Twice Upon a Time

Summary- All Vegeta wants to do is fall asleep and wake up to see his dead wife, Bulma, in the Otherworld. Instead, Vegeta wakes up rejuvenated over thirty years in the past to find that he's been given a second chance.

Disclaimer- Dragon Ball Z is owned by Akira Toriyama and Toei Animation

Chapter 39-

Things went relatively back to normal. While Bulma should have drowned in Capsule Corporation make-up work, she found herself drawn to simple pleasures such as her usual 11:00 news, Rocky Road ice cream with a side of strawberries, cuddling her baby, and eyeing her husband's rear end. She finished her last tweaks on the new indoor GR, which included safety mechanisms, advanced robotic devices, and video communication capability. Peace had returned to the household, and everyone seemed to forget that a psycho time traveling mad scientist was on the loose.

When her mother plopped a plate full of strawberry shortcake in front of Bulma, she eyed it with skepticism. "Really, Mom, you can take a break from fixing my favorite food," she said.

Mrs. Briefs drew back and smiled. "But you just got back, dear. You should enjoy yourself."

"It's been an entire week."

"An entire wonderful week," Mrs. Briefs said, totally missing the point. She turned and touched the sides of her face. "Oh, I must clean up! Where are those bots?"

Bulma shook her head as her mother rushed off to search for Dust and Pan, their clean-up robots. She dug into the dessert with a fork. Across from her sat Vegeta, still going strong with the main course of yakisobe noodles and shrimp. If anyone could earn a medal for slurping with properness and charm, without a single splatter of sauce, Vegeta could. She ate slowly, savoring the sweet taste of berry and whipped cream, watching him with amusement.

Suddenly a piercing cry rang out. Bulma rose to her feet, the chair scooting across linoleum. She discovered Vegeta had stood before she did. She raised an eyebrow at him curiously. Was it possible that he'd become reflexive towards Trunks' cries while she was away? That was . . . well, sweet, and cute.

"What are you smirking at, woman?" he snapped, trying to hide his embarrassment by covering up the automatic response, acting like he'd simply been on his way to refill his tea. He walked into the kitchen and grabbed the tea kettle from the burner to pour steaming green tea into his Japanese-style cup.

With a shrug, she said, "Nothing. Nothing at all."

No one was fooling anyone. Vegeta had been an attentive daddy and he'd given that away. He knew she knew, but he valued her not making a big deal about it. Really it was a big deal to her, but she didn't vocalize it. Encounters like these had popped up before. Bulma noticed things that Vegeta did that were so ordinary and endearing, but she decided it was best not to weaken his image of superior alien that he was set on keeping.

Bulma went to the nursery and found a fussy, red-faced baby. He launched himself at her but squirmed, continuing to cry. She checked his diaper first to find it dry. Next, she took him downstairs to try a bottle. Because of her absence, he'd grown accustomed to the bottle, which was sad because she hardly had the chance to breastfeed her baby boy. He sucked on it for a few seconds before batting it away and turning his head. She sighed, ending up rocking him. Still, he hollered out with protest. What was wrong with him?

By that time Vegeta was done eating. He stood up, leaving the dirty dishes. Sometimes he took initiative to bring them to the sink. Other times not. He was about to leave the room when Bulma realized that Trunks' cries rang out even louder and he reached his tiny plump hands out. Oh Kami!

"Vegeta, wait!" she called over the noise.

He stopped and turned with a frown. "What?" He sounded annoyed.

Bulma stepped forward and handed Trunks over. Vegeta took him mechanically and the yells of his son fell silent. Vegeta looked down at Trunks with surprise, and the baby gazed up, pacified.

"You look like you won the damn lotto," Vegeta commented at her.

She continued to smile. "Like I need more money."

"Fine, like you have a never-ending supply of strawberries."

"He really is daddy's little guy."

"Grr, I've created another magnet."

Bulma blinked. "What was that?"

"Nothing you need to worry about."

Since she was smart, she could put two and two together. She deduced that Vegeta must be talking about their other child, which he'd only vaguely brushed over. She wondered when it would happen and if she was ready for another bundle of fun. It would be nice to be there for the entire infancy, she finally concluded. Maybe in a few years. Not this minute.

"The kid is going to be disappointed if he thinks I have the time or patience to be at his beck and call," Vegeta grumbled. Despite his words, he continued to hold Trunks. He raised his eyes and looked at her with a grim face. "And neither do you. Time, that is."

"What do you mean?"

"Look, woman, Hedoro is still out there. He is doing who knows what, but he pretty much declared revenge on Future Trunks, along with myself. You need to build a time machine beginning today."

