Things Behind The Sun


September, 765

"What are you talking about, you crazy woman?"

Vegeta crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at Bulma, who returned the favor with a flaming stare of her own. He could literally feel her steaming, fury was sparkling in her eyes, her jaw was tense in rage.

"I said leave me alone!" she yelled hoarsely, her cheeks going an intense shade of red, then she turned her head, not facing him anymore and started to sob desolately, weeping so intensely that it looked like she was going to choke on her tears. Vegeta wasn't perturbed. Yes, the woman was crazy, that had already been established long ago. But there was something more about her, he had learned – the way she talked to him, the way her eyes sparkled furiously – there was something churning and burning inside her, something that resembled the soul of a Saiyan and watching that something reduced to a weak sniveling heap was the most disgusting thing he had ever seen and he was damned if he was going to allow it.

He snorted in irritation and let his eyes wander on the floor, where the shards of glass from the mirror were shining eerily in the semi-darkness of the bathroom. It was a huge mess. He narrowed his eyes.

"…are you hurt?" he inquired in an even tone, but the woman was sobbing too loud, choking and nearly convulsing. "Are you hurt?" he repeated louder and she finally looked up, her face swollen and contorted in a mix of fury and sadness that was mystifying.

"No," she answered between sobs.

Vegeta exhaled sharply through his nostrils.

"Get up, then."

August, 765

Bulma was sitting ramrod straight at Vegeta's bedside.

Only her eyes were animated – the rest of her body, she felt as though it was made of lead – the fear of having played a part in the possible death of someone had turned her into a motionless statue, the panic had turned her guts to ice.

She had followed her father's instructions like a robot and together they had been able to stabilize the moron, but the fear, the cold, icy fear remained. He was laying in his bed now, an oxygen mask covering his nose and mouth and the bandages were mercifully covering the gruesome wounds – it wasn't a nice view. But at least – she wasn't an assassin. And Vegeta's second chance hadn't gone down the drain because she had been thoughtless and he had been a reckless fool.

"It's a miracle he survived such a horrible accident," her father was saying. "Those Saiyans are indestructible."

Bulma snorted, without moving her eyes away from Vegeta's figure. He was starting to toss about, his head turning right and left weakly on the pillow – Bulma narrowed her eyes as she observed. Was he having a nightmare? What could Vegeta possibly fear so much that it seeped through his subconscious? She thought about the brief flash of emotion she had seen years ago – now she knew for sure that his emptiness was only a façade – the tough guy act. We are so much more than just one thing, Bulma said to herself. It was the lesson she had learned from spending so much time with Goku, in talking to him for hours and hours to no end. And now she could see that the rule applied also to Vegeta.

"Poor Vegeta," her mother sobbed into a tissue, and Dr. Briefs patted her lightly on one arm to comfort her. "Come on, dear," he said, leading her to the door. "Let's go. He needs quiet."

Bulma heard the steps of her parents as they left the room and her mother's sobs becoming fainter and fainter and only then she found the strength to look away from Vegeta's battered form. She turned to leave as well – then a louder moan came from the bed and she jumped and stopped in her tracks.

"Vegeta?" she called, tentative. She approached the bedside again. "Can you hear me?"

Vegeta gave a grunt and his head tossed more violently on the pillow. His eyes were shut tight.

"No…," he said. "I… I'll be stronger…" he whimpered, his arms jerking up and then lowering again. "Kakarot… Kakarot…"

Bulma froze when she heard the name, feeling her heart skip a beat. Kakarot… Goku. Of course, Goku. He had that special ability of getting under people's skin, of crawling in their soul, of filling them and emptying them all at once. In a twisted way, Goku had become Vegeta reason for living – his target and the thing that kept him going. She knew he wouldn't stop until he was stronger than Goku… she just hoped Goku was right in wanting to see the beauty of things.

She shuddered and left the room, quietly closing the door behind her.

Goku rubbed the back of his neck with one hand with a pensive expression on his face.

