"Oh, she's SO sweet!"
Bulma held one-year-old Bra up with pride as all of her female friends crowded around the baby.
Bra cooed appealing, batting her big, diamond-blue eyes at them all. Her wispy, pale hair that would one day perfectly resemble her mother's was tied up in a big, pink ribbon and she had on her pink and white little sailor suit with the brass buttons on the cuffs.
Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Trunks and thirteen-year-old Goten were demolishing the buffet whilst the younger girls at the party secretly admired their good looks.
Videl and Gohan were mingling on the sofa, Videl's pregnant stomach swelling under her dress. She was due any day now and Gohan was constantly pestering her with overprotective worry about whether she was tired or thirsty.
Goku, Chi-chi, Krillin and 18 were having drinks on the balcony; nine-year-old Marron was close by, talking to Yamcha and Piccolo.
Bulma breathed a contented sigh.
Yes, everything was just as it should be for her daughter's first birthday party-
Bulma looked round, her smile deepening into a frown.
"Where's Vegeta?" She demanded.
The people within earshot looked up; her friends cringed and exchanged glances at the mention of Bulma's brusque, intimidating husband.
Trunks wiped his mouth with his sleeve. "I saw him a second ago. He was walking out, I thought you knew…" He trailed off when he saw outrage in his mother's eyes.
"That jerk." Bulma muttered under her breath. "It's his own daughter's birthday."
"Aww, he'll be back!" Goku laughed.
"Probably." Was Yamcha's skeptical input.
"Papa!" Bra giggled.
"Yes, darling," Bulma put Bra on her pink highchair gently. "Silly Papa."
To be honest, Bulma was surprised by Vegeta's behavior.
She would have expected this kind of shit on Trunks' first birthday, or even on hers- depending on his mood swings.
But not Bra.
Bra was a whole different story to Vegeta.
Truth be told, Bulma had been hesitant a year earlier when she had discovered that it was a girl she was carrying. She had no idea how Vegeta would react.
After all, Goku had two sons and she knew how much Vegeta still fought to outdo him. Luckily, Trunks was stronger than Goten and was fast approaching Gohan's level. But, a girl?
As far as she knew, a girl couldn't turn Super Saiyan and she didn't want this to be an issue.
Of course, when she was pregnant, Vegeta had treated the fact that it was a baby girl with the same indifference that he had treated Trunks' birth with at first.
And then she was born and nothing was as Bulma had expected it to be.
Vegeta had always been harsh with Trunks, especially in his younger years. Very rarely bending to his whims and giving him what he wanted- forever complaining about how much Bulma and her parents spoiled him.
Bra had only to bat her big eyes at Vegeta to get him to do something.
Recently, Bulma had walked in on Vegeta waggling Bra's stuffed bear in front of her and smirking as she giggled. He'd gone red and swiftly dropped the toy and stalked off when he caught sight of Bulma, but that wasn't the only difference about him.
Bulma remembered wryly how Vegeta had always referred to Trunks as 'brat' or 'that little shit' or 'fucking goddamn boy' and only sometimes by name.
The worst name Bra got called was 'that baby', but only when she was crying and it was late and Vegeta was worn out from training.
Once, Trunks had complained: "She's crying again? Can't anyone shut that brat up?"
Vegeta had given his son a dark glare. "I'll shut you up in a minute, boy, if you call your sister that again."
Trunks was too old to be bothered by this obvious favoritism- in fact, he found it just as amusing as Bulma did to see the hair-trigger tempered Saiyan prince wrapped around the little finger of a one-year-old so completely. Plus, he was just as bad as his father when it came to saying 'no' to Bra.
Marron now came forward and took Bra's hand gently. "Awww, look at her! She's so cute!"
"Of course!" Bulma winked. "She's got my looks."
"Poor kid." Trunks muttered and got hit upside the head by his mother for his trouble.
"Hopefully she won't grow up to be anything like her father." Piccolo towered over the baby in a way that would have been intimidating to any full human girl.
Bra just giggled. "Green!" She pointed at Piccolo. "Spikey ear green man!"
Everyone burst out laughing as Piccolo went from green to red in an instant.
Bulma's laugh faded when the door crashed open and Vegeta stood there, looking unremorseful as always.
"Oh, so you are still here." She said.
"Of course I am, woman. It's my daughter's birthday."
Bulma stared at him and then broke into a smile. So he did care.
Vegeta glared at her. "Don't smile at me like that."
Bulma stuck her tongue out instead.
"She's adorable, Vegeta!" Gohan laughed, gesturing to Bra.
Vegeta crossed his arms, smirking. "Of course."
"I bet when Videl and I have our baby- they can play together!"
"If your child can keep up then fine."
"Be nice." Bulma murmured.
"Where were you, dad?" Trunks asked.
"Getting her present, obviously." Vegeta said. "The same present I gave you on your first birthday."
Trunks' eyes widened. "You mean…"
Before Planet Vegeta had blown up, Vegeta had retained four Royal Saiyan crest pendants given to him by his father. One was for him, one was for the woman he would one day marry, the other two had belonged to his parents.
