Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Touketsu ❯ Influence ( Chapter 17 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]


Touketsu made short work of an entire side of beef, going so far as to consume the ribs. He had ignored the plates of food that had been laid out in the dining area where Bulma lead him, instead following his nose to the kitchen where he discovered the raw meat. Bulma wisely stayed out of the way while he feasted. She had already acknowledged to herself that he was a bit more beast than man right now, seeing as how he hadn't completely come out of that bizarre Oozaru state. In spite of that, she was determined to get her husband back. If he could transform from that demonic ape to what he was now, then there may be a possibility that the condition could be reversed completely.

A short while later Bulma led Touketsu to the bathroom and the shower. He had no clue what it was and he leapt back in defense when she turned the knob and the shower head sputtered to life. It took a little coaxing on her part, but he eventually stepped in. She stopped him from eating the bar of soap, clarifying what it was for, and then went to retrieve a towel.

Touketsu watched the rust-colored blood and muck diverge around his clawed feet to swirl down the drain. He frowned while he mechanically scrubbed, losing himself in thought. He didn't know how long he could keep up the lie about his power. If he found himself pitted against the Kagemazoku he could lose face in humiliating fashion - or worse, his life. It rankled him to consider it, but it would be wise to sidestep any confrontations with the demons and just let the Super Saiyan handle them. If Goku was now cutting them down as easily as he claimed, he would be freed up to find these Dragon Balls. Touketsu had to somehow steer these people into assisting him. He didn't have the faintest idea where they could be, but that Goku seemed to know a lot about them.

He could feel that curious anxiety spreading from the pit of his stomach again as he dwelled on the prospect of obtaining the orbs. His eyes became distant, his scrubbing slowing to a stop as he began to entertain a notion:

Why shouldn't he use them for himself?

I could wish for anything. That bastard Frieza was sitting in Hell right now. What could the tyrant do about it if he decided not to wish him back at all? Did he really need anyone to show him how to control his power when he could just wish for control?

"I don't trust him any more than Zhernobog. Chances are he'll renege on our agreement," he muttered softly. "I should just leave him there to rot and wish for mastery of my power." His eyes narrowed a little with a revelation, and he straightened.

"…What if I were to be Prince Vegeta again. A Super Saiyan prince." small smile of avarice tugged at the corner of his mouth with the thought. "I would have both the fighting prowess and the power to defeat the all-mighty Frieza."

The more he considered it, the more he was tempted. If he wished to be Vegeta again, he would most likely regain all his memories of being that person; he would have not only the power, but the knowledge. Frieza himself had called Vegeta a prodigy. He would have fighting genius with the unrivaled strength and abilities to back it up. It was very appealing. His smile faded however as he recalled Frieza's parting words:

"Your soul will be sent straight here…where I'll be waiting for you."

He swallowed nervously. That was the crux of the matter: no matter what, he would eventually die. He shook his head angrily. "Stupid," he snorted to himself. "If I were to face him as a Super Saiyan I would have nothing to fear. He was killed by a Super Saiyan. He said so himself!"

"He fell out of my favor when he openly defied me. He tried to take what rightfully belonged to me - the Dragon Balls."

Touketsu distractedly set the soap aside, his right hand drifting up to cover his heart. He felt that toxic self-doubt begin to creep through his body. Did he dare steal the Dragon Balls as Vegeta did? Blinking, he huffed a deep breath as he attempted to clear his head. "Well, maybe If I can make more than one wish, perhaps I should also wish for…"


The intrusive thought slammed into him with a blitz of images and sensations. He saw himself leveling villages, stealing large, basketball-sized amber spheres, fighting soldiers dressed as he was and then:

Frieza. Frieza in all his terrifying forms. He saw - and felt - himself being punished mercilessly for his betrayal. He was beaten and tortured for what felt like ages. He was strangled by a thick white tail and held up to be treated like a punching bag. A flurry of blindingly fast punches with the strength to level mountains hammered into his back, pulverizing his spine and ribs and destroying his organs. He felt his mouth and nose filling with blood before he was flung into the side of a cliff face. Finally, the deadly beam of ki energy pierced his heart. Agony, humiliation, and devastating, irreversible loss overcame his senses. He was looking up at that green sky, and he could feel the creeping chill of approaching death and the helpless terror that it would soon claim him. He saw his outstretched, gloved hand. He saw…Goku. The vision went dark.

