Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Tempt of Fate ❯ Selfishness, Selflessness ( Chapter 11 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Tyk: Damn, how long has it been…? I can’t remember how long I’ve had this chapter in the works in my mind, but I tell you—it is way overdue. I bet you’d agree, right? I wrote the entire chapter—kid you not—on a little writing pad before typing it (and putting off typing it) and then revising the hell out of it. I really tried to make this a long one to compensate for my taking so long. So, please please please, review after you read! I really want to know how you like it and what you guys think about where things are going concerning plot. Thanks!

Tempt of Fate: Chapter Eleven

Two weeks later, the burning ceremony was held in the imperial plaza, and it was such an understatement to say that every man, woman, and child had stuffed themselves in the area, close enough to each other to dry their eyes on the backs of the person in front of them. Bulma had been pleasantly surprised and relieved that Vegeta’s presence in her entourage—if one could call it that—had not been a subject of negative speculation. Quite the opposite, in fact, as if having one king on their planet was enough to partially fill the sudden void even if he was not their own.

Bulma cursed herself for feeling sorry for Atrono. She could not help the tears that had escaped during the funeral, however, and the Queen assumed that it was merely for the life that he gave her and “his” son. She had periodically glanced at Trunks during the ceremony to see his reaction to their peoples’ grief, but her only son seemed as stoic as his real father who stood with not ten feet between them. Briefly, Bulma worried that someone in the crowd would see the resemblance between the two—in the face it was uncanny when they were next to each other—but she finally decided that within the grasps of sorrow from the loss of the King no one was going to realize that their Queen was a whore who had no right to be there wearing black and acting the easy part of the widowed lover.

Now, two days later, Bulma sat in the deep, rough arms of a large chair that resided in (formerly) Atrono’s study, and at that moment she just wished to blend into the chair, wished for it to swallow her whole, and then she would become part of the fabric: rough and durable against the powerful man that wouldn’t have tried to intimidate her husband but she was fair game. To have to even look at Vellutini again and try to pass off that she had nothing to do with Atrono’s death was enough to make her gag. For the most part, Vellutini had automatically assumed Atrono’s duties just as he had been doing since the king had jumped onto a ship to confront her on the foreign planet. The Queen, still retaining her status, slightly resented his boss-like attitude, even if he was part of the council, but she let the thought lie. There was no point in arguing because he would never admit her right to the throne.

“We must, as I have said, find a suitable heir to the throne as quickly as possible. You must be married immediately.”

Vegeta hadn’t been very keen on the idea when Vellutini had mentioned it the day they returned, and Bulma could imagine his stern reaction—and possibly a growl or two—should he have been with her right then and there sitting across from the councilman and wanting to leave the room and get on with her controlled life as much as she did. The thought almost made her laugh.


After Vellutini had left Vegeta and her alone that first day, her mate used his expertise in non-verbal communication to let her know just how he felt about the whole re-marriage deal to anyone but him. An arm had snaked around her waist as he meant to pull her possessively toward him. Any other time and the foreign king would never have shown so much emotion, but Bulma was quick to let him know that the royalty on her planet were seldom left alone and his actions—however comforting to her they may be—were probably best left on his planet. Therefore, Vegeta and she had not slept near each other since a short nap on the way from Vegeta-sei and the lack of physical and mental connection was starting to have an effect on her sanity and nerves.

She half-way listened to Vellutini drawl on like a young child would listen to their parent’s list of chores. Out the window Bulma could observe her people manning the country like its backbone, a strong spine with a stability that Bulma could mimic but had never really possessed. She deeply admired them. Atrono may not have been the best husband, but that man had been born into the right position. Obligations of state and ruling a country were what Atrono did best, and he took the role first and foremost over friends, family, and all other pleasures. And even though Bulma could see that the people were suffering from their kingdom’s loss, she was  positively amazed and proud to say that the people kept working as if nothing of their lives was out of place. And that thought made her feel the worse, especially considering that she could have saved Atrono’s life even though he hadn’t spared hers.

She wasn’t going to condone either her or Atrono’s behavior, especially when the king’s death led to Vellutini maintaining a position of power—not the best move from the looks of it.

“Excuse me, but you still haven’t explained to me what kind of law sets down that I cannot assume power in the absence of my husband, especially while a new king is found. It doesn’t fit with tradition that someone not of the royal court rule instead of a perfectly good queen.”

Vellutini looked absolutely appalled, from her comment or the fact that she had interrupted his thought process. Probably both.

He stared her down, but Bulma sat still and returned the stare, stroking the chair’s arm as if to remind her not to back down or show any kind of mercy to the man who had treated her as nothing more than an extra in a movie for the past eight years,

“Well, I have been overseeing things here since my Lord left for Vegeta-sei to go after you.” There was something about his tone that Bulma knew she wasn’t going to like. “Naturally,” he continued. “I would carry on the duties now that he has passed.”

“You mean to say that the filling of the shoes cannot be done by the Queen, the second in command, should anything happen to the King? Or am I remembering it all wrong?”

“I think you are remembering some thing wrong, my lady.” Bulma noted the sarcasm dripping from his voice. “You never actually said why you went to Vegeta-sei in the first place. Atrono was attacked and immediately when to the warrior planet after you. Yet, you still haven’t gone into full detail about his murder.”

