount of food, apparently due to her ravenous, growing half-Saiyan daughter.
One hand went to her stomach when a pang of hunger struck. Bulma sighed, rolling her eyes. "I hear you kid, I'm going, I'm going," she mumbled, opening the refrigerator. To her dismay, however, there were no more pickles. Nothing else looked appetizing. She sighed again, pulling out a gallon of milk to check the date on it, debating making a bowl of cereal even though she knew she wouldn't bother, when the baby kicked. Hard.
Bulma gasped and dropped the milk, grimacing in pain as she doubled over. Before it had the chance to hit the floor, though, Vegeta was suddenly there to catch it with one hand. He instantly steadied his wife's lower back with his other hand. Bulma grasped onto him, making the prince quickly put the milk back before putting his arms around her in something dangerously close to an embrace. He released a breath, relieved that she and the child were fine. Bulma's ki changing in response to pain had immediately woken him, and he had reacted without hesitation.
"What is it?" he asked, frowning. His voice was rougher than usual from sleep, his eyes squinting in the bright light of the kitchen. Still, he couldn't hide his concern in his voice and in his eyes as he moved one hand protectively to her stomach.
"The kid kicks hard," Bulma told him, smiling through her grimace. Not nearly as hard as Trunks did though – I always thought he was going to kill me, she added silently. Knowing full well her husband's guilt over being absent for their son's pregnancy, though, she kept the thought to herself. Vegeta scowled as he closed the refrigerator door.
"Her ki is restless," he commented, lowering his gaze as he snuck his hand into her robe and under her maternity gown, so he could feel her skin over her stomach. Bulma released a deep breath in relief when a warm yellow light pulsed around his hand, easing her pain. Who needed heating pads when your husband was a Saiyan?
"She's probably hungry. Or maybe it's just me. I don't know, I'm just starving," she admitted.
Vegeta kept his hand where it was, raising his dark eyes to her blue ones. His eyebrows drew together in firm disapproval. "Wretched female, you should have woken me. What if you had fallen down the stairs?" he demanded.
Bulma smiled, leaning in to kiss him on the cheek. "Impossible, with you around."
He rolled his eyes, and finally removed his hand from her skin when he saw that her pain had subsided. Their unborn daughter's ki signature was also calmer now, but if the girl did need nutrition, he imagined it wouldn't last. "There are fruits around here somewhere," he grumbled as he scanned over the kitchen, fighting back a yawn as one hand absently scratched his bare chest.
"We're out of pickles," Bulma sighed. Her blue eyes perked up though as she looked over at her husband, and his frown deepened. He didn't like that look. "But, since you're awake, can you go buy me some?"
"You are eating far too many pickles, woman. It's obscene," he argued. "You should eat other fruits and vegetables, or even better, some protein-"
"You're not hearing me. I want pickles," Bulma fiercely asserted, no argument in her voice as she scowled at him. Vegeta's eye twitched, and he swallowed a little. He really didn't like that look. "So if you're not going to go buy me some, then I will go get in the car and get some myself."
"You know I don't want you in one of those pathetic, unsafe human vehicles," he growled in annoyance. "They offer no protection in case there is an accident on the road."
"Then come with me, or go for me. Either way, I'm getting my goddamn pickles tonight, Vegeta."
Vegeta broke their eye contact, scowling as he turned away from her and rested his hands on his hips. He glared at the wall, before exhaling through his nose. Neither option was appealing, especially not for some fucking pickles of all things, but more importantly because he wanted to go back to bed. But he didn't want her traveling alone in her condition, and he preferred her resting, so truly, there was only one choice.
"Fine," he tersely spat out, before turning back to his wife. "I will go out and retrieve the fucking pickles."
"Don't get all huffy and mad about it, you jerk," Bulma chastised him, even as he gently lifted her into his arms, scooping her up with ease. He rolled his eyes as he carried her out of the kitchen and back upstairs. "This is your fault, you know."
He scoffed. "How the hell is this my fault?"
"The Saiyan appetite isn't from me!"
"The girl will be a Saiyan warrior. She needs her nutrition so she can grow," Vegeta gruffly stated. Bulma's eyes softened over how he spoke about their daughter, and she put her arms around his neck as he carried her into the bedroom. He scowled when she nuzzled her nose against his neck, kissing him just under his jaw.
"Our girl is going to be a Daddy's girl, I think," she teased.
He raised an eyebrow in curiosity, unsure what that meant. Of course she was going to be his girl, she was his daughter. Not bothering to respond, he laid Bulma down gently on their bed. The prince then went about getting dressed so he could venture out to make the ridiculous purchase his wife required. Finally, he sat down on the edge of his bed, his black steel-toed boots in hand as he started unlacing them.
Bulma turned on her side, her most comfortable position to lay down in as she gazed at his back. She smiled a little as he quietly went about putting on his boots, remembering when she had bought that same pair of boots for him over a decade prior. Her happiness over having him by her side through this pregnancy ran deeper than she could have ever imagined.
"Thanks for going out for me, sweetheart."
"Hn," he grunted, leaning forward to quickly lace up his boots.
"I love you," she said, smiling a little.
She sighed and reached over for her pregnancy book on her nightstand, before snuggling into her warm blankets. "Whatever, grouch. Oh, can you pick up some frozen pork chops, while you're at it? Trunks likes those, so maybe I'll have the bots prep some for dinner tomorrow-"
The balcony door slid closed behind the prince, making Bulma blink as she looked up, barely able to catch a glimpse of her husband walking out onto the balcony. She frowned in his direction, muttered under her breath about rude Saiyans, and then picked up her book while she waited impatiently for his return.