Vegeta had retained his, of course. He had given the one meant for his mate to Bulma. He had given Trunks his father's and now he handed the royal pendant that had been his mother's, over to Bra.
Bulma had happened to wear her own pendant today and she subconsciously brought it out and wondered at the intricacy of the design. The three pronged fork, the two dashes and the half circle curve underneath that was the Saiyan royal crest.
Goten, unaware of the solemnness of Saiyan traditions, frowned and peered closer. "You got her a necklace?"
"What I got her, spawn of Kakkorot," Vegeta growled. "Is the mark of true Saiyan royalty. She is a princess, after all. And in an alternate reality somewhere, you and your family and kneeling before her."
Bra giggled as she admired the way the light caught the pendant in her little hands. "Pretty!" She cooed and Vegeta congratulated himself on her approval.
Meanwhile, Bulma's human friends were confused.
"Saiyan…royalty, did he say?" A co-worker frowned. "What's that?"
"You gals can feel free to go out to the barbeque!" Bulma clapped her hands. "It's probably all ready!"
The promise of more of the Briefs' delicious cooking herded the remainder of humans out into the garden, all talk of the Saiyan race forgotten.
"Miserable humans." Vegeta muttered.
"They're family friends, Vegeta." Bulma told him sternly.
"Miserable human family friends."
"Papa! Papa!" Bra waggled her arms at Vegeta. "Hug Papa now!"
Instinctively, Vegeta scooped her up in his arms.
"AWWWW!" Goku, Krillin and Gohan cooed.
"SHUT UP!" Vegeta flushed, glaring furiously at them.
Bra just giggled and nuzzled comfortably against Vegeta's chest. "Papa!" She smiled again, taking the edge off Vegeta's anger.
"I've got a present for you too, Bra!" Goku reached into his pocket and brought out a sweet pink and blue rattle.
"A gift from the Son family." Chi-chi smiled.
"Here you go, Bra!" Goku grinned and rattled the toy in front of her face. "Wanna try it out, huh?"
Mesmerized by the rattling sound, Bra nodded and held out her hand, expecting to be obeyed instantly.
"What do you say, Bra?" Her mother prompted.
Bra blinked. "Give now?"
The entire company groaned, apart from Vegeta, who smirked.
"She's definitely her father's daughter." Krillin commented.
"For once, we actually agree, Baldy." Vegeta replied.
"Baldy!" Bra giggled, pointing at Krillin. "Ha, ha! Baldy! Baldy!"
"There's two of them!" Krillin gaped.
Vegeta was actually laughing by this point. "That's right, good girl, Bra!"
"I think that's the loose definition of being a bad influence." Trunks said.
"You're one to talk." Goten reminded him.
"Just thank Goku for the rattle, sweetie." Bulma felt a blinding headache coming on at the prospect of having to raise a female Vegeta.
Once again, Goku rattled the present and smiled, handing it over. "There you go, mini Vegeta."
"Don't encourage it." Chi-chi warned him.
Bra took the rattle. "Thank you," She said clearly. "Kakkorot."
The whole company went deadly silent.
Vegeta stared down at his daughter in complete shock and slowly dawning delight. He held her up firmly. "Bra," He said. "What did you just say?"
"'Thank you, Kakkorot'." Bra repeated, wondering why everyone was gawking at her. She pointed to Goku to clarify this. "Kakkorot." She said.
Trunks was the first to start laughing, quickly followed by Goten, Gohan, Videl, 18, Krillin and Bulma.
Goku looked like he was still in shock. "Oh, come on…" He sighed. "Not another one…"
Vegeta stared down at his daughter, still speechless, but glowing pride was starting to fill him.
Bulma shook her head in half wonder, half irony. "She's such a daddy's girl!"
Vegeta took one of Bra's tiny hands, the Saiyan crest of royalty glinting in the light from the windows as she inspected her new rattle critically.
Over a decade ago, if you had approached him on Namek and told him that one day he'd have a wife, a son and a baby daughter, he'd have laughed in your face and probably killed you for sport.
Who'd have thought that he'd ever have had a baby daughter described as a 'daddy's girl'?
Even Freiza would be frozen with shock at the thought.
"Papa!" Bra looked up into his eyes that had seen so much blood, hate and killing over the years, with nothing except unconditional adoration. "Love you!"
Once again, Vegeta's pride stood in his way like an insurmountable barrier. But he reached up one finger and touched the very tip of Bra's nose in response.
"You know," Goten was saying. "When she grows up, she might be even prettier than Bulma! I might even wanna date her!"
He broke off his laugh as he looked up to see a pair of burning eyes.
"Do you also want to die young?" Vegeta enquired icily.
"Oh, Vegeta!" Bulma swatted his shoulder playfully as Goten visibly paled. "He was just kidding. Anyway, if she looks anything like me when she grows up, she'll have boys falling for her left, right and center!"
"And that's about as modest as she gets." Trunks nodded, earning another upside strike.
Vegeta's arm curled protectively around his daughter. "Like hell she will!" He spat, concluding that the entire male population of the universe was now not to be trusted.
Bra, meanwhile, shook the rattle at everyone. "Cake now." She ordered.
And the words of the universe's only Saiyan princess were not to be ignored.