|The next few days passed by pretty much the
same way they'd always had. Goku and Vegeta sparred on a daily basis, Trunks and Goten
hung out after the lavender-haired demi-Saiya-jin got home from work, and Bura begged her
father to train her. Actually, the last was a brand new occurrence.
"Just tell me why, Papa? Why can't I kick butt like the rest of you?" Bura grumpily dug her spoon into her bowl of cereal at the breakfast table.
Vegeta looked at her with a tired expression. "Because learning to fight will make you a target, Bura. I don't want anything to happen to you."
"Oh," she said at length. "I understand. But what if the bad guy doesn't care that I'm just an innocent bystander? If I can't defend myself against him, then I'm just as dead. I would rather have a chance at saving myself, Papa."
Trunks nodded. "The squirt has a point."
He didn't want to give in even though his daughter had a solid argument, but there was no guarantee that evil was done visiting Chikyuu. "Meet me in the backyard an hour after breakfast. Your lessons begin today."
A delighted smile lit up her face like a Christmas tree. "Really, Papa? Oh, domo arigatou!" Bura ran around the table and hugged him with all of her strength.
"Don't thank me just yet. Trunks will tell you that I don't go easy on anyone."
"I don't care." She ran upstairs to get ready.
Vegeta dropped his head to his hands almost as soon as she was out of sight. "I don't know a damn thing about training a female child."
"It's not as if she's ningen. Bura can take a lot."
"Not the point, brat. The female mind is a confusing, complicated thing. I could accidentally say something to her that would make her burst into tears! What am I supposed to do then, huh? You'll be at work and I don't have a clue how to calm a crying female."
Trunks smothered a smile. "You'll be fine, Papa. Hey, if worse comes to worse you could always call Goku-san. He did train Pan after all."
Hope dawned in his eyes. "You're right and Gohan's brat was even younger than Bura is now!" Though having Goku help him out with Bura was the primary reason, he couldn't help but to be happy about the potential time they would get to spend together. Vegeta considered it an added bonus.
"I have to leave, but I'll come if you call me." His blue eyes silently pleaded for his father to call him. He'd been the president of Capsule Corporation for a year -- ever since Buruma died -- and he still hadn't adjusted.
"You own the company, Trunks. If you despise working there so much, why can't you just hire someone to run it for you?"
Trunks twisted his hands and confliction showed on his face. Obviously it was something he'd thought about (and agonized over) before. "Ojiisan spent his entire life running Capsule Corporation and Kaasan did the same. I feel like I'm dishonoring their memories by just thinking about it. It would tear me apart to actually do it."
"Trunks," Vegeta said seriously, "I don't think either of them would want you to do something that made you miserable. I certainly don't."
"I didn't think that you cared either way," he said while looking ashamed. "You're my Papa and I know that you love me... I guess. It's just that you don't seem to care about anything other than being the strongest and beating the crap out of Goku-san."
Vegeta knew that he was right, but hadn't he seen the changes over the years? After the defeat of Majin Buu -- and the birth of Bura -- he'd concentrated more on his children than anything else. From the fusions of Vegetto and Gogeta, he'd seen deep into Goku's heart and discovered what made the man so powerful. He had a core of righteousness that Vegeta could never hope to match, but, regardless of futility, he would spend the rest of his life trying.
"While, I admit, fighting with Kakarotto is enjoyable, you and Bura are my responsibility." Vegeta allowed emotion to fill his eyes, something he hadn't done in a very long time. "Your happiness is important to me. No matter how I behave, always remember that."
Trunks was completely speechless. He just sat in his chair and stared at his father until Vegeta tapped his wrist. "What does that..." The young man glanced down and gasped. "Watch! Time! Late!"
"At least you've got the essentials," Vegeta said with a very small smile.
He jumped up and grabbed his briefcase, throwing one last look at his father. Then, on an impulse, he went over and hugged the startled Saiya-jin. "Arigatou, Papa. See you later."
The prince sat there for a moment, a smile on his face, until a voice pulled him from his thoughts. "That was so sweet!"
Vegeta jumped and was five seconds away from letting loose a ki attack on the owner of the voice. He turned and groaned aloud. "Kakarotto. I should have known."
"Don't act like you're disappointed to see me. I know better. I could even say that you like having me around." Goku grinned.
"Say one damn thing and you're hearing about it for the rest of your life," Vegeta grumbled. "Do you promise not to bring whatever I say next up again?"
"I promise," he said promptly. He said it a little too fast for Vegeta tastes, but the ouji continued anyway.
"Bura asked me to train her and I agreed. Ihavenodamnideahowtotrainafemalesowouldy
Goku blinked and processed his words. "Are you asking me for help?"
