Chapter 24: The Glow

Vegeta found himself standing under the showerheads letting the hot water run over his sore muscles. His hair had been flattened and hung down his back. He cursed Kakarrot silently. They had sparred outside for an hour before Chichi forced them inside the gravity room citing their destruction of the landscape. Inside the chamber, they had cranked up the gravity almost to its maximum and gone at it without using ki. It was not until Bulma beat on the door to call them to dinner that they had bothered to leave.

After eating, Vegeta felt every last punch, kick, and hold delivered by Kakarrot. The younger Saiyan was in no better shape. Luckily, there were only a few dislocated limbs and cuts. Other than that, bruises adorned their bodies. Chichi and Bulma had been amazed at how minimal their injuries were. They would be healed by the morning. But the soreness was what kept them down.

The prince let his mind wander to what he would have to do when returning with Bulma. He had no desire to bring her back, but it was necessary. She had been missing for five whole years. Frieza would more than likely punish her. There was no telling what the overlord would do. Vegeta knew Frieza would not kill her, but there were things much worse than death on Frieza Planet 12.

Shit! Vegeta punched the wall of the walk-in shower. He pulled it significantly so as not to crack the tile. He did not want to be separated from Bulma or his kin again, but he had virtually no choice. He was so engrossed in his morbid thoughts that he did not hear the shower door open and close behind him.

Bulma stepped up behind Vegeta and slowly wrapped her arms around him. He did not move but his tail wrapped around her waist. She laid her head on his back between his shoulder blades. It was strange having him slightly taller than her. "You're thinking too hard, Vegeta. Relax," she said quietly.

"How can I relax, woman? I haven't relaxed in years," Vegeta growled in response. He felt her start to knead his shoulders. Just her being near drained away some of the tension. "You should not have to go back. I should be able to handle this on my own."

"I don't want to talk about that right now, Vegeta." She forcefully turned him around, ignoring how his tail tickled her waist as it slid around her. The telepath was momentarily distracted by his body; a body she had not laid eyes upon in a very long time. Quickly removing the dirty thoughts from her mind, she met his eyes. "We have a short time to enjoy ourselves before we go back to hell. I want to do that, Vegeta. I want to enjoy you. I don't want to think about Frieza. I don't want to think about the rebellion. I don't even want to think about what we're going to eat tomorrow morning. I just want to think about you. I have gone five years without you and I only have seven nights to be with you. I am going to make the most of these seven nights. When we are alone, you will drop all thoughts of war and rebellion. You will pretend Frieza does not exist. You will be with me and me alone." Bulma slicked her wet hair back out of her face. She was frustrated and tears had started running down her face. Luckily, they were disguised by the water that had sprayed on her from the showerheads.

Vegeta had been trying to pay attention to her little speech, but it proved to be quite hard. Though he heard every word, it took a little longer to process what she was saying. Just as she had been momentarily distracted by him, he was also distracted by her. He raised an eyebrow and uncrossed his arms. "In what way do you want to enjoy me, woman?"

Bulma discreetly wiped the tears away by pretending to wipe the water from her eyes. "Don't play coy, Vegeta. You know exactly what I want from you." The words were barely out of her mouth before Vegeta had her against the wall, directly under the water. He lifted her and she instantly wrapped her arms and legs around him.

Their mouths met feverishly. It was the first kiss they had shared in five years and they were going to make it count. Vegeta leaned against her, pushing her back further against the cold tile. Bulma gasped at the feeling but only tightened her arms around Vegeta's neck. There was no foreplay. There was no teasing. There were no tender touches. There was just need and want.

Vegeta gave Bulma a single moment to breathe before thrusting unto her without warning. She gasped and barely had enough presence of mind to keep from screaming lest everyone in the house hear them. Knowing that it had been a very long time for her, Vegeta gave Bulma the chance to get used to him. When she squeezed his waist with her legs, he knew she wanted more.

He began at a snail's pace. He just watched her face. For a moment, she looked like she was in pain. Her features slowly relaxed she opened her eyes to see him staring right back at her. Bulma ran her hands up into his limp hair and pushed his head forward into a heated kiss. She bit his lip, nearly drawing blood. This was only a major turn-on for the prince and sent him into a near frenzy.

His pace quickened. His hands squeezed her backside. Her legs tightened around his waist, trying desperately to pull him closer. Bulma's first orgasm in years crashed into her like she'd been thrown into a wall. Vegeta did not let her stop the kiss and she had no choice but to release her cries into his mouth. She raked her hands down his back, drawing blood. Vegeta growled at the sensation, wondering idly where she got the strength to break his skin. He gave her no time for rest. Instead, his pace picked up. Bulma finally broke the kiss and buried her head in the crook of his neck. She could feel her second climax building rapidly. She came just as hard as she did the first time. Instead of kissing Vegeta to stifle her scream, she bit down in the space between his neck and shoulder. That was enough to send Vegeta over the edge. With a grunt, he reached his own climax and spilled himself inside her.

