Dragon Ball Z: Pride Before A Fall

Chapter 7

Bulma didn't know where he went that night. She didn't know what he did. But in the morning she found one of their trees had been shattered – likely from a drunken, angry collision – and as she lied awake in bed she swore she could hear screaming in the sky. Though she did her best not to show it, she was afraid for him. Afraid of where he might go. Afraid of what he might do. In the end, it seemed he had gone or done very little. She found him in the ship, murdering the air with his fists. According to the log, he'd been there most the night.

Bulma took a deep breath, running her fingers through her hair, and made the call. Vegeta had his back to her as the projection filled the air. "Vegeta," she sighed and then grew terse, "Don't you ever do that again! Are you okay?" He paused in his kicks, lowering his leg and become still, not turning. "I know you're upset…I'm upset too. But we can work this out." She watched him. "Why won't you look at me?" His arm lifted to the side, his finger outstretched as energy lit up the tip. Her eyes widened. "Vegeta, don't you dare!" The energy shot out and blew up the projector.

Bulma gaped at her fizzling screen. Her hands clenched. "Oh no you don't!" She shoved her chair aside and ran outside, plowing up to the ship's door and pounding on it with her fist. "Vegeta, you open up right now! VEGETA!" She continued to pound on the door. "Don't you do this to me, Vegeta! Don't you shut me out! I know you can hear me in there! ANSWER ME!"

Vegeta paused in his workout as the pounding thundered, turning to look over his shoulder, his eyes cold. Bulma paused, almost as if she could sense him looking her way. She held her breath. His brow lowered. She waited. He turned away. Bulma continued to hold her breath, curling in his lips and biting hard. But when she heard the sound of his aggressive grunts once again, she slammed the door one final time with both fists and screamed, sliding down and gripping her knees.

She about lost it right there, her hands and face trembling. She about went into the house and cut the ship's power. But she didn't want to think about what he would do next if she acted in kind with him. Bulma bit the side of her thumb and her brow narrowed. She got up and banged on the door again.

"Hey Mr. Pity Party!" she shouted, putting her hands on her hips, "Go ahead and act like a cry-baby, spoiled little brat in there, but I'll be back later! You can't hide from me forever, Vegeta!" She gave the door one last pound and then marched off, her arms crossed.

She left him for now and went about her day, knowing he'd have to come out sooner or later. He had to eat, after all. And he hadn't slept all night! Nature would catch up with him and he'd be forced to leave the ship. And when he did, she'd be waiting for him. Bulma hung around the house, her laptop open, constantly observing the ship, her brow lower. It took a lot longer than she thought, but finally the door opened.

She faced the kitchen door, her hands on her hips, knowing he'd have to come through there if he wanted to eat. She heard movement and her brow lowered. "Well—" She gasped as something blew past her, her hair flying up in a gust. She spun around just in time to see Vegeta seemingly materialize in front of the fridge and then immediately vanish with another gust past her, the refrigerator door left hanging open. Bulma's jaw hung…and slowly her entire face turned red. Her shoulders shook and her eyes turned blood shot.

"Oh you did not just do that!" she screamed. She glanced at her computer screen and saw the ship's door shut again as a blur whirled past it. She let out a deep, menacing growl. "Nobody ignores me and gets away with it!"

She bolt out the front door, ran up to the ship's door, and kicked it as hard as she could. "Hey Prince of All Losers!" she snarled, looking like she was about to transform into an oozaru, "You just made a big mistake, pal! You think you can blow me off cause you didn't get your way, you got something else coming!" She banged on the door again. "You hear me?! You just declared war on Bulma Briefs! And believe you me, I don't need to raise a hand against you to win!" She finished by folded her arms and giving a loud huff, raising her chin, turning to walk away. "I expect an apology by tonight. Otherwise, you're gonna be real sorry."

Insides the ship, every fiber of Vegeta's being was grating to resist responding to that arrogant sow. He couldn't respond to her. He couldn't look at her. Otherwise, he'd risk being bewitched by her again. And that he would not allow to happen. Ever. He was Prince Vegeta, and he would not be controlled by some weak woman. He looked at the food he'd grabbed. Still…it was humiliating to be hiding from her like this. But he'd promised himself he'd do whatever it took to become a Super Saiyan. She'd made him stronger at first, but now she was nothing more than a distraction.