Not even two minutes later, the prince strode back in through the main bedroom door, startling her. Before Bulma could get a word out, Vegeta tossed a new jar of pickles onto the bed so it landed near his wife, and tossed her a fork for good measure.
"Holy crap, that was fast!" Bulma exclaimed. She eagerly put aside her book and picked up the jar and the fork as she shifted to sit back up. "What did you do? Rob the store?" she joked.
"Yes," he replied, pulling his shirt off over his head.
Bulma looked up, catching his eye. To her horror, she realized he was dead serious. "Oh my god, Vegeta," she groaned, making him scowl.
"What?" he defensively spat out. "I went in, got the materials you asked for, then got out. No one even noticed. It took me a minute or so though, to find the damn pickles," he admitted as he dropped and stepped out of his jeans. "The meat you asked for has filled all the fridges in the garages. It should suffice for Trunks and me."
Bulma had her face covered with her hands. "You're supposed to pay for that stuff. You know that."
"Your pathetic human law enforcement is more than welcome to come and try to arrest me," he snapped nastily. Honestly, he was too tired to give a damn about human bullshit that night. Climbing back on his side of the bed, he got under the covers, laying on his back as he glared up at the ceiling.
"What's up with you? Why are you so crabby tonight? You're not the one dealing with a half Saiyan kid growing inside of you."
Vegeta reached up to rub his eyes. His senses had always been sensitive where Trunks and Bulma were concerned. In the last month, however, his senses regarding Bulma's ki had become extraordinarily fine-tuned and granular. The slightest fluctuation due to pain, or fear, or any heightened emotion could wake him from a dead sleep, and always left him feeling panicked as he ensured that she and their daughter were safe. Or even worse – that she wasn't in labor yet when they still had a short stretch to go. Not only that, but over the last couple of months, he was starting to recognize and familiarize himself with his daughter's ki signature. The girl's ki signature would rise randomly out of the blue during the night, which Bulma often slept through, but he could not.
Needless to say, he hadn't gotten much sleep as of late. He glanced over at his wife, who was crunching on a pickle in bed next to him, holding the jar and looking back at him curiously.
"It's nothing. I'm fine," he grumbled. She was carrying his child with Saiyan blood, and he could see that it wasn't an easy task. He refused to complain about his recent lack of sleep, especially when he knew that there were quite a few nights when she also couldn't sleep well. And with a screaming brat on the way, it may be some time before we both get good sleep again, he relented to himself.
"If you say so," she said, disbelievingly, frowning at him. She looked back down at her jar of pickles that she was rapidly working through.
The prince exhaled through his nose, before moving towards her. She was sitting up, so he buried his face against her hip, his arm loosely but protectively going around the bottom of her stomach and over her legs. He laid down as close to her as he could, his fingers lightly roaming the skin of her thigh, apologizing with his touch.
Bulma put her fork in the jar, holding it in one hand. She used her free hand to reach down and lightly scratch just behind Vegeta's ear, accepting his apology with her own touch. She felt the tension in his arm bleed away when she did, and within a minute, he was snoring softly again. When she was sure that he was definitely down for the count, she went back to munching on her pickles, smiling as she remembered he was the reason she had them that night. Looking down at her stomach, her smile grew.
"We're almost ready for you, kiddo."
"Bah, damn it," Trunks muttered the next day. He was sitting on the edge of his bed clad in only his boxer briefs, a headset on, gaming hard. The teenager bit his bottom lip, rapidly pressing the buttons of his X-Box controller, tilting the controller and leaning to the side as he tried navigating his character through the battlefield he was on. "Almost…almost…"
"TRUNKS!" The teenager was so startled, he almost dropped his controller. He glanced warily at the door, sensing his father angrily approaching as he wondered what he had done this time.
"Yeah?" he called out, pausing his gameplay. When Vegeta finally opened the door to his room, Trunks gave him a glance out of the corner of his eye, smiling nervously. "Morning, Dad."
Vegeta glared at him angrily. "How many fucking times do we need to tell you, boy? When you serve yourself a beverage, finish EVERYTHING. Don't leave two drops in the goddamn container and put it back in the fridge!"
"Oh yeah, right right. Sorry, I thought there was enough for a cup of juice left," Trunks sheepishly said.
"Well there wasn't. Don't do it again."
"I won't, I promise."
"And turn that shit off. It's time for breakfast."
"Can I get just one more minute? I'm sooo close! Please, Dad?" Trunks anxiously asked. Without waiting for a reply, the 13-year-old unpaused the game.
Vegeta scowled, inclined to say no. Curiosity got the best of him though when he heard the sounds of the game which included gunshots, and he walked fully into his son's room, coming to stand in front of his bed so he could see. The prince grunted and crossed his arms, watching the video game in action. It was a first-person shooting game, in a war setting. It only took a second for him to recognize it as the game he had personally selected as a gift for his son's last birthday. He wasn't invested into gaming like his son was, and had merely picked the most violent game out of the catalog Bulma had shown him, much to her objections. When he had raised the point that the boy had already seen life-or-death battle, she had relented.
The prince snickered. He would have been more pleased if his son was training, but seeing some virtual bloodshed and death wasn't so terrible, he supposed. "We will expect you in five minutes," he informed the teenager, before turning back to the door to head back downstairs.
