Atavism

BY : ct_sama
Category: Dragon Ball Z > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 7074
Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Dragonball Super, Resurrection 'F', or Battle of Gods or the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Story begins after Battle of Gods.  It has turned out to be a more serious take on the new Dragon Ball material, and a universe ruled by powerful beings with no respect for life.  So as you might expect, things are going to get pretty dark at times.  Please, please heed the story warnings or you're going to hate me.

The story isn't beta'd so there will be mistakes here and there as I seem to be blind to them as I’m writing, though I fix them as I find them.

Also, I’ve tried to make things as accurate to canon as possible but Toriyama is retconning said canon as we speak (Dragon Ball Minus), and there are three, count ‘em, three separate canons right now complete with a ton of plot holes.  The only thing I’m purposely ignoring is Bra.  I’m sorry, but no babies for Bulma at age 47.  No.  So read, and please feed the writer if you enjoy.  Or if you don’t.  :)

 

ATAVISM def.: recurrence in an organism of a trait or character typical of an ancestral form and usually due to genetic recombination

 

Birthright

Prince Vegeta of Vegeta-sei had proved a bright child.  He was born into a dangerous time and the promise of tomorrow could be nothing more than a cruel joke.  And so lessons had begun for him as soon as he could speak.  His earliest memories were lessons from his father the King.  Lessons on the nature of his people, lessons to prepare him to control and rule his incredibly strong and highly aggressive people.

 

“Your duty as royalty is threefold, Vegeta.  Put your people first.  Protect them, guide them.  See that they achieve the greatness that is their due.”

 

At the age of five he had been chosen to survive the destruction of his home planet and the genocide of his people.  What then was the duty of royalty?

 

His struggle with the question had occupied his thoughts through the years.

 

Vengeance was the easy answer.  Destroy he who destroyed his people.  He had dedicated himself to the act to ease the fury of his stolen birthright but it never truly went away, not even after Freeza’s death.  Many years of wrestling with it revealed why.  

 

He needed to bring his people back.  Only then would he be worthy of his title, his lineage.  

 

But how to do it?  The Dragonballs were the obvious solution, but even their awesome power had proved inadequate to the task.  There was one other way, but he feared it.

 

It was the true answer and it lay deep within him, buried in his genetic code.  His father told him about it before Freeza took him.  He didn’t want to face it.  As resilient as he had proven to be, even Vegeta balked at the sacrifices required for that route.  As time went on and he wrestled with the burden, he took a nod from Goku to ease his mind.

 

Bulma Briefs wasn’t a fighter.  But she was fierce, and had a strength he admired.  She challenged him, understood his gruff manner as well as any Earthling could, and she was straightforward enough not to play all those human games he didn’t understand.  They both wanted a child - for different reasons - but Bulma didn’t want to be tied down to a traditional family.  For his part, Vegeta wanted to avoid Goku’s situation.

 

Saiyan parents were, for the most part, more mentors and trainers than their human counterparts; they were rarely involved with their children’s early rearing which was done by caretakers in a group setting.  It was far kinder than having the children become attached to parents who might easily die in a fight at any time.  He would not have his child’s mother behaving as though Saiyan ways made him a terrible father.

 

A simple arrangement solved both of their problems.  And when their son was born, Vegeta had been proud of her, and she openly wept as he told her so.  He never regretted his decision to make a child with her.  He could not have found a better, more Saiyan woman to be the mother of his children.

 

But she was human.  Trunks’ children, and children’s children would only have increasingly watered down blood as the generations wore on.  The same went for Goku and his offspring.  The Saiyan race would effectively die if nothing changed.

 

Afraid or not, Vegeta had never before shirked responsibility, and he certainly wouldn’t with the life or death of his race at stake.  And so he had gathered up all the medical files on himself that he’d copied and erased from Freeza’s computers over the years, and taken them to one of the greatest minds on this planet.  He didn’t have to go far.

 

He smiled as he remembered Bulma’s look of surprise and glee when he handed over all of the medical files he had on Saiyan genetics.  It was like watching a kid in a candy store.  She’d wanted to study him for years but he wouldn’t let her, and getting near Goku with anything resembling a needle for a blood sample was just impossible.  While she wasn’t a geneticist, it was a serious hobby of hers.

