Author's Note: This is a submission for Mallie-3 and maymayB's Disney themed Bulma/Vegeta challenge. though it starts out fluffy and light it won't reamain so. Already in the first two chapters we have some adult discussion and coarse language, so even though it plays with a Disney classic...it ain't.
It's set in an AU diverging early in Dragonball, and as I can't be bothered doing my research, the exact time when events begin shall remain a mystery and probably contrary to cannon, just like in a real DragonballZ movie!
If you can't guess the Disney inspiration by the end of the second chapter I'm doing something wrong!
'When Goku gets back with the ice cream it's your turn to tell a ghost story,' said Krillin.
'Okay, okay!' snapped Bulma. She and Krillin were putting the finishing touches on the fort they were building in the old nursery. It was next door to her bedroom, and made for a more creepy venue for ghost stories as it had only one casement window instead of the floor to ceiling windows in her own room. She'd been watching a high school movie recently which featured a sleep over, and she realised she'd never had a sleep over or been asked to one. Unfortunately she also had no girlfriends, and her guests of choice were making the evening seem more like a baby-sitting job than the giggly tell-all party she'd watched on the TV. The boys had missed the point, and her sleepover was becoming a juvenile indoor camping trip. She supposed that's what she got for hanging out with twelve year old boys instead of sixteen year old girls like herself. She sighed. At least Yamcha might make it over later. There might be some giggles in it for her then.
Krillin was lining their sheet tent with pillows and sleeping bags for the night ahead while Bulma rigged it with 'spooky' lighting consisting of an old lava lamp that she had cracked open and added red food colouring to the water that surrounded the green wax blobs.
Suddenly the back of her neck tingled, as if she were being watched. Quickly she turned and looked under the edge of their sheet fortress to see if she could catch the phantom presence, and when she found no-one yet again, she shuddered and turned away. This had been happening more and more lately. Sometimes she would wake in the night thinking someone stood over her, but there was no-one ever there. Perhaps stranger than this creepy sensation were her dreams of late...In her dreams there was the same presence, dark and indistinct, brooding at her side while she faced down terrifying enemies and flew through astounding nightscapes. Sometimes she woke with an indescribable longing. This was the other reason she'd decided on a sleepover while her parents were out for the night. She was just a teensy bit afraid to sleep alone in the house. She had started to wonder if maybe she was going a little bit crazy, but those dreams...they were so compelling that they might just be worth a little bit of crazy.
'Hey, Bulma,' said Goku, crawling inside the tent, 'I found the ice cream, but I kind of ate it all in the kitchen.'
'But I found other supplies! Will this do?' He was dragging a laundry basket loaded with everything unhealthy that could be found in her parent's kitchen. She helped herself to a cupcake while the boys dug in to the chips and sodas.
'Now, ghost story time!' said Krillin, chip crumbs falling from his mouth onto the blanket.
Bulma sighed, and licked the frosting off the top of her cupcake. She couldn't think of any ghost stories off the top of her head. They weren't really her thing. Maybe she'd have to make something up as she went along?
'How about a non-ghost story?' she said.
'Is it scary?' ask Krillin, hopefully.
'Is there fighting?' asked Goku, even more hopefully.
'Sure there is,' she said. 'It's about a Princess-'
'Oh, no, really, Bulma?' interrupted Krillin. 'A fairy story? Do I look five years old?'
'It's not a fairy story!' she replied tartly, dropping the feisty fairy sidekick character from the line up in her head. 'But there is a Prince.' Something shifted in her subconscious. A connection was made. The brooding presence in her dreams came to life - a man with a title, and an anger, but not much else yet. Not even a face at this point.
'Is it a kissy kissy romance?' Krillin said.
'What's that?' said Goku.
'What's what?' Krillin quizzed him. 'Kissy kissy or romance?'
'Yeah, that!' said Goku.
Bulma rolled her eyes. 'Maybe you'll get lucky and some girl will show you some day! So yes, maybe they'll be some kissing and romance and stuff.'
'Hmm,' said Krillin, not as displeased with the idea as she thought he might have been.
'But fighting!' complained Goku. 'You said there'd be fighting! Do the Prince and Princess fight each other?'
'No! Or...' She smiled wickedly, her imagination sparked. 'Yes, but not how you mean. They also fight pirates.'
'Pirates...' said Krillin. 'Kind of last decade, don't you think?'
