'Today's the day I'm going to ask him,' Goku said to himself. 'Iie, I'm going to tell him!'

He'd never considered himself a forceful man. In fact, he was pretty docile overall. Informing someone that he was going to court them whether they wanted him to or not seemed just a little bit out of character. 'How much do you want him, Goku? How far are you willing to go?' The answer to those questions were easy: very much and very far.

It was six in the morning when he called Vegeta, but he knew that the older man was already awake. The prince hardly ever slept past five-thirty.

"Nani?" His voice was gruff but, then again, it always seemed to be that way.

Goku took a deep breath. "Ohayo, 'geta. This phone call is very important so I want you to listen carefully."

"What is it?"

"Meet me at our usual sparring grounds in one hour. I'm going to make you mine."

There was a moment of silence, then Vegeta asked, "You're going to what?!"

"You heard me. Meet me in an hour." Goku hung up the phone, heart pounding wildly. He'd finally done it. Vegeta would soon be his.

The Earth-born Saiya-jin exited the kitchen uncertain. He had no idea what to do with himself, now. Did he head off to their sparring grounds and wait for fifty-five minutes or did he plan for the battle? After a moment, Goku made a decision. He would plan for the battle. Knowing Vegeta, he would need all of the tricks he could come up with.

Ten minutes to seven, Goku arrived at the place they'd sparred at six days ago. He paced restlessly as he waited for Vegeta to arrive. What if he lost? That would be awful. He doubted that he would have another chance to prove himself to the prince.

Five minutes to seven, he spotted a small dark spot in the sky. At the rate Vegeta was going, he would reach him in less than a minute. This was it, the moment he'd been waiting for. No turning back now.

Vegeta dropped to the ground and walked towards him, arms folded over his chest. "We need to talk, Kakarotto."

"Talk? There's nothing to talk about." On the outside, he was a perfect picture of calm. On the inside, it was an entirely different story. His stomach had hyperactive butterflies fluttering around inside of it and his mind was running around in frantic circles. One chance. He had only one chance.

"We have a lot to talk about!" he glared at him but it was halfhearted. "You called my house and demanded that I meet you out here today! Not only was that extremely unusual, it was extremely rude! What do you have to say for yourself?"

Goku allowed the feelings he usually received from a good battle to fill his heart. He smirked and phased out of sight. "This," he said as his fist connected solidly with Vegeta's face. The smaller Saiya-jin screamed in pain and reflexively reached up to cover the bruised area. That gave Goku time to knee him in the stomach.

'Gotta keep him off-balance,' Goku repeated over and over again to himself. It was the key to success in this battle, the only way that he was going to win once and for all. There could be no tie.

As they each gave the battle one-hundred percent of all they had, Vegeta had to admit that he was reveling in it. There had been few sparring matches where he could truthfully say, "Kakarotto thoroughly kicked my ass and I've never had so much fun!"

"Ooh! This is so exciting!" the chibi angel squealed as he tossed a handful of popcorn into his mouth. "One-hundred zenni on Goku!"

"This is not the right time for that!" He didn't realize that he'd shouted it aloud until Goku frowned at him. "DAMN IT!"

"Temper, temper." His eyes grew comically wide when he suddenly found himself between Goku's fist and Vegeta's face. Even though the chibi knew that he couldn't be hurt by the large Saiya-jin, it still scared the pee out of him. "OH, NO!"

Vegeta started to snicker at the panicked look on the angel's face, and it turned into deep belly laughs at the confused expression on Goku's after his fist went straight through the chibi. He doubled over gasping for breath as tears fell from his closed eyes. The prince's concentration broke and he fell about ten feet from the air to the ground.

"This isn't working out how I pictured it!" Goku screamed in frustration. He grunted and shot a kit blast at the unsuspecting Saiya-jin no Ouji, knocking him completely unconscious. "Kami, that was underhanded." Then he grinned. "But it worked." Goku did a little victory dance and dropped down to kneel beside Vegeta.

"I am the champion," he sang quietly to himself, "I am the champion. You are the loser 'cause I am the champion...." Goku lifted his voice to the heavens. "OF THE WORLD!"

***
Recently he'd begun visiting Trunks around lunchtime. Goten had a lot of free time around midday since one class ended at eleven forty-five and the next didn't begin until two. Sometimes he brought lunch to the older demi-Saiya-jin's office, but mostly they went out to eat. Trunks really hated spending more time at Capsule Corp. than he needed to.

"I wish I could have gone to college," he sighed wistfully as he set his napkin down onto his tray. He could have easily afforded the most exclusive restaurant in Satan City, but they always seemed to end up at McDonald's. Goten loved the place for some reason.

