Disclaimer: I own nothing.
This is for those of us that think some part of Vegeta really missed the second to last Saiyan during those unwritten seven years.
Prompt: Fix You, by Coldplay
This song + Rainymood . com = gorgeous.
Their glasses clanked loudly, and everyone smiled and laughed as they sipped their punch. Old stories and the jokes that went with them were told over and over again as longtime friends were reunited. It was a large party, and almost everyone was there. In fact, only Tien, Chiaotzu, and Launch were absent, though the Z Gang had expected this. Nevertheless, the reunion was cheerful. Buu was defeated, Babbidi was dead, and everyone who had been killed during the battle was alive and well again. Even Goku, who had remained dead for 7 years after the Cell fiasco, was back with his family, where he belonged.
That's what the party was for. Not just the defeat of Buu, but the return of an old friend.
The battle had been over for almost three months, but it was only now that the party was held. There had been things to sort out, actions to forgive, and it had taken time. Goku had to be forgiven for leaving. Vegeta had to be forgiven for betrayal. Yes, it had taken time, but it had happened. They were happy again.
But that didn't exactly tie up the loose ends.
Vegeta wasn't really a party person. He especially wasn't a 'party for Kakarot' person. It was for this reason that, even though he now found himself comfortable around his family and friends, he remained in the back of the room, away from people. Even Piccolo, who sat on the couch beside Gohan and Videl, and refused anything other than water, seemed more lively than he did today. Bulma had attempted to ask him what was wrong, but he had not answered. He only kissed her forehead (he knew she loved it, even though it embarrassed the hell out of him) and told her to go back to the party. She had given him a look that meant they would be talking about this later, which he pointedly ignored.
His eyes took interest in the carpet as he leaned against the wall, arms folded. He had not been a part of the toast, or the cheering, or the laughter, but no one had really acknowledged that. It was normal for the stoic Prince, they had decided, and left him alone as they believed he wished.
Maybe he did wish it.
"Hey, Vegeta! What are you doing all the way over there?"
He looked up, and was met with the cheerful gaze of his rival (or maybe not his rival, but Vegeta didn't have an inkling of an idea what else to refer to him as). This had happened before, with Kakarot being the center of attention, a position Vegeta did not envy him of, and yet taking time to notice the loner of the gathering.
In response to the question, Vegeta shrugged and continued to stare at nothing in particular.
Goku cocked his head. "Well, why don't you come over and join us?"
Vegeta looked at him again. "What for?" he asked.
"Well, this party is for you too, ya know. We'd all be dead if it wasn't for you."
Well, that was true, but that didn't mean Vegeta wanted the credit for it. Besides, he was sure Kakarot would have figured out something eventually even if he hadn't been there.
It was his fault it all happened, anyhow.
"C'mon, Vegeta, please?" Goku gave him a beaming smile, and out of habit, Vegeta wrinkled his nose.
He turned suddenly and left the room, leaving them all silent in his wake. Goku lowered his fork, which had a skewered piece of meat on it, and frowned. He had not seen Vegeta act this way in a long time (Kais, how long ago had that been?) and it was just as unsettling to him now as it had been then.
Bulma frowned after her husband, sighing. After thinking for a minute, she turned to ask Goku to talk to him, maybe spar him out of his bad mood, but as she did, she noticed that Goku had already risen and vanished. The blue haired woman just barely caught the spikes of black hair disappearing through the doorway before she sighed again and turned back to her friends.
He found him in the Atrium, up in a tree. It was raining outside, and the glass roof had been opened to let the water in so it could nourish the plants. The animals were silent, all most likely sleeping and dry in their nest. The rain had started halfway through the party (to Bulma's dismay), but Goku had never minded rain. He rather liked it, actually. The sky was cloudy and dark, and the scent of rain seemed strong to Goku's senses, but he loved the smell.
Rain dampened and weighed down his hair as he walked the paths in the brush that had been worn down by the animals. Instinctively, Goku tilted his nose to the air and took in the scents. He smelled the strong musk of dinosaurs, the softer trace of the rabbits, squirrels, and deer. He caught the smell of lemurs and capuchin monkeys, the four wolves, the koalas and the red pandas. His mind separated all the scents and marked them as familiar, friendly. But they were not what he was looking for.
Finally, Goku caught it. The scent was strong, dominant, and once he found it, it seemed to overshadow all the animals. Goku had always thought that maybe Saiyans were hardwired to be able to find each other, but Vegeta never talked about it, so he couldn't know.
