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: A/N: It’s great fun watching the anime again as I write this part of the story. I know some readers find the original anime superficial after being exposed to the wealth of psychological fanfiction out there, but I think the simple shounen story has such wonderful poetic mythos and power. And I love watching fight scenes that Toriyama wrote as much as I love imagining the romance scenes that he didn’t write!

Thanks to my beta LisaB who lets no unnecessary adverb live! (If only dear Dr. Schroedinger would be as successful in killing Gero ^.~ ). dchan 8.1.05

Chapter Twenty-seven: The Word is Murder

“I’ve seen his picture before.”—Bulma about Gero, episode 132


“Bulma said something about your hating to de-capsulate things, so she folded all your suits here.”

The old man was holding a fair-sized basket with a flower print towel thrown over the top. Vegeta had seen the container once before--when the blonde woman had announced a “picnic” on the lawn. He had watched the family from a distance that day. Bulma had worn a sleeveless dress, and Vegeta had noticed tan lines on her upper arms.

That was three years ago?

“The Mrs. also threw in some more food capsules.” Dr. Briefs gave the basket to Vegeta, who held it, awkwardly, by the handle for a moment before setting it down on the spaceship floor. The old man hesitated, put his hands in his pockets. “And I think there’s a shampoo bottle at the bottom….”

Why did I think Bulma would bring me the suits? Vegeta folded his arms and wondered why the old man was still standing before him.

“I expect you’ll be training until the last minute before the battle?”

Vegeta narrowed his eyes. “Of course.”

“Well, this time, you may want to keep the spaceship’s communication access open. In case the androids arrive early or….” The old man pushed his glasses up on his nose. “My goodness, I keep forgetting the date myself. The Earth is attacked on July something? In any event, I will be sending you regular updates like I did last time, perhaps videos of the baby--”

“Where’s Bulma now?” The question was out before Vegeta could stop it.

I wanted to know, so why not ask?

The old man smiled in a way that annoyed Vegeta less than he imagined it would; perhaps he was becoming accustomed to the mild condescension of humans.

“Oh, she’s busier than she needs to be,” the old man said. “No sooner does she get Trunks down for a nap than she runs off to some project in the lab. We keep warning her that she’s going to exhaust herself, but she has her mother’s boundless energy, it seems. In fact, at this very minute, Bulma is meeting with a colleague about some possible weapons to use against the android threat--”

The idea of using any Earth weapons against the enemy was so ridiculous that Vegeta let out a short, snorting laugh.

The old man misunderstood the response. “Ah yes,” he chuckled. “Changing diapers and designing weaponry--that’s our girl. I suppose you’re being short-changed of any time with her, aren’t you, son? Don’t worry. The older the child gets, the more time she will have for you.”

Vegeta was about to walk away from this nonsense when the old man pulled a small metal picture frame out of his pocket and held it towards him.

“Oh, and this is for you, Vegeta.”

A picture of the child?

“I know you didn’t get to see Trunks in the hospital,” the old man continued. “You didn’t get to see the tail, but I took pictures of it. Trunks is only a few hours old here. No matter how many pictures you’ll see of him as he grows up--ah, trust me that the newborn photo will always be your favorite.”

The infant in the picture was lying naked on a white cloth. It was a predictably red-faced and disgusting creature, but the sight of the small purplish genitalia shocked Vegeta for some reason. It is indeed male, he thought. The tail was light brown, wrapped tightly around the infant’s waist in what had to be an instinctive gesture.

Nappa was forever reminding me to wrap my tail around my waist like a proper soldier.

Vegeta snatched the photo from his hand, grabbed the damn picnic basket, turned around and walked up the ramp into Capsule 3. The old man deserved no more of his forbearance.

“Goodbye, Vegeta!”

Vegeta didn’t even notice that he waited until the ramp was lifted and Dr. Briefs was out of sight before tossing the basket and photo across the room.

The small frame clattered against the metal floor.

**

Bulma knew from the first rumblings under her feet that Capsule 3 was lifting off, but Wolfgang was looking puzzled.

“It’s the spaceship,” she told him. “Vegeta’s leaving to train in space again.”

Pictures on the wall started to rattle, and some of Bulma’s instruments slid off the drafting table and clunked to the floor.

“Damn that Mr. Vegeta!” Wolfgang began to curse amid the roaring spaceship noises, and he caught a large hammer before it fell.

Bulma walked to the window to look out, but by the time she got there, the thundering had stopped, and there was not even a trail of smoke in the evening sky.

“I’m sorry, Wolfie.” Bulma said in a small voice. “It seems like you’re never going to get that close look at Papa’s spaceship.”