Bulma pulled back to look into Vegeta's eyes. Vegeta took note of the blood on her lips and smirked. She seemed to realize what he was looking at and her face flushed in embarrassment. "I didn't mean... I don't know what came..."

"Clearly you did, woman," he said, still leering at her.

It took a moment for Bulma to get his vulgar joke. She playfully hit his shoulder. "You're so crude, Vegeta." She kissed him again, this time slowly. She traced the muscles on his back and felt the small scratches she'd given him. Knowing how quickly he healed, she knew they'd be gone by morning. Something soft brushed against her hands. Grinning in the kiss, she took hold of the flailing appendage and squeezed it gently.

Vegeta groaned at the sensation her touch gave him. He nuzzled her neck as she continued to pet his tail. She knew just the right amount of pressure to place on it. For a moment, they just stayed like that in silence.

Then Bulma pulled back and rested her head against the wall. He placed his forehead against hers. She remembered what he'd said when he first woke up after the restoration of his powers. "You said no one else has eyes like mine in the galaxy."

"On some level, I believe I was searching for you without even knowing it. I vaguely remember seeking out blue-eyed women." Vegeta could feel her tense at the mention of other women and shook his head. "I remembered you even without your scent. What I said was true. No one else has eyes that glow like yours do."

Bulma put the thought of Vegeta with other women behind her and focused on his words. It was probably the sweetest thing he'd ever said to her. She pulled him closer and just held him to her. She let out a long sigh. "It was painful, Vegeta. I missed you so much that I felt pain."

Vegeta held onto her silently. Then she began moving against him again. Growling, his tail wrapped around her right thigh and she leaned up to kiss him. "Can you handle me again, woman?"

"I can handle whatever you've got to give, my prince," she whispered against his lips. Bulma knew nothing riled him up more than when she used his title. "Show me how much you've missed me."

"As long as you don't cry on me anymore," he whispered against her lips. She managed to get out a small chuckle.

Trunks rubbed his eyes as he walked down the dark hall. Okura trailed behind him, holding on to his tail. She had woken her brother up after a scary dream. Usually, they both slept with their mother after that. Trunks focused on sensing Bulma's ki. Strangely, she was not in her room. Instead, he felt her ki in the bathroom. He looked behind him and nodded to Okura. The two headed for the bathroom.

Vegeta sat on his knees on the floor of the shower. Bulma was on top of him, holding him to her chest. She ran her hands through his lax hair while he gently stroked her back. He could hear her heartbeat starting to slow. He had to remember that she was not Saiyan and he could probably send her into cardiac arrest.

"Arrogant bastard," Bulma mumbled, reading his mind.

"Immoral woman," he murmured back. He was about to say something else when two ki signatures registered just outside the door. Using his speed, Vegeta got to his feet, got out of the shower, dried them with a burst of ki, and somehow managed to wrap both him and Bulma in separate towels just as the door opened to reveal the twins.

Bulma was a little dizzy and was a second away from yelling obscenities at Vegeta but instead she noticed the twins. "Trunks? Okura? What's wrong? Why are you two still up?"

"Okura had a bad dream," Trunks said through a yawn. He felt his tail being released. Okura slowly walked past him.

Bulma watched her daughter and then looked over at Vegeta. He was frowning down at the little girl as she attached herself to his leg. Bulma stifled her laughter at his bewildered expression. It was no surprise that she'd taken to Vegeta so quickly. Bulma faced Trunks again. "You want to sleep with us?" she asked. Trunks shrugged sleepily. Bulma could see that he was seconds away from falling asleep on his feet. She swept him up in her arms and stood. "Let's take them to bed."

Vegeta looked horrified. "Woman, I am not sleeping with the brats..." Bulma loudly shushed him. "I am not sleeping with brats in the bed with us, woman." His voice was significantly quieter. Bulma rolled her eyes and left the bathroom. Vegeta sighed and saw that Okura was staring up at him. Unable to resist a pair of big, blue eyes, Vegeta awkwardly picked her up. "What was your dream about, brat?"

Okura snuggled against him. "A pink thing. It was big and round with pointy sticks on it. It was hurting Mama," she said quietly.

The prince's eyes widened. Okura's description was vague, but it sounded as if she had dreamt of Dodoria. He wondered if she had the same abilities as Bulma. The only trait she'd received from him was her physical strength. He noticed her breathing pattern change and knew Okura had fallen asleep. Sighing, he headed to the room he was now sharing with Bulma.

Bulma had already put Trunks to bed and slipped on a shirt and shorts to sleep in. She watched Vegeta handle Okura delicately and laid her down next to her brother. "Did she tell you what her dream was about?"

"Hn." Vegeta went looking for something he could sleep in. Luckily, all of their clothes were unisex and one size, so he just pulled on a pair of shorts. "She dreamt of Dodoria and you."

"Me and Dodoria?" Bulma looked at Okura. Trunks' tail had wrapped itself protectively around his sister. "Do you think she has precognitive abilities too? I know she inherited most of my abilities, but she never showed anything like precognition."

