Butterflies & Hurricanes

BY : Froglady15
Category: Dragon Ball Z > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 1084
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 17

The more Brolly dwelled on what he'd just done the more frightened and guilty he felt. His stomach was cramped and he could feel his own heart beating and pulse flowing through his veins and he had broken out into a cold sweat.

While he didn't regret rescuing Bulma, he did regret losing himself in his rage to the extent that he had actually killed a man. What did that say about him? Not only had he killed a man; he hadn't killed just any man, he'd killed his king! What did that mean? Yes his king had been wrong in his attempt against Bulma but Brolly knew it wasn't his place to intervene, never mind killing him over it.

But Bulma was special, he kept reminding himself when he began to panic again. He would do it again no matter who it was that had been trying to do such a thing.

He wasn't sure what it was about her that he found so appealing and endearing and he knew he liked her a lot more than he should. Sure she was beautiful, but he had been around beautiful women before. Never had he found himself drawn to any of them the way he was to Bulma. She had been the first person who had been truly kind to him since his arrival to the capital. She was genuine; when she smiled in greeting, it was a real smile, not a fake smile as he was quickly becoming accustomed to around the palace and capital. He knew it was silly to have developed an attachment to her, especially since she was happily unavailable, but it happened before he'd even realized it. In fact he hadn't even realized how deeply he did feel for her until he saw and heard what was going on. It had enraged him.

She wasn't even his mate and it made him more angry than he ever could remember being. He knew his Prince would have felt the same way if he had witnessed anyone attempting such a thing against her and despite his dislike of him, did not think twice about his actions.

How could he not?

Bulma was the only person who had expressed an interest in him and didn't treat him as an outsider. He supposed that more than likely had to do with the fact that she was technically more of an outsider than he, but she could have still chosen to not speak to him. Being that she was the Prince's mate, she had to have heard some of the gossip and opinion surrounding him and she could have shunned him as everyone, her mate included, had but she hadn't. On the other hand, perhaps she wasn't privy to everything that went on with her mate when it came to more serious matters and she had no idea of his lowly status; his assessment of his prince in the short time that he had spent with him made him think that he was not the type to be very open with anyone, a woman especially.

Once again, Brolly found himself, as he had many times as of late, wondering what Bulma saw in the man. He was as reserved and unfeeling as someone could be. Yes, part of that was a cultural thing, but Bulma was the exact opposite of that. She was warm and friendly and inviting, he found that he could not help but be drawn to her and assumed that she must have had the same effect on his prince and that was why they were together. However, how could she be content with him? It was clear as day that she held deep affection for Vegeta, an affection that he on occasion, especially as of late, felt a slight pang of jealousy over.

Brolly was not so dense as to not notice her sadness at Vegeta's absence. The way she tried to not get emotional the other day when Trunks had started walking. She had brushed it off as being sad that her son was growing up much too quickly before her, and he understood that to a point; but he also knew that a part of it was disappointment that Vegeta had not been the one there to share in that with her. He had pretended to not notice, but he had and in that moment more than ever realized how much he had allowed himself to care for not only just Bulma but Trunks as well.

He had become much too involved and knew that he needed to take a step back and readjust his thinking if he did not want to be too upset when his prince returned; he knew these feelings he was developing were not reciprocated by her. On top of that, he did not want his prince to think that anything indecent had occurred between them either. Bulma had never lead him on or given him the impression that she had any interest in any male other than Vegeta. He knew that and cared enough about her that he would distance himself to make sure his prince had no reason to think that but at the same time, his protective instincts had given him the feeling that he should still keep a close watch on her and Trunks; at least until his prince returned.

That was why he had gone to check on her and thankfully had been where he had when he had been. He had heard the news in the barracks that Prince Vegeta and the rest of his squad had failed in their mission. It was still unclear as to how many had survived, if any, but it was apparently confirmed that Prince Vegeta was in King Cold's custody.

Brolly, knowing that the King merely tolerated Bulma's presence, decided it would be a good idea to keep an eye on her. He made his way to the Royal Wing and got no answer from Bulma at her and Vegeta's quarters, he decided to check in Prince Tarble's quarters as that was usually where she could be found in the mornings. He had been relieved to see that both Trunks and Tarble were there and Neesa had mentioned that Bulma had gone to Bardock's lab quickly.

He left and made his way down to the science wing and was shocked to discover the mess there. Bardock had been killed apparently in his defense of Bulma who had been under arrest for some reason that Brolly could not figure out. He had reported back to his uncle and could not think of anything he could have said that would merit reason for Bulma to be arrested or be in any trouble so he made his way down to the dungeon under the palace where the undesirables were kept before a trial before the King.

What he walked in on had shocked and disgusted him and so while he was sorry he could not have stepped in sooner, he waited for the right opportunity to make his move against the king and now here he was, not sure if he had done the right thing or not; his conscience was literally tearing him in two separate directions.

Brolly knocked frantically on his uncle's office door a moment before just walking in. He needed his council.

"What is it?" Paragus asked in annoyance at the abrupt interruption without looking up. "I am terribly busy, so this had better be brief- Good god what the hell happened to you?" He asked once he looked up and took in the bloody mess of Brolly standing in his office.

"Something happened, I meant to help her but it got out of hand..." Brolly stuttered, his calm exterior crumbling now that he was safe in his uncle's quarters and the full weight of what he'd done began to sink in. "I lost my head and, and I killed him."

"Hang on," Paragus hissed, rushing to the door to make sure it was indeed closed and locked so that no one else would interrupt them or eavesdrop on their conversation. Once he was reassured of their privacy, he came around in front of his son and looked him over. He was an absolute mess, covered in blood and he noticed that his knuckles were torn up bad. "Alright, now tell me, from the beginning, what happened."

"I killed him," Brolly said again, shaking his head in shame.

