Hello all, I read my reviews, and have made some of the changes suggested within. As for the other changes - well, I have to have something to do in my other stories that I'm going to write, don't I? I might lose all my reviews, and I'll be very sorry if that happens, so let me address a couple of things first:

Little_pinky - thanks for letting me know that. I didn't know about the anonymous thing!

Vegetarocks87 - ask and ye shall receive.

CelCloneBot - I didn't want to demonize Yamcha; I'll leave that to the other great V/B writers. I honestly wanted to make it as much Bulma's fault as Yamcha's - I hadn't seen a fic yet were that was the case.

Thanks to all who have read this, and double thanks to everyone who has reviewed!

* * * * * * * * *

It was a lazy summer day, and Bulma was tired of working - rather, she was tired of slaving. "Damn machine," she growled as she threw her wrench at the side of the gravity machine she was building. The titanium wrench rebounded with a metallic pong, and the young woman instantly berated her herself for mistreating her tools. Not that bouncing the super-strong wrench off the steel plate that was going to be the side of her newest invention would hurt it, but it was the principle, after all.

"Babe!" she heard Yamcha yell, and with a grin, she twisted around to see her boyfriend walking toward her.

"Yay!" she shouted and jumped up to greet him. Yamcha saw her stance as she dashed at him, and he braced himself as she jumped onto him, wrapping her legs around his waist as she hungrily kissed him. "Now you can rescue me from work!" she crowed happily.

"Actually," he admitted with a sheepish grin, "Krillin, Tien and I were here to discuss the androids, and I was wondering if you would make some of that super lemonade of yours."

"Oh, ok," Bulma said, a little disappointed. "Sure. Just you three?"

"Unless someone else comes," he said, glancing past her to look at the machine that she was building for Vegeta. He was a little jealous; the guy went around murdering and terrorizing people, but as soon as Bulma learned that he had lost all his people and his planet, the little asshole got to live here, with Yamcha's girlfriend. It didn't seem fair.

"Vegeta?" Bulma rolled her eyes as she unhooked her legs from Yamcha and swung them to the ground. "Please. He wouldn't lower himself."

"Thanks," Yamcha said, knowing that she was sarcastic, but her words did sting a little.

Bulma shook her head. "You know what I meant, honey," she said irritably, and then dropped her irritation as she took his hand. "Come on, I'll start the lemonade and you can keep me company."

Yamcha sighed happily as they walked into the kitchen together. His happiness was short-lived when he saw Vegeta standing in the kitchen, a scowl on his face as he looked out at the others on the patio. "Woman," the Saiyan grated, "what are they doing here?"

"Don't worry, they aren't here to pester you," Bulma said as she released Yamcha and headed to the fridge. She bent over to get the lemons out of the bottom drawer, and both men's eyes slid to the visual offering. Yamcha pulled his eyes away first, as he sensed his territory being tread upon. He glared at Vegeta, who was making no secret of what he was staring at.

"Vegeta," the human male said sharply - too sharply, and even Bulma turned around to stare at her boyfriend in surprise. "We were going to discuss the androids' attack, if you wanted to join. Your personal insight into cold-blooded killing might be appreciated." His emphasis made his intention clear.

"Yamcha!" Bulma snapped, dropping the lemons in the sink.

"What?" Yamcha asked, throwing his hands up.

"Be nice," she chided him as she grabbed the knife and started cutting the lemons in half.

"Yes, Yamcha, be nice," Vegeta mocked him.

"Watch it, Saiyan," Bulma snapped, pointing at him with her knife. "Your machine's completion depends entirely on my good humor. Stop mocking my boyfriend." She paused as Vegeta scowled and Yamcha smiled, then added, "That's my job."

Vegeta snickered at the human's abuse at the hands of his potential mate. A Saiyan woman would do much the same to her mate, but she wouldn't do it in public unless she wanted to show her scorn of him. To have a woman you weren't even mated to yet do it was even worse.

