When they drug her in all black and blue and tossed her into the adjacent cell, her body hitting the floor with a meaty thump and her cheek burning across the wet cement, he rolled his eyes and curled deeper into the wall.

Even as the guards, rough and tumble and with blackened teeth jutting from uneven sneers, even as they laughed their hard laughs and ran their cretinous, coarse fingers through his newest neighbor's hair to hang her and shake her like a marionette, her eyes watering with the exquisitely dumb pain before they swatted her back by her shoulder like play yard bullies, even still, she was shoving herself back up with shaky arms and spitting curses.

"I'll see you in Hell!" She was yelling, blasting toward the doorway in a flurry of feet and disoriented swaying and banging her palms against the metal door even as they shut it firmly in her face. "You'll pay!" She walloped the door with her small fist. "You'll pay for cutting my hair!"

Her frustrated shriek bounced around in this hollow, dank prison and ricocheted inside his head, causing his impassive features to drop their usual pretext of indifference and collapse into a heavy scowl, his ears throbbing in protest. This near-lightless toilet of Frieza's ship, cells queued one after the other after the other after the other that ended abruptly with his cell just like their lives ended abruptly once thrown in here. Even his sharp preservation instincts and the tenets of his dogged warrior's training were decaying in the dark down here, the mildew setting up camp in his lungs, the hopelessness that he'd fortified himself against for years finding purchase in his heart. He was a machine honed by culture and genetics, and even he leaned against the cold wall and breathed in the damp air, faintly wheezing, and thought that it might be meaningless to fight back.

"Ugh!" She kicked the door as hard as she could before yowling and hopping around on one foot with pain. Vegeta watched her from the corner of his eyes inside the shadows of his cell.

She paced around indignantly before settling against the wall with a huff, folding in on herself, her arms crossing atop her knees. The only sound in the thick silence of this prison for turncoats was the drip drip drip of some leak ignored, the soundtrack to the last year of his life, a moribund arpeggio which didn't last long before the woman shot up to pace again. So far, her song and dance.

He'd give her a week. This was the place dissenters were sent to rot.

He sniffed and turned his head toward the wall, black and empty, his mirror's reflection in which he focused day in day out, braiding dark thoughts and malevolent plans without egress or interruption. Cathartic fantasies of spilled blood and spoiled crowning-ceremonies, revenge and rampage heating his blood with a however-diminishing lust for life. His chains clanked against each other despite the small movement, and she turned, then, toward him and his cell, peering past the thick bars and into the darkness to spy a shadow lingering.

"Hello?" She called. Her voice trembled with a mixture of anger and fear, and he leaned his heavy head against the stone with an ascetic's self flagellating pride.

She crawled then, all fours and tenderly, her hands and knees scraped up from her treatment by the guards, before placing her head against the bars that separated them irreverently. His mind skipped around thoughtlessly, probably fading in and out of awareness with hunger.

"What are you in for?" Her soft, feminine voice shimmied past the bars and ribboned towards him, settling uncomfortably on his hunched shoulders.

Her almost maternal inquisitiveness seemed so out of place that he turned toward it dumbfounded, halfway between insult and laughter, just in time to see her hair slide across her cheek, cup her chin and obscure her face. Even in the dim glow of their cells he could see that they'd given her the typical prisoner's shave but left it half done to taunt her vanity, the locks choppy and uneven and hardly effeminate. She looked at him with a measure of commiseration and curiosity, unknowingly painting a stark vision, her eyes and hair so vibrant against the prison bars and brackish light of their cells. He moved towards her sleekly. Her bright features seemed so wild against the motley black and blue bruises on her face and it seemed so funny that she would bother bringing them here.

"Hello?" Her voice like a skylark climbing the buffeting wind, smoothing down the broken things, and as far as his chains allowed he leaned his face toward her own panicked visage growing rapidly close before the chain length abruptly ended and jerked him to a halt just before the bars.

As bleak and incisive as a nightmare he was, and his lean muscles stretched as he neared her trembling lip ruby with someone else's fist, and it was startling, like looking in a mirror when she peered upward from underneath loosely knitted eyebrows with grim defiance, trying to focus on his features through the darkness.

For a moment, he leaned his head against the bars, and her breath caught as silently their hair curled against the other's, glaring blue against black like silk strands caught against burrs brought home as a child from trampling through wild grasses. She saw only the curve of a bronze shoulder and an oft-darned, loose shirt hanging off it, and his hair lying against it, weighted down and unwashed, surprisingly unfamiliar to him, and he glared at her in the darkness before turning away.

Turning away from her ultramarines and sea greens, distinctive and alien juxtaposed against the barren whites and rusty reds of his desert world, turning away from the siren's call of her energy and audacity and drifting back into the black, the harsh and withering black paint strokes all over his cell and his heart, over his once gutsy contempt and defiance of the annexation of his home world to Frieza's icy clutches, where he waited in an empty hum for all this to end.

Sensing his reluctance to speak, she sat her back against the wall and sighed, glancing now and again into the shadows where he lurked, silent, the phantom of a people all but extinct.

He gave her a week.