"Alright, who did you kill and why?" He asked quietly, ushering him to sit down in a chair across from his desk. "I am sure whoever it was, you had very good reason behind-"

"I, I killed the king. Our king," he blurted out quickly.

Paragus was silent and looked at Brolly a long moment. Well, this is certainly unexpected, he thought to himself. "Alright," He nodded, still taking this information in. While he'd always had in mind that it would be his son to destroy the king, it had happened much earlier than he had expected. "What happened?"

"Well, after the news that Prince Vegeta and the rest of his men have been defeated, I went to check on Bulma to see that she was alright. I learned that she was arrested and taken in for questioning. So I checked in on the two infants, they are both in the nursery," Brolly began explaining quickly. "I went down to the holding cells to let her know that the boys were alright and found the King was with her. He hurt her pretty badly and was about to violate her but I stopped him.

"I had only meant to get him away from Bulma and possibly maim him somewhat but after seeing what he had already inflicted upon her and what he was very nearly about to do, I could not contain my rage. The only thing in my mind was how could he do that to his son's mate? And before I realized it, I had killed him."

"I see," Paragus nodded slowly, trying to think about what should be done. He wasn't ready for this. It was too soon; much too soon in his overall grand plan. "And Bulma? Where is she now?"

"She's still in the holding cells. She is alright but will require medical attention. I was going to let her out but the king destroyed her clothes. I told her that I needed to deal with what I had done and then I will get her out. She is innocent. I have followed her as you asked," he said quickly. Now having the chance to talk about it, the words just flowed from his mouth as uncontrollably as a geyser turbulently spewing forth water everywhere. "I even befriended her, I have her confidence. She is not guilty of anything."

"Are you sure your affections for her have not blinded you?" Paragus asked, despite knowing that what Brolly was telling him was true. He and everyone else all knew the girl was no real threat to anyone. They all just wanted her gone because it was unacceptable for their prince to have such a woman as a mate and she had gained far too much favor amongst the second and third class citizens of the capital, in recent weeks especially. Now with their prince out of the picture, all they needed to do was dispose of his heir and mate. However, despite her being of a different race, being as gifted as a she was, maybe keeping her and putting her to work would be a better plan and less of a waste. Especially with Bardock gone now, there was no one to take his place in the lab.

"My judgment is not impaired." Brolly replied with a frown. Yes, he knew he cared more for her than he should and he had scolded himself many times for allowing himself to care for her as much as he did and recognized it as infatuation, but he had made a firm resolve that once his prince returned he would keep his distance from her so as to not cause a problem for Bulma or himself. He knew that his affections were one-sided; Bulma was one hundred percent loyal to Vegeta and he knew she would never stray from him.

Paragus stood up and walked to his cabinet. "Have a drink to calm your nerves," he said, grabbing two glasses.

"I don't have time," Brolly said standing up. "I need to get something for Bulma to wear and get her out of there. I've been away too long as it is and when I left she was under much distress."

"I'm sure she's fine," Paragus brushed off. "Just sit for a moment. You have just been through something very traumatic. I need to collect a few more crucial details from you if I am to keep you out of trouble." he said, pouring both himself and Brolly a drink. He chanced a look at him.

"Very well," Brolly nodded, sitting back down and putting his head in his hands in anguish.

Quickly, Paragus grabbed a sedative and poured a generous amount into Brolly's drink. He had been so preoccupied on his scheming and planning that he hadn't kept track of his son's progress. He needed to probably turn up the intensity if his ki dampening device he wore, disguised as a very expensive looking gold and jade-stoned necklace; the only way he could do that now was if he was asleep. Plus it would give him some time to figure out what to do.

With this new turn of events, he wasn't sure what the best course of action was to take. If anyone found out that the king was slain by Brolly, he would be certainly executed without trial. No one stood up against the king. No one would mourn him, but Brolly would still be made an example of.

Paragus handed Brolly his drink and sat down across his desk. "Do not fret," he said calmly, "I will make sure everything is dealt with and that you are not implicated."

"And what about Bulma?" he asked, taking a healthy sip of his drink. "It wasn't her fault this happened."

"She will be taken care of," Paraus nodded. Indeed what was he going to do about her? Things were complicated. He could not allow Brolly out to free her and he could not just dispose of her either; the king had made an arrangement with Cold. If it were up to him, he would rather keep her here and have her work for him. If there was peace between the Saiyans and the Ice-jin, he could very easily plan an attack and destroy them. Perhaps Bulma could be persuaded in assisting their efforts if she was convinced that by doing so, there would be a chance to bring back Vegeta? Once all was said and done, she and her son could be easily disposed of and Prince Vegeta too if possible.

"Have you any news on whether or not Asia or anyone else got out alright?" Brolly asked.

"Hmmm, nothing yet on that, I'm afraid." he answered. In truth, he had completely forgotten about his daughter. It had been nice and peaceful around the palace since she had left. He did not have to constantly hear her complaining about how much she detested King Vegeta. It would be a shame if she was killed, but in the overall scheme of things, a blessing; she was nothing more than another loose end to be tied up in his master plan. Brolly would be the next to take the throne and she very well could not be queen anymore if that happened, even though no one else besides himself knew that they were indeed siblings and not cousins.

This way was much better, he decided. While it was sad; Asia had done everything he had ever asked of her to a T. However, with her gone, he could be rid of that useless child she and the king had produced and he could be rid of the Vegeta line entirely. It could not be more perfect, actually, he thought with a mad grin.

Paragus shifted his attention back to his son and noticed with great satisfaction that he was beginning to look drowsy already. Brolly would make a fine king, he decided. No, he was not ready and lacked experience, but that's what Paragus was there for. He would coach him and Brolly being the kind hearted, gullible and naïve fool that he was would be nothing more than his puppet. Once the extent of his true power was revealed, no one would think twice about questioning his suitability for the throne and finally Paragus would have everything he ever wanted.

