And here is the conclusion to my little two-part series. I'm really happy with the way all of this turned out, I hope you enjoy it. If you have any requests for what I should do next, feel free to tell me. Otherwise, unless I get a great idea, I may not post anything new for a while. But, as always, I'll stop rambling on and just let you read the darn thing!
One day later
The Lord of the Lords's Planet
"...Then let's heal him and head home," Kakarrot was saying. "I want a big meal and a long nap!" The young Namekian, Dende, stepped up to the unconscious figure of Fat Boo and placed his hand on the djinn's chest. Vegeta sighed and looked away. He had warned them that this wasn't a good idea, but they had done it anyway. Whatever. If Boo turned on them and destroyed the Earth, that would be Kakarrot's problem.
After Boo was restored to health, Kakarrot turned to the group.
"Okay! Everyone ready?" he asked. Vegeta scowled, trying to decided whether to speak up or not.
"...Kakarrot," he said. "Can you hold on for a few minutes?" The other Saiyan raised his eyebrows.
"Sure, Vegeta," he said at last. "Take as much time as you need." Kakarrot didn't question his motives, and Vegeta was grateful to him for that, though he didn't look it. He took off and flew until he couldn't see the others, then he dropped to the ground. He needed to think.
Vegeta was relieved that the menace of Boo was over, and he was happy to be alive again. But Kakarrot was as unattainably powerful as ever, if not more so. So then why did he feel so... anticipatory? He wanted to get back to Earth... back to Bulma.
Vegeta realized that he missed his wife. He wanted to see her. It should disgust him, how soft he was getting, but it didn't. He was so mixed up and conflicted, he didn't know what to do.
Go see her. Tell her that she matters. You've never done that before, an annoying little voice in his head nagged. Tell her about your problem. She'll be able to help, she knows about things like that. He was pretty sure that Bulma liked him. She had when she was younger, before he had hurt her. Stupid. He had been so stupid back then. Too proud to see how intelligent she was, arrogantly thinking himself her superior because he was physically stronger. How wrong he had been.
For some reason, Vegeta got a thrill when thinking back to when she cared about him. He liked her caring about him. But then, he remembered her look of horror as he calmly snuffed out hundreds of people's lives. He had noticed her, and even though he tried his hardest to kill her, to eliminate his last emotional weak point, he couldn't do it. That had been the turning point for him. That was when he had first considered that maybe he couldn't revert back to the way he had been. But he resisted, as he was prone to do, and then he died.
Vegeta wondered if she would forgive him. Bulma was a good person, and good people did not approve of the slaughtering of innocents.
There was no use dwelling here. He would go back and see her, and by tonight things would be settled, for better or for worse. He flew back to Kakarrot, who smiled at him.
"All done?" he said. Vegeta ignored him. Kakarrot placed his first and middle fingers on his forehead and the group disappeared. For an instant, there was only a black void, then the floating palace materialized around them and there was solid ground under Vegeta's feet. The Lord of Lords said goodbye to them and teleported back to his own realm.
Vegeta, Kakarrot and Dende walked around the corner, to be greeted with the welcome sight of their friends and family. Vegeta kept his arms crossed and didn't show any reaction, but he was drinking in the sight of Bulma.
"Dad!" Trunks shouted over the noise, and Vegeta allowed his son a small smile. Everyone was a chaotic, screaming mess and he tried to escape, but somehow he found himself in front of Bulma. She didn't say anything, just closed her eyes and flung her arms around him, burying her face in his shoulder. He was too surprised to move, too distracted by her sweet perfume and her soft and warm body. He only stood there and experience her, trying not to show any reaction whatsoever. He wasn't used to friendly contact.
He was saved when Hercule and Boo rounded the corner and everybody panicked. But soon, that "crisis" was averted and there was a relaxed air about the place as the people talked to their loved ones. Vegeta had retreated to the outskirts of the group, leaning against a stone pillar, and took a few deep breaths. He needed to talk to Bulma, but he couldn't do it in front of all these people. No matter, she was coming towards him and he would suggest that they go home.
"Hey," she said. "Trunks wants to have a sleepover with Goten, is that okay?" He shrugged.
"As long as it's not at our place," Vegeta said. "When are we going to leave?"
"Right now, if you want," Bulma said. "I'll just tell Trunks that he can stay over at Chi-Chi's," and she walked away. Vegeta once again admired how easily parenting seemed to come to her. He really had to work at it, and he still found himself getting frustrated at his son. But Bulma had become a mother effortlessly, giving Trunks lots of love but setting rules, having a bottomless tolerance for him.
Bulma strolled over to him.
"Okay, Trunks is all set to go, so- oh darn!" she slapped her forehead. "I didn't bring the plane."
"I can take you," Vegeta said. "I can fly faster than a plane, anyway." A dazzling smile that made Vegeta warm inside grew on Bulma's face.
