If someone had told the Prince of all Saiyans 20 years ago what he would be doing 20 years in the future, he would have laughed until he was blue in the face.
And then he would have promptly blasted that person into oblivion.
Nothing that the prince had gone through in his life could have prepared him for this strange thing called having a family. Or fatherhood.
But he was learning, the woman had told him numerous times. And he was doing well, she would add with a small, encouraging smile.
Vegeta almost hated that little simper after she spoke words like that. It was a facial expression that conveyed her quiet encouragement of him being part of her- and the child's- life. A smile that said "You're succeeding… but if you still want out, I won't keep you here."
They'd only had the conversation about his intentions once. It was after Cell's defeat and things had quieted down. The discussion had been tense, but it was something that needed to be done.
What was he going to do? Was he going to stay? Did he want to be a part of his son's life? He could stay if he wanted, but don't feel obligated…
Ultimately, he'd decided to stay. Watching the future version of his son die on the battlefield had set something in him- some resolve that hadn't been there before.
So he remained. Which led him to his present situation.
"Widen your stance more to get lower to the ground," Vegeta growled out in his native tongue, facing his lavender haired toddler in his classic arms-crossed-over-the-chest-feet-apart stance.
Trunks did as he was told, his ears deftly understanding the foreign words. He wobbled for a moment before finding his center of balance. Blue eyes gazed up confidently at his father, eagerly waiting for further instruction.
Vegeta dropped his arms and crouched down into a similar stance. "Shift backwards and bring your strength into the shoulders."
Without a word, Trunks mimicked his father, leaning back carefully and focusing on not falling over, his eyes set and determined.
They went on like this for an hour, per their usual routine. Vegeta taught the different stances, showing Trunks where to place his power, moving from one position to the next with a fluidity like water.
Trunks didn't necessarily understand why they had to go through all this boring stuff. His favorite activity with his father was sparring which was always reserved for the afternoon. In the morning, however, before breakfast they always practiced these same moves over and over. For Vegeta it was something to wake the boy up for the day without getting too worn out before breakfast. For Trunks it was the same routine he'd always known; the picture of normalcy.
They were just finishing up, Vegeta gruffly giving some pointers on improvement when they heard a knock at the door. Trunks beamed, feeling his stomach rumble on cue for food.
Vegeta grumbled something under his breath and straightened from his fighting stance. He walked towards the door of the gravity chamber, plucking a towel off the hook on the wall. He passed the clothe over his face with one hand, letting the other hang limply at his side.
Expectedly, and like every other morning, Vegeta felt Trunks's small fingers wrap around his thumb. The prince didn't shake him off, though he didn't return the grasp either. But Trunks didn't mind. He just held on tightly as they walked together to the kitchen for breakfast.
# # #
"Maybe it's time to enroll him in a preschool."
"Do you even know what a preschool is, Mr. Royal Pain in the A-" Bulma glanced at Trunks and quickly changed course. "-rear?"
Vegeta snorted and leaned back in his chair, feeling full. "Whatever it is, it sounds idiotic. The boy is already smarter than any earthling his age so why in the name of all things holy would you send him to a school?"
That was enough to get Bulma riled up.
Trunks watched the ensuing argument between his parents with mild amusement, shoveling spoonful after spoonful of cereal into his mouth. He was used to this type of interaction between his mom and dad- it was ordinary. As far as he knew, every other family was exactly like his, so he didn't feel uncomfortable at all.
He was a pretty quiet kid, used to the different parenting styles of the two bickering people in front of him. His mother always wanted to hug and kiss him and his father never initiated any kind of touching unless it was fighting related. And his mother always used the language they were using now whereas his father would talk to him using different sounds when they were alone. He wasn't old enough to know that he was learning two completely different languages- they were just sounds in his ears. Normal sounds.
Trunks ate the last spoonful of his breakfast and pushed the bowl away. Wriggling out of the high chair, he pattered over to his mother and tugged on her shirt to get her attention.
Fiery blue eyes turned down to a child and suddenly Bulma forgot the argument completely. She scooped up her son, smiling brightly and Trunks smiled back. "Well, Trunks, what do YOU think? Do you want to go to preschool with other kids your age?"
Trunks glanced over at his father, catching the annoyed look on his face. Turning back to Bulma, he shook his head. "No. I don't like other kids."