Within a few minutes, Brolly was sound asleep in his chair; he hadn't even finished his drink. Paragus administered a shot to him in his arm to make sure that he would be out cold for several hours; he had much to do and not much time to do it all.

He removed the necklace Brolly had been wearing and removed the backing and jade stone to reveal a small chip. He plugged it into a small device on his desk and cursed his own negligence; Brolly's power had somehow grown and developed more within the last three weeks than he ever had! How his true potential had not come out before, he had no idea but he was thankful. Brolly had been a ticking time bomb waiting to go off!

In a way he was thankful, for his neglect. If he had been monitoring him properly, the King would have more than likely killed Brolly in his foolish attempt to save Bulma. If he hadn't been killed in the skirmish, he would most certainly have been arrested and executed for his attempt. That stupid woman of Prince Vegeta's was a detriment to everyone she came near and he needed to figure out what to do with her. He had half a mind to send her to Cold if for no other reason than to just be rid of her. However, if he did that, then it would potentially be a huge loss.

He finished making the needed adjustments to Brolly's necklace before putting it back on him. Feeling content that he would be asleep for a very long while, being that with the extra output that he had applied to his ki dampening device, his body would not begin to metabolize the drug he had given him anytime soon.

Paragus locked up his office and decided to pay the lovely Bulma a visit.

-0-0-0-

Bulma wasn't sure how much time had passed; it felt like hours to her. She had finally calmed down enough to get some sense to grab the king's discarded cape and was using it as a blanket since her own clothes were nothing more than a shredded mess.

It was cold down there and it provided her with some warmth, though she was still shaking uncontrollably but she chalked that up to aftershock of everything that had happened and for the anxiety of not knowing what would happen next.

Where is Brolly? She wondered for about the one thousandth time. Had it really been that long since he had left or did it feel like forever when in reality it had only been a few minutes? The king hadn't started to smell, so she figured it wasn't hours. However it was chilly down here so it may be a long while yet before he would start to smell.

Bulma shook her head as her mind and thoughts spiraled in and out of control with random thoughts here and there almost as though her brain were trying to keep her distracted from the situation at hand. Every time she directed her thoughts to begin trying to think rationally and concoct a scheme and plan of escape, some other stupid thought would cross her mind and so began the whirlwind of random thoughts that would consume her.

Once again, despite not wanting him to know the current situation, Bulma wanted to know what was happening with Vegeta. Part of her was glad that he had not tried yet to reach out to her and inquire of her current whereabouts; she could not deal with filling him in on what had happened, not yet. The other part of her was beginning to worry the longer the time went on that she did not hear or feel anything from him. Was he alright? She kept asking herself.

No news is good news, she kept mentally repeating to herself over and over again like a mantra when she felt herself begin to lose to the panic threatening to consume all rational thought. No news is good news. No news is good news. She kept saying until she felt herself calm down again somewhat. She knew he wasn't dead; she knew that much and decided to hang onto that for now.

If Vegeta was still alive, it still meant that not all was lost.

Once again, her thoughts began to drift and her hand was beginning to throb even worse than earlier as she inspected it; it needed to be set soon or it would never heal properly she thought in dismay. Her fingers were completely mangled and her wrist was so swollen she could not tell if it was actually broken or just a really bad sprain. Either way, she could not move it.

She began to play with the fabric of the king's cape, trying to tear a few small strips out of it in an attempt to make some sort of tensor bandage for the time being but could not; not with her hand broken as badly as it was. She could not even grip the fabric hard enough to rip it.

She held her breath as she tried ripping it again and instead cried out as the pain in her hand became too much for her to even try; she even put a corner of it in her mouth and pulled at it with her good hand and still could not tear it up.

"What the hell is this shit made out of?" she raged under her breath in frustration. She sighed and then remembered her torn up shirt; reaching for it, she was easily able to tear the rest of it up into several strips using her teeth and one good hand.

Bulma winced and whimpered as she forced her fingers straight, setting them as best she could. She was surprised none of the bones were sticking up out of her skin. The metacarpals of her hand were broken so her hand bent in an unnatural, almost sinister way and she was not sure what to even do with her poor hand.

She held her breath and wrapped it up with the largest piece of fabric she had, trying to straighten her hand out as much as she could despite the excruciating pain. Once she did that, she bandaged up her wrist so that it could not move, hoping that it was only sprained and not broken.

Her open shoulder wounds by this point were still throbbing but had subsided somewhat if for no other reason, she had been distracted tending to her hand. She tried to turn her head to look but it was so dark she couldn't tell how badly wounded she was. Her other shoulder, while thankfully not broken, hurt her too much to be able to reach out and touch the scratches so she could get a sense of whether or not they were still bleeding or how deep they were. She knew it must have been bad since she still felt like that side of her was on fire; hopefully it wouldn't get infected and with that thought in mind, she threw the cape back up around both her shoulders both in an attempt to keep warm and shield the open wound.

Where's Brolly? She asked herself again trying not to panic. Between what had actually happened and not knowing if and when he was coming back to help her and not knowing how Trunks was doing and still she had no clue as to what had become of Vegeta she was becoming a complete wreck. She had to trust that Brolly would come back and help her, why wouldn't he? And Vegeta hadn't spoken to her because he was busy figuring out his situation. He had to have found a way out, he had to…

"Well, well, what have you done now, my dear?" A voice asked out of the blue, interrupting her thoughts.

She stood up, keeping the king's cape wrapped protectively around her. "I didn't do anything." She replied, finding herself face to face with Paragus. Her stomach dropped in dread. She did not know the man, but she knew he would be thrilled to see her done away with. She hoped he would not try to frame her for the king's death. That was all she needed. "I'm pretty sure it was an accident. He tried to rape and violate me and Brolly saved me."

