Prince of All Couch Potatoes

Although Bulma was infinitely grateful to the Z-fighters for having got rid of Cell and successfully averted another life or death crisis for the entire planet, she most certainly did not appreciate the state in which they returned her baby's father to her. Granted, she had been surprised that he had willingly come back to Capsule Corporation to begin with – he had always spoken with unhidden pleasure and impatience for the day when he would get rid of the androids and leave their "mud ball of a planet once and for all".

However, once he was back on the premises, she got a good idea why he had come back to begin with. It seemed that all of his will power had siphoned out of him. He didn't eat much, he didn't go out of his room unless he absolutely had to and God forbid that he should go and work up a sweat in the gravity simulator. And if that wasn't appalling enough as it was, he didn't even seem to be much in the mood of responding to any of her verbal baiting of him.

She had tried cheering him, baiting him, cajoling him, begging him even to just go and spend some good few hours at his usual 450 G in the gravity room. He hadn't batted an eyelash her way before giving her his back and proceeding to ignore her for the rest of the day.

At first she had believed that it was just a phase he was going through. Something he needed to get out of his system. This was why at first she had given him his space, hoping that whatever this was, it would pass on its own.

But the days turned into weeks and soon it became a whole month since he'd been active in just about any sense of that word. And Bulma's patience with the man had officially run out.

When none of her tactics of getting him back to his normal self seemed to work out though, she just threw her hands up for the time being and left him be. Thankfully, Mirai Trunks had decided to drop by to visit just then, making her baby's father's issues fall into the background of her mind.

Of course, Bulma wasn't a genius for nothing. And it most certainly did not take one to realize that this… depression (or whatever it could be called when it came to an individual as complex as Vegeta) of her once-lover was due to all the events that had transpired during the Cell games.

Bulma knew better than anyone else how hard Vegeta had trained in the three years before the androids had come. She had seen first-hand how he had spent countless upon countless hours every day of every week, striving hard to achieve the elusive power he so lusted after. He had spent more hours in the gravity room than his body could handle more often than not. He had trained himself raw and had more often than not passed out before stopping his training of his own accord.

At first she had thought him crazy for this. After all, what kind of idiot tried so hard? But as time wore on and he continued being just as driven—if not getting even more and more determined with every passing day—Bulma began to be awed by his dogged determination. She was impressed by how, despite his failure to achieve the goal he so desired, he kept trying again and again, until his body could no longer follow his spirit's bidding. If it had been her in his shoes, she wasn't certain she wouldn't have just dropped it all and moved on to another thing that was less elusive to her.

But not him. Not Vegeta. He never quit. He never wavered. He never faltered. He was proud and driven and wouldn't stop at anything to take what he wanted, whenever he wanted it.

That had been the thing about him that had first made her start taking notice of him. His determination and his resilience had drawn her to him. She had admired that about him fervently. She had respected and nobly envied him for it.

So having the person she had felt so strongly for suddenly come back to her home completely devoid of all that fight, all that spunk… Saying it was a let-down would be the understatement of the year.

But, still, Bulma had given him a chance to recover from that on his own. She gave him time to brood, to grieve over the fact that he had achieved none of the things he had wanted: he hadn't been able to destroy the androids, nor Cell; he hadn't been able to save his son from being shot down by the green atrocity; and worst of all, he wouldn't be able to have his revenge against Son-kun because the man had opted to stay dead.

Bulma understood that all those were huge blows to the Saiyan prince's already overlarge ego. She understood that these things had shaken him. She understood so she gave him time and space.

However, when more than a month had passed, Mirai Trunks had gone home and Vegeta still continued being weird, Bulma had quite had it. She had often heard her employees talking amongst themselves in Capsule Corporation about how they wished their husbands would stop being such couch potatoes and start doing something for them. Listening to these women, she had sighed tiredly, wishing for his sake that Vegeta could be a bit more like those men – God knew he needed to slow down a bit from that hectic regiment he had put himself into.

Now, however, Bulma was sorry she had ever thought in such a way. She was ready to do just about anything just for the sake of getting that man off his ass and into the training room again.

