Let me just be clear. This is full of errors, but because I'm late for church, I'm going to go ahead and post it.
TODAY IS MY ANNIVERSARY! 1 YEAR OF WRITING ON FANFICTION! WOOOHOOOO!
Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ.
Song Prompts: Much rock and roll stuffs.
Part 1: Not Happening.
It's dark, and he holds something to his chest protectively. Through his torn clothes, he feels a small tear on his skin, and a small shake, a sob, comes from the bundle in his arms. His throat tightens, and his stomach feels like an empty pit. He grits his teeth, baring them to the darkness, and holds the little creature in his arms closer than before.
He will not scream.
The bundle wiggles, and a tiny purple head pokes out from underneath the dusty blanket. "Daddy?" it whispers.
Vegeta looks into the soft blue eyes of his son, and feels a stabbing pain in his heart. Pushing his son's head back into his chest, he makes a soft shhing noise to sooth the child. He squeezes his eyes shut, presses his lips together, then murmurs, "We'll be okay. It's alright, Trunks. It's alright."
The child says nothing more, just cries quietly.
Vegeta rocks his 1 year old son, keeping his mind focused on the small warmth that the boy emits. He bites his lip so hard that it nearly bleeds. He holds back things that feel suspiciously like tears pricking at the back of his eyes. He nearly trembles with the effort, but he will not cry.
He will not scream.
The humans are running amuck in their cities, panicking and trying to run away as though hiding in the forest (where they have no chance of survival) will save them. He scowls as he flies through the air above them at top speed; that same scowl hides the look of panic that is forcing its way to the surface.
Why isn't he faster?
He had been halfway around the world when he felt a massive drop in Ki, far too close to his home than he would have liked. Igniting his power, he had jumped into the Super Saiyajin transformation and sped off.
But he was too late.
The further into the city he goes, the thicker the blood trails get. The more ashes there are. The more crumbled buildings. He feels Kakarot's power off in the distance, spiking in the way it did when he was in a battle. That is where he should be, fighting the big guns with Kakarot. He should be claiming the victory.
But it doesn't matter, because Capsule Corp. is burning, and he can see it in the distance.
He increases his speed.
Oh, God, he is too late. He's too late, no…
He blasts open the door, and the flames rear up to envelope him. He shields his face with his arms and charges it, his armor protecting him from the burning infernos. He runs through the house, yelling names of those who live here and turning the house upside down to find them.
He can't find them.
He screams curses to the heavens, and the alien beasts that did this. "DAMN YOU!" He throws his head back and roars in fury and loss and grief, and for just a second, when he pauses to take a breath, he hears a small cry.
The door to the nursery comes off the hinges when he flings it open. The 8 month babe, who he has not seen in over 4 months, cries and wails and coughs; the smoke had just started to leak into his room to wake him and steal his breath. Relief floods the Saiyajin; he takes the child into his arms and wraps him in thick blankets…after all, who knows how many clothes a baby needs out in the cold of winter? In his fumbling, he notices that something soft curls around his wrist, and in the back of his mind, he is pleased to find that the child still has his tail. Finally, having wrapped the baby in perhaps a bit too many layers, he tucks the baby into his arms and ducks his head, shielding the both of them to the best of his ability. With that, he launches himself into the window and shatters the glass.
They land on the soft grass of CC's backyard, the father's visible skin littered with cuts that well with blood, and the baby unscathed. Vegeta finds that his legs suddenly feel weak, and he slides to the ground, clutching his son. The gold color slips from his hair and disappears in the form of little sun painted wisps in the air, and his dark eyes stare at his home.
Destroyed, just like his first one.
He feels Kakarot's power spike horrendously, then plummet like a stone. He no longer feels Gohan. He wonders briefly if the raven female is still alive. He wonders…
No. Bulma would never leave her baby. Not her baby.
She is dead.
His woman is dead.
His…his female…she is gone, and he wasn't ever going to see her again…
He clutches his son to his chest. The boy lets out a wail of surprise and pain. The cry falls silent after a moment though, and all he could hear was the crackling flames that burned his home and the distant screams of helpless humans.
Hours later, he has not moved. His son is asleep in his arms, still wrapped tightly in blankets to protect him from the cold. The house is now burned to the last floor, flames still flickering with a healthy glow. The smoke stands out drastically against the dark night sky, twinkling with the stars that he hates. Eventually, he gets to his feet and walks away from the house silently. He is afraid to sleep in a tree, because the enemy might see him, or he might drop the child in his arms, so, using Ki to see, build a fire, and roast a deer, he makes a tiny home in a cave.
The next morning, he bolts awake as someone snatches his son from his arms. He lunges, screaming in fury, his hair snapping blonde in an instant. The creatures are big and ugly, some with tusks and some with horns, all with tails and hideous snouts. Their eyes are beady, teeth yellow, skin a soft purple color and covered with hair and adorned in clothes that look to be made of animal skin, woven plants, and fine threading. They are strong, and he suddenly comes to the realization that there are beings stronger than Super Saiyajins. His pride stings.
There are many, and over the cries of his child, they beat him into submission. He only lies still when he has no ability to move his muscles, and even then he struggles. The creatures drag him onto one of their massive ships, and throw him in a tank, the very ones that he had used too many times for the highest deity could count while under Frieza's reign. When he becomes conscious again, he is no longer on the ship, but on a planet that has far too many plants to be beautiful the way Chikyuu was, and he is trapped inside a decently sized prison cell with his son crying on a tiny cot by his side. He tries to escape once, but he finds that the more he powers up, the more the walls suck up his energy.
Screw the Androids. This had to be so much worse.
They bring him food in the morning, mostly vegetables and strange fruits, and a little bit of meat. They leave milk and blended baby food for Trunks. He demands more meat the next meal.
Outside of battle, the ugly creatures are actually quite beautiful. They look like what Bulma would have called fairies. The males are well built and averagely tall, and the females are slim but slightly muscled and always shorter. They all have pale, purple skin and pointed ears, and long, dark brown hair. On their faces, it looks as though someone has painted on tears of grey blood, but it is not paint. Their clothes are strange to him, even after encountering Chikyuu's fashions; some of them are styled to look like leaves and flower petals, and others look so sleek and stiff that he isn't sure if he should compare them to jeans or to armor. His own breastplate was gone upon his waking, as was his gloves and boots, and the spandex of his blue suit is torn. He feels himself thinning because they do not give him enough food, and what food there is still consists of mostly plants. It seems as though that is all they eat.
He is humiliated to think that he was defeated by hippies.
Part 2: Cold.
The prison cell has only one toilet and a sink. There is no shower. The pipes are not very stable, often causing water to spray in all kinds of directions. Because of this, the cell is often cold and damp. Vegeta uses his Ki to keep warm, but Trunks, now being only two years in age, has not yet learned how to control it to that extent…at least, not without something catching fire. Instead, the 2 year old (3?) keeps warm by snuggling into the baby blankets that he had been wrapped in during their escape from the burning house. Unfortunately, despite the lack of a proper diet, Trunks is still half-Saiyajin, and he is growing. The blankets are hardly enough to cover his whole body, so his torso would always end up cold, or his feet would.
The Bakemono planet, as Vegeta has discovered the creatures are called, is now in the middle of winter, and the stone walls do little to shield them from the cold. Trunks coughs in his sleep, harshly and in a way that is alarming to most parents. However, as Vegeta has a slight fever himself, he won't wake up until Trunks coughs so hard that he starts crying.
The Saiyajin sits up wearily and looks at the small cot beside his own, where his son shivers. He has been debating giving the child his Ki, as it would probably not be wise given his current condition. When Trunks begins to wake because of his own cries, the father picks up the child and sits back down on his own cot, covering the kid with blankets the best he can. When that fails to fully envelope the boy, he rips the top of his suit from the bottoms and wraps the kid in that, then curls up on his cot and holds his son close to his body, skin pulsing with Ki.
Trunks is not cold for the rest of the winter.
Part 3: Hunger
Trunks is four years old now. He has never seen sunlight. Even so, his skin is dark, as a Saiyajin's is. His hair has grown down to his ears, flat and stick straight like his mother's, and his tail has a healthy thickness to it. He outgrew his baby clothes long ago, and was given Bakemono clothing as replacement. The pants are smooth like deerskin leather, with decently sized pockets and too long legs that cause the cuffs to pile about his ankles, and his shirt is a dark green, long sleeved one with a pattern that makes it look as though he is dressed in leaves. Vegeta was offered some as well, but refused to take them.
"Are you alright?"
The Prince opens his eyes and looks at his son's concerned face. "I'm fine," he mutters.
A small hand presses against his forehead. "You're hot, Father."
Vegeta sits up from his cot and wipes the sweat from his brow. He is hot, actually, but as he hates taking medicine (and who knows what those Bakemono would give him), he has not said anything. He stands – a mistake – and stumbles until he catches himself on the wall.
"I'm fine. Eat."
The tiny princeling gives him a mean look, then sits down and picks at his breakfast. Trunks has grown tired of vegetables and that small portion of meat. Already, the boy is skinny. Despite Vegeta training him to the best of his ability in such a small space, both of them are thin and un-muscled. He hates it.
After a moment, Vegeta sits down to eat his own breakfast. Across from him, he hears Trunk's stomach growl, even though the boy has already finished his food. Sighing wearily, the full blooded Saiyajin hands his son a portion of his meat.
Trunks frowns. "You need food too, Father."
Vegeta scowls, and does not retract his offer.
Trunks sighs and takes it.
Trunks is speaking Saiyago. He is fluent in both his father's native language and his mother's, and they are content to use either. He is smart; Vegeta knows little about Chikyuu schooling, but he knows enough calculus and physics to get by. His son is the firstborn child of a genius and a strategist, after all.
"Father, can we go outside today?" Trunks asks.
Vegeta is silent, and Trunks knows the answer is no.
"Why do they keep us in here anyway?" the boy asks.
"I don't know."
"Do you think they'll ever let us out?"
Vegeta raises his head from his plate, a dark, murderous look that Trunks has by now gotten used to flashing in his eyes. "When they do," he growls, "they will sorely regret it."
Part 4: Escape
"You just hold on to my shoulders, alright?"
"Don't let go even for a second, you hear me?"
He nods again. "Where are we going?"
The Saiyajin purses his lips. "I don't know yet. But we're leaving, I tell you that."
"Okay." His voice is calm, but Vegeta knows that his son is ecstatic.
"C'mere," Vegeta says.
Trunks runs to him on pudgy four year old legs, tail waving with childlike playfulness, and the flame haired Saiyajin scoops up his child. He has never given a "piggy back ride", at least, not to a child, or to anyone who wasn't critically wounded out outside of battle for that matter. He will have to learn, he guesses.
He puts Trunks's feet on the cot and waits for the 4 year old to get his balance, upon which Trunks goes around behind his father and wraps his hands around his neck. Vegeta stands and boosts Trunks until he's gotten settled and has his little legs wrapped securely around his father's waist.
"Don't let go, Trunks."
"I can fly, Father," Trunks pouts.
"I know. But not nearly as fast as me."
They stand behind the door and wait.
The guard opens the tiny door at the bottom and slides the tray of food in. "Your food is here, Saiyajins," the guard says in Standard.
The guard knocks, but there is still no sound. He gets on his knees and peers into the little doorway. Not a shadow or a hint of movement is present in the cell.
Heart thumping a mile a minute (there were certain penalties if a guard were to let any prisoners escape), he fumbles for the keys at his belt. He finally finds them, and gets the door open, and rushes inside to see if they are still there.
They are. But he does not see them until Vegeta pounces and snaps his neck.
Trunks peers at the guard over his father's shoulder. "Is he dead?" he asks curiously.
Vegeta grunts. There is a scouter on the man's face.
Trunks cocks his head, and says nothing more.
Vegeta bends down and takes the scouter, sliding it on his face. It is red, and it feels strange on his face after years of not wearing or needing one. He takes the man's keys and his weapon (just in case) and the two flee.
He is afraid to use his Ki, because now he knows they have scouters. So, with his son perched on his back like a baby monkey (Oh, ha, ha), he takes off running as fast as he can. His legs feel weak, starting to ache the farther he goes, and he scowls. Only being able to do pushups and crunches for the last 4 years has taken its toll on him.
He turns a hallway, the scouter clicking and beeping in his ear, telling him where to go. Without warning, it blinks and locks onto two life forms just as he turns, and he is suddenly confronted by two guards. They stare at him, wide eyed, and by time they open their mouths, he had plunged his fists into their stomachs. They gasp for air and choke, and Vegeta uses the opportunity to slam his elbows into their necks. He hears a soft crack, and Trunks does not ask if they are dead this time.
