Butterflies & Hurricanes

BY : Froglady15
Category: Dragon Ball Z > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 1089
Disclaimer: Disclaimer:I don't own anything. Just my Husband, laptop, my 3 dogs and a very overactive imagination… Dragon Ball Z and any songs mentioned in this fic DO NOT belong to me. I MAKE NO MONEY/PROFIT!

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Just my Husband, laptop, my 3 dogs and a very overactive imagination… Dragon Ball Z and any songs mentioned in this fic DO NOT belong to me. I'm just borrowing them for my own twisted amusement.

Butterflies and Hurricanes

Chapter 10

Bulma woke up alone as she had the past few mornings. This morning, however, she had been woken up a little while earlier when Vegeta had gotten up. She had watched him quietly as he finished up dressing in his armor for the day.

She didn't say anything to him, but smiled when she saw him check on Trunks for a few minutes while he had still been asleep. Thankfully Bardock's mate had been right about his teething and had given her a remedy to make the process a little more bearable for him and so he had been sleeping much better through the night and was a lot less fussy during the day.

Knowing that everything was fine, Bulma had gone back to sleep and managed to get another hour or two of rest before starting her day.

She rolled over and collided with a mass lump of fawn hair and smiled to herself, reaching for Aro and snuggling him close to her. She wasn't sure where he slept at night but he never came to her bed until he knew Vegeta was gone. Bulma suspected he kind of slept all over.

Sometimes when she would be up with Trunks she would find him asleep underneath or next to Trunks' crib. Sometimes he slept at the door of their living quarters and she suspected he was listening to the comings and goings of the guards in the hall. Other times she would find him laying by the door of their balcony and if she was up, she would open the door to let him out to sleep out there if that was what he wanted and sometimes he would be asleep in his crate.

Vegeta observed that he was simply making his rounds, patrolling their quarters, keeping close surveillance of the place. He never said anything, but she knew he appreciated it and was glad they had brought him along.

Bulma finally got up and checked on Trunks who was still sleeping. Taking advantage, she opted for a quick shower and decided to start the day taking Aro out to that court yard Vegeta had shown her.

She quickly washed and dressed herself before waking Trunks up to feed him. After that, she bathed him and gathered a few things like plans and documents Bardock had given her to go over and make improvements to. Many of them he did not have the time to make revisions or even approve the designs and give them the go ahead for production. Since they agreed that there was no point bringing Trunks to the lab, he gave her these projects to sift through. Whatever she approved he would give a look to. It wasn't the most exciting thing in the world, but she happily did it; thankful for a break from Trunks.

Today, however she was planning on dropping by the lab for a moment. She had come up with an idea to help Vegeta and his men train on the ship while they were travelling. Bardock had given her the green light that it would be feasible. All he needed was the smaller gravity chamber and things would hopefully be ready before Vegeta and the soldiers left in a few days.

Bulma had managed to steal Vegeta's small Gravity room capsule off of him last night while he had been in the shower washing away the day's sweat and grime. She sighed in dismay as she tucked the capsule into her jeans; these past few days they had barely spoken. When they had, Vegeta was indifferent and irritable towards her. She knew it was just his stress doing this to him; his coping mechanism was to shut everyone out, but it was beginning to bother her beyond belief.

Instead of rising to the bait and being snippy back at him, she held her tongue and kept her thoughts to herself. Of course because of the bond, it was something she really had to work at. It was like a fifty/fifty curse and a blessing at times and she found that she either loved it or hated it. There was never anything in between.

She finished packing everything up, deciding she would work on some of her other projects outside in the court yard for a change of scenery from their quarters and it would let Aro stretch his legs. She capsulated a blanket and some toys for Aro and by that time she was ready to go, placing Trunks in his carrier and hooked Aro up to his leash.

I'm going now to visit Bardock for a quick sec and then I'll be in the court yard with Trunks and Aro for a bit. If you have a break, come and see us. She said to Vegeta, not expecting him to be able to make it or even reply to her but she had just wanted to let him know where she was going.

I may be able to later. Came a completely unexpected reply; she felt a sudden rush of giddiness wash through her.

Great if you can, if you're too busy though, I understand. She said quickly, not wanting to make him feel obligated to come visit them if he had other pressing matters to attend to. I only wanted to let you know where we were.