Walking past the living room on her course towards the spacious Capsule Corporation kitchen, she found with slight surprise that Vegeta was seated on one of the large couches in the premise, surfing through channels on the television. From the way he was posed and the vacant look on his face, she could tell he was most probably not registering any of what he was looking at. Seeing that made her stop dead in her tracks, putting her hands on her hips as she surveyed him critically.

"Don't you think that's enough moping? I think as much should last you a lifetime."

When her jab at him wasn't even deigned worthy of acknowledging from his highness, Bulma felt a sharp stab of annoyance.

"How long are you planning on pretending to be part of the furnishing, Vegeta? This is getting seriously ridiculous!" She all but shrieked and all it earned her was a glare from the addressed man.

As if his lack of coherent response wasn't bad enough, the glare he had aimed at her had none of its usual ferocity in it.

"What is wrong with you?! Aren't you going to say anything back? Where are the smart-ass retorts and the no-nonsense attitude?" When he still continued ignoring her, she felt fuelled to press on. "I get that you're cranky over the fact that you didn't get your chance to face off with Son-kun. But don't you think that is enough about now? Or did most of your personality die along with him during that fight?"

That, at least, seemed to ruffle his feathers some. At least that's the impression she got when he growled at her and threw her an evil look. Sadly, the glare had also lost most of its edge.

"Don't talk about things you know nothing of, woman! It's none of your business what I do with my time or myself!"

"I guess that's true. But excuse me for feeling cheated when instead of getting back the same man who went off to fight, I get a shadow replica of him with none of his defining qualities even present anymore." She crossed her arms over her chest, miffed.

Vegeta snorted. Even if he had intended it to sound like a sneer, it sounded more like a self-lament than anything else.

"You talk and make it sound like you knew me, woman, but you knew absolutely nothing about me to begin with. So spare me the sermon and go screech to someone who will care to give a listen."

At that Bulma couldn't help feeling a painful jolt. It made her flag a little in her determination to poke at him until he got a move on. Yes, he was absolutely right – she knew basically nothing about him. She had born his son and yet she knew barely anything about him, the real him. And how could she? He had never let her in; he had never relied on her. And that hurt. It hurt because another reason she had taken interest in him was the fact that he always seemed so lonely, so solitary; it had pained her to see him like that. She wanted to give him a place to feel at peace at. She had shared her family with him, hoping it would be enough to start fixing those lonesome tendencies of his.

But all of that had only ended as wishful thinking. She had thought she had made some progress in that sense only to see that none had really been made with that comment of his just then.

"Be that as it might, anyone can notice that you are barely eating anything lately, Vegeta. You don't train, you don't go out, you don't argue, you don't eat. All you do all day of every day is brood. How is that helping you, pray tell?" she sniped back, ignoring the hurt from his previous comment from showing on her face or in her voice.

As if she wasn't already angry enough, he had to go ahead and piss her off even further. After her outburst he merely got up from his seat on the couch, walked past her without sparing her a glance and made a straight line for the stairs that led to his room.

Bulma stared wide-eyed at him, absolutely livid.

"Are you just going to walk out on me now? Without even saying anything?" She could no longer see his silhouette up the stairs anymore. "Vegeta!"

Her shout was met with the loud slam of a door somewhere up the stairs.

In the living room of her home, Bulma was left alone to massage the bridge of her nose as she fumed to herself.

After her last verbal run-in with Vegeta that had left her seething with rage for days, Bulma had decided to just leave him be. She couldn't be bothered to care anymore, really. He could grow a root out of his ass and rot away doing nothing for all eternity for all she cared.

Having made that decision, it was must easier to ignore the man and focus on the things that did still matter to Bulma. Like her lovely son, who was at the age when it felt like he was growing up with every minute.

Bulma was completely engrossed playing with said son when her mother walked into the living room, a tiny worried frown on her usually carefree features.

"Bulma dear, what do you think is wrong with that handsome boy Vegeta?" The elder woman didn't notice her daughter's brows narrow at the mention of the saiyan's name. "I tried to offer to make him something more to his taste for lunch but he didn't want to hear any of it. He insisted he could reheat some of the leftovers from last night himself and chased me out of kitchen." Bunny touched a hand to her cheek thoughtfully. "How odd…"

Bulma snorted dismissively, putting a bit too much vigour into building the tower with the cubes she was playing with her son with.

