debbiechan fanfiction

Always A First Time

by debbiechan

Disclaimer: I can make no claim to owning DBZ, yet I have a masochistic compulsion to tell this damn story.

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Chapter One: My Mother is No Fool

“It feels like Vegeta’s under a shadow.”--Mrs. Briefs, episode 124


Bulma opened her eyes to find she had fallen asleep on the couch again. There was an odd weight on her belly. She sat up, and a stack of books and magazines fell off her lap to the floor. The titles glared at her: Hypothetical; the Alien Issue…Classic Essays on Xenobiology… Are You Out There? A Quarterly of Extraterrestrial Data.

“Maybe I’m getting obsessed,” she muttered. She swung her legs off the couch only to step on her palm computer. It sang a litany of websites as her bare toes pressed the keys: Seti Institute dot org…Close encounters dot com…. Bulma huffed and shut off the little robotic voice with her heel.

“Oh Bulma-chan’s finally awake!” came a twittery voice from the next room. Bulma was about to grouse that it was only 10 a.m. but then realized her mother wasn’t speaking to her. “I just heard her little computer start up,” Mrs. Briefs continued. “Seriously, Jane, all she does now is stay home and read. This is the girl who was gallivanting around for years… Well, yes, she was in the lab with her Papa for a while. They did have to rebuild the capsule Vegeta blew up. But she’s hasn’t picked up her toolbelt for weeks now. Very strange. She’s all mopey. It’s like having a hormonal thirteen-year-old in the house again…”

Bulma blinked, fascinated. Her mother was obviously on the phone with Auntie Jane, but it wasn’t like Mama to complain about her adventuresome offspring being at home for once. And what was this about hormones?

Mrs. Briefs let out a sudden cascade of giggles, and Bulma relaxed. This was the carefree parent she knew. Then the next words made Bulma tense again. “Vegeta!” warbled Mrs. Briefs. The delight in her voice was boundless. “Of course Bulma’s in love with him!”

“ACK!” Bulma’s fingers flew into her curly hair.

Mrs. Briefs wandered into the room with the cell phone at her ear. “Yes, she’s totally awake now.” She smiled at her daughter. “Jane says that you sound happy, dear…. Oh no, Jane, I didn’t mean to say she wasn’t being her usual self, just mopey. Yes, she still yells all the time.” Mrs. Briefs giggled. “Oh, I think he’s interested in her too! You should see some of the sideways looks I catch them giving one another!”

“Mama!” Bulma was off the couch in a flash and snatching the phone from her mother’s hand. “Listen to me, Jane,” she spoke into the receiver, “I’m not in love with anybody, and I can’t help it if I’m gorgeous and no man can keep his eyes off me.” She lingered on the phone listening to her aunt’s response while Mrs. Briefs busied herself picking up the scattered books and stacking them on the coffeetable.

“…Yamcha is so not my boyfriend anymore,” Bulma said. “He’s off training somewhere, and I doubt I’ll see him for another three years--just like the last time he took off. I can look at anybody I want--not that I want anybody, especially that creepy, foul-tempered egomaniac who’s more trouble than all of the dinosaurs in Papa’s sanctuary.”

“The dinos haven’t destroyed any of Papa’s equipment for a long time,” Mrs. Briefs said. She was sitting, thumbing through an issue of Are You Out There? “But Vegeta keeps to himself, and never ruins furniture like the dogs do. He’s an excellent houseguest…. You know, there’s not one single ad in this magazine! Or even a quiz.”

“…Bye Jane, I love you too.”

Bulma turned an angry face to her mother. “I told you we can’t be telling everyone about Vegeta. There are already too many governments and rival businesses interested in Capsule Corporation’s goings on already. Good Lord, Mama, what if the all the U.F.O-watcher freaks find out about him and--”

“Oh my! I keep forgetting he’s from some other planet!” Mrs. Briefs fluttered the pages of the magazine with a wave of her wrist. Bulma noted that her mother could make even holding a science journal look like flirting over an exotic Asian fan.