Bulma had known that it might come to this, but she was unsuspecting nonetheless. Vellutini was not by any means a smart man, but having been immersed in the world of politics, the aging man had grown proficient in the oily, slick attitude of getting just was he wanted without much fight.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but the matter concerned my son and me—and no one else. It was unfortunate that Atrono followed me. I understand that he was still injured from the attack on him previously.”

“You mean when Lord Trunks was taken.”

“Yes.” Bulma narrowed her eyes a fraction.

“Atrono told me a number of things right before he left—I am one of his trusted advisors, of course—including the fact that you left the safety of the Kingdom without consent, and this was some time before the attack on my Lord occurred.”

There was a moment’s pause where Bulma faintly wondered just what this man was planning on doing—what mental corner he had been backing her slowly into during the past few minutes of the conversation.

“My Queen, what really happened on Vegeta-sei that you’re conveniently forgetting to mention? I intend to get to the bottom of this so-called “assassination” until I am satisfied that the entire truth has been revealed.”

“You dare accuse me of lying?”

“Oh,” he said, “I merely understand that Atrono, King of thousands and the man I personally represent of the council, died on a foreign planet to which he gave no one much notice that he was leaving. And supposedly a “rogue agent” attempted an assassination on this other planet in the heavily guarded royal palace. You see a big hole forming here?”

“To speak of such things is unwise. You forget that while you are acting in the King’s place, for the moment I might add, I am still the reigning Queen. You will show the respect I am due.” Bulma found that in her anger she was barely bubbling beneath the surface, contained by the sheer fact that should she stand up and throw a temper tantrum or suddenly burst into the tears currently coating the backs of her eyeballs in frustration. Vellutini might realize her naivety about the situation and how to regain the control that was slipping smoothly through her fingers like the blood that stained her hands. “Besides,” she continued, “you seem worried that the new King will appoint someone else as his representative.”

Vellutini raised his chain slowly, trying to intimidate her from behind her late husband’s desk.

“I have no reason to be. I am a perfectly amiable councilman who anyone would be lucky to appoint. There is no doubt in my mind that I shall continue on my career.” And that brings me to my main point: to find you a new King.”

“And that takes me back to my first question, which you never answered. There is no law that I am aware of that states I cannot stand alone in the King’s absence or death.” Bulma paused and shot Vellutini a hard stare before making a final decision. “You have done well in this position, and I thank you. I believe you have earned a vacation from your duties, some time off for a job well done.”

“I don’t require time off. The truth of the matter is, you’re going to allow me to search for Atono’s closest male relative, and you will be wed immediately.”

“And why, exactly, would I let you do something like that.”


Trunks had never before felt such stinging underneath his skin. Thousands of small knives prickled the still soft skin of his face, but the prince knew that his real father, the Saiyan King in front of him, would reconsider his decision that Trunks was ready for proper Saiyan training should the pain be apparent on his face.

For what seemed like the hundredth time that day, Trunks rolled back onto his back and pushed small but strong hands flat against the ground and flipped onto his feet. He rubbed his hands abrasively in his bare chest and pants, letting the dirt mingle with the grass stains and blood. There was more debris caked on than usual the young boy noted before turning back to his father.

“Hn,” Vegeta said gaining Trunks’ full attention immediately. “You have training, but nothing compared to what you should have had.”

You’re a Saiyan. His father was saying. He did not speak the words aloud—Bulma’s voice resounded in his head that it would not be wise to share that information with any peeping ears that might be in range.

“You can do better than that.” And somehow Trunks knew that he was right. Nothing up until now could compare to this training. It had never been enough of a challenge until now—and he was pleased to know what. The prince had never believed the story that Atrono had sired him, and apparently neither had his mother. Not once in his life did she say anything but, You are the son of a King. Never “Atrono,” never her King. The pieces of his life puzzle had finally come together, the mystery of his birth had been solved with much pleasure once he’d been taken to Vegeta-sei. He knew he was young—possibly too young to fully understand what the secret of his birth actually represented. And because he didn’t understand, Trunks knew that he couldn’t be angry at his mother for keeping it from him.

“Again.” Vegeta called, and Trunks began to take position once more. The foreign King had eventually been forced to remove his own shirt—like his son had before—and the fact that he was breaking a sweat with this spoke well for his son’s abilities.

My son. The idea was so foreign, but the past few weeks had allowed for it to finally sink in—and he was starting to enjoy the idea of having a family. Especially with his mate. She was his equal—if not in strength, then in wit and social status and sometimes, although rarely, countenance as well. And she had given him a son that was most worthy. Vegeta, even though the idea might have bothered him in the past, didn’t find anything wrong with a half-Saiyan son because he could already see that the boy had the best of both his parents inside him. He was quick and strong for his age, though he’d have to get even more so to be a truly worthy Saiyan when he reached age. Yes, this boy would make a perfect heir for Vegeta-sei when the time came. He could feel the anger pulsing within his ki at the mental image of Atrono raising a son that wasn’t his own, calling Trunks his successor even after the weakling found out about Vegeta’s true role in the boy’s life.


And why would I do something like that?

Bulma’s question hung in the air for a moment before Vellutini approached it carefully.

“Because, Lady Bulma, I have my sneaking suspicion about you. Taking off to another planet, returning with the King Vegeta of all people in tow. You have a secret. And until you feel the need to let me in on the true, unaltered facts about my Lord’s death, you’re going to sit by and let me work my agenda.”