"Mom, don't bother with that guy anymore! He's absolutely hopeless! Let him starve for all he's worth. It's not like he even does anything to make him need that much nourishment to begin with."

She had spoken loudly enough to ascertain that the saiyan prince would hear her for sure. She realized as nothing came from the kitchen sound-wise that her jab had been lost on that man once again. Not that she cared. She was done trying to make him get himself together.

Thankfully, the phone rang just in that moment, derailing her train of thought. She picked herself up and went to get it, oblivious to her boy looking curiously after her as she bounced off.

Not even five minutes later, she burst through the kitchen door, almost taking down the frame along with it. Her sudden arrival and the urgency twisting her face made the unperturbed saiyan quirk a questioning brow her way. She looked slightly dishevelled from her hurry and more than slightly out of breath.

"Vegeta!" the blue-haired woman rasped out, taking a step into the kitchen! "Come!"

When he didn't comply with her command, she went over to him and grabbed him by the wrist, dragging him into the living room.

"Look!" she said, pointing at Trunks.

The boy was now wobbly standing on his two feet, reaching out a hand to stabilize himself against the couch every other step as he made his first attempts at walking.

Vegeta's brow rose even further in his impassivity.

"What?" he demanded, giving Bulma a questioning look. She stared incredulously at him, unsure what exactly he was saying.

"He's walking on his own!" she pointed out, ecstatic.

"And?" Vegeta demanded again unimpressed, crossing his arms over his chest with a huff.

That was what she had been so eager to show him? The things that made these two earthling women excited were just simply beyond him sometimes.

"What do you mean, "And"?! Our son is walking on his own! He's walking!" she exulted, clasping her hands to her cheeks. "Oh, I'm so happy and proud! My little boy is growing up! Before you know it, he will be all handsome and strong like Trunks from the future!"

Completely unfazed by Bulma's unbridled maternal gushing, Vegeta cocked a confused eyebrow at the child and his grandmother together on the ground.

"What's the big deal about walking? So what? Your brat can finally stand on his own two feet—quite the achievement, considering everyone can do as much…"

And that had been it. The last straw. The proverbial last drop that made the dam break.

It was the last comment that severed Bulma's already limited patience with her baby's father.

"I have just had it with you and your constant moodiness, mister!" she shouted at Vegeta, making him cringe at her volume. "If you want to spend the whole of your life wallowing in self-pity, that's fine by me! It's your life and you don't want me as part of it, so it's none of my business. Fine! I get that you want to have nothing with your son's life either, even though he is the most precious thing in the world and I bet he is the best thing that you have ever done in your entire existence. If you don't want to be a part of his life, that's fine; don't be. But!"

She lifted her index finger in his face, making Vegeta blink several times at it before focusing on her face again.

"I will not stand for you undermining his accomplishments, no matter how little and insignificant they may seem to you! He is a tiny person and even the mundane, ordinary things that come to you or I naturally are quite the feat for him! So even if you don't want to be his father, you will be polite and be supportive when he needs you to be, understand?!"

Somewhere along her rant, Bulma had proceeded to poke Vegeta in the chest with the offensive index finger she had shoved in his face before. At her clearly imperious tone and her bossy demeanour, Vegeta couldn't help a sharp jab of annoyance he hadn't felt in a long time rise in him.

"Don't you try bossing me around, you puny human woman! I am the prince of all Saiyans! I could level this whole area with just a flick of my wrist if I damn well pleased, so I will not stand for you talking in such blatant disrespect to me!"

"I am starting to doubt whether you could actually hold true to such a threat," Bulma retorted snidely, crossing her arms over her chest with a huff.

"What did you just say?" Vegeta demanded, livid.

"Oh my," Bunny murmured into the hand she had brought to her mouth, watching the exchange with Trunks in her embrace.

"The only thing you seem to be a prince of lately is the prince of all couch potatoes. Warrior race, my ass. I wonder if you can even remember how to raise your ki anymore."

Vegeta's blue aura was slowly growing brighter and brighter around him in intensity in his mounting ire. His fists were clenched and shaking by his sides and his teeth were tightly clenched as he exerted an impressive effort not to unleash his destructive force.

