BY : silverlady
Category: Dragon Ball Z > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 5025
Disclaimer: I do not own DragonballZ, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Disclaimer and Notes: I don´t own Vegeta, I just torture him a little. ;)
My sincere thanks to Tempest and to Tryniamerin, who helped with grammar and gave me valuable suggestions. I´d like to know your opinions, too, just don´t beg me to update soon. Actually, I hesitated of posting this new fic since I already have so many unfinished ones to work; but had to take these scenes out of my head. 

Chapter 1

“My Name is Vegeta”

The air grew tense. The immense beast raised his head, smelling the breeze along with his mate. The birds were utterly silent, a warning of danger in the woods. However, the only vaguely familiar smell belonged to a harmless animal that wouldn't offer any distress to the almighty langozaurs. After a few moments, the couple relaxed and returned to their grass meal.

Langozaurs were herbivorous, but they were also among the biggest creatures that inhabited the forsaken world. The number of predators that dared to risk their lives for their meat was very small. This was especially true when it came for a couple, and the female was pregnant like that type. Pregnant female langozaurs released hormones that softened their meat, giving it a sweet taste. The other chemical was a smell that put their mates on alert, causing them to be more protective. So they were supposed to be in relative safety. Or at least they would have been five years ago, before a mysterious star fell out of the sky like a punishment for an uncommitted sin. From that night on, a new unknown beast terrified all animals. Both predator and prey were targets as long that they weren't too little to deserve his attention. The strange being seemed to have a taste for the biggest, most dangerous ones. Unlike the cruelest predators, which killed only for food or to defend territory, this creature killed also for pleasure.

A pair of black eyes peered through the foliage, mere centimeters from the male langozaur. They remained as still as the rest of their owner's body. The only movement that any observer could detect was a slight tremble at the tip of his tail firmly wrapped around his waist; this trembling was also the only thing that betrayed his excitement. All his tense muscles bulged magnificently beneath his tanned skin covered only by a mixture of grease and fluids from harmless animals.

The list of things he hated could fill a thick book. That greasy stuff would certainly be written in the first page; however, there wasn’t another option. Throughout his long exile, his subtle smell had become well known to the animals of the rainforest, and it was enough to terrify them. At least that was better than the excrement he had used first.

The big male snorted. Having no more leaves from his previous side, he started to turn in search for more in other place. The hidden hunter couldn't lose this chance.

He jumped. His small foot slammed into the langozaur's side, forcing the huge animal to the ground. Sending a cloud of dust into the air it landed in the grass. At the same time a loud bellow betrayed the surprised fear and pain of the male langozaur. However, a mere single push would never be sufficient to ground the king of woods. His bellow changed from fear to rage as he swiped his long tail dangerously toward his foe, while he balanced on his legs to stand up again. The tail of a langozaur was its most dangerous part, not only because of the strength of its impact, but also due to the poisoned spikes on the tip. Even one single scratch could bring death to animals. Well the little man knew this fact for he had almost died from a strong fever caused by an injury on his first try hunting the beast, before his powerful Saiyan constitution won. He had become a specialist at avoiding those tail spikes after that disaster. As he jumped aside he sneered, easily avoiding the dangerous appendage. While it swept away from him, he arched his arm down, chopping the base of the tail with the side of his hand, cleanly severing it from the langozaur’s body.

A horrible wail echoed throughout the valley, scaring birds and other animals away. It warned them that the menace was back, for it wasn't the first time they heard that sound. The langozaur roared in pain and incredulity. Although he had won many fights against other langozaurs and predators of many other species, none of them had inflicted such pain. Before he could recover from his shock, the little creature jumped to the dinosaur's torso and pummeled him mercilessly. The beast reared with rage and tried to reach him with his teeth; but the man stood at the tallest spot of the langosaur´s back where the beast’s big snout couldn’t reach him. He laughed and taunted the animal, savoring the beast’s despair and rage.

If the man still had his powers, such hunting would have been very different. He would simply fly towards the beast, and blast the prey's head with the palm of his hand. Unfortunately those powers had been denied him since he set foot in this blasted, little place. All he could count on then was his agility and his incredible strength, and he excelled with both.

Okay, enough playing. He took one step, putting himself at the range of the beast's teeth. The creature bared his teeth menacingly, thinking he could bite his enemy, then charged. Bad move. The small man jumped aside, avoiding the teeth, then once again raised the palm of his hand. A few seconds later, the langozaur´s head thudded against the ground.

The female had watched the fight between her mate and the small creature. When her mate fell, she stood frozen in her place. The man almost could see her puny brain struggling with the dilemma of either attacking him or running away. Finally she charged him, with an enraged booming sound. Silly choice, thought the man, though it actually didn't make any difference. Whether she attacked or ran, her fate was sealed.

