Author's Note: Well, this story had been sitting unfinished on my flash drive for nearly five months now. Rather sad, yes, but my attention has been elsewhere and until today, the end remained illusive. But no longer. I do hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the Dragon Ball world. That world belongs to one Toriyama Akira.
"Woman, where is my dinner?" The booming sound of Vegeta's regal voice about shook the very foundation of the Brief's family home. Dripping with fresh sweat from a recent workout, the Saiyan frowned at the disturbing sight in the kitchen. No meal awaited him, not even a mere sandwich. Where was his woman? A brief glance at the counter had him looking at a note, one apparently left before he had gotten up that morning. Of course it was left by Bulma, and it informed him that she may be working late. Again.
Vegeta growled at the thought of making his own meal. Didn't the woman know she had higher callings? Like feeding him? While more than capable of cooking on his own—for he had done so while working under Frieza—he had undeniably become accustomed to food being prepared for him both in the morning and the evening. It was one human tradition he could actually tolerate. But, unlike Kakarot's woman—who had nothing but time to cook—the prince's mate had to make frequent appearances with her company. This, of course, wouldn't bother him so much if it didn't mess with his eating schedule.
So, grumbling, the prince rounded the granite countertop to the fridge in search of something fulfilling. No sooner did he grab a whole turkey and several containers of kami-knows-what did a light crying reach his ears. The muffled sound seeped from the conjoining room and without a doubt belonged to his youngest child. At first, he attempted to drown the noise in thoughts of food, but after a minute, what little of the kami-forsaken conscious he had gained during his time on Earth prompted him to tend to his daughter. With a light scoff, the male quickly swallowed a few pieces of turkey before entering the living room.
Five-year-old Bra stretched over the surface of an ottoman with her still-shoed feet just barely hanging off the furniture's edge. She dug her head of teal hair so far into a pair of folded arms that it seemed impossible she could actually breathe. Seeing as how she sported a pale blue and white seifuku, the father could deduce one of two things: that the child came home from school not long before now or she had been here for hours without bothering to change.
Vegeta watched her for several more moments before finally speaking up, "Girl, what are you crying about?" The young child only mumbled something incoherent, to which Vegeta growled, demanding, "Speak clearly."
When Bra managed to raise her head, bloodshot eyes gazed at their father with such hurt and helplessness behind them that Vegeta almost felt compelled to rush to his daughter's side. Almost.
The girl let out one last hiccup then cried, "I hate kindergarten!"
Vegeta raised an eyebrow, but paused for a moment before daring to ask, "…Why is that?"
"I just do!"
"Present justification, child," the prince growled, just shy of rolling his eyes. The blue-haired girl flashed him a look of confusion, which made him realize she hadn't understood what he meant. "Explain," he tried again. "Tell me why."
Bra remained silent in thought; so much so that Vegeta considered leaving the matter for his mate to handle later. She was the one who was supposed to solve these kinds of issues anyway, right? Unfortunately for the prince, he hadn't the faintest idea when the woman would return, and his limited experience of Earth females warned him against letting his daughter fester in her emotions too long. He was always punished for it in the end, even when he had done nothing to deserve it. So, the prince released a small sigh then walked forward. He sat on the leather couch the ottoman complimented and again waited before speaking.
For a short moment it seemed Bra was going to run away, yet she didn't. Instead, she situated herself to sit on the ottoman with her legs pulled towards her chin. Vegeta frowned at the site; not out of disgust or sorrow, but because the action signified defeat and insecurity. He had not taught his children to be insecure.
"They tease me," she ultimately confessed some time later. With blue eyes cast down in defeat, she dug her shaking hands further into her legs to help prevent another crying spell. "Today, in class, w-we were playing pretend and-and…one girl wanted to play the princess. But I wanted to be the princess because-because I am a princess. I told them I was a princess! But they said I wasn't…because they aren't real and-and just because mommy's a star doesn't make me special." Her voice began to crack as she attempted to quell another sob. Nonetheless, she continued her story, "They wouldn't let me play anymore then started calling me princess liar…I'm not a liar!" Bra turned to her father with a deep frown on her face. "I'm a princess, right, Daddy? You said so, you did!"
Vegeta remained unflinching throughout his daughter's explanation. Indeed, he has deemed her a princess on multiple accounts. And technically she was. However, reassuring his daughter wasn't going to fix the issue at hand. In fact, Bra's defeated crying was anything but disheartening for him since it displayed a form of spoiled weakness, as if she cried long enough her father would make things right, make them the way she saw fit. Admittedly, he had fed her ego a bit (while unintentional), but certainly not enough that it warranted a little girl's instant expectations of him.