Goten laughed. "It's not all fun and games, Trunks. You have to work pretty hard most of the time and study late into the night. There's been times I've only gotten about two hours of sleep before I had to get up again." He sobered and looked down at the table. "Sometimes I feel like just dropping out, you know? But I promised Kaasan that I would make something of myself just like Gohan did and niichan was so proud when I got accepted into the university."

"You're not your brother." His expression turned serious. "I'm going to tell you something that a wise man once told me. 'I don't think either of them would want you to do something that made you miserable.' It's your life, Goten. Not ChiChi-san's or Gohan's or anyone else's."

"Who told you that?" the teen asked.

Trunks smiled. "Papa."

He was surprised, but not very much. Vegeta's metamorphosis had begun several years before. No longer did he ignore his children and train the day away. "So, you think we're going to become brothers?" Now, that would be weird, but not overly so. They were already close enough to be siblings. His mother had been against him spending time with Trunks most of his life, but, now that she wasn't around to say anything, he spent as much time as he could with him.

"If we do, I get to boss you around." Trunks grinned. "I am older than you are."

"By one little year!" he argued, but it was half-hearted. The argument was so old that it probably dated back to when they were still in diapers.

Soon it was time for Trunks to head back to work. They stood outside Capsule Corporation and just stared at the building. "I guess I should be going, now," the lavender-haired demi-Saiya-jin said.

"Hai," Goten responded.

"I have a lot of work to do today."

"Hai."

Trunks exchanged looks with his best-friend. "Last one to the lake has to buy the other a present!" He was in the air before he'd even finished his sentence.

"You're such a cheater!" Goten shouted as he followed him.

Both school and work were instantly forgotten.

***
"Nobody's around," Bura said to herself as she shut the door behind her. "That's weird." She'd just gotten out of school and had been walking home by herself for a year. Satan City was fairly safe, thanks to the heroic deeds of the Great Saiyaman II. Personally, everyone felt that Videl was a little too old to be running around in a goofy superhero outfit, but no one would dare say it to her face.

Bura dropped her backpack into the nearest chair and headed straight to the kitchen for a snack. She'd missed lunch that day because the entire half-hour had been spent shadow-sparring in the football field. Here's to hoping that Vegeta would be proud of her for the extra training.

After fixing herself a gigantic sandwich, she was about to head up to her room with her meal when she heard a strange sound. It sounded a cross between a grunt and moan. "What in the world...."

The front door opened and closed behind her. "Bura-chan, why are you just standing here in the hall?" Trunks asked curiously.

She turned to him with a grin on her face. "I think Papa has someone special over."

"Why do you say that?"

Another round of moans floated downstairs, but they were louder this time around. "Because that's not his voice and he sounds like he's really enjoying himself."

Trunks blushed several different shades of red and clapped his hands over his little sister's ears. "Kami!"

Eventually the sounds of pleasure upstairs stopped. By that time, Bura had completely finished eating and Trunks' arms were becoming tired. "Hi, guys!" Goku said cheerfully as he came downstairs in just his gi pants. "How's it going?"

"Are you our new mother?" Bura asked innocently.

"Bura!" her brother gasped.

Goku was genuinely confused by her words. "What would make you think that?"

"You were making sounds like the ones in Trunks' porno movies."

"Just how would you... Nevermind." He chuckled at the lavender-haired demi-Saiya-jin's embarrassment. "Anyway, 'geta gives a great massage. Even after I knocked him unconscious."

Trunks blinked. "You mean, that's all you were doing? It sure didn't sound like it."

"I guess I get a little too enthusiastic," Goku laughed. "Trunks, I need to talk to you for a minute. It's about the bonding ritual."

Eyes wide, he nodded. "Okay....."

"What's a bonding ritual?" Bura asked curiously. "How come no one ever told me about it?"

"You're not old enough, Bura," Trunks informed her. "Can you leave us, for a few minutes? This is adult stuff."

She pouted, but gave in. "No one ever tells me anything."

"Goten told me about it last week, but he couldn't remember the specifics for the ritual. Can you tell me?"

Like Bura, Trunks couldn't believe that Goten had been right all along. He was never right. "You want to court my papa?"

Goku nodded. "Hai."

"Are you sure about this? I don't want him to be hurt because you made a hasty decision." Trunks adopted a stern look on his face as he examined Goku's seriousness.

"Trunks, I'm absolutely sure. Vegeta completes me."

The young man nodded. "Alright, then. Step one of the bonding ritual is..."

