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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A/N: LisaB keeps me honest. Thanks to her for beta-ing. Thanks to the Salon (http://s8.invisionfree.com/Dbz_Fanfic_Salon) for keeping me on my toes with all the fandom discussions. It may be a week or more before I post again—the next story arc is a bit of work. dchan 5.13.05

Chapter Seventeen: Bulma’s New Project


“It’s not my kid.”--Yamcha, episode 126


She never awoke before he did.

Every time Vegeta opened his eyes in her bedroom and turned to look at her, he was stricken with the same confusion as that day in the infirmary--when he had caught her sleeping with her head on the nightstand. Why does this woman care? Why is she here--with me?

That moment stayed with him: he had been dreaming of Kakkarot and the boy from the future, both afire in Super Saiyan grandeur. He had been dreaming of drowning in the humiliation. He had seen his father in his dream. Then something shook him, and he coughed off the oxygen mask and awoke to find himself not in a regeneration tank but in a bed. And the blue-haired Earth woman asleep at his bedside?

Half-remembered faces from his childhood on Vegetasei sometimes surfaced when he looked at Bulma. Her face was as Saiyan as any he’d ever seen in the galaxy. Not just the skin tones and the symmetry of two eyes, one nose, one mouth. Bulma’s face, even asleep, was a proud, fine, unafraid face.

Nothing frightens her, not even me.

Leaving her room was always as disorienting as coming to it. Vegeta felt like he was fighting himself each time he got up from the mattress, sometimes having to lift her arm from his chest.

She is like a narcotic. She is a distraction. There is no such thing as peace, and even if there is--even if it’s there, in her arms, a warrior has no business with peace. I am not getting stronger fast enough. I am not Super Saiyan yet.

She is nothing.

Becoming Super Saiyan is everything.


**


Bulma didn’t think much of it when Vegeta did not return to her bed after his usual three to four days. He was obviously on a training streak, and there was plenty work for Bulma and her father: not only had Vegeta fried all the training bots and prototypes, he had also deliberately blasted Capsule 3’s control panel. Her father said Vegeta had yelled something about “Surge detectors inhibit my attacks!” The repairs required a total capsule shut-down, and Vegeta flew away, presumably to orbit the Earth at full speed until he wore himself out.

He did not come back. Or at least he didn’t come to Bulma’s bedroom that night. She figured that when he returned that evening he discovered that the gravity machine was still inoperable--so why didn’t he come to her?

The control panel repairs required another full day’s work, and it was only after Bulma had come out of the shower, was drinking a cup of tea (oh chamomile sooo did kill the urge for an evening smoke!) and browsing through the newest issue of Technology Monthly that she noticed that she hadn’t gotten her period.

Her period had been arriving at the beginning of the month. The science journals and glamour magazines came in the mail around that time too.

My hormones are whacked. I need to make that appointment with Dr. Tsuki.

Bulma tried to envision the blood work chart she had held in her hand at the infirmary. For all her genius, her memory was anything but photographic: hadn’t the hormones shown that she was well past luteal stage, even if she had ovulated? Didn’t Robin say that there was only a chance that she may have ovulated?

Bulma was already half way down the hall to her lab--the cup of tea still in her hand and Technology Monthly under her arm. I had sex with Vegeta, I had sex with Vegeta. The freaking nurse TOLD me that my birth control wasn’t working and what do I do? I have sex with Vegeta within the freaking hour!

The blood test was simple. She didn’t have to look for levels of progesterone or follicular stage patterns or anything. There was no reason to go to the infirmary. She would draw some of her own blood and either the hCG hormone would be there or it wouldn’t be. There’s no such thing as “a little bit pregnant.”

The idea of something growing inside her seemed impossible--the odds have to be slim, right?--but the more Bulma moved her body through the motions of opening drawers, sterilizing glass tubes, scanning through settings on her microscope, the more she felt certain that she wasn’t just panicking. I had sex with Vegeta, I had sex with Vegeta. It took Bulma longer to gather all her materials and to draw a vial from the vein at the crook of her arm than to get the results of the test.

15 units hCG. Bulma was at least a week pregnant.

The egg has already implanted in my uterus.

Bulma sat for a long time in her lab, not knowing what to think or even what to feel. Why wasn’t I more careful? I always knew it was possible. Son-kun and Chi Chi have a child. She pulled the little bloody cotton ball off her arm and threw it into the trash.

I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant.

Passing a window in the hall on her way back to her bedroom, she saw, with an odd stirring in her heart, that Capsule 3 was lit and running. Vegeta was home and training. She probably would not see him for days.

“He’s going to freak about this,” she whispered into the darkness.

Then she realized she’d left her cup of tea back in the lab. No matter. She didn’t know for sure if chamomile was good for a developing embryo or not.


