A/N: Disclaimer: I don't own Dragon Ball Z.
Vegeta was not a sympathetic person.
In fact, he was perfectly un-sympathetic, and everyone knew it too. The only person he'd ever shown a smidgen of sympathy for was Bulma, and that was when he didn't kill her for annoying him constantly.
Sure, he could show empathy, but sympathy was a whole other ball game. Vegeta didn't do sympathy.
He had softened, he thought. His future son and his mate had warmed him, and while mentioning or displaying such things hurt his pride like a wasp's sting, he had actually grown fond of them. His son was brave and powerful, honorable and proud in his own way, and Bulma…well, she was as close to a Saiyan woman as Vegeta could hope for. He was…strangely pleased with his family. That, however, did not mean he was as nearly as open to everyone else.
That being said, he had no clue as to why Gohan would show up outside his GR, tears spilling down his cheeks.
"Fight me," Gohan said angrily.
Vegeta raised an eyebrow, blinking as a drop of sweat was flung off of his lashes. "What do you want, brat?"
"I want to HIT something!" Gohan yelled. "I want somebody to fight me so I can get this feeling out of me!"
Vegeta scoffed, and folded his arms. "You came to the wrong person, brat. I'm not your therapist."
The now 12 year old boy screamed in rage, and without warning, charged Vegeta. His body glistened with energy as he upgraded to a Super Saiyan, earning a rarely seen surprised look from the Saiyan Prince. Vegeta barely had time to block his attacks before he also had to upgrade to Super, which he was not pleased with.
He also was not pleased with fighting defense, so with a sharp blow to the gut, he knocked Gohan back and took to the offensive.
Gohan's focus was off. Tears still flooded his eyes, much more heavily than they had in the Cell Games nearly a year ago, and it clouded his vision. He could still sense Vegeta quite easily; training with Piccolo had insured that. But his focus was scrambled; Vegeta's was not.
An axe handle blow sent Gohan crashing to the ground. He sat up in the crater his body had created, looked up at the floating Prince above him.
"Hit me harder," his hissed.
Vegeta's eyebrows knitted together. "Did you forget, brat," he hissed back, "That I am not as strong as you? Even if I did give it my all, it would not be enough." He spat in the dirt, clearly agitated. "And what's more, you're tearing up my yard and coming dangerously close to smashing my gravity room. I'll not have you breaking my family's possessions because you wanted a good punch in the face."
Gohan howled. "You don't understand!" he screamed, launching himself at Vegeta again. To the Full Blood's dismay, he was again on the defensive.
"I practically killed my father!" Gohan screamed. "I was stupid and arrogant and now he's dead! It's my fault! You don't get it! I need to fight some – "
Vegeta's fists closed around his purple gi, and the young Demi-Saiyan found himself being slammed mercilessly into the ground repeatedly.
"YOU THINK I DON'T GET IT?" Vegeta screamed at him. His body lit up with furious energy as his Ki surged, almost as high as when Mirai Trunks was killed. "DON'T TELL ME I DON'T GET IT! YOU DIDN'T HAVE YOUR STUPID LITTLE MUDBALL OF A PLANET BLOWN UP WHEN YOU WERE FIVE! YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE MOST DEMONIC MONSTER YOU COULD POSSIBLY IMAGINE! YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO LIVE YOUR ENTIRE DAMN LIFE KNOWING YOUR FATHER FAILED TO GET YOU BACK EVEN THOUGH HE GAVE HIS LIFE! YOUR DAD DIED WITH RADITZ, SO WHAT! AT LEAST HE CAME BACK!"
Gohan's head hurt. He spat up blood as he was slammed into the ground again, like a kid being slammed into a locker by a bully.
"YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING A STUPID LIZARD ASKED OF YOU, OR GET BEATEN DAILY, OR ANYTHING!" Vegeta yelled. "YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO KNOW THAT YOUR RACE IS DYING OR THAT YOU WOULD NEVER HAVE A HOME!"
The boy faded out of Super Saiyan, blood trickling down his lips.
"YOU KNOW NOTHING OF TORTURE!" Vegeta shouted. Suddenly, his grip slacked, and Gohan was dropped. Vegeta's fists clenched at his side, his jaw set as he gritted his teeth.
"You don't fucking tell me I don't understand," Vegeta ground out. "You have a home, and a mother, and you had a father up until 11. That's six more years than I had. You don't have to look up at the stars every night and know your planet isn't there." His voice grew softer and softer the more he spoke, until he was whispering.
"You don't have to go sleep knowing that you are the very last of your kind."
That was true. He had Goten, the new baby, and he had Trunks. A limited number, yes, but more than one all the same. And what's more, Gohan, like his father, considered himself human, so there was that.
"I'm sorry," Gohan chocked out, fresh tears pouring.
He was sorry. Sorry for failing to defeat Cell quickly and sorry that his father died and sorry that the Saiyans were gone, and he was just...sorry.