Hmm. Watch yourself.

I will.

With that, she headed out. She greeted all the guards she met on the way, introducing them to Aro who wasn't overly friendly; but he was interested in sniffing them out.

Bulma made her way to Bardock's lab and finished up business there before heading to the courtyard without incident. She unhooked Aro and watched him take off down the length of the field in a full run. She smiled to herself as he ran and sniffed everything and ran some more; he was so happy!

She finally laid out her blanket and uncapsulated her things and loosened up Trunks blankets and such now that they were settled in and she brought out a ball for Aro and tossed it for him before sitting down. One thing she loved about this planet was it was always warm. She loved it.

She tossed the ball for Aro a few more times before cracking open her notes. She worked on that for a little while before taking Trunks out of his carrier; he was beginning to fuss.

Bulma took him out and walked out towards the middle of the field towards where Aro was making his own entertainment with a stick he'd found somewhere. She sat on the ground with Trunks, holding him up under his arms and letting him stand sort of. His balance already was coming along really well. He couldn't stand on his own yet, of course but she knew it wouldn't be long until he'd be able to stand and then walk. She knew he'd learn to walk shortly after that and then she'd really be in trouble. She thought with a giggle; he was already very independent. She'd have to keep a close watch on him then.

She thought sadly that Vegeta would more than likely miss Trunks learning to walk. She really hoped he wouldn't miss much more than that. Not only because she knew how much he was looking forward to teaching Trunks to fight but because she feared Trunks would grow up not knowing his father. She didn't want Vegeta to be a stranger or just a thought or an ideal to their son. Bulma knew Vegeta didn't want that either but if this war took months or even years, what would she do? She only hoped that once again, she was letting her thoughts get carried away.

She smiled as Aro gently buried his nose against Trunks, sniffing him intently, his tail wagging. She hadn't noticed someone enter the courtyard behind them until Aro growled a low, deep growl, prompting Bulma to turn around and see who it was.

"Are you here all on your own?" Asia asked, standing at the entry way, holding what Bulma assumed to be her son.

"I am," she nodded, getting up and holding Trunks close, wondering what she was doing here. "Well, me, Trunks and Aro."

Asia stood there a moment, almost looking unsure. "May I join you?"

To say Bulma was shocked was an understatement, but smiled at the other girl. "Sure, it's fine; come in. He won't hurt you unless you try something first." Bulma said to her, reaching for Aro's collar, though he was only watching the other woman closely rather than making a fuss.

"If it does-"

"Yea, yea, you'll blast him, I know the routine." Bulma cut her off rolling her eyes and heading back to her blanket and stuff she'd left spread out.

Asia smirked at her. "Alright then," she said, coming closer. "If you know that's the case, then what's the point in having it?"

"It is a he; his name is Aro and I have him for company and it makes me feel better having him around," she shrugged, putting Trunks back into his carrier and Aro in a down stay next to him. "When I lived back on my planet, I had a protection dog. He was awesome. He wasn't able to help me, obviously, but he did try and that's all that matters. So while I know at the end of the day it wouldn't matter whether I have him or not, if someone wants to hurt me, they will; but he can at least warn me before hand and maybe I'll have some time to get away. At the end of the day, I guess it's something familiar to me from my planet. I don't have much else."

"I suppose. I never really thought about that." Asia said thoughtfully. Truthfully she never had given much thought over what this girl had been through what with losing her planet and everything. She had been so absorbed in the fact that Vegeta had taken an interest in anyone but for her at the time, she'd never even given the girl a chance or even stopped to think about what that must have been like for her.

"You can sit and hang out if you want, I wouldn't mind the company and Aro won't hurt you. Just let him sniff you and your son; he'll be fine." Bulma offered as she sat down, actually hoping she might take her up on the offer. Some company would be nice, plus she kind of wanted to pick her brain a little to see if she could gain any insight on why she was being sent away with Vegeta.

Asia thought for a moment and then decided to humor her. She did after all want to ask her to watch her son while she was gone. She still was not sure if it was the best idea, but it was the best thing she had come up with.

She sat down on the blanket Bulma had laid out, holding Tarble close, still not completely sure of the dog.

"Go see," Bulma said to him and he cautiously leaned in, wanting to sniff the new comers. "Just let him sniff, he'll be fine."