His expression at last flattened as he heard her leave. Let her make her threats, she was nothing but a puffed up bunch of hot air. He was superior to her in every way. There was no way she could stop him if he refused to have anything to do with her.

Or…so he thought.

Bulma stood in their room, waiting for him to show up, her foot tapping. When he didn't appear to go to bed with her, she seized her tool kit. That did it. His fate was sealed. Being upset was one thing, but she wasn't about to be tossed aside like a used up rag. She knew that was what he was trying to do. She'd gotten too close to him and now he was scared. But she'd show him. She'd show him in every way she could match whatever he threw at her. If he wouldn't love her then, at the very least, he'd respect her.

Her face fell into sadness as she considered this thought. No…no he did love her. If nothing else, she'd seen it in his eyes as she had laid broken in bed just the day before. Suddenly, Bulma felt a tear on her cheek. She blinked, catching it in her hand, her mouth open in surprise. She stared at it, watching as her fingers began to shudder. Then her cheeks were wet. It was only then, after the fact, she realized she was crying. Bulma clenched her teeth, feeling the hot, hurt tears run.

Finally, she just let it happen. Bulma flopped her arms over her vanity and cried angrily into them. She didn't make a lot of noise, the last thing she wanted was for someone to catch her crying. She sobbed until she'd had her fill of it and then fiercely wiped her cheeks on her sleeve, glaring down at her tools, resolute once more. Pent up emotion expelled, she at last smiled mischievously, reaching for a pen to draw up her war plans.

It took several days of preparation, of which she allowed Vegeta the false sense of security. Allowed him to think he'd won. It seems he had determined to never look at or speak to her again until he'd achieved Super Saiyan. A little angry pounding in the door every day was enough to make him think she was helpless to stop him. As for the rest of the time, she spent in her workshop, creating the necessary items she'd need to pull off her ingenious plans. The rest of the household could feel the tension in the air, every one of them holding their breaths just dying for it to stop. But Bulma bided her time, making certain every aspect of the preparation was ready.

Finally, after a week of work, she found herself looking over the blue prints to the ship, chuckling, her brow pointed sharply downward. Boy, was she gonna show him. Today, the Prince of All Saiyans was gonna get it. Putting away the blue prints, she removed her work gloves with her teeth, packing two capsules into a neat little purse. Her weapons in hand, she went to put on her battle armor – a low cut cocktail dress and painted lips. She kissed the mirror and grinned at the red mark left behind, heading out to enact her plan.

She went to the kitchen and got cooking, preparing several steaks. She checked her watch with a sly smile, knowing her wayward husband would be making his food run soon. Sure enough, the smell drew in the attention of everyone, entering the kitchen with compliments. Bulma passed out the steak cheerfully to them, leaving one set aside just behind her back.

Out in the ship, Vegeta could smell it too. He dodged one of the drone's attacks and then slammed the off switch, killing the training session. He panted for a moment and straightened up, sniffing the air. Definitely Bulma's cooking. Mrs. Brief's cooking was always laced with the repulsive scent of her sweet perfume. He growled thoughtfully, pulling on his shirt and slipping out the ship's door. Moving stealthily into the house, he pressed his back do the wall by the kitchen door, listening as he heard the others chatting and laughing as they enjoyed the meal.

Again, he felt the weight of humiliation on his chest and clenched his fists and teeth. Sneaking around like a scavenger, how much longer would he have to put up with this? It was almost more than he could bear. He swallowed his pride as best he could and cracked open the door, peeking inside. The others were busy stuffing their faces at the table. Good, they wouldn't bother him. But where was that blue-haired menace? He cracked the door open a little further and his face dropped.

