Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Touketsu ❯ Purpose ( Chapter 3 )
Between their return home up to Trunk's birthday, Vegeta had once again withdrawn. He was back to frequently leaving for parts unknown, not returning until well into early morning. He was always absent from bed by the time Bulma awoke, having gotten up to begin his daily morning training routine. Bulma barely saw him. It reminded her of the early days when he had been staying at Capsule Corp while training for the Androids: a stranger, more or less. Bulma was disheartened to see him slip back into his reticence.
The family dynamic seemed to have improved quite a bit during their getaway, and Bulma had led herself to believe that whatever was consuming Vegeta had been put behind him. That was apparently not the case, but she knew better than to coerce Vegeta into talking about it. As she learned from past experience he simply shut down completely when she tried. She knew she had been pushing her luck getting him to come on the Dragon Ball hunt. So, she decided to do as she had always done, and simply make herself available if he ever felt like sharing what was burdening him. It was hard not to push things along, though; Bulma was nothing if not impatient, and Vegeta's continued aloofness was beginning to affect her. The tension resulting from unspoken words was like a pall, and she began mirroring Vegeta without even realizing it: burying herself in her work and other activities so as not to think about what was troubling her.
Fortunately, planning for Trunks's birthday provided a great distraction. In typical Brief's fashion, she went all out for the party. A seemingly endless supply of food and entertainment for the outdoor event was provided, and all their friends as well as Capsule Corp employees and their families had been invited. In typical Vegeta fashion, the Saiyan prince made himself scarce.
True to his word however, he made an appearance to watch Trunks blow out the seven birthday candles on top of the elaborate, seven tiered birthday cake. Vegeta watched from the back, his arms crossed and well away from everyone else. At the very least the whole candle ritual signified that the party was drawing to a close. About damned time in his mind. That woman and her blasted parties. Bulma was applauding Trunks, as was everyone else. Near his wife stood her friends: Chi-Chi with Gohan and Goten. Krillin and his family. Yamcha.
Vegeta rolled his eyes. He had gotten used to their presence over the years, though Yamcha's visits still annoyed him a bit. The years spent with the woman instilled in him an atypical trust with her, something that wasn't forthcoming in the earlier stages of their relationship. In those days when his feelings began to develop for her he found it very hard to see any other males around the woman, much less her former lover. He eventually relaxed over the issue; she had earned his trust. Besides, that pathetic human had nothing on him. While it still irked him that he occasionally came sniffing around to "get coffee" and "catch up" he supposed it was no different from when she hung out with her other stupid friends.
Bulma had divulged to him some time ago how jealous Yamcha had once been over her early attraction to the prince. He snorted, shaking his head to himself. It was amusing to think that the former bandit had once envied him the way he himself envied Kakarot, though for different reasons. That was the ONLY parallel between himself and that scar-faced fool. Back then he had been so wrapped up in catching up with the younger Saiyan that he had been completely oblivious to Yamcha's resentment, much less the woman's attentions. It took a gravity room explosion before he finally began looking beyond her good looks and her admittedly entertaining personality. He saw someone that actually cared…about him.
Vegeta looked to the teenage Gohan standing near his younger brother. That kid was something else. Gohan had earned the prince's respect from the day he had arrived on Earth - which he showed by doing his best to kill the boy in battle and later by bullying him relentlessly on Namek. In his mind the tough little bastard could take it; while he was a hybrid he nonetheless had the spirit of a Saiyan. Later when they all faced off against Frieza, he didn't think twice when he slapped the kid out of the way of the tyrant's devastating energy attack. Vegeta had reacted automatically, and at the time he didn't know why he had helped. Later he realized that, at some point, he had actually begun to care whether or not this surprising little upstart lived or died. Maybe it was because he was part Saiyan. Maybe it was because in Gohan he saw a bit of himself, if only in that moment: a five year old Saiyan boy thrown into the world of life or death battle, now standing in the path of his own oppressor's deadly attack.
His eyes flicked over to the blonde cyborg, and his arms tightened as he exhaled through his nose. No, he didn't like any of them, but he would always harbor a lingering animosity towards that toaster for humiliating him. As for her short husband he had developed for him a grudging respect. The diminutive monk had once been inches away from slitting the prince's throat with a katana. Though he was a mere human, he had guts.