Yamcha shot him a glare, and then went outside. Vegeta considered his options; he could stay in the kitchen with the woman, he could join the men in discussion about the androids, or he could find something else to do. There was nothing else to do until the machine was built, and besides, he needed to inform them that they were wasting their time; Vegeta was going to defeat the androids when they showed up, and it was worthless to consider anything else.

"-I just think that we should have a uniform plan of action," Tien said crisply, punctuating his comment by driving his finger into the table-top.

"No one's saying that we shouldn't," Krillin replied easily. "But with Goku here, what good will a plan do us? He'll just defeat them, and we'll all stand back and enjoy the show."

"Humph," Vegeta snorted angrily. "Kakkarot won't have a shot at the androids. I'll destroy them before he even sees them."

"Whatever," Yamcha said, waving his hand dismissively. "We all know how great you did against Frieza."

Vegeta restrained the desire to blast the moron away, reminding himself that there were powerful people on this planet who frowned upon killing someone who insulted you; instead, he said, "You can't even handle your woman. Don't even think to estimate the prowess of a true warrior."

"Leave Bulma out of this," Yamcha said angrily, rising to his feet. That was a tiny mistake; even after he was towering over the Saiyan, Vegeta was still looking down at him somehow, and that only incised Yamcha more. "Besides, you don't do any better against her."

"I don't bother to," Vegeta shot back. "She's not my mate."

"No, you're afraid," Yamcha said, "You're afraid that you can't handle her." Silence settled over the table; even the birds had stopped chirping.

Vegeta froze, the blood pounding in his ears. "What, earthling?" he finally ground out. "Did you call me a coward?"

Yamcha's brain immediately began throwing out images of Vegeta's killing spree on earth, but his ego had taken over, and he took a step closer to the Saiyan. "Yeah, you are," he said challengingly. "You say that you don't want her, but you're really afraid of her."

"I fear no one, and certainly no earthling woman," Vegeta snarled.

"Prove it," Yamcha snapped, crossing his arms aggressively.

"Now guys," Krillin said quickly, half-rising out of his chair, "let's just get back to our discussion, shall we?" Twin glares from both men threw him back into his chair, and he rejoined Tien in uncomfortable silence.

"What will you consider proof?" Vegeta asked, his brain trying to anticipate what the human would come up with. It was not what he expected.

"Get her to ask for a kiss from you," Yamcha said. The moment the words were out of his mouth, his ego realized what it had said. In desperation, his brain regained control, but it was too late.

"Fine," Vegeta growled.

"Um, this doesn't sound like a good idea," Krillin spoke up. "Bulma is going to be pissed when she finds out about this, Yamcha."

Vegeta turned to him. "Did we ask you?" he snarled, but the bald human didn't back down.

"As Bulma's friend, I have to speak up," he said. "Besides, if she finds out that I knew and I didn't tell her--"

"If you tell her, you'll be finding a new body to live in," Vegeta growled. He turned back to Yamcha, who was looking very, very ill. "Do I have to get her to do it in front of you, or will you take my word on it?"

"No, I'll ask her about it after you tell me its done," Yamcha said weakly. Suddenly an idea popped into his head, and he added, "You can't force her, or scare her or trick her into it, and you can't tell her and ask her to ask you."

"Can I seduce her?" Vegeta asked, and Yamcha paled. "If you don't give me at least that, then you've made it unfair," Vegeta threw in as Yamcha's mouth opened.

"Oh, god, oh, god, I'm not hearing this," Krillin moaned and stuck his fingers in his ears as he squeezed his eyes shut. Tien diligently ignored the whole scene.

Yamcha closed his mouth, not sure what he was going to say anyway. "That's fine," he finally added, "but you don't have to kiss her. Just get her to ask you for one."

Vegeta nodded. "Fine. No time limit, though," he said. "It is only right to give me a fair amount of time, and remember, she is a little thick."