"Right, I heard." He nodded, looking over at the king's dead body with a scowl Bulma wasn't sure how to read.

"Where's Brolly?" she asked suspiciously.

"He's resting," Paragus said, leaning and looking at the gruesome mess of the deceased king. "He was deeply disturbed over what happened here so it is best he make himself scarce until I figure out how to deal with this mess you have created."

"I didn't do anything!" She objected angrily. "I was on my way off of Vegeta-sei. I already knew that things hadn't worked out in Vegeta's favor. I was on my way out with Trunks when I was arrested by the king's guard. Just let me go, I'll never return and you will never hear from me again."

He stared at her a moment as though considering her plea.

"Come on, can you let me out of here?" She asked after he said nothing for a long while.

"Not just yet. I am trying to decide what I am to do with you," he replied slowly.

"Ok, well, while you are trying to decide that, can I please check on my son and grab some clothes and hopefully a shower?" she pleaded. "I am actually hurt, I need to properly wrap my hand and wrist; he scrapped and gouged along my shoulder; please let me out." He did not need to know she had a ship and everything she needed there. All she needed was to grab the boys and go.

"I think not," he said finally.

"Why not?" she asked.

"Cold and his men are on their way to retrieve you. I would rather keep you here and utilize your talents in our technological advancement, but King Vegeta already make an agreement that has you going to Cold. You and your son in fact."

"No,"

"Oh yes," he nodded, not looking the least bit sympathetic.

"Well, I would rather stay here as well but I need to get out of this cell."

"I don't think so," he said again, shaking his head. "Not until I figure out what to do with you and come up with an excuse to Cold as to why he cannot have you. Perhaps he will be alright with just taking that mutt of yours and leave you here."

"No," Bulma said firmly, now getting angry. "You will either send me with Trunks or leave Trunks here with me."

"And you are not in any position, my dear, to make demands." Paragus chuckled. "Prince Vegeta may have been besotted with you but with him gone, you have absolutely no say in anything."

"Fine," she nodded though she already knew that; she didn't need him to tell her that. "Look, I will do just about anything you want if you would let me keep Trunks. I can work in the lab, build you weapons and help you to make advancements; I will do just about anything you ask just so long as you don't send Trunks away."

"We'll see," he said after a moment's deliberation. "I now have a mess to cover and clean up. I will decide later on what to do with you and your son."

"Thank you," she said, though did not get the impression he cared one iota about what to do with her or Trunks. "Can you please let me out to change into something and check on my son?" she asked again.

"Later," he said, turning to leave.

"Wait!" she called after him. "Can you at least send someone down with some clothes and something to bandage up my hand and shoulder?"

"You will wait here until further notice," was all he said before leaving. He did not trust that she would not talk a well-meaning servant to let her out. Then who knew where she would go or what she would do? He knew she was smart and he wanted to keep her here. He would have to make sure she was well supervised if he did let her out. The last thing he needed was her leaving and disappearing. No, she was a very valuable commodity if for no other reason she could be used as a bargaining chip with Cold or used as leverage. He needed to make sure Prince Vegeta could not escape and return here.

Paragus made his way back to his study where Brolly was still snoring. He had a few hours to move him someplace else before he awoke.

-0-0-0-

"Fucking bastard!" Bulma cursed under her breath as panic began to sink in and swallow her up again. She needed to find a way out of there and now.

As she sat there, she decided she could not wait any longer to hear from Vegeta.

Vegeta, she called out to him, trying to open up their bond despite the wall he had put up to block her from distracting him. She both needed to hear from him and dreaded talking to him at the same time.

She waited a few minutes and when she received no response, she tried again, this time not caring about how upset he would be, she just needed to know that he was alive and somewhat alright. Are you alright? Please tell me you're alright.

Woman, he replied very faintly a few moments later, coming to from her mental prodding and the sound of her voice in his head. He grit his teeth through the pain he was feeling. Though it was more localized to his ribs, shoulder and arm, it was excruciating and his head and neck felt very heavy. He wondered how long he had been out. He looked around groggily at his surroundings. He was contained in a small, sterile, white room that almost resembled a lab and realized that he had been stripped of his armor, gloves and boots and was clad in nothing but for his thermal flight suit, thankfully, as it was freezing enough that he could see his breath; his feet and hands were feeling numb from the cold.

As he wondered where the hell he was and questioning whether or not he was dead, he remembered what had happened. That android had drained him of all his energy and must have brought him here. He had failed in his mission and now here he was. His last coherent thought he could recall was being relieved that he had warned Bulma to leave. Bulma, he said. You made it off Vegeta-sei with Trunks, right?

No, she replied. No, we're still here.

What, he said, feeling his mouth go dry, and his stomach drop accompanied by a light headed, nauseous whooshing sensation all at once that had his stomach not been empty, he was sure he would have vomited. Why? I told you to leave hours ago. What are you still doing there? He asked, trying to swallow the feeling of panic and not jump to conclusions. If Bulma hadn't left, there had to be a good reason he reassured himself.

We were stopped by palace security, Vegeta. I'm sorry, I tried, and it was a disaster.

You and Trunks are alright?

Yeah, we're just fine, she replied confidently hoping he wouldn't ask for the specific details of what had happened. She could tell he was exhausted and overwhelmed with despair and she did not want to add to it. Perhaps she shouldn't have tried to get in touch with him. However she had been sick with worry wondering if he was alright or not?

I told you to get out, he thought in such deep anguish, the bitter emotion at their current predicament nearly overwhelmed her. That was all you had to do: Grab the brats and go.

I know, she replied. I tried, really I did but they came for me.

She heard him snort in barely concealed resentment at her inability to do the one thing he had instructed her to do. Let me guess, you had to run around and waste time trying to get in touch with Kakarott's mate or in pursuit of something equally as stupid instead of leaving right when I told you to. Am I right?