“You really think you can intimidate me into letting you play the patriarch for a while? And what do you intend on doing for me? Get rid of me?” Bulma tried not to let her anger shake her voice. She thought she knew madness, especially when Atrono killed her for her son. This attitude of Vellutini’s was taking her to an entirely new level. Bulma had always known that the councilman was loyal to Atrono and criticizing of her, and she mentally kicked herself for not seeing all this coming upon Atrono’s death.

But then again, Bulma had never thought as far as her own death, let alone her husband’s, and of course the thought that she’d bury him this soon had never occurred to her.

“I would never dream of such a thing.” How Vellutini had the gall to look surprised and offended was beyond the Queen just as much as she was beyond regular anger anymore. “You must remain here in the palace, and once we find the next in line, the two of you will be married. Our kingdom will then be whole again.”

Bulma’s feet were itching, burning to move forward or backward—toward Vellutini to strangle the man (she had diplomatic immunity, right?) or back toward the door and make an escape while it would still be considered elegant—but her mind wanted to stay. I have to show this guy who is boss around here right now, but

In the end, her feet chose the latter and moved closer toward the exit.

“You’ll have to excuse me, Vellutini. Suddenly I have a very bad taste in my mouth.”

She finally turned completely toward the hallway, never happier to see the rich wood grain of the door. Once outside in the hall, Bulma may or may not have slammed the door a little rough; it all depended on whose side you were on. But seriously, it was as if she’d become a stepping stone for royalty and their wannabes in the last couple of days.

The thought of being legally single, however, was now forefront in her mind. It was… enlightening for however long she could have enjoyed it—if she was enjoying it at all. Atrono was dead, but she still felt his hands shackled around her, keeping her in line and from all the things and people she valued. While he wasn’t the only problem standing between her and a life with Vegeta, it was a good step in the right direction. Until Vellutini had to go and ruin it by telling her that she must remain in the palace and remarry to elect a new King.

And he’d announced that fact right in front of Vegeta as well. Though she hadn’t had time (nor the privacy) to talk to him, her mate seemed slightly more stoic to her (even though this was his normal persona to everyone else) than usual. It hurt. It hurt so much to have her life manipulated and controlled, her destiny completely determined as soon as she was given to Atrono oh so many years ago, and yet You should be used to it, she filled in for herself. Used to being “Atrono’s wife” and “the prince’s mother” rather than Queen Bulma who cares about her people and their well being.

The tap of her shoes had resounded through the halls signifying that she was all alone in her thoughtful stride. Her mind was moving as fast as her feet in hopes to reach a conclusion to this political and emotional turmoil as quick as she reached… wherever she was going. Trunks and Vegeta were most likely training at the usual place—they had been spending their days at the open grounds outside of her son’s room where the boy had spent countless hours fighting anyone and everyone that he deemed at least fit enough to challenge him. Bulma had spent many nights tending to various scrapes and bruises that he’d accumulated throughout his sessions. But Trunks had always felt as if the guards and palace employees and everyone that he fought (save for his instructor) went easy on him because of his age and status even thought they were strong enough to beat him. And her son, till he was red in the face, would scream at every one of them that he wasn’t weak, he could hold his own. If he got hurt in the process then so be it. Bulma would just smile and ruffle his head all the while knowing that he was his father’s son in every way but his hair, but then her heart hurt, a pain in her chest from the fact that she couldn’t completely share the secret with Trunks as freely as she did with Lynna.

As Bulma approached the training area, she contemplated the idea of marrying another man when Vegeta was just within he reach. He could be furious, of course, and Bulma couldn’t say that she’d blame him at all. Saiyans, as much as they looked like everyone else, were part animal—they were possessive, territorial, and perhaps most importantly, they were easily angered when one of the aforementioned was breeched or threatened. The powerful woman within her wanted to add that even as his mate, she would not be considered either a possession or a territory, but in the area of marrying off his mate to some other male, she knew Vegeta saw her that way.

If only there was someone to take over the throne without me having to be in the picture… But the only one who could do that would be Trunks. She stopped that thought as soon as she could, almost physically slapping herself for considering it. He son was way too young and completely untrained to take over. Besides, if Bulma found a way out of this mess, she was going to Vegeta-sei and remaining there. There was no question about that. And she was going to take Trunks with her as a part of her knew that Vegeta would train his only son to succeed him.

Speak of the devil, Bulma finally approached the training area but didn’t enter it. She knew that her boys were aware of her presence, but Bulma didn’t want to interrupt them. Who knows how long they will be out there. I’m going to give them a reason to stop this bonding they have going on.

The Queen had always read in her romance novels (as much as she didn’t always like to admit) that the skin of a strong man always had visible muscles creating the landscape of his chest and abs. She would be the first to admit that before Vegeta, she always found the description to be trite and unrealistic. But at the risk of becoming one of the women those particular novels centered around, Bulma would be the first to admit that her… mate had muscles that rippled under his taught skin, which was mostly unblemished except for some wicked looking scars over his side—she wasn’t sure that he’d tell her about them even if she asked. Damn, Bulma thought, it’s hard to believe that two weeks have passed without his touch… she could feel a familiar pull from her stomach that seemed to be directed toward the King of Saiyans, but that wasn’t happening on her planet. As she’d told him, there was too high a risk of getting caught. But as soon as we get on that planet of his—hell as soon as we get on that damn ship, I’m pouncing him.

