Christmas had always been one of Bulma's favourite holidays.
She hummed a happy tune to herself as she hung decorations on the tree.
Tomorrow- on Christmas day- Chi-chi, Gohan, Krillin, 18, Yamcha and everyone else they knew would be coming over for Christmas dinner and party games.
"Oh, Goku," Bulma sighed. "I know you'll be looking down from Heaven and thinking about us-"
A harsh voice unceremoniously interrupted her reverent thoughts and she turned around, irritated.
Oh yes, and Vegeta would be joining the party.
"What is it, Vegeta?" Bulma glared at her boyfriend as he stood there, in his training clothes, arms crossed as usual. "I'm busy here."
"Your blasted child is crying for you."
"Trunks?" Bulma listened hard and now she could indeed hear Trunks' caterwauling from the nursery. "Oh, Vegeta! Why didn't you pick him up and comfort him? He's your son too, you know!"
Vegeta stared at her as if she was insane. "That's your job, woman," He said, as if this blatant sexist outlook should be obvious as it apparently had been on Planet Vegeta. "I'm his father- my role comes in when he's old enough to be trained."
Bulma stuck her tongue out. "Not on this planet, buddy. You had better start taking care of your son."
Trunks' crying reached an urgent pitch and Bulma cursed softly under her breath, dropped the box of tinsel and raced up the stairs to see to him.
Stupid Vegeta. She thought. Christ, it's like caring for two babies.
Vegeta followed Bulma up to the nursery and watched as she scooped up Trunks and rocked him gently to and fro.
"There, there. There now, baby boy." Trunks' wails slowly turned into giggles. "That's right. Who's my good little handsome boy? You are! You are!"
Vegeta snorted. "Don't coddle the child, Bulma. Spoil him and he'll grow up soft."
"If you're not even gonna help," Bulma turned on him. "Then I don't wanna hear your input!"
Vegeta glowered at her and turned away. "Don't you order me around, ridiculous woman."
"He's hungry," Bulma sighed. "Vegeta, the tree needs to be finished. Could you go throw on some decorations for me?"
"You know, the Christmas tree."
Vegeta stared at her, uncomprehending but not willing to admit to it.
"Vegeta- didn't you wonder I was decorating a tree in the living room? And putting tinsel and holly all over the place?"
Vegeta frowned. "Women like that kind of thing, don't they?"
"Haven't you ever heard of 'Christmas'?"
Bulma smiled. "You haven't, have you?"
"If it's another idiotic Earth custom then it's not worth my time!"
"It's a really special holiday, Vegeta. But it's more for the kids I suppose." Bulma nuzzled Trunks. "Aww, my baby boy's first Christmas! Mom and dad have got him so many presents, I just don't know where we're going to put them all. And then, of course, there are the gifts from Santa…" Bulma winked at her baby.
"Santa?" Vegeta repeated. "Who's that?"
Bulma glanced at him, then decided to have a little fun.
"You know, Vegeta. Santa Claus. He's the spirit of Christmas. He rides around on his sleigh and delivers presents to everyone in the world in just one night."
Vegeta stared at her. "His spaceship must have considerable speed."
"No, Vegeta, I told you- it's a sleigh. Pulled by flying reindeer."
Vegeta looked dubious. "With that amount of speed at his disposal, he sounds formidable. Tell me, what's Santa's power level?"
Bulma had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. "Vegeta, Santa doesn't have a power level. He's just got magical abilities to transport himself to everyone's house-"
"Teleportation abilities?" Vegeta was surprised that he hadn't heard of this 'Santa Claus' sooner. He had to be Earth's strongest fighter with this type of power.
"I…guess you could call it that." Bulma sighed.
"Interesting." Vegeta muttered, then walked off back to the Gravity Room.
That man may be a strategic genius in battle, Bulma thought. But he'll always be my little Saiyan idiot.
Bulma had just put Trunks to sleep and was padding to the bedroom in her bunny PJs.
In the old days, before Trunks, she used to be self-conscious about Vegeta seeing her in her normal, baggy sleepwear and she'd usually swap it for lingerie on the nights they spent together.
Now she knew that it didn't matter.
Lace lingerie or rabbit-pattern flannel PJs, Vegeta had the same wild libido.
Thinking of that, Bulma tip-toed into their room, wondering if he'd be there already.
She switched on the light.
The bed was empty.
Once again, the Gravity Room had the upper hand in their relationship.
She'd known that man to train a week straight- days and nights.
He'll probably miss Christmas.
Bulma crawled between the bed sheets.
Oh well…I wasn't really expecting him to join in with us. He's a bit like the Grinch if the Grinch were a Saiyan prince…
Thinking of Christmas, Bulma realized with a jolt.
Oh God, I left the tree lights on. What if there's a fire…?
Groaning, she slipped out of bed again and padded downstairs, covering her mouth to stifle a yawn.
When she reached the hall and entered the living room, she stopped and stared.
There stood her husband in full Saiyan battle gear, his arms crossed.
He glared over at Bulma. "You had better get out of here, woman. In fact, it's best if you take the child and leave the house- I don't expect it will remain in one piece."
Bulma rubbed at her temple with two fingers and tried to find the words she was looking for.
"Vegeta," She said calmly. "What are you doing?"
"I'm waiting, obviously."
"Waiting? For what?"
"He is apparently Earth's strongest fighter and has been hiding himself," Vegeta smirked. "Well, he'll hide no more. As soon as he enters this house, I will challenge him."
"You want," Bulma stared at him. "To challenge Santa?"
"That's right." Vegeta nodded. "Now, do as I say and get yourself and the child out-"
Bulma couldn't hold back anymore.
She doubled over, spluttering with helpless laughter.
Vegeta watched her, half confusion, half irritation.