***
'Does Kakarotto actually understand the full meaning of the ritual? Sometimes it seems like he's one-hundred percent on top of things and other times... Well, I don't want to call him slow because he isn't. Let's just say that Kakarotto isn't as attentive as he should be when it comes to certain things.

'I don't even know if we're compatible or not. People fall in love all the time and can't stand to be around each other. Well, establishment is the first step of the ritual. We'll find out then.'


The sun was setting and Vegeta was just about ready for what he considered a very important date. After he regained consciousness that morning, he found an extremely smug Saiya-jin sitting cross-legged beside him. "Victory is mine, 'geta."

"So I feel," he grunted as he sat up. "I accept your courtship."

Goku grinned brightly. "Great! Okay, now what do we do?"

"Well..." Vegeta, for some reason, felt like messing with his head. "We fuck like rabid weasels 'til dawn or until someone passes out from exhaustion. Whichever comes first."

"We do?" he asked in disbelief. "Wow..."

"I'm kidding, Kakarotto," Vegeta told him as he climbed to his feet. "Though the thought is enticing. I bet you've never had anyone that could meet you in the stamina department."

He shook his head. "Iie, I haven't had anyone besides ChiChi and, although strong, she was still ningen."

"You want to head back to Capsule Corp. for-" He examined the position of the sun. "-brunch? We can find something to do until tonight. The ritual must be done under the night sky."

"Tonight" had now come and the prince was (uncharacteristically) nervous. He'd had many lovers in the past, but none of them had meant one-tenth as much to him as Goku did. Vegeta didn't know just when he'd started loving the younger Saiya-jin, but it felt as if he always had.

There was a knock on his bedroom door. "Papa, explain the ritual to me. I don't get it at all."

"Come in, Bura. Let's talk."

She sat on the bed and watched him primp in front of the mirror. "Wow, you're looking pretty snazzy."

Vegeta examined his black silk shirt and tight black leather pants. He had to admit that he looked good enough to eat. 'Hopefully, Kakarotto thinks so as well.' Heat rose up to his cheeks as hentai thoughts invaded his mind. Oh, the things they could do in eleven hours...

"Saiya-jin use a ritual to pick their mate because, on Vegeta-sei, we had no marriage ceremony. You bond mentally, emotionally, and physically with whoever you choose and become half of a whole." He chucked when the little girl's eyes grew large and elaborated. "Not permanently, Bura. It's not a Potara earring fusion. We'll still be two separate people."

"Good," she said, relieved. "I like you just the way you are. How long will you be gone?"

'All night, hopefully,' he thought. Aloud he said, "I'll be here when you wake up in the morning and Trunks will take good care of you in the meantime."

She hugged him. "Okay, Papa. Have fun."

"Oh I will, Bura-chan. I will."

***
"What if I do something wrong?" That was the question Goku continued to ask himself every few minutes. If he screwed up the bonding ritual, he had no idea what would happen. Would Vegeta abandon the thought of becoming his lifemate because of his inadequacy?

Goku groaned. "Is the ritual supposed to make me this crazy?"

"Tousan, just take it easy. In just a few short hours you'll be joined with Vegeta-san. You should be excited, not nervous."

"I can't help it, Goten. There's just so much I can lose right now!" Goku started to pace. His son opened his mouth to protest and his father raised his hand. "I know, I know. Trunks told me how to do the ritual in detail. First, I link my mind with Vegeta's; next, we exchange vows; then, we consummate the bond and mark each other at the, um, pinnacle." He blushed as he told Goten of the last step. He would always be his son no matter how old he became, and, to Goku, it was embarrassing to talk about sex-related things with your children.

"If I notice some really weird ki spikes, just ignore them, ne?" Goten chuckled. "You two aren't trying to kill each other. Well, maybe you are. Just in another way."

His face grew darker in color. "Can we please talk about something else?"

"Okay. Do you think I'll be able to call him Papa, too? I don't mind if Trunks and Bura want to call you tousan. Don't know about Gohan, though."

Goku's eyes widened. "Gohan! I completely forgot about him! What would he think about this?"

Goten immediately grew serious and his father took that as a very bad sign. "I don't really know, but I doubt it'll be good. If it's not the same-sex thing, it's going to be because it's Vegeta. Not many people like him very much."

"He's not that bad!" Goku found himself exclaiming. "I know that he glowers at people a lot, but you can't tell a damn thing about a person from the outside alone."

"I know that, Tousan. It's me, remember?"

He sighed. "I'm sorry, son, but they make me so angry by thinking that way. Vegeta's a wonderful person."

"They don't know him like you do," Goten said gently. "Maybe someday they will."