"Do you wanna try it, Dad?" Trunks asked, making his father pause and look back at him, raising an eyebrow. The teenager offered him a smile. Bulma's pregnancy had, oddly enough, done much to improve his relationship with his father and heal the last remaining bits of resentment he had held. Vegeta had always had his guard lowered at home, especially around his mother, but the pregnancy had opened up another side of the prince that Trunks had never seen. It had done much to heal his perception of his dad when he saw how gentle he was when touching his mom, and how he was often carrying her around to make things easier on her. His father was gruff, crass, and abrasive with his words, but now that Trunks was older, he was seeing Vegeta in a different light than he ever had.
Trunks' smile spread to a grin as he extended the spare controller usually reserved for Goten to his father. "I think you might like it. Mom reinforced the controllers too, so we can't break them…"
Fifteen minutes later, Bulma was downstairs, sitting at their breakfast table alone. She had been pleased to see that Vegeta had "retrieved" twenty pickle jars (she had already made a very generous anonymous donation to the grocery store to compensate them for her husband's theft), and she was already crunching on one as she stared at her half-eaten pancakes. She scowled when she looked at the enormous breakfast spread she had prepared for her husband and son (with the help of her cooking bots, of course). Vegeta had gone upstairs to chastise Trunks after the boy left just a few drops of orange juice in the carton, again, and also to retrieve him so they could eat. But it had been fifteen minutes and the food was getting cold.
"Vegeta! Trunks!" she yelled, for the third time. She knew they could hear her, with their damn Saiyan hearing. Finally, she sighed in agitation as she decided she would go investigate and make sure Vegeta hadn't killed their firstborn over some orange juice.
It took her a little time to walk up the stairs in her state. Finally, she reached her son's room and paused, blinking at the scene that greeted her.
"HA! Take that, damn bastard," Vegeta cackled as he sat next to his son on the edge of Trunks' bed, a controller in his hands as he furiously pressed the buttons. Both of them were wearing headsets now, teaming up to play against two players online. The prince had only meant to try the game for a few seconds, but his fiercely competitive nature had won out. Now, he was in it to win and destroy - even if only virtually.
"Yeah! Get him, Dad!" Trunks hollered, pressing the buttons on his own controller. "I'll kill the one hiding behind the car!"
"I need more ammunition, goddamn it," Vegeta snarled. Father and son both leaned to their right, both of them pressing the buttons on their controllers so hard that they would have long shattered the controllers, were it not for the woman staring at them both in exasperation.
"Ahem," Bulma cleared her throat. As happy as she was that they were bonding over video games, she was hungry. She frowned when they didn't look over. "What are you two doing? Video games are not allowed this early, and it's time for breakfast."
"We'll be down in a minute," Vegeta stated, eyes focused on the screen.
Bulma huffed in annoyance. "I don't think so, tough guy. The food is already getting cold."
"In a minute."
"Oh, there's some ammo, Dad!"
"In the building, by the-"
"Excuse me! You will both come down NOW for breakfast!" Bulma yelled at them, earning shocked looks from father and son. She balled her hands into fists on her hips, glaring daggers at both of them. "I freaking prepared breakfast for us to eat as a FAMILY and GODDAMNIT we are going to fucking eat as a family, so turn this game off before I BREAK IT! AM I CLEAR?!"
"Yes," Vegeta and Trunks quickly said at the same time, both of them nodding. Bulma stared them down a moment longer, before turning and slowly walking back to the staircase.
The prince removed his headset, tossing the controller back to his son. "Shut this down and get dressed. It's time for breakfast," he ordered the teenager, who nodded and started doing just that. Vegeta then stood up and went after his wife.
He was there before she could take a step down the stairs. She glared angrily at him, but put her arm around his shoulders anyway as he lifted her up into his arms to carry her down. He nervously cleared his throat, feeling Bulma's intense gaze on him.
"I don't like video games being played in my house before 8 in the morning, Vegeta," she firmly told him as he carried her down the steps. He just grunted, deeming it wiser to keep his mouth shut. His hands were occupied, so he had no means to defend himself if she decided to whack him.
They both finally made it back to the kitchen, safe and unwhacked. Trunks soon joined them, and the family sat down to eat. Bulma's anger passed as she watched them both eat the food she had prepared, taking a small sip of her coffee. Things had calmed down as Vegeta used a tablet next to his plate to skim the news.
"So, are you ready to go to Daddy Boot Camp?" Bulma asked her husband. Across from Vegeta, Trunks snickered. When he saw the death glare his father gave him, however, he quickly shoved pancakes into his mouth.
"As ready as I will be, to go to such a stupid and foolish thing," Vegeta sneered, lifting his cup of coffee for a sip. Needless to say, he regretted ever making that commitment. He could have blamed the alcohol for making him tell his wife he would give it a chance, but he preferred to blame Krillin.
"Um, excuse me, it's not a stupid and foolish thing! It's for our daughter!" Bulma snapped at him. The prince rolled his eyes as he drank his hot coffee, but before he could respond, Trunks gave a sound of disgust.
"Aw man, there are bits of egg shell in here," the teenager muttered with a scowl as he poked around his scrambled eggs with his fork.
"You know what? Maybe next time, both of you can make your own breakfast," Bulma informed them. Vegeta blinked, and then looked alarmed when he could smell his wife's tears as she stood up. "I try to do my best, and no one helps me around here, and no one appreciates me!" she cried, heading out of the kitchen. "My feet hurt, and I tried to make us a nice breakfast, and I can't even manage that! My son doesn't like my eggs, my husband never helps me, and my daughter is only craving fucking PICKLES!"
Vegeta and Trunks exchanged a look. The prince sighed, shoving his plate away. "Finish your food, then clean this up so your mother doesn't have to," he ordered.