'No,' said Bulma. 'They're space pirates!'
'Once upon a time, there lived a Princess, who, well, actually, she wasn't really a princess. But she was very beautiful and charming, as well as extremely clever – gifted you might say - and everybody loved her. She wasn't vain at all though. Her name was-'
'Shut up, Krillin! No, her name was...'
'I bet it was Bulma.'
'I wasn't going to call her that! But if you insist! Her name was Bulma.'
'I knew it.'
'Anyway, the princess liked adventure, and she was very brave.'
'Bwah ha ha!'
'And the Prince from a far away land, um, in space, heard about her and thought that she might be able to help him.'
'Let me guess, the Prince was tall, dark and handsome, and his name was Yamcha!'
'No! No it's not. I'm not sure what his name is...'
'But he's tall?'
'I...I don't know.'
'No! As if! He wasn't called Krillin either. Anyway, the Prince was poor, and didn't have anything to pay the Princess for her help (and she was very rich), but he wanted to see if the stories about her kindness and wisdom were true. So he started watching the Princess from afar.'
'Creepy. And what did the Stalker Prince need her help with?'
'Well, hmm...the princess was the only one clever enough in a thousand years to figure out how to use a set of legendary magical gems that grant wishes.'
'No, not Dragonballs!'
'If you mean Dragonballs just say Dragonballs, Bulma.'
'Quiet, Krillin! Who's telling this story, huh? The magical gems are really difficult to find, and they must be gathered together before their magic can be used.'
'All right, I guess so. And the Prince wanted to use the Dragonballs – I mean gems - to defeat the evil space pirates led by the very, very, extra-specially evil Captain...Ice-cream.'
'Why didn't he just fight the Captain?'
'Because, Goku, Captain Ice-cream was the most powerful and sinister pirate in the galaxy, and he and his crew piloted their ship from planet to planet, looting and burning, and killing and torturing, and always on the lookout for the Prince, who is a thorn in his side. Even though he is much more powerful than the Prince, he is scared of him too because...because...er...'
'He has a pure heart?'
'No, I don't think it's that, Goku.'
'Because he's sworn revenge?'
'Yes, Krillin's right. Because the Prince has sworn revenge on Captain Ice-cream for destroying his home planet and his family. But there's a prophecy too...The Prince is a lost Prince...With no home and no family.'
'Gosh, the Prince must be sad.'
'Yeah, Goku, he's very sad...'
'So why did the Prince need the Dragonballs? I mean "magic gems?"'
'Well the Prince wanted...he was...he needed...him and his um, merry men...'
'Merry men? Bulma, your story sucks! I know one that's actually scary, about three teenagers who go looking in a forest for a ghost witch.'
'A ghost witch? Yeah, Krillin, sounds really scary. I'm shaking in my sleeping bag already.'
Yamcha was a lot later than he thought he'd be. He still wasn't used to the city, and he and Puar had gotten lost on the way in. Luckily everyone and their dog knew where Capsule Corp was, although at this time of night most of the people he'd asked directions of were drunk. As he lifted the mat to get the key Bulma had left out for him he was suddenly illuminated by headlights and heard the sound of tyres on gravel coming up the drive. As Mr and Mrs Briefs got out of their car and greeted him he kissed goodbye to his plan to spend the last of the night cosied up with Bulma, making it to third base.
'Yamcha, dear! I didn't know you were coming over tonight!' trilled Mrs Briefs, her tone holding just a tiny note of accusation.
'Yes, I thought it was just the two young boys Bulma was having over,' said Dr Briefs, whose tone held none. He encapsulated the car and then smiled absently at Yamcha.
'Oh yeah, Mrs Briefs. I wasn't sure I was going to make it, and then I got lost in the city on the way here. I...I didn't think you guys were coming home tonight.'
They ambled up the front steps, Dr Briefs flicking through his keys. 'Well, the conference was really not all I hoped it would be; I decided not to stay for the second day.'
'And the hotel was so pokey!' added Mrs Briefs. 'We decided to head home after the evening entertainment.'
As they entered the house Yamcha dithered on the porch.
'Are you coming in, boy?' asked Dr Briefs, turning to close the door.
'I'm sure the others are all asleep, but I can't turn you away at this hour. I'll make up a room for you, shall I?' smiled Mrs Briefs.
'That would be very kind!' chirped Puar from his shoulder.