Asia shrugged, but let the dog sniff her son. The dog hadn't eaten Bulma's son, she figured. Tarble cooed and giggled as his neck and cheeks were tickled with his whiskers as he sniffed him with interest.

"He's been so good with Trunks," Bulma said, watching the dog interact with the other toddler. "I was a bit skeptical at first since I wasn't sure how he was with children; I never asked the lady I'd gotten him from about that when I got him."

Asia nodded, but didn't say anything. She just watched him sniff her son and a moment later put her hand out for him to sniff her. "Can I touch him?" She asked, not sure why she was so unsure of the dog, since she knew she could take it out before it had the chance to do her or her son any harm.

"Oh yea," Bulma nodded. "He's fine."

Asia smiled somewhat as he sniffed her hand and stroked the side of his neck. "He's softer than he looks," she commented.

"Yea," Bulma agreed. "He's shedding really badly right now, ever since we got back. Not sure if it's just stress from having to adapt or because it's so warm here. Probably a bit of both,"

Asia nodded. "And he's good with Trunks?"

"Very," she answered proudly. "He sticks pretty close to him and is extremely protective of both myself and Trunks. Like I said, I know he wouldn't be much good if someone wanted to hurt us, but back on my planet, these dogs were among the best of the best in terms of protection dogs. So it makes me feel better having him around especially if Vegeta's busy with other things."

Asia nodded, looking at the dog with mild interest while trying to figure out how to start a conversation with this girl. "So, I don't know how to ask you; I- I'm not good at asking favors. I realize we didn't exactly get off on the right foot."

Bulma just shrugged. "No, we didn't; but what's done is done. No sense dwelling on it."

"Right," she agreed, still not sure how to ask her to look after her son, and still unsure if it was such a good idea now or not.

Picking up on her indecision, Bulma decided to help her out a bit. She was curious as to what she wanted now from her anyway. "If you want a favor, just ask. The worst I'm going to do is say no, right? And if it's something I can do, I most likely say yes. So long as it doesn't involve me leaving Vegeta; I already had that conversation with his father."

"No, it doesn't have anything to do with Vegeta," she said quickly, looking down at her son. Maybe this wasn't the best idea, asking such an important thing of someone that she'd been so cruel to since they'd met. "I know you won't believe this, but I know that ship has sailed."

Bulma snorted in response. "Alright, then you should be in the clear. What can I do for you?" She asked, refraining from saying anything snarky. What was the point? It was obvious she wasn't comfortable with having to ask something of her in the first place, why be mean?

"I assume Vegeta would have told you that I'm going along with everyone on this war mission," she started and then paused. What if he hadn't told her?

Bulma nodded. "Yes, he told me."

"Okay, well since he's leaving you and your son here, I am assuming he's made arrangements for your safety while he's gone, right?"

Bulma frowned to herself. What an odd question. She wondered what the best way to answer that would be, being that she didn't fully trust her. She shrugged and decided to play it by ear and figure out what it really was that she wanted from her. "He has, yes. Why do you ask?"

"I need someone to look out for Tarble for me while I'm gone," she said flat out. "It wasn't my choice to have to go on this thing. If it had been up to me, I would rather not go."

"Uhm, what?" she sked in shock, of all the things she could have asked, this was the last thing she would have guessed. "Why? If you don't mind me asking?" Bulma asked with interest, wondering if maybe she had some inner insight to confirm her suspicions about the King setting his own son up for failure. While she didn't trust her where Vegeta was concerned, she was convinced that she would not go along with a plot against him to have him harmed. "I thought you Saiyans live for opportunities like this. And not to be rude, but it's a good chance for Vegeta to see you in your element." Alright, she knew she hadn't had to add that last bit in but she couldn't keep that catty side completely from coming out. After all hadn't she just propositioned Vegeta not 24 hours ago?

"Huh, you are right; on both accounts I suppose." She smirked. "However my main concern is having to leave my son behind. I don't trust that he will be safe while I am gone. Vegeta hasn't been exactly impressed with how he has been developing. He wasn't born with a high power potential and I am afraid he hasn't improved much since his birth. Can you sense energy levels?"

"No, I can't. I've heard Vegeta talk about it but no, I can't sense them myself. Apparently I'm weaker than my own son and the dog?" She said with a laugh.