And there stood the Queen, blushing at a shirtless King in only a pair of black pants from her position in a doorway on a weekday afternoon. Normally, she might have been a little appalled at her very… Saiyan-like thoughts (though Vegeta might be proud over all) yet she felt just a little indulgent. There usually weren’t many people around this area at any time of the day. No one was going to see her gawk a bit.

Vegeta could feel his woman’s stares—he could have felt them where she had been across the grounds for the heat that rolled off her looks. I know, Woman, he thought while throwing a quick succession of punches to the boy. I miss you too. He wished to finish things up with the boy and go seek her out, show her exactly what her looks were doing to him at the moment, but who knew when that would be. Saiyans were known for keeping emotions built up inside them, and eventually they required an outlet. And that was where sparring (even in times of peace) came into the picture. This boy had a lot of pent up rage to let out against an opponent that wasn’t going to go easy on him. And his father certainly wasn’t going to be. When the boy was sufficiently tired out, as the King assumed he was getting to be, he would attend to the personal depravities between his mate and him.

She stood there and watched their movements for what seemed like forever before sighing into the fading light and turning from the two who had yet to take a break from their past time. She took gentle strides toward her bedroom and once again left Trunks under the knowing eye of his father. Vegeta had been trained the same way, she had assumed, so she could expect Trunks to be in one piece when the night was over, even if he had scrapes and bruises.

Meanwhile, Lynna, the amazing woman that she was, had a warm bath with just the amount of bubbles added to it waiting for Bulma when she finally returned to her suite. The blue-haired woman wasted no time in ripping off the suddenly constricting dress and sinking a toe into the water, hissing at how satisfying the heat was as it tingled the nerves of each individual toe.

“Lynna, I don’t know what I’d do without you. You are amazing, and I…” Bulma just felt so touched at the woman’s caring actions and knowing smile. This was a person that had served at the palace as not only her lady in waiting but (because she was only a year younger than Bulma) her best friend as well. Bulma had been feeling rather emotional lately—between the politics and being so close but just far enough from Vegeta not to mention her inner turmoil of contemplating her life, future, and all things in between—and suddenly tears stung behind her nose while she sunk into the warm liquid that was so calming it might as well have been witches’ brew. And she couldn’t help but cry grateful tears at the fact that Lynna knew her so well that words wouldn’t do justice to their unspoken communication.

“So what are they going to do about it?” Lynna sat on the edge of the tub as Bulma soaked out the day’s frustrations. She’d surprised her queen with the question, but it wasn’t hard enough to figure out what she was talking about. However, the blue-haired woman didn’t know exactly how to answer that question. After Vellutini had left Vegeta and her alone, they hadn’t really come up with anything, and even in the time between then and now, Bulma was still drawing a blank as to how she could maneuver her way out of this tight situation.

Vegeta had barely been able to contain his anger at Vellutini’s demand that they find a suitable heir to the throne and wed him immediately to Bulma. She’d had a hard time explaining that while she had a mass amount of power and status in the palace, Vellutini and the other councilmen would only accept a male ruler rather than a female. Since she was in the King’s standing at the moment, that another man be put on the throne by simply wedding the current Queen, it was tradition, law.

“It’s so messed up. Atrono can no longer stake claim or control me—I am no longer his. Yet even with this I still can’t be with the man I want. It would seem that we are forever doomed to avoid the eye of the public, dance around the edge of the spotlight and remain lovers in the shadows.”

She lifted her hand from the water watching as the bubbles slowly slid down her skin and back into the white abyss.

“Well… what if—”

Bulma knew what was coming even before Lynna said it.

“No, I can’t marry Vegeta because he’s the succession to his own throne. He can’t rule two planets at once. And he’s not an eligible heir, either, though I don’t really know who would be. I’ve never met any of the extended royal family before. I swear they keep them locked up for occasions like this because any time I’ve ever heard of a relative taking over a throne, no one has ever heard of them.”

“I know how you feel, Bulma. I really do.” I know the ache of having the man of your dreams so accessible, so available, but not allowed. To have to keep this to myself, say nothing to the people who are closest to me...  It was hard enough on the young woman, who didn’t feel so young anymore, who could sympathize with her lady. “But things are going to work out eventually. I have faith that these problems will right themselves, and I don’t see fate keeping two people like Vegeta and you apart, especially when it worked so hard to keep you together.”

“I really do hope you’re right. It just seems like too much for us to have been through just to be cut off at the pass by some stupid law.” Looking at her friend, Bulma felt an ashamed look creep slowly into her features. “I just hate that I keep wishing Trunks were old enough to take the reigns. It’s just so selfish of me to want that. What kind of mother am I, wanting to leave her son to deal with the problems while I run away to live the life I’ve wished for since I was sixteen?”

“Well, Master Trunks is the King’s only son. He’s expected to take things over sooner or later. Maybe if it does come to that, it will just be a good excuse for him to learn everything and follow Vellutini around.”

Bulma grimaced. “He is the last person Trunks need to be learning from. That man just infuriates me. The plan was for Trunks to follow Atrono, to learn from the King. No one else knew this country better than him.”

“Well, Marco followed King Atrono around all the time! He was with the King as much as I am with you. If anyone is more qualified to teach Trunks, no one will know Atrono’s ways better than Marco.” Lynna chimed in with a proud, high-pitched voice that only increased in power as it bounced off the stone-tiled walls.

Bulma hadn’t thought about that. Marco had been about Bulma’s age when he’d started working as Atrono’s personal assistant. Even more surprising was that her husband had hand picked Marco to work there. “Well, he must have been a good pick because Atrono always seemed to trust him with everything. I swear that man knew my husband better that I ever did. I guess he would be quite the perfect choice.”