**


Since Vegeta’s blasting him, Yamcha had kept a very low profile around Capsule Corporation. At first he just wanted to avoid running into Bulma; later, he didn’t want to answer any questions about the big bald patch on the back of his head (after the first few concerned looks from the occasional CC employee, Yamcha took to wearing a baseball cap visor-side backwards). One day Mrs. B, bearing a basket of cakes and sandwiches, came to check on him. She was such a thoughtful woman--she’d even brought the health food shake mixes she knew he liked so much and a little plate of link sausages for Puar. It was clear from the little Yamcha could glean from the woman’s spirited babblings that both Bulma’s parents considered Vegeta “the boyfriend” now.

Yamcha felt superceded in the role he’d had for over ten years in the Briefs’ family.

“You just have to give Bulma some time,” Mrs. Briefs had said. “You’ll always have a very, very special place in her heart. But that Vegeta--he’s enough to make any girl forget herself!” (Here Mrs. B had giggled. Geez! ) “It’s not easy on her being so busy with that space capsule and trying to start a new relationship. I’m sure you two will be all buddy-buddy again very soon!”

Yamcha had been polite with Mrs. B, but he was still mad as all get-out at Bulma. The very day Yamcha had left CC’s infirmary, one of Dr. Briefs’ gopher guys had arrived with Yamcha’s new rowing machine. Bulma hadn’t bothered to finish building it herself at all! She was “busy, busy, busy” with gravity machine upgrades, or so was the word around CC.

The Doc himself had called Yamcha to see if he’d gotten the training equipment, but there had been no word from Bulma.

One would think that Vegeta’s blasting an old family friend of the Briefs would’ve made everyone more suspicious of the guy, but nooooo, it was like everyone trusted the Saiyan more for some weird reason. Was Vegeta now a model of compassion because he actually hadn’t killed Yamcha?

Yamcha plopped into the recliner that was still torn up from his fit over finding out about Vegeta and Bulma. Maybe it would’ve been better if Vegeta had gone ahead and killed me. He tossed his baseball cap across the room. Stupid thing made his head sweat.

“Great training session!” said Puar, floating into the room after him.

“Yeah,” Yamcha agreed. “Maybe being pissed at Bulma is good for something.”

“Uh oh.” Puar’s voice sounded sincerely alarmed. Yamcha turned to look, and she was hovering over the telephone unit on the bar table. “Bulma called,” Puar said.

Yamcha climbed over the couch so fast he was ashamed of himself. He pressed a button.

Hey there. It’s me. I know that the last time I saw you I said “talk to you later,” and it’s been weeks, but there really has been a lot going on. And maybe you just needed the space, huh? Anyway, just wondering how you are. Call me. We need to talk, don’t you think? And…there’s something I need to tell you.

Something was different about her voice. She sounded quiet and determined and… calm? It was so not like Bulma to sound calm. It was a little scary, actually.

“Oh shit,” Yamcha said. He started to press buttons on the phone receiver. Something was wrong with Bulma. He could just sense it.

**

Bulma fingered the belt loops of her shorts. She had always been so proud of her figure. It was going to be hard on her getting fat. Maybe pregnancy will cure me of my vanity. Sometimes she felt like she was about to throw up, but she knew it was too early for progesterone to be affecting her that way. Maybe it was just nerves making her queasy?

The pregnancy hormones were already making her feel a little over-emotional. Not a good thing--she figured she needed to be at her most rational these days.

The worse thing about the already escalating progesterone was that it made her feel very sexual. Not like she wasn’t horribly horny all the time before getting pregnant (especially since Vegeta had found his way into her sex life!) but being pregnant was a definite pressure right in the center of her solar plexus that made her want a screaming release.

At first she thought that all she wanted was to be held and mothered. She told her mom about the pregnancy. Sure, Vegeta by rights as the father should have been told first, but there was no way Bulma was going to confront his Saiyan temper and unpredictability without some support first.

Bulma’s mother had squealed loud enough to wake the dead and did not stop yipping in delight about “my grandchild!” for days.

Bulma’s father had been equally pleased and set about designing a state-of-the-art nursery right away.

No one seemed concerned about Vegeta being the father, and no one broached any grim possibilities or consequences. Miscarriage, the stigma of single motherhood, and what Bulma had once mentioned to Yamcha about the absurdity of bringing a child into a future at war with killer androids--these things were never mentioned by Bulma’s parents. Those two seemed to follow a different orbit than most people, and Bulma needed someone to understand her fears.

Not that she expected him to understand, but she needed to tell Vegeta.

Vegeta had been training like a mad man nonstop for two weeks.

Bulma had begun to suspect that he was deliberately avoiding her, that maybe he had dumped her (Hadn’t their last time together been very special? A leisurely afternoon of intimacies? Just the sort of thing to make a man flee). Vegeta hadn’t even spoken one word to Bulma for so many days. Then one night he had appeared at her balcony window.

It had been one of those too-intense Vegeta encounters: he’d shown up unshowered, straight from a work-out, a trickle of blood on his chin (from a bitten lip?), a no-holds-barred look in his eye. He had grabbed her and assaulted her body with the planes of his face--the way a big cat might rub against carpet. With such sensual abandon, enjoying a whole universe of scents while his face pressed close to her neck, shoulders, breasts. And Bulma had imagined she could feel the pressure of enormous gravity from Capsule 3 as his muscles moved against her.