He then stood up and walked after his wife, bracing himself. He found her near the front door, shoving things angrily into her purse. He came over to stand next to her, but she was ignoring him. He could still smell her tears though.
"What do you need my help with, woman?" he asked.
"Nothing," she snapped.
Vegeta closed his eyes, willing himself to have patience and not lose his temper. He forced himself to count to ten, and then tried again.
"Bulma…" he breathed, frowning as he opened his eyes again. "I don't know what I'm not doing, if you don't tell me. I'm going to the father training thing today. I don't refuse the requests to go out and get you food at all hours of the night. I have not denied you anything, to my knowledge. If there's something else I need to do, tell me, because I cannot read your mind."
Bulma hesitated, before looking over at him as they made eye contact. Her face cracked with emotion, and he stepped closer and gently pulled her into an embrace right as she began to cry. Vegeta sighed as he rubbed her back.
"I'm sorry," she sniffed, struggling to regain her composure, her face against his neck. He could feel her tears on his skin, and he lowered his head a little as he held her closer. They had been married going on eleven years now, and it was still rare for him to outright embrace her openly like he was doing. But it was also rare for his wife to shed tears in his presence. He chalked it up to her pregnancy; as her husband, he needed to be the steady one to support her through it. It was a responsibility he was trying his best to take seriously.
"It's fine. Nothing to apologize for."
"I'm just, I'm so tired. My feet are swollen and they hurt, and my back hurts, and when the baby kicks, it really, really hurts, Vegeta."
"I know. It will be over soon."
"I'm ready to have my body back, to get her out of me, you know? Does that make me a bad mother?" she miserably asked, fresh tears coming to her eyes as she clutched him tighter. He sighed again. "We tried so hard to have another baby."
"We did, and we are having another child. The pregnancy is nearing its end, woman. The child will be here soon, and then you will have your body back. I don't think you're a bad mother for wanting that."
"I don't want to do this again."
He shrugged. "Fine by me. Two children are more than enough."
Bulma sniffed, brushing at her eyes, before pulling back a little from him. She rested her hands on his chest as he settled his hands on her waist. She looked up and made eye contact with him, both of them studying the other. There was a little wariness in Vegeta's gaze, as though he didn't know what to do or what to say to make her feel better. Bulma smiled a little bit, and leaned forward to kiss him lightly on the lips.
"You don't have to go to the Daddy Boot Camp if you really don't want to, hon," she told him.
"Hn," Vegeta grunted, breaking their eye contact as he looked off to the side. "I said I'd go at least once to see for myself. I do what I say I'll do, woman."
"I love you, you know."
Vegeta pulled away from his wife, both of them looking over at Trunks as he walked into the living room. The teenager looked sheepish, scratching the back of his head.
"I didn't mean anything bad earlier with the eggs. They were really good! I'm sorry I hurt your feelings."
"You're fine, kiddo. No worries," Bulma said, smiling at her son. Trunks was Vegeta's height now, and she couldn't help but wonder where the time had gone. Her little boy wasn't little anymore. Looking back and forth between him and her husband, she pursed her lips. "You know what? Why don't you go with your dad to the Daddy Boot Camp? I know you're not the dad, but you're the big brother, so it may be good for you to learn some things too."
Vegeta looked over his shoulder and caught the aghast look on his son's face. He smirked. That's what you get for laughing at me earlier, you little shit.
"Yes, I think that is a good idea," the prince agreed. "Go and get dressed, boy. We'll leave in five minutes."
"You can also keep an eye on your dad, to make sure he behaves," Bulma added, making Vegeta growl low in his throat, which only made her laugh.
"Alriiight, I guess I'll go," Trunks sighed, heading up the stairs to his room. If he was going to go, he was at least bringing his cell phone with him so he could Snapchat his dad in secret. Goten, Gohan, and Krillin would all love to see that.
Unaware of his boy's scheming, Vegeta turned back to his wife, his dark eyes drifting downwards to her stomach. "And you will be fine while I am away?"
"Yeah, I'm just gonna rest a little, and then maybe send off a few thank you notes for the gifts I got from the baby shower. Maybe do a little work too, if I'm up for it."
He frowned in disapproval. "Work?"
"Just on my laptop here at home. I'll be fine, don't worry."
Vegeta turned a little, but visibly hesitated. "Are you sure?"
"Well, if it makes you feel better, hon, take your cell phone with you. Then I can message you in case anything happens."
"Fine. Let me know immediately if anything happens."
"Immediately," he emphasized.
"I will," Bulma asserted with a smile. She went over and kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks. It's good to have you here this time around."
He shrugged as though it was nothing, even though he silently agreed. It was good to be there, to be relied upon…to be needed. It was good to see his child developing and his woman being strong enough to handle it. The prince lowered his gaze to her stomach again, scowling as he growled, "And you. I know you can hear me in there, brat. You better behave or I'll be yanking that tail and then leaving you out in the cold."
"Uh huh," Bulma said knowingly, her blue eyes dancing. "Suuuure you will."
"Alright, I'm ready!" Trunks yelled, jogging down the stairs. His phone was charged and ready to go. He came around, looking at his father expectantly.
"Good. Let's go get this over with," Vegeta grumbled, heading towards the front entrance with Trunks on his heels.
"Have a good time, boys!" Bulma called after them as they both stepped outside.
A short while later, Vegeta was not having a good time.
"Welcome, Mr. Briefs. Sign the check in sheet here, and then grab your baby," the receptionist told him without looking up from her desk. Vegeta and Trunks exchanged a glance.
