Real Vegeta/Dream Vegeta

"Quick, before Trunks gets home."

"You first, or I'm not taking anything off."

"Ugh. Fine. Your highness."

Shirt halfway over her head, she squealed as he stopped its progress to nuzzle his face between her breasts.

"Stop, you lecher."

He nipped her ribs in rebuttal, his teeth grazing the slope of her ribs down leisurely to her pelvic mound, where he gently sank his eyeteeth possessively.

She swatted at him and pulled her sweater the rest of the way over her head.

He'd already pulled his lounge pants down at the front, where his swollen length hung heaviest at the tip and pointed, almost accusingly, in her direction.

She didn't even bother taking her skirt off before sinking to her knees in supplication before him.

"Take it in your mouth," he grated from above her, and she glanced upwards, past his tight, ridged abdomen and his broad pecs leaping with tension. He stared at her from down a strong nose with something awash with both menace and mischief, nostrils flaring, gaze cool, but very, very dangerous.

"In my mouth?" She breathed against him, and his member jumped against her lips at the tickle of her hot breath. She smirked.

His hand trailed slowly through the dark, straight pubic hair to grip his member commandingly, jerking it expertly on her lips a few times before nuzzling it between her lips without speaking. She knew a demand when she heard one.

Slowly, she let her tongue part her lips, where the head of his member rubbed slickly against them, licking his desire off and staring hard up at him.

He lightly shoved with his hips, the head of it penetrating her mouth impatiently, and her eyes widened with surprise as her mouth widened to accommodate him. "Mmph," she protested, and he slid it in, pulling back just before reaching her tonsils. "Show off," she muttered darkly.

"Tell me," he asked as the tip of him left her mouth with a wet pop and he drew it across her cheek with a smirk, "just how wet are you?"

Her brows collapsed into a frown. "Who says I'm wet at all? So far, this has been all your dog and pony show."

Vegeta gave her a look that was as equally amused as it was pained. "Tell me in detailed description," he reiterated, "just how wet you are."

"Well then," Bulma began, finally acquiescing, gripping the base of him and looking away contemplatively. "I guess,"her pink tongue darted out and lapped at the wet slit at his head, the soft thing yielding under the press of her tongue. "I guess you could say," she swirled the tip of her tongue around his wide, flared head, and he took a breath through his nose, "I'm not very wet at all."She let the tip of him slide in to her wet mouth before sucking hard and then releasing him with a sharp pop.

"Oh, you bitch-"He scooped her up and sat her on the night stand, knocking the lamp onto the bed as her skirt bunched up around her hips. "I see it's time to reacquaint you with a healthy dose of fear of me."

She laughed into his chest as he threw her legs over his arm and buried his head in her hair.

"Vegeta, stop, you know I don't like it like that," she complained against his jaw. "You hit me funny from that angle."

He rubbed his steely length against her exposed slit, slicking her folds open before wiggling himself at the top of them, causing her to jerk with the weird pleasure and laugh loudly. "Now you're just being a jerk."

His laughter rumbled between them in his chest, and he spilled her onto the bed, the stiff guest bedroom duvet crinkling under their weight.

"Missionary it is. How boring," he mused, giving her a heart stopping dangerous smile, and her heart melted for him. Her Vegeta. Only she was privilege to that smile, to this pleasure. Only between their bodies did he smile with real pleasure.

"Like an old woman already."

Her eyebrows rose to their furthest heights."What did you just say to me?"

"Oh, I said it," he purred into her ear as he positioned himself against her entrance, trailing languid, hot kisses down her neck. "I dared."

"You better start making it up to me," she groaned as his mouth crept down her chest, making short work of any reluctance she had in giving in to his advances as he gripped her hips and kissed the blue hair at the juncture of her thighs.

One finger, then two, and his mouth, sucking at her folds and then tugging and dragging at them oh-so-softly with his teeth.

"Oh, Vegeta," she cried, burying her fingers into the top of his hair,"I love you. I love you so much. I've missed you so much."

"I'm going to ease it in," he moaned desperately. "Please," she begged. "Do it already."

