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 24

Vegeta sat there in the cold solitude of his room and blocked Bulma and her troubled thoughts and worries about the trial tomorrow and wellbeing about the boys' altogether. He knew she needed him now more than ever and that she hated it when he did this, but he could not bring himself to let her in right now; seeing her and Trunks only made him feel worse about their predicament and it was like another brutal slap in the face serving as a reminder of his failure to protect them.

He thought back briefly at the scene in the throne room when King Cold had commanded Trunks and Tarble be taken away from Bulma; that he could not do anything except observe made him feel nothing but shame and contempt for himself and so he refused think about it. How could he face Bulma now after that? He hadn't even attempted to intervene even though he'd known that there wasn't anything he could do to prevent it and if he did make it out of here by some miracle, he wasn't sure if he could ever forgive himself for failing his family in this way.

Vegeta knew that Bulma didn't feel that way and she didn't blame him for being unable to intervene, yet somehow that made him feel worse about everything and so the only way he could cope with it at the moment was to bock her completely.

He didn't know what tomorrow would bring but the thought didn't frighten him, nor did it make him feel all that anxious. He felt nothing…

Or so he kept telling himself.

As he sat there contemplating what possibly may happen to him, he found himself hoping that Cold would just execute him and be done with it. What else did he have? His home, his father, his history and birthright, his title even, it was all gone forever.

In the past three weeks since Vegeta-sei had been destroyed, he had refused to think or dwell on it; it only pushed him further into the seemingly ever present pit of despair that had taken over him since he had lost to the Androids. Instead of dwelling on it, he chose a closed off, nearly catatonic mental state when he was alone and when he was with Gero. What did it even matter anymore? There was nothing left for him at this point. Cold had won by a landslide in his vendetta against him. He had been foolish and arrogant to assume that he could have just showed up here and won without any effort. Now it was over and not only was he paying the price but also his home and his people had paid and soon his family would be paying the ultimate price as well. He just wished the end would come for him sooner rather than later; it was this waiting that was killing him, not the thought of his demise.

Trunks and Bulma need you! A voice in the back of his mind reprimanded him. Do they? He wondered. He wasn't sure how to help them. Not if he was like this and he wished now more than ever that Bulma had managed to get off Vegeta-sei. Having her see him like this only made his shame of defeat all that much worse.

He dismissed the thoughts about Vegeta-sei again. He couldn't bear to think about it. He and Tarble were technically the only ones left, assuming Asia and Raditz had followed his instructions and headed to Callisto instead of back to Vegeta-sei and gotten themselves killed.

Sure there was Trunks as well, but it was different. He wasn't full Saiyan. There was a good possibility that it was just Table and himself who remained now and if anything happened to him tomorrow then that would just leave Tarble.

Despite feeling camaraderie for his younger half-brother all he felt was contempt. Tarble was the weakest Saiyan infant he had ever heard of. He'd be lucky if he lasted a month here even. Just as well, he told himself bitterly. The sooner the better. He only hoped Trunks wouldn't suffer and a wave of anguish at the thought of his son being here pierced him again. Of all the things he wished for his son, this was the last thing he would have ever wanted for him.

I am so sorry, Trunks. I have failed both you and your mother. As he sat there and felt his eyes begin to burn from the tears he refused to shed, he realized that he was absolutely terrified for what may take place tomorrow and that made him feel even more ashamed. He was never afraid of anything, ever. Except losing Trunks and Bulma, his mind whispered.

If things went bad tomorrow and Cold decided to have him killed, what would happen to Bulma and Trunks? He swallowed an overwhelming wave of emotion at the thought. His son would be brought up and trained by Cold and his soldiers to more than likely be a deranged super soldier; as Frieza had wanted so badly to turn him into.

And what about Bulma? His mind whispered almost cruelly. Shit; what of Bulma? What would become of her? Would she be killed as well for being a supposed accessory to his crimes or would she be forced to work in the lab with Gero? It was better than her being given over to the soldiers as a play thing, he supposed; but she would not want to work for Gero. He knew that. However, he also knew that she was smart enough that she could bide her time and find a way out of here if she wanted to; but that would only happen if he was gone. Despite his wishes for her to get out, he knew she wouldn't leave without him and that was another reason he hoped that Cold would just hurry up and kill him already. If he was out of the equation, she could leave with Trunks and Tarble and forget about him.

What about the bond? Won't it kill her if you die? His mind argued. Possibly; but she is not Saiyan so it may not either. He did not know and he was not sure how he felt about that. Sure he did not wish death upon her, he was not that selfish; but he did not wish for her to live her life out as a slave here either. Furthermore, if she passed along with him then what hope was there for Trunks and Tarble? None. They would not know right from wrong, nor of their heritage. Though that may not matter anyway being that they've been taken and their training will likely commence tomorrow.

"Great, now I am talking to myself," he grumbled out loud.

Vegeta could sense Bulma was still awake, agonizing over how the events of tomorrow may play out. He wanted to reach out to her and offer her up some comfort, but could not bring himself to do so. He could not face her and let her know how petrified he actually was for her and for Trunks; he could not let her be open to the shame he felt at his failure in this whole damned campaign, nor could he share with her how deeply grieved he was over the loss of Vegeta-sei. He had kept her at arm's length since Vegeta-sei's destruction purposefully because if he didn't, he would fall apart.

That was something he could not afford to do right now, so acting indifferent about all of this was his solution.

As he sat there and thought about everything, he began to recount all the events leading up to this moment. Everything from the moment he'd met Bulma until now.