He walked through the thickly grown trees and shrubs easily. Most people would be scratched and stumbling, but Goku knew the woods well. He continued stepping over roots and ducking under branches until he was in the very middle of the Atrium, and up in a very tall tree, was the Saiyan Prince.
"Hey, Vegeta?" Goku called up.
Vegeta did not answer. He sat which his back to the trunk of an old maple, his feet propped up on the branch with his knees bent and crossed arms resting on top. The elder Saiyan had half of his face buried behind muscular forearms, his eyes focused on nothing in particular. Rain soaked through his hair, weighing some of it down into somewhat stylish fringes, and dripped off his thick eyelashes. He didn't bother wiping them away. It was kind of comforting to him, in a way, because most of the time, the only dampness running into his eyes would be blood.
Goku couldn't see him at first, but he knew he was there. "Vegeta, come down please," he said.
Goku pressed his lips together gently, exhaling deeply as he turned around, thumping his back against the tree. He leaned his head into the bark as he titled his face to the clouded night sky, and slowly slid to the ground in between the tree roots. He propped his knees up lazily, his feet spread apart, and balanced an arm on each knee. Taking a moment to brush his soaking wet bangs out of his, he said, "You're angry with me."
Lighting flashed, and Goku looked up just in time to see a humorless half-smile on Vegeta's lips, and the Prince laughed softly, bitterly. "And aren't you with me?"
The younger male stared up at the place he now knew Vegeta to be. "No. Why would I be?"
Another chuckle. "Typical."
Goku frowned at that, but didn't make a comment about it. "So, you are angry."
"Some of us feel emotions other than happiness, Kakarot."
Goku sighed. "Vegeta, I don't understand."
"You never do, Kakarot, and that's what pisses me off," Vegeta snapped, looking down at him fiercely.
"Is this about the SSJ3 thing?" Goku demanded. "Because if so, that form runs out on energy really, really fast, and it wouldn't have been good for our fight at all -"
"I don't care about that stupid form, Kakarot."
Goku blinked, surprised, then breathed out heavily again. "Then what is it?"
"Just go away. It's done."
"It's not done," Goku stated irritably, "because you're still angry. I want to know what it is."
"Yeah, well, fuck you."
"Why won't you just talk to me?" Goku demanded.
"Go away, Kakarot," Vegeta said through gritted teeth, his voice hard and aggressive. His fingers, which had been resting on his biceps calmly up until now, tightened almost to a point of drawing blood.
"Talk to me, Vegeta."
"I don't want to talk to you. Didn't you figure out that I'm pissed at you?" there was an old hate in his voice, one Goku hadn't heard in a long time.
"Then just tell me what's wrong so I can say I'm sorry!"
"No. Not until you tell me what I did -"
A giant bolt of lightning and deafening clap of thunder sounded as Vegeta jumped up and screamed, "YOU LEFT ME, YOU IDIOT!"
Goku jumped, startled, and leapt to his feet, backing away from the tree. Vegeta stood above him, his body quaking with rage. Suddenly, he phased behind Goku, who yelped and whirled just in time to be slammed into the tree trunk, Vegeta's fists gripping his bright orange gi.
"Do you have any idea how bad it sucked being the only one left?" he roared. "Do you? No, of course you don't, because all you think about is you and this damned planet! You didn't stop to think about your stupid family or your stupid friends or me for a second! It sucked, Kakarot! IT SUCKED! I HATE YOU!"
He released the younger Saiyan suddenly, backing away with his head hanging low. There was a long pause, and when he finally spoke, his voice sounded pained."And then…I was so excited, you know that? I was so excited that you were coming back, and you didn't even pay any fucking attention to me. None. As if the same blood running through our veins, the most unique blood in the universe, meant nothing."
"That's not true," Goku said hoarsely, still pressed against the tree. "That's not true and you know it. I was excited too."
"Yeah?" Vegeta snarled. "That right? Because you looked really excited when you ran off to fight somebody else."
"You know good and well that was important," Goku said defensively.
"They didn't need you!" Vegeta shot back. "They didn't! If that Supreme Kai and Kibito were so powerful and almighty, they could have stopped those two lackeys before they got the energy to Majin Buu. He could have frozen them like he froze Gohan and took them out or destroyed the device! They didn't need you, Kakarot! You wanted to go!"
Goku stared at him, eyebrows knitted, then looked away.
"I knew it," Vegeta hissed.
"It's my job to protect people, Vegeta. I couldn't just sit by when there was a threat."