His thick head she loved so much stretched her slowly before it slid freely up into her, every second an eternity spent gasping under the excruciating pleasure of it, until he slid into home, bumping her cervix lightly. They both gripped the other and let out a moan with hot, grateful tears in their throats.

"Tell me you love me," she pleaded with fresh, raw emotion as he pulled out of her slowly and thrust gently back in, earning a strangled cry from them both.

"Always," he assured her, "forever," and the truth rang in her chest, fortifying her, and she felt powerful as she gripped his shoulders and urged him in deeper with her knees,

"Get up."

and she cried into the curve of his ear and heard him distantly cry out, too, though he was usually so silent, so controlled during their lovemaking, and she touched the soft spot where his deep collar met his shoulder that she loved to claim with her teeth, running her fingers down his wide, hard back, relishing having him near her, because it had been so long since he'd been close to her

"Get up."

or inside her. She couldn't remember the last time they'd made love like this, the last time she'd felt her feelings returned by him, and as her walls trembled around him and she curled upwards into his hips so that he could reach her even deeper,

"Trunks needs a ride to school."

she ever wanted him deeper. "Trunks can wait," she assured him, "come in me."

"Come for me first," she heard him urge in the crook of her neck, and she buried her fingers in the back of his thick hair and by now their slick sweat caused them to bounce roughly apart with each of his powerful, contained thrusts.

"Let's play rock paper scissors for it," and he straightened above her, all muscles rippling, his rhythm unfailing as he stared down from dark eyes that knew just how to push her to her limits the way she wanted to be pushed, the way she wanted him to push himself into her like he owned her and she owned him, and when she searched his face to see the sentiment reflected back at her she was shocked to see the cold, hard face of her husband glaring down at her with contempt.

"Get up. Kami, I've told you five times already. I'm not your alarm clock."

And even though she could still hear his pants in her ear and feel his damp back tensing over and over under her hands as she urged him like bread to rise, the air was cool and there was nothing lying over her body except a light blanket, nothing held preciously in her arms except a drool slick pillow.

In a stupor she watched her husband pull on his gloves with sharp impatience and then cast a look of loathing her way as he opened their bedroom door in his training sweats, his boots as he strode forward causing the thick carpet to softly protest. The digital clock stared 5:50 remorselessly and she struggled to sit up in bed.

"The next time your alarm clock shrieks another half hour without you even batting an eye I'm blasting it." He had already shut the door before he'd finished the remark.

Bulma sat up in her bed blinking in the dark and trying to comprehend the drowsy silence of early morning. Her body may have been sluggish but her heart was in her throat, the dream-Vegeta already propelled second by second into some place in her mind she could never access again. Like a dissociating dousing in cold water, she looked around her bedroom, the gray light of dawn casting a dull gloom over her things, and even though dream-Vegeta still poured like molasses over her body and chanted his enthrallment with her, kissing each eye, kissing the corners of her mouth as her walls seized around him and she let out a strangled, breathless cry, she understood he wasn't really hers.

Rather, the one who avoided her at all costs unless it was to dress her down like a servant, policing her, the one who spent his every available moment in the damned gravity chamber in the south wing of the compound even with nothing to train for for eight Kami-damned years now, the one whose most recent conversation with her involved no more than a sneer in her direction and a comment about her outfit underscoring her poor decision making. What had been between them was dead, buried, unvisited. What emotion and understanding that coexisted between them was a monument to the impulsiveness of youth, maybe; it wasn't something they had been able to lug with them upon entering the void of adulthood. She was very nearly a single mother, set to navigate parenthood with the ghost of a man who loved her years ago briefly and then not at all.

"You shouldn't be worried about whether I'm afraid of you but whether I can no longer find feelings for you," she whispered bitterly into the dark.

Whose Scorn, Whose Wrath

"And then Goten was sent to the principle's office. His mom is going to be so mad."

"Mmhmm." She flicked through the pile of paperwork. "I just need to sign the test, right? To acknowledge you passed it?"

"Yep." Trunks slid into the seat next to her and grabbed for the stack of cookies she'd sat beside her as she'd awaited his arrival from school. Trunks usually flew; it didn't take long for him to plop down beside her after school let out.

