Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Free My Heart ❯ Chapter Three ( Chapter 3 )
[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
DISCLAIMER: I do not own or profit from Dragon Ball Z.
AN: Thank you to everyone who reviewed. I dearly value all aspects of your feedback.
These first chapters are a little slow, just covering the essentials and creating the mood as it may be. It will be picking up very soon, I promise.
I'm just going to tell you up front, this is the chit-chattiest Vegeta I've ever written. It's actually very challenging. To go from writing a man whose favorite response is no response, to someone who completes full sentences and participates in conversations is hard. I mean, what does a guy like Vegeta talk about, without making him OOC? But frankly, I have them locked up together in a tiny room. I just can't have them go at it like bunnies….fun as that may be. Besides its Bulma—I imagine she could figure out how to make corpses talk.
My kid makes me watch entirely too much Shrek…
Free My Heart
Light glared into the room with such blinding intensity it almost burned Bulma's eyeballs straight out of her skull. She groaned, covering her face with the rough blanket. She was sore and bone-weary from sleeping the old, uncomfortable cot. A bar dividing the bed in half pressed into Bulma's lower back the entire night. She would have dragged the thin, ratty mattress to the floor, and slept there, if she hadn't been so afraid to move. The darkness had been complete throughout the night, and she had been unwilling to venture out into it.
The sound of metal slamming against metal, jerked her upright, and she blinked as two bowls came spinning into the room, launched from a tiny open at the bottom of the cell door.
“Breakfast.” A coarse voice sneered from behind the hole, drawing Bulma's attention to the bowls' meager contents. Each one held a small serving of thin gruel and a hunk of dark bread.
Bulma's empty stomach rolled in protest as she glared at the offering. She never was, and never would be, a morning person.
“What? No fruit? How about some parfait? Everybody likes parfait.”
The guard completely missing her jab at sarcasm, laughed while shutting the door with a resounding slam that made her ears ring.
“How about you come back here so we can roast you up on a spit? I feel like eating PIG today!” Bulma screamed at the door, not really expecting a response.
She was still scowling when she noticed Vegeta staring quizzically at her from the corner of her eye. She glanced over at him, noting he was in the exact position from the night before.
“What?” she growled grumpily before rubbing her face roughly with the palms of her hands. She hissed, quickly withdrawing her hands. Her lips stung painfully and her jaw ached where Zarbon hand slapped her. She could only imagine how horrible she looked with her swollen lips and cheek, not to mention how mottled her bruise must be.
Vegeta shifted his gaze away from her, but he kept watch through veiled lashes. Her bloodthirsty outburst at the guard simultaneously amused him and aroused him. Her sense of humor was unique in its own quirkiness, but it was her snarling demeanor he found really attractive. Most women were either demure in his presence or they were outright vulgar in their attempts to seduce him. His rank in Frieza's army wasn't as low as Zarbon liked to think. He was coveted by many women and some men for his power, and knowing how conniving people were, was the reason he didn't pursue relationships with his fellow soldiers.
The female he shared a cell with was an enigma. She feared him, but wasn't cowed by him. She hated him, but wouldn't raise a violent hand against him. The grotesque bruise on her face made him angry, when all he should feel is disinterest. She made him want to protect, when he should destroy.
Vegeta didn't reply and Bulma didn't really care. She stood up, ignoring how cold the floor was on her bare feet and walked over to her bowl. The food smelled even worse than it looked, and she wondered how she was ever going to choke it down. Worse, she wondered how long it would be before she was hungry enough to gobble down every disgusting morsel pushed her way. She took the bowl back to her cot, poking at it despondently.
From beneath lowered lashes she watched as Vegeta lifted himself from the ground with an innate fluidity that made her jealous. Though he had sat on the cold floor the entire night, he showed no signs of stiffness. She was fascinated with his furry tail that slipped from between his legs, to slither around his waist in a make-shift belt. She quickly ducked her head, hiding behind her bangs while trying not to look at what was dangling between his muscular thighs.
He turned his back to her, and she had to suck in her breath. Across his back were deep horizontal gorges crusted with dried blood. Belatedly she remembered how she had clung to him the day before, as if he could be her savior, her anchor in the storm. Inadvertently she had caused him injury. For a moment, she thought about apologizing, but she thought better of it. He didn't seem to be in any pain, and reminding him of his wounds didn't seem to be a good idea.
Her eyes wandered down the rest of his body as he bent over to pick up his bowl. She was used to seeing finely muscled men every day, but there was something about the taut slope of Vegeta's hindquarters which was supremely satisfying. His skin was so smooth and sleek it looked like poured bronze. No one should ever look so perfectly sculptured. Especially a man with such a rotten-to-the-core personality.