"Wha…" he blinked, beginning to sweat a little at the sight of his wife, dressed in the tightest little red dress he'd ever seen, a red ribbon around her neck. Vegeta's brow twitched. What on earth she doing dressed like that?! She was practically naked! He bared his teeth as he felt his cheeks grow warm, his eyes shifting over her exposed skin. Enough. It was just another of her tricks. He looked forcefully from her backside, spotting the steaming steak just behind her. He grabbed it and left quickly.

A moment after he disappeared, Bulma's eyes shifted back to the still cracked open door, lowering her brow and grinning.

Vegeta entered the ship, making sure to lock the door behind him as he always did since Bulma's accident, his meal in hand. As usual, he ate quickly, picking up the whole slab of meat in one hand and tearing off a piece with his teeth. It was…fantastic, he had to admit, which frustrated him even further. He'd done his best not to think about his wife, especially his shame concerning her: the shame that he'd put her before his goals. It was completely unfitting behavior of a true warrior and he couldn't yet fathom what had possessed him to do so.

He grunted, continuing to eat until he'd shoved the last piece into his mouth. Feeling revitalized, he pushed all thoughts from his mind and powered up, heading back over to the controls to start up another training session. But before he got there, he paused, frowning heavily. Something was wrong. He wasn't sure what, but something in his gut didn't feel right. He touched his abs, growling softly through his teeth, eyeing his stomach accusingly. What was this? There was some kind of…pain coming from his stomach. No, it was more than pain, it was a disgusting, twisted feeling.

Vegeta's eyes bulged as he suddenly felt something forcing his way up his throat. He was being attacked from the inside! Covering his mouth with both hands, he bolted back out of the ship. But before he even made it down the steps, he vomited a torrent of orange on the lawn. Vegeta panted, staring down at his lunch mixed in with the orange, foamy substance.

"What the hell?!" he demanded, slapping both hands over his mouth again a moment later. He ran around wildly, completely lost as what to do, before letting lose another waterfall of orange on the ground. He panted, holding his gut. "This isn't happening!" Then covered his mouth again. His brow twitched and as he felt more horror swelling up inside him. He vomited several more times, bringing him to his knees as he was pounded from the inside, helpless to fight back. He wanted to scream, but feared every time he opened his mouth.

Then he heard her. "Aw, look at you. Did the Prince's dinner not agree with him?"

Vegeta's shoulders shook with rage, keeping his back to her as had become his practice. "You! What have you—!" He covered his mouth again, giving a gargled groan.

Bulma watched mercilessly as the pain built up inside him and he vomited again. "Oh would you look at that. So the mighty prince is talking to me again. What an honor."

"Garr…" he snarled, his whole body trembling as he struggled to remain in any semblance of upright.

"And I thought steak was your favorite too…"

His fingers dug into the ground. "Gaaa-aaaahh! What have you done to me?!" He struggled to crawl away from her, heaving and releasing the orange spew again.

Bulma chuckled, her brow lowered and her arms crossed, rather enjoying having him at her feet. "Well, since you decided to start hiding from me, I decided to come up with a new invention and test it out on you." The next hurl actually drew tears from his eyes. "Don't know what to call it yet, but it seems to work just like I intended. You see, I added a little something extra to your steak sauce." She held up the empty capsule. "Normally, a person would have run out of stuff to vomit by now. But the stuff I made is manufacturing more all the time using your own enzymes." She smiled cruelly. "Pretty clever, wouldn't you say?"

Vegeta held his stomach. "I feel like I'm dying, I can barely breath!" he cried.

"Oh you're not gonna die, you baby," Bulma scolded mockingly, "Even if I didn't have a remedy made you wouldn't die."

He suffered through another spew and coughed. "Remedy? Give it to me at once!"

"Why should I?" she challenged, leaning over him, "You've been nothing but rude to me lately. Maybe I should just wait see how long this new product of mine lasts!"

"You wouldn't dare!"

"Watch me!" She turned to walk away and then paused, smiling again. She turned around and poked at him with the tip of her shoe. "Well…maybe I'd reconsider. If you apologized to me."

His fingers tore at the grass once more. "What?! Never!"

"Hmph. Suit yourself." She turned again.

"No!" he cried, stretching out a hand, "Wait I…" His eyes bulged and a hand clamped his mouth as he felt another wave forcing its way up.