Evening was descending, and the servant bots were flitting about across the lawn as they began cleaning up the aftermath of the party. Most of the guests had departed, though close friends of the family stuck around. Vegeta was passing the living room when he paused. Trunks and his best friend Goten were currently engaged in a fierce VR battle. Vegeta betrayed a smirk of amusement. Kick his ass, Trunks.
His son and Goku's second born had formed their friendship back when they were almost still infants, much to Vegeta's chagrin at the time. Now they were practically brothers. Vegeta supposed having the little Kakarot clone around gave his son a good sparring partner. After all, there weren't exactly many Saiyan hybrids his age running around. Truly, as much as he resented Goku he harbored no ill will towards his children.
…But god damn that kid's face.
Close to a week had passed since the party. Evening found Vegeta stretched out on his back atop the domed roof of his home, his fingers laced behind his head and his eyes lingering on the Earth's nearly full, reborn moon. The waxing moon had been half full by Trunk's birthday, and since then Vegeta had experienced a renewed focus on training his son morning and night. Their training together served as a balm to his soul, mollifying the sense of isolation he was increasingly experiencing. Now more than ever he felt that call to his roots as he reflected on Trunks's exceptional performance during training earlier.
Vegeta's perpetually tense features relaxed briefly, his mind wandering to the day Trunks first successfully executed his signature Gallic Gun technique; Trunks was only three at the time. The little boy's resulting energy attack was not deadly by any means, but Vegeta's heart had swelled with pride. Under his continued tutelage Trunks's fighting techniques were only improving. His son had incredible potential, as the boy's future counterpart in an alternate timeline had shown Vegeta. He supposed it was only fitting that his Super Saiyan son from the future - a purified version of his own flesh and blood - destroyed the tyrant that had made his life a living hell. It was poetic justice. Perhaps he himself had never been fit to do it, not when he had become a mirror image of Frieza.
A thought crossed his mind. Trunks should be trained for Super Saiyan. Why not? The boy had just turned 7. He was ready to be trained in earnest for the ascension. Vegeta of course always harbored a hope that Trunks would break through his limits on his own while they had their father-son training sessions, but he had never really pressed the matter. In his mind the sessions were a way for him to connect with his son without sacrificing his own training time; there was no way he was going to sit on his butt and play couch co-op with the kid. He conceded to himself that if the goal was to help Trunks reach his ascension, he would need to give it his utmost focus. He had to put all his focus and energy in attaining his own ascension (a frustrating, three year struggle, in fact), and even Goku and Gohan had to push themselves to the brink. Vegeta was ready to take his son's training to the next level, quite literally. For the first time in months, he felt a renewed sense of purpose.
"I've been thinking about training Trunks. For Super Saiyan."
Sitting at the dining room table with a cup of tea within reach, Bulma looked up from her laptop in surprise. "Really? I mean, now? He's so young! I'd understand the push if there was a pressing need, like preparing against Cell or something, but I don't see how it's really -"
"What? Necessary?" Vegeta cut in. "He's not going to lapse in his training the way Gohan has - I won't allow it. You know as well as I that a threat can drop in at any time. Just because the Z Fools allow themselves to fall into complacency doesn't mean I will…or my son will, for that matter."
Bulma bit her lower lip, thinking it over. She could already tell by the tone of Vegeta's voice that his mind was made up. Taking into account that this was a discussion concerning her Saiyan hybrid son, and she knew that whatever concerns she had would simply be brushed aside. He was set on doing this. And why not? Her son was as much Saiyan as he was human, after all. Vegeta however could be single minded when it came to reaching a goal. Unbidden, her mind drifted to the incident years ago when Gero blasted her hover jet out of the sky, and she and her infant nearly fell to their deaths. Vegeta had been right there and yet he did nothing, so engrossed in tracking down Gero. True, she should have never gone to a battlefield with a baby in tow to begin with. It was reckless beyond words. But, her faults didn't absolve Vegeta of his own…
Vegeta regarded her for a moment. "What? What is it you're thinking? Spit it out."
Bulma closed her laptop and looked up at him, hesitating to bring it up. The last thing she wanted to do was pick a fight. She had been walking on eggshells around him enough as it was.
Vegeta studied her eyes. "You don't trust me, do you?" he asked gruffly.