Finally, finally, they locate a door. Almost giddy with relief, he flings it open. Sunlight pours through, warm on his skin, and he steps out into it. At first, it is blinding, but after blinking for a few seconds, he is able to see clearly. The grass is soft underneath his bare feet, and for just a second, he wiggles his toes as he breathes in the fresh, crisp air.
Trunks lifts his hand and holds it above his face to shield himself from the sun. "Father? What's that bright thing?"
Vegeta reaches up and pats the boy on the head. "That's the sun, Trunks," he says.
Trunks makes an awed sound as his eyes finally adjust to the light. "It's so beautiful," he says.
A hint of a smile plays at the father's lips. "Hn."
They start walking.
They sleep in a tree that night. Vegeta uses the giant leaves of both the tree and other various plants to create a makeshift nest, and wraps more up for pillows. He scratches at the material of his shirt; the torn cloth tickles.
He rubs his chin and the side of his face, thankful that he doesn't grow facial hair like his father. That would be annoying as hell. He scratches at his cheek some more and glances at his son, who is curled up and smiling in his little bed of leaves. The tree they are in has a sort of smooth pit in the trunk, perfect for sleeping in. He reaches up and plucks a fruit from its branches and sinks his teeth into it; it tastes slightly like peaches. He has gathered a pile of it for the morning breakfast, and his sharp dark eyes are on the watch for prey to provide meat. He and Trunks had already eaten a deer-like creature with blue fur, and while it tasted strangely, it was also somewhat delicious. Of course, that was coming from a starving man, but eh.
After glancing around one more, he finally crawls over and settles himself into the nest, pulling the big leaves up and over his body. Trunks snores softly, his tail making soft thumps against the tree, and instead of annoying him half to death, it reminds Vegeta of the way the female sometimes snored when she slept. It acts like a kind of lullaby for him, and he falls asleep easily.
When he wakes, the sun has fallen onto his face through the branches. Though he went to sleep on his side, he is now on his back, and Trunks has shifted over to him sometime during the night. The tiny boy sleeps with his right limbs strewn across his father's belly, still snoring, though louder than before. A hint of a smile twitches at the Saiyajin's lips; the boy sleeps like his mother.
Without sitting up, he raises his arms over his head and stretches out his body, sighing contentedly as he does so. He shuts his eyes again for a moment, smelling the fresh air and filling his lungs with it.
But something is making him uneasy.
This is too easy.
In all honesty, he'd only been waiting for Trunks to be old enough for them to escape. You couldn't escape with an infant in your arms, and besides, the guards are always extra careful around new prisoners. He had just been biding his time.
But now he is out, and with such little resistance. As brilliant as he is, he still should not have been able to escape creatures that could overpower a Super Saiyajin unscathed as he did. Every instinct that had been engraved into his mind from years of survival under Frieza is telling him that something is wrong. It is never this easy.
Birds chirp their strange calls, and the leaves are covered in heavy dew. He finds that his clothes are damp, and when he sits up, the dew sprays in all directions.
"Trunks," he says, nudging the boy's cheek with his knuckles. "Get up."
"Hmm?" Trunks stirs, opening his eyes. "Father?"
Trunks rubs his eyes and yawns as he sits up and stretches. He looks around and blinks, taking a moment to remember where he is. When he does finally recall, his face lights up. "Father, we're outside!" he says happily.
Vegeta turns away, but Trunks can tell even from the back of his head that the Saiyajin is fighting an amused smile. "Hn," he says, "Yes. Get up now. We're leaving."
Trunks pouts. "But I like this tree," he says.
"I find it rather comfortable as well," Vegeta replies, gathering the little blankets. "But we are still too close to that blasted prison."
Trunks gets to his feet and crawls up to one of the higher braches that sticks out farther than the rest. "I don't even see it," he says, peeking through the leaves.
"And it can't see us, but that doesn't mean they can't find us. Remember what I've taught you, Trunks. You know better than to rely solely on eyesight."
"Yeah, I know." Trunks pauses, then bounds back over to his father and asks, "Where are we going next?"
"Somewhere far away until I can hijack a ship."
Vegeta pauses. Of course, by now, the Bakemono have either inhabited or sold off Chikyuu, and Vegeta is still known throughout the galaxies as one of Frieza's best…lackeys. No doubt, whether people believe he is dead or simply hiding, they'd be able to recognize his face and want to kill him.
"I don't know," he admits.
Trunks's tail waves slightly, and he grabs his father's hand. Crouching for a moment, he uses the Saiyajin's arm to launch himself onto his father's shoulder. He settles himself in the same way he had done during their escape, while his father's eyes scan the surrounding area carefully. After a moment of hair-raising silence, the Saiyajin steps from the tree and darts into the brush.
Part 5: Training
They wander for a very long time, until they get hungry and Vegeta is tired. While he hunts for another of those deer-like creatures, Trunks runs around killing things that resemble what Vegeta came to know as squirrels once upon a time, and bird-like things that fly and/or swim. They set up a small campfire, which Vegeta lights with stones instead of Ki, since he is still wary of being found out. The scouter on his face has received two messages, but both are for the dead soldier in their cell, and he doubts they will send anymore. He has already snapped off the back, as they are meant to do, and pulled out the plug that he knows to be the tracker with his fingers.
Even so, he is uneasy.
After they have eaten (meat has never tasted so good), they continue to move. Farther and farther into the unknown forest, the brush gets thicker, and Trunks starts to walk, though Vegeta had insisted that cutting branches and holding a child was no big deal for someone like him. Trunks had proceeded to point out that Vegeta was babying him, and how was he supposed to act like a Saiyajin Prince if he was being babied?
Vegeta had been unable to come up with a clever comeback, so he had simply replied, "Hmph."
He has never thought of himself to be babying his child. It is out of character for him. He had often mocked the woman for being too soft on the boy, and here he is now trying to carry the kid over ankle-deep puddles when Trunks has the ability to fly.
He scowls as he realizes that he has indeed been spoiling his son. He wonders briefly how it is possible to spoil a child who hasn't seen sunlight save for the past 24 hours, but even so, he makes up his mind to intensify the boy's training. It would be much easier now that they were out.
So, after a few hours of trudging through the wilderness, Vegeta and Trunks come to a small clearing, where Vegeta says they will train. Trunks is excited, because he has always loved throwing punches with his father in the cell. He does not know how much less "fun" training is going to be now.
A few minutes later, Vegeta is on the verge of panic and his son is screaming bloody murder, his little tail bristled and stiff with distress. Unfortunately for the 4 year old, training in the cell had been very close ranged hits with very little power, and most of the punches thrown had been from the child to his father. Now, however, there is a much larger space, and Vegeta has begun to train him for real. Even though the Saiyajin had been as gentle as he could while fighting, his punch to the child's stomach was apparently a bit too heavy handed.
"Trunks!" Vegeta yells, trying to silence the boy.
"That…HURT!" Trunks wails, clutching his tummy and rubbing tears from his eyes.
"It's supposed to!" his father cries, completely at a loss. "That's what fighting is, Trunks!"
Trunks just cries some more.
Vegeta groans and paces. He knows that Trunks is crying mostly from surprise, and while he is sure that it probably did hurt, he is also certain that he hasn't broken anything. Trunks has to be tougher, that's all. Hell, around Trunks's age, he'd purged many planets, had his own blown up, and worked for Frieza. He survived!
"Trunks, you need to be strong," he explains, crouching in front of the crying boy. "I can't train you without hitting you. It's got to hurt, Trunks. When you fight, it hurts. You just have to make sure you put twice as much pain into who you're fighting, and then it won't hurt so much."
Trunks lowers his hands from his tear filled eyes and blinks at his father. A small hiccup escapes his throat with the next quiet sob, and without warning, the purple haired princeling pulls his fist back and strikes his father in the jaw as hard as he possibly can.
Vegeta is so surprised that he falls back on his butt with a loud "oof!", and Trunks stares at him before starting to cry again. The Saiyajin blinks and rubs his jaw, where he feels a small bruise forming, and something like fatherly pride blooms in his chest.
"That was a good punch, brat," Vegeta says, still surprised.
Trunks looks up, still hiccupping and crying. His tail has calmed somewhat, though the fur is still puffed up and in desperate need of smoothing. Vegeta's lip twitches as he stands, and he chuckles a little as he picks up the crying boy and pats his back rather awkwardly, as he had seen Bulma do when Trunks was a baby.
After a while, Trunks's cries have subsided. His little face is buried in his father's neck, which is wet with tears, and his fuzzy tail has returned to its usual curl-and-uncurl motion.
"Are you done, now?" Vegeta asks.
Trunks gives a shaky sigh and nods.
"Do you want to train, or what?"
The four year old squirms until Vegeta puts him down, and the child takes the opportunity to punch his father's leg. Vegeta smirks and shields his skin with Ki, and Trunks hisses as it stings his knuckles.
"Again," Vegeta says.
Trunks punches him.
"Straighten your arm out all the way and hit like your life depends on it! Again!"
Both of them sleep soundly, and Trunks sleeps more wildly than ever. At some point, Vegeta wakes up feeling tiny feet on his face. He grumbles and rolls onto his stomach, only to be accidentally kicked in the head.
Part 6: Rain
He stirs as he feels something wet fall onto his cheek. Eventually, another falls, this time on his shoulder, and more on his side. A moment later, he feels Trunks shaking him.
"Hn," the Saiyajin grumbles, still half asleep.
"Father…the sky is crying. Father! Wake up!"
Dark eyes open, and lips scowl into the darkness. He sits up, rubbing one eye with the butt of his palm, and mutters, "What?"
"Look!" Trunks says, a bit worriedly. "See? The sky is crying. What's the matter with it?"
Vegeta looks up through the branches and stares at the night sky, which is covered with thick grey clouds.
"What's wrong with the sky, Father?" Trunks asks again.
Vegeta watches the sky for a moment longer before he turns to look at his son. "It's raining, Trunks."
"Yes. It's how the plants get water."
At that moment, lightning flashes and thunder rumbles, and Trunks jumps in surprise. A moment later, rain pours from the sky and falls on them through the leaves.
Trunks holds up his hand, and water puddles in his palm. "Rain is a good thing?" he asks.
Trunks is silent for a moment, studying the water as it slips through his fingers. Suddenly, his face lights with a smile, and he stands. He runs around the tree, laughing with excitement as the rain soaks his clothes through, and after a while, he climbs up and settles on a long, high branch and watches the forest soak up the rain with sparkling eyes.
Vegeta just sits and watches him silently.
Finally, Trunks says, "Father?"
Part 7: Mother.
"Tell me about Mother."
Vegeta sighs. "I've told you of that infernal woman a million times."
"No, you haven't," Trunks swears. "Only a few times. You never want to talk about her."
Another sigh. "You know why."
Yes, he knows why, but he feels that he has a right to know of the human woman who could butt heads with the Saiyajin Prince and come out unscathed. He has a right to know of his mother.
"Please?" he begs.
Vegeta rolls over onto his stomach in his makeshift bed of leaves, where he'd been sleeping before Trunks woke him. "Just ask me your damned questions," he mutters.
Trunks smiles a little bit. "What was she like?"
"Loudmouthed. Sassy. Stubborn. Irritating as hell. Pestering –"
"But you loved her, right?" Trunks interrupts.
Vegeta gives a defeated sigh. "I will admit that I was fond of her," Vegeta grumbles.
"Why?" Trunks asks.
The Saiyajin growls. "I'll not give you details."
"She could stand up to you, right?"
"Yes." His answer is reluctant.
"And she had to be nice to you sometimes, right?"
"If you could count bitching me out as nice." Foolish woman, always insinuating that he'd kill himself training…
"She built stuff for you," Trunks continues. "And she put bandaids on you when you got a scratches, right?"
"Uhmhmm." He is falling asleep again.
"She made you that suit, didn't she?"
Vegeta opens his eyes and raises an eyebrow. "I thought I'd never told you anything about her," he scowls.
Trunks looks sheepish. Even so, he asks, "What did she look like?"
Vegeta sighed, not even bothering to acknowledge the quick topic change. "She had blue hair."
"Pale skin. Couldn't get a tan to save her life."
"But you liked her without a tan, didn't you?"
"Was Mother really skinny?"
"As a stick."
"Was she very smart?"
"She often claimed to be a genius."
Trunks interprets this as a 'yes', so he moves on. "Did she like to eat?"
"You'd think she wouldn't, for having her figure."