"Goten isn't a trouble maker. It sounds like that Mrs. Neelking has it out for poor Goten."Bulma muttered genuinely, signing her name with its characteristic lazy flourish in Trunks' task book as she was expected to every Friday. "Is he still going to be able to come over and spend the night?"

Although there wasn't a crumb to be found on him, Trunks had already polished off the stack of wafer cookies and the glass of milk and was already standing to move his seat back under the table. "Your guess is as good as mine, Mom."

"Hmph." She frowned down at the Capsule Corp paperwork she'd brought up from her downstairs office, the act obscured by her too long bangs. She had had to form a rule early on in her stint as Capsule Corp CEO to keep home life and work separate, given how so much of her work was done at home. Today she was breaking her rule. Work was piling up. She was overdue for a haircut. Unsightly things were beginning to creep up from the dirty dishes in the sink. Trunks was used to it."I thought your Dad was going to take you out for ice cream tonight if you convinced Goten to come over to show his Uncle that he can turn Super Saiyan?"

Trunks snorted. "Yeah right, Mom. Mrs. Son isn't going to let him spend the night now."

"Well, we'll see. We'll see what I can do. Dad has to sign this, too, right?"She pointed down at his test distractedly as she rifled through her stack of papers.

Trunks face brightened markedly. "Really? All right , Mom! Thanks! And yeah he does!" She took the kiss on her cheek with grace and scooped the cookie crumbs into her hands while listening to him bound up the stairs to his room, likely grabbing his sword to practice his swordsmanship outside until he got the all clear from Bulma that Chi Chi'd been subdued.

Sure enough, it wasn't long before she heard Trunks hooting and hollering outside the kitchen windows, likely to have bound straight out his bedroom window with his sword and sheath slapping against his back that Chi Chi's father had been sweet enough to craft for him, the shield she'd welded together out of spare metal in her lab banging against his thigh.

He and the sword were inseparable, and the fact sent a brief jolt of melancholy through her that she thought had been long suppressed.

She stood and headed to the sink to wash out her coffee mug. Long overdue, though she didn't care to admit it out loud. She'd reheated it and refilled it again and again this week, and it was beginning to grow a sludgy coffee ring on the inside.

It had been six months since Tapion's visit, which meant it had been three times that long since Vegeta had woken up one morning with a case of the body snatchers, as if someone had cranked the dial from the quiet, curt family man he'd grown to be all the way backwards to a hot tempered, overstayed houseguest. Bulma worried the washcloth over her coffee mug under the soapy water for longer than needed as her mind wandered over the problem once again. It had been like waking up one morning to find that all the hard work they'd put in to their relationship for the last decade had just gone kablooey.

She'd chalked it up to Vegeta's mood swings. She and Vegeta both had plenty of those between them. And, well, sometimes the man just needed space. Literal space. Out into space, he'd roam, and Bulma thought little of it. Lucky for them, she was a pretty independent, self assured gal.

Before Trunks, his weeks training outside Earth's orbit had meant she got time to get work done before being pounced on again. After Goku's death and Cell's defeat, it meant a lull for absence to make the heart grow so fond it felt like it was about to burst in her chest until he'd fall into bed and she'd shower him with kisses. Now every time he headed into space her stomach churned with anxiety and unease until the pod touched down in the backyard again.

Would he eventually leave her?

Mood swing idea discarded, she'd then decided they were just having a rough patch. Every relationship had one of those, and since she'd accepted the position at Capsule Corp not long before he'd become the king of grumps, she thought maybe the new workload and schedule was putting stress on their relationship.

Except he didn't seem to want to be anywhere near her.

Bulma had been sitting on an idea she absolutely did not want to voice. Was it...was it her age? Was it her lousy, older complexion, her possibly, maybe thickening thighs?

In a fit, she'd returned home one night from a Capsule Corp event a little drunker than necessary, ripe with the belief that he was becoming less attracted to her and with every intention of calling him out on it.

And there he'd been on her way to the bathroom, in all his dewy, sculpted glory, still steaming from his late night shower. She'd lost her steam momentarily, but she mustered the focus to ask him straight. "Are you...are you..." She drew nearer to him, the smell of his bar soap under foot.

