Dragon Ball Z: Pride Before A Fall

Chapter 5

Everyone noticed it. Even Dr. Brief wrapped up in his garden and workshop. Even Mrs. Brief in her joyous oblivious smile. Even one or two of the neighbors who glanced by in passing noticed it: something about Vegeta had changed. It wasn't an obvious change – he still spent most his time training, he still rarely spoke to anyone, he still had the same irritable expression. However, he seemed to have developed a new disposition toward Bulma. When he was hungry, he sat next to her, broodingly eating his food. When he was tired, he slept in her bed. When he chuckled, it was usually because of something she did. He had even developed a habit of watching her as she worked on her various inventions, his arms folded and leaning silently against the wall, listening as she described her work.

That was the change that most noticed. Only Yamcha saw the rest. He noticed out of the corner of his eye the things Bulma and he did when they thought no one was looking. He saw Bulma giving Vegeta a cute expression as she tried to fork up his food into his mouth, the Saiyan Prince scowling and scolding her before finally giving in. He saw subtle looks they gave each other as they passed in the hall. He saw Vegeta's fingers slip under her clothes, whispering something into her ear with a crooked grin and stars in her eyes.

It unsettled him, but it wasn't until one particular day that he discovered a sight that truly horrified him. Taking a break from his own training, he decided to go visit Bulma in her workroom, figuring he'd find out if she'd heard from Goku or the others recently. Puar was off taking a nap, his close friend having been working just as hard as he had in coaching and encouraging him. He would have knocked – though he had a tendency to be clumsy, Yamcha had always done his best to be polite – but the door was cracked open. He could hear Bulma. And he could hear Vegeta. Though he knew he shouldn't, he shifted himself down and peeked in.

It was his worse fears confirmed. Vegeta and Bulma were both up on her workbench, Bulma sitting in Vegeta's lap as his thick arms held her fast. Vegeta was huffing like a stallion as they made out with each other.

"Vegeta," Bulma said between breaths as they kissed, her arms wrapped around his neck, "Less…teeth…!"

He growled hungrily, his fingers digging into her back. "Shut up, woman," he grunted.

They both breathed heavily, Bulma squeaking and giggling as Vegeta heaved her back, letting her dangle over the edge of the desk. A dark grin covered his face as he watched her squirm a bit before bringing her back up into his lap and resuming their deep, passionate kiss.

Yamcha grunted as his fist tightened. It wasn't jealousy he was feeling, it was anger and fear. He figured they're relationship must have gotten pretty serious, but he hadn't expected to see Bulma letting him treat her that way. Calling her 'woman'? Looking at her like he owned her? It was unacceptable! How could Bulma be okay with him treating her like that? This couldn't really be what she wanted, could it? His mouth move, struggling against the urge to cry out. Finally he just crept away, least either Bulma or Vegeta realized he'd been spying on them.

Puar rubbed her tired little eyes as Yamcha entered abruptly, his expression flat and sour. She blinked and then sighed. "Uh oh…" she trilled, "What's wrong, Yamcha?"

"It's that Vegeta, Puar," he growled, the scars on his face looking deeper than normal somehow, "He's done something to Bulma!"

"What?" Puar squeaked, floating up off her bed, "What do you mean, Yamcha?"

"I mean it's like he's gotten in her head." He sat down heavily and folded his arms. "I want Bulma to be happy and I don't want to get in her way. But this is ridiculous! I can't just stand by and let Vegeta get away with this!"

Puar looked at him anxiously. "What do you mean?"

He looked sharply at the hovering blue cat. "I mean he's up to something, I just know it! I just can't see Vegeta as a serious boyfriend, there's just no way!" He looked down at his hands. "I gotta do something, but what? I could try talking to Bulma, but she'd probably just get mad at me again." He blinked, then lowered his brow with determination, firmly standing up. "There's nothing for it, Puar. I have to go and confront Vegeta."

"What?!" Puar squealed, waving her little arms around, "You can't be serious, there's no way you can fight Vegeta!"

"No, no, not fight, Puar," Yamcha assured, sweating a little, "He could pummel me without even trying and that wouldn't help Bulma at all." His brow lowered. "No. I need to confront him and find out why he's doing this. I got to put an end to this before Bulma gets hurt!"

