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 Seven: Patience is a Virtue

“I have been patient, even when disgraced under Frieza.”—Vegeta, episode 104


Until the training bots were in working order again, Vegeta couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d been set up. When the woman had invited him to stay at her home all those months ago, why had she stipulated that he not “jump all over” her? The words had shocked Vegeta at the time--such vanity and brazenness unmatched by any weakling female in all the galaxy!

He hadn’t jumped her. She had sought him out. Vegeta was not surprised that she should be attracted to his power (given the caliber of warriors surrounding her) or that she would find his species, so like her own, enticing somehow, but… why would an obviously intelligent creature risk a sexual encounter with a murdering Saiyan? He could have killed her; he had wanted to kill her. Had she wanted the Yamcha creature to discover them? Who was being tested here? Was the little scene in the dinosaur sanctuary a precursor to premeditated violence somehow?

For two days, when Vegeta had not been deliberating these questions with a cold detachment, he had been (with less detachment) touching himself into a flush of sexual agitation as memory after memory of the woman’s soft hands on his body resurfaced.

He didn’t sleep much. He ate everything in the fridge, and he didn’t venture outside the space capsule. Then the old man’s face flashed on the vid-com and said that eight new bots were in a box outside the capsule hatch. Vegeta felt like a condemned man given reprieve. Focus! At last his passions had their familiar outlet. Why bother trying to figure out the Earthling motives and customs? He had worthier adversaries, the killer androids of the future, to destroy!

But Vegeta’s senses were sharper than ever, and the bots were still too noisy. All eight were destroyed within a single hour.

Now Vegeta stood, in the pale glow from Capsule Corporation security lights, outside the human dwelling once more. It was early evening, and they would be complaining about their need for sleep, about how long it would take to configure new prototypes, about--

Vegeta held the melted glob of training bot he intended to show the old man in one hand. It contours were like those of a skull. Worthless piece of effect, a mere chunk of battle collateral. Let them start from nothing designing a new one. Vegeta powered up, felt the bot disintegrate to dust in his hand. Cinders fluttered to the ground.

Vegeta dropped to the ground too, sat there in the twilight stillness. Think, think. He needed a new training plan. He had always trained alone--that is, not since Vegeta was a boy in the palace had he trained with a teacher or worthy sparring partner. And ever since the capsule explosion, training sessions with the king were coming back to him with startling clarity. The drugs the old man had given Vegeta that afternoon left the prince’s body easily enough, but the memories--they would build with a narcotic, nearly imperceptible sense of foreboding, and then it was as if--did those Earth medicines trigger the memories somehow, exhume a whole history of corpses? Vegeta was at the palace again, looking up into his father’s stern Saiyan face.

You are stronger than they are. You are faster, smarter, superior in every way. They will frustrate you. A warrior does not hesitate, but a monarch--a ruler of a people—bides his time.

Vegeta snorted. What did a ghost know about time? There was not much time left at all! Three years!

There can be motion in stillness. Hold back. So that when you land the final blow it will be more deadly than if you had fired on impulse.

Words of wisdom from a vanquished leader. A failure whose people and planet had fallen under Frieza. Why were the idiot’s words coming back so often and so… clearly? His father, the king. His father, the complete failure!

Vegeta considered going back to the capsule to do simple non-stop exercises in gravity 200, but as he was about to rise, he caught movement in the dining room window. The old man and the yellow-haired woman were sitting in dim light at the table, but Bulma Briefs was bustling around, her hands flapping in dramatic gestures, her mouth working.

He couldn’t hear her, but he could see her very clearly.

Vegeta decided to sit and look in the window for a while. Maybe a plan for training would come to him if he just let his mind wander for a moment, if he just sat here on the lawn for a little longer….

He watched, bemused, as Bulma trotted back and forth between the bathroom and dining table, each time with different decorative items in her ears. First opaque flat buttons, then dangling ones with gold stars, then two very tiny ones--each like a clear droplet of water. Even Zarbon, the most stylish lieutenant in Frieza's army, never changed his jewelry so much. The fourth time she emerged from the bathroom the bright ear decorations were still there, but her lips were painted a slightly darker shade of red.

Peoples all over the galaxy displayed their social status via bodily decoration--Vegeta had seen garments far more elaborate than those humans wore. Some showy species wore electrically illuminated clothing. He had seen various skin mutilations (such as the holes in Bulma Brief's ears) for the fastening of delicate strings of colored light. Some of the soldiers on Frieza's ship had even worn artificial scents--for what purpose, he wasn't sure.

The woman’s mother always wore such scents, and these on top of the already overpowering garden smells of mulch, roses, and insecticide that clung to her. Bulma’s scents had never been as assailing--the woman was very clean most of the time, vaguely bathsoapy, with a trace of a mechanical grease that Vegeta was used to smelling at space docking ports.

A memory of the woman’s most individual and pungent fragrance burned through Vegeta’s consciousness: His nose in the crook of her arm, the musky wetness there.

“GAH!”

Vegeta was standing up, about to storm in the direction of Capsule 3, and then the Yamcha creature appeared at the threshold to the dining room. The weakling warrior was dressed in a very peculiar way. Was that a black rope knotted around his neck?

**

Even if she hadn’t known him for over ten years and even if Yamcha weren’t the most transparent guy alive, Bulma would have smelled a proposal the minute she opened the cologne-heavy envelope left taped to her computer monitor.