Touketsu was leaning forward with his hands braced against the shower wall, breathing hard with wide eyes when the psychic hailstorm finally passed. Shaking, he swallowed and slowly straightened, ignoring the spray of water hitting him in the face. He slumped back heavily against the shower wall at his right and turned his head away, his chest still heaving and his heart racing. It was indeed a memory. The vision he had before Zhernbog drove Tosho through his heart, that unnerving experience before Frieza freed him of his impalement on that tree - they were pieces of this larger memory.

Frieza had punished him severely for his transgressions, but somehow he had survived it. As earlier, Frieza must have seen fit to spare his miserable life, but not before beating him nearly to death. If his defeat at Frieza's hands earlier had left him cowed, now he was terrified. He thought back on what he had felt when he first experienced the visions: the sense of subjugation, the hatred, the fear.

Vegeta wanted control. He attempted to gain independence just as Touketsu had done when he overthrew Zhernobog. Vegeta however, was unsuccessful. Touketsu wasn't sure if Vegeta's motivations were valid, nor was he sure if the Saiyan's punishment was justifiable. All that Touketsu knew for certain was that the prince's choices had left an indelible mark upon him: he both hated and feared Frieza. The tyrant had been inches away from killing him in Hell. If he were to betray him now, he would almost certainly be facing annihilation.

Touketsu blinked, scowling. "This is ridiculous," he hissed to himself, so softly no one could have heard. He raked a hand up through his wet hair anxiously. "He's dead. He can't reach me here. If I were to take those wishes for myself, he could do nothing about it. I could be stronger than him - I wouldn't have to die! I would have nothing to fear from him! Nothing." He grit his teeth as he curled his hand into a fist. Why could he not convince himself of that? Rationally that should have been true, but it was as though deep down, he didn't believe it. With a grunt he drove his fist backwards into the wall in frustration, chipping off large pieces of tile. It was his former life as Vegeta, once again dictating his emotions, his thoughts, his every move.

"Come on, come on," he hissed to himself. "I already have an incredible power locked away in me, I know this. I destroyed Zhernobog and his soldiers like it was nothing. Even that Super Saiyan couldn't do what I could." His fierce scowl faded into an expression of uncertainty. "But…it still wasn't enough against that bastard Frieza! I fucking choked! If I were facing him as a Super Saiyan would the same damn thing happen?" He caught his breath when he recalled the last part of the memory. Goku was there. Was it then that Frieza was defeated?

"But…why couldn't this Prince Vegeta do it?" Touketsu hissed, pressing the heels of this palms to his forehead before they went up to grip tight handfuls of hair. "A Super Saiyan, a prodigy, the prince of his kind - why couldn't he?! None of this shit makes any sense!" He slammed his palms against the tiled wall behind him, his brow furrowing. "Did Vegeta choke like I did? Is that how Frieza was able to beat him to that point?" he muttered to himself. Whatever hold this Frieza had on Vegeta, it had been a powerful one. So powerful, that it had transferred over to him. And he had thought Zhernobog controlled his thoughts…

He closed his eyes, his brow creasing with stress. "I don't know what to do," he whispered to himself. He began to mull over the emperor's words, and he slowly opened his eyes: "You need not repeat the same mistakes as he did, Touketsu. You have a chance at a new life."

As much as he hated Frieza, Touketsu had to respect the tyrant's wisdom and power; he could learn from Vegeta's mistakes. It would be very foolish to deceive Frieza knowing how things turned out for the Saiyan prince. Perhaps if he did things differently this time around, he could cut ties from the old life that was haunting him. Judging by the sway it had over his mind however, it was apparent that this would be easier said than done. His ears pricked up as he heard someone approaching from outside, disrupting his disordered thoughts. He caught the person's scent; it was the woman.