"I better not be that 'she' you were just referring to," Bulma snapped as she came out of the kitchen. There was a tray in her arms; on the tray were five glasses, filled with sparkling lemonade. A colored straw stuck out of each.

"Bulma!" Yamcha shrieked with nervous desperation, and dashed around the table to grab the tray. "Here, let me," he gushed at her.

She laughed at him. "Gosh, what's gotten into you? And what's Krillin doing?"

"I love you, babe, so of course I don't want you carrying this heavy lemonade," Yamcha said as he held it for her, ignoring her other question.

Bulma handed out each glass personally; as she put Krillin's in front of him, she shook his shoulder. "Krillin, wake up. Here's your lemonade."

Krillin's eyes snapped open as he yanked his fingers out of his ears. "Bulma!" he said, his eyes popping wide open. "Your lemonade!" He then proceeded to bury his nose in it. "Mmm!"

"And for you," Bulma said, handing Vegeta his glass.

Vegeta took it suspiciously, sniffing at it. He had tasted Bulma's cooking before, and he was often just as glad to pass. It smelled sour.

"I know, it's kinda strong," Bulma said with a wicked smile. "Not everyone can handle my lemonade."

"I always love your lemonade," Yamcha said enthusiastically, careful not to mention his opinion of her other cooking. Lemonade was the only thing that she made from scratch that he could tolerate. He took a big gulp and happily rubbed his belly. "That's great stuff. Puts hair on your chest."

"Eww, as if," Bulma groaned, wrinkling her nose. "Please, I'm drinking this, too."

"Sorry," Yamcha said, slipping a possessive arm around her as he took another gulp of his drink.

Vegeta took a mouthful, not wanting these earthlings to think that he couldn't handle this drink. The second it hit his tongue, his body tried to reject the foul stuff; Vegeta's iron will was the only thing that allowing him to swallow the evil, sour concoction.

"Like it?" Bulma said from her nest in Yamcha's arms.

"It's as good as any earth drink," Vegeta said, and set the glass down on the table, trying to keep his eyes from watering. He determined not to let on that he couldn't stand the crap; if that weakling Yamcha could stomach the brew, then Vegeta would be damned if he couldn't.

"Coming from you, that's almost a compliment," Bulma said, pulling away from Yamcha and heading for a chair. Vegeta suddenly stepped sideways and pulled a chair away from the table with one hand. He wasn't looking at her, but it was pointed in her direction, and the intent was clear. Bulma stopped, a slight flush running up her face. "Thank you, Vegeta," she said softly as she carefully sat down. Yamcha twitched behind her.

Vegeta picked up his glass again and turned for the kitchen. "You earthlings can continue to discuss the androids. I'm not going to waste my time on that," he said as he strode into the kitchen. He poured the drink down the sink, and headed away to plan.

"Ok, what's up?" Bulma asked suspiciously.

"What do you mean?" Yamcha giggled. "We're just discussing the androids."

"Yeah, remember what I said about Goku," Krillin said, and the three men eagerly launched into the discussion that they had come here to start. Bulma was only half-listening to them; the other half of her was enjoying the summer day and trying to piece together the puzzle before her.

* * *

Vegeta waited in the kitchen, eating his mixing bowl of cereal slowly for once. He wasn't sure what his next step regarding his bet with the moron was; the chair idea had been a flash of brilliance gleaned from his observations of the parents of the woman. He only knew that he was insane for agreeing to waste his time on this; only the fact that he had given is sacred word that he would accomplish his quest kept him from dropping it.

If she were Saiyan, he would simply find out what creature her potential mate had killed to attract her, and then kill a bigger, tougher one to show him up. Vegeta's eyes narrowed as he considered this possibility, just adapted to earth terms. Earthlings gave each other gifts, didn't they? So he could just get her a slightly better gift than the moron had gotten her - not enough to really turn her head, just enough to catch her attention for a time.