"Hai." He tried not to look ashamed, but it didn't work very well. Goku opened his mouth again and the prince held up a hand. "If it's anything other than 'hai' or 'iie', I don't want to hear it."
He looked at him with bright, innocent eyes. "I dunno. Maybe." Goku found himself suddenly on the floor, looking up at the ceiling. Vegeta was straddling his waist and wiggling his fingers.
"Answer me correctly or I'm going to torture you." The younger Saiya-jin's eyes sparkled with humor and before he could even open his mouth, Vegeta's nimble fingers were digging into his sides.
Goku squealed and began to laugh hysterically. "Hai, hai! I'll help you!" Tears fell from his eyes and he was dangerously close to wetting himself. "Onegai, 'geta. Stop tickling me!"
"If I'm interrupting something, I could always come back," Bura stood in the doorway, looking at them with a humored expression on her face. She had on one of Trunks' old gi that he'd worn when he was her age with a tee-shirt underneath.
The three of them went outside. "I can't believe that someone's finally gonna teach me martial arts! You two are the best!"
"Just wait until you see 'geta's training methods," Goku stage whispered. He then said louder, "Bura-chan, can you fly?"
She nodded. "Trunks taught me a few years ago after I begged him to death. I'm pretty sure I picked it up faster than Goten-niichan." Bra smirked. "That's something I can tease him about for years."
"What else do you know?"
They only covered the basics that day. Bura could fly and control her ki, but that seemed to be about the full extent of her abilities. Then, much to the delight of the girl, Goku and Vegeta sparred for her.
She was absolutely entranced. "You make it look just like a dance."
"That comes with decades of practice," Goku told her.
"I'm gonna be that good someday and then I'll get to spar with both of you." Bura could picture it in her mind. "I bet I'll even win!" Vegeta and Goku exchanged looks and burst into laughter. Bura glared at them. "What's so funny?"
"N-nothing, Bura," Vegeta gasped. "It's just that while you get stronger, so will we."
Goku shook his head. "I was laughing because she sounded so much like you right then. No one would ever mistake her for someone else's daughter." The short Saiya-jin didn't know whether to be pleased... or insulted.
The rest of the afternoon was spent teaching Bura how to spar. Most of it was instinctual -- she was part Saiya-jin after all -- and, by the end of the day, she felt that she could go up against Pan and know what to do.
"She's only a quarter-Saiya-jin, but would probably kick my butt," she grumped. "But, if I train every single day, eventually I'll be stronger than she is. I am Vegeta's daughter after all."
Vegeta looked as if he would burst with pride. "At last, someone who recognizes true strength."
"I've always admired your strength, Vegeta," Goku said quietly. "Especially when no one else did."
The prince smiled and stared deeply into his former rival's eyes. After five minutes went by and neither of their gazes wavered, Bura smiled to herself and went into the house. It seemed that Goten was right... for once.
They were becoming closer than ever before. Jokes passed between them, gentle teasing, and even affection! Vegeta was like a brand new man.
Goku was nearly one-hundred percent positive that the Saiya-jin no Ouji would accept his courtship. Now, he had to tell the older man what he wanted. That was definitely harder than it sounded.
Once again they laid underneath the stars. Goku was starting to discover that the heavens gave him the courage to ask questions that would have never passed his lips otherwise.
"Have you ever been in love with someone?"
To say that the prince was stunned by the query would have been an understatement. He seemed to be having a lot of shock-filled moments lately. "Nani?"
Goku repeated himself. "I know that you didn't feel that way about Buruma because I could see it in your eyes."
"Iie, I didn't love the onna. I tried for many years for the sake of Trunks and Bura, but we weren't fooling anyone with our so-called happy marriage. In fact, I refused to go through with the silly ningen custom. It meant more to her than I was willing to give." He glanced at Goku from the corner of his eye. "Iie, I haven't ever been in love with someone."
As if on cue, the chibi angel appeared. "Do you even know what being in love feels like?"
"I would know if I was in love. You can't miss it, supposedly."
"You could if you've never experienced it before. Look at Goku. What do you feel?"
"That's none of your damn business."
The angel laughed. "You don't have to tell me, I already know. You love him and you're also in love with him. You want to spend the rest of your life with him, right by his side. When he's happy, you're happy. When he hurts, you hurt. Cut him and you bleed."
"I understand that, angel. No need to go on and on about it."
"So, do you admit it, Veggie? He needs to know. I can look at him myself and feel his heartache."
Vegeta turned onto his side and examined his sparring partner carefully. He very quickly noticed the usual things he always did. The wild hair, the bright eyes, the strong body. Then he looked deep within the man known as Son Goku to his friends, and Kakarotto to the prince. There was a tender heart and an innate sense of selflessness that never ceased to astound him.
He was beautiful both inside and out.
