Dragon Ball Z: Pride Before A Fall

Chapter 4

When Bulma finally decided to get up that morning, it was with a new-found energy. She zipped over to her closet, humming to herself as she argued over different outfits. Once she had made up her mind and gotten dressed, she suddenly decided she hated her hair. Time to change it again! She popped open a capsule full of hair care products and got to work, ironing and pulling and snipping until she came up with a new look she was satisfied with – straight, parted slightly to the side, and somewhat short. Finally she threw some make-up into the mix and found a new Bulma smiling into the mirror.

And then there was the glove. She picked it up and looked it over, trying to figure how to best "keep it on her person." It was without a doubt the sweetness thing Vegeta had ever done and perhaps the sweetness thing he would ever do so there was no way she'd pass this up. She tried to figure a way of incorporating it into her outfit, but finally settled on just neatly folding it and tucking it into her pocket. She squared her hips and gave herself one last inspection, flicking a hair out of her eyes, before heading out into the house.

Bulma was still humming as her mother came in from watering the garden, their two hums beginning to coincide as Mrs. Brief put the watering can away.

"Oh, Bulma! You look absolutely adorable this morning!"

Bulma kicked up her feet on the living room coffee table, stretching out her arms over the couch.

"Morning, Bulma!" waved a little piggy, walking past and hoping up into a chair to read a magazine.

"Good morning, Oolong," Bulma smiled brightly back, "Morning, Mom."

"Ooh, strawberry shortcake!" Oolong remarked, seeing a partly eaten cake on the table and taking a large slice for himself.

"Take as much as you like, Mr. Oolong," Mrs. Briefs tittered, "I had it brought over from the store when I heard you were visiting! Bulma, now I know you're dieting right now, but you simply must—"

"Looks great, thanks, Mom!" Bulma chirped back, getting a piece with a large strawberry. Both Oolong and Mrs. Brief blinked at her several times as she filled her cheeks.

"My goodness!" Mrs. Brief remarked, "That's the first time I've seen you eat like that in weeks!"

"And they call me a pig," Oolong snorted and oinked.

As Bulma forked up the cake, Yamcha and Puar also wandered in, Puar squeaking her morning greetings and Yamcha dabbing the sweat from his morning workout from his forehead.

"Hey, Bulma," said Yamcha sheepishly, lowering his arm, "Gee, you sure look great today."

"I feel great," Bulma assured them all, getting another slice of cake.

Now Yamcha and Puar took turns looking at each other, Puar landing on Yamcha's shoulder as he went to the fridge to get a drink. Bulma sat her plate of cake aside and got out her small personal computer, flipping it open. The screen came on, revealing Vegeta in the Capsule ship, training hard, back down to four hundred times gravity and tackling the reprogrammed drones with new zeal. Bulma rested her head on her hand, sighing happily. Yamcha returned with his drink, tipping it back as he eyed the screen.

"He seems to be doing a lot better now after taking that rest," Yamcha observed, "Maybe we can all relax finally."

"That Vegeta can be pretty scary," Puar had to agree.

"Mmm…" Bulma hummed, "I programmed the new AI to challenge his motor skills. Raw strength won't be enough if these androids end up being too quick for you guys hit."

"That's great and all," Yamcha said skeptically, "But how do we know he'll even show up to help us fight the androids?"

Bulma shot him a glare that turned him to butter. "Don't even say that! Besides, you don't know Vegeta. He'd never pass up a chance to test his strength."

"But Bulma," Yamcha stuttered, "It's not like you know him either."

"Oh yeah, and how would you know that anyhow?" Bulma snapped, melting him further.

Oolong snorted as they bickered, returning to his magazine. He turned a page and glanced up again briefly, about to return to reading when he noticed something white poking out of Bulma's pocket. His floppy ears rose with curiosity. He'd never known Bulma to, but he'd heard that some girls kept spare panties in their pockets. He grinned slyly at the thought, the tip of his pink snout turning red. Come to think of it, it'd been a while since he'd added to his collection or practiced professional pantie snatching.

His fingers began to itch and twitch and finally he gave in, getting on his hands and knees and crawling over towards Bulma as she yelled at Yamcha. He giggled and snorted, grinning as he wiggled his fingers towards his prize. He pinched delicately the white flap of cloth and victoriously yanked it out of her pocket, holding it high over his head. But his face fell flat as he found it wasn't a pantie at all, his ears lowering and grunting.

"Hey, give me that!" Bulma turned on Oolong, snatching the glove back and smacking him with it, leaving a red mark on the pig's face.

Everyone jerked back at this abrupt event, staring with surprise at the glove in Bulma's hand.

"Jeez, sorry," Oolong grumbled, rubbing his cheek, "You don't have to take it so seriously, Bulma."

