The Husband From Outer Space

Sometimes Bulma was reminded rather forcibly of the fact that her husband was an alien.

He had a peculiar lilt to his gait, for instance, that couldn't exactly be called limping. Once she noticed it, it was impossible to ignore, and she spent days trying to figure out what exactly she was seeing. At last it occurred to her: Vegeta walked like a man missing a limb. Which he was, she realized, leaning back from her drafting table and wishing he were in the room so she could look at him and check. He'd lost his tail much later in life than Goku, and she could catch him, on occasion, fingering the small of his back where a lump of scar tissue still marred his skin.

His teeth, as well, were not shaped like human teeth. It was subtle and easy to miss, but he had the teeth of a carnivore. His canines were the most prominent departure from human incisors: they reminded her of vampire fangs sometimes, or a wolf's.

His hair, of course, was decidedly other-worldly. It never grew out, could not be encouraged into another shape no matter how much hair gel she used, and was thicker than animal fur. Digging her fingers into it was better than stroking a bear-skin rug, and not just because when they were alone it made him melt into a puddle of boneless pleasure.

One day while making love she'd looked down at his sculpted chest and realized that his muscle groups were different than a human's: he had four abs, not six, and as she traced his musculature with her finger, prompting a groan out of him, she could see other differences, ones she didn't have enough knowledge of anatomy to name. He'd rolled over then, and cut her musings short.

Linguistically he had better grammar than Goku, but there were times she'd throw out a piece of slang or an obscure idiom and he'd stare at her blankly, having no idea what she meant. Occasionally he'd cock his head to the side and get an unfocused look in his eyes, and then snap to attention and continue the conversation, responding to the word or phrase perfectly, and she'd vowed to someday pick his brain for the technology that made that possible.

Sometimes he did let her pick his brain, and as long as she kept it to the technological and not the personal, he would sometimes inadvertently tell her some very interesting—very alien— stories.

And, of course, there was his own native language, which he spoke mainly around Trunks and did not bother to translate. She had to confront him about this during lunch one day, in fact:

"Vegeta, I'm all for Trunks being bi-lingual and everything, but you've got to tell me what you're teaching him. He kept screaming something all morning and I had no idea what he wanted."

Vegeta paused in his eating and looked at her curiously.

"What did he say?"

She repeated the phrase as best she could, giving it two or three goes before she could properly reproduce the guttural cough halfway through. Vegeta mouthed it to himself, frowning in concentration, doubtless trying to pick out meaning from baby speech. And then he did, and a smile grew on his face as comprehension dawned. Bulma could only stare in shock as Vegeta threw back his head and laughed.

"What?" she demanded when the laugh had gone on for far too long for her liking. "What did he say?"

But Vegeta only tousled Trunks' hair, something she'd never seen him do, and said, "Ah, Trunks, truly you are your father's son."

And she never could get more out of him than that.