Goten talked to him until it was time for his father to leave. Goku was considerably less nervous by that time and it showed. Hugging him, the teen wished him luck. "Not that you'll need it. Vegeta-san would be an idiot to reject you."

"Arigatou," he replied before taking a deep breath. "I'll be back... whenever."

As Goten watched his ki trail fade off into the distance, the event only served to make his own single status more apparent. His father was going off to find true love; why couldn't he?

***
"Oh, Vegeta..." The chibi singsonged. "Today's the big day, huh? I'm glad I was invited to the ceremony."

The ouji's eyes narrowed. "You weren't."

"I'm your conscience, you know. I'm invited to everything. Bet the devil's gonna show up when you mark each other. He just loves the sight of freshly spilled blood."

"Well, if you must be present, please don't distract me. This is the most sacred of all rites a Saiya-jin can undergo."

The chibi took his thumb and forefinger, drew it across his tiny mouth, and rotated his fingers at the end as if turning an invisible key. "My lips are sealed."

"See that they remain that way."

Usually the bonding ritual was done in complete silence (except for one part in the middle and, oftentimes, the end), but, then again, both participants usually knew what the heck they were doing. It may not have been discussed often -- because many Saiya-jin had seen the bond as a liability --, but the children were told about it just it case the bonding was initiated on its own. That almost never happened, but the bond had been known to form between two people entirely by itself and it was dangerous if you weren't aware of it.

Anyway, back to the original topic. The ritual was done mostly in silence because it definitely deserved the reverence. When any two people became (figuratively) of one mind, one body, and one soul, great things happened. No longer was there a "you", there was suddenly an "us". Everything you did in your life somehow impacted the life of your lifemate from what you ate for breakfast to a battle against a sworn enemy. Especially when it came to battle.

If one lifemate should happen to die before the other, the remaining partner usually lost the will to live. It just wasn't worth it when the bond was broken. It was tradition to go off and find a quiet place to end it all ritualistically, similar to what the Japanese termed seppuku, because it wasn't brave to ignore the urge... it was foolish.

Vegeta hoped he would never, ever start to consider ritual suicide if Goku should happen to perish. He had a little girl to raise after all, and would stay alive for her if not for anyone, or anything, else.

Kneeling on the soft grass, he nodded for Goku to begin. As the instigator of the courtship, he made the first move in the ritual. Right as Goku settled himself more comfortably on the ground, the few clouds above them parted, and the silvery light of the moon shone down upon them. Neither Saiya-jin had known that the wished-back moon was going to be full, but it did make the night additionally special.

The first thing Goku needed to do was see if he could reach out and touch Vegeta's mind. He knew that he could do that with several people -- usually if they were already connected to him in some way --, but this time was different. Not only would he make contact with Vegeta's mind, he would establish a psychic link and join them mentally and emotionally forever. It had the potential to be an extremely hard task, for the ouji generally kept himself closed off to people, but Goku knew that he wanted the bond nearly as much as he did -- if not more.

Closing his eyes, the younger Saiya-jin concentrated on tuning everything else out except the man kneeling before him. Everything else came in distant second to him at the moment: nothing else mattered. He tentatively reached out and his mind gently brushed against Vegeta's... and hit a solid brick wall. It wasn't surprising that he was unable to enter. Vegeta had spent majority of his life shielding himself from people. Though he understood his reasons, it hurt just the same.

"Vegeta, onegai..." he said silently. "Will you let me inside? I promise that I'll never, ever hurt you. Just what are you so afraid of?"

He heard a heavy sigh. "Everything. The bond makes you completely vulnerable to the person that you form it with, Kakarotto. It would be very easy for you to hurt me."

"Look deep inside your heart. Do you truly believe I would harm you?"

He paused for only a brief moment. "Iie."

"Do you believe that I wouldn't treat the bond with the respect that it deserves?"

"Iie."

"Will you let me inside?"

In reply, an open doorway appeared in the wall before Goku and a rectangle of darkness shone through. He looked back at the brilliant green field dotted with colorful flowers and then to the blasted, naked earth before him. Without hesitation, he crossed the threshold.

Where he stepped, plants sprouted in a broad line and the dark clouds above parted like the Red Sea had done for Moses. Full sunlight shone down upon a land that had been without for several decades and it was beautiful.

Goku smiled and opened his eyes. He was more aware of Vegeta than ever before, sort of like a constant warmth in the background of his mind. The ouji also smiled and he received a mental thank you.

"It was worth the risk, Kakarotto."