"Hey you. If you're done in there I got you a towel."

He would figure this out later. Shakily releasing the breath he was holding, he leaned over and turned the shower off. He exited the shower stall, his long black hair saturated with water and dripping into his eyes. He slicked his hair back and wiped the water off his face before looking down to take the towel she was offering.

It was pink.

His eye twitched. That color somehow pissed him off in ways he couldn't fathom. He slowly looked back up to her, but she seemed oblivious of the perceived insult. He snatched the towel away with an indignant snarl, glaring at her the entire time. Bulma blinked in surprise, her eyes wide.

"What? Geez, what's wrong?" she asked, her brow crinkling in confusion.

He glowered at her for another moment before his scowl relaxed. A crafty, fanged smirk spread over his features, and he stepped back a pace. Before Bulma could process what he was doing, he got down on all fours and shook the water off like a dog, completely drenching her. Shocked, she looked back up at Touketsu as he stood.

"Here, woman." He threw the towel into her face, making her stagger back clumsily. "Looks like you need this more than I do." He crossed his arms before throwing his head back in laughter.

Bulma angrily clawed the towel off her face. "What the hell, Vegeta? Why do you have to be such a dick?!" she blurted out. Wow, just like old times.

He continued to snicker at her expense as he took in her dripping form. He felt instantly relaxed around her, his dark musings fading into the background. Her brilliant blue eyes were now sparking with an irresistible fire, and he could instantly see now why he had chosen her as his mate in his previous life. He licked his lips, his mouth quirking into a smirk. Her scent was arresting before, but now that he had aroused her anger he found it positively intoxicating. His thoughts about leaving his old life instantly began to waver, and in that moment he didn't care.

"Hm. feisty aren't we?" he said, one eyebrow arching in amusement. "Did you always call me such nasty names?"

"In fact I did, you ass." she shot back without thinking. She caught that look in his eyes, and she recognized it well regardless of what color they were now; this was definitely not the time, not when he was not yet himself.

He dropped his arms to his sides and he slowly sauntered up to her, his smirk still firmly in place and his tail swinging lazily behind him. "I thought mates were more caring and cooperative than that."

Bulma instinctively began to back up, still absent-mindedly clutching the towel. "We did cooperate, and we did care for each other. I still do - that hasn't changed. We had our fights too, though. Believe me when I say that." She had to crane her head up to him as he continued his advancement towards her. Geez, he was never that tall.

Touketsu chuckled. "Oh, I do believe you. But why don't you show me your cooperative side now, yes? Of course, if you don't want to, that's entirely up to you. Could be fun," he purred.

Bulma continued to back up until her back connected with the opposite wall. She was holding the balled up towel in front of her now almost like a shield. "Vegeta-"

He ripped the towel out of her hands and planted his palms on either side of her head, boxing her in. He could smell her slight arousal mixed with a bit of anxiety. Oh, she was fighting it. He leaned in and studied her sparkling blue eyes, pressing his bare torso into the hands that she had instinctively held up. Her eyes became steely and she attempted to push him away without success.

He chuckled with amusement. Her attempts to fight him were nothing more than foreplay to his animal mind. Her aggression mingled with the scent of her slight arousal only stoked his lust for her. He pressed against her as he leaned his head in next to hers, his nose hovering right over the skin of her neck behind her left ear. Bulma instantly went rigid when he breathed in her scent, and a deep and lustful growl rumbled from his chest beneath her fingertips. It was the kind of sound only an animal could make.

Bulma felt his breath over her skin and the small hairs on the back of her neck prickled. She had never experienced so many racing, conflicting emotions as she did right at this moment. She had desperately missed her husband. She wanted him. Her body was responding to some degree, but her mind knew this wasn't him. Not entirely. Not yet. He couldn't even remember who she was.