Not exactly, she replied guiltily. He was somewhat right. I packed up as quickly as I could and went to the lab to leave Bardock a note so he would know where I went. We were ambushed on my way out of the lab. They killed Bardock, Vegeta. He tried to help get me out of there and-

For fuck's sake, I told you to leave immediately, Bulma, he said quietly. Despite the calm tone he used, she could quite literally feel the heat from his fury and outrage radiating off of him to such an uncomfortable degree that her surroundings began to feel warm and she was somewhat grateful that he was not in the same room with her in that moment. That was exactly what that meant! Drop everything and leave!

I did the best I could!

If that was your best then I would hate to know what your worst would have been.

Don't be that way! She snipped at him, trying to not start crying.

What other way shall I be then? He asked angrily. You had one task. One, simple, fucking task and that was to leave when I told you to!

I know, Vegeta, she replied sadly, trying to keep her emotions together; she'd known he would be livid with her once he found out that she hadn't made it off Vegeta-sei. But your father obviously knew that things weren't going your way. I was leaving when they showed up.

Vegeta was quiet a long time as he grit his teeth so hard it was a wonder they didn't split and crack. He knew he had to clear and rein in his emotions or he would say something hurtful to her in his anger over the situation that not only did he not mean but that he would deeply regret later on. However the mere mention of his father sent a cold wave of alarm and dread piercing through him. She was unprotected and so was his son, who knew what would happen to them now.

As angry as he was with her at the moment, he hoped more than anything his father hadn't harmed Bulma in any way and immediately his mind began to conjure up all sorts of horrible possibilities.

I'm fine, was all she said, picking up on his fears for her wellbeing. Some of the mental images racing through his mind causing the terror of what had very nearly happened to her to hit her hard again being that she had very nearly experienced what he feared had Brolly not been around to intervene exactly when he had.

He didn't-? He could not bring himself to finish the question.

No, she replied quickly, dismissing the horrible thoughts on what actually very nearly had happened to her. Thankfully Vegeta was too distracted and upset about their current predicament that he had not picked up on her thoughts and she knew she would have to be very careful about what she dwelled on; he didn't need to know right now or hopefully ever what had actually gone on.

My father did not touch you, did he? He clarified. Despite how angry he still was with her at the moment, he had to know.

No, she lied again.

I do not believe you, he said. What happened with him?

Nothing, really. He yelled at me and said everything was my fault and that I was selfish for not leaving you and he tried to scare me a bit but then he left and that was the worst of it, I'm fine. She said, trying to sound as convincing as possible and not wanting to tell him his father had been killed in his attempt at trying to carry out whatever horrible plan he'd had for her. For now, anyway. I think he's still afraid of you coming back here if he hurts us.

He could tell she wasn't being completely honest with him but decided to drop the subject for the moment. At this point, it was a non-issue. She was safe for now and that was the main thing. If something truly horrible had happened to her, despite her own stupidity, he was not sure how he would be able to cope with that knowledge at the moment. And Trunks? He asked.

He's ok as far as I know, she replied, trepidation washing through her again at the thought that something bad could have happened to Trunks by now and she would be completely oblivious to it. I left him in the nursery with Tarble. I saw Brolly a while ago and he said he checked on them and they are both fine. No one has taken an interest in them.

Yet. He grated.

How about you? She asked, wanting to change the subject somewhat. Are you alright?

No,

She was quiet again a long time, unsure of what to say to him. Things were worse than bad at the moment. The only thing that would have made him feel better was knowing that she and Trunks had made it safely off Vegeta-sei. She knew that and she felt even worse now about everything. She had failed him. He had been counting on her to get herself and Trunks to safety and she had blown it. What could she say to him? She should not have attempted to speak with him now. She wanted to ask about Kakarott, but decided that now was not a good time; she would ask later.

Are you on your way back? Did you escape or have they taken you? She asked cautiously. She had to know, even though deep down she already knew the answer.

I am in their custody, he admitted grudgingly, trying not to panic and trying to make a mental assessment of his injuries as he sat himself up, again trying to figure out why his neck felt so heavy? He put a hand on his neck, only to feel cold metal. As he felt around, he came to the realization that he had a collar on and immediately felt rage wash over him in assuming it was a ki collar to keep him locked down and defenseless. Without his ki, his injuries would take longer to heal as well. From what he could tell, his collarbone was broken and his shoulder was either broken or badly dislocated and he had a few broken ribs on each side. He found himself wondering again how long he'd been out. What time is it? He asked urgently. How long ago did I warn you to leave?

I'm not sure, Vegeta. I'm locked in the dungeon or jail or whatever this place is, she sighed, trying to figure out how long ago that had been that he'd warned her. That was early this morning I think, so it can't be more than twenty four hours.

Hmmn, he grunted, not happy with that news. The Android had drained him good. As it was he could barely keep his eyes open. If it had drained him to the point of putting him into a coma that was not good; especially since he was wearing a ki collar. It would put a delay on replenishing his energy if it would let him at all. Depending on who was keeping watch on him, if it was the Androids or any of Cold's soldiers there would be no chance of him overpowering anyone and making an escape. He was fucked, he realized. Royally and utterly fucked.

Not to mention Kakarott had had the ship on him when he was killed. So he had no method of transportation to get him off this hellhole of a planet even if luck was on his side and he actually got out of there at some point.

What do you think is going to happen next?

Nothing good, woman. He replied quietly, almost eerily calm.

Well, I'm still working on a way out of here, she said, trying to remain as positive as possible. Brolly said he would come back; I'm sure I can talk him into letting me out of here. I'll grab the boys and get out. I have the ship on me, Vegeta. I know I can still make it off Vegeta-sei.