'Thank you!' said Yamcha, his frustrated sexual yearnings making it a little hard to smile genuinely. Well at least he'd have a comfortable bed and a legendary Mrs Briefs breakfast out of this.
They headed upstairs and Mrs Briefs quietly checked Bulma's room as they passed.
'Oh! They're not even in here!' she gasped. 'I wonder where on earth they are?'
'It's a very big house dear, I'm sure they're somewhere,' said Dr Briefs, already heading down the hall to their room.
Mrs Briefs looked a little worried, and Yamcha was of the same mind as her. He'd be much happier knowing that Bulma and the others were safely inside the house before he went to sleep.
'I think...' he said, wandering down the hall to the next door, 'that they might be in here.'
'In the nursery?' She frowned and opened the door. 'Oh, you are so right!' she whispered. He stuck his own head round the door jamb to see a makeshift tent of sheets and chairs and floor lamps in the middle of the room, lit from within by an eerie red glow. Under the edge of a sheet could be seen the sleeping faces of Goku, Bulma and Krillin.
'Isn't that adorable?' she gushed.
'Sure,' said Yamcha, feeling betrayed that they hadn't waited up for him.
'How did you know where they were?' she asked, curiously as she closed the door again.
'I don't know,' he answered. 'Just a feeling.' He didn't know how, but these 'feelings' had been growing more acute lately. Since he had started training he was starting to know where certain people were without looking. Especially Goku, Krillin and Bulma.
Mrs Briefs led him further down the hall to the next room and helped him make up the bed.
'See you in the morning, dear.'
As soon as Mrs Briefs was back in her own bedroom she turned to her husband who was taking his shoes off. He had been preoccupied all evening, even more absent than usual. He'd had a rather unpleasing experience at the conference. He had given a presentation before dinner, but during dinner, when visiting the bathroom he'd been in a stall when two loud-mouths had entered to use the urinal. He didn't recognise their voices, but they spoke of him and another man, Alexi Borg knowingly. Alexi Borg was the CEO of a smaller competitor to Capsule Corp, Zapp Industries, and Capsule Corp was in the process of acquiring the company. Borg would soon be joining Capsule Corp's board of directors.
'What did you think of Briefs' presentation?' asked a reedy voice.
'Typical loony talk again! The fool's inventions are revolutionary, but I think he hardly knows he lives on the same planet as the rest of us.'
The other man grunted. 'I wonder how Alexi is going to fare on the board of directors under Briefs?'
'The other way round, surely?' snorted the other man. 'I wouldn't be surprised if Briefs is working for Alexi in a year's time. The eccentric bumbler won't know what hit him!' And then the two of them had laughed. Dr Briefs's ego, usually well buried and protected by his comfortable distance from the world had been stung by the revelation he was thought to be a fool. It had been his main reason for wishing to leave the conference early. He was still troubled by the incident when his wife forced another discomfort on his mind.
'I'm worried about that boy Yamcha,' she said frankly as she closed the door.
Dr Briefs looked up, surprised by the serious tone of her voice. 'I thought you liked Yamcha?'
'Oh, I do! He's lovely, and so handsome! But he and Bulma are moving so fast! I know she's nearly seventeen and he's not yet eighteen...and in some ways Bulma is mature for her age, but she's still a child in others, whereas Yamcha is a young man who's lived away from home for years! A young man who turned up tonight while we weren't here.'
He looked at her, sensing something unpleasant was on its way. He'd prefer not to think of such things.
'Bulma is a very sensible girl. I'm sure she won't do anything she doesn't want to.'
'I'm not sure it's the things she doesn't want to do we should be worried about.'
'What do you mean?'
'I mean that I was a girl her age once! And there wasn't many places I wouldn't go if a handsome young man like Yamcha had asked me to go there with him, if you understand my meaning.'
Dr Briefs blushed. 'She's clever enough to make her own decisions.'
'No, dear, she isn't.'
'Well what do you suggest we do about it?'
'In the morning I'll have a little chat to Bulma. And you're going to have a talk to Yamcha. Lay down some ground rules.'
'I'm not sure that's necessary,' he said, as he climbed into his pyjamas.
Mrs Briefs flounced across the bedroom, shedding her evening dress as she went. 'I think you'll see the necessity too late if Bulma can't help you work on your little projects because she's too busy looking after a baby.'