"Should I level this city just to put that statement of yours to the test? Maybe then you would learn how to speak to me in an appropriate manner, you insolent woman."

"Go ahead then, kill us all! That's what you were supposedly good at, right? When you first came to Earth, you were a force to be reckoned with. It took the combined effort of Son-kun, Gohan, Krillin and Yajirobe to finally stop you. You were fierce, you were unstoppable. Look at yourself now!"

Vegeta flinched unwittingly at that. His spiking ki settled down as his confusion set in. She had begun riling him up by antagonizing him and then suddenly, she was flattering him? At least that was the only way he could perceive what she had just told him about his first encounter with the earthlings.

"You have no drive in you, you have no fight left. You are nothing like the Vegeta I fell in love with. Maybe I never knew you to begin with; you were right about that much. But I knew enough to be able to tell that the shell of a man in front of me right now can't even hold a candle to the man I used to admire and whose child I had."

When she was done talking, she stared defiantly into his face, her cerulean eyes blazing. He looked into her face confused, as though he was seeing her for the first time. He was still having a hard time wrapping his mind around what exactly she was saying and why it felt to him like whatever it was, it mattered so hugely to him. They just kept staring at each other for a long time, Vegeta's mind racing over garbled ideas. She had left him to sort his thoughts to himself for such a long time that when she finally spoke again, he felt slightly disoriented.

"Well?" she demanded, shifting her weight to her other foot.

"Well what?"

"Weren't you supposed to unleash your fury upon the disrespectful earthlings in the area, starting with this place? We're waiting." Bunny thought it was truly unwise of her daughter to aim such destruction-encouraging phrases at a man who used to be the slayer of worlds. But the younger woman seemed completely unfazed. Her gaze was unyielding as she stared down the man in question expectantly.

And, to her mother's surprise, instead of reacting violently to her raised provocation like she was sure he would, Vegeta just huffed and crossed his arms over his broad chest as he eyed Bulma levelly.

"Why are you in such a rush to die, woman?"

"I'm not. I'm also not the one who seems to think they need to prove something to someone here. And, unlike you, I still have plenty to live for. Can you say the same, Vegeta?"

Her question caught him off-guard; mainly because it was something he had been asking and asking himself for weeks now. What did he have left? No planet, no race, no goal, no rival, no any kind of guiding light in life anymore. For the first time ever, Vegeta felt completely free. And he didn't know what he was supposed to do with such aimless freedom. What was he supposed to strive for in peaceful times when he had no tyrant to avenge himself against?

Seeing the struggle on his face, Bulma heaved a sigh and rolled her eyes.

"In the timeline Trunks came from, his only comrade had been Gohan. He had taught him everything. I guess we could have him do the same for my son as well, since his father can't seem to be bothered to even want to train his own child when he gets old enough to do it."

At that claim, Vegeta's temper flared instantaneously again.

"No spawn of Kakarot's will be doing any such thing with my son. Not as long as I am here," he growled out ferociously, his brows narrowing dangerously over his eyes. Bulma gave him a condescending look.

"What will it matter whether you're here or not if you can't even use the gravity machine anymore?" She huffed and stuck her nose higher in the air, eyeing him dubiously. "For all I know, you have probably already forgotten how to use the damn thing."

They had another little unspoken stand-off, glaring daggers at each other before they both huffed and turned their backs on each other. Vegeta stormed off with a colourful string of curses under his breath, vowing to show the audacious woman that he was not a man to be taken lightly.

Bunny looked with confused eyes into her grandson's imploring childish gaze as he babbled nonsense in his baby-tongue.

"Hmm, I don't know, dear Trunks, but I think we just witnessed something important happening here," the blonde stated, even though she would be hard pressed to name it if asked directly.

Unknowingly to anyone at the time, the exchange between the two would serve as one of the founding blocks to the process of them becoming a real family.

A/N: I didn't particularly like this chapter when I wrote it. Seemed like a good idea but it somehow went wrong along the way? I don't know. This is how it is, though. To start with, the prompt was really, really hard for me to connect with this family. O.o So… yeah, this is how it is. :D

Chapter Prompt: Theme Set Alpha, #5: Potatoes.