Do whatever it takes, Woman. He said. Just get yourself and Trunks out safely. If you can do that, I will be fine. I will bide my time and find a way to meet up with you. He said, trying to sound confident, even though he knew the likelihood of him ever finding a way to join her and Trunks and see them again was slim at best.

I'll drop the boys off with my parents and then see what I can do in terms of getting you out.

No, Bulma, he replied harshly, do not come after me!

Well, I'm not going to let you stay there and be tortured to death or whatever it is they have planned for you! She argued and he knew she meant it.

I will find my own way, Woman! He snapped. You are to remain on Calisto until further notice; that is a direct order.

I'm not one of your soldiers you can command and boss around, Vegeta! I can talk to Piccolo and see what I can find out. I will come there by myself if I have to, Vegeta.

Whatever, he sighed in annoyance. Despite absolutely not wanting her to be put any more at risk, he loved her for her insistence on wanting to help him when at the moment she was more than likely worse off than he was what with his father keeping her captive. What does it matter anyway; you do not listen to anything I have to say anyway.

Just hang in there, Vegeta. She said, ignoring him. We'll figure this out.

Just focus on getting yourself and the boy to safety, Bulma. He said, sounding a bit more confident. That is my main concern. If you can do that, then perhaps you can find a way to get me out but until then, forget me. I can manage on my own. We have the bond, do not block me out.

I won't, she agreed, trying to keep her emotions together. Don't block me out either.

Hmmn, he grunted.

I mean it, Vegeta.

I know, he said, though he knew that if things took a turn for the worse in terms of whatever Cold had in mind for him, he would not subject her to it no matter how badly she wanted to help see him through it. He only hoped that his father would hold off on harming her, he didn't think he could stand it if he did, but he would not abandon her to endure a bad encounter alone.

He was about to say something else to her but was distracted by the sound of someone punching in a key code on the other side of his cell. Someone is coming, I will talk to you later.

Wait! Don't block me out! She shouted mentally but it was too late, he had already put a wall up.

"Stupid asshole!" she cursed to herself. While she was frightened and she was relieved that he seemed okay, despite the horrid circumstances, it pissed her off that he decided that he could just block her like that; especially with the way things were going right now!

While she appreciated that he did not want to subject her to anything horrible he may be going through, hell, she thought the same about him being present in her mind while his father had come to visit her. However, he would insist on going through it with her if he had happened to seek her out during that.

That was how she felt; and she resented the fact that he thought he could block her out but he would have a conniption if she blocked him through her troubles.

At the moment, she was alright for the most part. She didn't fear for her life; Paragus' interest was only with her working for him. So she wasn't worried about being physically harmed, which gave her some relief and she assumed Trunks was alright with Neesa for the time being; especially if the plan was to send him to King Cold.

Bulma needed something to take her mind off of everything and the never ending throbbing of her poor hand, which she feared would never be the same again if she didn't receive some immediate medical attention.

She wanted to be there for Vegeta as much as she could. She knew that there wasn't much she could do for him, but she did not want him suffering alone. She had felt herself being drawn into a deep pit of despair from him and knew that leaving him to face things on his own was the worst idea, no matter how much he denied her instance on being there with him.

"God damned stubborn Saiyan." She mumbled under her breath as she concentrated hard on him and breaking through that damned wall he had up. He wasn't in any physical distress but he was not in good spirits. At the moment, he seemed neutral for the most part. That couldn't be a bad sign, could it?

-0-0-0-

Vegeta stood up to face whomever was on the other side of the door.

He was surprised when a vaguely familiar, weak, elderly man walked in with the Android next to him. He had been expecting just the Android or even Cold himself, not this man. His mind raced as he tried to remember where he had seen him before.

"Greetings, Prince Vegeta," he said with a sinister smile that gave Vegeta chills. "I am not sure if you remember me or not, but we have met before and I must admit, you have no idea how happy I am with the prospect of working on you. I was very disappointed it did not work out last time."

Vegeta looked at him blankly, something about him, his eyes. Yes, he remembered him but from where? "You!" Vegeta snarled once it finally clicked. "It was you who messed with Bulma's head!"

"It was," he admitted with an evil, unapologetic grin.

"I am truly, very sorry I did not choke the life out of you the first time we met," he snarled. "I remember your ugly old face well. If I had only known, I would have ended your life then and there in your lab on Frieza's ship; I had assumed you to be nothing more than a withering, decrepit old fool at the time. Apparently I was wrong when I made that assessment."

"Yes, there's the infamous arrogance I have heard so much about," Gero said with a smile and was silent a moment with an odd look on his face as though trying to remember something important. "How is she?" He asked then cocking his head to the side suddenly with great interest. "You know, if I'd have been able to have more time to spend with her, she would have forgotten you completely. Lord Frieza was much too impatient however and so I had to settle for the next best thing: alter her memories and recollections of events and I did place a few selective pieces of information from the databases of information I had on you. I had enough material there to manipulate her into absolutely detesting you, if I recall correctly."

Vegeta growled in response. "I will destroy you for what you did to her."

"Tell me, were you able to undo it?" He asked, unfazed, ignoring Vegeta's threats.

Vegeta smirked arrogantly. "Of course I was, you fool. You greatly underestimate the power of a Saiyan bond with their mate."

Gero frowned at him and did not say anything.

"I suppose I should thank you," Vegeta sneered. "Thanks to you, all you accomplished was making our bond to one another even stronger than it was before you tampered with her mind.

"I will give it to you by admitting that it took some time to undo what you did and there are still side effects that plague her, but I did fix it and I did bring her back and now that I know it was you who put her through that, I you can be sure that your days are numbered and I will exact pay back for everything you did to her."

"Well, that will have to wait, I'm afraid," the Android said, taking a step towards Vegeta with a pair of hand cuffs. "You have an appointment with King Cold you were very concerned about not missing if I recall."