His prey came in at that moment, as if his thoughts had summoned her before him in her cotton pajamas. She walked tiredly to the counter and stared at its empty expanse bleakly before opening the cupboard, cursing softly. When she realized, through her post-sleep haze, that the box of cereal was gone, she turned to see the Saiyan watching her, a spoon in his mouth and a half-full bowl of cereal before him. With a gasp of fear, she grabbed the cereal box at his elbow and rattled it - empty. "Oh, no," she moaned, dropping her head into her hands as she dramatically collapsed into her seat. "Now what do I do?"

Vegeta considered the situation, and then slid his bowl across the table to her. Bulma raised her head at the scraping noise, but all she saw was the back of the Saiyan as he walked out of her kitchen. She stared at the mixing bowl, her mouth hanging open in surprise. Then she gave a little smile and dug in.

Vegeta, meanwhile, circled partway around the house before he lifted off the ground and floated up to her window. He slid open the window and stepped into the room, the smell of Bulma hanging around him. Vegeta looked around the semi-messy room with a frown, trying to find the claim- gift that the moron must have given the woman. No much was coming to his eye - a few clothes, some furniture. Then his eye fell on the small box.

With a victorious smile, he opened the box, but that smile vanished when he saw the mass of silver and gold that greeted his eyes. There was no way to tell which was the claim-gift from the moron. With a growl, he began to paw around the pieces of metal, hoping against hope that the piece would leap out at him.

A sound outside the door caught his attention, and Vegeta froze. Now that he was listening, he could hear someone coming up the hallway. He tensed his muscles, ready to leap, listening intently when a pendant on a chain caught his eye. An intricately carved Y and B were intimately intertwined on the surface of the pendant. In a flash, the prince had memorized the design, and then he was swooping out the window. He heard the door open, but he had no time for paying attention to that - his mind was already soaring ahead to what he was going to do to trump the moron's claim-gift.

Bulma started to open the door to her room, but a draft of wind yanked it out of her hand and threw it open. She blinked at her room, sure that she hadn't left the window open. Her concern turned into anger when she saw that her jewelry box was also open. With a growl, she pulled a box out from under her bed, and opened it to reveal a machine composed of goggles and a control box. She pulled the goggles on, turned the machine on, and pointed it at her jewelry box. Whatever the readings were, they caused her to relax and grace the room with a little smile, and she put the machine away.

Humming now, she gathered up her clothes for the shower and left her room, still wearing that little smile.

* * *

Carasi was a jewelry smith, just as his father before him, and his father before that. But none of them, he was sure, had to deal with this particular customer. "Sir," he said patiently, "I can't let you have any of my work. You need to pay for it."

The short man looked down his nose at him, and Carasi felt shorter than he had in high school. "I want that pendant made," the man said, thrusting his finger again at the piece of paper that Carasi had on his worktable before him. "I am the Prince of all Saiyans. You will do as your told."

Carasi sighed again. "Sir, I don't know what people the Saiyans are, but I can't make you something for nothing," he said, wondering if calling the cops would get this guy out of his hair.

In answer, the man scowled impressively. "This is what a Saiyan is," he snapped, and walked outside. Before Carasi's astonished eyes, the guy flew away.

"What the--?" Carasi muttered, and stepped outside, sure that he would see the man hanging just over his door, hooked to a wire. But there was no sign of the man. With a shrug, Carasi stepped back into his shop and turned around.

The man was there, holding a rock as big as Carasi's head, effortlessly, in one hand. Carasi blinked, not sure what to make of it. The man's hand tightened, and Carasi heard a crack, somewhere deep in the rock. Before Carasi's astonished eyes, the rock crumbled. "Now," the man said after a moment of silence, "are you prepared to serve a superior being with gratitude and respect?"

Carasi considered his options, and then shrugged and said, "Let's consider it a promotional deal, ok?"

* * *

Bulma sat back on her heels, staring up at the black curving wall that was now the outside of the gravity machine. With a sigh, she wiped her hand across her forehead, scraping away the sweat there. As she glanced to her right, a silver sparkle caught her eye.