They were at their clearing, sitting on the hood of her red hover car that had made an alarming sound upon receiving Goku's weight. They looked like two ordinary teenagers, but they couldn't be further away from that. Earlier that night, Bulma had launched herself into Goku's arms as soon as he had appeared from thin air, babbling madly about Vegeta's accident – and if there ever was someone who was able to brave through her hysterics, it was Goku.

"Did he say how it happened?" he asked Bulma and she arched an eyebrow.

"Yes, and then we held hands and skipped," she replied dryly. "Of course he didn't!" she then shrieked planting her face only inches from Goku's, and Goku laughed faintly at her antics. "He was barely conscious when I left anyway," she concluded, and Goku nodded, turning serious again.

"Well," he said, his hand still at his nape. "I could ask Korin if there are any senzu beans available. That would make things easier, don't you think?"

Bulma considered Goku's offer for a moment, then she shrugged. "I don't know," she said bluntly. "I think he might spit the senzu out just to spite you," she concluded.

Goku chuckled. "That bad, huh?" he mused and Bulma scowled.

"You sure about this Vegeta-doesn't-want-to-kill-me thing?" she said, not bothering to hide her skepticism.

As a response, Goku bumped her lightly with a shoulder. "Yep," he then added briefly and Bulma shook her head.

"Okay, fine," she sighed. "Anyway, I don't think senzu beans are a good idea. Let's not give him another reason to resent you. Besides, spending some time on his behind is the lesson he deserves for not listening to me."

"As long as he doesn't bother you," Goku said.

"He won't."

Bulma lowered her head, and her hair fell down to cover her face. She nervously reached to fix a blue lock behind her ear, but it fell back again and Goku smiled to himself before taking her fidgeting hand in his. Bulma's hands were always cold – no matter the season. In fact, it was a full blown summer night – and fireflies were making their appearance to Goku's delight – but that little white hand felt like ice in his, so he held it a little bit tighter.

Bulma gasped at the loving gesture – and she suddenly felt as though something was melting inside her. Maybe it was all the ice of that afternoon, all that glacial fear that had clogged her lungs and her stomach. Without any warning, she felt her breath itch once, then twice. And before she knew it, her shoulders were quivering at the rhythm of her sobs. She tried to stop them, then to stifle them, but to no avail – she felt like she had to cry all the tears of the world. And for what, she didn't even know.

"Hey!" Goku exclaimed in surprise, but his voice carried a new note of tenderness that for some reason made her sob even louder and she was hating herself for it. She didn't want to cry like that in front of him – she wasn't ready to cross that line of intimacy yet. She didn't want to be seen like that – she was Bulma, tough and hot-headed – that was the image of herself she wanted Goku to have. But she didn't even know if she was that Bulma anymore. Something inside had changed – something about her had softened terribly in the months spent loving Goku and she didn't know what to make of it. She liked the way she was before – she liked being able to yell and boss around and let things wash over her without leaving marks.

Now everything sank way too deeply and she didn't know why. She felt like she was breaking apart.

Goku frowned and reached out with a hand to lift her chin a little, but she wasn't having any of it, so he opted for sneaking an arm around her shoulders and pull her to his chest. Bulma eagerly accepted the chance to hide her face, sinking in his embrace, in his scent of woods and sun.

"Hey…" he repeated, kissing the top of her head. "It wasn't your fault."

Bulma nodded against the fabric of his gi and sniffled loudly. "I know, I know," she wept miserably. "I don't know why I'm crying," she said in a voice thick of tears. Goku smiled, contrite, and he looked down at her. Then he chuckled.

"Did you just wipe your snot over my clothes?" he said and Bulma pushed him away immediately, tears forgotten at once.

"What?" she yelled, indignant. "I don't do those things! I am a lady!"

Goku whistled and laughed heartily and Bulma couldn't help being drawn into his laugh, into his contagious hilarity – she snorted and then started to giggle, her shoulders quivering more than ever as the giggles became an untamable fit of laughs. Laughing felt good – laughing stopped the restless gears of her brain for a while.