Vegeta pushed Bulma gently towards the bed. "I believe it was you who said not to think of anything but each other. We'll sort that out later. Right now, we will sleep." He walked over to the far side of the bed and lay down next to Trunks. Bulma smiled and lay down next to Okura. The little family fell asleep together, just like that.

"I've gotten word that the base on Birtens is next on Frieza's list. I gave the evacuation order. Those stationed there will scatter to surrounding bases," Yamcha said.

Juu nodded. She was staring at a holographic map of the galaxy. She pulled up the area where Birtens was. Her brother was stationed at one of the bases in the area. It happened to be the closest base to Namek, though the planet was still a good distance away. "Is there anything of importance at the Birtens base?"

Yamcha flipped through a few notes. "Not that I'm aware of. Nothing important is documented. Birtens was mostly for storage. The evacuees will be toting cargo such as weapons, but nothing of extreme importance. Why?"

"Just keeping track of where everything is going. We will soon have to start integrating on Frieza's planets in order to remain hidden. In a few weeks, we will know more about what Frieza's plans are when Vegeta returns to Planet Twelve."

Yamcha appeared confused. "Why is he going back to Frieza? We just got him out of there."

Juu turned the holographic map off. "Frieza wants the Dragon Balls. He'll eventually go to Namek himself. Vegeta is trying to stall that event as long as possible so that we can figure out what to do about them. The Nameks surely won't leave their planet no matter we say. He intends to stall by taking Bulma back in exchange," she said. Like everyone else, she did not like the idea of Bulma going back in the least. However, she recognized that it needed to be done and that there was nothing else in the entire galaxy that would keep Frieza busy.

"That is insane. Who is coming up with these ideas?"

"We'll worry about that later. Right now, focus on the evacuation of Birtens."

Trunks was an extremely fast learner. Vegeta had taught him several kata over the course of the seven days. He'd basically taught Trunks to fight all over again. However, the child had retained some of Nappa's mannerisms because they were already ingrained in the boy. So Trunks' fighting style had become some sort of amalgamation of Vegeta and Nappa's styles.

"You're not using your brain, boy! Put your foot down! Take charge!" Vegeta yelled as he watched Trunks spar with Gohan. Once again, the older boy kept Trunks on the defensive. Vegeta was aware that Gohan was older and more experiences, but Trunks did have his size on his side. There had been a number of times where he had smoothly evaded Gohan.

Put my foot down? Like this? Trunks blocked Gohan's punch and stepped forward forcefully. The released ki knocked Gohan off his feet.

Vegeta raised an eyebrow. "Nappa?"

"Yeah?" The taller Saiyan stepped up behind the prince.

"Does the boy know true ki manipulation yet?"

"No, sir. He only knows how to use it to fly."

Vegeta nodded as Gohan picked himself up off the ground. "Come here, boy!"

Trunks looked from Gohan to his father. He trotted over to Vegeta and looked up at him. "Yeah, Papa?"

The prince cringed at the name. He'd tried getting Trunks to address him as Father, but the boy and his twin had other ideas. Vegeta kneeled down and held out his right hand. A small white ball of ki appeared. Trunks smiled when he saw it. "Can you do this?" he asked.

"Nappa said he was gonna teach me soon. He said I had to learn control."

The ball of ki disappeared and Trunks' face fell. He looked back at Vegeta's dark eyes. The prince still held his hand out. "Do as I do, boy." Vegeta watched Trunks copy his position. "Just as you push your ki under you to fly, push your ki out of your palm."

"Like this?" Trunks frowned and tried to channel his ki to his hand. A short burst came from his hand but nothing happened. He frowned when he saw that Vegeta had done the same thing only there was a tiny ball of ki in his hand. "How do you do that?"

"Do what I said again. Don't stop." Vegeta waited as Trunks channeled his ki again. "When you push it out, try to keep it in your hand. Try to form it into a shape. Any shape."

Trunks twisted his face in concentration. Soon, a small light appeared in his hand. It grew larger and larger until it was about the size of his head. A big smile crossed Trunks face. In his excitement, the ball grew bigger. Vegeta noticed the boy's lack of control and dissipated the ki. Trunks blinked a few times, wondering where his ki went.

"You need to learn control, boy. That ki ball had enough power to destroy this area. You are very powerful for your age; more powerful than you realize," he admonished. Trunks nodded and Vegeta stood up.

Bulma came outside of the cave. "Hey guys! It's time for dinner!" she yelled. The words were barely out of her mouth before the Saiyans nearly ran her over in order to get to the cave. Used to their stampedes, Bulma simply sidestepped. She noticed that Vegeta was still outside. He appeared to be talking to Trunks. Their young son was listening aptly and nodding. He held out his hand. A small ki ball appeared. It grew larger and then smaller. He repeated the action again and then the ball disappeared. Smiling, Bulma walked over to them. "Dinner is ready, guys."

"Okay, Mama!" Trunks ran past her without even saying goodbye.