It had not been a time to talk.

When Bulma had woken up, his scent was still thick in her hair and in the bedsheets, but Vegeta was long gone.

What sort of a father would he be?

The thought was starting to repeat itself in her head. She didn’t notice Yamcha’s presence until he slid into the chair across her.

“Hey there.” His face was earnest and kind under a Titans baseball cap. Funny, he never wore those in public before. The sun shone brightly on the tiny round white tabletop separating them. They were sitting in an outdoor café.

“Hi Yamcha.”

“Real public place, huh? Is this so you can’t pitch a fit and throw stuff at me without embarrassing yourself?” He grinned broadly.

“Have I ever cared about pitching a fit in front of people before?”

“Not really.”

There was a moment’s silence while they smiled at one another. No false courtesy. They knew each other too well to pretend. Bulma felt so glad to see Yamcha again.

“I picked this place,” Bulma began, “because I didn’t want Vegeta to see us and--you know.

Yamcha’s smile dimmed. “He’s jealous like that, huh?”

“Yamcha, what happened last time was mostly my fault. I should’ve been honest about Vegeta and me from the beginning. I was trying to spare your feelings, but what I ended up doing was betraying you as a friend.”

There. Bulma had said the words she’d prepared. She exhaled a little sigh.

“Yeah, well….” Yamcha shifted in his seat. “I’m getting over it. You did tell me that we didn’t have a future, and I just didn’t want to believe that.”

Their eyes met, and Bulma felt hers water spontaneously.

“There’s something else, isn’t there?” Yamcha was eyeing her with concern.

Bulma didn’t answer.

“Is it Vegeta? I know you don’t want me to get involved, but if Vegeta’s being terrible to you, Goku can kick his ass from here to New Namek.”

“No, it’s not that Vegeta’s being terrible.” Bulma looked past Yamcha at the crowds of people. So many people leading ordinary lives, sipping giant sugared coffees and having pleasant conversations, oblivious to the android threat. “Vegeta’s difficult. He’s a challenge. But he seems to need me somehow, and it’s just hard to explain how we’re drawn to one another.”

“Bulma, I can accept that you and I don’t have a future, but….” Yamcha looked almost apologetic. “How you possibly sit here and tell me that you think you and Vegeta have one?”

“I do think Vegeta and I have a future.”

She saw the surprise in Yamcha’s eyes. So, he thought she was being idiotic, did he?

“Yamcha, I’m pregnant.”

The surprise turned to shock. His mouth fell open. His eyes went right for her belly, but she was leaning against the table, and Bulma knew he couldn’t see anything.

“How--how far along?”

It dawned on her that he might be doing some math in his head. “It’s Vegeta’s,” she said quickly. “I only found out a few days ago. It’s still very early in the pregnancy, but I just have a feeling everything’s going to work out.”

Yamcha still looked stricken. “You haven’t told Vegeta yet?”

“No, but it doesn’t really matter too much at this point how he reacts. I’m already resigning myself to being…” She snorted a little laugh. “To being an unwed mother. This is going to be my baby, you know. It’s going to be like a whole new wonderful project for me. I’m actually pretty happy about it.”

He was scrutinizing her face. Bulma knew that Yamcha could see the truth in it. Bulma was happy to be pregnant.

“But you’re worried about something.”

“Yamcha, the reason I’m telling you about this is that I don’t want to keep anything from you anymore. I don’t want to hurt you anymore. And the truth is, I need you to be my friend now.”

“Well….” Yamcha looked past her. “As your friend you’re going to have to let me worry about Vegeta right along with you then. I mean--gosh, Bulma, what if he flips out because it’s a half-human baby, and he wants to kill it or something?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

Yamcha gave her a grim smile. “Fine. Maybe you can trust him. I just really don’t.” He pushed back his chair. “Ok, I’m going to forget that I’m training and get a big Mrs. B style cream danish.”

“Couldn’t be harder to digest than my news, right?” Bulma felt sorry for him. “Yamcha, I don’t mean to be burdening you with this, or asking you to give me anything you can’t. I just didn’t want you to find out from someone else. And--and the truth is, I missed my friend.”

He stood up. Maybe being needed pleased him. Maybe he had missed her friendship too. Bulma couldn’t really tell, but he didn’t look as devastated as when she’d last seen him in the infirmary.

“Yeah. I know. I could never stop being friends with you, Bulma. Do you want something? Coffee?”

“Um no, coffee’s not good for the baby.”

“The baby.” He blinked. “This is so freaking weird, Bulma. I swear, I’m going to be your friend through this, but it’s going to take me a couple danishes before I can even believe it’s happening.”

“I know.”

She watched him walk past the tables of ordinary people to the counter. A striking man, beautiful and kind and more forgiving of her than she deserved. And hadn’t he been the one who had always wanted a family? She had never really thought much about being a parent until discovering her pregnancy.

Yamcha would’ve made a great father. But no matter--maybe her baby wasn’t going to need a father. Maybe her baby wouldn’t need Vegeta at all.

If only she didn’t still need Vegeta….

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