"Oh, Kami," she exhaled at last, holding her sides. Her muscles were actually hurting and she made the mental note that crying desolately and then laughing like crazy could probably be a warning sign for mental issues, but it was the best workout ever, since it didn't involve hideous outfits and sweat and other horrible, painful things.

Goku was smiling. "Better?"

"Yeah," Bulma said, wiping away the remains of her tears. "Sorry. I don't know what's wrong with me today."

Goku studied her face for a moment with a gentle smile on his features. "You got scared. It's normal, I think. It's because you're a good person."

Bulma looked up sharply, oddly stricken by his words and she asked a question she thought she would never ask.

"Am I really?"

Sometimes – it was hard for her to tell. She wanted with all her might to believe she was perfect, that she was the best – but lately, for some reason, those bursts of ego and self-confidence were growing further and further apart. But, as soon as the question had left her lips – part of her regretted it. She didn't want his validation. She didn't need it. They were supposed to be peers – and yet, she wanted him to say she was perfect. Something wasn't adding up. Why was he waiting to leave Chichi anyway? As days went by, the reason seemed smaller and smaller –he had said they were going to be okay. What were they waiting for?

Goku was examining her face with those big, black eyes she loved – and, that night, Bulma squirmed under his scrutiny, but she held his gaze because at least she was strong enough to do so. What was the verdict?

"You are you, Bulma," he said finally. "I wouldn't trade you, not even for a huge, huge dinner that last forever, maybe."

Bulma gaped at Goku for a moment, her mouth hanging open stolidly – then her qualms dissolved into nothingness as she burst into another fit of laughs, loud than ever. Not quite the three famous words, but close… close.

"You're an idiot."

"Do I kill myself or do I kill them all?"

Vegeta had this new mantra.

He had thought it up in the excruciating first days after the accident in the gravity room – when he had first opened his eyes after being unconscious for a whole afternoon, actually. Yes, because the first thing he had seen had been… unfortunate. The three morons – the dumb blonde, the doctor and the woman – gaping down at him as though he was a freak of nature.

He had groaned in pain and annoyance, and closed his eyes immediately afterward, thinking that if he focused hard enough, he would have been able to wish them away, but – no. No such thing as mercy for him, no rest for the wicked.

And two weeks later, the morons were still there, in and out of his room, with their stupid cheerful and loud voices and their stupid unmotivated laughs – but at least they brought food and that was absolutely the only reason he was allowing them to live. But still – it was hell. And he was disgusted by everything.

He wasn't supposed to be this, he was supposed to be tougher. He was supposed to be able to handle everything, because he was hard and strong and, what was more, he was smart. What the hell had happened in the gravity room that day, he didn't know – he had just seen the two energy blasts being deflected from the walls and against him and he had jumped out of the way and then – nothing. Nothing but burning pain. Then flashes of consciousness – someone was dragging him, calling his name – flashes of blue. The woman had been there – Vegeta narrowed his eyes and clenched his teeth as he felt the pain coming back.

He was sitting up in bed, finally able to do so, but the pain he had been able to keep under control for the last few hours, was now coming back full force and he was forced to ball his hands into tight fists to stop them from shaking. He bit hard on his lower lip, drawing blood, shutting his eyes – the pain came from too many places for him to counter it just by concentrating. His legs, his back, his shoulders, his freaking face – it was all a huge, deep pool of pain. As much as he hated it, he needed those miraculous little white pills the three morons had left on the table – gathering all his will he swung his legs over the side of the bed, but when pangs of electric shock-like pain rose up his spine to his brain to his goddamn hair, he realized that maybe he had to stop. Vegeta snarled. He hated feeling helpless – it was all Kakarot's fault.


Great, and now the woman was there.

Vegeta sealed his eyes shut and tried to breathe deeply, to take control of his body, to ignore the fire the was enveloping him and most of all, to ignore the stupid blue-haired earth woman. Who did she think she was anyway, entering his room without knocking?

"Go away," he growled, not bothering to open his eyes.