Vegeta narrowed his eyes and then looked at Bulma. "You distracted him, woman. Do you know how hard it is to keep that boy's attention for any length of time?" He crossed his arms. "At least he got the hang of it."

"Well, his attention would've gotten worse if he didn't go eat. A hungry Trunks is not an attentive Trunks." Bulma sighed as Vegeta grumbled under his breath about coddling brats. "He is still a child, Vegeta."

Vegeta scoffed indignantly. "He's a Saiyan child. When I was his age I had already purged a planet by myself."

Bulma shuddered. "Trunks will not be purging any planets any time soon, Vegeta." She turned his head to face hers. "Your eyes are back to normal. Frieza will know something is different if your eyes remain that way."

"You're right. That is why I planned on making a stop on our way to Planet Twelve."

They were supposed to leave once the twins went to bed. It was the only way they could make a clean getaway. Bulma had told the twins that they would be leaving for a little while, but she did not think the really understood. "How do you think they'll take it once we're gone?" she asked.

Vegeta shrugged. "They'll just have to accept it. No one can know about their existence. Tarble says he even kept it secret from the blonde woman. If Frieza finds out they exist he'll..." He trailed off and looked off into the horizon. He knew exactly what Frieza would try to do with Trunks and Okura. The twins were still young and curious. They were very trusting. They had no reason to believe that there were people who would do anything to harm them. Their minds were still impressionable. Frieza could pick up where he failed with Vegeta and Bulma. He could make Trunks and Okura into anything he wanted. "Eventually they will have to leave this planet but for now they stay."

"I know. Come inside and eat, Vegeta." Bulma turned and started walking back inside.

"Still no word?" Frieza asked as he heard the door to the room open.

Behind him, Zarbon cleared his throat. Frieza's fuse had been erratic lately. There was not telling how long the overlord would remain in a decent mood. Several messengers had been killed when Frieza heard something that displeased him. "We have established contact with Vegeta. He says there was trouble on Namek. Cui and the others were killed. Vegeta also said the Dragon Balls do exist and the Nameks are very protective of them. Vegeta did not get them because he believes there is more to their legend than we think."

"Is that all? He isn't even coming back with one of those damnable relics?"

"No, sir..."

Frieza's ki spiked and he turned to face Zarbon. "Then what the hell did I send that godforsaken monkey up there for? Then he lets Cui get killed! His ass is mine when he..."

"Vegeta did say he had something that might appease you; something he found on the planet. The Nameks did hand it over. He did not tell me what it is, but it was large enough to require the use of one of the vacated pods." Zarbon spoke quickly, not wanting to anger Frieza further.

The overlord's demeanor shifted drastically at those words. He cleared his throat and turned away from Zarbon. "Then perhaps all is not lost. How far away is Vegeta?"

"When I received the message, he had stopped at a trade planet near the border. He should be here within fifteen days, my lord." Zarbon watched Frieza's tail sway lazily back and forth. "Is there anything else you need, my lord?"

"No, Zarbon. You are free to go." Frieza heard Zarbon mumble his farewell and waited until he heard the door shut behind him. The small tyrant stared out the window at the sky. It was dark and he could see the stars clearly from his vantage point. He knew that no matter how much control he had over him, Vegeta was still a loose cannon. The Saiyan prince would do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. Frieza would not put it past Vegeta to kill Cui and the other scouts himself. "You had better not be playing me for a fool, Vegeta," Frieza murmured quietly.

"It's only for a little while. Me and Papa will be back before you know it," Bulma said. The twins were looking at her suspiciously. Vegeta stood behind her, watching the display with something akin to disdain. He hated watching Bulma coddle the children.

"But why can't we come with you, Mama?" Trunks asked.

Vegeta rolled his eyes. He stepped in front of Bulma and towered over Trunks. His son stared up at him, a little wary of him. "Your mother and I have business to tend to, boy. That's all you need to know right now. While we are gone, you are to continue your training as I have showed you. You will protect the brat as well. Do I make myself clear?" His voice was firm and stern. Trunks nodded slowly.

Okura stepped around her brother. "Will you protect Mama then?"

"I have already sworn that. Now you two must look after each other."

"And you promise to come back?" Trunks asked.

There was a rather pregnant pause before Bulma smiled nervously at the twins. "We won't lie to you, little one. We cannot make a promise like that. But we can promise that as long as it is we are still breathing, we will do everything within our power to make it back to you."

Vegeta opened his eyes as the memory faded. He blinked several times as his eyes got used to the new black contact lenses. After he was sure they were in properly, he pressed the button to open his pod. He stepped out as soon as it was completely open. He turned to his right and saw Bulma's pod was still closed. He walked over to it. He used a remote to open it. Stepping in front of it, he looked down and saw Bulma still sitting there.

"Get up, woman," he said sternly.

Bulma flinched at Vegeta's harsh tone. She had to tell herself it was an act. Still, she did not want to get out. She started to move when Vegeta's hand suddenly closed around her arm. She gave a little yelp as he yanked her out of the pod. He released her just as she was out of it and Bulma struggled to stay on her feet. Once she was balanced, Bulma glared at him. He took hold of her again and made her walk.