“So, if things come to that, then you’ll just have to intimidate Marco into showing Trunks the ropes for a bit. You won’t have any trouble doing that from what I witnessed on Vegeta-sei. He should take some more responsibility these days anyway. He is a year older than you are, Bulma. I know that he has it in him to control this country like Atrono would, and he will be a wonderful teacher.”

“Yes. I remember that we both came to the palace around the same time. He should know everything.” Bulma sunk lower into the tub until the tops of her breasts floated barely above the placid, swirling surface of the water now littered with struggling, pop corned groups of bubbles. “So many things have changed completely, but Marco has been able to handle it. Atrono saw to it that he would.”

She didn’t elaborate for a moment, but Lynna knew that Bulma was talking of Vegeta, Trunks, and the little, seemingly innocuous events that filled the barely recognized spaces between them.

“He was so angry,” Bulma said. It seemed that she was talking more to the tiled walls rather than Lynna, but they had been the recipient of many one sided conversations in the past eight years as she stared at them like she would an old friend. “Vegeta was so livid with Vellutini when he just ruthlessly announced plans for marriage right after our arrival. So uncaring. And once the councilman left, Vegeta didn’t say much of anything.”

Bulma sighed and sunk completely into the water, holding her breath as if the answer to life, the universe, and everything might miraculously come to her. She stayed down there as long as she could while slowly letting out the air in her lungs to prolong the feeling of weightlessness. But her chest began to ache, and a familiar feeling of hurt crept into her lungs and heart.

It hurt to think about her current situation. Bulma had never felt so much dread at a political encounter as she did at the moment. It made her sick to her stomach to have to think about what she was going to have to do, how she was going to have to keep lying all because she wanted to be with her lover.

How much more selfish can I get?

And in the end, how is this all going to work

She finally reached the surface and took a much needed breath, circulating the air in and out of her lungs until the pain was subsiding. She kept her eyes closed, protected from the soapy water around them and asked, “Lynna, what do I think is going to happen? Do I think this is all a fairy tale where I’m going to end up with Vegeta and absolutely nothing to worry about? Because I don’t see that happening…”

For a moment there was silence, and Bulma assumed that Lynna was just as puzzled about it as anyone was. Before opening her eyes, the queen splashed them to remove the suds, quickly looking up to pressure her maid for help. Either Lynna had—in the minute or so Bulma had been submerged—grown deep, black eyes; wild, gravity defying hair; and a particular appendage that she liked to interact with or… oh hell, it was Vegeta, there was no mistaking that. The sudden change had startled her, and she swung sideways in the tub a little, splashing water in three different directions.

“I’m not some prince that’s going to sweep in wearing shining armor, but I will definitely fight the fight to keep you with me no matter what, Woman.” His deep voice reverberated against the tiled walls as he leaned one shoulder against the door frame, and Bulma reveled in how it vibrated through her chest and calmed her down just as Lynna had always been able to do.

He must have ended the training session not long after she left from the looks of him—completely clean, washed of the sweat that coated those muscles… Bulma had to stop herself before she went down that particular road. But he had dressed nonetheless and no longer wore his tight training clothes, instead dark men’s pants and a shirt that was more akin to the fashions of her planet rather then the battle-ready attire that everyone on Vegeta-sei usually wore.

“Relax,” Vegeta said, brushing off the droplets of water she’d splashed on him. “I came looking for you, and your maid gave us some privacy.”

She finally settled down against the back of the tub once more and contented herself to soak in the warm water while trying to still her heart from that scare. She’d never really been in a situation where she was naked and Vegeta was not. It was an odd feeling to realize that they were being intimate without actually having sex. And the thought of her being completely unclothed in front of him, even underneath the cover of the bubbles, made her blush self-consciously.

“What are you doing here?” Even through tears and the scented water still smudging her sight and her thoughts, Bulma knew the reality. “Someone could have seen King Vegeta just walk right into the Queen’s suite, and then where would we be?”

“You refuse to see me in private, but I finally got fed up with waiting. You’re my mate, I must be near you.”

Bulma tried to ignore his last line, knowing most of the circumstances of their ever growing bond, knowing that with every second it strengthened into something that would kill them should they try to deny it.

“I thought we agreed that this was the time to lay low.” Bulma had tried to explain to Vegeta on multiple occasions that he should just go back to Vegeta-sei and wait for word from her, but the man had refused.

“Things are fine on my planet. Kakkarot is attending to the affairs, nothing of importance is going on. This is where I need to be.” Bulma smiled at the sweet thought until he added that while his mate was being threatened with another arranged marriage, he was going to defend what was his.

He spoke once more. “I told you before, and I won’t keep repeating myself, Woman.” And he didn’t need to elaborate any more on the matter. His shoulder pushed off the door frame and he walked that slow, perfect stride over to the tub and sat on the floor with his legs crossed.

Bulma wanted to laugh. The position—back propped against the stone bath, feet crossed out in front of him—would have looked ridiculous had any other man been doing it. But she caught the sound before it could bubble out of her throat as he looked at her with a strange expression, something she hadn’t seen on his face since the darkness of his bedroom after he killed Atrono. It was something of an appraising look, making sure that she was alright, she assumed. Bulma resisted the urge to cover the parts of herself that were above water—not much, thank goodness—but she resisted in telling herself that he had seen her naked so many times already.