The prince's eyes shifted back to the woman before him, and he scowled as he scribbled his signature on the check-in sheet. "The child hasn't been born yet, so I can't."
"No no no. Over there."
The woman pointed with her pen, and Vegeta looked. Along the far wall of the lobby was a table, filled with bundles…of children? Vegeta blinked. No, it couldn't have been. He wasn't getting a ki signature from any of the infants.
Shifting his gaze to his son, he ordered him, "Go look."
"Is your son going to participate?" the woman asked, finally looking up at him as she adjusted her glasses. Vegeta looked back, giving a brisk nod. "That should be fine, but he will have to sit out for the third module on Wednesday. Here is the schedule."
Vegeta grunted and snatched the schedule from her, before walking over to his son. He skimmed it while walking over, and then checked the third module, raising one eyebrow as he did. How to rekindle your sex life with Mom after the baby is born. Yes, he would probably have Trunks not accompany him for that one, lest he traumatize his firstborn. He himself was more than a little interested in attending that one though.
"They're all dolls!" Trunks exclaimed when Vegeta finally got to him. The boy smirked as he handed one to his father. "Here's your baby, Dad."
Vegeta exhaled through his nose, glaring at the bundle with pure contempt. Yes, it was a bundle with a doll of an infant inside of it. The doll had a stupid smile on its face, like a clown. Or like Kakarot.
"I am not touching that fucking thing. I don't know where it's been."
Reaching out, he grabbed a handful of the blanket the doll was wrapped up in with one hand, snatching it out of his son's hands. He then carried the bundle at his side like it was a piece of luggage, muttering under his breath as he headed towards the entrance for the boot camp. He was unaware of the 13-year-old behind him who was using Snapchat every step of the way.
As soon as Vegeta stepped through the entrance of what looked like a gym, an upbeat man with bright red hair and big black glasses immediately mozied over to him, greeting him happily.
"Welcome to Daddy Boot Camp! And you are?"
Wanting to kill you, Vegeta silently answered. He remained silent, glaring at the man as Trunks came up next to him.
"This is my dad, Vegeta. I'm Trunks," the teenager informed him with a grin, suddenly so happy he came along. He was going to have Snapchat material for a decade.
"Good to meet you both! I am Alexander, one of the instructors of Daddy Boot Camp. And have you – oh no! You can't carry your baby like that, Vegeta," Alexander chastised, reaching out for the bundle in Vegeta's hand. The prince instinctively growled and took a step back, and the motion made the doll come loose in the bundle. The doll tumbled to the floor, landing on its head. Vegeta looked over in surprise and wariness when the doll started crying with loud shrieks. The facial expression on the doll never changed from that stupid wide smile though.
Alexander gasped, horrified. "You dropped your baby!" he yelled, making Vegeta blink.
"It's just a doll, it's not a real child," the prince defensively spat out, scowling.
"These dolls are the exact weight as newborns. They have been specifically designed to train new parents. They can cry, they can overheat, and they can die! Take care of your baby!"
"Take care of your baby!" the other instructors chanted, startling Vegeta. Trunks was struggling not to laugh as he caught it all on video on his phone.
"That's our Daddy Boot Camp mantra. Take care of your baby! Always!" Alexander informed the prince, who could only blink and wonder what the hell kind of cult he had walked into. Alexander rocked the doll in his arms, and then it stopped its shrieks. To Vegeta's shock, a red light suddenly appeared on top of the infant's head, to simulate a bruise. Alexander looked at him with critical eyes. "The DBC doll baby can only survive two drops to the head. Be more careful!"
"Alright gentlemen, alright alright, let's get going!" one of the instructors, a large, burly man yelled. He had an enormous beard, and a large rimmed cowboy hat. "If everyone has a baby, take a seat, and we'll begin!"
"Yeah Dad. Be more careful," Trunks teased as Alexander left Vegeta with the doll.
The prince settled his murderous gaze to his son, who had wisely put his phone away for the time being. His eye twitched, the muscle by his jaw visibly flexing as he held the doll baby awkwardly against his chest with one arm. He felt like a complete moron, but he reminded himself to endure for just a little longer. Odds were high that Bulma was going to require substantial rest after giving birth. He wanted her to rest after giving birth. But she could only do so if he stepped up and helped tend to their daughter, and he couldn't do that if he didn't know what the hell he was doing.
Besides, the dumbfounded look of all the other men there that were going to be fathers made him feel more at ease, especially when he noticed a couple other dads dropping their doll babies and getting the same verbal cult harassment. There looked to be about twenty men there in the class with them. Muttering curses, the prince took a seat heavily in the very last row of chairs, glaring at the boy who sat down next to him.
"Take care of your baby, Dad," Trunks whispered, smirking.
Vegeta growled low, "Watch it, boy. Go get a demon doll of your own so you can learn something."
Trunks frowned, having been more content to watch (and record) his dad. He sighed and went to retrieve his own doll as the instructors called the "class" to attention.
"Alright, you maggots!" the burly instructor yelled. "Your wives all sent you here for one thing. For y'all to learn how to do something with your new babies. This is a week-long boot camp and we will make dads out of you. We will do one module a day. Today we will do module number one, which will cover the basics, how to care for your new kid. My name is Mike and I have four kids, so I know what the hell I'm talking about!"
Vegeta snorted. Four kids? He was going to have his hands full with two. He couldn't even imagine. Trunks sat down next to him with a doll of his own, holding it just as awkwardly as Vegeta. The prince snuck a look at his son's doll, and scowled at the same plastered clown smile. It was like something out of a horror movie.