She glanced down at the pair of monstrous, clawed feet that were planted on either side of her boots. She looked up at her hands, pressed into a chest that was white as marble and every bit as cold and unyielding. His clawed fingers trailed down her bare shoulders, and she shuddered. This was so wrong. Bulma's emotions were still warring inside her when she felt his teeth graze the skin of her neck - and she felt the tip of fang. That snapped her out of it.

"Vegeta, no," she said firmly, "Now's not the time. There's a lot we have to-" She jumped and her breathing hitched when she felt his long, cold tail coil around her leg; it tightened and began to slither up to the apex of her thighs like a snake."Vegeta! I said no!" she shouted as she renewed her attempts to push him away. She yelped in terror when he suddenly ripped at the top of her dress with a heated growl, tearing one of the straps and inadvertently breaking her skin with his talons.

Touketsu's eyes, which had been half-lidded in a lustful haze, snapped wide open as though he had just come out of a spell. With a livid snarl he pushed away from her, giving her his back. He wouldn't show her, but he was hurt and confused. Her scent had suddenly become laced with fear, and he was instantly both repelled and insulted. She was rejecting him. She was scared of him…repulsed, even. Bewildered, his brow furrowed. But why? She is my mate! She told me-

No. She was Vegeta's mate.

His hurt was quickly replaced with indignation…then anger. He grit his teeth, baring his fangs as the aggressive Oozaru demanded it be satisfied. He wanted her - now. It shouldn't matter at all if she didn't feel the same way. He could easily overpower her and fulfill his needs. His hands clenched into fists as he remained rooted to where he stood. Why can't I take her? His claws continued to dig into his palms until they drew blood.

He knew why: it was because of Vegeta. He wouldn't allow him to take her when she was unwilling. Damn it. Damn him and his previous life, that soft fucking bastard! How could someone rumored to be so powerful be such a fucking weakling?! He felt as though he was walking in that blasted ghost's shadow. Weak though he was, he was nonetheless controlling his every move just as Zhernobog had. The caged beast within began to thrash.

Remembering Frieza's words, he forced the emotions down and turned to give her his profile. "Perhaps you should bathe now. You stink," he sneered. He stalked out of the room without a glance her way.

Bulma's hand went up to her chest as she willed her racing heart to slow down. She shifted her hand and examined the scratches he left behind. They were superficial. She tugged the broken strap of her dress back up. Holding it in place, she took a deep breath and followed after him.

"Hey Vegeta, wait a minute," she called after him, jogging up to his side.

He continued walking and narrowed his eyes. "I think you have me mistaken for someone else," he growled, not looking in her direction.

"Hey, look. I understand your memories and…everything are not what they were, but we may be able to use the Dragon Balls," she persisted. His ears pricked at that, though he continued to pull ahead of her. "This past year I gathered six already - all we need is the last one. Then maybe we can use them to fix you - get your memories back and your body back to normal-"

"AND WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I NEED FIXING, HUH?!" he thundered as he suddenly whirled around to face her with a livid lash of his tail. "I need 'fixing' because I scare you? I need my 'body back' because this one repulses you?!"

"Vegeta, I..no," she stammered. "It's just…it's who you are-"

"THIS IS WHO I AM!" he shouted, hitting his chest with a clawed palm. "This is WHAT I am! It didn't occur to you that you're the one who needs to make some adjustments?" He glowered down at her. "You think you know me? I'm not your Vegeta."

"Wha…" Bulma was speechless for a moment. She knew that whatever had happened to him had changed him both body and mind, but there was recognition, too. Even as that beast bore down on her and Trunks just hours before - before she even knew the animal's identity - she saw that flash of recognition in its eyes. Vegeta was in there, just beneath the surface as though buried in a shallow grave. If she could just reach out to him, draw him out, she may be able to affect another change and bring Vegeta back. They may not even need to use the Dragon Balls.

She composed herself and took advantage of their proximity. She let go of the broken strap of her dress and carefully took his left hand in both of hers, inwardly wincing at how cold he felt. His back went rigid, and he glanced down at their entwined hands for a moment. He made no move to extricate himself from her grasp as his penetrating red eyes bore into hers. Fearlessly, she looked right back at him. "You are my mate," she told him sincerely. "You are my husband, and I'm not giving up on you."