“Your… wounds.” Vegeta mumbled, almost so low that she didn’t catch his implied query, but she eventually caught on and without thinking she rose to her knees so her stomach was out of the water.

Bulma didn’t miss the look that he sent her way as her breasts cleared the surface of the water and bounced with her movement. She was propped up on the bone of her knees, which were getting slightly hard to move because his stare had pinned her in place. Bulma felt that same sensations in her lower belly that she had earlier upon finding a shirtless Vegeta.

Vegeta’s hand unfolded itself from its position across his chest to find the area on the left side of her stomach where he knew she’d been shot; the skin was completely smooth and unmarred. The King could have pointed the exact location where the cluster of bullets penetrated her skin and so much blood had spilled onto the floor and his hands. There was no telling how long he’d sat with the lifeless shell of his mate on the cold metal table—as cold as her body would become eventually—but he found her bloodied face to be a level of calm that he never wanted to see on her face again.

Bulma recalled the many times she had felt those same calloused hands rub over her with an erotic fever behind them. Not once, however, had they slowly tickled the nerve endings like they were doing now, while she was naked in a tub.

Vegeta’s eyes winced very slightly, and if Bulma hadn’t already been staring at them she would have missed it completely. But she was sure that not even Vegeta realized it as his eyes were focused solely on her stomach, but it was easy to read from her vantage point. He was reliving the brief time she had been dead, killed by her husband. And he was wondering what kind of pain the action shot through her even though it was probably nothing compared to what he’d experienced on multiple occasions in his life thus far,

“It doesn’t hurt, Vegeta.” Finally, his chin rose to acknowledge her, but those black eyes maintained a steady stare on her middle. “In fact,” Bulma continued, trying to lighten the depressing situation a little, “I remember very little about the entire ordeal. Atrono said something about taking Trunks back with him, that as long as he had his son, he wouldn’t need me. Then… oh, you should have seen the look on his face when I told him Trunks was not his son. You would have loved it.” She grasped his hand with her fingers and studied the size difference between them. “And after that I remember standing up to Atrono, telling him that if he wanted to get to Trunks, he would have to go through me first.”

Vegeta’s eyes finally drew a path up to her face where he set an enemy-worthy glare on her. Bulma back-tracked through everything she said searching for the source of his sudden annoyance but coming up mentally empty handed on the matter.


“Stupid woman!” The rough hand that had before been so gentle grabbed one shoulder and his other hand grasped the side of her neck, holding on as if her slippery skin would slide away from him in her surprise. “Why the hell you continue to put yourself in danger by opening that big mouth of yours is beyond me. It’s like you don’t stop to think about how your actions are going to effect the people who care about you.” The scorn, Bulma could see, quickly fell from its place and she could see the emotionless façade effortlessly taking the same place.

Don’t do that, Bulma thought. You aren’t supposed to close me out, remember?

“You’re going to have to start thinking before you act so rashly. If I am not mistaken, the Dragonballs do not automatically manifest after someone makes their wish on them.”

“And how do you know that?”

“You forget, Woman, that before you stole them from the safe in my bedroom, I had quite the collection. You’re not so naïve as to think I would not investigate their power once Launch began scouting them for me.” He set another glare on her momentarily before it slipped from his face.

Bulma easily read that one. “But think, if I hadn’t stolen them, you wouldn’t have been able to bring me back to life.”

“If you hadn’t come to Vegeta-sei to steal them, we wouldn’t have been put in the position to have to resurrect you.”

“I supposed that you’re right…” Bulma paused as Vegeta slid his hands smoothly to grasp the peaks of her breasts, completely different from the innocent, worried motions they performed earlier. After so long of fighting her urges to give into him, resisting the pull to walk to halls and crawl into his bed every night since they’d arrived at her home, the young woman was so close to giving in and letting him take her right there in the bathtub, but on the subject of Dragonballs, a question long unanswered came to mind. “Vegeta?” The King answered with a grunt, his rational side having succumbed to the animal inside him that wanted his mate and would no longer be denied. “What were you planning to do with the Dragonballs?”

The Saiyan’s movements paused and he sighed, unsatisfied. There would be no moving forward with his plans for her young, delectable body if he didn’t respond. “You mean, what I was planning to wish for.” Bulma nodded at his non-question, unable to trust her voice as her nipples hardened from the saliva that dried under the air’s draft. “That is a question I cannot answer right now.”

Bulma pulled back from him and sunk back into the water. “Why not, Vegeta?”

“I am still unsure.”

He wouldn’t meet her eyes, instead staring distantly at her lower belly, not in lust but almost a longing. Hesitantly, because she had not been subjected to such a gaze on her nude body, Bulma raised her hand from the water and tried unsuccessfully to cover herself.

The only thing between them was the sound of the water droplets on her arms falling to the surface like many of her tears that already joined the liquid pool. Vegeta

“You know exactly what you were going to wish for, don’t you? And you’re not able to tell me? Is it so terrible that you think I’m going to look at you different for it?”

Vegeta still said nothing to her, just stared blankly. Nothing on his person betrayed his expression. It’s unnerving. I thought he would trust me more than this since we are stuck together. And then Bulma had a thought that make her heart cringe. Sure, we’re mated, but we lived away from each other for about six years, and we were fine. Maybe we aren’t as stuck to the hip as I thought.