"Did she eat as much as us?"
Vegeta snorts. "Not hardly."
"What was her favorite food?"
"Chocolate and strawberries and shit like that."
"What do those taste like?" Trunks has never had candy.
"Could Mother cook good?"
"Well," Vegeta corrects. "And, no."
"So…what did you eat?"
"Your grandmother's food."
"Was that good?"
"What was Grandma like?"
"A ditzy blonde that thought I was a hero."
Trunks pauses at that. After a while, he asks, "When did you meet Mother?"
Vegeta grunts in surprise at the question. "On Namek," he says after a while.
"It's another planet far away from here. It blew up."
"Oh. What did Mother say when she first met you?"
There is a pause. "First, she screamed my name, and then she told my opponent to kill me."
Trunks blinks. He hasn't heard this one before. "What?"
"Let's just say that she was afraid I was going to kill her and mistakenly rooted for a man that was worse than I was."
"How come? Wasn't Mother one of the good guys?"
Vegeta's scowl deepens. "She thought he was handsome."
Trunks stares at his father's dark features, which he knows his own are similar to. "She didn't think you were?" he asks, confused.
"Not at the time."
"Why not? Didn't you look the same?"
"I was covered in other people's blood, and again, she was afraid I was going to kill her."
"Why would you want to do that?"
"Her friends stole something from me. A Dragon Ball."
"Those wish granting things?"
"I thought those were from Chikyuu."
"They were originally from Namek. Chikyuu made copies."
"Oh. Why did she take it from you?"
"Because she wanted to wish back her mate."
"But I thought you were her mate," Trunks says.
"I am. The weakling was her ex-mate."
"Then why did she root for the other guy?" Trunks demands.
"Because your mother is a flirt."
Trunks takes note of the fact that his father is not speaking in past tense. "Okay…so then what happened?"
"I killed him and took the Dragon Ball." Vegeta sounds smug.
"Was she scared?"
"Terrified." The Saiyajin grins wickedly at the memory.
"That's mean, Father," says Trunks.
"I know," he replies.
"So what happened after that?"
"We met these oafs called the Ginyu Force. I had to team up with Kakarot and your mother's friends to defeat them. I didn't see her again for a while."
"Kakarot is another Saiyajin, right? And he called himself Goku?"
"What happened after that?"
"I fought Frieza. He killed me."
"You're joking!" Trunks cries.
"No. I got wished back accidentally by the Dragon Balls and transported to Chikyuu. Kakarot defeated the bastard." Again, his voice is bitter.
"Is that when you saw Mother again?"
"Was she scared?"
"For a moment."
"And after that?"
"What did she say?"
Vegeta scowls again, blushing with embarrassment. "She called me Vegeta-kun, said I was cute, and invited me to her house."
Trunks snorts and tries to hold back a laugh. "And you went?"
"I was hungry."
Part 8: Years
Trunks is seven.
Living in the wilderness has been fun for the boy. He has been training with his father every day for hours, and the scouter now reads 360,000. He is much less skinny than he had been, and far more muscular, since they now had adequate meat to fuel their systems. After training, Vegeta teaches him some more calculus and physics, and they practice learning Standard. It has become easy for Trunks, because it is very similar to English, which was the second language of his mother. Vegeta had taught him Saiyago and English before teaching him Japanese, as he was not entirely fluent in his wife's native tongue, but either way, Trunks would be multilingual. Vegeta has also begun to teach the boy telepathic communication, and though it is not his main forte, the lessons are going well. By now, they've established a small but firm telepathic connection.
They have been running free for almost three years, and no one has come looking for them. This still makes Vegeta uneasy. Some nights he wakes from nightmares of being captured again, and some nights he dreams that Capsule Corporation is still burning.
Trunks no longer cries during training. Over the past few years, he has grown to the point of being able to take care of himself. Sometimes he insists that Vegeta stays at their ever moving camp while he goes to hunt. He always comes back with a large deer, or rather, what they have continued to call a deer.
One day, Trunks does not come back.
Vegeta feels a spike of alarm in Ki that is not his, and he jumps to his feet and begins to run. He is so fast that he fazes in and out of sight, and finally, he finds Trunks in the bottom of a ravine with a hole in his stomach.
The Saiyajin's heart clenches, panic rising. He slides down and picks up his son, who groans and opens one eye.
"I got 'im," Trunks says, a bit happily for the situation. Vegeta looks confused, and Trunks points to a body lying on the ground. It is a big creature, with huge tusks and sharp teeth. It looks like a cross between a boar and a coyote. One of the tusks has been broken off, and Trunks is holding it triumphantly in his hand.
"Stupid brat," Vegeta hisses.
He doesn't know anything about healing herbs, so he just washes the wound periodically and keeps it wrapped in his spandex top. He is grateful that his female had replicated it so well; the durable material will last for years.
The hole is not very big, and Trunks is half Saiyajin. He is healed and able to train again in a little over a week, and when they resume their daily regimen, they discover that Trunks has received a small Zenkai.
His power level now reads 400,000.
Part 9: Trapped.
"I feel like we're being watched."
Trunks has had an eerie feeling all morning, as though he was being stalked. As a hunter himself, he knows when his prey, or even another predator, is watching him, and he feels that sensation now.
His father says nothing. Trunks, being raised by the stoic man, knows that he is not a talkative person. However, there are different types of silences that Trunks has learned to recognize; each one is affected by the elder Saiyajin's aura. This one in particular is a mix of a calculating and angry silence, and Trunks knows that he feels watched too.
"Get up," Vegeta says suddenly.
Trunks does not question him. He can already feel his father's mind gearing up for a fight, and sees his muscles tensing. He gets up and snatches the baby blanket that he has grown attached to (it is his only possession) and moves to leap from the tree with his father, but suddenly, they are surrounded.
Vegeta sinks into a fighting pose and snarls angry words in a language that Trunks does not recognize. The Bakemonos give snorts that sound like chuckles, and the tree creaks under their weight. Vegeta snarls again, and so does Trunks, the younger's tail waving threateningly.
One particularly large Bakemono says something in the same language, which the boy will later find out is Ice-jin. They do not understand Saiyago, and Vegeta does not want his son to hear their insulting words. But Frieza only died a little more than a decade ago; everyone speaks a little Ice-jin.
Vegeta growls. "They've known the whole time," he hisses, this time in Saiyago.
"What?" Trunks cries.
"They've just been watching us survive on our own! They want to know if we can be soldiers!"
The only thing he knows of his father's past is that he served as a soldier under a tyrant since his birth. He knows that Vegeta-sei was destroyed when his father was five, and he knows that Vegeta has done inexplicably horrible things.
What if they made him do those things?
As if reading his thoughts, Vegeta suddenly grabs Trunks's arm and pushes the boy behind him. "Não toque o meu filho," he growls.
Don't touch my son.
The Bakemonos are on them in a flash.
He is awoken by the sound of screaming and a body being slammed against a hard surface. He sits up quickly and sees that Trunks is throwing a horrible tantrum.
"Let me out!" he screams. "It's dark, I can't see! Open the door!"
Vegeta grits his teeth and looks away for a moment. He has failed.
Trunks is starting to hurt himself. If he doesn't stop running into the door, he will give himself a concussion, or worse. Hi Ki spikes wildly, hugely, and this fact causes Vegeta to stop and watch for a moment. Trunks claws at the door like a rabid animal, screaming at the top of his lungs. Suddenly, his back arches, and his screams grow louder. His aura, previously blue, surfaced around him like a burning flame, the color lightening and darkening with each passing second. His blue eyes appear locked on the ceiling, but the blue is starting to disappear.
His hair flashes blonde.
The newly formed Super Saiyajin rams the walls again. His hair, which has grown down to his jaw in the past year, spikes about his face wildly. The walls begin to suck the massive energy from him; he is weakening. If he keeps going like this…
Vegeta tackles his son and holds him down, while Trunks kicks and screams and fights. More than once, he catches his father with a punch, but the Saiyajin hardens his defenses with Ki and feels almost no pain. After a moment, Trunks's screams subside, and he cries himself to sleep while murmuring about lost sunlight while the gold fades from his hair.
Vegeta tightens his grip on his son, even though he is no longer struggling.
He will not scream.
Part 10. Lessons.
Their food supply was increased dramatically, though it's still not enough to fully satisfy them. Apparently the Bakemonos finally realized that Saiyajins need quite a lot to eat. They have not addressed the issue of the two becoming soldiers very seriously…but it has been addressed.
"How do you know if plants are poisonous or not?" Vegeta asks, quizzing his son. They have recently finished practicing telepathy, and now they have moved on to survival.
"If no animals are eating them, they aren't edible," Trunks answers.
"Good. How do you determine the best way to hunt your prey?"
"Observe their stature. Creatures with stubby legs will be easier to catch, those with claws or horns are more dangerous, and the ones with sharp teeth need to be attacked from above."
"Good. If you're caught against 5 opponents, all of larger stature and equally powerful, what are your chances of beating them?"
Trunks is quiet for a moment. Finally, he says, "Slim to none, I'd say."
Vegeta raised an eyebrow, and the corner of his mouth twitched upward slightly.
Trunks shrugged. "I'm just saying. By time you actually killed one, you'd be too exhausted to get rid of the others."
"So what do you do then, brat?"
"Beat as many as you can, then hightail your ass out of there."
"Can we get to real lessons now?" Trunks asks.
The Saiyajin smirks and stands, motioning for the 12 year old to do the same. Trunks gets up off the floor with a grin, tucking his shoulder-length hair behind his ear and preparing to block the attack he knows is coming. He is taller now, a few inches past Vegeta's jaw, and it strikes the purebred Saiyajin that he might have grown to be as tall as his father were it not for Frieza's constant torturing.
A second later, a sharp kick is aimed for Trunk's head. He blocks it with his arm and swings a punch. Vegeta dances away and skids to a stop, and Trunks flies after him. He is still smaller than Vegeta, and he uses his smaller stature to his advantage. This is training for Vegeta too; he rarely fights anyone smaller than him. It is good practice.
While Trunks is still coming at him, Vegeta charged, and seeing this, Trunks drops and slides underneath Vegeta's legs. Before the flame haired man could turn back around, Trunks punches him in the back.
"You're slowing, Father," Trunks teases.
Vegeta glares at him. "No, I am going easy on you. There is a difference."
To prove his point of going easy on the boy, Vegeta strikes him across the face before he can even blink, never mind think to dodge. Trunks crashes to the floor and groans, rubbing his jaw. "Alright, maybe there is a difference."
Vegeta smirks. "Hn."
They fight for a few more hours, until Vegeta slips on water from the leaky pipes. Trunks pounces, hoping to pin him down and settle the match, but Vegeta lifts his legs and catches him in the stomach, sending him up and over his head, straight into the wall.
He groans and holds the back of his head. "Jeez," he hisses.
Vegeta stands and brushes himself off smugly. "I've been a Super Saiyajin for years, boy, and a skilled soldier at that. You'll never beat me."
"Heh," Trunks laughs. "Maybe I'll just wait until you're old and wrinkled to kick your ass."
Vegeta clucks his tongue. "Dishonorable brat," he chides scoldingly.
They fall silent suddenly, hearing footsteps. A key slides into the door, turns. They both growl. The door opens.
"The emperor is ready to test you for his ar – " the guard begins to say.
Trunks is suddenly in front of him, too fast for any eyes to catch. He grabs the man by the head and brings it down on his raised knee. A loud crack rings out, and the man yells as teeth go flying and his helmet falls to the floor, but his cry is cut short as Trunks sends an axe-handle blow into his neck. The guard falls and groans, and Trunks kicks his face harshly. The man's head jerks, and his neck snaps. The bone slides through the skin like a knife through butter, spilling blood on the floor. He does not move again.
Trunks looks down at the corpse, breathing evenly. He looks at his hand, curling and uncurling his fingers once, twice. He sniffs at the smell of blood, brushing his nose with his thumb. He glances back at Vegeta, who is watching the guard with disinterested eyes.
Trunks nudges the body with his foot. "He's dead," he says, as though he has said something as simple as "you left the stove on".
"Wha'd'ya wanna do with him?"
"Same thing as with the others, I guess."
Trunks shrugs now, and sticks his hands in his pockets. He kicks the corpse's shoulder so hard that it sends the body skidding across the smooth floor and out of the cell. Trunks watches with a gaze similar to his father's, and goes to stand directly behind the line that splits the light of the hallway from the darkness of the cell.
"What are the chances that we can make it out of here undetected?" he asks emotionlessly.
