Disclaimer: I don't own Dragonball Z.

Time is Ticking (Picture #177)

Bulma avoided looking at him as she moved around their bedroom, but she could feel his dark eyes on her all the same. Out of the corner of her eye she watched as he lay back on the bed, neatly folding his hands behind his head.

Years ago, when she was young and beautiful and sexy, she used to love the way he watched her. Now, as she sat at her vanity counter combing her freshly-dyed hair, all she could see were the deep lines around her mouth and eyes. Her gaze met Vegeta's through the reflective glass of the mirror, and she hated herself even more for glancing away in shame. She felt sick to her stomach. She was old and fragile, and her husband was not.

"You should not let it bother you," Vegeta spoke softly, and she grit her teeth against the lump forming in her throat. "You know that hag is an idiot."

The 'hag' he referred to was not a hag at all. Chastity Rey was a twenty-something supermodel who happened to be married to one of the richest men on the planet, and for that reason had attended the annual Capsule Corp gala the night before.

"She knows nothing," Vegeta added when Bulma failed to reply.

"She knows everything!" Bulma cried, whirling around to face her husband. "She was right in being mistaken- you do look more like my son than my husband!"

"Bullshit. I look nothing like you humans."

"Oh don't give me that shit, Vegeta!" she spat, her arm cutting through the air to emphasis her point. "You know what I mean. Look at me. I'm old."

"I'm older than you, woman."

"You look like you're in your twenties!" she screamed, throwing her comb on the floor in frustration. Her vision was blurry, and she hated how emotional she was getting.

"Woman –"

"Don't 'Woman' me! What are you going to do when I'm too old to have sex with you?! I've got bad hips as it is; what's a young thing like you doing sleeping with a granny like me?!"

"Don't be stupid."

"I'm not being stupid, I'm being realistic! What are you going to do, Vegeta?!"

"You think I've put up with you all these years just for the sex, Bulma?" he growled in reply, sitting up to stare her in the eye.

With that question the fight drained out of her, and Bulma slumped back against her vanity desk. "No," she replied quietly. "No." Her husband loved her- she knew that. Even though he never said it, she knew. But her rapid aging- and his never-ending youthfulness- put doubts in her mind. They wouldn't, couldn't be like this forever. At some point their relationship was going to change for the worse. At some point, it was not going to be possible for her to be physically intimate with a Saiyan man in his prime.

She stared at her beautiful, deadly husband, and he met her gaze. His face was grim, and she knew what he was thinking.

"What will you do when I'm dead?" she whispered.

He didn't reply, and the silence was deafening.

A/N: A few years ago I read on the net somewhere that Akira Toriyama had said that although Saiyans age differently to humans, their life span isn't that different to ours (I think he said they don't age for a long time, and then age rapidly... don't quote me on that though), so I'm using a bit of creative licence here to interpret what 'that different' means. For years I've had the idea in my mind that Saiyans get to about 90 or 100 Earth years (lets say 100) without aging, and then rapidly decline. If it was something like that, I think it would still bother any human partner... it certainly seems to bother Bulma at the end of DBZ when Goku tells her that she's aged.

Hmmm. I'll try and write something happier next time...