"Hey, isn't that Vegeta's glove?" squeaked Puar, hovering over her shoulder.

"I think you're right, Puar," Yamcha observed. He glanced at the screen where Vegeta could be seen training. "And come to think of it, Vegeta's only got one glove on today. Which is strange, cause he usually take them off when training." He looked at the glove again. "Why do you have it, Bulma?"

"It's a token of affection and none of your business," she huffed, folding her arms and turning away with the glove in hand.

"Well of course!" Mrs. Brief cheerful remarked, setting some flowers on the table, "Back in my day, it was a very common practice to keep a piece of clothing after spending the night together."

They all fell down.

"Mooooom!" Bulma yelled, throwing her arms down stiff.

"You can't be serious, you and Vegeta?" Oolong snorted with shock.

"B…Bulma…" Yamcha stuttered, his eyes as large as saucers. He felt sick.

"Mmnnn!" Bulma growled, her brow twitching. Finally she snorted, turning up her nose. "Hmph! Fine. If you must know, yes, he's my boyfriend now."

"Uh…uhhh…" Yamcha's eyes and mouth twitched, "But…but Bulma!"

"But what?" she challenged, making him melt again, "As far as I'm concerned, it's nobody's business who I decide to date."

"I don't have a problem with it," Oolong assured, picking up his magazine, "After all, it's no skin off my nose."

"And what's that supposed to mean?!" Bulma screamed at him, blowing his ears back and finally off his chair.

This isn't good! thought Yamcha anxiously, Bulma's being really stubborn about this! How am I ever going to talk her out of it?

"I'm sooo happy for you, Bulma!" said Mrs. Briefs, putting her hands on her shoulders, "It's about time you had a real man in your life!" Yamcha collapsed blue faced into a chair. "Ooh, wait till I tell your father!"

Bulma lifted a corner of her mouth. "Thank, Mom." She shot the others a glare. "At least someone respects my decisions!" They stared at her, mouths hanging slightly as she walked away. "Now if you excuse me..." She stepped into the kitchen and started to make herself a sandwich.

"Aaand that right there is exactly why I gave up on women," Oolong snorted, crossing his little pink arms.

"This just can't be happening…" Yamcha held his head.

"Eh, buck up," Oolong grunted nonchalantly, "She hasn't been your girlfriend for a long while now, time you stop worrying about her."

"I know that," his face fell, "But I still care about her and she's still my friend. I can't just be okay with her doing this. I mean, I'd rather she be with anyone, even you, Oolong, anyone but him!"

"Hey," Oolong oinked, insulted.

"I'm just really worried about her," Yamcha continued, slumping in his chair, "I mean, honestly, what's stopping this guy from taking over the earth or something?"

"I don't know – I'm pretty sure as long as Goku's around he's not really a threat," Oolong assured.

"That's just it!" Yamcha protested, "What if something happens to Goku? If anything were happen to Bulma cause of him I'd never forgive myself…"

"Oh Yamcha..." Puar consoled.

Bulma finished making her sandwich, humming again, and was about to make a meal of it when the door suddenly opened. Everyone in the living room froze, their eyes locked on the sweaty Vegeta as he entered, heading directly for the fridge, still wearing a single glove on his left hand. He opened the fridge deftly, pausing as Bulma cleared her throat, his eyes shifting to her. Bulma gave him a pretty little smile and pushed the plate with the sandwich over to him. He eyed the sandwich and then the glove hanging out of her pocket. He cracked a smile and took the offered food, putting it in his mouth and walked back the way he came, looking downward broodingly. Their eyes continued to follow him and he paused, giving them a sharp look.

He took the bitten sandwich from his mouth. "And what are you all staring at?" he demanded.

Yamcha swallowed and Oolong snorked and rubbed his head, giving a uncomfortable grin. Vegeta grunted, stuck the sandwich back in his mouth, and left as abruptly as he'd came. The three in the living room gave big sighs of relief.

"We're doomed…" Yamcha mourned.

"Oh grow up, guys," Bulma scolded, "If he was going to blow you up he would have done it by now."

"Please don't even go there…" Yamcha warbled, getting nasty flashbacks of his painful death. He blinked and quickly sat up. "But that's not what I meant!"

Bulma growled and shook her head, returning to the kitchen to make herself another sandwich.

Oolong looked at Bulma as she left and then to Yamcha. "Well, you gotta admit one thing – she has a strange way with the guy."

"That's what worries me," Yamcha sighed, putting his head in his hands, "I thought if I gave her some space she'd get over this. But now…it's almost like they're good together!"

Puar and Oolong just looked at each other.

The rest of the day carried on without incident. Bulma went shopping, Vegeta continued to train, and Yamcha dwelled on this new, impossible turn of events.

