The snappy response was aimed at the brilliant woman sitting across the table from Vegeta. Bulma eyed him closely in the wake of his testy retort, taking her sweet time to elaborate.
It irked him endlessly—this annoying Earth creature. She was way too inquisitive for her own damn good.
"You really put up a fence between yourself and the rest of the world." She stared at him for a while longer after she said that. He blinked back several times, trying to understand what exactly it was she was trying to say. "At least that's the feeling I get right now."
It was true. She wondered how he did it. He was always standoffish but it had to be more than that. Even while doing something as mundane and normal as eating, there was an aura around the Saiya-jin prince that screamed "Do not pass!" He barricaded himself from everyone else, put a fence between himself and the world. And then he refused to exert even a single muscle for anything that was beyond that separation line.
She found that endlessly peculiar.
"What the hell is that?" Vegeta spoke at last. His low baritone brought her out of her reverie. "Did you just insult me?"
He honestly wasn't sure. Had it been a perfectly disguised jab at him? Or just another one of her pointless observations? This woman, after living in her home for about a year, was still one of the greatest enigmas in the Universe for him.
The prince flinched when the heiress pointed an index finger at him. Her expression was strangely enlightened.
"Ah, there it is, that." He stared wide-eyed at her, still uncertain whether this was an accusation or not. "You're so quick to take offence at anything and everything. It's exactly because of the line you draw between yourself and others."
Understanding was finally beginning to dawn on Vegeta. About the point of the conversation, at least. He heaved a sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose, hoping those precautions would be enough to fight off the oncoming headache.
"Spare me your analysis on my character, insolent woman. I honestly couldn't care less about what you think of the way I am or how I choose to live my life."
Bulma gave a thoughtful hum and placed her head in her hand, propped up on her elbow upon the table top. She stared at Vegeta for a while longer, trying to visualize the fence that she could feel him putting between them.
She supposed she could understand where he was coming from—at least, as much as she would ever be capable of understanding anything about the prince's circumstances. He came from a violent world where his only real ally was his own strength. He couldn't trust anyone, couldn't rely on anyone. So he put a wall between himself and the 'others': the ones who could come to harm him or even destroy him if he were to regard them too lightly threat-wise.
She wondered if he understood that there was no need to act this way anymore—not while he was a resident of Capsule Corporation, at least.
Also, sadly for him, Bulma had never been the kind of person who could be stopped by walls or fences: not the figurative kind, not the literal kind.
"That's true, I guess," she said out loud at last with a coy smile.
Vegeta let out a small, triumphant huff of air at having successfully re-established the boundaries with this annoying little human once again. Content, he was about to pick up his knife and fork and continue where he'd left off with his breakfast.
However, the moment the directed his attention back to the table, he noticed how close Bulma's had suddenly come.
His whole posture stiffened with tension at having her invade his personal space so uncharacteristically. Although, admittedly, the range of said space for him was much larger than that of anyone else you've known.
"Even so, I'm still quite curious about you," she admitted with a small smile.
And while her expression was innocent enough, the Saiya-jin prince found her proximity and the unreadable look in her eyes somewhat daunting. What was she trying to pull anyway? Did she come off on how her invasion of his personal space was affecting him?
Determined to deny her that sadistic little joy, Vegeta schooled his features back to the familiar mask of cold indifference. His firm frown did nothing to dissuade Bulma from her approach, though. If anything, she felt fuelled even further.
Because, whenever she saw a wall saying 'Don't pass', she got the urge to trespass.
So she did the one thing she felt like doing. It was also the one thing that Vegeta hadn't foreseen happening, thus his inability to stop it from doing so.
She leaned in further until the space between them was gone.
She kissed him.
It was just an innocent brush of lips against lips, and it was over as quickly as it began. However, the priceless flabbergasted expression that was etched into Vegeta's face in wake of the action was absolutely priceless, in Bulma's opinion.
She giggled as she leaned away, putting a hand to her lips. If she had to be perfectly honest, ever after the prince had enlightened her and Gohan about how to successfully resurrect their friends in the wake of the Namek fiasco, she had ceased to be so afraid of him. Instead, she found him interesting. He was as odd as they came, but there was just something about his aloof demeanour that somehow appealed to her.
She still wasn't sure what it was but she wouldn't deny that she'd enjoyed that tiny kiss more than she had expected to.
"Wha-what the—" The prince sputtered, his face flushing bright red—whether with anger, indignation or embarrassment, Bulma didn't know. "What did you just do?" he hissed out, glaring venomous daggers at her. His hands were clenched into fists and shaking with the straining effort of keeping his temper in check.
Oh? He was certainly someone amusing to tease, she established.
Bulma got up from the table and gave him a wink—the latter only made him bristle again.
"Punishment—for being so uptight all the time," she said with a small grin.
She set a course for the door but paused at the frame. She turned to throw an impish look over her shoulder at Vegeta, who stiffened visibly when their gazes locked.
"Hey, Vegeta, I wouldn't advise you to put up any walls or fences in front of me. They make me feel like trespassing even more, you know?"
She chortled merrily as she left the kitchen, the mortified look on the Saiya-jin's face eternally imprinted in her mind's eye.
He would be wise to heed to her warning, though.
Because whenever Bulma saw a fence, she got the uncontrollable desire to either jump over it, or knock it down completely.
A/N: More drabbles? Yes, sir! However, these ones are special. These are my attempts at not going overboard with descriptions, situations and so on. My lessons on brevity! Also, an attempt of mine to complete a Thirty Kisses challenge for the first time in my life! Let's see how far I get this time, eh? :D
Written for LJ's 30 Kisses challenge prompt #25: fence.
18th January, 2013.