 

“But I don’t understand,” she’d said, brows knitting together.  “I’ve been after you for these files for years.  Why now?”

 

Vegeta snorted and shoved her chair over, rolling her away from the computer screen, smirking at her indignant “Hey!”

 

“Because I need you to do something for me, Woman.  Why else?  Look here,” he said, bringing up a file marked ‘Saiyan: Genetic Sequence.’

 

“Wow,” Bulma said quietly, shoving Vegeta out of the way again.  “Saiyans are far more genetically diverse than humans, it’s no wonder you’re able to breed with us!  Thirty-nine pairs of chromosomes to our twenty-three, it’s incredible!  And it’s weird, you have prehensile tails like primates but it looks like you have more in common with wolves or big cats genetically speaking.  And… Hey!”

 

Vegeta rolled his eyes and interrupted her by bumping her aside again.  “Have fun comparing me to animals later.  Right now, look at this.”  He brought up a sub-file marked ‘Prince Vegeta: Abnormal.’

 

Bulma frowned and rolled her chair up beside him.  “Abnormal?  Are you all right?”

 

He was touched by the concern in her voice, but wouldn’t let her know.  “Read it for yourself.”

 

She went quiet for a while and Vegeta stood quietly, letting her process.  Finally, after almost half an hour she finally spoke.

 

“There’s a dormant mutation on the thirty-second chromosome.  It seems none of the other Saiyans sampled had it.”

 

“It passes from the mother to the child, but the mutation only shows up in the males.”

 

“Well, Vegeta, it’s dormant.  So there’s nothing to worry about, whatever it does.”

 

“I know.  I want you to switch it back on.”

 

Bulma’s eyes went wide and she huffed in shock.  “Are you kidding?!  You’re talking about genetic manipulation!  We have no idea what it is or what it will do!  Or do you know what it controls?  No, let me guess, you think it will make you stronger or some such.”

 

He just smirked, letting her draw her own conclusions so he wouldn’t have to lie outright.  “Oh come on.  You know you want to.  Don't I always bring you the best challenges?”

 

Bulma’s mouth slowly quirked into a knowing smile.  “You sure know how to play me, don’t you?  Agh, you’re infuriating!  Do you have any idea how much of a ruckus these projects of yours cause at work?  I had to reassign an entire division to get that capsule house with the built-in gravity room done, and I still have no idea what you even did with it!”

 

“Yeah, but you had fun making it all work, didn’t you?”

 

“You are such a pain in my ass!”  She ran her hands through her hair, looking back at the computer display.  “Fine!” she exclaimed suddenly, ruffling the silky blue strands.  “But under my terms!  I’m bringing in a couple of geneticists, ones I trust to keep quiet,” she added, waving away Vegeta's concerns before he could voice them.  “And you submit to every single test and scan I order or no deal.  I have to know that this isn’t going to harm you.”

 

“Fine.  But don’t expect me to be nice to them.”

 

He grimaced at the thought of all those tests.  He’d been poked, prodded, scanned, and drained of - he was sure - most of his blood.  All for the woman to finally sit him down and tell him it was impossible.  Tests had shown that his genetic structure was too resistant to the change.  It wouldn’t work.

 

Which is why now, he sat at her home workstation, breaking into her private files. Something about her look, her smell.  She was a good liar, but she had in fact lied to him.

 

He had bided his time, waited a month and a half for Goku’s birthday party.  Bulma and Chi-Chi were so distracted with the last minute preparations that he knew the hard-headed woman wouldn’t notice his activities.

 

And it was all there, in black and white.  She had done it.  Not that it was a surprise, really.  She was a genius after all.  Vegeta reflected with a small grin that making an ally of her was one of the best things he’d done since he came to Earth.  She had good reason for lying to him, the concocted formula had awakened the dormant mutation in her controlled tests, but the process of reawakening was so violent she didn’t think he would survive it.

 

A few more clicks and he found the formula, locked away in her lab.  He knew she would be too proud to destroy it, one more thing Vegeta respected in her.

 

It was the only option he had, and it was a dangerous one.  There were a lot of unknowns, and the things he did know were concerning.  His father had given him all the information he had before Freeza took him; the same information that had been passed from father to son since the purge.