He heard no footsteps, but he didn't need that to know she was still there. He could picture her very well, by now – the blue unruly bangs that framed those glowering eyes, the indignant expression on her face. He couldn't believe the nerve of that woman.

He took a couple of heaving breaths, his hands tightening to grab a hold of the sheets. Damn, he wanted the pills.

"Tell me what you need," said the woman's voice, but it didn't sound annoyed or impatient. It was almost compassionate and Vegeta snorted to himself and opened his eyes to put her back in her place. Glancing at her, he noted that his mental image of the woman was spot on – she looked as defiant as always. He snarled in disgust, he didn't want her anywhere near him.

"Tsk," he hissed between clenched teeth. "I don't need you."

Bulma glared at him like he was an idiot for a moment, then rolled her eyes.

"Oh, right," she huffed and went to the table near the window, retrieving the painkillers and shaking three in her palms. She placed them on the bedside table and filled the glass with water.

"I forgot… you need no one since you're so much better than anyone else!" she said and crossed her arms, waiting for Vegeta to take the pills by himself. But Vegeta didn't make a move, he sat on the edge of the bed, his entire frame quivering with the jolts of pain that threatened to break him, his breathing getting shallower by the second and – real anger in his eyes.

After the longest moment, he took a shaking deep breath through his bruised lungs and smirked.

"Well," he sneered, doing his best to ignore the scorching pain that had now fully seized him, distorting his sight, making everything less than real. He wanted to scream, to punch, to hurt someone. He wanted someone to feel a fraction of the pain he was feeling, of the despair that that pitiful helplessness brought to him. "It doesn't take much to be better than you."

Bulma exhaled noisily through her mouth, and the puff of air ruffled her bangs.

"What, because I'm a woman?" she snapped, but Vegeta let out a hollow laugh, a malevolent sound that made Bulma's blood turn to ice.

"No," he said hoarsely and there was an almost manic light in his black eyes. "No," he repeated and a grimace of utter disgust and rage appeared on his face, transfiguring his normally smooth features into something feral, something brutal. "Because you are nothing," he said between heavy, labored breaths. He bared his teeth, as though he was a cobra ready to strike.

Bulma narrowed her eyes.

Vegeta seemed completely out of it, she thought, maybe it was wiser to let it go and help him with the painkillers, or maybe she had to tell Goku that Vegeta was going crazy and that senzu beans seemed like a great thing now –

"Vegeta, wait…" she said, trying to push him back on the pillows, but he grabbed her wrist with unexpected strength.

"Don't touch me! Don't you dare!" he seethed. "I said you are nothing – you are nothing but Kakarot's whore!"

The slap that came made his head snap sharply to one side, and the room spun for a moment before going still again. In normal conditions, he would have already blasted the woman through the wall.

She was standing there, trembling from head to toes so much that he could hear her teeth chattering and Vegeta thought with satisfaction that he had managed to transfer a little bit of his pain elsewhere – he didn't care if it was the woman. She was a stupid human being anyway. A human – yes, above the average, but weak and stupid nonetheless.

His head felt clearer than it had been in days.

Bulma took a step back, still shaking. Her face had gone white and then red in the span of a millisecond – Vegeta thought her eyes were going to squirt out of her orbits.

"How…" she seethed furiously, her blue eyes flashing in a way that seemed almost supernatural. "How dare you…"

Vegeta smirked.

The woman could say what she wanted – he knew the truth. He had gained at least one thing from the whole fustercluck on Earth – and that was the ability to sense power levels. All it took was one little slip from Kakarot's part an early morning of July – and Vegeta had known. Not that he cared. He was simply disgusted, he had thought for a moment that the woman was an unconquered spirit – but that particular knowledge had revealed itself useful after all.

He held the woman burning stare – her eyes were starting to glisten and she looked as though she was ready to explode with shame and rage in a million of pieces.

He idly prepared himself for the explosion and the high-pitched screaming that was surely coming – but she hastily turned on her heels and stormed out of the room, slamming the door so hard that some plaster crumbled down, trickling faintly on the floor.