He resolved that he was going to kill Krillin and Gohan for recommending this class to Bulma. And probably everyone there in the gym, save for Trunks. Though the boy was pushing it.
Ignoring the spiel, he reached into his jeans with his free hand for his cell phone, and immediately started composing a text to the only person on the planet besides Trunks who he had programmed into his phone.
How are things? Everything fine?
He got his response less than a minute later.
Yep, just laying down and watching a movie.
Satisfied, he locked the screen on the phone and put it back in his pocket. He exhaled through his nose in exasperation, his teeth grinding together as they began module 1.
Ten minutes later, he was awkwardly holding the doll as Alexander showed him how to properly hold an infant. Vegeta supported the neck of the doll as he held the bundle in two hands, but he couldn't keep the hatred off his face as he gazed at the stupid clown smile the doll had. All in all though, holding the doll wasn't difficult. Neither was learning how to feed the doll. He also observed a demonstration on how to bathe an infant which seemed very simple. He was shocked to learn that you couldn't shake an infant lest you risk severely injuring their brains, and wondered if the same was true for hybrid Saiyan infants – but he dared not risk his daughter's health (or Bulma's wrath) to find out.
He was pleased. The training was not difficult at all. Although he certainly hoped his child weighed more than what he was feeling now. The bundle hardly weighed a thing.
When they moved to changing a diaper several hours later though, Vegeta's patience finally broke. Especially when the instructors brought one of their own real infants in, with a dirty diaper no less. He had come, he had learned a couple things, but this was the line. This was the fucking line. And even if he had wanted to stay, his sense of smell was too sensitive and he couldn't bear it. The brat smelled so foul.
The prince got up, heading to the back so abruptly and without warning that Trunks had to scramble after him.
"Stay if you want, Trunks. But I'm leaving," Vegeta growled. With that, he tossed his doll over to the table by the door exit he was heading towards.
Everyone gasped. Especially when the doll bounced on the table and suddenly "shut down". Alexander made a beeline towards him, blocking his exit.
"You NEVER throw your baby, Vegeta!" Alexander cried out. "Now you've killed your baby!"
"Fuck those dolls. But, if you really want to see me kill someone, I'll oblige," Vegeta snarled venomously, taking a threatening step toward the instructor. Alexander squeaked in terror, clutching his chest as he backed up, but Trunks instantly stepped in between them.
"Don't worry, Alexander, my dad definitely won't throw my sister around. We're just going to leave," Trunks nervously chuckled, forcing a grin on his face. He laid his doll down on the same table, gently. Latching onto his father's arm, he pulled his dad in the direction of the exit. "Come on, Dad. Let's go."
Vegeta yanked his arm free though, turning around back to Alexander. "And one other thing," he snarled. "Those are some fucking ugly dolls, and…" his voice trailed, and he cocked his head to the side in confusion.
Bulma, he realized, panicked.
Meanwhile, back in Capsule Corp, Bulma was clinging to the dining room table for dear life. She had only meant to go into the kitchen for a small meal, but now found herself in pain that was all too familiar. She clutched her stomach with one hand, the table with the other, forcing herself to breathe as she felt the fluid running between her legs.
"Oh, shit," she whined as a contraction struck. Oh, she definitely hadn't missed this, not at all. She was struggling to stand when the entrance door to their home practically tore off the hinges. A fraction of a second later, and Vegeta and Trunks were both by her side.
"Bulma!" Vegeta worriedly exclaimed, surveying the fluid on the floor as his wife desperately grasped onto him. He had felt her ki signature rise higher than ever before, and had immediately rushed back home. He cursed himself under his breath for leaving her side. "What-?"
"My water broke!"
Oh, shit. He blinked, momentarily lost and forgetting everything he'd read about human pregnancies. Water breaking…what was that again? Was that a symptom of false labor? Or was she in actual labor? But wasn't the due date still weeks away? What was happening?
"What does that mean again?"
"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK IT MEANS?" Bulma shrieked in his face. Vegeta blinked again. "Get me to the hospital!"
That, he could do. Vegeta immediately scooped her up in his arms, holding her against his chest. He turned to his son. "Trunks, bring the hospital bag in the girl's room," he ordered.
"Right," the teenager nodded, dashing off to do just that.
"Ohhhh gods," Bulma moaned, grimacing and leaning her head back as Vegeta quickly left the compound, taking to the skies as fast as he dared with her in his arms. She clutched him and moaned again. "Can't you go faster? What the hell do you train for if you can't go faster than this!" she yelled at him, making his eye twitch in agitation.
"You just focus on keeping that kid inside you until we get there," he growled. Leave it to her to be in labor and chastising him while he rushed her to the hospital faster than any human vehicle ever could. He had learned from experience that this was the fastest she could handle without getting nauseous, but he didn't bother reminding her.
Bulma groaned loudly as another contraction struck. She clutched his shirt hard. "Ughh, for fuck's sake, Vegeta! Why did you make me go through this again?" she whimpered.
He scowled; that was revisionist history if he'd ever heard it. Wisely though, he didn't comment, instead focusing on where he was going and getting his wife to someone who could help her, if the child was truly on the way. Gods knew he couldn't help her during the process. Seconds later, he descended in front of West City Hospital, quickly striding inside with Bulma in his arms.
"Humans!" he barked. "Come help my wife!"