Dear Bulma, You’ve been working so hard for so long. Let me take you someplace special tonight. Dress up, and I’ll meet you at the gate at seven. Life is short. Let’s make the most of it. Love, Yamcha

The guilt assaulting Bulma at that moment had been unbearable. She had lain the note face down on her desk, but the paper was so thin that the uneven lettering showed through the ivory-colored parchment weave. He’s got the handwriting of a six-year-old, Bulma thought, just before she burst into tears.

She had spent a longer time deciding what to wear than what to say. What she would say was yes. And why not? Now she knew Yamcha’s side of the infidelity coin. She had thrown herself, on a mad impulse, at a gorgeous body, and for what? A fit of anxiety, a mess of memories so vivid they made her tremble and drop her tools as she worked, and so much guilt. And Vegeta had just left her in the atrium, on the ground, without so much as a thank-you ma’am after the wham-bam!

Before her parents in the dining room, Bulma had paraded a series of outfits and complained that Yamcha’s surprises never took into account that different occasions called for different attire. “Dress up” could mean anything from dance club chic (swirly skirt?) to five-star restaurant elegance (brocade jacket?), and there was always the chance of paparazzi showing up! She had settled on a simple dark blue dress, one clingy enough to be sexy but classical enough to distinguish her from the “bimbos with beers” milieu Yamcha so often frequented.

“Oh yes, the diamond earrings,” her father was saying as she flashed her profile. “I got those for you when you turned sixteen, remember? I’ll always favor those, dear.”

“They’re my favorites too, Papa.”

“Oh, you so deserve some fun, Bulma-chan!” Her mother was clearing the table of desert dishes. “You haven’t been out with Yamcha in such a long time. He’s so sweet to do this for you. Heaven knows I wish I could drag your father out of the laboratory for a night out. Are you sure you don’t want some apple pie, angel?”

And then Yamcha appeared. Wasn’t he supposed to wait for her at the gate? Bulma felt a pang of guilt; he had been waiting for her there while she was dawdling over earrings.

“Wow, Bulma, you look beautiful.”

Bulma thought it was all happening like a scene in a movie--the fantasy come true, her long ago wish that she planned to make on the dragonballs, the perfect boyfriend. Yamcha was wearing the only suit of his she liked, one she had picked out for him before the company gala fundraiser last year. A faint blush on his cheeks. So tall, so handsome, such a good guy.

Bulma fingered the hems of her long blue sleeves. “We look like serious formal.” She smiled. “Where are we going, buddy? Who are we trying to impress?”

He didn’t hesitate. “Each other.” He looked right into her eyes. “It’s just a cozy Italian place. One of the Titans’ people takes players there to negotiate contracts. The food’s guaranteed to make you agreeable to anything.” His eyes were playful. “You ready? It’s already seven thirty.”

The this-is-a-dream feeling followed Bulma to the Capsule Corporation family entrance gate, where Yamcha dug a hand into his pocket, pulled out a cap, tossed it to the ground. The pink smoke rose, Yamcha’s sporty new air-car materialized, and as wisps of pink began to dissolve in the dusky light, Bulma saw Vegeta.

He was standing, arms crossed, bare-chested as usual, on the lawn. The sun was low in the sky behind him, but a pale glow from a security lamp let Bulma see his face clearly.

He looked ready to kill.

Those eyes! Intent with malice, burning with anticipation, poised for confrontation.

Bulma felt her breath hitch and her grasp on her tiny handbag tighten. Yamcha started too--his warrior instincts still keen. His arms had begun to rise towards a defensive blocking stance, but Bulma touched his shoulder, and Yamcha’s hands lowered.

“What’s wrong, Vegeta?” Bulma’s voice sounded muted, as if she were hearing herself speak underwater. “Are the bots broken again?”

He didn’t answer. He looked her up and down, looked Yamcha up and down, then his eyes shifted to the air-car.

“We’re going to dinner now, Vegeta. My parents are inside. They’ll be glad to help you with whatever you need.”

He gave her one last look. His eyes spoke pure sex--the desire in them was that plain. Bulma felt memories rise through her body like steam. Even the roots of her hair felt hot.

Then Vegeta turned around. Odd how he could make such a simple gesture so majestic. He was walking back towards Capsule 3. A slant of light made his shoulders shine, and then he stepped into the shadows.

“Woah,” Yamcha murmured. “He’s something else. I don’t see how you and your dad can trust him. I sure don’t.”

“Who said I trust him?” Bulma allowed Yamcha to open the air-car door for her. Usually she would hop on in, but tonight’s ritual had already been set in motion. Bulma’s body seemed to be following prescribed dance-steps. “We need him, Yamcha--there’s no way around it. After Goku, he’s our planet’s best bet against the androids.”

“I know, I know.” Yamcha’s fingers were punching the ignition start code. “It’s just that the idea of having to wait three years to find out whether or not he’s on our side is--I dunno, sort of depressing.”

“Patience is a virtue,” Bulma heard herself say. She wasn’t even trying to make sense anymore. It was going to be all light banter and small talk until the proposal, and Bulma knew she just had pretend to be all breezy and innocent until that moment.

But--hah!--patience had never been one of Bulma’s strong suits. Why could she not shake the feeling that she was being tested in some way?

Let this happen to me. Something good is about to happen to me for once.

Bulma was the not the sort of person who waited for things to happen to her. She made things happen. She was an inventor, for crying out loud. She was in charge and in control. She wielded the tools, measured the beakers, analyzed the graphs, arranged the experiments and predicted the outcomes.

Then why did looking into Vegeta’s eyes make her feel less like the scientist in charge than like the thermometer dropped into a vat of scalding water?

The air-car hummed through the darkening sky. Doubt began to splinter through Bulma’s mind.

What is happening to me?

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