 

The mutation had been deemed a disruptive threat to Saiyan society.  Those who displayed it were killed off a thousand years ago.  One of Vegeta’s ancestors had survived and had somehow hidden it.  After another generation the mutation naturally stopped manifesting and went dormant.

 

His father also taught him how to get in and it off Freeza’s computers without being discovered.  If the overlord had found out about the mutation he might not have been able to resist experimenting.

 

He backed out of Bulma’s private files, leaving no trace as he’d practiced in his years serving Freeza.  Turned off the computer and headed downstairs to get ready for the party.  It was the last thing on his mind though.  He would have to act tonight.

 

____________________________________________________________________________

Vegeta snorted at the people moving happily to the thumping music that just seemed to give him a headache.  Why dance when you run a perfectly good kata?  They made much better use of the body’s movements, and didn’t look nearly as silly.

 

The party was in full swing and the drinks were flowing freely.  It was loud, it was boisterous, it was… annoying.  Supremely annoying.

 

Goku’s friends and family clustered around him and Vegeta didn’t feel the need to add himself to the cheerful fray.  Having stuck around for what he deemed a respectful amount of time, he quietly excused himself to his favored escape, a large balcony overlooking a garden.  He took a slow breath, crossing his arms on the railing.  He rested his chin on his folded arms trying to ready himself for what had to come next.  And that was how Goku found him a few minutes later.

 

“Vegeta?  I haven’t seen you in weeks.  Are you avoiding me?”

 

The prince didn’t turn, just sighed deeply.  “Of course not Kakarot.  I’ve just had a lot on my mind lately.  Besides, you know I don’t do crowds.”  He looked up at the sky, gazing off in the direction of his destroyed homeworld.  “Go back inside and let your friends fawn all over you.  I promise to come reacquaint your face with my fist soon since you miss it so much.”

 

Goku laughed, seemed to accept his answer, but remained.  “Is that where Vegeta-sei was?  Where you were just looking?”  

 

Vegeta was actually stunned into silence for a moment.  He could only nod wordlessly.  “You miss it.”

 

“Of course I do,” he breathed.  “We are the last living full-blooded Saiyans, Kakarot.  If nothing changes, our race dies when we do.  it is… a heavy burden.”

 

Goku didn’t answer, he knew Vegeta didn’t expect him to.  It was a statement of fact.  He could feel the tension bleeding off the other man.   After a moment of silence he came to stand by Vegeta.  Not touching - he doubted Vegeta would ever allow that outside of their sparring - but he hoped his presence was somehow calming to Vegeta.

 

“Kakarot… If you had the power to change that, would you do it?”

 

“I’ve thought about it before,” Goku replied after a brief pause.  “I won’t lie, our history as a people scares me.  So much death, so much destruction just for destruction’s sake…  But I’ve given second chances to those who really didn’t deserve it.  What kind of a person would I be if I didn’t give my own people that same chance?”  He trailed off, thinking.  Finally he shook his head slowly as if to clear it.  “To answer your question, in short, yes.  I would do anything to bring our people back if I could.  But it’s just not possible, not even with the Dragon Balls.  I wish it were Vegeta, I really do.”

 

Goku finally looked at Vegeta and gasped at what he saw.  The hardened warrior was looking straight into his eyes in only the second unguarded moment he’d ever allowed Goku.  In the brief moment that seemed to stretch to eternity he read acceptance, determination and loss… such terrible loneliness and loss...

 

But then Vegeta blinked and it was gone, all of it.  The mask of cynical amusement was back and Goku made a small sound of distress at the loss as the prince climbed up onto the railing of the balcony.  “Wait, where are you going?” he asked, almost desperate to stop Vegeta from leaving.

 

Vegeta wouldn’t answer him.  “I’ve been working on a few things.  Up for a spar soon?”

 

“With you?  Always,” Goku answered quietly, still feeling bereft.  

 

“Good,” Vegeta nodded.  He stopped, standing on the railing, facing the night sky.  His life as he knew it was over.  He was embarking on a dangerous path for the slim chance of restoring his people.  He would have to walk it alone, as it required the sacrificial destruction of the only real friendship he’d ever known.  But even so…

 

“I will see you soon.  Happy Birthday, Kakarot.”

 

He would enjoy it as long as he still had it.

 

With that, he shot up into the sky to leave a stunned Goku staring off after him.



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