"What?" He snapped, gripping the towel around his waist tighter with impatience.

She lost her temper. "What's your problem, jerk!" She swatted his bicep with frustration.

Rolling his eyes, he moved to walk around her, but she put herself in the way and drew his smooth, warm face in for a kiss. He was so sexy, and so irritating, and...

He pried her hands from his face and deliberately gave her a wide berth as he walked around her.

"You smell like a bar. And money. And brown nosing business men."

She stood gaping at the empty hallway, unkissed, unwanted, working quickly from a simmer up to a full boil. She hated being patronized. She hated being ignored.

"What is your problem?" She screamed hard enough for her voice to scrape and trip over itself. "What is wrong with you lately? You don't want anything to do with me, anything to do with this family-"

What had happened next had been a full on screaming match that ended with her slapping him and demanding that he go sleep on the couch until his attitude changed and her weeping into her pillow pulled her, like a kraken, into sleep.

Nearly a year and a half later...and she was still sleeping alone.

Bulma picked up the corded phone from the wall and dialed Chi Chi's number without even glancing at the buttons. It rang twice before Chi Chi answered brusquely, as normal, and Bulma smiled to herself as she reiterated the story Trunks had told her, reassuring her that Goten had not been the source of trouble today, and he was still very welcome to stay over tonight. Chi Chi paused with considerable doubt, and Bulma was quick to fill in the silence. She was sending the boys to the city market tomorrow morning and she'd send Goten home with a bag of extra groceries. The groceries-with the careful waltz around the phrase 'help out'and 'they're on me'- sealed the deal, and Bulma hung the phone on the cradle on the wall and shut the faucet off, drying her hands on the kitchen towel before jumping as a shadow obscured the kitchen counter before her.

"Ever the manipulative little minx, aren't you," she heard from him beside her. "It's only time before she finds out you're paying for her phone service, and that the 'more efficient Capsule Corp phone line' you installed was just a ploy to do it. Can't imagine she'll be very happy with your meddling after learning about it."

She turned, bracing herself. Containing the emotions and the chess play their interactions required that were buzzing around her head, she settled for indifference, barely gracing him with a glance as she moved to refill her coffee mug. "What are you doing out of the chamber? You don't pop in to show your face until at least seven."She placed the back of one hand on her hip and regarded him cooly though her heart pitter pattered, trying to keep the bite of resentment out of her voice to maintain the upper hand. It'd been awhile since they'd said this many things to the other. She didn't want it to dissolve into an argument just yet.

"Is the brat coming over tonight?"

"Yes. Is that a problem?"She frowned.

Vegeta sighed and pulled the white towel from the back of his neck, toeing the heels and slipping his feet out of his old PTO boots, which he'd taken to wearing again recently. Went through the trouble of pulling them from the back of the closet and everything, she'd noticed.

He was all sweat and stiff muscles. "That means I have to take them out tonight," he grumbled, and annoyance ignited under her.

"You're the one who promised him," she warned. "Don't you dare even think about breaking that promise." She glowered at him in an effort to make her point before turning away. "You need to sign his test. Teacher's orders."She pointed to it on the table and rigidly drew her arms over her chest, mug drooping from her hand.

He gave her a look she didn't bother deciphering and signed his own name on Trunks' test. "Vegeta," compact, upright and elegant next to Bulma's sprawling autograph.

Even still, when he sauntered toward her, cornering her between the countertops, even though what was between them had devolved into something so routine and barren, their intimate life nothing less than a dramatic wasteland of old emotion, she froze. What was it about him, when he came stalking toward her? Unlike anything else in the entire world. He could have her belly rolling up into her throat, thighs clamped together, like a wild thing, belly passively up on the floor and waiting to be consumed by the wolf with delight. It was stupid, she snarled to herself. It was stupid, it was a stupid biological reaction that had no logic beyond the imperative to create children. Well, that was something she'd already gone and done, and nope, she was not interested in going there again. It was hard enough to raise one child without the emotional support of the other. No way, she wasn't falling for that old trick again, that swooning he could draw from her so easily, like an incubus, so forgivably.