Vegeta had never known anyone who made him feel as warm inside as Goku did and probably never will. The younger Saiya-jin was one in a million, a law unto himself. He had to make a decision, one that would change both of their lives forever. Did he give in to his feelings and pursue a relationship with Goku, or did he continue to resist and leave both of them in misery?
'That's a dumb ass question,' he admitted to himself. Aloud he said, "Kakarotto?"
Goku turned his head. "Hai, Vegeta?"
"I have been in love before."
"With who?" he asked softly, almost afraid of the answer he would receive.
Vegeta faced him with a real smile on his face. "I'm looking at him."
The Earth-born Saiya-jin just looked at him for a moment before his eyes rolled back in his head and he passed out cold.
"I can't believe he just did that!" Then a horror-stricken expression crossed his own face. "I can't believe I just said that!" Then Vegeta, the crowned prince of the Saiya-jin, joined his companion in unconsciousness.
There was a hand where no hand other than his own had been in a long time. Vegeta stretched with cat-like grace and all but purred at the sensation. If he moved a little to the left, the feeling increased ten-fold. For several minutes he just lay there enjoying the warmth and comfort before a ki attracted his attention. Actually, there were two of them.
'What the hell?' he thought to himself before turning over onto his side. His right arm came in contact with a large, warm body. Thinking nothing of it, he cuddled up to the source of the heat and slowly slid back into slumber.
"No one would ever believe this," a voice whispered. "Hell, I'm not sure I believe it!"
Amused laughter. "You owe me one-hundred zenni. That'll teach you to listen to me."
Vegeta slowly opened his eyes, squinting a little when the bright morning sunlight hit them. "What are you two doing?"
"Papa?" Trunks whispered as he backed away slowly. He hoped that maybe his father was still asleep. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. "Nice day, isn't it?"
Goten grinned. "Especially when you're cuddling up to my tousan."
The prince paused, eyes opening wide. "What did you just say?"
"You heard me." Trunks threw 'shut up' looks at his best-friend (who chose to ignore him). "Seem to be pretty happy about it. At least one part of you does." Goten then snickered as Vegeta turned slightly red.
"That is a natural morning phenomenon, nothing more," Vegeta said while his face darkened in color. Goku chose that moment to reach out with his left hand and clutch at his privates. The very embarrassed prince groaned as he reacted instantly.
Trunks covered up his eyes. "I am not watching the father of my best-friend grope my papa. I am not watching the father of my best-friend grope my papa."
"You can keep saying that," Goten said with a grin, "but it won't make it any less true. C'mon, let's leave the two of them alone." He pulled Trunks away, but not without giving the Saiya-jin a thumbs up.
Vegeta stared upward at the sky while he attempted to will his problem away. "How do I tell the baka to move his hand?"
"You don't, Veggie. Besides, I'm sure you're enjoying it."
"Whether I'm enjoying it or not isn't the point," he growled. "How do I get out of this situation without making it worse?"
The angel tapped his chin in thought. "You could always go back to sleep and hope that Goku wakes up before you do. Then he could just move and everything will be fine."
"Or you can move the damn thing yourself," the devil said as he popped into existence, "and smack him for having the audacity to manhandle the royal heir."
"He's not manhandling him!" The angel shouted. "Goku's being very gentle."
Vegeta covered his ears. "Will you two just shut up for a minute! I have a solution, myself. I'll just move and pray to Kami that he doesn't wake up."
He inched a little away from Goku and continued to do so after making sure that the other Saiya-jin was going to remain asleep. Just as he was almost free from the larger Saiya-jin's wayward hand, Goku rolled over and trapped him partially beneath his body. "Just great," Vegeta muttered. "Just fucking great." Actually, it was great, but he couldn't be seen, or heard, enjoying things as they were.
"What are ya gonna do now?" the angel asked curiously. "Your right hand's sorta pinned underneath his stomach. Just a few more inches and you could return the favor."
The devil's lips twisted upward in an evil little grin. "Your mouth is also really close to his ear. I say you bite it off."
He ignored both of their suggestions and instead whispered in Goku's ear. "Kakarotto, breakfast!"
Goku's eyes shot open. "Breakfast? Where?!" He looked down at Vegeta (who had an annoyed expression on his face). " 'geta, what are you doing under me?"
"I'm definitely not changing the oil, baka," he growled. "Get off, I have to go find a toilet before my bladder explodes."
"Sorry 'bout that," Goku apologized sheepishly. His embarrassment grew worse when he realized his state of arousal. The best thing he could find to do in the situation was to ignore it. "You say something about breakfast?"
"Hai. Go entertain your offspring. We eat in an hour."
As Goku watched him head into the house, he couldn't help, but think that Vegeta was one of the sexiest men he'd ever seen. 'And soon,' he thought, 'he'll be all mine.'