And for the first time since she’d begun sleeping with the Saiyan King all those years ago, Bulma just wanted Vegeta to leave her alone.

“Vegeta, I think it’s best if you were to leave. The Kingdom, I mean.”

Bulma realized that she’d managed to successfully surprise her lover (and herself in the process.) His face betrayed the uncaring expression that was there previously, but even after a few seconds, it didn’t return. Consternation knitted his brow together and confusion set in. “I’m being selfish to keep you away from your people for so long. I know that you already explained this to be, but I’m fine. I can handle this. And when my fate is decided once the search for the next King comes to an end, you will be the first to know.”

Stupid woman. His words rang through her head, making her realize just how stupid she really was to believe that she wasn’t upsetting his life for this simple drama.

Vegeta remained still for a few more moments until he shifted and finally stood up. She thought that he might actually take her order (however unlikely that was), and the thought scared her a little until he finally motioned for her to stand as well.

Timidly, she stood from the tub and the teardrops of water became a fall: sporadic, frantic, jumbled like her emotions.

Vegeta grabbed the towel from the edge of the tub where Lynna had sat, unfolded it carefully and meticulously as if he enjoyed her standing at attention with all bared to him. To her everlasting surprise, his rough hands held a corner of the towel in each, the white fluff contrasting with his dark, calloused skin.

She stepped gingerly onto the rug at the base of the bath, each foot gingerly finding its footing slowly and completely before resting her full weight on the mat that hungrily lapped up the water rolling over her curves and down her legs. The Saiyan wasted no time in wrapping her in the crook of the towel, drying her off and feeling every hard and soft spot on her body in the process. Damn, Bulma felt her resolve—the one and same that had the courage to ask him to leave—disappearing like the water to the towel. Once dried off to Vegeta’s satisfaction, he threw the towel off to the side and lifted his mate in his arms. One arm under her shoulders and another resting on the in the warm crook of her knees , the mixtures of their body heat almost burning his skin to a point of desire he wasn’t sure he’d ever been. But that was beside the point at the moment. He wasn’t going to take anything from her, especially when she’s obviously doing her best to push me away.

Vegeta stared at her though the dim light when he’d reached the bedroom. The last time he’d carried her like this had been her dead body, bloodied and broken with holes in her stomach like the holes in his heart. Heh, even to me that sounded cheesy, Vegeta added. He smirked and hoped that his woman couldn’t make it out in the dark as he dropped low and deposited her on the large bed that she and Atrono had once shared.

The trip from the bathroom across the suite to her bed took no time at all to Bulma, who felt the soft covers beneath the skin of her back almost immediately after crossing the threshold of the bathroom. At first she struggled as soon as he released her—even more so when she heard the sound of his clothing start to slide and hit the floor. He couldn’t do this to her. Not right now. If he managed to seduce her, she would give in, and then Vegeta would be forced to stay with her because she fell in love with the touch of his skin all over again.

“Woman, calm yourself. I am not going to fuck you.”

Well, that was quite blunt, Bulma thought, fighting forgotten for the moment. Then what is all this? she asked, mentally gesturing to the bit with the towel and now his careful placement of her on the bed.

Still confused as he slid in next to her, she felt his hands grab a shoulder and a thigh only to turn her facing the opposite direction she thought she would. Instead of staring into a hard, well developed chest, Bulma felt said chest against her back.


“Do not question me, Woman. Not about this and especially not about staying here. The Queen may not answer to many people, but if there is one person that may order her around, it is her King.”

“My King?”

“Hn,” was all he said in return before sliding his arm around her waist to cup one of her breasts firmly. “Now rest. You are stressing yourself out beyond reasonable level.”

“But,” she said in protest.

Shut up. That’s an order.” Strong enough of an answer, even though there was no malice in his voice.

Bulma finally decided it was smart to do what he said, after all, Vegeta had made a very good point—she didn’t have to take orders from anyone but the King. She silently wished that she’d shared her dilemma fully with Vegeta to see if the King could shed some light (and possibly more Saiyan wisdom) on the matter. He was always so collected about matters of state that she felt it would be a good idea to glean as much wisdom from him as possible.

However, Bulma thought as the brooding began, considering that this little matter of state includes such personal circumstances—namely his mate and by default his son—I’m not really sure how helpful he is going to be on the matter.

Though she toggled the idea in her mind, he might—in so many ways—have given her the exact same advice that he already did. I supposed that if I have enough inner fire to deal with Vegeta (in and out of the bedroom) then I can surely say something to that annoying Vellutini. And before she could find fault in her new resolution, Bulma joined Vegeta in his steady breathing and waited till the morning came to move from his protective warmth.

When Bulma finally woke, the sound of knocking on the door to her suite didn’t register as anything but background noise until it stopped suddenly. Once the door opened unexpectedly Bulma was awake enough to pull the covers up over her exposed chest.

“Bulma! My Lady, you need to wake up!” Lynna, judging by the movement of her voice, had jogged from the door to the bed in two seconds flat—possibly some kind of record considering the size of the room.

“Lynna? What’s going on?” The Queen finally lurched forward into a sitting position, afraid to know what ailed the girl on the chance it might ruin her good mood—the result of a great night’s sleep. Dully, she noted the absence of a certain stoic man, but she shrugged it off when she remembered he had always been an early riser.

“Vellutini has requested an audience with you.” Bulma mentally smirked knowing that Vellutini, with his current authority going to his head, would not “request” anything of her if he thought he could get away with ordering her around.