You don't have to throw me around like that, Vegeta.

I'm not going to pamper you or show you any kindness, woman. I have a part to play just as you do. Just remember to keep this link open, he said back to her. He spoke about the mental connection they had forcibly created due to Bulma's inability to sense Vegeta. It had taken most of their trip back to practice, but it had been worth it.

They walked in silence all the way to Frieza's conference room. When the doors slid open, everyone inside stopped what they were doing. Frieza and Zarbon were shocked to see him there. They had not been informed that he had returned so soon.

"This is a surprise, Vegeta. We expected you at least five..." Frieza stopped talking as Vegeta walked forward. He swung Bulma around him and she landed on the floor. The lavender-haired woman turned her glare back towards him but he ignored her.

"Cui met his fortunate end at the hands of the Nameks. If he hadn't, I would've killed him myself for being so weak. They saved me the trouble of soiling my gloves. However, I thought this one was worth more than his life," Vegeta said bluntly. "I've seen her face a few times on the 'Most Wanted' list."

Bulma heard clapping. She turned her head to see Frieza clapping slowly. He actually got out of his chair and began approaching her. She scrambled to her feet, not wanting to look up at him. In the five years that she had been gone, not one thing had changed about him. She found herself wondering if Frieza even really aged. Was he immortal? Then her eyes widened.

Immortality... That's what the Dragon Balls could've granted him. He already believes he is the most powerful being in the universe. Why would he wish for more power? A being like Frieza would always want to live, she thought. She was about to send Vegeta a message through their connection when Frieza's tail latched around her neck.

"You did not disappoint, Vegeta. I have missed you so much, Bulma. Five years without your presence has been far too long. Did you miss me as much as I've missed you?"

Bulma shook her head as best she could. "Not even a second was wasted thinking about you, Frieza." She tried to hide the wince has Frieza's tail tightened around her neck. He forcefully pulled her forward. Bulma watched him look her over. She felt dirty as his eyes lingered too long over certain parts of her body.

Frieza smiled. "You've grown into your body magnificently, Bulma. If it weren't for your special talents, I might have kept you for myself." He released her roughly, sending her back down to the ground. Before she could recover, his tail slapped her across her face. As her body started to fly to the side, his tail wrapped itself around her neck again. Frieza brought her closer. He took a bony finger and dragged his sharp nail down her chest from her collarbone to her midsection. The fabric of her bodysuit tore but he did not cut her skin. He eyed her skin lasciviously and used one hand to move the torn fabric to the side, baring only a sliver of her breasts. "Oh yes. I would definitely have kept you for myself. The thought is so very tempting. But I will control myself for the time being." He released her roughly, sending her rolling backward.

Vegeta was standing with his arms crossed. He was squeezing his fists together so tightly that his nails were starting to rip the fabric of his gloves. However, his face remained the very picture of indifference. Bulma's face was now facing him as she lay on the floor, trying to recover. There was an angry welt rising on her face where Frieza had slapped her. Her blood was dribbling from her mouth. She had bitten down on her tongue. Vegeta was barely restraining himself from attacking Frieza.

Feeling his rage, Bulma's eyes snapped open. The glare she gave Vegeta was so fierce that for a small moment he was afraid of her. Don't you dare, she sent to him. Seeing him relax a bit, she pushed herself up to her knees. Landing on the floor so hard hurt more than being slapped. She stood back up and wiped the blood from her mouth.

Frieza levitated back into his chair. He saw Bulma was standing and trying to hold the top of her bodysuit closed. His eyes shifted to Vegeta. "I thank you for bringing my favorite back to me, Vegeta. Take her to the Vault. Dodoria will be along shortly."

Vegeta narrowed his eyes. Both he and Bulma figured that there would be punishment involved; a whipping or beating of some sort. Frieza had never harmed Bulma more than that. Something like that could have been done in the very room they stood in. The Vault was used only for the harshest of punishments. It was nothing short of a torture chamber. The things done down there were legendary for all the wrong reasons.

Without care, Vegeta grabbed Bulma's arm. He dragged her backwards until she turned around to walk properly. Once they were outside of the room, Vegeta could sense her fear. Are you absolutely sure you want to do this, woman?

Bulma mentally smirked. You know there's nothing we can do right now. I'm just going to have to endure this. Frieza won't kill me. You know that.

He may not kill you but rest assured you will be wishing for death by the time Dodoria gets done with you.

I have heard of what he does to his victims. I am not afraid.

You're lying, woman. You reek of fear and have you forgotten that I can feel what you feel through this rapport?

Bulma had not forgotten. She attempted to smile as they entered an elevator. I'll be strong, Vegeta. There's nothing Frieza or Dodoria can do that will break me.