Late that evening, for the first time anyone could remember, Vegeta emerged from the Capsule Corp ship looking very alive, not unreasonably injured, and smiling as a droplet of blood ran from the corner of his mouth. He looked down at the glove on his left hand, wiping the blood away with his right, and chuckled darkly. There was nothing quite as sweet as success, of conquering an obstacle. Of course, he wasn't a Super Saiyan yet, but he could feel in his bones that this was the beginning of it. There was just one last, little thing to do.

Though Bulma had gotten back from shopping a while ago, she still wasn't done sorting through all she had bought. The items were laid out on her bed – an assortment of clothes, capsules, and mechanical parts. She held up one of her new blouses in front of her mirror, humming thoughtfully, before finally sitting it aside and beginning to sort her new capsules into her various carrying cases. She paused over one of the capsules she'd bought, pinching it between her fingers and scrutinizing it, wondering if she'd really be in need of a deep-sea submarine any time soon. Oh well, you never knew. She slipped the capsule into the case, her eyes bulging and her jaw tensing as her door abruptly slammed open.

Bulma spun around with a gasp, relaxing when she saw it was only Vegeta standing there, a smug grin on his face as he braced the door open. She blew out a calming breath and glared at him.

"Vegeta, don't come bursting in like that!" she scolded, her hands on her hips, "And don't think I didn't noticed you broke my window today. And you dented my wall last night. Now you about broke my door! Get a hold of that strength of yours, will you?!"

Normally her scolding would irritate him, but tonight he was in far too good a mood. Instead he laughed, smiling again as he shut the door. "So you can tell as well! I've gotten stronger…you should be pleased."

"Well sure I am," she pouted, turning away, "As long as you don't destroy my house in the process."

The Saiyan Prince came right up to her, his hand slipping deftly into her pocket and pulling the glove out. He held it up in his palm and chuckled again. "Bulma, I want you to know I am very pleased with you. Very pleased indeed. I might even go as far as to call myself happy right now."

She turned around and blushed lightly when she realized how close together they were. She studied his face and smiled a bit herself. "Wow, I sure gotta say this is a nice change for you, Vegeta, you're normally so grumpy all the time!" Her eyes wandered down and Vegeta hiccupped as she out of nowhere grabbed at his pecs through his shirt. "And look at that! You do look stronger, Vegeta!" She poked at his belly playfully. "And with ribs still intact!"

Vegeta growled, turning his head aside to hide his blush. "Yes, yes I know." She had a horrible way of distracting him, especially when he was trying to make a point.

"Anyhow, you were saying?"

He grunted, pushing his blush away, and gave her a small, closed-lip smile. "Yes…" Bulma stumbled back as he pressed her up against the bed, his hand coming up to balance her chin. "You should be a happy woman today. I certainly hope you are. When they tell my legend throughout the stars, they will say the great Prince Vegeta took back what was his here, on Earth. They will remember the human woman he choose to play a part in it." Bulma stared mesmerized as he pushed her down on the bed, the glove resting on her chest. "So I hope you're happy, Bulma." He grinned. "As happy as I am today."

Bulma blinked up at him. "Wow…you have a strange way of romancing a girl, Vegeta."

Vegeta's smile flattened. "Give me your hand."

"Huh?"

"Just do it," he grunted.

Bulma reached out her hand to him and he took her wrist, sitting her up again. She stared at him as he grasped the glove in his upturned palm and then placed her hand over top of it. Bulma didn't understand what he was doing, but seemed incredibly sweet. She smiled at him and squeezed his hand. Vegeta's eyes lit with a victorious flame and gazed intently into her large blue ones.

"Bulma."

She blinked. "Yes?"

His mouth lifted into a crooked smile. "You're mine."

Bulma's breath trembled. "Are you…trying to say you…maybe…that you…love—" She squeaked as he grabbed her firmly by the chin and kissed her. Her body turned to jelly under his touch. It was the first time he'd truly kissed her.

Yes, this must be it. He must be trying to say he loves me!

She wrapped her arms around him, kissing him back. He pushed her forcefully down on the bed, causing several of her things to go flying off it. He kissed her again, growling deeply, his thick fingers interlocking with hers and pushing her arms above her head. She squeaked and hummed as his knees came to pin her waist.

Bulma broke the kiss. "Vegeta? I know this is really crazy, but I think…" She paused, the words seeming strange in her throat, but chose to say them anyhow. "I think I love you."

He grinned tightly and chuckled. "Really? Good…"

He made her putty in his hands, taking joy in the sparkle in her eyes as he held her fast, removing her clothes. It all made sense now, he understood what Kakarot had that he'd been missing. It was one thing to be feared, but to be adored? It was another form of victory and satisfaction he'd never experienced before. This was truly the key to the lost Saiyan strength.

That night, he made true effort in making love to her, the same effort he put into any battle. That night, he took what was his.

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