"I hope you know what you're doing..." Puar stated warily, her tail wiggling uncomfortably below her.

Though he didn't say it, Yamcha hoped he did too.

Yamcha went back to training, waiting for the right moment. It was a hard moment to find, when was the right time to talk to a guy like Vegeta? Finally, late in the afternoon, he spotted Vegeta heading for the Capsule Corp ship, a towel flung over his shoulder, looking grim as usual. Yamcha swallowed hard but steeled his courage, jogging over to intercept the Saiyan.

"Hey, Vegeta!" he called. Vegeta glanced up, just giving Yamcha flat look as he approached. "Do you have a moment?"

"No," he grunted, "I really don't."

Yamcha gave a light, nervous chuckle. Come on, pull it together, Yamcha. He cleared his throat and gave Vegeta his best stern look. "Well whatever, I really need to talk to you."

"And I really don't care," Vegeta flatly returned, "Now get out of my way."

"Uh, no!" Blocking Vegeta's way wasn't really part of the plan, but he went with it, folding his arms. "No, you're going to hear me out. It's about Bulma. I don't know what your interest in her is, but I can tell you're just using her. So whatever your planning, leave her out of it."

Vegeta stared at him for a long moment and then suddenly threw back his head and a boisterous cackle. "You're really serious! AHAHAHAHA! You honestly think you can tell me what to do, that's hilarious! AHAHAHAHA!"

Yamcha shriveled back a little. He really didn't like that laugh of his. Still he grunted and tightened his fists. "It's not a joke, Vegeta!" he shouted over the laughter, "I can't just stand back and watch you treat her like a toy!"

Vegeta's laughter cut off as abruptly as it came and he gave a tiny, wicked smile. "Toy? I'm afraid I'll have to disagree. Bulma is hardly a toy to me. In fact, right now, I'd argue she's the most important woman in the universe. Because of me, she has honor I've given no other."

"She doesn't need you to be important!" He was yelling now. "Bulma special all on her own! She doesn't need anything from you!"

Vegeta's smile flattened and he snorted. "Hmph. As if any Human could be special. I'm tired of this conversation – now get out of my way."

The Saiyan bared his teeth as Yamcha side-stepped him again. "No, I'm not done. I want to know why you're doing this!"

Vegeta snarled, his fist clenching down at his side. "I won't say it again, now get out of my way!"

"Just answer me! Why are you—!" Yamcha was cut off, a mixture of saliva and blood flying out of his mouth as a saiyan fist suck deep into his stomach. Vegeta scowled, grabbed the Human by the hair and side kicking him, another incredible blow to the stomach. Yamcha bounced across the lawn and into the side of mansion, cracking the wall.

Yamcha was barely aware of himself as he saw the white boots fill his vision, his body lifted up by the shirt as Vegeta gave him a disgusted, mocking glare. "You got anything else you'd like to say to me, you pathetic weakling?" he challenged. Yamcha groaned. "I'm sorry, what was that? I couldn't hear you."

"VEGETA!"

Vegeta froze with a warbling grunt and then turned his head, his teeth gritted. Bulma stood there looking all puffed up, her fists ground into her hips; brow so tight it seemed her eyes would pop out.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" she screamed at him, "Put him down right now!"

Vegeta growled and loosened his grip, letting Yamcha drop to the ground. "Not worth my time anyway," he snorted, turning as he tossed his towel back over his shoulder.

"Oh no you don't!" Bulma snapped, making him freeze again, his shoulders clenched and trembling with anger and annoyance, "You stay right there, your highness!" She ran over to her old boyfriend, sitting him up. "Yamcha? Are you okay? What the hell got into you two?!"

Yamcha coughed, spitting blood into his palm. He hissed, glaring at Vegeta's back. "Some prince. You're nothing but a brute."

"Pathetic, hiding under a woman's skirt," Vegeta shot back, not even bothering to look at him, "Of course, I should expect no less from a classless warrior."

"I didn't even come out here to fight with you!" Yamcha shouted, "I just wanted to talk!"

"Talking is for the weak."

"Okay, just stop it you two!" Bulma snapped, flashing them both a glare, "What exactly is going on here?"