Touketsu matched the intensity of her gaze, staring at her in growing annoyance and…admiration. Damn, this woman was a stubborn one. His eyes flicked over to the scratches just below her left shoulder, noticing them for the first time. His eyes softened and his brows furrowed in concern.

"I hurt you," he said quietly, his free hand drifting up to the shallow wounds. He had registered the scent of blood when he suddenly pulled away from her, but didn't allowed his thoughts to linger on it, so consumed in his own wounded pride. It was just moments ago he had desired her so powerfully that he wished to force himself on her, so he was blindsided by the guilt he felt upon seeing her injured. "I…didn't mean to."

She released his hand to cover the one that was now barely touching her. "I know you didn't."

Hesitantly, he looked up into her mesmerizing blue eyes, so full of forgiveness. Those eyes…a thought occurred to him. What of the lavender haired boy? He was almost afraid to ask, for he was now certain he knew the answer. "That boy. He is your cub, isn't he?"

Bulma swallowed. She was instantly transported back to the time Trunks had been born and Vegeta had seen him for the first time. It had been no easier telling him then. "Yes, he's my son," she finally answered.

"Who sired him?"

Her hesitation told him everything.

"It was Vegeta, wasn't it?" he stated more than asked as he lowered his hand and began to pull away.

Bulma didn't let go. "Yes, it was you," she stressed. She squeezed his hand lightly and stepped right up to him, now inches away. He leaned back almost imperceptibly. Her scent was once again washing over him, filling him with conflicting emotions. "He's your son, Vegeta. His name is Trunks. He's eight years old."

His eyes lingered on her for a moment before he scowled and looked off to his left. He had a son. This was all just too much.

"I know this is a lot. It's a lot for me too. When you disappeared, I had no idea what had happened. I didn't know if you were dead or if you left us or what. That had to have been the worst year of my life. Trunks was heartbroken. Yes, you've come back…different, but I waited a year for you. I can wait a little more." She smiled. "This may come as a shock but I had to be very patient with you for the first three years we lived together - and then some," she added lightly.

He was still staring off to the side, but his scowl had softened. He was disarmed by her slightly teasing tone, and he could detect the warm smile in the sound of her voice. She was being so kind to him. So…patient. His brows drew together. She was being patient for Vegeta. She was waiting for him. In spite of his wounded pride over her rejection of him, he found himself being tempted again: tempted to defy Freiza, tempted to return to Vegeta's mysterious life. I could have that Super Saiyan power. I could have...her…

"Vegeta? Hey," she said softly. She reached up and gently touched the side of his face, guiding him to look back at her. Her thumb stroked his cheek affectionately. "I still see you in there, tough guy. We'll wait for you," she whispered.

Touketsu recoiled in surprise when he was slapped in the face.

"Vegeta?! What's wrong, are you all right?" Bulma exclaimed, concerned. He had suddenly reeled away from her as though stung.

Touketsu looked at her accusingly with wide, incredulous eyes, his breathing harsh. In that instant he felt like a weakling and a failure. He felt like the frustrated, caged animal, filled with self-loathing. He felt subjugated.

He felt like he had just before he freed himself, when Zhernobog ran Tosho through his heart.

Without taking his gaze off of her, he continued to back away. Was this what was in store for him if he wished to be Vegeta again? To be all powerful and yet a slave? It certainly dampened some of the temptation to become the Super Saiyan Prince once more.

I can learn from Vegeta's mistakes.

Touketsu had work to do. He would focus on finding these Dragon Balls and sort these thoughts out later. At the very least, these people - her included - could be of use to him.

"You were right, what you said earlier," he finally spoke. Bulma looked at him quizzically. He scowled. "Now is not the time."

Bulma lowered her hands to her sides, a look of disappointment overcoming her features. She quickly subdued it and nodded her head, wrapping her arms around herself. She watched as he turned away from her and strode out of the temple.