To the hospital's credit, medical personnel was instantly there to assist. They placed Bulma into a wheelchair and quickly whisked her inside as Vegeta and Trunks followed closely behind them. The prince finally felt like he could breathe again when he saw that they seemed to know what to do as they took her straight into the maternity wing. He glanced back at his son who jogged up next to him, a duffel bag slung over his shoulder. Bulma had thought ahead and prepared the bag, but the prince had no clue what was in it. He just knew that she had given him strict orders to bring it, should they ever need to rush to the hospital. He may not have liked following orders but he figured his wife giving birth to his child warranted several exceptions to that.
"Is this it, Dad? Is the baby going to be born today?" Trunks excitedly asked his father.
"I don't know," Vegeta admitted, scowling as he sensed his wife and daughter's ki signatures. Bulma's was elevated from her pain, and the girl's was extremely restless. He had no idea if that was all normal or not – not for the first time, he cursed himself for having missed Trunks' birth. Anxious, he grit his teeth. "We'll find out."
Hours later, and Bulma was still in labor. If Vegeta had still had his tail, the fur would've been standing on end from how anxious he was. He was almost in a haze, barely noticing when Bulma's parents arrived, Chi-Chi and the whole Son family arriving soon afterwards. He figured they could all fend for themselves, and focused all of his attention on his wife.
Bulma gripped his hand hard as steel later that night. Vegeta scowled as he stood next to her bed, his eyes drifting down her body. Her legs were spread, knees up, a blanket spread over her thighs, with her doctor there cheering her on and giving him status updates as nurses came in and out.
Impossibly, Bulma's grip on his hand tightened even more. Vegeta's eyes shifted back up to her face which was covered in sweat.
"It'll be over soon," he told her, unable to hide the concern in his eyes over the wild fluctuations of her ki. She was hooked up to several monitors, and the beeps of the machines were only intensifying the experience, grating on the Saiyan's hearing. He didn't know much about Saiyan childbirth, but he did know that many died from it. He tried ridding the thought from his mind, telling himself that she had done this before. Plus, she was tough – she was his wife, after all.
"How long has it been?" Bulma moaned.
Vegeta glanced over at the clock on the wall, and blinked in shock. "It's going on six hours now."
"Oh gods," she whimpered. "I was in labor with Trunks for almost twelve hours!"
Vegeta's eyes widened. Twelve hours? He was surprised she had lived through it, if it was half as difficult as this one. Just watching her was making him feel physically exhausted. If he could have endured the pain instead of her, he gladly would have.
"You're almost there, Bulma," Dr. Robinson encouraged. "I can see the head of the baby now!"
For the fourth time since the labor had truly begun, Vegeta picked up a clean washcloth by her bed and gently wiped the sweat off his wife's face. He brushed some of the damp blue sweaty hair out of her face.
"Don't touch me! This is all your fault, you JERK!" Bulma yelled at him, letting go of his hand and turning her face away. Vegeta raised a wary eyebrow. "Getting me pregnant like you did! …oh, why me?" she cried.
Well, I suppose I can go get a quick drink and then return, the prince mused, turning towards the door. No sooner had he done that though, than Bulma reached out to seize his forearm.
"No, don't leave me, Vegeta, please," she pleaded, and he turned back towards her. Or not, he mused.
"I won't," he assured.
He offered her his hand again, and she grasped it so hard that he may have felt real pain if he were human. Vegeta raised his forearm with his free arm to brush the sweat off his own forehead, his stomach tied up in knots.
Bulma screamed then, drowning out the doctor and nurse giving encouragement to push as Vegeta cringed. The prince glanced over nervously to her upraised knees, sensing his daughter's ki signature rising. He had read the things Bulma had printed for him, but nothing had prepared him at all for this experience, and it was entirely overwhelming just being part of it. He stared anxiously, his own face now covered in sweat.
Finally, after what felt like ages to both of them, they heard their daughter crying for the first time.
Vegeta and Bulma both looked over when the doctor held up the newborn for them to see, setting their sights on their second child for the first time. The prince finally exhaled, his dark eyes scrutinizing his daughter. The girl looked strong, and had a solid pair of lungs on her as she screamed and cried with a reddened face. A brown tail whisked.
That's my girl. Vegeta couldn't help his smile.
"She looks great," the doctor told them happily, before handing the screaming child over to the nurse who wrapped the girl in blankets and took her to get checked. Vegeta looked back at his wife, who was breathing heavily.
He picked up another washcloth and wiped her sweat away again, watching as Bulma looked back at him. She looked haggard and exhausted, without any makeup, her skin pale and already sweating again. She looked like she had just fought the battle of a lifetime.
Vegeta had never thought her more beautiful.
Unable to resist and unable to put how he felt into words, he took her jaw in his hand and leaned down, kissing her and for the first time in their whole relationship, not giving a damn who could see them. She welcomed his tongue lazily exploring her warm mouth, exhaling in relief from her nose that it was over and grateful that he had been by her side.
"Do you want to tell everyone that she's here?" Bulma asked him when he finally pulled away.
Vegeta frowned. "Not yet," he responded. The last thing he wanted to do right then was leave.
He rolled his eyes. "Do I have a choice?" he grumbled.
"You always have a choice, Vegeta. You've always had a choice."
The prince scowled, nose twitching. He didn't particularly like the name, but he didn't hate it anymore. In fact, he had warmed up to it. It could grow on him, he supposed. Plus, he didn't have any better suggestions.
"Bra is fine," he gruffly replied.
"You can probably go see her now, if you want."
"We will see her together," he said, no argument in his voice. After all, if anyone deserved to see and hold the girl first, it was Bulma.