"Slim to none, I'd say," Vegeta says, folding his arm and leaning back against the wall. Through his old, ripped spandex suit, the walls are cold.
Trunks presses his lips together and exhales slowly, his shoulders sinking a bit as he does so. He glances at the helmet that lies on the floor and kicks it lightly. It lands on that line between light and dark, and Trunks turns and moves back into the darkness. He does not close the door.
A half-hour later, two guards come down the hallway and pick up their fallen comrade. One of them, a young man that is perhaps only 5 years older than Trunks, looks into the cell. A dark pair of eyes and piercing blue ones watch him as though they are hunting predators hiding in the shadow.
The young man looks at his living comrade and tells him to walk quickly. After closing and locking the door, they do just that.
This has been the forth soldier they've killed since their recapture.
Part 11: Bakemono Royal
Besides the tiny doorway that the guards use to slide the food trays in, there is another on the upper half of the cell door that is used for talking. Thinking themselves superior to the Saiyajins, the Bakemono neglected to use this little door, and sent only single soldiers to try to retrieve them. As their transformations are nearly instantaneous, and often hard to control, they were never in their battle forms when they arrived. Being as arrogant as they are (and for Vegeta to even think this can only show how truly prideful they happen to be), it isn't for a while that they start taking them seriously. By then, the seventh soldier has been sacrificed. Trunks has killed three out of them, and Vegeta has killed four.
The boy is nearly 17 years old, or perhaps he has already turned 17 and Vegeta has simply lost count of the days. He is now taller than his father by nearly five whole inches, and his purple hair has grown all the way down to his waist by now. He has never had a haircut. He keeps the knots out by simply running his fingers through it, a bothersome habit that he exhibits when thinking, and he keeps it tied into a ponytail with a strip of his pant leg. His bangs, no matter how hard he tries, will not stay in the makeshift ponytail holder, and the scrap of cloth is constantly coming loose. He had tried to braid it once, but Vegeta almost threw a fit and demanded that he take it out. When Trunks questioned him, he only replied that the boy looked like a purple Zarbon, which Trunks eventually figured out was the man that his mother had once cheered for in the battle with his father on Namek.
Vegeta once said that they could cut it with a Ki sword, but Trunks was afraid that it would catch fire. He had to make Vegeta swear not to try to Ki-sear it while he slept.
Trunks sighs, shifting on his cot so that his feet are propped up on the nearest wall and his head hangs off the edge of his cot. "You would think that they would at least give us a bouncy-ball or a yo-yo to play with, or something."
Vegeta had explained to him the concept of toys once when he was a child, and though he has never seen anything like a bouncy-ball or a yo-yo, he knows the schematics of it.
"Why would you want one of those?" Vegeta asks, staring up at the ceiling. He is laying on his cot with his hands pillowing his head, completely bored.
"Because I'm bored."
"Then we should spar."
"We could," Trunks corrects, "but some asshole rammed me into the wall yesterday and dislocated my shoulder."
"You're lucky I know how to reset those," Vegeta mutters.
"Hn," Trunks grumbles. He resorts to playing with his tail after a while.
"What are you doing?" Vegeta asks disinterestedly.
"You look like a cat."
"Those are furry things that chase strings, right?"
"Or anything else that moves quickly."
"Aren't those really lazy?" Trunks asks, looking up, or rather, upside-down at his father.
"Aren't you really lazy?" Vegeta returns.
"Oh, har, har," Trunks scowls.
"Don't sass me."
"Do you think they'll send another guard soon?"
Vegeta shrugs. "It's about that time."
They don't know how often the guards at sent out, exactly. It's as though the emperor, or whoever is in charge, is simply testing their ability to kill every so often, and completely at random. Vegeta has spent hours trying to figure out what he is waiting for, but he can't come up with any particular reason other than the man's finicky-ness.
They start to notice when the food supply goes down again. It becomes tiny portions of meat and mostly vegetables again, and even so, it's hardly enough to feed a human. Trunks and Vegeta do not share food as they did when Trunks was a toddler, and the food supply stays low for nearly six months.
They are starving.
After a while, it finally happens.
They hear footsteps and prepare themselves. They decide to both take on the guard, because they are horribly weak from malnutrition. Also, it is currently winter, and they are feverish despite the Ki-blankets that they are forced to use.
But there is not just one guard.
There are three, and another person with them.
When the door opens, it is the tiny one meant for speaking instead of the large one meant for entering.
"Saiyajins," says a guard in Standard. "Princess Aki wishes to meet you."
They glance at each other suspiciously. After a moment, Trunks creeps up to the door and presses himself against it, sliding up wards until he can see out the little door. The guard is already there, so Trunks jumps up suddenly and startles him.
"Let me see her," Trunks says, a bit darkly.
The guard steps aside, and to his surprise, Trunks does see a princess.
He looks at his father, who shrugs indifferently. "If they try anything, we'll just kill her."
"Won't we be executed for assassination?" Trunks asks dryly.
Vegeta gives a kind of smirk.
Trunks sighs and says to the guards, "You heard him. Don't try anything funny. You'd be surprised at how much damage a desperate man can do."
The guards, now in numbers, are unfazed. One of them opens the door, tense and ready to block an attack, but the Saiyajins remain still.
"Hello, boys," the princess says.
She is about Trunks's age, and about an inch shorter than him. She, like all the others, has light purple skin and thick grey tears that are simply a part of her flesh, her hair a dark brown, and her eyes a pale green. In her hair there is a red flower, and on her wrists are bracelets made from petals. Her skirt is fashioned like petals as well; it is short and puffs about her legs, and is a deep red color that would remind a human of autumn. Her top, colored in a dull, leafy green, has no sleeves and neckline trimmed with gold, and there is a thin sash tied around her waist. She wears no shoes, but her legs are wrapped in things that look to be ribbons, also a deep autumn color that could be described as orangey brown. Her face is painted with makeup that glitters a bit around her eyes and on her lips, and makes her seem far too overdone. The only indication that she is a princess is the prettiness of her clothes and the leaves that are woven into her hair like a crown.
She is very pretty, and Trunks immediately hates her.
"I am Princess Aki," she says, "and I have decided to make one of you my bodyguard."
The Saiyajins snarl.
She clucks her tongue. "Tempers. They'll have to be trained."
Her guards are obediently silent.
Aki, as she is called, takes on a thinking look and taps her chin with her index finger. "I like the youngest one," she says. "His hair is pretty."
Trunks's tail stiffens. "I'm not leaving my father," he says firmly in fluent Standard.
She blinks. "That's rather troublesome," she pouts. After a moment, she motions to her guards. "Kill the spikey haired one then. He'll do as I say after that."
Vegeta immediately drops into a fighting stance, but no sooner has he done this than Trunks is standing in front of him, teeth bared at his tail slashing back and forth violently.
"I swear to you," he says, his voice sounding very much like a deep growl, "I swear to whatever deities are listening, if you kill my father, I will find a way to slaughter yours in front of your very eyes. I swear it."
She cocks her head at him, studying his figure.
Thinking she has disregarded his threat, Trunks adds darkly, "I'll kill him with my bare hands. I'll dip your hair in his blood."
Aki sighs and rolls her eyes, muttering something to herself in her native language. She regards Trunks for a while more, and spins on her heel to leave. "Bring them both," she mutters. "Such tempers…"
The guards do as they are told, but not before cuffing the two with Ki-restraints.
Vegeta growls at Trunks as they are ushered out, and Trunks flinches. "I can take care of myself," Vegeta hisses in Saiyago. "I do not need you to protect me."
The purple haired Prince ducks his head to hide his face behind his long bangs. "I'm sorry, Father," he says quietly.
Vegeta wonders if Mirai Trunks (he figured out who the mysterious youth was a while ago, even though he'd only seen the boy once) had called him father once, in his head. But he is still angry, so he scowls and does not look at his son.
As they leave the cell, relief floods Trunks. He can see again.
"So, clearly they need baths. Get the older one some new clothes. He's hardly decent. Get them some food, and a small room. And for Tanri's sake, make sure it's close enough to mine for them to be good for something."
The guards nod at each of the princess's commands and move to do them quickly while she continues to saunter down the hall.
Trunks stares at the shower stalls that are lined up in the servants' bathroom. He has never seen a shower before, and has only bathed in rivers previously. He is unsure of what to do, and he hesitates.
Vegeta who has taken a shower before, simply steps into the stall and slides the door shut. A moment later, his shirt, pants, and underwear go flying over the doorway and land in a heap on the floor. A second after this, the sound of water falling on tile rang through the empty space.
After a moment of standing in the stall, cold and naked, Trunks asks, "Father?"
"What?" His response is sharp and biting; he is still angry.
"How do I –"
"Just turn the knobs and watch out."
Trunks blinks and looks at the small knobs sticking out of the wall and turns one. In the next 3 minutes, he manages to freeze himself, thaw himself, burn himself, and freeze himself again, and finally gets to a point where the water is still a little bit too hot, but as good is it's going to get.
Part 12: Hair
When they get out, they are given new clothes. Trunks's are mostly the same, but in a size that actually fits him so that it reminds him of his father's suit, and no sleeves. He is also given boots that match the heavily darkened brown ones like the guards, which come up to his calves and fit around his pant legs. Vegeta does not care about anything as trivial as color (although he secretly prefers blue), but they give him green and brown clothes anyway. They give the Saiyajins a hairbrush and order that their "manes" be combed properly before being sent to the Princess.
Vegeta does not have much work to do. He is happy, or rather, relieved, that he gets to comb the knots from his hair. It is difficult at first, but after a moment he is able to get the comb through his flame-hair easily.
Trunks is a different story. Having never cut his hair once in his life, it has fallen nearly to his waist, and the Bakemonos have not given him scissors to cut it with. Being as stick straight as his mothers, and not in any way having the quality of the never changing Saiyajin hair like his father, he has quite a job to do. He sits on a stool in front of a mirror and begins, and after a minute, his tail is already swinging angrily. It takes him nearly an hour to do just one side of his hair, and by then he is grumbling and growling in frustration.
Vegeta just watches him, secretly amused.
Trunks sighs as his ears catch a soft snort from his father's direction, and his tail twitches more irritably than before. He looks at himself in the mirror and is surprised by how much he looks like the man now. Were he to dye his hair black and cause it to stand up, the only difference would be eye color. He wonders what his mother would say about that. Shaking the thought from his head, he turns back to trying to comb through his hair. A few minutes later, he jumps up and throws the comb down angrily, yelling, "I give up!"
At that moment, a knock comes from the door. Trunks immediately wraps his tail around his waist. When the Saiyajins make no sound of acknowledgement, the door opens, and a young girl pokes her head through.
"Is everything to your liking?" she asks, and there is a small smile on her face when she observes Trunks and his hair along with the shattered comb on the floor.
Vegeta grunts, almost inaudibly, and Trunks gives a similar response.
The girl smiles again.
She is tall, nearly Trunks's height, though he has her by perhaps a little less than half an inch. She is Bakemono, but clearly not as socially important as Aki. Her hair is to her mid back, braided and tied with a brown vine covered in tiny green leaves. She is a bit skinny, but you can tell by the slight curve of muscle in her arms that she is fit. She wears a sort of dress that stops at her mid-thighs and is the same color as their shirts, and leggings the same color as their pants. She wears no shoes, and on her right wrist there is a bracelet that looks to be somehow made of tiny, smooth twigs. Unlike the Princess, she wears no makeup, or any kind of crown-like flowers, and by comparison, she looks a bit plain.
Trunks likes her.
"Do you need help?" she asks, motioning to the broken comb.
Trunks cocks his head for a minute, then glances at the comb as well. He shrugs.
She walks into the room, a bit boldly, and picks up the pieces off the floor. A second later, they float up in her hands and piece themselves back together. Vegeta blinks, and Trunks stares wide eyed.
She notices their shock and says, "Bakemono are magical."
She motions for Trunks to sit on the stool again. He pauses, then obeys, but he watches her carefully in the mirror. Vegeta nods slightly and grunts a small noise of approval; the boy is right to be suspicious.
The girl starts at the top of Trunks's head and tries to bring the comb down, but hardly two inches later, it is stuck. She frowns and pulls a bit, then pulls much harder.
"Ack!" Trunks grunts, raising his hands behind him as though grabbing for her.
She removes the comb from his hair and says, "Hmph. Do you ever brush your hair?"
He scowls at her in the mirror. "There are hardly such things as combs in prison," he growls.