He resumed his place in the corner, but instead of sitting he merely leaned his shoulders back against the wall, and crossed his ankles as he ate. Using his bread as a spoon, he inhaled his food with such relish she was tempted to try a bite of her own food to see if it really was good. She grimaced at the first bite. It tasted like rotten lettuce pureed with pig slop, and the bread was so hard it nearly broke her teeth. She closed her eyes, forcing herself to take another bite, while fantasizing about her mama's sweet bread the entire time.
Half way through she couldn't stomach anymore and pushed her plate aside. Vegeta was staring at the far wall, his plate discarded by his feet. She could only imagine how hungry he was. Evil bastard that he was, he was still a Saiyan and if he was anything like Goku he needed to eat three times more food in order to be satisfied.
“Do you want the rest of mine?”
Vegeta glanced over at her, his black eyes cold and assessing as they scraped over her bare shoulders and thin arms, making her feel scrawny and insignificant.
“Eat it.” He looked away, dismissing her as nothing.
Bulma's first instinct was to retreat. He made her feel awkward. Like a freshman in a senior class or as if she was lower than nothing, and to even to exist was an insult to the world. But Bulma was no quitter. No matter how she felt on the inside, it was how she comported herself on the outside that mattered. Years of being the center of media frenzies had taught her that very important lesson.
She marshaled her composure, and regally walked over to him, her plate in hand. She didn't stop until she was directly in front of him, her blue eyes drilling into his dark ones challengingly.
“I know you're hungry, Vegeta. Saiyans eat five times their weight in food a day.”
He stared her down unflinchingly, and it took all of Bulma's inner strength not to cower in front of him.
“You are more in need of food than I, woman.” He sneered at her as he spoke, but Bulma didn't see beyond his words. She stared at him for a moment, digesting what he said, not how he said it. If she was to remove all his disgust, and insulting insinuation, the words themselves were considerate. He was actually taking in account her survivability, here in this dank dungeon where there was only the two of them. In his own twisted way he was caring for her.
She took a jarring step backwards, her keen analytical mind processing information at an astronomical rate. Vegeta was a cold-blooded bastard who destroyed everyone and everything she had ever known. But he was also the only person standing between her and certain horrific humiliation and death. It was better to stroke the ferocious lion behind the ears than it was to grab its tail.
She looked at her plate. There wasn't much left of her gruel, but a large chunk of bread remained. She placed it between them so it was directly below his nose, before giving him the widest, most dazzling smile in her arsenal.
“Are you kidding? You don't think I have this drop-dead gorgeous, absolutely delectable body, by gorging on everything that crosses my path do you?” She glanced over her shoulder at the door, while snorting delicately. “I mean, seriously, they don't think starvation tactics will actually work on a human female, do they? We live to diet. And bread? I don't think so. I so don't do carbs.”
She hoped her stomach didn't rumble to give away her lie, but deep down, she knew Vegeta needed more food than she did to survive. Saiyan metabolism was a tricky thing, and if he didn't get enough food he would eventually get weaker. And if her plans of escape were ever to come to fruition then she needed Vegeta in as top form as he could be.
“Well that would explain why you humans are so scrawny. If your women are constantly starving how could you possibly hope to give birth to strong offspring?” He grabbed the plate from her, and she huffed in response, before sauntering away. Her empty plate hit the floor before she made it back to the bed, and she silently rolled her eyes.
“Hey, why haven't you blasted your way out of here yet? As far as I can tell these walls are made of nothing more than steel. That's barely even a barrier for a Saiyan. You should be able to break through them like paper-mache'.”
Vegeta pushed off the wall, his eyes boring into her intently. She clutched the blanket and swallowed as he slowly stalked towards her. It took all of her willpower not to let her eyes drop lower to see what was between his legs.
“The collar I wear doesn't allow me to marshal my powers.”
Unconsciously his words drew her eyes to the metal collar banding his thick neck. The flashing red lights were almost hypnotic, like they were telling her a story, or maybe a secret. If she could just touch it, she might be able to hear what they were trying to say to her. Vegeta loomed over her, casting her in his shadow, his face an impenetrable mask that made her shiver. She stepped back, her calves bumping the cot.
“So you only have the strength of an ordinary man,” she whispered up at him. He grinned at her slowly, his teeth flashing beneath his curled lip. He reached out to grip her bare arms, tugging her closer.
“I assure you, I am no ordinary man,” he whispered back, his lips a hairsbreadth from hers. She was paralyzed by his presence, and could barely move much less speak, but she forced out her words.
“I meant the strength of a human.”
He shook his head slowly, pulling her up so she was up on her tip toes.
“You talk an awful lot about Saiyans. How is that you know what I am, little female? How is it that you know me?” he asked, his voice a soft threat that sent every nerve in Bulma's body tingling. “Are you a spy placed by Zarbon? Are you working with him to destroy me?”
Bulma felt her eyes bug with fear, and her toes curled up off the floor. She shook her head rapidly, her hair tumbling around her face.