They lapsed into silence as the elevator went further and further into the bowels of the fortress. The Vault was the very last floor and deep underground. The two could only guess it was so far underground so that no one could hear the screams. When the elevator door opened, a blast of heat hit them. It was almost unbearably hot and humid. The place was damp and dark. Only small, dim lights lit the area. While Bulma could only hear the audible moaning, Vegeta's sensitive hearing picked up on the ragged breaths and the sound of something dripping. There was no screaming, which only meant the no one was currently being tortured. He gently tugged on Bulma's arm to get her walking. It was the most gentle he had been with her since they arrived.

Bulma stayed closer to Vegeta than she should have. She did herself no favors by looking into the different cells that lined the hall. The prisoners had twisted limbs and open wounds. She could see that some had been whipped so raw that their bones were showing. Most of them sat in pools of their own blood. She was sure one or two were dead. What confused her for a moment was that there did not seem to be anything blocking the prisoners from leaving their cells. There were no doors and there did not appear to be any type of glass in front of them.

Invisible barriers. If they are touched while engaged, death would be almost instant. It is to give the illusion of freedom. More than one person has chosen suicide over surviving for more torture, Vegeta answered her inquiry before she could ask. She nodded slowly and saw that some of the prisoners had taken their lives by the way they lay so closely to the barriers.

They came to an empty cell and Vegeta released her. He gestured for her to enter. Bulma walked forward. The cell was small. There was only wide enough for her to stretch out horizontally but if she were to lay horizontally her feet would be out past the barrier. She walked all the way to the back and turned to face Vegeta.

The two stared at one another for the longest. Bulma's breathing had picked up. Vegeta could sense that she was on the verge of a panic attack. He stepped inside the cell and backed her into the wall.

"Vegeta, they will see..."

"There are no cameras down here, woman. If Frieza wants to see anything he will come down himself. He doesn't like watching torture unless he's doing it himself." Vegeta looked into her eyes. Even in the dim light they were glowing. He silently hoped that when she finally did leave this place that their vibrant luster would remain. It was probably asking a lot, but he hoped she would indeed remain strong. "Never let them hear you scream, woman. Remember to control your power. Frieza can still not know about the true extent of it," he said firmly.

Bulma nodded quickly. She was trying not to show her fear but the more she thought about what was to happen the more she started to shake. However, she was not going to back out of their plan now. She was the one who had suggested it and she was going to see it through no matter what.

The prince turned to leave. He hesitated before he stepped out of the cell. Vegeta turned around and pulled Bulma into a kiss. She reciprocated instantly. It was almost too much. They had just gotten each other back and now they were being separated again. Vegeta pulled back. "You will not close the connection."

"If I don't you'll see everything, Vegeta," Bulma said a little breathlessly. "I can't put that burden on you."

"I want the burden. I want to see it. You will not suffer alone."

She nodded slowly. Vegeta nodded back and then quickly turned away. This time he left the cell. As he did, he turned on the barrier. Bulma saw a small flash and she knew it had been activated. She sank down to sit against the back wall with her knees drawn up to her chest. She listened as Vegeta's footsteps became quieter and quieter. Sighing, she closed her eyes and began mentally preparing herself for what was about to come.

Vegeta went straight to his quarters. The moment the door slid shut he ripped off his armor and threw it against the wall. He felt like killing something, anything. Instead, he sat down on his bed and put his elbows on his knees. He ran his hands through his hair and gripped the thick strands. His mind replayed the image of Frieza beating and groping her. The groping hit him harder than the beating did. If there was anything he did not want to happen it was to have that slimy lizard violate her.

She's been through that already. If it happens again, I don't care what she says. I'm annihilating every being on this fucking planet, he thought angrily. He noticed he was unconsciously powering up. The pent up anger was starting to overwhelm him. He needed some sort of release. He stood and headed for the door of his chambers.

The prince was going to train. He thought for a moment about retrieving his armor but quickly squashed it. He would train without it. Besides Frieza, no one on the planet could hurt him. He needed to work off the excess energy and anger he was feeling. If someone died in the process, that was all the better.

Bulma had been sleeping lightly when the noisy elevator opened, jarring her awake. Heavy footsteps followed. Her breathing picked up and she tried to control it. She was already sweating because of the extreme heat. She told herself not to show fear; to be strong. It was just Dodoria. The last person she was afraid of was an overweight pink blob.

Dodoria appeared much later than Bulma would have thought. He stood outside of the barrier and grinned at her. He pressed the button that deactivated the barrier. Bulma wondered for a moment if he could even fit in the cell. She got her answer when he turned sideways and walked inside. Before she could do anything, he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to her feet.

"I've actually missed you, little girl. Frieza is finally letting me have my way with you." Dodoria looked her over in much the same way that Frieza had. Licking his scaly purple lips, he pulled her closer to him. "We're going to have lots of fun." His opposite hand grabbed her wrist and dragged her from the cell.