'A baby!' he spluttered.
'Or even if she's just too heartbroken to concentrate on your doo-dacky inventions with you,' she added, but she was right to impress upon him the fact that leaving Bulma and Yamcha to their own devices might eat into his time he got to spend teaching and working with his daughter. His offspring's young, brilliant mind was a primary source of joy to him, and there was no-one he enjoyed working with more.
'Perhaps I'll say something,' he conceded.
'Good!' said his wife, shimmying out of her undergarments. 'I know we've given Bulma a free reign, but I think she might need some boundaries to work with here. Or that boy is going to think he can come and go as he pleases and make a fool out of us.'
Dr Briefs felt a rare spark of anger at the thought. He might be a bit absent, and truthfully quite a bit eccentric, but he would not be made a fool of!
Mrs Briefs lay in bed for an hour without sleeping. For some reason she couldn't shake a niggling feeling of unease. Maybe she'd had one too many glasses of wine after dinner, but the sense that all was not well would not let her sleep.
She'd been worrying about her little girl lately. It wasn't like her to worry at all about her daughter, who seemed so capable and confident at such an early age that she felt no qualms about letting Bulma go on these extended camping trips she so loved, and liked to call 'adventures'. The friends she had made were all exemplary, even Yamcha, but the access he had to Bulma made her nervous now.
The things that Bulma had told her lately, about a feeling of being stalked, about a shadowy figure in her dreams that watched her while she slept - they alarmed Mrs Briefs. If Bulma was exhibiting the first signs of mental or emotional disturbance, she wanted to be the one that Bulma turned to for help, not the shoulder of a randy boyfriend. Her little girl was vulnerable right now.
Eventually she got up to find some aspirin for her headache, and as she passed Yamcha's room heard movement inside. Was he still up? She waited outside in the corridor for a little while, wondering if Bulma was inside with him, or if Yamcha was about to sneak out to get Bulma from the nursery.
Tip-toeing, she made her way to the nursery herself, but the three kids were all asleep still, with the breeze from the open casement window ruffling the sheet wall of their den. She settled down in the rocking chair, pulling her dressing gown snugly around her, thinking to wait a little while just in case the boy tried something...
She awoke to confusion and commotion.
'Who the hell are you? Get the hell out!'
She leapt to her feet as a tremendous crack sounded, and the air was filled with the sounds of Bulma, Goku and Krillin's screams and curses. Yamcha stood by the window that he'd just slammed and the sheet tent was destroyed, in tangles around the other three.
'Yamcha, what was it?' cried Bulma as she struggled out of her sleeping bag.
He was at her side in a second, wrapping his arms around her. 'Something was in here, Bulma! I sensed it in here!'
'What?' gasped Bulma and Mrs Briefs in unison. Everyone else turned to Mrs Briefs, noticing her for the first time. At that moment though the nursery door burst open and Dr Briefs barrelled into the room.
'What the devil is going on?' he said, but then his eyes alighted on Yamcha and Bulma in the middle of the room, arms round each other and she only in her nightgown.
'There was something in here,' said Yamcha. 'I scared it away.'
'What was in here?'
'I'm not sure. I sensed it-'
'Sensed it? Poppycock!'
'I saw it moving, but I didn't get a good look – it was already making for the window when I opened the door.'
'I was here the whole time, though,' said Mrs Briefs. 'I didn't hear anyone come in. And how would they get out?'
'Through the window,' said Yamcha, going back to the window and opening it again to look out.
'But we're three stories up!' objected Mrs Briefs. 'They'd have broken their necks leaping from this high!'
She and Dr Briefs both looked down out of the window, but there was no sign that anyone or anything had fallen from it.
Dr Briefs turned back, and with uncharacteristic anger asked Yamcha, 'How did they get away then boy? Fly?'
'I - I don't know...' stammered Yamcha.
'I might seem absent minded and eccentric to you, son, but I'll not be made a fool of in my own house! The only thing to sneak into this room is you!'
'Dad!' gasped Bulma, 'What are you saying?'
'Yamcha doesn't lie!' squeaked Puar defensively. She was clinging to Yamcha's shoulder again, shaking from the stress of standing up to Dr Briefs's accusation of her best friend.
'Did you see anything?' Mrs Briefs asked the cat.
Puar shook her head regretfully.