Bulma stood over him once again. "Well? Come on, tough guy, let's hear it!"

Desperately, he held his throat, trying to force it back down or maybe strangle the thing inside him. But just like the other ones, it came exploding out of him, this one even more powerful and sickening than the rest. He screamed. "ALL RIGHT! I APOLOGIZE JUST GIVE ME THE DAMN ANTIDOTE!"

Bulma smiled. "Why of course, your highness, your wish is my command." She flipped a pill to him.

Vegeta immediately snagged it out of the air and shoved it into his mouth, swallowing hard. He panted, bent over on all fours, surrounded by his own refuse as he felt the pill hit his stomach. The pain didn't go away, but the swelling in his gut finally stopped. He breathed a heavy sigh, getting up on one knee.

"Now," she folded her arms again, "How about you make up for your rudeness by coming inside and spending a little time with me?"

He breathed heavily for a moment, but then smiled. "Sorry, but you just gave up your bargaining chip. Foolish of you to concede so easily. Especially if you were planning on making on any more demands."

"Hm. Well if that's really how you feel…" Vegeta's eyes bulge as he felt her hand grab his shoulder and something sharp enter his neck. He grunted in disbelief, his eyes drifting back to see a needle puncturing his skin. He soon recognized it as the same syringe she had been threatening him with nearly a year ago. He continued to warble, Bulma watching him smugly as he felt his limbs go numb. He fell over on the ground, feeling his entire body turn cold until at last he passed out. "Ha!" Bulma smiled, holding up the syringe by her ear, "That teaches him to underestimate me!" She laughed and then bent over, kissing his cheek, leaving a nice, red kiss mark behind.

Dr. Brief was out on a stroll when he came upon a peculiar sight – there was some kind of guck all over the lawn and Bulma was dragging an unconscious Vegeta up the ship's ramp. He blinked. "My word! What happened here?"

"Oh hey, Dad!" Bulma waved, "Don't worry. Vegeta got a little sick is all."

"I see…" he said, eyeing one of the orange piles like it might come alive, "Well whatever it is, try not to catch it yourself!" He stuck a cigarette in his mouth and headed inside the house.

Bulma dragged Vegeta the rest of the way inside – he was pretty heavy for such a short guy – and laid him one of the ship's bunks. He'd wake up again in a few hours, so she'd better get to work. Reaching into her purse, she pulled out her second capsule and popped it open, several tools and a little extra special something coming out. She grinned and got to work, opening a panel in the wall.

Vegeta groaned as he slowly felt warmth return to his limbs. He blinked, his vision beginning to clear. What had happened? His eyes shifted down to his arm. For the first moment, he could only twitch his fingers. He gasped, but relaxed when he slowly felt the rest of his motor skills returning. At last he sat up, touching a hand to his head and he groaned. He inspected his surroundings, pleased to find himself in his training room.

But something wasn't right….why was he wearing black pants? And…was there something on his head?

Vegeta swung his legs off the bunk and went over to the nearest reflective surface. The moment he got there he about fell over backwards, letting out a terrible scream. He was dressed in some kind of bunny costume! He was still wearing his gloves and boots, but he was shirtless with a black bowtie around his neck, bunny ears on his head, and a little fluffy white tail on the back of the pants. He breathed heavily, choked by rage, and screamed again, ripping everything but the pants off, chucking them into the air, and making them explode.

His shoulder fell against the wall and his face twitched uncontrollably. "That… damn…woman!" he seethed, rubbing off the kiss mark she'd left behind on his cheek.

He had to actually sit down for a moment to regain his composure, wishing there was something nearby he could just kill right then. It was extremely difficult to, but at long last he just shook it all off, pressings his knuckles against his hips and heading for the control panel.

"Whatever," he muttered to himself, as he pressed the buttons, "If she thinks she can overcome me with cheap tricks, she's even more stupid than she looks." He pressed the start up switch.

And hit the ceiling.