The younger scientist had begun to pick up fallen items. “No, no, your father’s machinery doesn’t interest me that much anymore. I’m just disappointed to see Mr. Vegeta leave. I was hoping that you would be able to persuade him to … help. His brawn is the perfect asset to our brains, you know.”

Bulma rolled her eyes. “I told you already. He doesn’t care about Gero or the destruction of Earth. All he wants is the good fight. Vegeta would never help us.”

“I never discounted your assessment of his character, Bulma. I was considering the possibility of deceiving that alien into lending us the resource of his brute strength.”

Bulma found herself looking directly into the young man’s brown eyes. There she saw resolute purpose, a mild detachment from mundane human affairs, and … a perfect willingness to lie.

“I must say, Dr. Shroedinger,” Bulma said softly. “Your lack of scruples is a little unnerving.” She had to smile fondly. “In some ways you remind me of Vegeta….”

Wolfgang smiled back. “Give or take a few pectoral muscles.”

“And yet I have to trust you,” Bulma went on. “Not being upfront with my father and friends--I don’t feel right about it.” She let out a little sigh. “Subterfuge just isn’t my style, Wolfie. I’m only going along with this whole scheme because it’s the best way to save the planet.”

Wolfgang picked up a science journal that had fallen to the floor with Bulma’s tools. “It’s my planet too, Bulma.” He tossed the journal at her. “Page seventy-four. The most recent photograph of Dr. Gero.”

Bulma fingered through the pages. Dr. Gero had been a household word since as long as she could remember--well, at least in her household. Gero had been one of Capsule Corporation’s star scientists, along with Wolfgang’s father. The two left CC to start their own robot company, and then Schroedinger Senior had balked at selling information to the already notorious Red Ribbon Army. The dispute ended the partnership and started a long and miserable rivalry between Dr. Briefs’ two protegees.

I don’t think Papa ever trusted either again. Does he trust Wolfie?

“He’s got a distinctive face,” Bulma said, looking at the grainy newsprint photo of Gero. “Is it possible that he’s changed his appearance drastically to avoid being recognized by his enemies?”

“Doubt it. The man is vain and egomaniacal. If Gero really feared being tracked down, he would have gone underground soon after the Red Ribbon Army’s near-obliteration. He’s been discreet but not invisible since that time.” Wolfgang was rifling through papers in his briefcase. “That photo was taken not long after someone--well, you and I both know it was your friend Son Goku who wiped out nearly all the Red Ribbon Army single-handedly. If Gero didn’t fear him, then he didn’t fear anyone.”

Bulma was staring at the photo. There was nothing sinister looking about the man. He was handsome in a grandfatherly sort of way and accepting a plaque recognizing some achievement in medical diagnostic technology. The article was about Gero having invented some machine that saved the lives of cancer patients.

“I was away on a class field trip when my family was murdered,” said Wolfgang. He handed Bulma a laminated news article. The headline read Scientist and Wife Perish in Burning Laboratory. “The police did nothing,” Wolfgang continued, “and your father told me he suspected Red Ribbon Army robots. You know, even at ten years old I was sharp enough to know that Dr. Briefs was trying to spare a grieving child the truth. Dr. Gero did the murders himself.”

Damn Son Goku! That nasty habit he has of letting bad guys live!

Bulma felt an odd swelling in her chest. It wasn’t just the emotional rush--her breasts were filling with food for her baby. It had been a few hours since Trunks had nursed, and she still wasn’t used to the feeling of being a milk-making mother.

If Son-kun hadn’t let one particular bad guy live, then Vegeta and I would have never …and there would be no Trunks!

Goku had said it was wrong to kill Dr. Gero. And really, what proof did anyone have of Gero’s past crimes or his future intentions? Was Bulma really willing to become an accomplice to murder on the suspicions of a man sworn to vengeance and, worse, on the predictions of a mysterious Boy from the Future?

Son-kun is usually right about things, isn’t he? And shouldn’t I be putting my faith in my oldest friend instead of Wolfie? Shouldn’t I trust the guy who saved our asses on Namek? Son Goku NEVER loses a fight.

Bulma guessed that Wolfgang must have been sensing her distress because his next words were unusually kind. “I swear to you,” he said. “I would never do anything to put your family in further danger. Surely you realize that simply by being a Briefs you’ve been Gero’s enemy for years. All I need is your help with the more technological aspects of this operation. I can carry out the assassination by myself.”

“Stop using that word,” Bulma said sharply. “The word assassination implies that we’ve got ideological motivations or something. It’s just too--too fancy a word.”

Wolfgang raised his eyebrows.