She meets his glare and haughtily tucks a stray hair behind her ear, and the Saiyajins notice that the tips of her ears are pointed, something they remember that the guards, or the Princess, do not have. "Well, I've never been in prison, so I wouldn't know."
"Baka female," Trunks mutters.
She returns to his hair, sorting through it with the comb, and then her fingers, and the comb again, and in ten minutes she had gained another foot of it. She started humming, and both Trunks and Vegeta are silent, watching.
After a while, she says, "I'm Rasha."
"Trunks," the young Prince replies. He gives a lazy motion behind him and says, "That's my father."
She looks at the flamed haired man expectantly, but he only scowls and stays silent.
Rasha looks away from his harsh gaze, only to meet an identical (albeit blue) glare from Trunks. "You sure are friendly," she mutters.
"Forgive us for not being kind to those who enslave us," Vegeta snarls hatefully.
She whirls on him, and just as hatefully, she says, "A single slave cannot enslave another. Do not generalize me."
Vegeta's lip curls over one of his canines, and he growls low in his throat.
30 minutes go by, and Rasha finishes Trunks's hair. She takes a thin white ribbon and makes a hair-tie with it and puts his hair into a ponytail, but she can't keep the front most pieces in the tie. Trunks tells her to forget it.
"Believe me," he mutters, "I've tried."
She shrugs and leaves it, and there are two long pieces of hair on either side of his face. She does not look satisfied, but she changes the subject. "The guards have cleaned out your cell. They found a few old blankets. Did you want them?"
Trunks is still looking in the mirror. He has never seen himself so clean. "No," he says after a while.
"Where they not your mother's?" she asks. "They look as though a female had chosen them."
He shrugs. "She's dead."
Vegeta is silent.
"Then don't you want them to remember her by?" Rasha asks.
"No. I have something else that'll do fine."
She studies him. "Might I ask what that is?"
He does not turn his gaze away from the mirror. "Purple hair," he says.
Part 13: Trained.
"Well then," Aki says, resting her cheek against her fingers as she observes the two men that stand in front of her. She sits in her bedroom, on a chair that is very large and laden with fluffed pillows, and she has changed into a dress that looks very much like a too short, pink kimono. Her hair is braided; she was sleeping previously, and Vegeta wrinkles his nose as he realizes that he and his son have somehow become the property of a very lazy woman. "What are your names?"
"Trunks," his son says. Vegeta frowns; he had been hoping that Trunks would give a false name.
"And you?" Aki asks, motioning to the flamed haired man.
He says nothing, and chooses to study her bedroom walls.
"I'm speaking to you, Saiyajin."
She rises from her chair and walks over to him quickly, raising her hand all the while. When she gets close, she strikes his cheek.
It is a hard slap, one that his mate could have never hoped to inflict on him, but this princess's race is strong, stronger than him, and it stings. He finds himself jerking heavily to the side, and the sting of his pride is worse than the pain from the blow.
Trunks howls in surprise and fury at the disrespect, but his father is still angry with him, and he is afraid to step in. Vegeta's eyes open wide, and he blinks, before he turns upright again and growls low in his throat. His hackles raise, and he bares his teeth. His muscles coil; he is so close to ripping out her throat –
In an instant, there are men surrounding them. Men that are heavily armed in both weapons and Ki. They freeze, and the princess looks at them with a dominant expression on her face.
"You will answer me when I speak to you, Saiyajin," she says harshly, and her features look monstrous for a moment. "I ask you again. What is your name?"
Vegeta's eyes narrow to slits. He meets her gaze easily, and smirks inwardly when he notices that he is starting to unnerve her slightly. On the outside, however, he is still frowning and glaring and gritting his teeth. He growls again, and after a moment, he answers, "Raditz."
Trunks blinks, and the princess looks satisfied.
The bedroom they are given is mostly for sleeping. They will not be in the room often except for this single purpose. It has a tiny bathroom, because most servants and guards use the bathroom that they were ushered in earlier, which has the males' toilets and showers on one side, and the females' on the other, with the two sections separated by a rectangular room for the sinks.
It is better than a prison cell, but Trunks knows that being a prisoner will come to be better than being a servant.
It is nighttime now. Both of them lie on their respective twin sized beds. It is quiet in the room. Vegeta has not spoken a word to him in days, not since they'd gotten here a week ago. It is driving him crazy. He had hoped to wait out his father's anger, but the man is stubborn. Far more so than Trunks, although he likes to think of himself as a very close second. Finally, while he lays in his bed staring at the ceiling, he glances over to the second bed in the room, where his father sleeps with his bare back to him.
"Father?" he says quietly.
Vegeta does not answer, but in the dark, Trunks notices that his breathing pattern has changed, and his shoulders have stiffened.
"I'm sorry I embarrassed you," Trunks murmurs.
Vegeta is silent for a while longer, but eventually, he says, "Hn. Go to sleep."
Satisfied that he has been forgiven, Trunks pushes his bangs out of his eyes and falls asleep.
Part 14: Servitude
It has been a month since they've been assigned to care for the princess. While they do get much better meals (Vegeta and Trunks have begun to gain their weight back, and they are allowed training hours to build muscle), it is mostly an irritating experience. Basically, the Saiyajins stand outside the princess's room for hours, and when she leaves, they follow her. Their shift starts at 7:00 in the morning, and ends at 4:00. Vegeta is not pleased. Trunks does not care for the process either. He is bored.
Aki is very irritating to him. She hardly ever addresses them, or even acknowledges their presence. At least, not in front of anyone important. In her room, however, she showers them with attention…far too much.
Aki pulls on Trunk's bangs. She is talking to him, and he is not listening. "Pay attention, Saiyajin," she scolds, and his left eye twitches.
She scowls at him and tugs on his hair again, though more gently this time. "A few kings that we have treaties with are visiting today for a small banquet. They are bringing their children."
Trunks scowls at her.
"Most are my age," Aki continues, "all around 16 or so. Anyhow, it pleases me to see the daughters overcome with jealously."
"Your point?" Trunks finally demands.
She smiles cheekily at him. "You are handsome."
His scowl deepens into a full out glare when he realizes where this is going.
Aki twirls his hair around her index finger before she releases him and returns to her vanity, where she begins to paint her eyelids in a soft blue color. "If my bodyguards are so handsome, then surely my suitors are even better." She smiles smugly. "Of course, they will never meet my suitors until I marry, so they can't make comparisons. You'll help me, won't you?"
It is not a question.
Trunks growls, wishing he was waiting outside with his father.
"Good," Aki says, finishing her makeup. She pauses, then adds, "Oh, hell, your father looks young. Bring him along."
Trunks wants to roll his eyes.
"Well, go on now. Make yourselves look nice."
"We only have these clothes," Trunks mutters.
"Fix your hair then."
"My hair was fine until you messed with it."
She turns to look at him sharply. "Trunks," she hisses, and her features look beastly for a split second. "Go spruce up. Now."
He turns on his heel and leaves so quickly that his ponytail flies out behind him, and he slams the door in his wake.
Vegeta lifts his head when he walks out, and takes immediate note of his son's bristled tail. Trunks opens his mouth to explain, but Vegeta holds up a hand and says, "I heard."
Trunks glanced back at the room heatedly. "Stupid bitch," he growls.
"Hush," Vegeta says, and Trunks notes that he is thinking. He is silent, hoping that perhaps his father has thought up another escape plan.
Trunks splashes water into his face, and runaway beads of it cling to his bangs. Beside him, Vegeta also has his face buried in the sink, and they both grab any random towel that is available to dry themselves. Trunks brushes the towel down his nose and against his cheek, and when he looks up, he notices that Rasha has entered the room again, this time carrying a load of towels in her arms. She glances at him, then turns away sharply. She puts the towels in the big cabinet quickly and flees the room, completely aware of the blue hunter's eyes that watch her every move.
Vegeta and Trunks trail behind the Princess with stoic faces, although Trunks notices that Vegeta's brows are furrow slightly. The older Saiyajin has been starting at the back of the young woman's head for some time now, as though he is trying to burn a hole in her skull. She seems completely oblivious to his stare, a rare ability that Trunks envies her of, and continues to walk and chat with her favorite handmaiden. The two males have not changed their appearance at all, but simply "spruced up", as the Princess had insisted they do.
The large double doors to the ballroom open grandly, and all present turn to give warm smiles to Aki. She returns them, some fake and some genuinely, and dismisses her handmaiden as she goes to sit by her father, with her "bodyguards" trailing behind. The king gazes upon them, and he does not look pleased.
Vegeta's eyes flit over every person in the room as they pass. The guests stare at him quizzically, and some look at him as though he seems familiar. Trunks's tail tightens around his waist; he knows of his father's past. He knows that Saiyajins are not the most well-loved race of the universe. Revealing his tail would not be wise. It would mark him to everyone present as the enemy.
Aki takes her seat by her father, smiling sweetly at the old man. He has a thick beard full of greying hairs, and the hair on his head falls a bit limply to his shoulders. It is also greying, and because of this, his pale purple skin looks even greyer than it is. His clothes are rather magnificent; his body is adorned in fine robes of fluid colors, dancing with reds and golden hues as though he is the richest man alive, and perhaps he is. Even though they have been with the Princess for about a month, this is the first time the Saiyajins have seen the man.
The king gazes upon them, and he does not look pleased. Vegeta gazes at him similarly, and he is not pleased either. When they take their place beside Aki, Vegeta hears him whisper to her, "I told you to pick any guard you like, as long as he is a fine soldier. And here, you show up with two, and they are Saiyajin prisoners."
She smiles wickedly and whispers back, "I did choose any good soldier. Haven't you noticed in your little tests? They've killed any guard sent to fetch them for training. They are excellent warriors, I'd say."
"Any Bakemono could take them in battle form," the king says, and his eyes narrow. "Look at them. They are thin."
"Because you have starved them," she replies. "And I don't believe any Bakemono could take either of them. After all," she pauses, and glances rather slyly at the purple haired Prince of Saiyajins, whose true identity she still doesn't know. "I've been told that it's surprising, the damage a desperate man can do."
Trunks says nothing, but his blue eyes narrow slightly. Beside him, his father lips curl over sharp teeth.
After the banquet, the princess goes to mingle with the sons and daughters of the visiting kings. Trunks and Vegeta watch her from a distance, where they are supposed to. The food smells tantalizing to them, but they are not allowed to eat on the job.
After a while, Aki summons them over to her with a wave of her hand. She is surrounded by 4 other princesses and 2 princes, and looks as though she has just finished boasting. "These are my Saiyajins," she says when they walk over. Trunks groans inwardly as the little tidbit of information he was working to keep hidden is revealed.
The other royals gasp upon hearing the word, and Vegeta feels a swell of pride.
"Don't you worry…?" one cat-like girl begins after an awkward silence.
"Are you certain that's safe?" asks a prince, who has small fins behind his ears.
"Of course," Aki croons. "They're my Saiyajin. They wouldn't hurt me."
"Aki, darling," says a princess that horribly reminds Vegeta of Zarbon. "Saiyajin are rather dangerous, you know. Why, my brother worked with one called Vegeta once, you know, the Prince? The traitor killed him!"
Vegeta tenses for a moment, but he is fighting a smirk. Trunks, whose eyes have gone wide, raises a thick purple eyebrow slightly, then remembers that his father has never given his name to the guards or the princess. He also realizes that this girl is Zarbon's sister.
In all honesty, she does not look much different from her brother, something Vegeta finds endlessly amusing. In fact, the only difference is that she is slimmer and just happens to have…parts, that men do not. They have the same pale blue skin, gold eyes, long, braided green hair, and delicate features. She is tall and slender, and clothed in a silken, pale green gown, and her crown and earrings are the same as Zarbon's once were. Trunks glances at his father and sees it in the Saiyajins eyes; Vegeta wishes very much to kill her.
He pretends to cough, and flicks his father's wrist with his tail. Dark eyes dart to him for a moment, and Trunks feels an annoyed push in his mind.
I am not stupid.
Perhaps not, but you are bloodthirsty. Don't even think about it.
Don't give me orders, boy, and the connection link is severed.
"Well," Aki replies to the girl, "My Saiyajins are much better behaved. Aren't they lovely?"
Vegeta almost snorts, and Trunks presses his lips together.
"Where is this one's tail?" A third princess, who looks as though she might live in a volcano, asks.
Aki blinks, and turns to Vegeta expectantly. "Well, Raditz?" she says.
Vegeta shrugs. "I lost it in battle," he says, as though there is nothing wrong with this.
"And this one," says Zarbon's sister, "why is his hair purple?"
"My mother was exotically colored," Trunks answers.