"What do you think you're laughing about, foolish woman? Don't you think I can defeat him?"
"Oh, Vegeta!" Bulma was almost in tears. "I love you so much!"
Vegeta reddened. "Q-quit your blathering! This is hardly the time or the-!"
"That's why I fell for you!" Bulma giggled. "The comic relief!"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
Bulma stopped laughing.
Oh God, if I tell him the truth and about how I teased him earlier…he might just blast off into space again he'll be so pissed at me.
She looked at him warily.
Vegeta was smart, but clueless about Earth.
"Honey," She said softly, going over to him. "I'm just laughing in relief."
"What?" He eyed her.
"You see, I called Santa earlier and told him that since Trunks has way too many presents this year, he needn't come round. Also, I kind of thought you'd do something like this." Bulma leaned closer. "You're just way too strong for your own good, Vegeta. Santa's power level is like…Mr Satan's. He wouldn't stand a chance."
Indescribable fury averted, but Vegeta was still irritated that he didn't get to hurt anything that night and Bulma could tell.
"All these Earthlings," He spat. "All the same. Pathetic creatures."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Bulma smiled coyly. "Because, you know, seeing you in that Saiyan battle gear kinda reminded me of how you were on Namek. It's kinda…" She ran a hand over his chest. "Turning me on."
And just like that, Vegeta's bad mood turned into another kind of mood entirely.
He slid his arm around her waist and Bulma smiled against his mouth as he kissed her.
"Merry Christmas, Vegeta."
"Enough talk, woman." He grunted, grabbed her wrist and pulled her upstairs to bed.
It was the best Christmas Eve Bulma had had in a long while.
"Merry Christmas everyone!"
All the people sitting at the Christmas table clapped and cheered, apart from Vegeta, who was still dubious about the whole Christmas experience.
"Hey, Vegeta," Krillin offered him half of one of the Christmas crackers. "Wanna pull a Christmas cracker with me?"
Vegeta glared at him. "Don't be absurd."
"Oh come on, Vegeta!" Bulma offered him half of hers. "It's just a bit of fun."
Vegeta looked unamused.
"Just pull the damn cracker, stupid boy."
"Wha-?! Stupid?!" Vegeta scowled at her and yanked the cracker.
The contents went flying everywhere and baby Trunks giggled.
Vegeta smirked. "Oops, looks like I've broken it."
"That's the point!" Bulma smiled.
"Look!" Bulma picked up the pink paper crown that had flown out and balanced it on his head. "The perfect head for a tiara! Remind you of your days as a prince-?"
Vegeta ripped it off. "I'm through with your games, woman!"
"Oh calm down, Vegeta," Bulma picked up the cracker toy. "I'll even let you keep the little spinning top."
Still, with him and the rest of the boys at the table, it was made sure of that no food was left over.
Although Vegeta didn't seem to fully understand Christmas, he didn't storm off to the Gravity Room at any point, which was always a good sign.
Later, when night had fallen and Chi-chi, 18 and Krillin were clearing everything away, Yamcha had gone off for a drink, Gohan had fallen asleep on the couch and Trunks was asleep in his crib, Bulma sidled up to Vegeta as he stood by the open doorway, looking out into the setting sun.
"Today wasn't so bad, right Vegeta?"
He grunted something sarcastic in response, but Bulma just laid her head on his shoulder and he didn't move away.
"Oh!" She said suddenly, pointing upwards. "Here's a Christmas tradition you'll like, Vegeta."
"Doubtful." He muttered, glaring above him at the plant hanging from the doorway. "What is it anyway?"
"It's called mistletoe."
"And," Bulma put a hand on his chest. "When two people find themselves underneath it, they have to kiss."
Vegeta scoffed, but still didn't move. "Why?"
"It's the law of Christmas." Bulma moved forward.
"That's ridiculous." Vegeta said, but he moved his hand to Bulma's waist and drew her close against him.
There had been times in the past when Bulma was convinced that this man had no heart, but here it was.
Beating harder than usual under her hand- it gave his real feelings away completely.
The law of Christmas only specified that one kiss alone was to be given under the mistletoe- but, as Bulma knew already, Vegeta wasn't one to follow the rules.
"You know," Gohan said later, as coffee and biscuits were served irrationally in the night. "I remember when I was a kid; I used to wait up for Santa."
"Yeah, me too." Yamcha laughed.
"I did too." Vegeta chimed in.
"What?" Gohan blinked. "You knew about Santa on Planet Vegeta?"
Too late did Bulma realize that this conversation was heading for dangerous ground.
"Of course not." Vegeta snapped. "I waited for him last night, until Bulma told me how low his power level was and that I shouldn't bother."
Everyone was staring at him by now and Bulma took two furtive steps back into the nearest room and closed to door quietly.
"Um, Vegeta," Krillin said. "Santa isn't real."
"Yeah, Santa's just a story you tell kids." Gohan said.
The atmosphere became thick with danger, like when you can almost sense an earthquake coming.
Yamcha happened to be deaf to this sense.
"Ha!" He laughed. "Did Bulma fool you into thinking Santa was real?! Ha, ha! How dumb can you get?!"
The rest of the Z fighters got up and backed away slowly, out of the room.
"Oh wow, Vegeta," Yamcha laughed. "I never thought you'll fall for something so-!"
Bulma covered her ears as the sitting room exploded up into flames.
The Z fighters exited quietly into the night, thinking that Bulma probably had a better chance of survival than they did and Yamcha was simply a lost man.
Once Yamcha had been burned to a crisp, Vegeta kicked open the kitchen door.
"Woman," He growled, the pure fury in his eyes really brought back memories of how he had been on Namek. "You have some serious explaining to do!"
"Eh heh," Bulma picked up a plant from where it lay on the counter. "Mistletoe, honey?"