“Goku is my best friend. Or was. I've known him since we were kids. He's always had a big appetite,“ she replied in a rush. “I watched as you fought my friends before Frieza arrived, through a crystal ball. I swear I'm no spy.”
Vegeta stared at her intently, searching for the lie in her transparent face. The tips of her silky hair brushed the backs of his hands; it was all he could do not to shudder in pleasure. For all her frailty, she really was a beautiful little thing. If she was a spy, then Zarbon had chosen correctly. Her exotic looks and fragileness appealed to him in a way warrior women or sex slaves did not. There was no deceit in her crystal blue eyes, but what he did see disturbed him greatly. Of course there was fear, but he had long ago learned to look beyond that. Behind her fear was something else, something far darker. It was loneliness. The type of lonely occurring only when you are surrounded by people, and yet completely isolated from them. It was a type of loneliness Vegeta was intimately familiar with.
He thrust her away from him, turning away to stare at the door.
“Crystal ball?” he questioned, without really being interested in the answer. He was just looking for a segue to a different topic.
Bulma released her pent up breath. The brave girl inside her was screaming to stand her ground and not to let him push her around, but the voice of reason in her head cautioned her. For once she listened to reason, and she had passed through her first real hurdle with Vegeta.
“It's sort of like a remote viewing device.” Bulma doubted Vegeta would be interested in the intricacies of ancient magic. She hardly was. She liked cold hard science. It never lied, and the answer was always the same, no matter how many times you ran the equation.
“And in case you're wondering, my name is Bulma,” she snapped to cover her weakness. She sat back down on the cot, suddenly exhausted. She stuck her tongue out at Vegeta's back when he just shrugged at her introduction.
Now the excitement was over, she had to pee. Confrontation always did that to her for some reason. Some people got belly aches from stress, she got a leaky bladder.
She glanced around the room, noting a small box and a sink in the corner. She slid off the cot, being sure to keep as much distance between her and Vegeta as possible. As soon as she moved, the skin between Vegeta's shoulder's blades twitched and he moved away, returning to his corner.
The box came to her knees and was covered with a lid. Her nose wrinkling in distaste, she flipped it up to peer inside. As she suspected it was a toilet, though it was cleaner than she expected. She turned to Vegeta, who was making a very pointed effort not to look at her. However, she could still see his profile and she had no doubt that he had excellent peripheral vision.
“What?” he snapped after she continued to stare at him.
“I have to pee.”
“Good for you.”
She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, but didn't move from her position.
“What?” he snapped louder, turning to look. His face was a thunderstorm of annoyance, which just increased the pressure in her bladder even more.
“Well I can't—you know. Can you turn around or something?”
“Fuck woman. Like I want to watch you do that. Just do it and quit your yapping.”
For a minute she thought he was going to ignore her request. But he turned around, leaning his forearm on the far wall with his back to her. For a moment she just stared, her eyes following the line of his spine as it curved down between his wide shoulder blades before dipping at his lower back. She could see each divot and bunching of his muscles as he flexed. He truly was perfect, right down to his heels.
She shook herself, and hiked up the blanket so she could sit down.
Normally she wasn't timid. She had peed enough times in public restrooms to be used to people being in the next stall, but those had been women. They certainly weren't bare-ass (emphasis on the really nice bare-ass currently presented to her) men who were standing in the same room.
She hurriedly turned on the facet next to her, sighing audibly as it did the trick. Once she was done, she was faced with another dilemma. She turned off the water and cleared her throat.
“Fucking kill me. What now?”
“How do I wipe? I mean. I don't see any tissue.”
Vegeta's wide shoulders shook and she couldn't tell if it was amusement or rage. He dropped his forehead to his arm before he answered.
“Just step on the button by your foot, and don't get off the seat.”
Bulma dragged her eyes from the fine form Vegeta was presenting her and found the button on the floor to step on. She heard the toilet flush, and then suddenly a spray of cold water shot up between her legs. She screeched, flying off the toilet in a flurry of blue hair and gray folds.
“That was just obscene!” she hissed at the toilet, as if she could verbally chastise it for its behavior.
She glanced at Vegeta, noticing his shoulders were shaking again. She was almost certain he was laughing this time, but when he turned around a moment later his face was completely impassive.
More than a little miffed, Bulma flounced back over to the cot. And proceeded to do absolutely nothing. All day and night in a tiny cell with no TV or books. Absolutely nothing to do. No problems to solve. Now she understood why they called it torture. She sighed heavily, laying back.
“Good grief. What are we supposed to do all day?” she muttered, not really expecting a response from her stoic cell mate.
She turned her head, stunned as Vegeta move into the steps of a beautiful kata. His muscles rippled hypnotically beneath his toffee skin, and soon he gleamed with sweat. She rolled over, tucking her hands beneath her cheek to watch, fascinated with every move he made.
“By all means, exercise,” she whispered to herself while thinking maybe torture wasn't so bad after all.