Bulma wanted to beat on him to be released, but she knew it would be futile. He would only strike her and she wanted to go through as little pain as possible. Her face was already sore from being smacked by Frieza's tail. She walked slowly behind Dodoria. He took her to the large metal door at the end of the hall. After pressing in a few numbers on a keypad (Bulma mad sure to watch), the door unlocked. Dodoria had to pull it open and Bulma could tell it was heavy. He practically tossed her inside. She stumbled for a moment but managed to keep standing. Then she looked around.

The first thing that struck her as strange was the rejuvenation tank in the farthest corner of the room. She assumed that it was used to heal the victims enough only for them to be tortured more. The next thing she noticed were the chains and hooks. There was a table with straps in the center of the room. The wall to her left had a myriad of instruments attached to it. In the back of the room was what looked like a trapdoor. Beside that was a metal coffin. Then there was another coffin-like box leaning against the wall. There was some sort of pointy chair sitting just behind her to her right. Next to that was another chair with spikes on the armrests, legs, and the back. The only safe place was the seat of the chair. Bulma could see dried blood that ran down the sides of the chair. The worst thoughts started to run through Bulma's mind until she heard the door slam shut behind her. She whirled around to see Dodoria smiling.

"Strip," he said plainly. He walked around her and began unbuckling the straps on the spiky chair.

"Excuse me?" Bulma said after a moment.

Dodoria looked up at her. "This is the only act of charity you will receive. I doubt you want me to come over there. I will not be gentle."

Bulma turned away from Dodoria. She took off her boots. Her feet touched the grimy floor and she closed her eyes. Then she started peeling the torn bodysuit off. She shivered once she was fully undressed even though it was like a sauna in the room. She was left with only her underwear and her breasts bared. She thanked whatever god there was that she had not chosen to go completely bare beneath her bodysuit. She could hear Dodoria moving up behind her. Just as she turned her head, his chubby hand closed around her tiny neck, covering it completely. He pulled her close and inhaled. Unlike when Vegeta scented her, it made her feel like she needed to scrub herself clean in scalding water.

"It will be a shame to mar this body. You are truly the thing men dream about," he said.

"Is that a compliment?" Her voice was softer than she would have liked it to be, but Dodoria's grip was crushing her throat.

"Yes. I think it is." Without warning, he dragged her backwards by her neck. "Where should I start? Such taut skin. I want to peel it off and feel it between my fingers, but it is so perfect." Dodoria deposited her in the seat with the spikes.

Bulma bit down on her tongue to keep from screaming as her back hit the spikes. She chanted in her mind what Vegeta hold her. After mentally chanting ten times, she opened her eyes to see Dodoria strapping her arms and legs down. She held her back off of the spikes, but she could already feel blood running down her back.

Dodoria finished strapping Bulma on the chair and looked at her face. Discomfort and pain was written all over her features. "Frieza has forbidden me from doing anything to permanently blemish that beautiful skin. However, I can still have plenty of fun with you." He turned away from her and went to the wall directly across from her. He picked up what looked like a clamp of some sort and a pair of pliers. "Nowadays people like to use all those fancy instruments. There's little to no real effort put into torture anymore. Just press a button and your victim is in pain. Where's the pleasure in that?"

Bulma frowned as she watched Dodoria approach her again. He sat the pliers down on a small table beside the chair. They looked like they had never been cleaned before. She had barely turned her head back to face Dodoria when he took hold of her face. His grip forced her mouth to open. Before she could close it, Dodoria placed the clamp in her mouth. He clipped it strapped it around her face, making sure it was tight enough to hold her mouth open. Bulma forced herself to stay still in the chair.

"There's an art to torture, little girl. That fancy equipment doesn't let you see the fruits of your labor. It doesn't let you feel the warmth of blood running down your fingers. It doesn't show you the true pain." Dodoria picked up the pliers. With his left hand he held Bulma's head still. "Now, I've been told that your kind can grow an infinite amount of teeth. No matter how many times they come out, they will always grow back. Such an ability seems strange considering the rest of your body is so pathetically weak. Teeth aren't exactly a necessity. That's where I'd like to start. I'd say all six lower molars is a good place to start." He stuck the pliers in her mouth and took hold of her first right mandibular molar. With one quick jerk, he yanked Bulma's tooth right out.

She squeezed her eyes shut and arched her back to keep from stabbing herself, but she did not scream. Without waiting for the pain to subside even a little, Dodoria grabbed the second molar and yanked it out. Bulma started to taste the blood on her tongue. She felt it running out of her mouth and onto her chin. Dodoria took out the third molar and she accidentally pushed her calves against the spikes on the leg of the chair. She exhaled when Dodoria released her hair. He held the molar up to look at it.

"You have beautiful teeth, little girl. Such teeth are hard to come by in this galaxy." He saw the blood dribbling out of her mouth and dripping off of her chin. He wiped some of the blood up with her finger and examined it before tasting it. "This is art. Your blood is like a sweet nectar. I did say I would take six molars, didn't I?" He took hold of Bulma's head again. He repeated the process.