He jumped aside, avoiding her attack, and rolled until he was under her belly. Even though Langozaurs possessed very hard skin, the flesh of their bellies was vulnerable, though hard to reach. However, he was small enough to slide between her heavy, swollen abdomen and the ground. The female stopped abruptly as she felt an excruciating pain tearing her from groin to gullet. She made a move to try and turn away… but it was far too late. Her body crashed to the ground near her mate, while a jet of blood sprouted through her belly, right on the face of her aggressor. He seemed pleased at this, if not more excited than he already was. She stared at the little monster bathed in the blood that belonged to her and her unborn cub. Tiny eyes round and wide with terror, she watched as the hand of death came down once again to cease the pain. Then she never saw anything again.

Wildly, the man laughed as he shredded his dead prey into smaller pieces with his teeth and hands. Repeatedly, he gnawed on the raw, bloody flesh, more for the joy of slaughtering the animal than for hunger. He chewed, ate, laughed, and bathed in blood, until he finally collapsed in exhaustion. He laid face down on the bloody soil for what seemed to be eternity.

Suddenly, his eyes opened. He turned his face to his side, as he inhaled slowly and repeatedly, like someone who woke from a nightmare.

"Vegeta. My name is Vegeta. I am the... prince of the Saiyans," he muttered, remaining in that position for a moment before turning again and leaning up on his hands.

The sound of his own voice sounded alien to him. Back in the days of his former life, Vegeta used to think aloud whenever he was alone; an habit he had kept during his first two years of staying in that forsaken place. As the time passed, the habit became rarer and rarer, until it diminished to occasional mumbles. Save for roars and gloating laughs during his hunting, most of time he just grunted. His life had changed so much that many things he used to do without conscious thought before were almost completely forgotten. Like eating cooked meat, wearing clothes, or even… cleaning himself daily.

He stood up and looked down, suddenly self-conscious of his nudity, as well of the way his skin was completely covered with dust, grease, blood, and God knows what else. He swept the blood from his mouth with one dirty fist, feeling the skin at the back of his hand tickling as it contacted to his chin. Damn it. Luckily Saiyans tended not to grow beards much, and he always had been proud of his clean-shaved, square jaw. What was this place doing to him?

"That's it. Much more of this, and I'll be on all fours, snarling and slobbering, just like any of these pathetic brutes," he said.

The Saiyan picked up one of the biggest pieces of meat he had tore apart, and started carrying it easily toward his lodgings. Even though he would like to march right over to the river to have a bath, he knew that if he abandoned his hard-won meat out in the open, there would be little left of it when he returned.

A few days after his arrival on this world he had lodged in a cave as his refuge. Nevertheless it soon became clear that it wouldn’t be “temporary”. The odor of the monster that had “generously” given him its home (and whose fur still adorned his bed) still persisted as it now mixed with his. That was enough to keep most of the thieves away, though there wasn’t much to steal. And, Vegeta wrinkled his nose in disgust, soon the smell would be enough to keep him away!

He glowered at his bed as he put the meat down. It was a simple hole carved on the floor that was filled with furs. The improvised bedclothes needed some cleaning and sun, no doubt about that, - but not now. He still had to slice the meat in pieces, maybe some fire to dry it… damn, he hated doing that! Yet he also realized preparing it that way, preserved the meat so it lasted longer, and provided a welcome change after so many months eating raw meat. Vegeta crouched and picked up an object next to the bed. It was a triangle-shaped dagger, made of luthaniun. It was a rare mineral, especially because most of the planets that contained it didn’t exist anymore. He had found it among the bones of the unfortunate fool exiled there before of him, that and…

Along with his line of thought, his gaze diverted toward a pile of rocks at the bottom of the cave. He walked toward it, crouched again, and carefully removed the rocks one by one. It was a useless act, since he knew by heart what was in that hole, but he couldn’t help it. Such a compulsion resembled a kid who checked up on his most precious treasures with the excuse to see if they’re still as he left them before.

After all the rocks were removed, a small orange ball with one star on it was revealed nestled on what seemed a pile of old, dirty rags. Vegeta picked the ball up, looked at it for a moment, and then put it aside. Besides the dagger, it was the only valuable item he had managed to extricate from the bones of his predecessor. Vegeta never could understand why the deceased man had carried it with him, since it didn’t seem to have any use. Perhaps it was an amulet… if it was, it probably hadn’t given its former owner much luck. Vegeta didn’t know what had possessed him to pick up the useless little thing, perhaps because he never could find out what material it was done.

At last, the most precious items. First he touched a pair of spandex pants and shirt, which once had been navy blue, but the year had given them an undefined tone. Second were an equally pair of off-white pair of boots with metal tips that once had been golden. Originally a pair of white gloves, and Saiyan battle armor composed of a special substance resembling rubber would complete the outfit, but they had gone long time ago. At that time Vegeta finally realized that his clothes were starting to wear out. They obviously wouldn’t last until some ship arrived to rescue him from this blasted small planet. The very idea of loosing even that remnant of his old self had almost panicked him. For a while he tried to replace them with the leathers and furs taken from his kills. However, he never had learned how to properly tan them. Not only did those new “clothes” reek, but also were very hot for the climate. So he decided to line his bed with them, since the nights were a little cold. After that, he experimented with wearing thongs and loincloths. Yet they restrained his movements and were very tickly, not to mention that he was as unprotected with them as if he wore nothing. Besides, it was ridiculous to display modesty in a place where there was no one else but mindless animals that didn’t give a shit about the sight of his dangly bits!