Even still, when he leaned forward to lay his lips against hers briefly, she was leaning hard into him, hoping to steal a little bit of that sweat off his upper lip and roll it around her tongue like a fine red wine. Thankfully, unfortunately, he lingered near her lips, and without intending to, Bulma leaned in and nipped his upper lip lightly between her teeth and sucked, running her tongue over the top of his lip before tracing the bottom one, gingerly.

There was something about him that smelled wild and made her wild, too. He made her crazy when he was around; she always seemed to be thinking about him when not utterly occupied by work, even a decade into their untraditional courtship. She could never just give him a peck on the cheek and call him to dinner with a honey, please. She couldn't stop there, no, she'd drag him into dinner by his pants front and he'd take her up against the kitchen counter until she cried out her release into his gloved hand and he'd caution "Trunks is on his way in"while smoothing down her dress. There was never anything normal or banal between them, and it was something in retrospect that she'd been so proud of, something she'd been so thankful for, because she was a woman who lost interest quickly in the normal rigamarole. That's why this dry spurt, this year and a half long hell he was imposing on her without even explaining what he was bent out of shape over was so miserably unnatural. So unfairly cruel. So personally offending because he didn't trust her.

A partnership's success was dependent on communication and blah blah, right? Well, even he'd been capable of being communicative for awhile. He'd learned to get what he wanted from her before they'd even wound up knotted up in family, with his clever fingers up her skirt and his breath in her ear. He'd mastered the art of compromising with Bulma while still getting to keep his pride once he'd decided, for better or for worse, to settle in with her and settle for Earth's culture. After Goku was whisked away to Spirit World for good this time, and with a lot of shifting and readjusting, griping and bristling, Vegeta had forged the way into fatherhood and companionship without it staggering his daily training rituals or his pride in his person, and that was good enough for him.

He wasn't an ideal husband, admittedly. Vegeta was, the adorable stiff neck that he was, uncomfortable being sociable or affectionate with her around others, sure, but he had no reservations crooking his finger in the crotch of her swimsuit bottoms as she bent over and demanding with cool deference that she stay bent over her chair, in broad daylight, so he could fuck her with his fingers until she was whinnying with unfulfilled need, and then, discretely, spurting bitterly hot cum on her swollen, dripping core before leaving her to clean up after him. No, he had no problem acting freely with her, and at one point, she'd felt profoundly that it was his deepest display of affection. Only she got that treatment. Only she knew the taste of his mouth in her mouth, the relief being wrapped in his arms after a long day, earning strangled groans from him with the grinding of her hips.

As she opened her eyes once again, drawing back to look at him through lidded eyes in the bright kitchen, she realized numbly that this was their first kiss in half a year.

She was starved for him. She wanted more.

She laced her arms around his broad shoulders and pull him into her but was stopped short by his gloved hand against her mouth.

Eyes wide with surprise, her eyes met his eyes with a question.

He shook his head once, sharply, and stared at her coldly, contemptibly. A thick mixture of mortification and fury whirled through her, her surprised expression collapsing into a tearful grimace. How could she? How could she give in to him?

"I've got to shower," he told her tonelessly. "Go pick up Goten so I can take them for ice cream and get this over with."

And then she was watching his back with disoriented rage as he walked off to shower like he had no explaining to do, no obligation to his, his wife, no compunction to stay and be argued with god damnet. As she stepped forward to walk after him, she tripped over his stray boots. She bit her teeth around a nasty curse and kicked the damned things hard, hard enough that they shot up against the kitchen wall with a hollow thump.

Tears burned her eyes and she was reminded again of Tapion the night before he left, how soft and pale his bare skin was as he allowed her to wrap her arms around him and kiss his face tenderly here and there, the look of rapture on his face as she rode him, cupping his strong jaw in her hands so that she could watch the emotions move over his face, listening to him breath harshly against her mouth as she coaxed him to just let it go.

"But, Bulma..."He'd whispered.

Had he even known she was married? Well, 'married.' Vegeta had locked himself in the Gravity Room that week; she couldn't even recall the next time they'd run into each other after Tapion's departure. Vaguely, maybe. In the bedroom, as he grabbed an extra set of clothes. The deed was hovering on her lips, a sheen of panic on her skin; he'd turned and walked past her without a word, and her acute, indignant despair seemed to justify the affair.