Standing, she walked over to the glint, and gasped in surprise. She had left her socket wrench attached to bolt higher up on the machine, but now hanging from her socket wrench's handle was a silver pendant. She reached up and took it off, careful not to get grease on it or drop it.

It was a silver heart, though the top half of the heart wasn't rounded, as was traditional. Instead, the soft curves had been turned into faceted edges. A large "B" was engraved in the center of the heart, and Bulma's mouth dropped as she realized that the whole thing was heavier than sterling silver. She turned it over to see if anything was on the back. Nothing was, but as she flipped the pendant back, she saw that there was hinge on the left side of the pendant.

"If it has a hinge, it has to open," she muttered, walking over to a stool and sitting down as she began to turn it over and over in her hands. Finally, she saw a small latch, but it was recessed into the pendant in a strange position. "I'll need some tools to get at this," she muttered as she pulled her computer tools out.

With the smaller screwdriver, she was able to get the pendant open. Inside, there was a smaller image of the "B" from the front, but it was interwoven with another symbol, one Bulma didn't recognize. "Hmm," she muttered softly, "This doesn't look human. I wonder who--"

"Why aren't you working on my machine, woman?" Vegeta's voice growled behind her. Bulma jumped and turned, glaring up at the Saiyan towering over her.

"Get off my back, Veggie," Bulma snapped, "even McBurgerworld workers get a break."

Vegeta looked at her, and then looked past her to the object in her hand. "What is that?" he rasped, "Another gift from your rug?"

Bulma shrugged. "I don't think so," she said, staring at the open pendant. "Yamcha already gave me one like this, only it didn't open like this. Hey," she turned the pendant toward him so that Vegeta could see it clearly, "you're all alienly. Do you know what this symbol is?"

Vegeta hunkered down and leaned into her, peering closely at the pendant. His positioning put Bulma very close to his shoulder, and she blinked in surprise as the smell of him wafted over to her. She glanced at his face, studying his frown of concentration as he looked at it. He had never gotten this close to her before. "I can't tell you what it means," he said finally. "It is a con-wahy." He turned his head to look at her, and they suddenly found themselves almost nose-to-nose.

"A con-what?" Bulma asked, a touch breathlessly. Vegeta was very handsome, and he was so close.

"A con-whay," Vegeta repeated, pronouncing it carefully. He studied her blue, blue eyes, letting her think that he was drinking in the details of her face: the creaminess of her skin, the fullness of her lips. Vegeta turned his head back to the pendant to stop himself as he realized that he was pretending. He was still a man, and she a woman.

"What's that?" Bulma asked again, though she was talking to the side of Vegeta's neck, staring spellbound at the pulse of his neck. She had always found pulses erotic; it was a symbol of the beating heart. She wondered briefly what his skin tasted like, and then filed that thought away where she kept all those lustful thoughts of boys who weren't Yamcha.

"A con-whay is a very personal symbol; it means something to the person who designed it," Vegeta said, his voice a touch huskier than it had been. "One of the alien races that Frieza destroyed used it to indicate desire; they would leave it where the other would find it, and if that person could figure out who had left it for them, then they were worthy."

"Humph," Bulma grunted, removing her gaze from Vegeta's neck as her attention was drawn back to the pendant. "No offense, but that sounds like a Saiyan thing - the person having to prove their worth to get with someone."

Vegeta turned to stare at her. "I never said it wasn't a Saiyan custom," he stated quietly.

Bulma felt her mouth drop open as she stared at this alien who had managed to confound her yet again. His eyes were black and as shadowy as before, but she saw some deep emotion, hidden in their depths. "I--"

"Bulma? What's wrong?" Yamcha's voice cut through the mood, and Vegeta pulled away from her, standing up.

"Let me know if you solve the puzzle, woman," Vegeta said as he stalked away. He hadn't meant to go, but the moron's presence was particularly undesirable today, for some reason. His fists clenched as he thought of the two lovers behind him.