Asia nodded. "It's true," she shrugged. "Well, this guy isn't much stronger than you, in terms of his energy levels and overall potential. Your son is much more promising. Actually, he's very impressive considering-" and she cut herself off, remembering that she needed to at least attempt to be nice to Bulma if she was going to help her out.

"It's alright. I know," Bulma chuckled, choosing to not take offense. It was true. "Even Vegeta was quite surprised."

"Right," she nodded awkwardly. "Anyway, I am afraid something may happen to him while I'm gone. I don't know if that's why he is sending me or not so that he can get rid of him; I don't know if I am being over paranoid but I am not comfortable leaving him and I certainly cannot bring him with me."

Bulma nodded in understanding of the other girls' worries and genuinely felt pity for her. "What does your gut tell you?"

"That leaving him here under just the care of the palace nurse maid and my mate's appointed guards is a bad idea," she answered truthfully. "I don't even know why I thought it would be a good idea to ask for your help on watching over him. I mean, it's in your best interests if he's done away with but I thought... I don't know what I thought." She finished shaking her head, suddenly feeling stupid for even considering asking Bulma's help now that she was here sitting with her. Why would she care? It would be in her best interest for something to happen to Tarble; not to mention the girl probably hated her.

"As a mother with a young infant of my own and in a similar predicament that I would understand," Bulma finished for her.

"I guess," she sighed, looking at her small son, who was currently looking wide eyed at Trunks.

"I will watch him for you, yes," Bulma said after some thought. "That is if I am allowed to. He is considered the next royal heir. Do you think the King would even allow it? I don't want to put myself in a worse situation and I wouldn't blame him to assume my motives to not be honorable."

Asia thought about it for a moment. "I understand your concern but at the same time, I don't think he would notice or even care less who cares for him. And if you did decide to have something bad happen to him in order to advance your son, I don't think he would care. Not that he would be ok with your son either being that he's mixed, but I think he respects that he at least has a good potential down the road."

"I wouldn't go that far. If he could get rid of both me and Trunks in one sitting, he would do just about anything to do it," Bulma admitted. "Which is why I am asking if you are sure I am the right person to ask? I'm not saying no. I am simply worried about him being collateral damage in your mate's effort to rid me and Trunks from Vegeta's life. If I do this, I will look after him for you as though he were my own. But I can't even guarantee my own safety. How could I guarantee you his?"

"I understand." She sighed, she'd known it wasn't a good idea in the first place. She was surprised Bulma had even agreed. "I just assumed that, well, being that Vegeta holds you in such high regard that he would have come up with some fail safe plan of execution should you be in danger or this war doesn't go the way we want it to."

Bulma wasn't sure what to do. Sure Vegeta had made all the arrangements should she need to leave stat. But should she reveal them to her? Could she trust that her petition to watch over her son was real and not a way for her to gain information to take back to the King in an effort to have her and Trunks permanently dealt with? She wasn't sure. Part of her was telling her to walk away from this. The other part of her heart broke for her in understanding what she was asking for; and should she decline and something happened to her son because of it, Bulma knew she would never forgive herself.

"We do have plans for if worst comes to worse. Please forgive me for not reiterating them to you," Bulma said, choosing her words very carefully. "If I do take him to care for during your absence and that is what you decide, I need you to trust that I will care for him like he is my own; meaning that if I have to leave here because shit goes sideways or I feel our safety is threatened in any way, I will take your son with me, no questions asked and without permission. Not necessarily forever, but for safe keeping until you are able or it is safe to come back here. I need you to trust me that I will do what is best for him and for Trunks. I can promise you I will do my best, whatever that may be should it come down to that."

"You would do that?" She asked, dumbfounded.

Bulma nodded. "I would,"

"But why? I've been nothing but horrible to you."

"Because I can choose to set our issues aside and look at it from the stand point that your son is innocent. He has nothing to do with us being friends or enemies; even that being as it may, we have at least this in common in that we are both mothers and want only the best for our boys. I can't on good conscience do harm to a child or knowingly leave a child behind if it isn't safe. Regardless of who his parents are. If you ask this of me, I will take it seriously."

"I don't know what to say," she said. Truthfully she had been half expecting the other girl to laugh at her.