"Tapion," she'd reassured him, cheek to cheek, the V of her lower back and ass collecting sweat. "Nothing needs to be said."

Anything he said would remind her that he wasn't here to stay, whisked away like Son Goku into Chi Chi's arms and later into King Yemma's. Any protests from someone so do-good would only culminate in his leaving her. Vegeta's leaving her. Everyone was always leaving her.

She'd buried the memory of that night, buried her horror, buried her pleasure, buried her unhappiness with terror and self loathing.

"Fucking boots!" She cried out, the silence and evident carelessness of the one person she wanted to love more than anyone else in the whole wide universe ripping a sob from her. She threw her hand over her mouth, embarrassed at her outburst.

How long was he going to do this to her? How long could a man shut out his partner until it became a farce that she was still with him? She hated him. Oh, how she hated him.

"Pick up after yourself! You leave a mess everywhere you go!" She shrieked, and she threw one of his pure white boots at the window with as much force as she could.

It smacked the glass feebly and limply fell to the floor, and she paced beside it with ragged breaths, her fists against her lungs, struggling to get air.

It really wasn't about the boots at all.

Grief and Pride

Had Kami been watching all this time?

She'd watched him appear on the arena floor from a distance with longing

"Babidy transmitted us-"

amid that clown Satan's usual cloying showmanship. She and Chi Chi had just shared a look at Eighteen's 'defeat' by Satan- -the Budokai, with their friends and husbands on the registers, wasn't going to have a dull- -or fair- -moment.

Chi Chi had frowned. "Well, there's the boys. Gohan, Goku, Vegeta...who is that?"Her hand hovered over her eyes and she peered down at the small man with rich white hair and skin the color of Trunks's lavender mop.

Gold energy was already billowing around Vegeta, and she and Chi Chi moved closer to Yamcha and Roshi.

The small ways in which that infuriating man stole her heart.

He'd been helping himself to a rather large chicken salad early this morning, no doubt fueling up for the big day he finally got to knock Goku down a peg or two.

In the quiet of early morning, before anyone in the house was up but the two of them, she approached him, running her hand down his back and looking up at him in the soft glow of the light over the oven, her fleece robe hem brushing his legs with the movement. The little affections were hard to break.

"Ready to clobber Son Goku?"

He turned to her with a smirk, and she was already smiling, knowing that'd bait him. Her eyes glittered, and she snorted softly, wiping at a small smudge of salad dressing at his lips. He looked back down at the salad with poorly masked embarrassment and she smiled further.

"I'm surprised Trunks isn't up with you," she continued. "He's so excited to participate I'll be shocked if he got any sleep at all."

Vegeta remained silent, inhaling his salad with efficient precision, and she, in a moment of affection, squeezed his bicep before drawing her arms over her chest protectively with the awareness of her snafu.

In a movement too fast for Bulma to see, Vegeta dropped his fork and drew her in for a kiss, smashing her crossed arms between their chests. It was a chaste kiss, chaste for them, anyway, and it ended before it began, dazing her, with Vegeta picking his fork back up and stabbing a chunk of chicken.

To pretend like there wasn't any emotion anymore between them was premature.

She was too afraid to say what, inside, she was screaming. Don't stop, she pleaded. Kiss me again. I miss you. Do you miss me?

She unscrewed her eyes, squeezed shut against his rejection. She couldn't fall for his table scraps of affection anymore.

His black eyes, uncommonly warm this morning, regarded her with a considerable amount of insight that was quickly veiled. Her proud prince, refusing to apologize, to be humbled, but seeming to register that there had been an error made. The small ways in which he made her love him to the heights of aggravation.

"Good luck out there," she said dumbly, the words falling from her mouth.

"Things will be different when I come home with the victory tonight," he assured her, the words echoing between them, and she startled when he drew her in to hold her against his warm chest.

Her eyes welled with grief.

"I'm sorry," she'd whispered, in the dull gray morning light as the sun breached the horizon, spilling dawn light through the city and over the manmade hills of buildings to sprawl at their feet. "I love you. And I'm sorry."