"Vegeta," Bulma sighed.
After the years they spent together Vegeta knew her mind well enough. He was well aware of his callousness to her and Trunks early on in their unconventional relationship. At that time, Trunks had come as a complete shock. Being a father was not something he had planned on. Hell, when he first arrived on Earth he was repulsed by Nappa's suggestion to sire Saiyan-human hybrids. Yes, he respected Gohan; he couldn't deny the power that hybrid wielded. But Vegeta was a prince and he had standards - there was no way he would lower himself to fathering a mongrel.
He still harbored the elitist sentiment when Trunks appeared into his life. He had just unlocked the power of The Legendary and was preparing to face the Android threat slated to end all of their lives. The revelation that he was now a father was just too much for him to accept at the time, and he grappled with his Saiyan pride knowing that his royal lineage was now tainted with human blood. Only when he was made aware that the Super Saiyan boy from the future was in fact his own son did he begin to look at the boy in a different way, not that it was something he let on.
Vegeta tightened his crossed arms defensively and turned his head to the side. "Look, the past is over and done with. This is now. I'm not asking for your permission, I'm simply stating my intentions. Got it?"
Bulma could see him putting his walls up again. She knew he cared about Trunks. Any doubt about it six years ago had been wiped away when she received word of his reaction after Cell killed Future Trunks. From that point on he had committed himself to raising their son together with her. Distant though he was, he showed how much he cared when he included his son in the one thing that was most important to him. Truth be told, she was encouraged by his proposal; he had been so withdrawn, and she had feared they were back to square one after their family vacation. This was a step in the right direction.
"I know it's in the past," Bulma said softly as she stood up from her seat. Vegeta said nothing, still staring off to the side as she approached him and lay a hand on his arm. "Hey," she said, reaching out to the side of his face with her other hand. She gently turned his head so he was facing her. "I trust you, ok?"
Vegeta's eyes softened, and his hand drifted up to cover hers. After a moment, he gently pulled her hand away. "Hn. As if I needed affirmation from you."
Bulma huffed through her nose in mild annoyance and crossed her arms. "Well, why don't you go tell Trunks what the plan is, tough guy."
Vegeta grunted and made his way over to the living room where Trunks was lying on his stomach on the floor watching TV, legs crossed and his chin lazily propped up on one hand. He was currently engrossed in a nature documentary about lions. A grizzled male lion with a dark mane stalked across the screen, the narrator explaining its behavior in a gentle English accent:
"Male lions of a pride are regularly challenged by others looking for lionesses of their own. This new male has successfully driven off the other, and it has taken control of the pride. It will now systematically hunt down and dispatch all the cubs under a year old."
"Wha? Awwww," Trunks whined softly in a wounded voice.
"The lionesses are no match against the invading male's superior strength, and now that the cubs' sire is absent they are without defense. Killing the cubs are in the invading male's interest however, for the females, bereft of their infants, will quickly be brought back into estrus. Thus the future of the newcomer's bloodline is ensured. It may seem cruel, but this…is nature."
Trunks, unfazed, continued to watch the documentary. He had sensed his father enter the room, after all. "Yeah Dad?"
Vegeta's eye twitched in annoyance. "Look at me, boy."
Trunks looked over his shoulder at his father expectantly just as the marauding lion fell upon a hapless cub.
"I think it's time you learned how to go Super Saiyan," he said bluntly. "Seeing as how it's your weekend off school your training will begin tomorrow morning."
Trunks's mouth fell open in surprise before his expression changed to one of absolute joy. "Really?! You mean it?"
"Yes. Your advancement in your training up to this point tells me you're more than ready." Vegeta hadn't even finished talking when Trunks launched himself at his father, hugging him tightly around the waist. Vegeta kept his arms crossed and didn't move a muscle. "Alright, unhand me boy." Trunks did as he was told but was all smiles as he looked up at his father. "Your training will be intense so I expect you to get adequate sleep tonight. You'll need it. Now get your butt upstairs and start getting ready for bed," he growled, flicking his head towards the staircase.
"Ok, Dad!" Trunks tore upstairs to do just that, though his excitement would keep him awake in bed for the next hour and a half.
While Vegeta wouldn't admit it to the boy, he was rather anticipating the following morning as well.