"Don't worry about it. Just look after yourself out there and come back to him. If anything happens and I have to leave, I will let Vegeta know. He knows where I will go. I will take your son with me."

"Right. So you do share a bond then?" She asked, trying to swallow that familiar wave of jealousy from rearing its ugly head.

"Yea, we do." Bulma replied awkwardly, not wanting to discuss anything too personal with her.

"Must be nice," she commented bitterly.

"It is," she agreed. "So if things go bad for you guys out there, he will let me know the moment it happens and I am to leave. I won't say where or what exact plan is, but I will know before anyone else will."

"Alright," she sighed. "I will trust you with him."

"And I will trust that you won't tell anyone that I have an escape plan and that you aren't part of a plot to bring Vegeta down."

Asia frowned, "What plot to bring Vegeta down?"

"It's nothing, just a bad feeling I have. This whole war scenario is just too convenient and happening way too fast," Bulma shrugged, playing with a piece of grass. "It's just me being paranoid, I'm sure. That's what Vegeta says anyway. He's probably right. Forget I said anything."

Asia thought a moment. "I don't know of anything like that. Don't say anything, but if there's plotting against anyone, it's his father. But that's been going on since forever. The bastard is much too smart and probably already knows anyway. So I don't know why they waste their time, the only one able to remove him will be Vegeta but you didn't hear it from me."

"Well let's hope that won't be anything happening any time soon," Bulma commented vaguely.

"I would have thought you would want that as soon as possible."

"Not really," she sighed. "Though I'm under the impression you'd be alright with that and if it happens, I'm not going anywhere."

"I know," she shrugged. "As much as I wish things had turned out differently and I can't for the life of me understand his fascination with you, I'm already trapped in a shitty relationship with someone who isn't interested in me. And while I won't lie, if I thought I had a chance with Vegeta, I would take it but I would be exactly in the same position I am now: stuck with someone out of convenience. And how long before we would resent and hate one another? I hate his father; quite more than even you could imagine. It's exhausting. And I don't even know why I am telling you of all people this."

"I won't tell anyone," Bulma said quietly. "I can't say I am sorry Vegeta and I are together because I'm not. I wouldn't change that for anything; but I am sorry you're stuck in a bad situation. I think had things been different, maybe we could have been friends?"

"Perhaps," she snorted. "Saiyans don't have friends though,"

"Comrades maybe but not friends." Bulma said, mocking Vegeta's foreign accent.

"That's about it," she nodded.

"Shouldn't you be training?" Vegeta barked, standing at the entry of the field, looking angry as usual. He had most certainly not been expecting to find Asia sitting with Bulma and immediately wondered what her motives were.

"How I spend my time is none of your concern." she retorted in an equally acidic tone.

"You're right, it isn't because I could care less what you do with your time but if I have to be watching out for your weak ass on the battle field instead of claiming victory then it is my concern," he said haughtily. "I will not tolerate or stick around to babysit anyone that cannot keep up."

"I won't. Make sure it is you who does not fall behind."

Vegeta smirked. "You just watch. I will have Cold begging for mercy, humiliated and slain before half of you even get off the ship. I doubt I will even have need to deploy all of you."

"Good. The less I have to do the better."

"Exactly. I will need someone to keep the lot of us well fed. That can be your duty since I will not require your assistance anyway."

"Vegeta!" Bulma scolded him. She knew he had no use for Asia, but he didn't have to be so rude.

Asia smirked at him as he glared at Bulma.

"What?" He objected. "There is no reason for her to be coming along."

"I agree, but it's not up to me, is it?" She snipped back at him. "So get over it. I'm here to ask a favor of your mate."

"And what business could you possibly have with Bulma?" He snorted, not sitting down, but standing just behind Bulma with his arms crossed.

"She's asked me to look after her son while you are both gone." Bulma said.

"That is absolutely out of the question." He said, glaring at Asia in suspicion.

"Why?" Bulma asked. "I don't mind and seeing as I'm the one being left behind here, if I want to take on that extra responsibility then I should be able to."

Woman, we cannot trust her. What if she is setting you up?

I don't think she is, Vegeta. I was really suspicious at first too, but I honestly don't think she has any hidden agenda. She just wants to make sure her son is safe like any normal mother would want.

I see. And she has a sudden kinship towards you now out of the blue?