"A half-breed," the second prince says, and he reminds the Saiyajins of a burly creature that is much like an ox.
The Saiyajins are silent.
The cat princess reaches up and makes a show of touching the hair of both men. "What strange features," she murmurs, oblivious that the two are desperately wanting to slap her away.
"Leave my Saiyajins alone, Kana," Aki says. "And you two, you may go eat. Do not demolish the entire banquet." She makes a shooing motion, and the Saiyans are gone in a flash.
While Trunks eats, he feels Vegeta nudge him. When he looks up, he sees that Rasha is serving, and she is looking at him. He stares back until she looks away, and his tail waves with amusement.
The banquet is over. Princess Aki has returned to her sweet, and the visiting kings are preparing to leave. On their way out, Zarbon's sister realizes that she has lost her bracelet.
It is her favorite bracelet.
"I'll be right back," she assures her father. "I'm almost certain I remember where I must have lost it."
He thinks it is best to send a guard with her, but she tells him that is silly, because she will just be a little ways down the hall. So she goes by herself, humming as she begins to search under the tables she had sat at while speaking to people. After a moment, she finds it, and stands up with a rather triumphant look on her face.
Then she notices that someone is behind her.
One of Aki's Saiyajins, the one she calls Raditz, is looking at her with very cold eyes.
Startled, she says, "Oh, hello. I didn't see you."
He says nothing, but his eyes suddenly seem to glint with amusement, and morbidly so.
They stare at each other for a moment, and finally, she finds herself unnerved. She looks away and mutters, "Excuse me," but when she tries to walk past, he does not get out of her way, and they bump shoulders.
"Aki needs to train her servants!" the girl exclaims.
'Raditz' grins suddenly. "My apologies, miss," he says in a deep baritone. "I was simply wondering if you wanted to know how I killed your brother."
She freezes. "That is not funny, slave. Vegeta died nearly two decades ago. Don't try to play me."
He turns his face towards her slightly, and the extravagant lights of the ballroom throw jagged shadows over his face. Even so, his teeth gleam, and his eyes glint with something horribly dangerous. "Who said I was being funny?" he asks. "I've never been known for my sense of humor. I've always been a rather sarcastic man."
She tries to push him away, but he grabs her arm. "Zarbon was never my favorite of Frieza's soldiers," he says darkly. "I always kind of hated him. He was so much fun to kill…especially when he was forced to take on that horrid form of his. You know, it reminded me very much of a toad."
She knows then, she knows that it is him, because no one had ever seen her brother's form and lived to tell about it, not anyone outside of their immediate family. "That's impossible," she whimpers. But it isn't. "You…you're Prince Vegeta…"
His grin widens. "How long do you bastards live, anyway? That lizard never did age, not in all my years in the Kold empire. How old are you, really?" When she doesn't answer, he adds, "I think you've lived enough years."
She looks terrified suddenly. "If you kill me, the Bakemono will get blamed. My father will start a war."
"That's what I'm counting on," he replies. "I don't much like the Bakemono, and I don't much like you. Those magic wielders can take on a Super Saiyajin…you lizards don't stand a chance. I can kill three birds with one stone." He smirks. "Kill off Zarbon's wretched people, inconvenience and distract my so-called 'masters', and – here's the kicker - the second ships start leaving orbit, I can leave as well. Wouldn't that be nice? And all it takes is one little slit throat."
She squeaks and starts to scream for help, but his hand is over her mouth in a flash. She notices then that he is wearing white gloves that have clearly seen better days.
"Can't leave fingerprints, you know," he smirks.
Perhaps ten minutes later, a servant will come into the ballroom to finish cleaning. They will scream and run out, and when the guards come to check, they will notice that the walls are smeared with blue blood, and a head of wild green hair sits on the throne, the neck severed and mutilated, and the tongue lying on the armrest. Underneath the mess of now unbraided hair, the face is twisted in the remnants of a dying scream.
The alarms go off, and Trunks cannot find Vegeta. Just as he runs past their room yet again, he sees the flame haired man walking calmly down the hallway, gloves in one hand.
"Father, what's going on?" he demands.
Vegeta just gives a kind of wicked smile, as though he is thoroughly pleased with himself. He ignores Trunks's question and goes into their room, licking blood off his fingers as he does so.
Furious, Trunks storms after him. "Father, what the hell have you done?"
"Nothing," Vegeta says innocently. "Just squashed a troublesome lizard."
"You killed that girl, didn't you?" Trunks accuses.
"No, I killed a lizard."
"Dammit, I asked you to leave her be!"
"And I told you not to give me orders."
"They'll kill us!" Trunks hisses.
"Of course they won't," Vegeta says calmly. He has gone into the bathroom and is currently bent over the sink, the water running over his hands as he washes his gloves. "They'd have to figure out that it was me, first."
"Your clothes are filthy," Trunks sneers. It is true; there are splatters of blue all over Vegeta.
The flamed haired man licks his lips, and catches a stray splash of blood with his tongue. "They are washable."
"Blood doesn't come out, Father!" he snaps. He knows this from experience.
"Blue blood does."
Trunks does not know what to say to this. He has never killed a person with blue blood before, so he can't argue otherwise.
"Why did you kill her, anyway?" he asks instead.
"Because I hate Bakemonos."
"She wasn't Bake – "
"Inconveniencing people that think they control me is a pleasant pastime," Vegeta says. "Who knows, perhaps they will make us soldiers in the upcoming war."
Trunks blinks, then looks angry. "We were trying not to be soldiers!" he snaps.
Dark eyes rise to meet his blues in the mirror. "Soldiers can desert."
Part 15: All's Fair.
Vegeta has not been caught yet, and it has been nearly another month. He is rather impressed with himself. Trunks is uneasy. He is certain that his father must have left some type of clue behind, despite Vegeta's utmost confidence that he did not. Even so, every time someone came into a room that they were in, Trunks jumps.
He reaches into his small closet and pulls out a shirt when a knock sounds on the door, and Trunks jumps so badly that he drops the shirt. He growls after sensing that the Ki is rather small, without the intimidating pulse of a guard's. Now irritated, he walks over and whips the door open, and is surprised to find Rasha standing there.
Her mouth is open from the surprise of the door suddenly being yanked, and then her eyes drift down from his face to the rest of him, and she blushes heavily.
"What is it?" Trunks demands.
She opens her mouth and closes it, and finally just puts a hand over her eyes. "You're undressed," she says.
Trunks glances down at his underwear clad self and shrugs. Being raised with only his father has taught him nothing about such things as physical modesty. "I'm sure you didn't come all the way down here just to tell me something I already know."
She frowns and peers at his face from behind her fingers. "I wish to speak with you and your father."
He finds himself smirking then. "You want to put yourself in a small space alone with two undressed men? That's not very smart of you, Bakemono."
She scowls and continues to hide her face. "It's important."
Trunks's smirk falls off his face. His fun ruined, he motions for her to come in and spins on his heel back towards his closet. He puts on pants first, so she can stop hiding her face (which is stupid, because he doesn't care if she hides her face or not), then slips on his shirt. She watches as he pulls his hair out of the neckline, as he curses when he looks around and realizes he can't find his hairband.
"Why don't you just cut it, if it bothers you so much?" she asks.
He looks up, and his hair slides in front of his face a bit. "I like it like this," he says simply.
"I see rumors about Saiyajins and their hair are true," she muses.
He raises an eyebrow at that. "My hair grows," he says, unsure of whether or not to take her comment as a compliment or an insult.
She smiles fadingly. "I meant that they don't like it changed."
"When have you ever known any Saiyajin?" he demands.
Her smile weakens. "I have not. My mother told me stories. I rather enjoyed them."
"Vegeta-sei was destroyed almost 40 years ago, as I'm sure you already know. Before that, however, they were a great society. My grandmother visited the planet to see her Saiyajin lover, and told my mother stories of him when she was a child."
He raised an eyebrow, thoroughly surprised. "You are a quarter Saiyajin?" he asks incredulously.
"I said he was her lover, not my grandfather. My blood relative died in battle when Mother was a baby. The stories just continued to be passed on." She pauses, then says, "Prince Vegeta lived."
"It is rumored that Frieza killed him, but no one knows for certain. There are few eye witnesses, as you can imagine. Some think he was killed when Namek blew."
"Hn," Trunks says, folding his arms and tapping his foot. He can't help it; his tail swings loose with slight irritation, slight curiosity, and slight amusement.
Rasha watches the furry limb. "Does it hurt, if you pull on it?" she asks, motioning to the thing that marks him as Saiyajin.
He glances at it himself and shrugs. "Father helped me desensitize it."
"You just pull on it for a long time until it stops hurting and you can't feel it anymore."
"Is that painful?" she wonders aloud.
"Hm." Curious, she suddenly reaches out and tugs it.
Trunks gasps, and leaps away. "Don't do that!" he scolds fiercely, but his face is red.
She raises an eyebrow. "Why not?"
He turns away, embarrassed by his body's reaction to her touching his tail. "Just…do what I say! Don't touch me!"
She holds her hands up in surrender. "To be fair, you said it wouldn't hurt."
He grumbles to himself, "I didn't say anything else about what it would do."
"What was that?"
They are silent for a while, until Vegeta emerges from the bathroom clad only in a white towel. Rasha again hides her face. Vegeta looks at her, then scowls at Trunks for not giving him any warning. He grabs his clothes and disappears into the bathroom again, and when he comes out a second time, he is dressed.
"What are you doing here?" he growls at the girl.
"Looking for you," she replies.
"I wish to know if you murdered the Tokage princess."
They stare at her, and suddenly Trunks erupts into a fit of curses. Furious, his tongue switches from Saiyago to Japanese to English to Standard and back again. "I told you!" he hisses at Vegeta. "Kuso!"
"Kuso, nothing," Vegeta sneers. "What's one less maid around the house?"
Rasha shrinks back. "I was not planning to rat you out," she says, rather bravely for someone in her position. "I simply wished to know if it was you."
"Well, now you know," Vegeta says. "Tell me, what color is your blood?"
She meets his murderous gaze with narrowed green eyes. "Red."
"Well, shit," he says, and he cracks his knuckles.
Trunks grips his hair at the roots and starts murmuring to himself, counting to ten in his mother's language.
"Why did you kill her?" Rasha asks.
"Because Tokage people really piss me off," Vegeta answers.
"You realize that you've started a war for my people," she states calmly.
"Of course. I'm a veteran. Starting wars is pathetically simple."
"I assume you plan to use this as a way to escape," she sneers.
"Smart female," Vegeta observes, hands on his hips. "What of it?"
"I don't wish to flee my planet," she explains, "But I would very much like to flee this palace."
Vegeta stares at her, then bursts into mocking laughter. "The little girl," he snorts, "wants to be on our side? That's rich, child. Explain to me, then, why the hell you think we should be stupid enough to trust you."
"I have no reason," she says defiantly. "I'm just saying that whether you kill me or take me with you, I get out either way. Do what you wish."
Trunks stares at her with a kind of awe. He has never seen anyone stand up to his father before and live this long, especially not a female. His tail waves curiously, and he finds himself rather captivated with the girl.
Vegeta watches her with suspicious, narrowed eyes. This young female reminds him too much of his mate. He doesn't like it. Glancing at Trunks, and how the boy stares at her, he pursed his lips and growls softly. "I'll be watching you, girl. If I find any reason to suspect you of betraying us, I won't hesitate to slaughter you."
She looks pleased with herself, and gives Trunks a 'ha!' look before she rises and leaves without another word. Vegeta glares at her fading shadow, and he briefly wonders if his mate has been reincarnated.
Part 16: Play Pretend.
True to her word, Rasha never reveals who the killer of the Tokage princess was. She carries on as though there was no conversation between her and the Saiyans. Sometimes, she will stop by the Princess's suit to speak briefly with them while they work. She mostly chats with Trunks, as she dislikes Vegeta…or Raditz, as she knows him.
"Where did you live before you were brought here?" Rasha asks.
"Chikyuu," Trunks answers.
"Was it very pretty?"
"I don't know. I was hardly a year old when we were captured."
She frowns. "I imagine Raditz was not pleased," she says, as though he is not ten feet from her.
"Did you ever know your mother?"
"I don't remember her."
He pauses, then says, "I remember she always smelled like fruit."
"Hm. Mine preferred to smell like flowers."
Trunks's lip curls upwards.
"Did your mother have purple hair too?" she asks.
"No. It was blue."