“What is so urgent about that?”

Perhaps, Bulma thought, he has found the next in line? But that just made things worse. So soon?

“He seems… happy.” Silence. “This is the man who has barely been able to smile in the how many years he’s been here! Not to mention the fact that he looked anxious to see you of all people, who he’s never really liked.”

“Hmm, good point. I’m going to wash up first and make him wait a little longer. He probably has something up his sleeve, so I need to make sure I have my wits about me just in case. He’s really been punching my buttons lately and tried to undermine my authority, but that’s not going to happen anymore.

Lynna could barely move out of the way in time for her queen to jump up and walked assuredly to her bathroom. The young maid strode to the closet and selected an outfit for her before following Bulma’s trail into the other room.

Half an hour later, the Queen emerged from her quarters for her meeting with Vellutini. The hallway was long, and there was not a soul about, which was odd because usually her wind of the castle was bustling with servants, especially in the early afternoon like this. Bulma, however, concentrated solely on what she was going to say. She didn’t care if it was law that a new patriarch be elected through marriage to the current queen—no way she was going through another arranged marriage! And Vellutini was going to hear her refusal as she was armed with Vegeta’s words. You’re right, my lover, I am a queen. The only one who orders me around is… well, you, I guess. But Bulma realized that saying that would almost b like giving him permission, so she quickly added a “sometimes” to that last thought and continued her walk to the study where Vellutini seemed to hole up these days.

“Lady Bulma, I’m glad you made it.”

Okay, she thought. That was just weird.

Never had she seen such an amiable expression on the man’s face. Bulma actually felt mortification creep up her spine at the sight.

“Have a seat. I have some important new developments to discuss with you.” Once she was seated, Vellutini motioned to the far left corner of the room, and without turning, Bulma heard footsteps approach her side. “I’m sure you know Mina, she’s been a servant in this castle for five years now.”

“Yes,” Bulma began evenly, but even then, her arms and legs felt shaky from the knowledge of where this conversation was going.

“Mina has especially been helpful in the wing of the castle where you live, and she brought to my attention something of… interest that happened just last night.”

Bulma slowly turned her head toward the young girl to her side. Her black hair was straight as a stick; dull brown eyes stared straight ahead. She could see the scared look in Mina’s eyes, the fear of looking toward her Queen, whom she was betraying. Bulma just wanted to slap the girl right across her dull, little face for this act.

But then again, was she betraying Bulma or protecting the state? That’s really who she was loyal to, in fact.

“Mina, how about you share with us what you came across last night on your rounds through the halls?”

The young girl spoke, but Bulma didn’t need to listen. She knew what the Mina saw. It was exactly what Bulma had been warning Vegeta about the entire stay: if they were together in private, eventually they’d be caught. “I had just ducked into the linen room when I heard some heavy footsteps coming closer. Knowing that no one with that kind of walk had any business down the hallway, I listened and looked out the cracked door. King Vegeta just walked up to the door to the King’s suite and opened it, entering as if he did it all the time. I stayed there for a moment to see what happened, but he didn’t come out. The only person who did was Lynna.”

“Thank you, Mina. You may go return to your duties now.”

The girl bowed to Vellutini and walked toward the door, and Bulma noted how nothing was said nor any kind of respect shown to the Queen. At the click of the door, Vellutini’s attention turned toward Bulma. “I have told her to keep this information to herself and not spread it around the castle. But I think you should look at the situation now and ask yourself who is in control, Bulma.”

“I am still in control, Vellutini. I’m not going to be ordered around by someone who is not and will never be the King.”

“But you don’t have much choice anymore. You’ve backed yourself slowly into a corner ever since you left for Vegeta-sei and then returned with the King only to be concerned more with your own self and personal relationships rather than the people, inside the palace or out. You have begun to lose the trust of the people within the palace, especially the servants and those who know you most, as Mina is an example of that. And now I suddenly know why.”

“You have been having a relationship with King Vegeta. I makes sense now that I know you see him privately.”

“I can assure you that last night was the first night I have been alone with him on this planet.”

This planet, you say. Was that why you went to Vegeta-sei in the first place? To see your lover? How long has this been going on?”

Damn, Bulma thought. He’s not supposed to be in the position of power over this conversation! But it’s not like I can tell him about the real reason I went to Vegeta-sei. The last think Vellutini needs to hear about are the Dragonballs.

“Well, before you get upset over this situation, I have a proposition for you.”

Bulma froze for a moment. He wasn’t expecting her to agree to marry him in some hoop-jumping move to get himself appointed King or anything, was he? Because that was enough to make bile climb halfway up her esophagus.

“I will announce to the public that we have decided to make a permanent alliance with Vegeta-sei, and this alliance would be sealed with the marriage of King Vegeta and you.” Bulma would have risen her eyebrows, leaped from the chair and did a little dance, or just squealed in delight. But she knew that nothing came free, especially not from this man.

“What is the catch to this generous offer, Vellutini?”

“The catch? Simple, really. You will leave and live on Vegeta-sei with your new husband and live happily ever after…

“But Trunks must stay here on this planet and take over under my tutelage. I will act as his guardian until he comes of age to rule on his own. Until then, I will remain by the young King’s side as not only his representative but his advisee as well.”

x. x. x. x. x. x. x.

Tsuyoku: Was that long enough for you? And how about that ending? I hope to hear what you think, and please be patient for the next one! R&R Please!!!