A natural part of the Saiyan desired to hunt these children down and scare them out of their wits. It sure would make him feel satisfied. However, he resolved such a decision would further handicap his daughter's growth as a strong individual. Though still a child, she needed to learn that she can depend on him yet still stand on her own.
As a father, wasn't it his place to teach his young just that?
"Listen, girl," Vegeta spoke, voice stern. Bra's vision had since been drawn away from her father, so it took one more addressing for her to actually face him. Once he locked her glossy blue eyes with his own eyes of coal, he said, "Never be afraid to look me square in the face. You are of Saiyan royalty, and should act like it. You have no reason to fear any other pathetic creature on this planet. They are below you, regardless of what your mother says."
He raised a curt hand for silence. "No. What these menial children are doing is harming your pride."
"My…pride?" Wide blue eye blinked with curiosity as Bra cocked her head.
"Yes, if a Saiyan lacks pride, then they have nothing. We are creatures with a strong sense of…self. As my child, a fraction of that sense runs through your blood. If these children are so insistent on branding you with a false title, then you must prove to them otherwise. Show them your Saiyan pride."
"…Is that ok?"
"Of course it's ok. I said so."
"But mommy tells me you always take things too far, and I can get in trouble if I act like you."
Vegeta paused, lips pursed. "…She would. But never mind her."
"No, next time those children dare try to demean you this is what you do..."
"Princess Liar! Princess Lair!" From the busy school of West City Kindergarten, two classmates encircled Bra Brief in a mock dance of torment.
One, a pale red-headed female with wide-set eyes approached the teal-haired child first and said, "My daddy told me that you don't even have a daddy. Your mommy's all alone. Real princesses have daddies, ya know."
"Yeah," the second, a doe-eyed boy, confirmed, "And mine said only sad people like to make up stories because they're dumb!"
Bra clenched her little jaw as the onslaught of insults continued, her mind reeling with possibilities of what to do next. Her daddy had said to stand her ground, so she would. Quietly. But even after several minutes, the teasing grew worse, to the point where they were now saying her father must not have liked her enough to stay with her mother.
She didn't cry this time. Not even her eyes stung. Instead of sobbing, she released labored breaths between a pair of quivering lips as if restraining some dangerous emotion that could very well destroy the planet. A pain pegged her chest, but it wasn't like anything she had felt before. It ran deep, passed her heart, passed her gut, passed everything physical to an untouched depth within her spirit.
A new urge overcame her then, and she allowed it to swallow her with such fury that the two classmates barely had a millisecond to register the infuriated fists hurling towards their faces at full force.
From the confines of her spacey penthouse office, Bulma glanced passed her paperwork just long enough to register who was at the door. "What is it, T?" she inquired of the young female intern. T, somewhat hesitant, tucked a lock of long green hair behind her ear before entering.
"The school called, Ma'am," she spoke, soft. "They wish to speak with you."
"Which one? Trunks'?" Blue eye narrowed in annoyance, first at their work then at their assistant. "Ugh, if Trunks has damaged anymore school property, I swear I'll—"
"No, it isn't the high school, Ma'am. It's the kindergarden. Something happened with Miss Bra."
"What?" Bulma staggered up in an alarm that had T back-stepping in shock. "What happened? Is she ok? She isn't hurt, is she?"
T braced herself with every new question her superior hurled and said, "No. She isn't hurt. It's the other way around, actually."
Bulma blinked. "…Huh?"
"I think you should pick up line seven, Ma'am."
Bra sat comfortably on the bench just outside the school's infirmary, legs dangling over an edge meant for children at least two years older than her. She had a grin on her face that didn't wish to leave not matter how many rebukes the nurse and other parents dished out. It seemed to enrage the adults around her even further, but they didn't dare touch her, not with her own parents present.
Her mommy had arrived a few minutes ago with her daddy in tow. Daddy didn't seem happy at all, more so than usual, and mommy apologized over and over again for reasons Bra failed to understand. Bad words ensued. Pained sobs echoed from beyond the infirmary door. Yet by the time the three were finally able to leave, Bra's smile remained.
They walked in silence to mommy's favorite little plane, where mommy boarded without a word. Bra was left holding the large hand of her father, and just before they boarded as well, she shared her grin with the man, for he would be the only one to comprehend her standing. Mommy may have been mad, but Bra had only done what came naturally.
After all, she was a princess with pride.
Author's Note: Perhaps some of you may argue that Bulma doesn't cook, she has maids to do so for her. However, I haven't seen said maids. Anime-wise. I have yet to read the manga. Anyways, I always saw the Brief's as self-sufficient with little use for help outside of their work. So, while I'm quite certain Bulma isn't the best cook, she manages, lol. But this is just my opinion. Not that I think it will be a big issue. Covering basics, I guess? :D
Until next time!