Vegeta has stayed silent the entire time while they continue to discuss his mate. Trunks had stopped asking questions about the woman when he was about 9 years old, and Vegeta never brings her up, though he dreams of her often. He sighs quietly and frowns, his brows knit together. No one has yet asked them to go to war. Perhaps he should have killed a king, too.
"I suppose I should go," Rasha says after a moment, tucking a hair that has strayed from her braid behind her ear. Trunks grunts in reply, and Rasha picks up the laundry basket that she had been carrying before stopping to chat. She hoists it up on her hip and glances at Trunks, then quickly lowers her eyes and walks away.
"Watch yourself, female," Trunks calls quietly.
She glances back again and pauses, then flits away so swiftly that her long braid seems to float for a moment. Trunks tilts his nose to the air and smells pine.
He is bored now.
"Don't get too attached to that girl, brat," Vegeta warns.
"Hn. I hardly know her."
"I hardly knew your mother, and she invited me into her house."
"That worked out okay."
Vegeta scowls. "It was stupid of her."
"Perhaps. But you accepted."
They are silent after that.
Part 17: Time to Move.
Their opportunity comes about a month later. A bomb is thrown into the castle, and crashes into the throne room. Four servants are killed and six wounded, along with 5 dead senators and 9 wounded out of 20. The king and princess go uninjured, though just barely. The Tokage have declared war.
When they hear of it, Vegeta laughs. "They should know better! They're so outclassed, it's pathetic!"
Trunks reminds him that they too are outclassed by the Bakemonos, to which Vegeta scowls and replies that if he had proper training time and facilities, he could beat them easily.
By now, he has almost completely regained the muscle mass that he had whilst living on Chikyuu, and Trunks is a healthy weight for his size. He is nearly 18, or at least, so they guess, and Vegeta wonders when the boy body will influence him to begin looking for a mate. Perhaps it has already begun.
Aki screeches at them and throws her hair brush at Vegeta. He ducks and avoids it easily, though it crashes into the mirror behind and shatters it. "War!" she cries. "In the middle of my goddamned birthday week! Whoever killed Beri will pay for this!"
Trunks and Vegeta look at each other, though Trunks's look is irritated while Vegeta is clearly amused.
"Dammit!" Aki swears, and she flops down on her bed with a heavy groan of frustration. "This sucks. Today can't possibly get any worse."
Aki sighs and rubs her temple. "I have such a headache. Amuse me, Saiyajins."
They stare at her. They have never been asked to be amusing before.
She stares at them expectantly and claps her hands, a signal to tell them to hurry up.
Finally, Trunks asks incredulously, "What the hell do you want us to do?"
She face palms herself with both hands and flops back on the pillows again. "Useless!" she cries, exasperated.
The Saiyajins scowl.
Rasha does cleaning half the week, and serving the other half. Sometimes she cooks. Today, she is serving. She sets the plates on a large tray, which in turn sits on a rolling cart, which she will carry to the throne room to serve to the king. She is dressed in a slightly longer dress than normal, although this is because she doesn't wear such tomboyish things as leggings while serving someone as important as the king.
She knocks politely on the grand doors, having been given clearance by the guards, and the king bellows, "Enter!"
She steps in with the cart, and bows low. The king waves her in and returns to discussing a rather important matter, which, being a slightly nosy woman of eavesdropping nature, Rasha finds extremely interesting. She listens carefully, though she zones in and out of the conversation as she begins to serve the food as she knows is preferable to royalty, until she hears a very interesting little snippet of information.
" – my daughter has. She thinks they're worthy warriors. I think they're weak."
"With all due respect, sir," his advisor says, "Saiyajins are known for their battle skills. It would not hurt to give them a mission or two."
"They are not as strong as even the average Bakemono soldier. Why should I even consider it?"
His advisor chuckles warmly. "My king, surely you know of the Saiyajin history. Why… before we learned magic, back when Frieza was reigning, you know, the weakest Saiyajins were just as strong as some of his top men."
"Well, not many years before that, they were at the bottom of the food chain, sir. Their strength grows exponentially. It was rumored that they had no limits. The longer they lived, the more strength they acquired. It might pay to have such men in your army, sir."
The king snorts and reaches for his wine glass, which Rasha humbly presents to him, avoiding his sharp, wise green eyes. "I've no doubt that they are powerful beings. But in comparison to us…I can't take the chance that they might fail."
Now it is the advisors turn to snort. "Sir…with all due respect…we are about to go to war against the Tokage. I doubt we'll need much help anyhow, as they are notoriously flimsy creatures, but, what say neighboring kingdoms become their allies? Could it hurt so badly to let the Saiyajin take out the small fry?"
The king is quiet for a moment.
"And they are Super Saiyajins, are they not? The power increase they are capable of is unimaginable. You've heard rumors of such a thing called a Zenkai, correct?"
"Of course," the king snaps. "Everyone has."
"Now imagine a Zenkai given to a Super Saiyajin in the middle of war. We'd be unstoppable."
"And what happens," the king demands, "if they were to turn against us? Saiyajins are stubborn. They do not like being enslaved."
"Then they die. It's simple."
"Your confidence in them is worrisome," the king rumbles.
"Perhaps. I'm an optimist, sir."
Their meal is finished, and Rasha leaves quickly.
"They are planning on sending you to war," she says.
Trunks frowns. Vegeta looks pleased.
Part 18: Explode
The guards come the next morning. The Saiyajins are going to war.
Aki does not know. Soon after Trunks and Vegeta arrive for their shift, she wakes, and after showering and pampering herself for an hour, she calls them into her room. She wears a short outfit that is like a kimono crossed with a bathrobe, made of fine red silks, but the princess has little care for physical modesty behind the closed doors of her bedroom.
"So, today," she says, as she begins to tell them her plans for the afternoon, "I was thinking of having one of the Duke's daughters over. She's positively lovely, you know, and she's always wanted to see a Saiyajin. I would have introduced her to you at the banquet, but she was unable to attend. Dreadful, really. She's a delightful girl, one of my favorites. Anyway, as I was saying, she's never seen a Saiyajin, much less a hybrid one. She's very excited, you know." She pauses her speech and brushing powder across her face, and smiles at them in her vanity mirror. "You're very popular, my pets."
Aki laughs, because she loves to hear them growl. At the same time, a loud knock sounds at the door. "Come in," she calls, and the doors swing open.
"Your Highness," a guard says, and the three that are behind him join him in a bow. "We have come to retrieve the Saiyajins."
She stares at them. "Excuse me?"
"Your father, the King, has ordered that they be sent out with the troops."
Aki jumps to her feet so quickly that her cushioned stool is knocked over. "That can't be possible!" she snaps. "They are my Saiyajin, not soldiers!"
"Your father has ordered it so, Miss."
Aki gives a wordless shriek.
The guards walk in to escort the Saiyajins out, but they are already leaving on their own. Trunks can't help the small smirk that crosses his face, and Vegeta looks positively ecstatic. Ah, how he loves it when a plan comes together.
But Aki screams and latches onto his arm. "YOU CAN'T TAKE THEM!" she wails. "I FORBID IT!"
Vegeta sneers in disgust and yanks his arm away, stepping out of reach coldly. But now Trunks is stuck, because Aki is stuck to his leg. "You can't leave me," she sobs. "Who else do I talk to?"
"Your maid," Trunks says simply, scoffing at her.
"They aren't always with me!"
Trunks reaches down and pushes her away with his huge hands, scowling at her. She lands in a heap of limps and hair that now falls out of place, staring at him with wide eyes.
"You're pathetic," Trunks spits. "You are undeserving of the title of royalty."
The guards gape, standing there for a moment while Trunks turns away and leaves. After a moment, they leave as well. Aki continues to lie on the floor, crying quietly, though whether this is because of the loss of her Saiyajins or because she realizes that she is pathetic is unclear.
As they walk, Vegeta thumps Trunks's back. The long haired teen looks at him, but Vegeta continues to look ahead, with a kind of prideful expression on his face.
"We are leaving," Trunks says, hours later. He and Vegeta are dressed in sleek black body armor that consist of a shirt-like breastplate, wrist, calf, and thigh guards, and fitting black pants and long sleeved shirt with a high collar. Vegeta is dressed exactly the same, but he is not present for this particular conversation.
Rasha looks at him and nods. She disappears into her small room, and comes back out with a small bag. "I'm ready."
"Where do you wish to go?"
"Just a small colony someplace. Anywhere."
Trunks is quiet.
Rasha is quiet, too.
They meet with Vegeta near the launching pad. Rasha stays in the heavy shadows of the launching platforms, and finally, two pods are ready. Many are already lined up, and soldiers are filing in.
Trunks reaches into the shadows and takes Rasha's wrist.
Just as he pulls her out beside him, another explosion goes off. The Tokage have already planted another bomb.
After that, it is hectic. Trunks and Vegeta dive and cover their heads, and Trunks manages to pull Rasha underneath his body before he falls. When they lift their heads, soldiers are running around with their comrades on their shoulders, getting hand weapons for close-range fighting, getting doctors, and transforming.
Trunks feels Vegeta grab him by his hair and pull him to a somewhat upright position. "Get up!" he hears his father yell, but he feels as though someone has rung a horribly loud bell in his ear. He looks down and sees that Rasha has cuts and gashes on her body, and blood seeps into her hair.
Finally, he jumps to his feet and tosses the girl over his shoulder. She groans. "Put me down!"
"Not on your life!" he says. "This place is in pure chaos! You're leaving this goddamned planet!"
She hits him on the back, and her fists make clangs against his armor. "You can't make me leave my own planet!"
They run, and jump into their waiting pods. Before they close the doors, however, Trunks stops, and turns around. "HEY!" he screams as loud as he can. Many soldiers stop to stare at him, and he notices that up on the balconies, the king and Aki are watching. Grinning, the young Saiyajin Prince yells, "GUESS WHO KILLED THE TOAD PRINCESS?"
Everyone seems to freeze.
Vegeta yells, "PRINCE VEGETA'S BACK, BITCHES! SAYONARA!"
Rasha gasps. From the balconies, a horrid scream of absolute rage comes from Aki.
The pod doors shut. The pods are up in the air now, and flying up, up, up…
They are free.
Suddenly, a very large ship, that is much, much bigger than the pods, bigger than Frieza's old ship, even, wizzes by them so harshly that it rocks their own ships.
"What the hell was that?!" Trunks yells over the intercom. "Surely they aren't stupid enough to land in the middle of all the Bakemono's top soldiers!"
"It's not a ship!" Vegeta yells back.
"Then what the hell is it?"
"It's..." Vegeta's voice lowers. "It's a missile." He stares at it, stunned, hoping that their pods will make it far enough to avoid the backlash –
"NO!" Rasha screams.
The missile seems to move in slow motion for a while. It disappears into the atmosphere, and as the Saiyajins get farther away, they lose sight of it. A minute later, there is a magnificent explosion. Smoke spreads, and when it finally clears, there is a giant, ugly scar across the surface of the planet.
"Oh, Tanri," Rasha breathes shakily.
Vegeta looks out the window and freezes. Spaceships are lined up to the south, and he is suddenly glad that they are heading west. The ships are not all Tokage; there are Neko ships and Acqani ships and Lomjin ships, and they are huge and armed to the teeth.
"The Tokage have been busy these last twenty years," Vegeta murmurs.
It is not over the intercom, but Trunks still hears him. Those missiles could take out the core of the planet, Trunks thinks through their link.
They will take out the core of the planet, Vegeta thinks back. The Tokage are physically weak, but with that technology…
They are hundreds of miles away when the planet explodes.
Vegeta knows how to hijack a pod, and via telepathy, he teaches Trunks how to as well. They enter coordinates, though Trunks has no idea what planet they belong to. The ride is awkwardly silent, something Trunks attributes to Rasha's quiet crying.
"Female –" he begins.
"You shut up," she hisses. "My goddamned planet just got blown up, all because you two wanted to escape." She pauses and laughs bitterly. "Prince Vegeta. Prince fucking Vegeta. I knew his name wasn't Raditz. He doesn't even look like a Raditz –"
"Female, you're bleeding," Trunks says, having fished out a first aid kit from a compartment in the pod, and grabs her arm. "Hold still."
"Don't tell me to hold still!" she yells. "My planet is gone and it's your fault!"
"And now you know how we feel!" Trunks yells. "Do you think we liked having our people killed? Do you think it was fun for my father to have his home destroyed twice? Do you?!"
Trunks stops then, because Rasha has started to cry again, and he remembers that his father does not like to be defended. He is glad that the intercom was not on. He sighs and bandages her cuts. His are small and already beginning to heal (because he is Saiyajin), so he leaves them be. After a few hours of sniffling and hateful cursing in her native language, Rasha falls asleep.