I wouldn't say that, no; but she is smart enough to know that you would not leave Trunks and I without a backup plan should shit go sideways, she argued. She wasn't stupid enough to think Asia all of a sudden saw her as a friend or an ally but she understood her wanting to ensure her son's safety.

Please tell me you did not tell her everything.

No. I told her that I would watch over her son but the minute I felt things weren't safe I would be leaving here and taking her son with me. I didn't say where or how I will have the means of doing such a thing. For all she knows I have a place to hide here; but I told her I would take him with me and that she could have him back if and when it was safe. That's all.

"Hey! I'm sitting right here." Asia said irritably, the jealousy over their obvious bond making her regret even considering asking Bulma for help. On the other hand, if things didn't go well, it may be that bond between them that would keep her son safe.

"Sorry." Bulma apologized, feeling bad for unintentionally throwing that in her face.

"I am leaving my son in her care because I do not trust your father to not have him put down in my absence. That's what I think his reasons are for sending me away. Not to keep me in shape or be battle prepared like he said." Asia explained. "I realize you have no reason to trust me, but my son is innocent. Believe me, if I thought I had any other choice than that I wouldn't sink so low as to ask for her help."

Bulma rolled her eyes at her. While Vegeta looked at her very carefully, as though trying to detect any indication that she wasn't being truthful.

"You are alright with looking after her brat?" He asked Bulma, turning to her.

"Yea, I don't mind along as she understands that if I need to leave, I will leave and take him with me. She needs to trust that I will do the right thing at the time." Bulma said.

"Very well," Vegeta nodded. "If I suspect any deception from you, she is to go back on this agreement and you are to not inquire of her whereabouts should she take him. You will be notified about where he is once I decide it is safe for her. These are the terms. Understand?"

Asia thought a moment, just now realizing how much trust she would be putting in the both of them; Bulma especially. She wasn't sure she was alright with that but what choice did she have? At this point, she trusted Bulma a whole lot more than she trusted her own mate. How sad was that? She thought in disgust. "Alright. I will trust you," she said, looking pointedly at Bulma.

"Don't worry, I'll do my best. So long as your mate doesn't go back on his promise to leave us alone, it should be fine."

"I don't think he is stupid enough. He knows you can take him out." Asia said, nodding at Vegeta. "We just need to make sure all goes well on our end." And that my father doesn't do anything in the interm. It was all dependent on that, she knew. However her father more than likely wouldn't make a move until they were on their way back. She decided she would try and get as much information from him as possible before she left. While she didn't care what happened to Bulma or Trunks, if it meant foiling her father's plans to keep her son safe, then she would do it. What good had her father ever done for her anyway? None.

"Then you had better get training," Vegeta leered at her. "Not that it will make any difference. I will not require your assistance. However, I will not be stopping should you fall behind."

"Yea, I know." She snipped. "Let hope you can back your mouth and this supposed ascension of yours is half as good as you boast."

Vegeta snorted in response. "You will see, alright."

"Fine. I will be going now but I will be in touch with you to let you know everything you need to know about Tarble." She said, dismissing Vegeta altogether.

"Sounds good," Bulma nodded. "Whenever. You know where to find me."

Asia offered her a half smile and left them on their own.

"Are you out of your mind, Woman?" Vegeta asked once Asia was gone. "Have you any idea what you have agreed to? Should you have to leave, you will be unable. You will be trapped here. Whether my father cares or not about his heir, you will not be permitted to take him and I will not have you risking the wellbeing of Trunks and yourself over a brat that means nothing to either of us."

"Okay, but it's not like I am going to make some huge announcement like 'Hey guys, I'm leaving!'" she said sarcastically. "I'll just sneak away with him."

"And once they realize that you are gone and have kidnapped the heir to Vegeta-sei you will be more than just a wanted fugitive. You will be hunted down and tried for kidnapping and treason."

"I'll probably be hunted down anyway if I have to leave. What's the big deal? Vegeta, anyway we look at this, it's a bad plan."

"And yet you are so anxious to make it worse all in the effort to help someone who has caused us both more grief than necessary."

"I know that, but I can't in good conscience say no. If she's over reacting and her son is fine then whatever but if I say no and her instincts are correct and something happens to him, I won't be able to live with myself." Bulma argued. "As a mother, I understand where she's coming from. I may not like Asia or trust her, but her son is stuck in the middle. It's not his fault."

