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.

A/N: Short chapter but the next few will make up for it, I promise. Thanks as always to LisaB for invaluable feedback and to the many writers and readers at the Salon (http://s8.invisionfree.com/Dbz_Fanfic_Salon). The quotes at the beginning of each chapter are from subtitled Japanese versions of Dbz; the episode numbers do not correspond with the dubbed releases from Funimation. I own lots of the dub episodes too and love them, but I’m trying to avoid watching them while I write this story. dchan 5.4.05

Chapter Twelve: Consolation

“And about your son…? Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of him. Ho, ho, ho.”—Frieza to King Vegeta, episode 78


At the round, face-sized window to Capsule 3, Yamcha watched, amazed, while Vegeta somersaulted in 300 times Earth’s gravity.

Yamcha had seen Vegeta’s sort of drive in other fighters before--Piccolo, Goku, Tien, guys who were relentless in their quest to be strong. But while others seemed to be running headlong towards a goal, there was something about Vegeta that seemed to be running away from something.

The guy had issues. He got pissed off about the littlest things. He didn’t seem to want to impress anyone. And the blowing up bots and half-killing himself in the capsule explosion bit--well, that just seemed at cross-purposes with real training.

“He’s crazy, Puar,” Yamcha whispered. The softness in his voice was involuntary reverence; Vegeta couldn’t hear him. Even if Vegeta could see Yamcha at the window, the Saiyan didn’t care.

“Isn’t it past dinnertime already?” asked Puar. The little cat had recently made it her purpose in life to supervise Yamcha’s schedule. Yamcha was so easily diverted from the simplest objectives; Puar was convinced that if she didn’t remind him, he’d forget to eat.

“Yeah, yeah, don’t get your whiskers in a knot.”

Yamcha continued to stare through the window. It had become a compulsion--to see if Vegeta would still be training whenever Yamcha called it quits for dinner, to see if Vegeta would be doing one-finger push-ups when Yamcha rose at daybreak. It didn’t take long for Yamcha to figure out that Vegeta wasn’t always rising before the crack of dawn to hit the serious gravity in Capsule 3; sometimes Vegeta was training straight through the night.

The lone Desert Bandit, who had never before felt a true stirring of competition with any other fighter, was feeling raw, cold, unadulterated rivalry with the Saiyan warrior.

I may not be Saiyan, but there’s more to life than training this way. He’s going to kill himself. He’s going to make a wreck of things. I hope it happens sooner rather than later. Then maybe Bulma will see that there’s nothing good about this guy.

Yamcha had his suspicions, but he could not bring himself to believe that Bulma had romantic designs on the Saiyan. Bulma flirted with everybody--didn’t she? It was just her way of getting attention for her stuck-up self. But that day the capsule had exploded… she had been so upset… she had gathered Vegeta’s small body into her arms and the way she looked at him….

When the giant image of Bulma’s face materialized on the communication screen, Yamcha noted the shift in Vegeta’s concentration. Vegeta wasn’t looking directly at the image but his muscles loosened, his stance eased, his eyebrows… relaxed? Yamcha couldn’t hear what Bulma was saying, but she looked smug and bossy-faced. Vegeta snorted some reply to her, and she snapped something back with a smile. Both pairs of eyes were gleaming. They were enjoying themselves.

This is NOT happening. She’s MY Bulma, and he’s...he’s the bad guy!

“Yamcha? Can we send out for pizza tonight, please? If you make any more of those raw egg health smoothies, you’re going to break the blender!”

“Ok, Puar.” Yamcha was still whispering. And he had lost his appetite.

**

Vegeta had not taken a meal with Capsule Corporation residents since the day he returned to Earth after searching for Kakkarot in space. That little barbeque had gone downhill fast; first the Yamcha creature had seized all the biggest cuts of meats as if it were his hierarchical right, and then the little pig person had started to remind Vegeta of Dodoria the way he snuffled while he chewed, and then Frieza and King Cold had arrived to destroy the planet.

Bulma’s request that the Prince of Saiyans join the Briefs family for dinner tonight had been easy to refuse. Who did Bulma think she was asking him to face the idiocy of human sociable talk again? He would rather take on the Ginyu Force.

Bulma’s second request had been more amenable. “Eat by yourself then, your Highness, but meet me at the pool at midnight. You know that my bathtub’s too small for the thrashing and splashing I like to do.”

Her invitation was no doubt meant to soften her news that Capsule 3 would be out of commission for a few days while the old man did some hull renovation.

Vegeta smirked into his sandwich as he bit it. Stopping training for the necessities of living seemed less disorienting these days. He was sitting in the Briefs’ kitchen while the family ate in the dining room. Bulma had left him ample samplings of the evening’s “Italian” meal, but Vegeta had come to anticipate that “Italian” meant something swirly and worm-looking. Tonight’s main course was slathered with fragrant sauce but looked nonetheless like intestinal offal, so Vegeta had devised his own dinner. He’d grown fond of sandwiches--cramming meat and greens between slabs of bread seemed a tidy and efficient way to nourish oneself.

He could hear Bulma’s laughter from the other room.

Bulma. It was easier now to call her that. She had been insisting on it for months but one time in bed she had made an irrefutable demand. Now, anywhere in a public setting, the mere sound of Bulma from his own mouth was enough to conjure images of her wrapped around his waist, escalating towards rapture. It was a secret delight to call her name sometimes; “Bulma, where is the bot prototype?” he would bark across the lawn, and she would look past her father’s shoulder with a glorious glare--her face promising other midnight expressions.