He backed up then and allowed the doctor to look over his wife. No longer needing to hover over her, he took a heavy seat in the chair a few feet from her bed, crossing his arms. He leaned his head back, his senses picking up his daughter's ki signature in the room next to theirs. The girl's ki had steadied now, and so had Bulma's. For the first time in what felt like months, Vegeta finally allowed himself to fully relax as he closed his eyes.
He didn't realize he had nodded off, until he heard the door to the room open. Vegeta instantly opened his eyes, straightening in his chair and blinking as he remembered where he was. Looking over at his wife, he saw Bulma stirring too and yawning, the sound waking her as well. Glancing over at the clock, he was shocked to see that a couple of hours had passed. He and Bulma made brief eye contact before they both looked over at the door to see a nurse coming in, carrying a bundle in her arms. To his relief, the girl wasn't crying anymore.
"You have a very healthy baby girl," the nurse informed them with a smile. "We have cleaned her and checked her, and she has a clean bill of health. Would either of you like to hold her?"
"Let her mother hold her," Vegeta instructed. Bulma tried to pull herself up, and he immediately got back up on his feet to go over and assist her. The nurse came over, and gently placed the baby in Bulma's arms. Vegeta took as much of a seat on the bed next to his wife as he could, as they both finally got a good look at their daughter.
"Well hello there," Bulma tiredly but happily whispered, Vegeta watching over her shoulder. He frowned as he examined the girl. The infant had small, wisps of blue on her head, hardly enough to qualify as hair. Her eyes were closed, but she didn't seem asleep, her small fingers opening and curling as she quietly gurgled.
"She is small," Vegeta commented, his frown deepening as his dark eyes skirted over to his wife. "Is her size normal?"
"Yes. She's perfect. Aren't you, baby girl?" Bulma said, smiling and fascinated by her daughter. She gently touched the baby's nose, prompting Bra to wrap her small hand tightly around her mother's finger. Bulma laughed a little. "Oh, she's definitely Saiyan. A tough, little Saiyan princess."
"Here. Hold her," she said, turning to hand the baby to him. Vegeta shook his head.
"She's fine where she is," he gruffly stated.
Bulma frowned in confusion, and he had to look away. "Don't you want to hold the baby?"
Vegeta said nothing for several moments, before slowly looking back at his wife and the bundle in her arms. Visibly uncomfortable, he shook his head again. Bulma gently shifted Bra, now holding her newborn daughter securely against her chest with one arm. With her free hand, she reached out and took her husband's hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
"It's okay," she coaxed, reading his discomfort perfectly. "You're her father. You have to properly meet."
Vegeta frowned, forcing himself to stay still. He watched as Bulma let go of his hand, adjusting the way she was holding Bra so that she could hand the baby to him. He uncomfortably cleared his throat. Holding a doll at the fathers training session was one thing. It was inanimate, it couldn't be harmed. This was a real, living, breathing infant.
"I know. It's okay. I'll show you how."
Vegeta reluctantly shifted, watching as Bulma gently placed his daughter into his arms. "The most important thing is to support her head and her neck. There you go, just like that. See? You're a pro. The Daddy Boot Camp paid off," she teased, smiling as Vegeta held the little girl delicately, like she was the most fragile thing in the universe.
"She barely weighs anything," he quietly said, marveling over how small his newborn daughter was. He had thought Trunks small the first time he saw him, but it was nothing like this. His eyes raised up to Bulma's. "And you're certain this is normal?"
"Yep, Trunks was the same size," she gently told him, her blue eyes sparkling. Watching the man who had once rejected her and Trunks hold their newborn daughter so tenderly was something she would have considered an impossible pipe dream when she first invited the Saiyan to stay in her home, so long ago. She had never loved him more.
Vegeta caught her look, and they stared at each other for several long moments, a content gaze that didn't need words. The prince finally looked back down when the baby snuggled into his chest and yawned. Even as he felt a fresh mountain of responsibility on his shoulders, he was utterly mesmerized.
As gently as he dared, he hesitantly touched the baby's hand with one finger, awed at how soft her skin was. Some of the lingering poisonous pieces inside of him died when Bra wrapped her little hand around his finger, and he felt the strength in her grip just as he felt the movement from her tail in her blanket. He couldn't help the pride that overwhelmed him, or the genuine smile that spread over his face.
I'll do right by you, princess, he silently swore. The best I can.
Bulma and Vegeta both looked up when Trunks suddenly came into the room. The teenager was grinning from ear to ear, immediately going over to his father's side.
"Is that her? Let me see!" he eagerly said, leaning over his father to look down at his little sister for the first time. His grin grew as he looked back up at his parents. "Can I hold her?"
"Of course," Bulma smiled. "She's excited to meet her big brother."
Vegeta stood up, and gently put his daughter into his son's arms. "Hold her properly, boy," he growled in warning.
Trunks did. He had paid diligent attention during the training class he'd taken with his dad, and he was ready to embrace his role as the best and coolest big brother on the planet. He looked up at Bulma, scanning her over. "Are you okay, Mom?"
"Now I am."
Vegeta hung back, watching as Trunks went and took his spot next to Bulma on the bed. Trunks in particular was eager to take out his phone and start taking pictures of his new baby sister. He and Bulma were both smiling and gushing over the new addition to the family.
His family. The prince watched them for some long moments, feeling more protective of the three of them than he had ever felt before. How he could have ever shied away from the concept of a family was unfathomable. That he could have once believed family made a man weak was ludicrous and laughable. He had never felt stronger in his entire life, not on any battlefield, than he did right that moment.
Bulma was right. He had always had a choice, not just in his daughter's name, but in his life.
And his family was his best one.