Vegeta stared at the closed door for a moment – the high, the satisfaction was gone – he just felt empty. He reached for the pills on the bedside table and shoot them all at once in his mouth. He crunched on them noisily, purposefully, not reacting in any visible way at the bad taste they left.

Bulma splashed the cold water on her face and looked at her reflection in the mirror, breathing hard.

She didn't know who that creature looking back was. The hair she knew – and the eyes were familiar, but – they didn't belong to her. They were widened and bloodshot, the pupils dilated abnormally. It was like looking at her reflection from hell – as though that mirror was meant to emphasize the ugly in her face – the ugly in her soul.

You are nothing but Kakarot's whore.

It was what Vegeta had shouted in his outburst of pain and rage. And he had hit hard. Those words had fallen on Bulma's head with the weight of a ton of bricks – not because Vegeta somehow knew about them, she amazingly couldn't care less about that – it was because of something she couldn't bear to admit. Something she couldn't say out loud, something she couldn't think.

Bulma looked at her deranged doppelganger in the mirror, at that empty shell of her former self and swallowed through her dry throat. She surely couldn't be that woman that was looking back at her – she looked sad, scared… lost. And she was Bulma – she was spirited, brilliant and confident.

There had to be a mistake.

She tightened her hands on the edge of the sink until her knuckles whitened. She was going to meet him in a few hours – and everything would turn out okay.

"Do not freak out," she murmured breathlessly to the scared doppelganger and she shuddered when she saw it moving the lips along with her.

She closed her eyes and counted to ten, breathing deeply – and when she stopped feeling like she was going to pass out, or to explode, or the two things together, she slowly left the bathroom and started to dress for the evening. For the clearing.

It was going to be alright – Vegeta was just a mean, spiteful being. He probably enjoyed when people around him were miserable, he probably reveled in it to make up for the wasteland that was his life.

It was going to be alright – what she and Goku had was for real. And it wasn't tainted, it wasn't meant to hurt anyone – they were chained. Goku was a part of her, he always had been and he always would be. Her love for him was like the water of a river – an everlasting flow that could be buried in some spots, underground, out of sight, it could become invisible – but then it always resurfaced where it had to, rushing impetuously. It wasn't the whim of a moment – they belonged to each other since the night before his wedding, since that night of pure surrender. And they had circled each other for almost ten years trying to go back to that moment – they were about to make it through ad she couldn't let a bunch of venomous words get in the way of that.

Chichi was a distant woman that hadn't been able to make Goku fall in love with her. It wasn't anybody's fault. Vegeta's mean words meant nothing. The deranged reflection looking at her with sad eyes meant nothing – she wasn't sad. She wasn't mean. She just wanted Goku all for herself.

At 10 PM, Bulma took her hover car, the one where they had spent an entire evening chatting and kissing in their perfect rhythm – and made her way towards the clearing. They drill was pretty simple – she used her car to get there and once Goku sensed her presence in the right place he teleported to her. It was easy. They had done it maybe a thousand of times by then.

Bulma turned off the engine at the edge of the clearing. Goku was going to appear in a matter of seconds.

She glanced at the watch. It was okay, maybe he was tucking Gohan in. She pulled out a cigarette and took a long drag, ready to hide her guilty pleasure as soon as he materialized. She glanced at the watch again and shook another cigarette from the pack. She turned on the radio of the car and she turned it off immediately. She started to look around, maybe he was pulling one of his stupid pranks – she smoked another cigarette.

An hour later, Goku was nowhere to be seen and Bulma's beliefs were in ashes.

She wanted to cry at her stupidity and at Vegeta's words that had echoed in her skull for the past sixty minutes – she wanted to kick herself for falling victim of that situation, for placing her hopes in someone who could not give her what she wanted – and what she wanted was everything. She had been a fool – and what was more foolish, she was still there waiting for him, at night, in the middle of nowhere. Without thinking, she kicked hard the side of the car.

"AAARGH!" she shouted when the pain started in her toe and went straight to her brain. "DAMN IT!"