Trunks sighs and leans his head back against the seat. Father?
Did you think the Bakemonos would die?
Vegeta grunts. No. I thought the Tokage would be slaughtered. I underestimated how much their technology had advanced.
Trunks pauses. Are you sorry?
Vegeta frowns. No.
Trunks looks at the female that sits in his lap and uses his chest as a makeshift pillow. He is not sorry either, but he feels as though he should be.
Where are we going? he asks.
Vegeta does not answer. He is busy looking through files on the pod's computer. After a moment, he finds something rather interesting, and suddenly the planet they are going to becomes much safer.
I don't know what to do anymore. We've accomplished our life goal of escape. What the hell am I supposed to do next?
Vegeta shrugs. Last time that happened to me, I got laid.
Trunks blushes heavily. Unnecessary.
Don't worry. It was your mother.
Vegeta smirks. Well? You've got a girl in your lap, he thinks.
Trunks looks at her, and notices with irritated dismay that his tail has curled around her thigh. I suppose I do, the princeling thinks dryly.
They fall into a heavy sleep under hibernation gas, and they don't wake until the pods crash into the ground.
Trunks grabs his head and opens his eyes, sure that he'll have a big lump on his skull later. "Ow," he grumbles.
Rasha pushes his purple hair out her face, where it landed after the crash made them both lurch forward. "Where are we?" she asks, undoing her braid to smooth her own hair.
"I dunno," he shrugs. He kicks the door to the pod open and pushes her out, at which she frowns.
"You could have just opened the door, you barbarian," she snaps.
He glares at her and pushes his bangs out of his eyes. "Does this look like the face of a person who gives a damn?" he snaps back. Grumbling about insolent females, he goes over to the pod that has landed beside them. "Father?" he calls, approaching the pod cautiously.
He is right to. Without warning, Vegeta kicks the pod door off the hinges, twice as violently as Trunks had, and it goes flying. "I forgot how much I hate these things," he scowls, glaring at the pod as though it has done something wrong.
"Father, where are we?" Trunks asks.
Vegeta's mood shifts instantly, and he looks smug. "This is Chikyuu, brat."
Blue eyes widen. "Really?"
The planet is lush and green, full of clear waters and crisp air. The jungles around them teem with life, and he swears he can hear animals breathing, watching them curiously.
"This is Chikyuu," he breathes.
"Why are we here?" Rasha demands. "My people took over this planet."
Vegeta shakes his head. "I can sense humans. They were not all exterminated. No Bakemono has Ki that weak."
"Well, Prince Vegeta," she growls, "Explain to me why you can 'sense' anybody, and where my people are, if that's the case."
"Gone," he says, as though she has not just used his title to insult him. "I've looked through the data stored on the pod; all Bakemono here disappeared without a trace years ago. One of the weaklings must have gathered the Dragon Balls and wished them away. That's the only logical explanation."
"What the hell are Dragon Balls?"
Trunks explains them to her, as his father has told him stories and is currently not willing to speak with her. Then a thought occurs to him, and he turns to Vegeta, who is standing with his back straight and his arms folded. Trunks has not seen him stand so proudly in a long time. "Father? If the Dragon Balls were used, does that mean Mother's alive?"
Vegeta is silent, but his aura explodes around him without warning, and he leaps into the sky. Trunks runs a few feet before he too is in the air, and Rasha goes after them because frankly she has no idea what she is supposed to do otherwise.
Part 19: Reunion.
The humans did not have to rebuild any of their cities. The Dragon Balls, meaning, the ones from Namek, were used to wish that (1) the Bakemonos would disappear from the planet, (2) the humans killed would be revived, and (3) Chikyuu be rebuilt. At least, this is the conclusion that Vegeta comes to as he flew over the city. Everything is exactly as it was.
He goes faster and faster and finally he jumps into Super Saiyajin because his base form is too slow, and he scowls because he knows that if he had not been captured and starved for nearly two decades he could have ascended further. He does not check to see if his son is following, because he can feel both his Ki and his presence. The girl is following them, too, and he wonders briefly if Trunks is going to make her his mate.
And there is Capsule Corp, in all its shiny domed glory, right where he left it. Memories of burning fires flash in his mind, and he lands. Miles and miles away, he feels a huge spike of excited Ki, and it suddenly starts moving, getting closer. A kind of smile quirks at his lips.
Kakarot, you dog, you've surpassed me again.
He walks up to his house and kicks the door down.
A blue haired woman sitting on a couch nearly jumps out of her skin and whirls. A second later, when the flame haired man steps into the house, wearing strange black armor and staring at her in utter disbelief, and her blue eyes widen, filling with tears. They stare at each other for a moment, silent. Then she jumps to her feet and runs to him, leaping into his arms and smothering his face with kisses.
"Vegeta!" she sobs in joy. "Oh Kami, I knew you'd come back! I knew it! Oh, God I missed you so much!"
"Baka onna," he says, just because he hasn't called her that in 18 years, and he kisses her mouth. "Bulma."
She cries harder and buries her face in his shoulders. He is holding her like a child, with her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck and God he missed this scent so much…
"Where have you been?" she asks, looking into his dark eyes. She has missed them. His face has not changed at all in the past two decades, and suddenly she feels old.
"On a fucking purple planet with beasts for inhabitants," he replies, studying his mate's face. She has aged, but not that much; she looks more mature, with small lines around her eyes and her cheeks not as round. He frowns at the thought of missing her changes.
"Watch your mouth," she scolds, and he gets another kiss as punishment.
"Don't coddle me, female," he scowls, embarrassed, and yet, strangely pleased.
"I haven't kissed you in years, you asshole! I'll coddle you all I want!"
"Father?" calls a voice. The word is called in Saiyago, but Bulma recognizes it from hearing Vegeta speak the word in his sleep. She does not know what it means, but she knows that Vegeta should be the only man alive who knows how to speak anything in that language. Unless…
Bulma freezes and gapes at her husband, who just looks at her with a blank expression but knowing eyes. Her mouth hanging open, she looks to the doorway, and a young man with long purple hair steps inside.
"Father, is this Capsule Corporation?" he asks, still in Saiyago. Then he notices that there is a woman in his father's arms, and he stops. "Oh…"
Bulma looked at Vegeta and asks, "You…you rescued my baby? Is that my baby?"
Trunks clears his throat, switching his tongue to Japanese. "Are you my mother?" he asks.
Bulma cries in relief. "You taught him Japanese. That's my baby." She gets down from her husband's arms and runs over to her son, but stops short before she can tackle him. "You're so tall," she says, "Kami, you look like Vegeta." She reaches up hesitantly, and finally touches the purple hair that used to just be tiny wisps on top of his head. Trunks freezes at the touch. She is oblivious, and she hugs him.
"You're my baby," she cries. "Trunks."
He is uneasy, unsure what to do. Eventually, he awkwardly hugs his mother, and he feels happiness radiating from her. "Mother…"
Rasha watches from the doorway. Bulma sees her and screams.
"It's one of those monsters!" she yells. "They're supposed to be gone!"
"Mother, we brought her here!" Trunks says.
"Because she's Trunks's mate," Vegeta says, arms folded.
"She isn't," Trunks says, embarrassed.
"But she will be," Vegeta insists.
"I'm Rasha," the Bakemono girl interrupts in Standard.
Bulma is still afraid, but she has her son and her husband, so she will cope. "Bulma," she replies, a bit nervously.
The Saiyajin groans, and Goku bursts into the house. "Hey, you're alive!" he cries, enveloping the shorter man in a bear hug.
"Get off me, Kakarot!" Vegeta yells.
"S'been what, twenty years? How ya been?" the tall man cries. He notices Trunks and goes to shake the boy's hand excitedly. "You must be Trunks. Nice to meet'cha! I'm Goku! Me an' your dad are old pals!"
"That's bullshit!" Vegeta cries.
"No it ain't!" Goku says, grinning. "I was gonna come look for you guys, but something was blocking my Instant Transmission. Shenron said it was some kinda magical barrier or something. But we knew you were alive! Didn't we tell 'em, B-chan?"
Bulma laughs tearily. "Yeah, we told them."
"Holy mackerel, what a fight! Those Bakemonos really brought it, ya know? This guy named Supreme Kai had to come and teleport us to Otherworld, and good thing too, or we'd have been toast! We tried to go back and get you but somebody," he glared pointedly at Vegeta, "was hiding his energy."
"Those things had scouters. What did you want me to do, give myself away?"
"It takes what, two seconds for me to use Instant Transmission?"
"I didn't need your help, Kakarot!"
"Says the guy who disappeared for twenty years straight!"
"Eighteen! There's a difference!"
"Sure," Goku says. "And hey, you know those Androids, the ones that Future Trunks said we'd fight? They ended up fighting the Bakemonos with us! And they killed Gero, but anyhow, Krillin married the girl one! Can you believe that?"
Trunks looks stunned. "Did you say Future me?"
"Yup! Long story. Basically –"
"Did he come back, Kakarot?" Vegeta interrupts.
"Hm?" the spikey haired man blinks. "Oh, yeah, sure. That was a while ago, though. He was real disappointed that he didn't get to talk to you again."
"I suppose we could ask Shenron to bring him back for a week."
Trunks looks helplessly at his mother, who just laughs and hugs him again.
"Hey, Gohan's here!" Goku says suddenly, looking over his shoulder.
A man that looks to be about thirty years old lands in the backyard and walks into the house. "Hi, Vegeta!" he says cheerfully. "I thought that was you."
Vegeta blinks, unused to seeing Gohan tower over him so much, and just nods. Gohan wears a suit and glasses now; he is a scholar, just as his mother wished.
"How've you been?"
Gohan shakes his head at the vague responses and turns to smile at Trunks. "Wow, you grew!" he laughs. "I'm Gohan."
Trunks shakes his hand. "Trunks…you know that already. That's Rasha," he points to the woman, "Don't kill her."
Gohan laughs again. "Yeah, your Vegeta's kid. Sharp and straight to the point!"
"Everyone's alive," Goku tells Vegeta. "Do you want to go visit them?"
"No," Vegeta says dryly.
Goku chuckles and scratches the back of his head. "Yeah, didn't think so."
Vegeta rolls his eyes and wraps his arms around his mate again. He wishes Kakarot would leave. He has eighteen years to catch up on with Bulma, and he's been missing her. He buries his nose in her hair, and Bulma smiles, leaning into him. "Welcome home, Vegeta," she says. "Welcome home, both of you."
Part 20: Epilogue.
Trunks and Vegeta walk into the house, dirty and covered with scratches from training. A little girl runs from the living room and tackles Vegeta's leg.
"Hi, Grandfather!" she cries.
Vegeta picks up the little girl with a small smile. "Hinako," he says, "hasn't your mother told you about running in the house?"
The little girl pouts.
She has a small frame, like Rasha, and her hair is the same shade too, but it is stick straight like her father's instead of thick and flowing. She has blue eyes and tanned skin, and a very big smile with two little canine teeth that are sharper than the rest. On her cheeks there are two thin grey tears, like paint, and around her waist is a small, fuzzy tail.
"But Grandfather, look what I can do!" she holds up her hands, and a tiny blue ball of light appears in her hands. It swirls, pulses, and changes color, and eventually it forms a shape. When it solidifies, she's holding a shiny metal crest, which looks slightly like an anchor. It's the symbol of the House of Vegeta.
"That's very good, Hinako," Vegeta says. "But this piece here," he points to one of the curves one the handle of the anchor, "has two ends."
She fixes it. "See?"
"It's perfect," Vegeta says.
Trunks smiles and ruffles his daughter's hair.
Jesus, God. That took forever too. Not as long as Slave, although that's because I was rushing. This is even longer. Sigh. I don't know if it's as good as Slave either, but eh.
Well, this has many errors, I'm sure. But today is my anniversary, and I want it posted today, so I'll fix them later. Review, my lovelies!
I used Portuguese for the Ice-jin and Turkish for the Bakemono language.
Tanri – God.
Bakemono: The Japanese word for Monster.
Tokage: The Japanese word for lizard. This is my official name for Zarbon's people.
Aki: The princess's name is the Japanese word for autumn, because she is an autumn fairy…of sorts.
Beri: The name of Zarbon's sister, whom Vegeta brutally slaughters. Her name, as you can imagine, means berry in Japanese.
Rasha is just a name I made up, and Hinako is an actual Japanese name.
Zenkai: An ability exclusive to Saiyans, which gives them a massive boost of power after recovering from a serious injury.