'That's because there was nothing to see!' said Dr Briefs. 'I've heard enough boy – I know you think you can get away with almost anything in this house, but you'll find out tonight that this is not true. It's time you left.'
'No! Dad! What are you saying?' screeched Bulma. 'You can't throw my boyfriend out!'
'Yes, I can!'
Yamcha was glaring at the scientist. 'Don't worry, Bulma, I'm going.'
'No! It's the middle of the night! Where are you going to go?'
'She's right, dear, it's the middle of the night,' said Mrs Briefs urgently. She didn't know where this unexpected flare of temper in her husband had come from, and was worried that it might be because of her words earlier. 'Let him stay in the pool house at least. In the morning we'll figure out what's happened here.'
'Fine,' said the doctor. 'Now get going young man.'
Yamcha cast worried eyes over Bulma. To Goku and Krillin he said 'You'd better not sleep so deeply that you don't notice that thing come back.' To Puar, who perched on his shoulder, he whispered quietly 'Stay here with her. Find me at once if it comes back.' Puar nodded and detached herself from him, floating to the floor behind his back, unnoticed by everyone else.
'I can't believe it!' muttered Bulma, as Yamcha and her father headed for the door. Goku and Krillin stood looking at their feet, made anxious and embarrassed by witnessing this family drama. 'Mom, why would Dad do that? That was so unfair! Yamcha was just looking out for me!'
Mrs Briefs didn't honestly know why her husband had overreacted. 'Don't worry, we'll sort it out in the morning.' She saw the tears of anger in her daughter's eyes and took her by the hand, leading her to the door that connected the nursery directly to Bulma's bedroom. Puar floated discreetly behind. 'I'll be back to help you boys tidy up,' Mrs Briefs told Goku and Krillin.
In Bulma's room she perched her daughter on the edge of the bed and watched her troubled face.
'It was very bad of Yamcha to scare you like that,' she said to Bulma. 'Are you worried about your phantom again?'
Bulma looked confused. 'No. I think whatever it is doesn't want to hurt me.'
'Bulma, there was nothing there! Yamcha was mistaken, or playing a trick on you!'
Bulma finally focused on her. 'You're right, Mom, how could there have been anything there?'
Mrs Briefs breathed a tiny bit easier, but she could see that she was going to spend a good portion of tomorrow looking up the numbers of some good child psychologists.
Bulma climbed into bed while Puar hid from Mrs Briefs amongst the soft toys along Bulma's headboard.
'I can't believe that Dad would blow up like that though! You'd think he doesn't trust me or Yamcha anymore.'
Mrs Briefs took a fortifying deep breath. Fine. They would have this conversation now.
'Well...maybe he's worried that you might get yourself in deeper with Yamcha than is wise,' she suggested.
The muted city lights coming in the French doors were not quite enough to show Bulma's blush at these words. 'And how deep would that be?'
'You know what I mean, Bulma. You're too young to have a serious boyfriend.'
'What? Do you think he's going to break my heart and leave me ruined?' she said scathingly.
'Perhaps. Though I find it more likely that you will break his heart and leave him ruined, my fickle daughter.' The boy adored Bulma.
'Then what's the problem?' Bulma pouted, crossing her arms.
'It would be best not to lead him all the way down the garden path before leaving him there, dear. And sex confuses things. You think you love him now, but if he's not right for you it might take you a lot longer to figure it out if you're sleeping together. And then breaking up will be a lot harder, believe me. Wait a year or two, then decide if he's really for you.'
'Well, relax, Mom, because we're not "sleeping together".'
'Yet,' Bulma muttered.
'Sorry dear, what was that?'
Returning to the nursery Mrs Briefs saw that the boys had already cleared up the mess and lay side by side in their sleeping bags.
'You didn't see anything did you, boys?'
They both shook their heads.
She was about to leave when she saw something lying on the floor under the window. It was the shape of a long salami, and furry. What was it? A breeze stopper for the window? A stuffed toy snake? The light was too dim to make it out. With a sigh she lifted the lid of Bulma's old toy box and threw it in. Then she turned and locked the casement window...just in case.
Outside the pool house Yamcha kept vigil, watching the windows of the nursery and Bulma's bedroom. He knew he'd not been mistaken. Something had been in the nursery, sniffing around the others. The problem was, though, that the night was warm and he was just so damn tired...
Author's Note: Chapter 2. The Stalker Prince, awaits you at the click of a button...