To be a Saiyan Again
Chapter Three – Home
His eyes glided to the digital clock. Five. This time he did not wake up since he did not sleep at all. It was not like he was anxious to see his woman and the kids. No. It was because that damn engine was roaring so loud it had prevented him from getting any sleep.
He continued to lie on his hands that were tucked behind his head and stared at the ceiling in silence. His final destination was near, only a few more hours and he would be back on Earth. It was fortunate that he would arrive around noon when no one was home. Bulma would be at work, Trunks with his friends and Bra at the day care center. The last thing he needed was to deal with mushy and gushy reunion. He rather returned the same way he had left, quietly with no one to send him off and no one to greet him back.
Getting up from his bed, he took a few steps to his locker. He opened it and looked inside. He pulled out his casual wear, black tank top and a simple grey pants. It was not like he didn't want to train. It was not like he couldn't focus. It was because all the training attires he brought either smelled like rotten sewage or torn from his intensive training.
He headed to the circular window, passing the dining area on the way. It was not like he had no appetites. It was simply because the foods were so sordid that even a rat would drop dead from eating it. Saiyans were blessed with strong digestive system, else he would be already on his way to see that damn Yama again. In a few more hours, he could just scour his woman's pantry for marginally decent provisions.
He reached the window. He looked out. With the dim light behind him and the blackest absolute darkness ahead, his face reflected clearly on the glass. He had changed, he realized. On days he had happened to spend more than a few minutes in front of the mirror, he remembered he had more lines around his eyes and deeper folds between his brows. It was still there, those lines and folds, but not as clear as it had once been. Unconsciously, he brought his fingers to the bridge of his nose and massaged it. When did the lines start to recede? He frowned, feeling the skin folded against his fingers and then sighed. He realized now, the Saiyan who had come to Earth more than twenty years ago was dead…had died twice and reborn twice. The Vegeta of the past was no more.
For the next few hours, he stood still, staring past his reflection into more darkness until a bright orb emerged. He had not given the planet more than a quick glance before, but as the orb grew larger, he noticed Earth was actually not unpleasant to look at, especially compared to the other planets he had seen during this trip.
The ship suddenly jerked and he felt the gravitation pull as he entered the Earth's atmosphere. He stood, unaffected by the speed. The darkness disappeared, replaced by the mist from the clouds. The city soon came into view and within minutes, the ship came to a completely stop with a thump.
From the window, he saw the lawn and in the lawn, he saw his woman standing beside his eldest and in front of her stood his youngest. All seemed to be waiting for someone and that someone must be him.
Damn Kakarott or that oldest brat of his! They should really mind their own goddamn business. Only they have skills enough to sense his arrival from outer space. Now, he had to deal with this dreaded reunion.
Scowling, he took a quick turn and walked toward the exit. With a push of a button, the door hissed and the ramp extended. He stepped out, feeling the warm summer breeze against his exposed flesh. He looked ahead. He saw them. They saw him. They did not run to him and neither did he.
This was not what he had expected. This was more awkward than if they just attacked him. He took a step forward and then another, walking deliberately slow, watching their reactions. They were uncharacteristically quiet. Trunks had his hands shoved in his pockets, looking indecisive of his next move. Bulma had her hands resting on Bra's head while her eyes were fixed on him. He could tell she had many words to say but at the same time didn't know where to start. Bra. Her reaction baffled him the most. She was always the feisty one, unafraid to speak her mind. To have one minute of peace when she was around was heaven to his ears. But now, not only was she quiet, she also did not look at him, choosing to stare at the green grass with a deep frown on her face.
Once he stood in front of them, Bulma finally said, "Vegeta, welcome home."
"I'm glad you're finally home, Dad," Trunks said uncomfortably.
He nodded and continued to walk by them. As he passed Trunks, he felt a kick on his shin.
"Daddy, I hate you!"
Startled, he lowered his gaze to the pig-tailed blue-haired demon. She stared up at him with red swollen and very angry eyes. Her fists clenched tightly beside her; her chest puffed up and down.
When was the last time his little demon became angry with him? Come to think of it, never. She had cried. She had whined. She had thrown tantrums that could very well make his day miserable. But from his memories, she had never exhibited any hatred or resentment toward him. He supposed he deserved it. His gaze continued to look into her angry eyes, at lost of what to do next. He had never been the one to use flowery words nor did he know how. He had never been the one to volunteer any physical affection that these humans used to comfort one another.
He turned to Bulma and Trunks and tilted his head downward to Bra, motioning them to take care of her. Bulma stepped forward and rested her knees on the grass. In a soft voice, she said, "Bra, honey, you can't talk like that to your father."
"But Mommy! Daddy left..." his youngest started to say in a strong voice, but did not manage to finish the sentence before suppressed tears started pouring from her eyes. She brought her little fists to her eyes and rubbed them. "Daddy…" she sobbed, "…left because…" she sobbed again, "he don't love Bra…anymore."