"How considerate of you," Vegeta scoffed, balling his fists and assuming a defensive position despite his exhaustion. He knew he would not be able to fight it off, but that did not mean he was alright with going along with it willingly.

"Really, Vegeta, do I need to force you to comply again?" It asked with a sinister smile. "Nothing would make me happier; something about your energy, I do not know what is in it, but it satiated me like nothing else ever has. I can replenish my reserves and drag you to Cold if you like or you can choose to come quietly."

Vegeta bared his teeth at it; neither option was something he wanted to do, but he refused to shame himself further by being dragged down to Cold barely coherent from lack of energy when as it was he could barely concentrate. "Fine!"

"Excellent." It said, approaching him again, taking his hands and cuffing them tightly in front of him.

"Very good," Gero cut in. "We can discuss things later, and believe me there is much I want to discuss with you. I am very much looking forward-"

"Enough!" Vegeta snapped, standing as tall and proud as he was able. "Take me to Cold, now."

"As you wish." The Android said, taking him by the arm and leading him out of the lab and down to Cold's throne room.

It was large and spacious and the floor was a dark, shiny ice blue. Vegeta hadn't noticed until just then that the floors and walls must have been made of ice. It didn't surprise him, but the realization of it reminded him how cold he was as his feet burned from the cold floor.

At the top of the stairs, sat King Cold upon a silver throne. He ceased all conversation with several of his advisors present, put down his wine and stood up as soon as he saw Vegeta being lead into the room by Gero and the Android.

"Ah, Prince Vegeta," King Cold greeted in a cool tone, looking him over thoroughly. "It has been many, many years since I last had pleasure of meeting you. You were about this tall the last time I saw you." He said, holding his hand out, indicating that Vegeta had been about two feet or so shorter at that time than he was now. "I would have expected you to be closer to your father's height, but apparently not all offspring inherit everything; look at my son, Frieza. He never grew to my height either. Though unlike my son, you bare an uncanny resemblance to your father. You are almost a miniature carbon copy."

Vegeta growled at him. "Cut the small talk and get on about what you want with me." He demanded. "I hear you nearly turned half of the universe upside down in your attempt to find me. Well here I am."

Cold smirked at him. "Just like your father, in that you are quick to wanting to get down to business, I see."

"I do not understand the point in wasting time on pleasantries," Vegeta shrugged. "Especially being that this is not a social visit."

"Very well," Cold nodded. "As you are more than well aware, you and I have some unfinished business or rather I have quite the bone to pick with you, in regards to the matter of my youngest son to be specific, that must be discussed and resolved."

"Do you want the short version or the long version?" Vegeta scoffed with a smirk.

"You may give me any version you wish as there are many details I am sure I am missing."

"Very well; your son enslaved and tormented me in my youth and adolescence. Once I completed my obligatory time with him I returned home and eventually took a mate of my choosing during that time," Vegeta started, surprised that Cold even cared to hear his side of the story. He had only asked which version he wanted to be snarky, not thinking he would actually want to hear anything he had to say. "Your son made a point of paying my father a visit in his desire to hire me back and promote me as his First Lieutenant. While the promotion was appreciated, when I declined he made an attempt on my mate's life and under the assumption that she was deceased, I then returned to my service with him and accepted the promotion, as I had nothing else to live for at that time."

"Yes, I remember hearing about that," Cold commented thoughtfully, leaning back in his chair. "Your mate, however survived, did she not?"

"Yes, by some miracle she did," Vegeta confirmed with a nod. "In my relief of learning that she was alive, I hastily made the decision to abandon my position with Lord Frieza and pursue a quiet life with my mate in seclusion while we figured out what we wanted to do for the long term."

"And so you took leave without permission, disappeared and thought that would be alright without consequences?" Cold asked.

"I did not consider that at the time," Vegeta admitted. During his time with Bulma, he realized once again that he had forgotten about how unforgiving and brutal the universe was. She made everything seem so easy and carefree, that he could abandon everything just like that and it wouldn't be a big deal. In his desire to make her happy and attempt to build a real life with her and Trunks, he had allowed her to warp his thinking about the universe he lived in. "I was simply grateful that my mate was indeed alive and well. I had thought her to be dead for many months before discovering her survival."

"You were a man in love?" Cold asked mockingly.

Vegeta gaped at him and stuttered as he tried to come up with a suitable answer; while it was true, he did not think that was any of Cold's business and he did not want to admit to such a thing here in front of Cold and his advisors.

"Hmmmm, I assumed such things were beneath you," he said in a judgmental tone. "I had heard it to be rumored that you were the perfect warrior."

"I am!" Vegeta snapped.

"Yet you allow your better judgment to be clouded and continue to make decisions based around your affections for a woman?"

Vegeta said nothing in reply. What could he say? It was true. He had allowed his feelings for Bulma to cloud and dictate his judgment pretty much from the day he had met her. It was something he berated himself over many times, but yet he would not change it for anything.

"Do you want to hear the rest of what happened to that filthy lizard you called your son or not?" Vegeta snarled, wanting to turn the direction of the conversation away from Cold's analyzing his and Bulma's relationship.

"Mind how you speak of my son, Vegeta; it is you who is in the wrong." Cold said sternly.

"I beg to differ and so might you once you consider the rest of my story," he replied unapologetically. "It was shortly after I abandoned my position that my mate became pregnant and Frieza had discovered where we were and had her abducted and brought to him." Vegeta explained, trying to keep to the main events and not deviate from the important facts.

"And so what, you followed in an attempt to retrieve your pregnant mate?"

"That is correct," Vegeta nodded. "Your son purposed something to which I could not allow. In the time that he had my mate he had that freak twist and manipulate her mind in an attempt to brain wash her." Vegeta said, pointing at Gero.