Mrs. Briefs’ warbling voice went on: “I don’t think I ever told Jane about your finding that young man in outer space, sweetheart. And Jane doesn’t blab Capsule Corps business--you know that.”

Bulma heaved a giant sigh and sunk back onto the couch. “Yeah, yeah, I know.” Her neck felt stiff from having fallen asleep against the armrest the evening before. She was wearing yesterday’s belted shorts and t-shirt, and her hair smelled less than wonderful. She ran her fingers through it, and one hand caught on a massive tangle.

Mrs. Briefs sat beside her daughter. “Bulma-chan, I know what will get your mind off your worries. A trip to the Salon! That hair of yours is just too high-maintenance like that. What do you say? Corn rows? A little pert bob? You’ve been in such a funk lately.”

It was true. Bulma could not deny that fact that for weeks now she’d been keeping odd hours, missing meals, fretting about little things (like her music-player capsules not being alphabetized just so), feeling less irresistibly attractive than usual--ok, maybe even a little unattractive. Even before Vegeta blew up the spaceship, Bulma had been morose over the same old Yamcha stuff (he ignores her for baseball or female aerobics instructors in glossy spandex or--blah, BLAH!), but it was as if the spaceship explosion released all of Bulma’s anxieties. Split ends in her hair, Earth technology woefully inefficient to check sudden power surges in the gravity chamber, Yamcha being such a goof, and…the boy from the future’s revelations. In three years, super androids were going to arrive to terrorize the planet. All her friends would be killed. Not exactly the sort of information that sits comfortably with a person.

“I’m not in love with Vegeta,” Bulma said flatly. “You are.

Mrs. Briefs hid a smile behind Are You Out There? “Dear, you know that I’m only in love with your Papa. Vegeta is just so….” Bulma winced at the lascivious look that appeared on her mother’s face. “I don’t know what Vegeta is! But I know what fascinates you, Bulma-chan. You’ve always loved a mystery.”

Bulma managed a half-smile. “Mystery? Those training shorts of his don’t leave much to the imagination.”

But the truth was that Bulma’s imagination had exploded along with the gravity machine in Space Capsule 3 that day. She had never been so close to that Saiyan body as that moment she swept his shoulders from the rubble and lay his head against her arm. Her ears were still pounding from the blood-rush of fear. A surge of contempt filled her. That he would so endanger himself in the mindless pursuit of more muscle mass! Her palm pressed against his bare chest (the heat there almost painful), and her eyes looked into his eyes…. His lips parted….

Damn it! Bulma had been reliving that moment so much lately. Constructing imaginary scenarios where she could again be that close to Vegeta’s intense, beautiful face. Was it safe to have sex with Saiyans? It had to be possible; Son and his wife had been together for years, and Chi had never looked worse for wear. Then, of course, Son-kun was all gentleness with those weaker than himself. Bulma remembered the 23rd Budokai where, meeting his future wife as an opponent, Son Goku had blown Chi Chi out of the ring with a puff of wind, all force from his fist flying through air.

Had Vegeta ever been gentle with anyone?

Bulma felt her breath hitch, and she squirmed on the couch. Vegeta was a destroyer of worlds. It probably required some effort on his part every day not to kill her and her family with a mere flick of his forefinger.

How did this alien species use such fingertips otherwise? Would he--? Had he ever--? Such an incredibly powerful torso she had cradled in her arms that day, with flesh inhuman as hot metal. It had been like touching a live, over-wrought engine, but Bulma’s hand hadn’t comprehended danger, only a fascinating smoothness. A shiny rawness on his chin where blood had not yet begun to rise from a deep cut. A look in those eyes already starting to swell shut from bruises. He wasn’t invincible. Had he looked …lost?

“I tell you,” Mrs. Briefs said, “Vegeta notices everything. If you change your hair, he’ll look up from his dinner alright. Oh, what a good eater he is. Was he in the kitchen three times last night? I think he’s actually taking more frequent breaks now--maybe he listened to what you and your Papa said about pacing himself.”