"That's not true, honey. You see, " Bulma said as she raised her head to him, "Your father's back."
"He leave…" she said with a hiccup. "again."
This was why he did not want a reunion. He sighed and looked at Trunks who shrugged, looked just as lost as he was at what to do.
With a heavier sigh, he forced himself to say, "Bra, I won't leave again." He then continued his path to the compound, until he felt arms around his left leg. He looked down and saw Bra wrapped around him, her face buried in his calf.
Had it been before, he would growl and curse, screaming for Bulma to take her off him. Today, he would let it pass since he was the one who had made this scene possible. He sighed and crouched enough to reach her. He placed his hand on her head, not tousling or anything, just resting his hand there.
She startled him again by pouncing on him, throwing her hands around his neck, gripping it tightly. Her legs secured around his torso. Her head buried deep in his shoulder. "Daddy, I'm sorry. I no mean to kick you and say I hate you," she cried. With each word, he could feel her head rubbing against his shoulder. "I miss you a lot a lot." He could feel wetness soaking through the strap of his tank top. "I want to show you my dawing but I can't find you…"
He wanted to apologize. He really did. But the words were caught in his throat. He just stood there silently as Bra continued to soak through his tank. Her snots sticking to his flesh. "Daddy, I miss you a lot a lot." she continued to say between sobs, her voice muffled. Hatred, he could deal with, but this...
Bulma stood. She had attempted to pull Bra away from him, but the little one was stubborn. She held onto him tightly, shaking her head, refusing to let go. When Bulma tried again, he shook his head. Today, he would let his little demon win.
It had taken a while for Bra to finally cry herself to sleep. He had held onto her until she did. When was the last time he held her besides picking her up from her outer wear? He probably never did. Trunks had received a hug from him, but it had been only that one time. Bra had hugged him plenty, but it had been mostly one-sided.
The door behind him opened and in came Bulma, walking slowly toward him.
"She's finally asleep," she said.
He nodded. He looked down and saw Bra's hand still wrapped around his finger, refusing to let him go even in her sleep. Careful not to wake her, he slid her hand off.
"Did she cry the whole time I was gone?" he asked, getting up from the side of her pink lacy bed. He asked because he saw the dryness around little one's eyes that were most likely caused by constant rubbing.
"In the beginning, no. But she waited and waited, Vegeta," Bulma said as she stood beside him.
"You didn't tell them the truth?"
"No, I can't. I only told them you had something to do and you'll be back."
"What if I never come back?"
"Then I just have to go into space and drag you back myself," she said, her hand touching his arm. He studied her to see if she was joking. She was dead serious. What did this woman see in him?
He heard stirring from behind. He pointed at the door and she nodded.
They walked in silence to the dining area where he saw foods of all kinds, from roast chicken to dinosaur stew, covered the entire dining table. He watched Bulma as she sat at her usual seat. He followed and did the same. He didn't ask how long it took her to prepare the meal. He knew.
Looking around, he noticed Trunks was missing. That boy was probably angry with him, much like Bra had been. Unlike the little one who could express her feelings openly, Trunks had learned from him over the years how to suppress his own emotion. He preferred it this way. Better the silent treatment then throwing tantrums.
He started on his first piece of meat and was painfully aware that Bulma was watching him. He hesitated and laid his fork back on the table.
"You don't have to say it, Vegeta. I understand," she said, looking away. He caught a glimpse of moisture hanging around her bottom eyelids. Since she did not want him to see, he did not pry. "I'm just happy you came back."
It had taken him much effort to even form those words. Now that she had cut him off, those words were once again caught in his throat. He nodded and returned to his meal.
Night came. Beside the incident with Bra, the day had passed uneventfully. Trunks was still nowhere to be seen. Not that it bothered him. Bra had woken once, had made a big scene, searching frantically for him. She found him and once again had her arms wrapped around his neck. He was fine with that, at least for today.
He was in their bed, the big one. He looked to his right and there was Bulma. She had finally fallen asleep with her arm on his chest. He had expected her to force him to talk about his trip, maybe even yelled at him a little. She did neither. She had acted as if nothing had happened, as if he had never left.
Women. He could never understand them, not that he had much experience with them before this one. When he expected them to act one way, they would act the complete opposite.
Gently, he removed her arm from him and then got off the bed. He exited the room and walked down the hall, first taking a peep at the little blue-haired demon. Good. She was sound asleep, though, he could still hear the lingering sobs.
He then walked further down. The room was closed and he could not sense the boy behind the door. He had seen Trunks once today and that had been when he first arrived. It was not like he wanted to see the boy. He was just curious why Trunks had not shown his face. While Trunks was not clingy like his sister, the boy had always been sticking his nose where it didn't belong, meddlesome to a fault. For the boy not to be in his business today was rather weird.
Walking down the stairway and proceeded out the door. Out in the lawn, he noticed the ship was gone, probably nicely tugged away, back in the vault on the upper shelf or perhaps destroyed.