"Bulma, I'm sorry," Yamcha said, looking earnestly at her and then glaring at Vegeta, "But I can't take this anymore! He's a monster and a murderer and—"

"Oh my God, you can't be serious!" Bulma cried, fuming at Yamcha, "That's what this is about?! Grow up, Yamcha, I'm not your girlfriend anymore, remember?!"

Vegeta fell silent, crossing his arms and just glowering as the fighting continued. By now, the others had started coming out of the mansion to see what all the commotion was about.

"Yamcha, are you okay?!" Puar squeaked, rushing to him.

"I'm staying out of this one…" Oolong cowered in a doorway.

"Good grief, what's all the racket about?" Dr. Brief stuck his head out a window.

"Bulma, please, that's not what I'm trying to say at all!" Yamcha protested, holding up both hands, "He's the one—"

"What kind of immature pighead fights over a girl?!" Bulma continued to yell, "Especially me, who's clearly smart enough to make up her own mind?!" Vegeta cracked a cruel smile. "Oh don't think I've forgotten about you, your majesty!" she turned on him, "If you think you can go beating up anybody you like just cause they make you angry you can think again! Especially when I'm around, you got that?!"

"The Prince of All Saiyans—!"

"What, does the prince need me to kiss his royal behind?!"

"Silence, woman!"

"Stop it!" Yamcha got up, pointing a finger at Vegeta as he clutched his stomach, "You can't talk to her like that!"

"Oh really?" Vegeta scowled, "Considering she's my wife, I'd say I can talk to her anyway I like!"

The universe cracked and all at once the fighting stopped, every face frozen dumbstruck, the only sound heard being their gargling stutters.

"Didn't see that coming," Oolong blinked, coming out of the doorway a little more.

"B-Bulma?" Yamcha stared, his face twitching, "You…married him…? W-when…?"

"Sweetheart, why didn't you tell us?" Dr. Brief stared, fumbling to get a new cigarette since the last one had fallen out of his mouth.

"Wha…no I didn't!" Bulma blurted and then flashed to Vegeta, "No we didn't!"

"Oh please," Vegeta grunted, his arms crossed, "Don't pretend like you didn't know, it isn't becoming of you."

"OH MY GOD, WE DID?!" Bulma shrieked, her expression seeming to swallow her head.

"Ah-h…." Vegeta stared, now his own expression dumbstruck, "You mean to tell me you really didn't know?"

"Ah…" Bulma stuttered back, her jaw hanging and wiggling about, "Vegeta…you can't be serious. How can we be married? We…we never got married!"

Vegeta stared at her for a moment longer and then closed his mouth and eyes, snorting softly. "Disappointing. It seems I mistook you to be cleverer than you are."

"Don't you start insulting me," Bulma glared at him, putting her hands on her hips, "Just explain to me in what way are we married?!"

"Yeah, seriously!" Oolong had to agree, his ears lifting with curiosity.

Vegeta grunted, obtaining that offended look he got whenever he was forced to explain something beneath him. "Very well. I had assumed my intentions would be obvious to you peons, but clearly I stand corrected." He looked at Bulma intently. "At the very least, I expect you remember me giving you my glove?"

"Well of course I do," Bulma replied, her own arms folded, "What about it?"

"You didn't find that action curious at all?

"Well…yeah," her eyes shifted, "I thought you were just being swee…" Her eyes widened, the realization flashing through her mind. Did you really mean it? Don't read too much into it. You have until then to decide. Bulma, you're mine… "Uh…ah…uuuhhh…." She wobbled around, nearly losing her balance. "You…we…"

Vegeta gave her a low smile.

"What, I don't get it?" Oolong interjected.

"Forgive my not explaining at the time…I had hoped you'd be smart enough to understand my intentions." He smiled, his eyes closed in a gloating manner. "Yes, but now you see, it was a Saiyan marriage proposal. As a proud warrior race, we Saiyan's have no use for long courtships, as most our lives is dedicated to fighting and we never know which day might be our last. So, when a Saiyan wishes to marry, he or she offers their chosen spouse a symbol of their fighting prowess. In older days, it was a weapon usually. For modern Saiyans, most often a combat glove." His eyes opened, looking intensely at Bulma.