"I hate you."
"Vegeta, please -"
"No! You shut up! I hate you!"
"You can't mean that," Goku said as he pushed himself up off the tree, looking hurt. "You can't. You helped me!"
"I did that for my mate and my son! Not for you!"
Goku shook his head, scattering raindrops. "We worked so well together. You can't tell me you hate me when we made such a great team -"
"SHUT UP! YOU'RE WRONG, I HATE YOU!"
Goku glared at him. Glared. "You know something? You're a spoiled brat, Vegeta. You hate me because I didn't pay any attention to you? Is that it? That's selfish. That's stupid."
"Don't you talk to me about selfish, clown," the Prince hissed. "I don't give a damn about you paying me any fucking attention. I don't need it. You're the one who left your family just so you could train. My life was always hell until I came here. Do you think I was spoiled under Frieza? Do you think for a second I ever got anything I wanted? No! I got broken bones and ugly scars, which, by the way, I still have. Don't you talk to me about being spoiled and selfish. If anybody's selfish, it's you."
Goku looked angry at being called selfish, and he wondered in the back of his mind if it was actually true. "If you don't care, then you shouldn't be angry!"
"I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY!"
"NO YOU DON'T!"
"YES I DO!" Vegeta yelled. "I DO! YOU LEFT ME HERE ALL BY MYSELF! I HATE YOU!" Thunder rumbled again, as if Vegeta himself were causing the storm.
Goku opened his mouth to say something, but then his features softened, and he closed his mouth.
"You left me here," Vegeta said. "You let me be the only one left when you could have come back. Do you know how hard it was for me to sleep after Cell was beaten? Not only did your kid surpass me by miles, but I was the only Saiyan left. The only one." He snorted suddenly. "How pathetic is that? I was lonely for the company of a baka I rarely saw anyway. Real sad, isn't it?"
Goku scratched the back of his neck. "I…I didn't know. I'm sorry."
"Like hell you didn't," Vegeta snapped. "Like hell. You just didn't care. I hate you."
"I did care," Goku insisted. "I cared about my family and my friends and sure, I even cared about you, and that's why I did it. People are always coming after me. I was a danger magnet. I wanted to protect everyone."
"And look how well that turned out! It's not you that's cursed, it's this stupid planet. This time they went after Gohan. So what did you accomplish, Kakarot? Nothing! If you'd been here training him like you were supposed to, he'd have been able to fight them off!"
"Gohan doesn't need me," Goku said softly, looking away. "He hasn't needed me since the Androids, or hell, maybe even since Namek."
"Always with your sorry excuses. I hate you, Kakarot."
Goku said nothing.
"I hate you," Vegeta said softly, clenching his fists and squeezing his eyes shut. "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I ha-"
Goku put a hand on his shoulder.
Vegeta shrugged him off violently, backing away as he trembled with anger. His breathing seemed slow and deliberate; his glove squeaked softly as his fist tightened, and he suddenly really wanted to punch someone in the face. "Don't touch me."
Goku looked at him for a minute, then dropped his hand and stared at his feet. "I'm sorry, Vegeta. I'm sorry."
"It was great fighting with you again. Together, I mean, not against each other. But…well, that was pretty fun too," Goku said after a while. "So…I mean, we'd be screwed without your plan, so, uh, thanks."
"I did miss fighting with you," he tried again. "While I was dead, I mean. One of the things I missed most was our spars." He laughed a bit then. "I remember we always used to come home and the girls would yell at us for getting everything all bloody, and you would always scowl and ignore them like it was the most trivial matter in the world. I always thought that was kind of funny."
There was a sort of audible pause, then Vegeta said, "Don't you ever shut up?"
Goku grinned, and attempted to push the bangs that was sticking to his face away. "Not really, no."
Goku chuckled. "Yeah."
Vegeta paused again. "I don't hate you, Kakarot."
"I know." Goku smiled.
"What? I did. Besides, we gotta stick together. We're the last of the Saiyans, right?" he grinned, and held out his arm.
Vegeta hesitated, then held up his arm too, and they knocked their wrist together in an almost brotherly salute. "Right."
"So, you want to go back to the party? There's food."
Vegeta brushed the falling hairs out of his eyes with both hands, trying to get them back into their natural flame. But being weighed down by the heavy rains put them right back, and he did not try it again. "No," he said. "I think I'll sit this one out."
With that, the Saiyan Prince walked past Goku and disappeared into the forest, leaving his ex-rival standing in the rain.