"That's not entirely accurate," Gero piped up defensively.

"Now let the man tell his story," Cold advised. "You may tell your side once we go to trial."

"This is not my trial now?" Vegeta asked dumbly.

"Oh, heavens no." Cold sighed.

"Then what the hell are we wasting time doing here?"

"I simply wish to hear what you have to say for yourself before we begin a trial so as to waste less time later. I will consider your side and decide on the appropriate actions to take between now and then."

"So this technically is my trial then,"

"No," Cold shook his head. "Your trial will include a statement from several other eyewitness accounts of your time on Frieza's ship as well as video surveillance footage to be taken into account."

Vegeta chuckled darkly. "Why don't we skip to all that and arrive at my sentencing now?" He suggested. "No matter what you have, you will be making your decision as soon as I am escorted out of here anyway, regardless of whatever supposed evidence you possess."

"You are correct, however I wish to speak with your mate myself with regards to all this," Cold said. "She should be here shortly; I sent out a ship to retrieve her when your father advised me of your arrival."

Vegeta ground his teeth together at confirmation that his father had indeed set him up. "I fail to understand what purpose you speaking with her would serve."

Cold thought on it for a moment. "I not only wish to speak with her but I am of the understanding that she is something of a gifted individual and that her talents would be an asset to me. I wish to offer her a job working here for me, under the direct supervision of Dr. Gero of course."

Vegeta tipped his head back and took a deep breath to calm his anger; this was like Deja vu all over again. The weight of the ki collar weighing heavily on him and it's draining of his energy making him feel like he needed a weeks' worth of sleep already. "Let me guess, you wish for her to work willingly with you to advance whatever sick plan you have for the universe and you want my son to condition as you see fit?"

"That about sums it up." Cold nodded. "However I think Gero was very interested in knowing the result of your offspring. We can decide later on what to do with it. I think it was Gero's intention to run some tests?"

"Indeed!" Dr. Gero nodded with a psychotic enthusiasm that Vegeta wanted to knock out of him.

"The possibilities are endless, Vegeta." Cold said happily.

Vegeta nodded. "Well, you wanted to hear my side of the story, did you not?"

"I did."

"Your son purposed somewhat of a similar arrangement and that was why I destroyed him," Vegeta said. "Make no mistake, I will do the same to you should you attempt any such thing where my family is concerned. You do not need them, let them go. You may do what you like with me for my actions against Frieza, but leave my mate and son out of this."

"I sympathize with you Vegeta; it is very admirable that you would trade your life in exchange for theirs but I am afraid that is not part of the deal I made with your father. He wanted you to learn from your mistakes and I agreed with him. Unfortunately, your family will pay the price for that." Cold shrugged. "Do not despair though, if your mate is as bright as I have been told, then she may live a very long, comfortable life here. I do not share the same sadistic streak as my son and can on some level understand your apprehension at taking him up on his offer, I still do not think killing him in the manner at which you did was called for."

Vegeta shook his head. "It was more than called for." He growled under his breath.

"We will decide that later on," Cold said with a glare. "Until then, I will leave you in the care of Doctor Gero. He has been almost more excited about your arrival than I was. You have leave, Gero. See that he is kept alive, I need him for trial and sentencing. You may have use of a regeneration tank as required."

Vegeta's stomach dropped at hearing that. So was he to be this freak's science experiment until Bulma and Trunks arrived and they decided to begin trial then? On the up side, he was a frail old man. Maybe despite his energy depletion, all he would have to do is wait until there was no android around and take him out easily.

-0-0-0-

As Bulma focused her thoughts and finally broke through Vegeta's mental barrier, she saw a monstrous form sitting in front of him in a sort of throne room she suspected being that he was elevated and seated in a kind of large throne-like chair; she assumed that had to be King Cold.

Vegeta must have been speaking to him, as the large monster had his head tipped to the side with interest and was looking at Vegeta intently. She wished she could hear what was being said, but decided that seeing what Vegeta was seeing was better than not getting anything at all.

Bulma focused her attention on the figures beside who she still assumed was King Cold. It was hard because she was seeing things from Vegeta's perspective and he was looking solely at King Cold.

Her focus settled on the regal, white form standing just a bit in front of Vegeta with its arms crossed and its tail periodically swaying in front of it in a leisure, almost cocky manner. Her breath hitched in her throat as she recognized it

What the hell, she cursed. Was that Frieza, she wondered? In his final form? How had he survived? Vegeta had said that he had severed his head and destroyed the body once he had killed him. Did he regenerate or something? "Oh, Vegeta, this isn't good, I'm so sorry." She said quietly out loud, knowing and understanding the toll it would take on him if that was indeed Frieza alive and well in the flesh.

She looked and noticed other Frieza-looking soldiers and then wondered if maybe it wasn't Frieza after all? They all kind of looked the same, however the white and purple one had a very calculating look and was looking at Vegeta almost gleefully. No, that had to be Frieza, she decided.

She took in several unfamiliar faces and then one face popped out at her like a sore thumb standing next to Cold. "Gero!" She exclaimed out loud. What the Fuck...? How the hell... What the hell is he doing there? Her stomach dropped and immediately she felt sick again at the sight and mere thought of him. This just kept getting better and better, she thought.

As much as she loved and trusted Vegeta with her very life, if Gero was there overseeing things, they were both in big trouble with little hope for them. She hoped that he do wouldn't try to do that horrible memory wipe thing with Vegeta but then caught herself. Of course he would! If it means causing hurt and pain and anguish to another being stuck in his filthy clutches, then of course he would do it!

New resolve flowed through her that she absolutely needed to find a way out of there, find a way to get to Vegeta and get him out; she most certainly could not leave Vegeta in Gero's care. As far as she was concerned, Doctor Gero was even worse than Frieza.



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