"It represents a very simple promise made between the two spouses: to never raise a hand against each other. That is the promise, as your husband, I have made. In all the universe, you are the one person I am sworn to never face in combat." He laughed. "Not that you ever would in the first place!"

Yamcha's voice had flown off somewhere, his eyes and mouth twitching furiously as he stuttered. The others were similarly lost in shock. As for Bulma, she could only stare at Vegeta.

"So…we're really married?" she finally asked, barely able to blink.

His face flattened. "Yes. For life, as they say. What, does that bother you? You should be honored."

She didn't have an answer just yet. She turned from him, looking down hard and tapping her forefingers together. "I married you. I'm your wife…I'm a wife." Vegeta's expression lowered further, watching her. "I'm…wait a minute…" She turned her head to give him a sly look. "If I'm your wife…then that means…" She threw up her arms, her face exploding with excitement. "Then that makes me a princess!"

"Uh-ha!" Vegeta jerked back with a start.

"Woooaah-hahaha!" She ran to him and threw her arms around his neck, kissing his face several times before laughing again. "I'm to a married a prince!" She grinned, shoving herself under his arm. "Bulma, Princess of All Saiyans, I like the sound of that! Has a nice ring to it, don't you think, Vegeta?"

"Ah…ah…." It was his turn to be lost in stutters, staring down at her with wide, bewildered eyes and a faint blush creeping across his nose. "Well…it…rrm…"

"Well that settles it!" Bulma declared, pumping a fist, "Mom! Dad! I'm married and we're gonna have a party to celebrate!"

"What?!" Vegeta shouted, trying to wriggle away from her.

She grabbed a fistful of the front of his shirt. "I want the best food and drink money can buy!"

"Did someone say party?" Mrs. Brief called from inside the house.

"Yep!" Bulma gave Vegeta a wily look, her brow narrowed at him. "And Vegeta's gonna dance with me!"

"What?!" he fumed, "The hell I will!"

"Whatever you say, dear," Mr. Brief nodded, pulling his head back inside the window, "And congratulations!"

"Free food and drink sounds good to me," Oolong decided with a large smile, "I'm in!"

"I won't attend any stupid party!" Vegeta shouted at her, batting her hand off his shirt, "If you want to perform your ridiculous activities, fine, but leave me out of it!"

"Well that's too bad," Bulma folded her arms, turning her nose away from him, "Cause you lost all your wiggle room with me when you decided to hurt Yamcha. You're going to be at my party. And you're going to dance with me. And if you make a fuss about it, I'll make you dress up for it too! How's that for an attack?"

"Why you—errr!" he shook his fist at her.

"Complain all you like, but I wanted a real wedding, not a half-ass Saiyan one! So you owe me this, Vegeta!"

Puar looked down, lost between wanting to be happy for Bulma and feeling grievous for Yamcha. Yamcha remained sitting on the ground, watching as Bulma dealt with Vegeta, the Saiyan screaming 'woman' at her, Bulma un-phased by his roars. Many emotions ran through his head: pain, anger, grief, confusion. But after a long, silent moment, Yamcha's eyes shut and he grunted.

"I don't care."

"Yamcha?" Puar asked, concerned.

Yamcha stood up, trying to ease up his grip on his stomach. "I don't care anymore, Puar. Bulma can do what she wants. I'm done. Come on…she'll want us at her party. You know how demanding Bulma can be when she sets her mind on something."

As expected, Bulma got her party. The Briefs spared no expense in celebrating their little girl's special day and even had the whole thing ready by that night. Vegeta spent that preparation time hiding away in the Capsule Corp ship training, perhaps hoping he'd somehow be forgotten. He wasn't. Instead, he found the ship's power abruptly cut and Bulma marching in to drag him out. He seriously had no clue how she managed it, no matter how much he yelled, berated, insulted, and skirted around her, she still somehow managed to force him into that party scene.

She couldn't force him to be happy about it, though. He watched the others drinking and celebrating, glowering against the far wall and muttering to himself. There he remained most of the party until Bulma came to make good on her promise.

"Hey hubby," she called, sitting down her drink, "Times up being a fly on the wall. You heard me, groom's got to dance with his bride."