This time, tears ran down Bulma's face along with the blood. She made not a sound, though. Dodoria roughly removed the clamp and allowed her to close her mouth. Her jaw was aching and she felt slightly lightheaded. She tried to spit the blood out but Dodoria grabbed her by her jaw, making sure to squeeze. Bulma gasped at the pain but held in her scream. He stuck his finger in her mouth, rubbing some sort of blue substance on the holes where her teeth used to be. The substance stung and Bulma fought to get away but Dodoria held tight. She barely noticed that she had stopped bleeding.

"You're tough. I usually get screams even by the first molar. No matter. We're only just beginning, little girl." Dodoria released her face and began unstrapping her.

For a moment, Bulma contemplated bolting. She was too lightheaded, though. She barely noticed Dodoria picking her up. He laid her on the table and applied the blue gel over the puncture wounds on her legs and back. Bulma held her breath until the stinging passed. She heard something jingling and moved her head. Dodoria was lowering some chains from the ceiling. Bulma closed her eyes. How long had she been in the room? Ten? Twenty minutes tops? She stopped thinking when Dodoria took her by the arm and pulled her off the table. Bulma dropped like a dead weight but he pulled her to her feet.

Dodoria held Bulma's arms behind her back. "I'll be using good old-fashioned rope to bind your hands. Your wrists are too puny for my shackles. You'd slip right out of them and we can't have that." He roughly tied Bulma's hands together. He then tied Bulma's feet together as well. He took a hooked chain and wrapped it around Bulma's tied hands. Securing the hook, he stepped away from her.

Bulma was still dizzy from the blood loss when she heard the sound of metal moving. She noticed her arms rising and looked around. She tried to pull them forward but they were tied behind her back. Her eyes widened and she looked over at Dodoria. He was manually cranking the chain. Bulma closed her eyes when she felt the strain her body weight put on her arms as her feet left the floor. She tried to lean forward to alleviate some of the pain. It worked for a moment. Then something heavy dropped on her feet. Her eyes snapped open.

The pink blob had hooked a weight onto the rope holding her feet together. The extra weight pulled her down. With a sickening crack, her left arm dislocated itself from her shoulder. Frowning, Dodoria saw that only one arm had been affected by the extra weight. Also, Bulma did not scream. Shrugging, he added another weight. This time Bulma's other arm followed suit along with the spraining of her right ankle. Still, she did not scream. Instead, she nearly bit her lip off.

Vegeta watched as his sparring partner dropped to the ground. The unlucky alien had been felled by two punches. The second punch had literally knocked his head clean off. It now sat against the wall. The prince kicked the soldier's body to the wall. He looked around for his next partner. Being one of Frieza's favorites had its perks. One of them was to command people to spar with him. Frieza cared not if they died.

The prince rolled his shoulders forward. There was a slight ache in them. He knew it had to be from Bulma. Dodoria had started with her. Vegeta wished there was a way he could siphon off some of her pain, but he knew it was impossible. Bulma's thoughts were a mess. She was nearly delirious.

Keep it together, woman. You can't lose your mind.

Blue eyes opened as she heard Vegeta's message. Dodoria was mumbling something about how he would pull that elusive scream from Bulma. She tuned him back in just as he was finishing his mini tirade. "Perhaps your art is not as effective as you think," she said through bloody lips.

Dodoria's smile disappeared. He opened his mouth to make a retort but a scouter across the room started beeping. He walked over to it and shut off the sound. "You're lucky that it's time for my dinner, little girl." He started turning the crank to let Bulma down. As her legs touched the floor she grew weak and crumpled to the floor. Dodoria sat her up. "I can't very well leave you like this, can I? Your trip to the tank will have to wait, though." That was all the warning he gave before popping both her arms back into place. Her right foot was still a mess.

Bulma felt as though she was going to pass out from the agony. She struggled to stay upright and kept her eyes on her fat tormentor. Dodoria opened the metal coffin-like box. He dragged Bulma across the floor by her still-tied sore arms. He lifted her literally dropped her in the box. Wincing, she barely had time to move before the top came down. She heard him locking the box. Her natural response was to wriggle around. She was still bound by her hands and feet.

Dodoria chuckled darkly. "You'll survive, little girl. There's a hole big enough to let you breathe. I must tell you that it will get mighty hot in there, though." He walked to the door of the room and swung it open. "Good night!"

Bulma saw the light go out in the room as soon as the door closed. She heard the locking mechanism engage. She was alone. She was alone in a metal box that had barely enough room for her to stretch her legs out. She turned on her side. It was becoming hotter and hotter in the box. She had to survive the entire night. She could do it.

I will not die. I cannot die. This is nothing. I can survive this. I will survive this.

Vegeta's fifth sparring victim fell to the metal floor. There was a fist-sized hole in his chest. The prince had felt every ounce of pain Bulma had been dealt. At times, he could even see what she saw through blurry, tear-filled eyes. Her mind seemed at rest now and Vegeta decided that he needed to rest as well.

Don't worry about me. I'll be fine.

Vegeta sighed as he left the training area. I know you will.

AN: That had to be the biggest mood whiplash in a chapter in history, huh?