That made Bulma blink. She might be a genius but she hadn't the faintest clue how to build a time machine. Sure, she was familiar with the multiverse theory and quantum mechanics but building a transportation device to one particular universe and time was a whole other matter. One little mistake in the formula could cause them to get lost who knows where.

Vegeta frowned, reading her face. "Come on, Bulma, there's no time to doubt yourself."

She shook her head. "Actually, I have all the time I need if I build one. We can go back to whenever Trunks landed in the future." She lightened her mood, realizing that she wasn't on a pressed schedule. "But it is sweet that you are worried about him."

He cleared his throat and slightly looked away. "Hedoro will have his heart ripped from his chest when I get to him," he said, trying to divert attention back on more comfortable topics.

Bulma smiled. "Don't worry, hun, I'll get the job done one way or another. If I did it somewhere else I can do it here. I'm not called Bulma Briefs, scientist genius, for nothing." She sounded way more confident than she secretly felt.

Trunks wiggled in Vegeta's hold. He giggled and patted his father's chin. The act brought her away from the serious matter at hand and she vowed to succeed. Her other son was once this bright, beautiful baby. If given the chance, he would have responded the same way to his daddy. He wasn't given that chance. But he would have a future to know the father her husband helped bring back to life. Yes, there was nothing to worry about. She would figure this all out.

"This trip does not involve 'we'," Vegeta said.

Bulma crossed her arms and stepped forward, leaning her head in close. "Yes it does."

"No it doesn't. You idiotic woman, always getting into unneeded trouble that I have to bail you out of. If I have to gather the dragonballs again-"The hand that wasn't supporting Trunks fisted. "I forbid it. End of story."

She moved away, wide eyed. "I may be your wife but I am not your property! I'm going. If I'm building the transport, I get a say in this. I'll stay home with the other me. Promise."

She could practically see the fire in his gaze. "Why do you declare on putting your weak Earthling self in danger? I have more important things to do than act as your shield. Stay here and watch your shows and eat strawberry shortcake where you belong. Do your motherly duties like you are meant to."

Oh my Kami! He was acting so chauvinistic, putting her in her place. Okay, so he was about a thousand times stronger than she was, but still . . . She couldn't just stay home while he went into another dimension. She just couldn't for some reason. First off, she was curious. Was this other timeline exactly like theirs or were there subtle differences? Second, the thought of being separated from Vegeta made her heart hurt. She'd been away from him while in the Otherworld and it was unsettling and not in the slightest bit right.

"What if the time machine broke, huh? Who would fix it?" she challenged.

"Future Bulma," Vegeta stated.

"I'm going," she said again.

He was about to break, she knew it. She always got her way.

"On one condition," he finally said.

Yes! "Okay, what is it?"

His lips lifted in an evil grin that instantly unnerved her. "I'm going to train you."

"Wh-What? Train me?"

"I expect you to be in my GR promptly at seven in the morning. We will do strength training for two hours followed by another two of techniques. These are my conditions."

It had never occurred to her to attempt fighting. That wasn't her area. Hers was in the lab, building something useful for battle. She'd watch from the sidelines, but she'd never participate. The thought of fighting scared her to no end. Vegeta was right. She was a weak Earthling female. She screamed and ran away when things got rough. It wasn't that she wouldn't put herself through the training, even though that was bad enough (her idea of exercise included 45 minutes on the treadmill); no, it was the fact that she considered it impossible to meet Vegeta's expectations of actually being capable of performing these 'techniques'. She reconsidered and was about to agree to staying home when Vegeta spoke.

"If that clown's harpy can enter a tournament and his son's woman can fly, then you can manage at least to defend yourself."

"Gohan's woman? Gohan gets married?"

Vegeta ignored her comment like he did all things considering future events. Like a drill-sergeant, he gave her instructions yet again. "Seven o'clock in the am. Wear lose comfortable clothing. I suggest bringing a water bottle. You might want to drink that caffeinated coffee before coming because I won't tolerate yawns and droopy eyes. Be prepared because this is nothing like yoga or Pilates that I've seen your women do on the TV. This will be real work."

"Um, Vegeta- Look, I-"

"Backing out? Think you are too weak? Weaker than Kakarot's wife? I know you are better than that! My mate can beat both Kakarot and his son's woman combined!"

Oh geez, Bulma thought as she watched something flicker across Vegeta's eyes. This was about beating Goku again. This had become competition. He wanted his family to be better than Goku's family. Bulma sighed and glanced again at her son. Poor Trunks. He better enjoy his lazy infanthood while he could.

Well, she better get to sleep early that evening because she had an intensive morning ahead of herself.