"Really?" He nodded. "How?"
"Hmm," Vegeta put his arm behind her knees and knocked her legs out from under her. Before she could fall, he scooped her up and cradled her in his arms. "Like this?" She looked up at him, an unreadable expression on her face. She was shivering, tiny, almost imperceptible, tremors in her arms, legs and belly. Vegeta doubted Bulma was even aware she was doing it.
He walked to the edge of the platform and stepped off. The wind rushed past them, and Bulma nestled closer to him. Vegeta gritted his teeth and tried not to sigh with pleasure. When they got to Capsule Corp., he would tell her. He would!
He flew as fast as he could without hurting her. The air currents could get strong enough to bruise ordinary human skin, and Vegeta tried to keep that in mind. He savored the feel of Bulma in his arms, not knowing when he'd get to hold her again. She didn't seem cross, but she could have just forgotten about his "spree" in the high of Boo's defeat.
They arrived at the circular mansion far too soon for Vegeta's liking, and he gently set her down.
"Thanks for the ride," she smiled at him. "So I guess I'll see you later?" Vegeta took a deep breath.
"Actually, can I talk to you for a few minutes?" She frowned and searched his face, trying to see what he was thinking. Vegeta had been careful to make his expression completely neutral, though, and she didn't find anything. However, she nodded all the same.
"Sure. What's up?" He glanced around. Although they were past the gates of Capsule Corp., they were still in full view of the people in the streets.
"Can we go someplace more private? The garden, maybe?" he suggested. Bulma bit her lip, for some reason looking a little nervous.
"Um, okay. Lead the way," she said, and he took off at a pace that was faster than walking, but slow enough that she could keep up. When they reached the doors leading to the garden, he pushed them open without hesitation and headed straight for one of the many benches scattered throughout the large room. He turned his back to her and crossed his arms, trying to think. How should he go about this? Where could he even start?
"Vegeta?" Bulma asked, sitting down beside him. Glancing over his shoulder, Vegeta saw that she was staring straight ahead at the garden, not looking at him. "When you let Bobbidi control you, you didn't know that he'd make you kill all those people... right?" He sighed, turning to face her. And so it began.
"To be honest, I had anticipated something of the sort. But..." he clenched his teeth. "Bobbidi didn't force me to do anything. All my actions were my own," Bulma stared at him, her face a bit paler than normal. Vegeta figured that he may as well go all the way. "I tried to kill you," he admitted. She started, and for a second her eyes flickered to the exits, seeing that they were alone. Vegeta closed his eyes, realizing how this looked. "Bulma-"
"Why, Vegeta?" A single tear trailed down her cheek, and he was momentarily distracted by it. He was causing her pain. It wasn't supposed to be like this. "What did I do wrong?"
"Don't say that," he told her, his voice dangerously low. "It's my fault. I was getting too weak, I needed to be strong again."
"And are you?" Bulma whispered. "Did killing all those people make you feel better? Why didn't you go the whole nine yards and take care of me, as well? Or is that what you're about to do?" Vegeta jumped to his feet, eyes blazing.
"No! You're getting this all wrong!" he cried. "What I'm trying to say is, I made a mistake. I regret my actions. But not nearly as much as I would if I had slaughtered you." He took a step towards her, eyes pleading her to understand. Bulma looked uncertain. "You are one of my weaknesses. I hated that. I wanted to be unbeatable. But even with the destructive rage of Bobbidi's enchantment flowing through my veins, I couldn't bring myself to murder you,"
"You hated that?" Bulma asked softly, "Why the past tense?" Vegeta gathered his courage and steeled himself. This was it.
"I have decided to believe... that it may be acceptable to care about things," he clenched his hands into fists at his sides. "... I care about you," Bulma inhaled sharply, and Vegeta could almost hear her heart pounding.
"You... do...?" she asked faintly. She swayed on her feet a bit, and Vegeta grabbed her shoulders in case she lost her balance. Bulma sobbed and fell forwards onto him.
"I'm so happy," she said, her voice trembling. "... Never thought I'd see the day." Vegeta couldn't help but laugh at her face, so full of wonder. When she was happy, he was happy. He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen her so joyful. Not when Kakarrot was running towards them at the Tenka'ichi Budôkai. Not when Trunks had done something or other, and she had laughed and laughed. Not that one night, long ago, when he had agreed to love her for a few hours, for all the wrong reasons, though she didn't know that at the time.
"I care about you, too," she said, and his heart sang with joy. He hugged her close, then pulled back. They spent a few long moments just looking at each other, eyes sparkling. Now there were no more loose ends and all was right in the world. They both simultaneously leaned forward and kissed.
And there you have it. See you later, or maybe not. I don't really know at this point.
Thanks so much to everyone who stuck with this story. I love you all!