Vegeta exhaled in frustration. "You are the most aggravating, stubborn woman I know."

"And that's why you love me, right?" She asked playfully, leaning into his side.

"Hmm," he grunted, deep in thought.

"What?" She asked.

"I do not trust her," he said again, finally sitting down next to her, between Trunks and Buma. "Even if she is sincere in her request she is putting you in a very dangerous situation."

"Yea, I know." She sighed, looking at him and noting the serious look on his face.

"Perhaps I should send you away regardless of things going good or not. Take Trunks and her son. Leave with Kakarott and his mate and go back to Callisto."

"You think?" She asked.

"Possibly," he muttered. "You will still be in trouble for leaving with her son. There is a good chance my father will send scouts out to retrieve him."

"But what if Asia told him I was going to be looking after him in her absence?"

"He will never be alright with that." Vegeta answered, raking his fingers through his hair. "I really wish you had consorted with me first on this before blindly agreeing to this."

"Sorry. I was only wanting to help."

"Why would you want to help someone who would take pleasure in your demise?" he asked honestly; his black eyes flashing with annoyance, concern and confusion. He truly did not understand why she would even for one moment consider something like this.

"I don't know," she shrugged, truthfully, not entirely understanding herself. "I guess I was just thinking about it from her point of view. I would do just about anything to keep Trunks safe."

"You would give him to her?" Vegeta huffed.

"If I thought I could trust her, yes," she replied slowly, thinking it through. "I don't, or before an hour ago I wouldn't have even considered it; but you weren't here when she came this morning. She made a point of seeking me out and it was for the sole purpose of asking that of me. For whatever reason, this is something she has considered quite thoroughly and I could tell she had a very difficult time asking me to do it, never mind I'm not sure even she thinks it's the best plan; but I did feel her request was sincere. Who knows, she may even change her mind, Vegeta."

"Let's hope she does." he growled finally taking his harsh stare at her and looking at Trunks who was wide awake, just watching them bicker. "Your mother is far too kind and has no sense. I hope you will have inherited my shrewdness rather than her foolishness, boy."

Bulma snickered at him.

"What?" he barked at her. "It is true; you truly are foolish."

"Not that; you just called him Boy."

"What of it? He certainly isn't a girl; or he wasn't the last time I checked." he snorted, still annoyed by the current turn of events.

"You sounded just like your father; you hate it when he calls you Boy." She chuckled.

"This is true." he agreed with a scowl, not only at the reminder that he did hate being called that by his father but that he had unknowingly mirrored one of his father's mannerisms. Growing up his father had never done anything but criticize and chastise him, always began or ended his lectures with Boy at the end. As a child he'd hated it, as a teen and young adult he hated it even more and now as a grown man with a mate and child of his own he absolutely loathed the word when directed at him.

"Hey, don't get all pissy about it, I was just teasing you." she said, reaching out and touching his arm.

"I thought it was just amusing is all. I'm sure there's a thousand things that I do subconsciously without even realizing it that its stuff my mum does that I can't stand. It's totally normal."

"I am not my father though." he growled quietly.

"Oh, god no," she huffed. "You're nothing like him at all, Vegeta. That's not what I meant, I'm sorry. How was training today?"

"Fine." he snapped bitterly.

"Uh ohh, what now?"

He sighed heavily and raked his fingers harshly through his hair several times. "It does not matter."

"If you're stressing out more than you already have been, then yes, it does." she said knowingly, tired of backing down and walking on eggshells around him. "Just tell me what it is."

"I cannot ascend further." he finally admitted.

"What do you mean?" she asked with a frown. "I thought you had ascended."

"I did," he snorted. "But there is another level, I can feel it. It is hovering just above my reach and yet it is almost as though I have reached a plateau and cannot attain the next level."

Bulma was unsure what to say to him in an effort to encourage him; he had never mentioned attaining anything beyond his ascension. "Well, if there is another level, I'm sure you'll find a way."

"Hmmn," he grunted. "Not likely. We leave here in three days and the trip to where Cold is currently residing is three weeks away. What a complete fucking waste of three valuable weeks!" He snarled.

"Well, if you can't train longer here, why not take the gravity simulation with you?" she suggested casually, ever thankful that she'd had the foresight to even ask Bardock if such a thing was possible.