It would be somewhat annoying to wait until the clock flashed the digital image of 12:00, but Vegeta knew he needed the sleep. He would eat another sandwich, shower, rest for a few hours in his own room….

**

Puar was curled up asleep on her plush chair in Yamcha’s den. It was a small recreation room, crowded by the pinball machine and stereo equipment, and certainly far less luxurious than what his baseball earnings would allow him. The rest of the suite consisted of a tiny kitchen and a larger exercise room, an alcove where Puar usually slept, and Yamcha’s own bedroom. Other than the connecting door to Oolong’s suite, however, Yamcha didn’t see any reason why he needed more upscale surroundings. He was fine here. CC was a huge place, and Bulma was free to live her own life. He was comfortable here. He’d been offered this space by the Briefs years ago, and it was home now.

Yamcha sat in his recliner with an empty pizza carton on his lap. The pizza had tasted like the cardboard it was delivered in, but Puar at least had been happy to eat something other than the health drinks and fancy supplemental snack bars her old friend had stocked the pantry with.

Yamcha’s last indulgent meal had been the restaurant where he proposed to Bulma….

Who am I trying to kid? I’m so NOT moving on.

If only he could throw himself into training with half as much dedication as Vegeta. If only he could stop thinking about how warm and soft Bulma could be--asleep, that is. She was bossy and stuck-up awake. And why hadn’t he gained any muscle mass or improved his flying sprint-across-the-ocean speed? He’d been training so regularly. Where’s that new rowing machine? She said it would be built today! Bulma was ever so reliable about making upgrades for Vegeta.

Yamcha clenched his jaw. Some friend, Bulma Briefs, ignoring Yamcha’s training needs now that she wasn’t going to be his little bedmate anymore. If only the memory of her enthusiastic little body under his would go away. Ooooooh…. Maybe it was like being on a health food diet; at first you craved french fries like crazy, but eventually you forgot all about them.

Yamcha sighed, got up, and stepped on the tomato-smeared pizza carton on his way to the window. Maybe I’ll never get over craving Bulma.

**

There was a strange lightness to Vegeta’s mood when he lay down to sleep. Maybe it was the absence of colossal gravitational pressure after having been in Capsule 3 for so long, but he felt younger, buoyant--not exactly carefree but not his usual vigilant and suspicious self either. Having a lover was a thrilling experience. It was a physical challenge not unlike combat. He looked forward to discovering what his body would learn next.

The excitement actually made it difficult for him to sleep. But he batted away images of what Bulma might be wearing for their midnight tryst at the pool by conjuring up a picture of Dodoria. What the bug-eyed monster had looked like right before Vegeta blasted him into a million pink pieces. There! The memory of that killing always had a soporific, soothing effect on the Saiyan prince. That was one satisfying kill.

The feeling of being satisfied followed him into his dreams.

Food everywhere. A banquet. Large bowls of steaming soups topped with those ridiculous garnishes the royal chef always dropped there and which Vegeta always picked off…familiar laughter from another room… Bulma’s laughter… rows and rows of Earth foods like egg rolls.

Then the room widened…as if Vegeta had been blind in his peripheral sight and could now see wonders. Spaceships were soaring back and forth across time, and planets burned like suns. Destruction meant accomplishment. Killing could erase pain.

The crowd of soldiers parted to make way for him. Unaware that Vegeta could hear them, they hissed their words: “Is he Saiyan? Yes, yes, he is…. Saiyan, Saiyan….”

Vegeta had not always hated Frieza. This was that time. When Vegeta had been a small boy, delivered by his father to the coldest darkest place on the mercenary ship, Vegeta had hated Frieza. When Vegeta had been a grown man in a tiny pod, shooting away, faster than light, on a last mission, flying far far away from the mercenary ship, Vegeta had hated Frieza. Sometime between those two dreams, though, there had been no hate. This was that time.

“Look at who we have here. The Brutal Prince of the Eastern Spiral Purges. It’s been—what? Five galactic standard years, my dear Vegeta. You’ve made quite a name for yourself with your little army of two. I did not expect you to return from such a mission. Dodoria, give our prodigal soldier a seat at the officer’s table tonight. He has secured more planets for King Cold than even Zarbon at this age.”

Vegeta told himself: This is a dream. Where are Frieza’s horns? He is not supposed to look like this here, on the ship. Like the smooth powerful creature who killed me on Namek. He is supposed to be scrawnier--pink and wrinkled. Where are the horns?

“Meet me on the quarterdeck at zero-one hundred units. Perhaps before the next pod launchings, I will find time to show you my new finishing move. A strapping youth like yourself may be able to learn it.”

Frieza’s laugh. “Ho, ho, ho.” Vegeta admired the easy haughtiness in it.

**

The yellow domes of Capsule Corporation were whitish-green in the security lights. Beyond them there was some blackness of open fields and then the twinkling colors of West City. Yamcha didn’t know how long he had been at the window, but the humid night air had made his face feel greasy.

He left the window to splash some water on his face, and at the sink, he had to smile a wry smile over how easily he accommodated to city life. In the desert, he had gone for weeks with the same slick feeling on his face--and with grit in his teeth and sand in his hair too. In the desert, he had been so lonely. In the city, pools and baths and sinks with fancy faucets meant he was being cared for--somehow the cleanliness of modern life was consoling.

Consoling. Yamcha wanted a bath but he also wanted to move his muscles. How about a swim? Yes, Yamcha liked swimming. It was a distinctly different sensation from flying; you felt almost as free but there was something soothing about the resistance of water. Water was so soft and enveloping. A dip in the pool might be real nice. Not a workout. Maybe just some small consolation on a sleepless night.

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