Vegeta's smirk was enough to send Bulma into another yelling fit, promptly planting Trunks back on the ground.
Trunks wasn't paying attention to the accusations of his father "corrupting" him and the insistence that preschool would be "good for his character". Instead, he left the kitchen and entered the living room, pulling himself up onto the couch and turning on the television.
Shortly after, Trunks noticed that his parents had stopped their morning verbal spar. Curious as any toddler his age, he slid off the couch and opened the door to the kitchen just enough to catch a glimpse of his mother wrapped up in the arms of his father, their heads bent close together.
# # #
Vegeta cursed under his breath as he limped out of the gravity room. He'd pushed his body further than what he was physically ready to handle and because of it, he would have to halt his training for an hour or so to recover.
The cranky Saiyan opened the refrigerator door in the kitchen, yanking out a cold water bottle and downing the entire thing in one go. Wiping his mouth, he angrily grabbed for another, this time slamming the door closed and hobbling into the living room to sit on the sofa.
Trunks was there on the floor with numerous toys sprawled out around him. He was currently holding up two action figures and as Vegeta leaned back into the soft expanse of the couch, he watched with mild curiosity as his son played.
The lavender haired child barely paid his father any mind. The only acknowledgement he gave that he wasn't alone was the grin he flashed Vegeta's way when the older man sat down. He promptly returned to making his action figures fight, happily adding sound effects to enhance the moment.
Vegeta hitched an eyebrow, noticing how his son had other toys lined up on the cream colored carpet. There actually seemed to be a pattern involved rather than the toys just lying around randomly.
The anger from his senseless accident in the gravity room ebbed away and Vegeta leaned forward on the sofa, resting his elbows on his thighs as he studied the carefully laid out toys. He watched on for a while before clearing his throat and interjecting.
"What is this?"
Trunks looked up at his father's face and followed his gaze to his lined up toys. Smiling, he motioned to one battalion and replied using the same sounds his father spoke to him with. "The good."
Vegeta's ears twitched, having grown unfamiliar with the sound of his mother-tongue coming from someone else. He'd decided shortly after the Cell Games that he wanted his heir to know the language of his near-extinct race so he made the conscious effort to use Vegeta-go as much as possible. He knew that Trunks could understand, but it was rare that the child would respond with anything in the language other than, "Yes" or "No" or "That hurts".
He hadn't told Bulma this plan. He didn't intentionally hide it from her either, but he felt it was something sacred that didn't need to be voiced. It was between father and son and a dead race.
Vegeta nodded towards another set of toys across from the original. "What about them?"
Trunks looked over at the other group of meticulously placed soldiers. "Bad," he responded, reaching out a small hand to adjust one that was just slightly askew from what he wanted.
"What makes them bad?"
Trunks's blue eyes lifted to look at his father curiously. In his small memory, he couldn't recall a time when they'd had a conversation this long outside of training instruction. He stood up from his play area and hopped over the toys, walking to stand next to Vegeta's leg. Placing a hand on his father's knee for stability, he pointed at the bad guys. "They hurt people," he said, carefully articulating the Saiyan words. He could tell that his father liked using these sounds and- like any child- he enjoyed making his idol happy.
Vegeta rolled this answer around in his mind, not exactly sure how to continue. True, he didn't socialize with Trunks much outside of training. But that wasn't for lack of trying… he was just never very confident on how to be around the toddler unless it was instructional.
"Good guys can hurt people, too," Vegeta said, the fluid language rolling easily off his tongue. He wasn't sure what point he was trying to make by offering this bit of insight to a three-year-old. Perhaps it was foreshadowing for the day Trunks learned about his father's murderous past. A day, Vegeta hoped, was still distantly in the future.
This child regarded him with the utmost respect, the prince knew. He often caught Trunks imitating him to some capacity, whether it was how he was standing or what he was eating. Vegeta largely ignored it but it didn't erase the fact that it made him feel a small amount of pride.
Though he wouldn't willingly admit it, last thing Vegeta wanted to do was lose the respect of his son.
Trunks's small hands patted Vegeta's leg and his face contorted as he lost himself in thought. The resemblance to his mother was startlingly apparent. "Father," he said at last, looking up into Vegeta's frowning face. The corner of Vegeta's mouth twitched slightly, the endearing term in his own language threatening to make him smile. Never in a million years before Trunks would he ever have dreamed that he could hear that word directed at him.