"Rrrrmm…" he growled but was done trying to argue with her at this point. He left his spot on the wall and begrudgingly went to the center of the room with her, where the Briefs had prepared a dance floor. He stood there with his arms folded.

She laughed at him. "Come on, you can't dance like that! Looks like I gotta teach you everything." Vegeta growled again, a light red appearing under his eyes. Bulma took his hands and placed them on her hips. "Don't look so nervous, it's easy. Look, just pretend we're getting it on in the bed, only with our clothes on! Oh, and rock side to side instead of back and forth."

Vegeta glared at her as the red became more apparent. "Did I ever tell you how incredibly vulgar you are?"

She just laughed again, beginning to slowly rock with him to the music. Vegeta kept his back to the others, hoping desperately to hide just how humiliated and pissed off he was. Bulma tipped her head down, resting it against his shoulder and quietly smiling to herself.

"You know…you aren't exactly what I had in mind." He looked at her and she raised her head again. "For a husband. I had always imagined a guy a whole lot different from you. But you know…the more I think about it, the more I know I'm gonna make this work." She smiled warmly. "My very own Saiyan Prince."

Vegeta grunted. "You say that like I'm a commodity."

"Oh shut up." Bulma let her head fall on his shoulder once again. A wife – that she certainly hadn't been ready for. But she was one now, fully and truly. And this harsh, stubborn, bad tempered alien was her husband. Again, those three words filled her mouth, words she wasn't accustomed to saying but demanded to be spoken. "Vegeta, I love you," she spoke in his ear.

"It pleases me to hear it," he stated.

Somehow, his tone was so formal it made her want to slap him. Why won't you say it, Vegeta? Why won't you?

She let it go, sighing a little as she looked over his shoulder back at her friends and family, her parents looking so happy for her. She knew her friends weren't as sure. Her grip on Vegeta tightened. She didn't care what they thought. She didn't care what he thought. This was the man she'd chosen, as sudden and strange as this all was. She wasn't gonna let this go. Not ever. And no one changed Bulma's mind once it was made up.

I know you must love me. I know it. I can tell…

"So…when do you think it will happen?" she spoke up, "Soon?"

"Hm?" he lifted his head, his eyes demanding explanation.

"Super Saiyan, silly. Do you think you'll reach it soon?"

He smiled for the first time that evening. He took her chin in his hand, his other hand resting on her hip as he continued to awkwardly dance with her. "If only I'd met you sooner…" he chuckled, "Yes, I think I will very soon. And you'll get to see it happen."

"Can't wait to see," she smiled. She reached up and flicked at a lock of his flame-like hair. "I think you'd look pretty good as a blonde."

At first he just stared at her, scowling at what an absurd statement that was, as if the hair color change was the important part. But then, despite himself, he found himself shutting his eyes and smiling. And then laughing. Quite loudly too. Bulma laughed with him, holding him tight as the slow dance music carried on. She bent down a little further so that her head could press against his chest – with what a big attitude he had she sometimes forgot he was shorter than her. She could hear his steady heartbeat, lungs moving air, everything sounded just like what she had. He thought he was so different from them. He thought he was alone. But in that moment, she realized just how incredibly similar the two of them were.

She moved her arms up to wrap around his neck, smiling mischievously at him. "Hey Vegeta…what do you say we have a more private party later tonight?" She winked at him.

He blinked at her and then cackled a little. "Oh…" His hands lowered to squeeze her rear. "I would agree to that."

As the song came to a close, Vegeta had a strange realization. He was happy – happy in a way he rarely was. He held his woman close and then suddenly found himself picking her up, causing Bulma to yelp with surprise. The others were startled as well, but he didn't care. He was overwhelmed with the urge to impress her and he ignored everything else.

"Vegeta, what are you doing?" she asked as he carried her out into the yard and away from the noise of the party.

He didn't answer or look at her until they were a good ways from the house. "Bulma."

"Yeah?" she blinked.

He looked at her sharply. "Don't tell anyone about what I'm about to do. You understand?" he demanded.

"Uh…yeah, sure." What was he up to now?

He grunted. "Good. Hold on."

"Whoa!" Bulma cried as suddenly they lifted off the ground. She watched the Capsule Corp mansion grown smaller beneath their feet. "Wow, it's been a while since anyone flew me anywhere! And I certainly wasn't expecting the next person to be you, Vegeta!"