"Gaah!" he cried, staring down at the floor, "What the—aagh!" The gravity shifted again and he hit the wall. "What is—?!" He hit another wall. "Aaarrr!" Struggling to see through the dizziness, it soon became apparent it wasn't just the gravity that was wrong. The drones were going nuts too, bumping into each other and flying randomly all over the place. Several of them collided with him as the gravity shifted to the floor before hurling him against a wall again. "BUUUULLLMAAAA!"

Bulma sat quietly in an arm chair, drinking a cup of steaming tea as he heard the Saiyan's scream echo from the ship. She smiled, sitting down her cup and opening her personal computer. Vegeta was just slamming into another wall – or maybe it was the ceiling, it was hard to tell at this point – when the projector came on and Bulma's smug face filled the air.

"Hey, guess what? I fixed the projector you broke while you were taking your nap," she casually stated.

Vegeta growled as he latched onto one of the consoles with both hands, body jerked in various directions as the gravity continued to rapidly shift. "DAMN WOMAN!" he screamed.

"Aw, is something wrong, honeybun?" she asked with an overly sweet expression, "Is your precious training not going well today?"

"Shut up! I know you did this!"

"What? Me?" A tiny smile shown through her fey of innocence. "Now why would I ever do that?"

He snarled, shutting his eyes tight as he held on against the erratic gravity pull. "How dare you…" he hissed, "You get in here right now—!"

"Oh-ho!" she chuckled, "You want me to come inside the ship?"

"Just get in here and fix the damn thing!" He gave a roaring cry as he bounded down the length of the controls and hit the kill switch. He slumped with an angry sigh of relief as his feet hit the floor and glared into the wall, his face twitching. "Now, Bulma."

"Hmph," she smiled, turning her head to the side and twisting a lock of hair, "Well then …I'll take that as an invitation." The projector shut off.

Vegeta turned his head and stared grimly at where her image had just been. She didn't argue about that one…not like she had about the antidote. Which was a worse sign. What was she planning now? Gritting his teeth, Vegeta went to stand in the corner, his arms folded and glowering at the floor as she came in, humming and carrying a bag of tools. He didn't look at her, but he could smell her and hear her tittering as she opened up a panel. Those two elements were enough to create a heavy feeling on his chest. What had that damn woman done to him? And how could he conquer it?

"Looks like some of the circuitry got messed up, should be easy enough to fix."

"Fine," he growled, "Just hurry up and get it done already." He heard some fizzling and suddenly the door deadlocked.

"Oops," she smiled, "Must have hit the wrong wire."

"Oh really?" his eyes shifted, trying to contain his annoyance. She was definitely up to something.

"Guess neither of us are leaving here for a little while."

"Crrrr…" he seethed, clenching a fist. He glared heavily at the wall but then forced himself to calm. "Fine by me. I have no reason to leave anyways. So you best just get to work."

"I guess so." It was silent for a long moment, but he could feel her come to stand behind him, her own arms crossed. "Vegeta."

"No."

"What are you gonna do, avoid me the rest of your life?"

"No," he snapped again.

"Well then what?"

He growled. "Just get back to work."

"No! You're gonna talk to me and stop hiding in the corner like a sissy little boy."

"Rrrr, I am not hiding!"

"What would you call it then? Sure looks that way to me." She stood on her toes him so that her face was nearly in his hair. "Hey! Look at me when I'm talking to you, Vegeta!"

"I don't take orders from you."

"That's what this is about, isn't it?! You just can't stand having anyone tell you what to do, can you?"

"No! And…and YES! Just leave me alone!"

"Huh," she snorted, "You're just a coward, that's what you are."

He froze and then clenched his teeth. "You dare call me that?!"

"Well what else would you call running away from your own wife?!"

"I am training for combat, woman!" he screamed, his voice making his hair shudder as it echoed off the wall, "I don't have time to carter to you!"

"When have I ever tried to interfere with your training?!"

"Just SHUT UP!"

The ship shook with his rage and Bulma's brow lowered intensely. "All right, that does it, look at me!" He snarled. She grabbed his shoulder and tried to turn him around. "Look at me!"

"Don't touch me!" he snapped, swatting her hand off.