“Look, Wolfie, if we succeed at this, there will be no evidence at all that we did anything noble like save the world. The androids will be dust, Gero’s lab and all his technology will be destroyed, and Gero … let’s face it, we’re plotting to kill a man. No judge, no jury, and not even the justification of self-defense--because this guy hasn’t raised a finger against either one of us.”

“But--” One sharp look from Bulma stopped Wolfgang from speaking further. There was an eloquent argument in the young scientist’s eyes, but Bulma was going to have none of it.

“Just do me this one favor,” she went on. “Please let’s not call it assassination. The word is murder.”

**


Yamcha was starting to wonder about Bulma and the little nerd guy.
He could understand Bulma wanting lab time away from the baby, but there was just something funny about how Bulma acted whenever she talked about Dr. Schroedinger. Yesterday she had been all giggly with him on the phone, and today--damn if the woman’s face hadn’t flushed like a red flag when she was trying to explain why she needed to work on “some project” with the little nerd.

Whatever.

Yamcha leaned over Trunks’ bassinet and listened for the kid’s breathing the way Bulma had taught him to do. Yeah, the kid was alive alright. He slept like a stone, so there really wasn’t anything else for Yamcha to do. Bulma would be back before a single diaper had to be changed.

Yamcha glanced at the clock. Maybe things will get exciting today, and the baby will spit up on my shift. Although Bulma had shown him where the washcloths were, he was grateful that Mrs. B was the one who actually handled the grimier aspects of helping Bulma care for the baby. As a naptime sitter, Yamcha was just killing time on the bench like when he had pinch-hit for the Titans.

I should be training, really, but what’s the use? As far as the android showdown goes, I’m just a benchwarmer there too.

Still, Yamcha was looking forward to the big, bad scary battle. He had perfect faith that Goku would make everything right. Maybe, miraculously, after the androids were defeated, things could go back to being the way they were before?

Nah, face the music, compadre. You and Bulma are through.

A soft breeze blew through the open balcony doors, and Yamcha knew, with a certainty he had never felt before, that the presence of Vegeta in Bulma’s life had changed everything. There would never be any going back….

It’s going to blow Goku’s mind when he finds out about Trunks.

None of the guys knew about Trunks. Bulma had asked Yamcha to keep mum about the pregnancy the couple times he had visited Krillen on Roshi’s Island in the past year, and Yamcha was dead certain that Oolong hadn’t squealed the news. Sure, it would be a little awkward whenever Bulma decided to reveal that Vegeta had fathered Yamcha’s longtime girlfriend’s baby, but it was all going to be alright…. The whole imminent destruction of the planet situation would overshadow the baby news--wouldn’t it?

Yamcha shifted in the rocking chair and played with the buttons on the remote control. Chick flicks, chick flicks, game shows, and more chick flicks! Had Bulma installed some sort of kiddie censor on the channels? What possible sort of damage would porn and violent T.V. have on an infant who could barely focus his eyes yet? Yamcha would definitely have to make up some excuse (like, he needed to train to save the planet!) if Bulma wanted him to baby-sit again tomorrow just so she and Dr. Geekface could have their little laboratory rendezvous--

At that moment, the obvious occurred to him with such obviousness that he felt dumb for not having thought of it before: Bulma and the little nerd guy might have something romantic brewing!

It made sense--they had the science thing in common.

Dr. and Mrs. Wolfgang Schroedinger?

Why not? The guy was an infinitely less objectionable partner than Vegeta, and Bulma wasn’t the type to linger in a dead-end relationship with an alien (here Yamcha winced at exactly how long his own relationship with Bulma had lasted--could he call ten years lingering?). Besides, Trunks would eventually need a real daddy, and it was just sensible of Bulma to consider the nerd as a potential--

It’s none of my business, Yamcha reminded himself. It’s not my kid.

He glanced at the sleeping baby and felt a stirring of protectiveness that surprised him. Someone would need to teach Trunks how to throw a baseball … maybe Yamcha could show him how to curl his limbs into the stance for wolf fang fist?

An unexpected image drifted into Yamcha’s imagination: a little purple-haired boy wearing an orange gi that read trained by Yamcha.

Yamcha allowed the vision to dissolve.

Not my kid.

The baby had slept through the spaceship taking off, so Yamcha knew that making a phone-call wouldn’t disturb him. He lowered the volume on the remote a notch, picked up the phone and dialed Dr. Briefs’ corporate office.

A bell-like voice sounded: “Capsule Corporation. How may I help you?”

Yamcha felt slightest hesitation in his throat. “Miaka? Hey, do you recognize who this is?”

The flirty laugh on the other end told him that making a date with this chick was going to be easy as pie.

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