Bulma twirled on her feet, stumbling awkwardly – Goku was in front of her, big eyes reflecting the sky and he was making the same old gesture, the hand behind his head and the innocent expression.

It was the gesture she would one day miss until the pain and the longing turned themselves into a physical, tangible spasm.

"You're late!" she said in a clipped voice, narrowing her eyes until they were nothing but slits.

Goku gave her a smile that seemed somewhat strained. "I know, I'm sorry!" he said, scratching the back of his head. "I… I had stuff going on at home."

Bulma scowled. "What kind of stuff?"

"Nothing serious," he replied, then he stretched his grin until it became too big for his face. "Don't worry about it."

Goku's smile did it for Bulma. She was positive he was hiding something. She studied him carefully – her blue eyes flickering all over his face. He looked tired though – maybe the training session with Piccolo had lasted more than usual – sure, that was convenient. She wondered how many times he had used the same excuse with his wife.

"Goku!" she exclaimed angrily. "I have waited for you, here, alone, for OVER AN HOUR!" she said, her voice going higher and higher as she progressively lost the remains of her temper. "You think I'm okay with that?"

Goku blinked. "No… I'm sorry," he said and he sounded genuinely apologetic. But it wasn't enough for Bulma. Not that night.

"What happened?" she inquired, never taking her eyes from his and she saw something in those dark orbs shift slightly. "Well?"

Goku shook his head. "Really, it was nothing," he said in his most convincing voice. "I…"

"You what?" Bulma pressed on.

"I wasn't –

"You didn't want to come here, am I right?"

Goku blinked again, frantically, and Bulma hated him more, more than ever and she didn't wait for his reply, because she wasn't interested in it anymore – all she was thinking about was the truth Vegeta had seethed and the taste it had – awful. Bitter.

A truth nevertheless.

"Of course I wanted to come, I was just –

"What are we doing, Goku?"

Puzzled, Goku raised his eyebrows.

"Hem… what do you mean?" he said, genuinely confused and Bulma burst into a hollow, chilling laugh, shaking her head. She suddenly felt tired, she suddenly felt as though everything she had done in the past ten years had led her to nothing – and maybe, possibly – that was also a truth.

"I can't do this," she said and her tone was helpless, she knew she was on the verge of tears of shame, tears of heavy grief. She shook her head again, she shrugged her shoulders. "I thought I could, but I can't. I can't be this – I won't."

Goku frowned and tried to rest a hand on Bulma's arm, to touch her, to feel her, but she recoiled as though his hand had burned her – as though he had hurt her.

"Bulma…" he said, trying to be firm, but her reaction at his touch had hurt him more than he thought it was possible. "Calm down… what are you talking about?" he asked because sometimes he really couldn't figure her out. There were a lot of things he didn't understand – and Bulma going flying off the handle every now and then was the thing that topped it all.

Bulma paused for a moment before speaking again. She smiled mirthlessly. "I think you'll never tell Chichi," she said at last. "I know you too well."

"What? Of course I will! We decided it together, remember?"

"No," Bulma said louder. "You'd never hurt her on purpose, not if you can avoid it. You'd never hurt anyone, besides weird space-tyrants."

She laughed at her own joke and, despite the warm summer night, despite the fireflies – Goku felt as though he had iced water in his veins.

He swallowed. "I said I would. I will. I'll tell her tonight if you want."

Bulma shook her head. "I think we shouldn't see each other anymore," she said, deadpan. Emotionless. And Goku recognized the ice in his veins. It was the ice of when she turned her back to him and walked away.

"Bulma," he said breathlessly, wary. "What are you doing?"

Bulma shrugged. "Nothing. I just need to be alone."

"Is that all you have to say?" Goku all but yelled and Bulma stared at him, mildly surprised at his almost-outburst – if only he had talked like that ten years before – but ten years before it seemed like nothing held any real meaning to Goku, beside his basic needs to train and to eat. Now that apparently he cared enough – it was too late. He had turned Bulma in something she despised – in the sad, pining doppelganger of the mirror, the one that waited alone in the woods. And it wasn't okay. She wanted her old self back. The one that didn't need validation from anyone.