"Because it will not fit anywhere on the dammed ship." He snipped at her. "You think that I have not already considered that? I have considered taking a separate ship where the smaller simulator will possibly fit but that would not be good for morale. I must travel with my men."

"I know neither of the gravity rooms will fit, I'm not stupid." She shot back.

"Then why suggest something so completely unhelpful?"

"Because you can take apart one of the machines and bring just the simulation device on the ship. Attach it to the basic gravity device that's already there to keep you all from floating around and you can probably activate and govern the gravity levels in the entire ship to higher levels like you have been training in or even limit it to half the ship if there were those who aren't training."

Vegeta blinked at her and didn't say anything for several seconds. Here he had lashed out at her in his frustration without even considering maybe she already had a solution.

"Yea. I already passed the idea down to Bardock. All he needs is your personal gravity machine to remove the gravity on and put it in the fleet ship and program, which I gave to him this morning." She confirmed haughtily. "You're welcome."

He reached for her and pulled her into a warm embrace by way of apology.

"I know you're just stressed out." She said, hugging him back.

"When did you come up with that?"

"The other day. When you said you were leaving in a week." She answered. "I know you are worried about readiness for yourself and your soldiers. I don't know if you are or aren't but figured there had to be a way to help you prepare while on the way there. So since I'm not happy about you going here's my contribution to helping and hoping you'll all be over ready. Plus I figured it would keep your mind occupied as well."

He nodded. "What would I do without you?"

"Dunno." She shrugged. "Be all broody and miserable all on your own? Oh, no wait you already do that."

"I do not mean to be."

"I know. Just don't shut me out. It terrifies me." She confessed, leaning back to look at him. "I know you have a lot on your plate."

"Hmmmn." He grunted.

"Please, Vegeta. I won't tell anyone anything, so you don't have to worry about anyone finding out and thinking your weak or whatever. I'm trying to be supportive and not worry and not even voice my worries but when you shut me out it makes me worry more."

He didn't say anything, just held her. Not sure what to say or not say. He knew he had been unfair to her but the closer the day of his departure drew near, the further away he was alienating himself from her. It was unintentional for the most part but he could feel the strain between them it was creating. Part of him was bothered by it and the other part of himself was convinced that it was necessary to keep himself from being distracted.

In the months after Frieza until they had arrived here he knew he had indulged her far too much and while he didn't regret their time together, he now understood why his father always cautioned him as a young man growing up that it was alright to take a mate but to keep some distance there. He supposed their situation being not typical had caused him to throw all caution to the wind where Bulma and their bond was concerned but now that they were in the thick of things she was more of a distraction and liability to him than anything else. He had always known that but now more than ever it was becoming more apparent to him.

It was more his anxiety and worry over the safety of his family that had him stressing out rather than doubting his ability and his faith behind his men to win this thing, he had no doubt; even if he did not manage to climb to new heights in terms of his abilities. In all honesty, it terrified him how much they were his prime concern and he now understood the reasons behind his father's tiresome counsel. He felt guilty for understanding it because it meant acknowledging and coming to terms with the fact that Bulma and his son were a weakness and burden to him. However at the same time, he wouldn't change having them in his life for anything.

His whole life he had been taught to never surround himself with weakness of any kind. To never care for anyone because it could be potentially used against him. Having attachments that ran that deep were the worst of weaknesses. Yet he had fallen and had left himself wide open now. If anything happened to them, it would lead to his ultimate destruction.

Vegeta knew he had been inattentive and irritable towards her and he regretted that. He knew this was hard for her. He knew she was trying so hard to be supportive and not burden him with her fears and all he had been was cold and in different towards her, even by his standards. He knew she didn't deserve it yet he just could not seem to curb his anxiety and so he lashed out at the most convenient person possible: his mate.

He looked at her carefully. He still had a few days; three to be exact. With the unexpected surprise of actually being able to train on his journey to meet cold he supposed he could take most of the afternoon off to spend with them. "Have you eaten?" he asked her suddenly, putting his thoughts behind him.

"Not really,"

"Let us have something to eat, shall we?" he suggested.

"I'd love to!" she replied, packing up her books and dog toys. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek and capsulated her things, happy that for a few hours maybe they could be a family again.



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