"You shut up," Vegeta snapped, but his voice cracked. "Dammit," he cursed, more to himself than Gohan, and turned on his heel quickly, heading back to the GR. Gohan did not miss the Saiyan Prince's hand brushing away hot tears.
"Dad said fighting made him feel better when he was sad," Gohan called shakily.
Vegeta stopped. Then he chuckled bitterly. "Well, isn't that just fucking great? Good for him. And me? What about the rest of us? For me, fighting has lost its spark. The only reason I'm even in the GR is because I don't know what else to do. I'm without a rival or a goal to strive for. I've been stripped of whatever pride I had left. Tell me, brat," he glared as he opened the door to the GR. "Tell me, why should fighting be anything but emptiness for me now?"
Gohan was silent. Then, "You train alone."
Dark eyes seared through him, and Gohan shivered, quickly deciding to rephrase that statement.
"Can…can I train with you, Vegeta?"
A long pause followed. Finally, after thinking long and hard about it, Vegeta answered.
"Can you handle 400 G's, brat?"
Gohan nodded, more eagerly than before.
"In base form."
The little Demi-Saiyan swallowed. "I…I'll try."
A grunt. "I'm not going to slow down my training for you. You hinder me in the slightest, and you're out."
"That's Prince to you, brat."
Vegeta was bored, anyway.
Of all things that Bulma could expect to see when she looked out the window at the GR, Gohan was not one of them.
She had been sitting at the window for ten minutes, thinking. She had heard Vegeta yelling nearly six hours ago, but as him screaming his head off in the Gravity Room was normal, she had not paid it any mind. That's why, when Vegeta exited the GR with Goku's son slung over his shoulder, both covered in blood and gashes, Bulma nearly choked on her coffee.
She ran to the doorway that led outside, only to find that Vegeta was already making his way to the infirmary. Gohan's arms swung limply, making soft thuds against his back, and Bulma heard him groan quietly.
"Oh, silence, brat," Vegeta snapped agitatedly. "I told you, you wouldn't be able to handle that in base. You're just like your father."
"Thanks," Gohan coughed, trying to sit up. "Wait…you mean really persistent, right?"
"I was going more for utterly empty headed," Vegeta answered, "But whatever tickles your fancy."
"What are you two doing?" Bulma asked, almost afraid to say anything at all.
Vegeta turned abruptly, nearly making Gohan hit his head against the wall. "Watch it!" the little Super Saiyan cried.
"Tch," Vegeta scoffed. He looked to Bulma then, answering her question. "Kakabrat broke his ankle, and the idiot's too exhausted to even fly."
"Hey!" Gohan objected. "We were training for nearly six hours in 400 G's!"
"You wouldn't let me go Super! That's a lot of weight when you aren't powered up!"
"Weakling," the Prince muttered, continuing down the hall. "I could take it injured, easy. Not my fault all your idiot father taught you was throwing punches."
"Well, clearly," Gohan huffed, "since I'm a Super Saiyan 2, he taught me a little more than – oof!"
Vegeta dumped the boy on the floor in the infirmary, scowling fiercely. "Watch your mouth, brat," he glared.
Bulma smacked him on the arm. "Vegeta! That was mean," she said, helping Gohan up. The 12 year old hopped on one foot until he made it to the infirmary bed, which he sat on while Bulma fished around in the supply cabinet.
"Chichi is going to kill you," she said out loud.
"Which one?" Gohan inquired.
"Both of you," she said. "Vegeta, for breaking your ankle, and you for letting it get broken. And we don't have any Senzu beans."
"Don't be a baby," Vegeta said irritably. "Surely someone of your power can handle the Harpy."
"Mom is not a harpy," Gohan said, even though he knew she was, "and have you met her?"
"I know she is a harpy, don't I?"
"I'd like to see you go up against her!"
"Fool. I'd just kill her."
"Vegeta!" Bulma scolded.
Gohan snickered. "She'd hit you with a frying pan before you even had a chance."
"And for that, I'd take off her head," came the Prince's snarky reply.
"Would not," Gohan said cheekily.
"Don't make me give you a demonstration, Kakabrat."
Gohan fell silent, but still looked a bit smug. Vegeta scowled at him harder, spun on his heel, and left the infirmary, ignoring Bulma's yells of protest. Actually, he had a few broken ribs, but as he prodded his chest in the mirror, he deducted that they were already starting to heal on their own. He had been training at 400 G's in his base form for four years now; this was nothing to him.
That night, long after Gohan had gone home, and long after Bulma had fallen asleep in his arms, Vegeta stared up at the ceiling and contemplated his actions from that afternoon. He didn't really know what in Kami's name had possessed him to pity the brat, or let him in the gravity room. The GR was his place and his place alone. It was Vegeta's sanctuary, his once place where he could just let go and not think.
Gazing at the soft, sleeping features of the woman beside him, he decided that perhaps that wasn't exactly true, but it was the principle of the matter.
After all, Vegeta was not a sympathetic person, now was he?
He frowned, mentally scoffing at himself.
A/N: Kay, it's cute, I'm happy, you love it. XD