"Father," Trunks started again, his face troubled. "Can the good guys win like this?" He motioned to his toys.
Vegeta was starting to understand the pattern now. The way the rows corresponded with the larger toys and the angle that the enemies were facing each other. Honestly, he thought it was a sign of brilliance. He knew his son was smart, but it seemed that he had a knack for battle strategy like himself.
Rather than respond verbally, Vegeta nodded his head stiffly and leaned back into the couch, watching his son return to the center of the mass of toys. Trunks picked up the main fighters again and resumed their battle, using more words this time instead of mere sound effects.
Vegeta listened to Trunks play, his words a mixture between what he knew in Saiyan-go and the rest being filled in with the language of Earth.
The Saiyan prince closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the couch. He allowed himself to fully relax, a strange occurrence since he usually kept himself so guarded.
He wasn't sure how much time had passed before he sensed someone watching him. The couch shifted and without opening his eyes or moving at all, Vegeta felt the small warm body of a child curl up next to him and become still.
Moments passed before Vegeta cracked open an eye and looked down. Next to him, the lavender head of his son was resting against his stomach, small hands gripping the fabric on his training shirt. The child's breath was deep and steady signaling sleep.
With a soft grunt, Vegeta closed his eyes again and shifted his arm to drape over the back of the couch. Without the barrier, Trunks snuggled in closer, sighing with contentment as a light nap engulfed the duo.
# # #
"How was training today?" Bulma asked conversationally as she removed her earrings at the large vanity in the room she shared with her husband.
Vegeta sat on the edge of their king-sized bed, busy pulling off his shoes. "Fine," was his only response.
"Is Trunks improving?"
"Hm," came the predictable grunt.
Bulma turned around to head towards her walk-in closet, eying Vegeta warily. "Have you thought anymore about the preschool thing?"
Vegeta sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose and standing to his feet. He walked over to his own set of draws to pull out sleeping shorts and began to disrobe. "No."
The full blooded Saiyan felt his mate approach him from behind and was not surprised at the hand that moved to caress his back, tracing old scars like she so often did. "If you really don't want him to go, I won't push it."
Vegeta sighed and turned, the hand formally on his back now pressed against his chest. He gripped his mate's wrist firmly and looked over her face before responding. "He's fine here. He learns plenty."
Bulma had always had a sneaky suspicion that Vegeta was quite attached to Trunks. He was becoming use to the child's presence in his every day life and Bulma was aware that they had a routine that they completed on a daily basis.
Was she going to complain that the father of her child- who long ago vowed that he would leave this miserable mud ball at the first chance he got- was actually wanting to spend time with their son and heavily take part in the parenting process?
Hell no, she wasn't. He was already exceeding her expectations and she would be a fool to stifle that.
She raised her hand to his cheek and smiled genuinely. "Ok. I won't bring it up again."
The two finished getting ready and adjourned to their bed, taking their respective sides and sliding close together. They talked a little more, Vegeta not hating the chatter as much as he used to though he still kept his responses short and concise. He had developed a habit of playing with the ends of Bulma's exotic blue hair while they softly conversed and it was times like this that Vegeta wondered how his life- which had been on the fast track to hell- could have gone so… so…
So completely right.
Vegeta grew tired of the talking and silenced his mate with a well placed kiss to the mouth. She melted into him right away, clinging to his body as he rolled her over on top of him. Her heavy breathing and whimpers of pleasure filled his ears as their love making coursed on.
Bulma was asleep within minutes of their finale, her body curled up into Vegeta's and her breaths whispering across the prince's hot skin.
He held her comfortably in his arms, chin resting on top of her head.
If someone had told him 20 years ago that he would be laying with a feeble human woman 20 years in the future, he would have laughed.
If they had told him that because of this feeble human woman his heart would have softened- even just a fraction- and they would have a son together, he would have blown the messenger into the next dimension.
He wasn't equipped to handle having a family and he certainly wasn't prepared for this unnatural desire to defend them to the death. But as they laid tangled in the sheets and in each other's arms, their son asleep just down the hall, Vegeta allowed Bulma's scent to fill him completely and he relaxed fully into her embrace and the soft bed.
20 years ago, he wouldn't have been able to relax at all.
Funny how things work out.
AN: Thanks for reading! This is my first shot at DBZ fanfiction... so what did you think?