AN: I don't own DBZ or the character, just this monologue. This takes place in the episode "Final Atonement" where Vegeta is blowing himself up to try and kill Majin Buu to protect Bulma and Trunks. Try and guess the character for this POV (and no skipping ahead! That's cheating!)

The Long Road Home

Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

Has it really been this long? It doesn't feel like it.

You've grown and changed so much, Vegeta. I don't understand how this is possible. When did the arrogant little brat of a prince become a man who was actually capable of caring about others? Did I miss it? Or did it just happen so subtly over such a long time that I couldn't even monitor it? I don't know.

You worked under Frieza for so long, and became convinced that you couldn't care about others, that you didn't have a heart or emotions. I watched with a heavy heart as you blew up worlds and destroyed entire civilizations. This was not what was supposed to happen.

I watched as you went to Earth and ended up facing off against those Earthlings. Nappa did most of the work—then you killed him. I didn't think I could have been shocked anymore, but for some reason that stunned me. If you'd left him alive, perhaps you wouldn't have been defeated by that Saiyan, Kakarott or Goku or whatever he goes by.

Namek. When you joined forces with those Earthlings, it occurred to me that there was hope for you yet. You defeated Dodoria and Zarbon, something no other Saiyan had ever accomplished.

Your death on Namek. Once again, unbelievable. Who would have ever guessed that the Prince of the Saiyan race would have died like that? Your heart, which up until that point you hadn't believed existed, broke, and you wept. You begged for Goku to avenge you and your people. He did, surpassing you in power along the way as he became the first Super Saiyan in a century, and his friends brought you back with those Dragonballs. You ended up on Earth with that woman.

Bulma. I have to chuckle when I think of her. She was so terrified of you on Namek, yet she believed so fiercely that there was some good in you that she took you in, and eventually grew to love you. And whether or not you would ever admit it, Vegeta, and whether or not you ever even realized it, you grew to love her in return. Anyone could see that. The child, your son, Trunks. The product of that love, that emotion you probably couldn't identify when it befell you. Even though he doesn't look it, he is very much his father's son. He resembles you more then I think you realize. He had that arrogant little smirk of yours, and resembles you as you looked at that age. But while his personality is all yours, he has more of his mother's appearance. Even I will admit it—Bulma is a beautiful woman. He is so much of her, and so much of you. A half-Saiyan who has all the traits that would have made him a ruler of the Saiyan people.

At the Cell Games, I watched you fight. A Super Saiyan against an android. Yet you were again surpassed, this time by Kakarott's son. A sharp blow to your pride, I know. I also know that you were saddened by Kakarott's death, though you might not have known it yourself. But when your son was killed, I was actually pleased to see your reaction. It was one of the few times in your life that you ever admitted to caring about someone or something. Though nothing you did had an effect on that monstrosity named Cell, you proved something to me.

Now, after all this time, you are proving it once again. Standing alone against an opponent you know you cannot beat. You held your son and gave him the approval he has spent his whole life trying to gain from you. Then you knocked him out, him and the younger son of Goku, and had the Namekian take them to safety. You are looking death right in the face, Vegeta, and still you do not flinch. You are too proud to let yourself be beaten by something as petty as death. I know what you are going to do, and I know why you do it. You are determined to protect the people who have given your life a meaning you never thought it would have. The people who cared for you and respected you, despite all your faults and shortcomings, numerous as they may be. The people who love you. The people you love.

I smile as I watch you.

You are strong, Vegeta. I am proud of you…


In his last brief second of life, Vegeta heard the voice in the one corner of his mind that wasn't delirious with anger and pain.

You are strong, Vegeta. I am proud of you, my son.

AN: Woo-hoo! Did anyone guess it? Oh man, this was fun to write!