Almost with affection, he unfolded the pants and shirt. An unpleasant odor emanated from them, but Vegeta hardly noticed it. He felt a strong, unbidden desire to wear them, despite the smell. Just for a few moments, to remember who he was. A stupid act, but… Those clothes gave him so many memories--- none of them actually pleasant, but now they looked bitterly sweet. How many times he had complained of the chains that bound him to his damned lord? He had been far freer then than he was now.

With abrupt movements, he folded the clothes and put them back in the hole along with the ball. After finishing piling the rocks, he marched out of the cave, and then picked up the knife as he passed. He didn't stop until he found a clearing containing a giant waterfall. It was the only thing on the planet that Vegeta didn't hate. Initially, he used to stalk his prey there when they came to quench their thirst, but soon he started catching himself coming there just to sit and meditate. This place gave him something he never possessed in his former life. It gave him peace.

Vegeta jumped on a rock on the middle of the river, right where the water fell, and closed his eyes almost blissfully at the sensation of fresh water on his heated skin. He tossed his head to one side then the other swinging his long hair and sending drops all over. For a long time he stood there even after all blood and dirt had been washed out. Then, he picked up the knife and sat on one rock near the earth to shave. Vegeta rarely used the dagger, preferring his bare hands, but occasionally, it was useful to slice a piece of meat, and especially to shave. How ironic. The sucker that had been killed before his arrival had probably killed to have that knife. But here, it was as worthless as langozaur poop. This place transformed a treasure into an ordinary razor blade... and it changed a Saiyan prince, an elite warrior and victor of countless battles, into an insignificant, naked savage.

Unconsciously, the tip of the dagger penetrated his cheek. A tiny blood drop sprouted. The Saiyan lowered his hand, and stared the bloody tip of the weapon. Luthanium could cut even Saiyan's skin... Perhaps maybe to penetrate though ribbons of muscle and flesh, right to the heart...

Screaming horribly, he turned around and tossed the knife away. It lodged itself in a rock, just as easily as if it were butter. Yet Vegeta didn't see that. He was too busy climbing the rocks besides the waterfall, using as much strength as he could. Deliberately he chose the sharpest boulders to step or lean on, not caring about the bloody stains he left behind. The waterfall plunged down a hundred-foot fall. While a normal being required roughly two days to climb it and they would be exhausted when they finished it, but Vegeta wasn't even panting when he reached the top.

He stood at the top of the rock, and stared at the vision in front of him. From up there, he could see the rainforest spreading, like a green sea... and the mountains, far beyond. This place was both his domain and his prison.

The sun was setting. It marked the end of one more senseless day much like the one before, and the one before that. Until the cycle finally and mercifully finished. Such a thing could take years, centuries... even he didn't know how his people's maximum life span. Saiyans could live much longer than common mortals of other races could, but they were usually short-lived because of their bloodthirsty behavior.

A death in battle... the best death for a Saiyan. Even that was denied to him. The only death he could have on this miserable world was at the hand of one of those laughable beasts, what was less than shameful.

He looked down. A fall like that perhaps could end this all... he thought. Unfortunately he would probably end up with lots of broken bones, and, perhaps starve in extreme pain when he couldn’t move. Another alternative was to throw himself in the river and drown, but that was even worse than stabbing himself. The only forms of suicide considered acceptable for a Saiyan were either to explode in an onslaught of energy that simultaneously destroyed his enemies or simply to bury his hand in his chest. He had heard of a few cases of such rituals in his childhood, relegated for Saiyans exiled in dishonor. This was their method of cleansing themselves of their infamy, while regaining a bit of pride. Yet he no longer could use ki.

He was trapped here forever, with no escape. It could take years for someone to arrive, if that ever happened. If the day did come he'd be far too old and weak to take any benefit from rescue. He had no clothes, no power, and no dignity. Absolutely nothing. Freeza had thought of everything. He would eventually go insane, and kill himself, as the last step of his degradation. Already he was going crazy…

"Freeza!" he screamed to the air. His voice was strangled by despair, but also with a newfound energy.

"You may have taken everything from me, but you can't make me kill myself! Are you listening, you coward, son-of-a-bitch? If you want me dead, you'll have to kill me YOURSELF!" His fist rose in a useless curse because the architect responsible for his torment was light years away, completely unreachable.

Suddenly overcome with a wave of exhaustion, he collapsed. Facedown he sprawled on the cold rock, oblivious to the small tears that for the first time spilled from his eyes.

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