“You’re kidding, aren’t you?” Bulma threw her aching neck against the couch cushion. The vision of Vegeta’s eyes the day of the explosion was still in her brain. That startled, unguarded look. Had he even noticed she was holding him before he passed out?

“Mama, he says humans are worms, and he never listens to us. He’s hell-bent on ignoring everything that doesn’t contribute in some way to his quest to get stronger.” Bulma was staring at the ceiling but seeing Vegeta’s eyes, the dark contours of his face, the way his ears were petaled in perfect symmetry as if they were bronze roses.

“Honestly, Mama, how can you stand that he never even says a word to you? You bring him food, you’re decent and kind as can be, and he completely ignores you.”

“Oh he said something to me once,” Mrs. Briefs said.

Bulma sat up at full attention.

“Oh look at this cute little thing!” Mrs. Briefs had found a picture in the journal Hypothetical. “Drawings of aliens always look like sweet big-eyed children, don’t you think? Why they’re always green, I have no idea--”

“Mama! What did Vegeta say to you?”

“Let me see… I said something about his hair. Yes, that was it. I said Goku’s hair needed a good trim, but Vegeta’s looked like it was born groomed.”

Bulma waited an excruciating count of four seconds. She was used to her mother’s mind trailing off subject and finding its way back. “And? What did Vegeta say?”

“He said--oh, that voice of his is sooo deep. And did you ever notice that he has a little accent? I wonder where he gets it from? Do any of these magazines explain that sort of thing?” Mrs. Briefs picked up another journal and started thumbing through it.

Bulma waited for her mother to spin back on course. Of course, it made perfect sense that the first words spoken by Vegeta to her mother would follow some comparison to the universe’s only other surviving Saiyan. The day of the explosion, while in her arms, Vegeta had said, “must… surpass… Kakkarot.” The man was obsessed.

“I thought he was attractive before he spoke,” Mrs. Briefs said. “But Vegeta’s voice is so masculine. Oooh, so smooth and sort of melancholy, don’t you think? I think he liked my complimenting his hair! He said I am the Saiyan prince. Of course I was all excited to have royalty in our house! But he just walked away. Do you suppose that kings on his planet have that sort of hair instead of crowns?”

Bulma was shaking with laughter. “I am the Saiyan prince! Oh, he throws that one around with Papa and me all the time. Like we’re supposed to jump to fix his training bots because of that line! I can’t believe he used it on you because you paid some attention to his royal hair.”

“It’s just who he is, dear.” Mrs. Briefs found her cell phone, stood up, and clipped it on the pocket of her form-fitting jeans. “When people are in a strange place and don’t know exactly what to do or say, they have to remind themselves who they are. Do you want some breakfast food or some lunch food, Bulma-chan? It’s almost noon.”

Had her mother just said something insightful?

“I need a shower first,” Bulma said, and then her voice dropped to a thoughtful whisper. “I suppose it’s a good thing that Vegeta sees himself as a prince first--over a stark raving lunatic who wants to blow up things and kill people.”

“Bulma-chan! You’re the same way! You like to think of yourself as a smart and sensible girl first--before you yell and throw things and demand your way! Where you got that temper from, I’ll never know. Your Papa is such an agreeable man. And me, I’m just the most easy-going fool, aren’t I?”

Mrs. Briefs was already walking into the corridor towards the kitchen, so Bulma felt it necessary to yell at her: “MY MOTHER IS NO FOOL!” Then Bulma smiled. Her mother had just given her the best idea about how to find out more about Vegeta.

The answers to the mystery were not to be found in all the speculative human literature about extraterrestrial culture. Bulma didn’t know why she’d wasted her time with that stuff. She’d always been the sort of scientist who liked fieldwork and getting her hands messy. Perhaps it was time to set up a hypothesis and test it.

Bulma wanted to know more about Vegeta. Her mind zoomed into her next thought like a camera into sharp focus: And I just bet he wants to know more about…Son Goku!

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