"What do you want me to say, Goku?" she snorted. "That it's okay? It's really not!"

"So what is it now?" he asked, incredulous. "See you around?"

"I don't know! Right now, I want to be alone, is that so hard to understand?" she yelled. She was tired. He was making things more difficult than they needed to be – and Bulma was done with difficult stuff. "Damn!" she exclaimed in frustration and Goku once again tried to make a contact, to bridge the gap she was creating. He reached out and took one of her hands in his.

"Bulma," he said, almost pleading. "I don't, I don't understand."

Bulma softened a little at his pleading voice, at the confusion she saw in his beautiful big eyes. Maybe shouting wasn't going to cut it this time – as much as it hurt, she needed another approach to make him see things and to take back her identity. She sighed and took his face in her hands. She closed her eyes for a moment and when she opened them again, her mind was set.

"Can you do one thing for me?" she murmured. She already knew the answer.

"Anything for you."

She swallowed. "Say it. Say it and we'll both be free."

Goku blinked and a moment of silence went by. "Say what?" he asked.

"Say you don't love me."

Bulma looked at Goku straight in the eyes. He was staring at her with a hurt and betrayed expression that smashed her heart in a thousand of fragments – but she knew it was for the best.

"You first," he hissed, clenching his teeth as though he was in pain. Bulma didn't hesitate – her freedom was close. Another small effort – and they would be done forever.

"Goku, I don't love you," she said in an empty voice, the voice when you read something out loud. "Your turn now."

"I can't."

Bulma scowled. "Yes, you can."

Goku took her hands and lowered them down, away from his cheeks. He shook his head with a weird, crooked smile.

"No," he said softly. "Go ahead," he nodded towards the car. "Go home."

Bulma looked at him one last time – his eyes, his bangs, the small line at the side if his mouth. Then she turned and didn't look back.

It was the right thing to do.

As far as she knew, she was running towards herself.

September, 765

"Are you hurt?"


"Get up, then."

Bulma sent Vegeta an incredulous stare. For the life of her, she couldn't figure out a single reason why he would not leave her alone. They had lived in a state of relative peace in the last weeks, or rather they had ignored each other carefully – and now he was standing there acting like he had the right to talk to heragain. Well, Mr. Prince of all Saiyans – I've got news for you, she thought sourly. You are nothing. Yes, you too.

"Who do you think you are, Vegeta?" she seethed. "I said leave me alone!"

Vegeta scowled and stepped inside the bathroom, avoiding the shards of glass on the floor without looking. His eyes were flashing dangerously and Bulma thought that she didn't care – if he were to kill her, the only thing he would accomplish was to prove once and for all how weak and foolish he actually was.

She didn't care. Her life was over either way.

"Are you going to kill me?" she taunted. "Did I cross some imaginary line you drew in your demented brain?"

Vegeta growled – and roughly grabbed her from an arm, pulling her up.

"Get up, woman," he said, expressionless. "And stop sniveling."

Bulma gaped at him for a moment, then she scoffed. "This is my house!" she snarled and she didn't care if she sounded childish. "You can't tell me what to do!"

Vegeta narrowed his eyes. "Don't be stupid!" he said, pinning her forcefully against the wall at her back. "You're better than this."

Bulma laughed maniacally. "And what do you know, Vegeta?" she said while the tears kept streaming copiously down her cheeks. Vegeta looked at her with glowering eyes before answering in a low, poignant voice.

"I've seen you," he said. "You're not this weak."

Bulma felt her breath itch in her throat and she averted Vegeta's dark stare, looking through her clouded eyes at the broken mirror at his back.

"Get out of my face," she choked.

Vegeta snorted and pulled back a little. "You're pitiful," he said.

"So are you," she countered, now looking dead straight in his eyes that were burning scarily – he grabbed her head with force, tilting it a little by pulling on her hair – and Bulma widened her eyes, holding her breath – they locked eyes for an endless second as the air sizzled between them – and Vegeta roughly pulled her forward kissing her fiercely.

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