She grabbed his shoulders with both hands. "No! You turn around and look me in the eyes right now!"

"I said don't touch me!" He grabbed her wrists.

"No!" She jumped on him, wrapping her legs around his waist.

"What the—have you gone mad, woman?! Get off me!" He twisted to pry her off him, but she wrapped her arms around his neck, her hands latching onto his chin.

"Just look at me, Vegeta! Look at me!"

"I refuse!"

"Well then so do I!"

The tussle began, the two floundering all over the ship and Vegeta kept rebuffing her with gentle blows and Bulma hung onto him even tighter, trying to force his head to turn around and look at her. He flew up into the air and dropped her, but she grabbed onto his ankles and climbed up him again, hugging his waist and snarling.

"Don't make me hurt you, woman!" He landed on the ground again, grabbing her wrists and forcing her arms off him only to have her legs grab him again.

"You wouldn't dare, you're too damn proud for that!" She seized a fistful of his hair and began to yank harshly.

Inside the house, Dr. Brief paused in the turning of a screw, lifting his head to blink out the window at the ship. "Now what on earth is all that racket?"

"Stupid sow, get off me at once!" Vegeta commanded, unraveling her legs from him and stumbling as he nearly lost his balance.

"Never!" she screamed back. She clamored around to his front and grabbed him by the ears. "You're…going…to…look at me!"

"RAAAA!" He turned swiftly and slammed her against the wall, making her cry out. But when she opened her eyes she found at last, for the first time in a week, him staring wrathfully into her gaze. He held her pinned against the wall, his expression completely livid, his chest heaving and blood vessels showing in his forehead. Bulma stared back, her own brow lowered and teeth gritted.

It was then she struck – with a kiss.

He was immediately sucked into it, shoving her harder against the wall and kissing her back – but breaking it off a second later. "No!" He choked as she kissed him again, the taste of her red lipstick intoxicating. He shoved her back again. "No!" His expression trembled as he felt her hand slip down into his pants. He grabbed her wrist. "Damn it, didn't you hear me, woman?!"

She gave a dark smile, her brow lowering. "No."

Bulma wrapped her legs around him and hauled him in. His grip on her grew weak and she spun them around, pushing him against the wall as she kissed his neck. Vegeta panted, his body trembling as he fought to resist what he knew he couldn't – this woman, this damn woman! Somehow, she was just too much for him. Bulma worked her very best magic on him. She would force him to remember who she was to him, force him to realize he could never get away from her, not from the moment he'd placed that glove in her hand.

He gritted his teeth and shut his eyes. "No…no…I won't…I can't…!" His eyes grew livid again and he spun them back around, pinning her to the wall again. He stared into those large blue eyes of hers, refusing with every inch of his being. But rather than turning away, he found himself reaching under her dress. Bulma gasped as he ripped her panties out from under her, destroying them. "Damn you," he hissed. He undid his pants, letting them fall. "Damn you." Bulma gasped again, a blush covering her face as he entered her began to thrust her repeatedly against the wall. "Damn you…damn you…damn you!" he snarled in her ear with every heave.

It hurt. But she didn't protest. She didn't scold. She didn't direct. She just held him close, accepting every inch of it – his crushing grip, her body banging against the wall, the curses he hissed in her ear. She breathed heavily, holding his head as she pressed their foreheads together, forcing him to stare continually into her eyes.

Vegeta's voice faded into heavy breathing, knowing he had lost. No matter what he did, this human woman had stolen something inescapable from him he could never retrieve. He could bury it away in the deepest corners of apathy. He could put great distances between them. He could degrade her to the lowest levels. But none of that would ever change the hold she had placed on him. He was Prince Vegeta, the greatest warrior in the universe. And he was hers.

Dr. Brief lifted his head once again from his work. "Confound it all, what is that racket?!" He rubbed his mustache and at last turned on a monitor, tuning into the security feeds within the ship. His face turned red. "Oh my!" he choked, grabbing a handkerchief and pressing it to his nose. Sweat gathered on his forehead as he switched the monitor back off. "Well… um…" He cleared his throat and decided he hadn't seen anything.

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