The small ways that they had to dance around the other's pride. And their estrangement, which ever lingered before them.

"What is Vegeta doing?" Chi Chi asked, echoing her own thoughts.

The men continued standing around in the arena. A knot of misgiving settled in her gut, and she was unable to look away from Vegeta. Her mouth parted, an answer on the tip of her tongue, trying to wiggle out to share her unease with her friends. Something wasn't right; Vegeta stood confrontationally before the others.

"He couldn't help it, Bulma. It was Babidy who turned him, and it was the Majin magic that brought his...his weaknesses to the surface-"

"Don't lie to me Goku!"

Bulma ripped at her hair, the wind picking up, whipping at her at the heights of Kami's Lookout.

This guilt, heavy as someone sitting on her chest, heavy and well deserved.

"How could you, Vegeta!" She screamed into the wind, railing against the fence that prevented her from falling to Earth, scowl twisted and aimed straight for Heaven. "Did you do this to get away from me? Have you been planning this all this time? I hate you! I've always hated you..." She sank to her knees, sobbing into her hands. "You chose him. You chose Goku, you chose your pride and ambition..."she choked. "When will you ever choose me?"Her last words, high and helpless as a girl's.

Had Kami been watching all this time? All the times they'd bickered, insulted the other nastily this last year, all the times they'd refused to come right out and say it, say what they wanted, say what they felt. All the times they turned their resentment for the other around and used it as a weapon against the one they wanted most.

Had Kami been watching her the night she'd defied her own boundaries and set her lips against Tapion's with a disembodied urgency that seemed to boil up from inside her? How could she feel so needy and yet so hollow as she straddled him on the couch, filling her empty self up with him? She'd just wanted to feel wanted again, for someone's hands to warm her up again, turn her from the hard, bitter, overworked, lonely woman she was becoming back into soft, sensual clay under hand. He'd needed reassurance, and someone's touch, and for that moment between them they'd both had it.

Was this her punishment for sinning against Vegeta? The possibility that she'd stripped Trunks of his father because of it was suffocating.

But Vegeta sinned every day, she argued with her conscience, striving for his selfish, self-absorbed, irrelevant reasons to be the best- -not the most cerebral, not the most philanthropic, not the hardest working salaryman, no, the best at the corporeal, the violent, the indulgent. He was the pinnacle of sin, especially rocking above her with that sharp, dangerous smirk, his sweat-heavy hair hanging in his face as he encouraged her to say his name as she came.

Bulma's sunny yellow scarf came loose, and before she could muster the energy to grab it, it was already drifting on the wind, scooped up in the breeze so far above the Earth and tossed further and further away from her almost playfully.

He'd been ripped from her before she had a chance to atone. Before she could explain to him what a cornerstone he was in her foundation, how straight his approval made her spine. She hadn't had the chance to tell him how much she respected, admired and appreciated him and how much she appreciated the woman his attention had made her. She did, she did appreciate who she was now. She was a woman who, pitted against mortal men, had no match. Only he was able to draw out her ire and quench it, only he was able to leave her tangled up in frustration and unconditional affection for him, her breathless laughter pardoning him as he drove into her. He was the only one she used to come to without a thought for advice, he was the only with she could trust with a dilemma she was facing with Trunks, with herself. He was the only one who understood her quick temper, her impulsiveness, her absorption in her work, her impatience with the mediocre. They were pure sin together, and somehow forged something selfless and true between them.

"We made a great team," she whispered to the remorseless wind.

And where had Kami been for all that? She gazed bitterly at the churning gray clouds between the bars of the rail, wishing against logic to jump over and follow Vegeta down, as low as he was made to go, so that he wouldn't feel so alone, as alone as she felt right now, with no one in the universe to love like that anymore.

"Don't test my willingness to beat you at your own game," he'd said, his thumb parting her lips the day before she'd found out she was pregnant with Trunks. "I am the master of these games."

"Where would the fun be in that," she'd replied before kissing him until she saw stars, laughing into his hot mouth as his answering laughter rumbled between them, winding them more tightly around the other without their awareness until the day he'd made the choice to die for her and she realized just how empty she was without him.

The small ways in which temptation sundered her world entirely.