Vegeta said nothing, face flat as he flew her high into the sky. He didn't take time to think about why exactly he was doing this or he would have likely put her down right then. Far above the city, he came to a stop. Bulma held his neck and shoulders as she looked down below.

"Wow, would you look at that view!" she remarked, and sighed dreamily, "You guys are so lucky, I wish I could fly like this all the time."

"I didn't bring you up here to sight see," he grunted, his tone serious, "I wanted us to be alone so I could show you this." He raised his hand above his head and growled, his brow tightening and his chest heaving. Bulma's mouth opened slightly as an energy ball formed over his palm. And it slowly started to get bigger. Vegeta's muscles tightened and his teeth gritted, feeding more and more energy into the orb. Bulma's eyes widened as it expanded, beginning to fill her entire vision. Vegeta growled and then finally screamed, forcing massive amounts of energy into the charge. He felt her grip on him tighten and it drove him to enlarge it further and further, till his blood vessels bulged and sweat gathered on his forehead.

To Bulma, it was like a sun when he finally released it, throwing it up towards the sky. The ball rolled through the air, Vegeta's eyes intent on it. At last, he threw his arm to the side and the thing exploded. The shockwave was like a hurricane and the light from it annihilated the night. Bulma's mouth hung open with wonder. Vegeta gazed up at the explosion for a moment and then turned his head back to her, watching the shockwave rustle through her hair and the light making her eyes seem to shine.

He grinned. "Well?"

"That…" She laughed, hugging his neck with a big smile. "That was amazing! I'm so proud of you, Vegeta! You've gotten so much stronger in just a few months!"

He let her nuzzle him, balancing her on one arm. He felt like a man. He felt proud. And…he felt something else. He wasn't exactly sure what it was. But he was so pleased to have found this Human woman. Part of him deeply wished she was a Saiyan. He could imagine what armies they would conquer together if she was. But conquering the universe with her as inspiration would have to suffice.

It seemed the others had taken the cue and cleaned up the party while they were gone. Vegeta set her down on the lawn, gazing up at the stars momentarily and chuckling with vicious intent, savoring fantasies of conquering worlds once again, now that Kakarot's defeat was eminent. This fantasies were disrupted, however, when he felt a hand pinch his shirt and pull him into an unexpected kiss. He soon got over the surprise and smiled deeply, kissing her back. Bulma giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Oh!" she suddenly broke off the kiss, touching a hand to her forehead, "What am I thinking! Party and everything and I didn't even think to call and tell Goku the good news!" She hurried off towards the house. "Oh, and the others! They'll all want to know!"

Vegeta's smile suddenly fell. "No!" he said more sharply than he meant to, his hand planting overtop of hers just as she reached the phone.

"What?" she said, startled, and then narrowed her brow at him, "Why not?"

"Uh-h," he started. He had to say something, he couldn't let her tell Kakarot. He wanted the fool to be surprised when he faced him, horrified to learn that he had discovered his secret to success. Vegeta's eyes shifted. "Well…" He pointed a finger at her. "You should know better than to make announcements to in the midst of intense training! It would only distract them. Besides, you can tell them in person when I destroy the androids."

Bulma folded her arms, giving him a skeptical look before finally sighing. "Yeah, I guess you're right. I'd love to see their faces when I tell them anyways."

Vegeta relaxed, lowering his hand from her arm. "Glad you agree." He really was.

Bulma turned from the phone, blue brow lowered in consideration, and suddenly laughed. He ignored her until she spoke. "I just realized something…you don't have a last name, do you?"

"Ah…" He paused. "No. No, we Saiyans don't keep surnames. Why do you ask?"

"Well…" she giggled, "If you don't have a last name, I guess that makes you Vegeta Brief!" She tossed back her head and laughed louder still.

He growled softly, grabbing her by the hand. "Don't be ridiculous," he grunted, leading her towards their room.

She continued to laugh, making him cry out and blush heavily as she pinched his rear. "Well come on, Mr. Brief, party's not over yet."

He growled at her a bit and then smiled, moving behind her and scooping her up again. "Very well…I hope you're ready for it." He cackled and she smiled, shutting and locking the door behind them.

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