"I'm glad you feel that way. Okay! Time for part two!" He cleared his throat. This was the part that needed to be spoken aloud. Trunks told him that Saiya-jin wanted all of creation to know of their union. More specifically, the new couple wanted their enemies to know that there were now two people they had to go up against. "We've known each other for thirty-six years, but it seems like forever. Something about you attracted me right from the start, even before we were allies.

"Then Buruma asked me to look after you. At first I felt overwhelmed by the task but, as time wore on, I found myself falling in love. Suddenly, it wasn't about an obligation I had to my friend, it was about you and the joy I felt when we spent time together.

"People say that you only care for yourself, that you don't have the capacity for love. I know different. You may not show your true emotions often, but it's as they say: 'The rarer the flower, the sweeter it smells.'

"Vegeta, I promise to love, honor, and cherish you for the rest of my life and beyond. You mean everything to me."

Vegeta's face was completely blank and that would have upset someone else. When a person made a declaration of love to you, weren't you supposed to show some sort of emotion? If Goku hadn't made a link with the ouji, he might have been heartbroken. As it was, he felt a wave of emotion wash over him that caused his entire body to tingle. It didn't have a name (at least not one he'd ever heard of), but Goku thought of it as something even more profound than love.

"My words will pale in comparison to yours," he said after a long moment, his cheeks slightly damp with tears. "I'm just not very good with them."

Goku smiled gently. "Your vows don't have to be perfect, 'geta, just say what's in your heart."

"When I look at you, I see everything I could ever hoped to receive from another person. Kindness, compassion, safety, love... You're absolutely perfect from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Before I met you I knew only darkness and it owned me heart and soul. Then you went where no man, or woman, had ever dared tread before and your purity filled me with light. I can never repay you for all that you've done for me, but I offer myself and my love to you with hope that you will have me by your side for all eternity."

Goku wiped at his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt. "I couldn't have said it better myself." After he'd regained his composure somewhat, he silently asked, "I need to mark you to show everyone that you're mine, right? I have to admit that it sounds a little primitive."

"We were a primitive race, Kakarotto. For millennia Saiya-jin thought that the weak could become powerful by drinking the blood of the strong."

"Do you believe it?"

He snorted. "I know better. Doing it as a part of the ritual is different, however. I will have a part of you running through my veins for the rest of my life."

"Well, since you put it that way..." Goku had to admit that it now sounded very attractive. "We have to consummate our bond, right? We're sort of on our honeymoon now."

"Isn't that a ningen custom?" he asked. "But the answer to your question is hai." Amusement suddenly flowed through their connection. "Why, Kakarotto, are you nervous?"

His face flushed scarlet. "I've, um, never had sex with a man before. I'm not even sure I know what two men can do together."

By the light of the moon, Goku saw Vegeta crawl towards him, his hips swaying softly. He felt the flames of desire heat his body to an uncomfortable temperature. Licking his lips, he remained perfectly still as the ouji placed his hands onto his chest and gently pushed him backwards to the ground.

"Relax," he breathed into his ear, causing the younger Saiya-jin to shiver at the sensation. "The last thing I want to do is hurt you." He touched his lips to Goku's, gently adding pressure until he felt the younger man deepen the kiss. For a minute they merely kissed, allowing Goku time to become used to the idea of intimacy with someone of the same sex. When Vegeta's hands began to roam along his sides, he was ready.

Suddenly (and without warning), Goku flipped over so that the Saiya-jin no Ouji was pinned beneath his larger body. He grinned at the briefly stunned look on Vegeta's face and began to rapidly undress the smaller man. "It's time to get serious," he informed him.

Vegeta's eyelids lowered slightly and a low, rumbling purr came from deep within his chest that drew an answering purr from his mate. "About damn time."

Their first union was hard and fast and Goku was barely able to remove his clothes before Vegeta tore them from his body. Roaming hands caressed heated flesh and moist tongues left trails of fire in their wake. At the height of his passion, Goku leaned down and sank his teeth into the smooth flesh of Vegeta's neck and sucked the coppery-tasting blood from the small wound. The ouji felt the pain mingle with the pleasure and it pushed him over the edge.

With many fervent cries, the two Saiya-jin saw the world explode into millions of brightly colored lights. Goku struggled to catch his breath as he collapsed on top of Vegeta, happy that he didn't have to worry about crushing him. After his heartbeat slowed, he rolled over onto his back and stared up at the twinkling stars. "Wow."

"Hai."

Goku grinned. "Can we do that again?"

Vegeta looked down at his still-erect manhood and a naughty smile shaped his lips. "That can be arranged. But this time, Kakarotto, I am seme."

The only response he received was a gulp.