He levitated and took off.
There was a spot he had frequently visited when his thoughts were muddled. As he neared, he sensed his boy's ki, so that was where the brat disappeared to.
He did not say a word or returned the greeting. All he did was descended next to his son and stood beside him. The boy was sitting with his legs sprawled out in front.
"I knew you'll come here tonight," Trunks said as he leaned back and used his hands to support the weight of his body. The boy looked up at the darkened sky.
He, too, raised his head. He had been up there, aimlessly searching for the meaning of his existence. He had found it, though he had not shared it. They did not need to know. Maybe one day he would. Maybe one day he would tell them if he was in the mood.
"Do you want a piece of me like your sister?"
A chuckle escaped. "No, I just want to talk to you, that's all."
"You had the whole day."
"I just want to give Mom the chance first."
"Did you talk to Mom?"
"She was rather quiet."
"That's because Mom told us not to say anything to make you feel uncomfortable. Just pretend like you never left, Mom told us. Didn't really quite work with Bra, I guess." The boy chuckled again and then became quiet and thoughtful. From the Trunks' profile, he could see a deep frown. "You know, it was very hard for Mom when you left, not knowing if you ever going to return."
He raised an eyebrow. "So you knew."
"It was hard not to. I mean, Mom had always been strong, you know. I'd never seen her cry once in my whole life."
From the corner of his eyes, he saw Trunks dropped his head back and continued to watch the sky.
"I mean, she acted like nothing happened. Told us you had something to do..."
The boy finally looked at him.
"You should see her the day you were gone. The smile she had on her face was so forced even Goten's dad could tell it was fake."
The boy turned back to the sky.
"Mom put that smile on for us and especially for Bra."
The boy moved to a sitting position, his elbows resting on his knees and his palms supporting his chin. The boy never moved his gaze from the sky.
He rolled his eyes upward, trying to find out what the hell the boy was looking at. Was there something up there he didn't know about?
"After that, Mom brought her work home. You know, she never did that before, but ever since you left, she worked every night until dawn sometime."
He remembered seeing a pile of papers, binders, folders all scattered on her dresser.
"I heard her one night. She probably thought we were all asleep. Mom was crying, Dad," Trunks said with a strain in his voice. "I never heard her cry before, not even during that time."
He knew the time Trunks was referring to but was told that Bulma had indeed cried.
"I don't want to see Mom like that again."
The day he had told her his decision to leave, she did the same. He had been able to steel himself, had told himself she was just too sensitive. He had been a bastard, had acted like one, but they had always known he was a bastard from day one. He had never told them he would change for them. He had never given them the impression he wanted to change. Why did each of them act like they needed him so much? Why did they still want him back?
"Dad, please, don't ever do that again."
Even in the dark, he could see his son's colored eyes staring back at him. The boy frowned as he said, "I don't ever want to come back to this spot, just waiting and wondering if your ship will ever show up."
So that was why the brat kept on watching the sky. Trunks had been here, probably more than he should, waiting.
He had never given his role in this family much thought. He had never made it his business to think how his existence or absence could cause another to suffer. He had learned at a young age that to protect oneself, one must learn to counter fear, pain and suffering with hatred and anger. He had thought that it was only natural that his family would follow these laws of nature. He had expected to be hated, resented. But not in a million year did he think that they would miss him. Him, the Saiyan prince, who had done nothing to earn their trusts. He had not provided, had not contributed and had not done anything besides just being there. Even knowing all of his defects, they still chose to be loyal to him. He did not deserve it.
"Trunks, this is my spot. Don't ever come here again," he told the boy and then lifted off into the air, leaving Trunks behind.
He heard a light chuckle followed by a laugh. "I don't like this place anyways."
It was quiet in his house once again. He walked back to his room. Good. She was still sleeping or at least pretended to sleep. He didn't unmask her facade. Slipping back into bed, he laid on his side. He looked to his right. There was Bulma. Soon, she would roll to his side. Sure enough, not even a second later, he felt her arms around him once again. Her head rested on his chest, snuggled against him as if he was one of those pouches.
He rested his hand on hers and whispered, "You can't get rid of me now, woman."
A/N:This is the end of Vegeta's journey and he's back with his family, yay! Technically, I could have ended this fic last chapter, but I thought I should tie up loose ends and write the effect Vegeta had on Bulma, Trunks and Bra during his absence. I had originally planned for this chapter to be in Bulma's POV but then decided last minute to switch it back to Vegeta since this is his journey.
Please tell me what you think of this little piece, either on the story as a whole or just this chapter. I wonder if Bulma, Trunks, Bra and Vegeta's interactions were believable. Should it be mushier? Like more hugs and kisses? I don't mind hearing your true thoughts. I mean everyone has their interpretation, I want to know yours.
A big thanks to LambdaDash, Cara2012, Ghostkid33, elleelle and lilDBZbuddy89 for your awesome reviews on the last two chapters.
Thank you all for reading!