He should have never taken Raditz up on his offer to spend the evening with her; his life had been full of destruction, violence and torment and anyone he got close to or touched became an extension of that. He thought now that he should have let Bulma go; he'd had so many opportunities, yet he'd been too weak and selfish to go through with it. He could have stopped all of this by not returning to the tavern for her as he had.

When he had learned that she lived after thinking her dead all those months so long ago, he should have been glad that she had been alive after all and not sought her out at the hotel. Or if he had, he should have just enjoyed the night with her as he had and not followed her to her planet. She would have been much safer. She could have lived her life out on that planet and have been happy and out of harm's way. Yet he had been too weak to leave her be and let her go. Look at what it had cost them? Sure they had Trunks but what kind of life was waiting for him here? Not the upbringing he would have wanted for any child of his.

Once again, after Frieza when she had wanted nothing to do with him, he should have let her go. She could have had Trunks and lived a safe life with him and her parents the rest of her days. Of course, he had been too weak to leave her and go on with his life then too.

Now here they all were, in the worst possible predicament and while he deeply grieved the loss of his planet and his people, it grieved him even more that it was Bulma and Trunks who still had yet to suffer the full consequences of his weakness. He should have followed his original instincts and not brought them with him to Vegeta-sei.

That was his biggest mistake of all. If he could go back and change everything, that was what he would change. Even if it would have cost you her love? His mind nagged again and he nodded to himself in response. "Yes, even if it would have cost me her. They would still be safe and sound if I had left them behind."

A small glimmer of hope that perhaps his father had possibly been off planet played at him again but he dismissed it before letting it take root as he had any time the possibility even vaguely crossed his mind. If his father had been planning anything, as unlikely as it was, he would have been there by now.

As he sat there feeling like a foolish child, he began to wish more and more for that to be the case; that maybe his father was somewhere on the other side of the galaxy biding his time, gathering soldiers for his rescue. With Vegeta-sei gone, that could take months, Vegeta reasoned as to why he wouldn't have been here by now. Despite berating himself that it was nothing more than a pipedream, that small, boyishness left in him still allowed himself that hope for a moment.

For the last two years all he could think of was getting rid of his father and succeeding him; getting even with him handing him over to Frieza not once, but twice. Then when he had been so cruel as to dismiss Bulma and Trunks as he had and not even commend him for his achievement of ascending, that had been it for him. He had given up on ever having a positive relationship with the man. He knew he should have felt elated that his father was gone but instead he felt grief for whatever reason. It shook him to his core.

"You are pathetic," he chastised himself out loud.

Vegeta buried his head in his hands and swallowed every thought of sentiment, fear and disappointment down. There was no time for it. He needed to be strong, not some wallowing weak fool afraid of his own demise and wishing for impossibilities.

-0-0-0-

Despite her efforts to get some rest for the trying day that loomed ahead, Bulma could not fall asleep. If she wasn't stressing over what to say and what she shouldn't say to King Cold, she was worried sick over not knowing what was happening with Trunks and Tarble or she found herself ridden with extreme anxiety over the thought that by this time the next day Vegeta may be executed and possibly herself as well.

Where will things stand twenty four hours from now? She kept asking herself over and over again as anxiety began to take hold of any and all rational thought.

Would you stop obsessing? Vegeta growled at her, even though he was doing the exact same thing. I cannot get any rest with your incessant worrying.

I'm sorry, Vegeta, she replied guiltily. I was trying to keep my thoughts to myself so as not to disturb you. I can't help but worry though.

Understood, but your worrying is not going to change the outcome one way or another. Try and get some rest.

I can't, Vegeta. All I can think about is you and the boys and every possible bad scenario that could possibly play out. She admitted.

I know, I am too.

Then talk to me, Vegeta. Please? She asked. I know you're upset and you are worried and you are deliberately keeping me out.

What is there to talk about? He huffed.

Uhmm, everything? She replied. I'm scared, Vegeta! I need you! I can't do this tomorrow without you!

Yes you can, and you will. He said firmly. You need to be strong and start considering that after tomorrow I may not even be around; you will need to fend for yourself.

No, I can't think about that, Vegeta. She argued, adamant that outcome couldn't happen. We will get out of here somehow, all four of us. I'll figure it out!

Hmmn,

I will, but I need you. I know things are bad, but I can't do this if you keep shutting me out.

I do not need to burden you with all of my thoughts and concerns, woman. You have enough on your plate as it is and you need to be focusing on yourself and the boys, not on me.

Bulma was quiet for a few moments before she replied. Why do you always do this? She asked angrily, trying to not get emotional. When things get bad, you just shut me out like I don't matter or even exist!

Not now, woman. He growled dismissively. Get some rest, tomorrow will not be easy.

I know it won't, but that's why I'm scared and you acting like you don't care and that none of this is a big deal isn't helping me!

What do you want me to say?

Nothing, just acknowledge that we're in deep shit here! That you're as terrified as I am! Something, Vegeta! She cried, beginning to lose her carefully crafted façade of calmness that she had been trying to maintain for him, knowing how much it would upset him if she were to fall apart into an emotional basket case. You've barely said anything about the destruction of your home and your people. What the fuck is wrong with you?! Or is that stupid thing they have around your neck making you indifferent and altering your mind? Because you're scaring me!

Enough! I do not wish to discuss it! Not with you, not with anyone, alright? You cannot possibly know or understand what it is that I am going through!

You're right, I can't understand because you won't let me!

Vegeta didn't reply, he only continued to sit there and fume at her silently for making him think about things he didn't want to think about and making him feel bad for shutting her out. He did feel bad for that, but if he didn't shut her out, she would know how unnerved he really was and he could not deal with that at the moment.

If there is anything after tomorrow, I will let you in. He finally said. I promise.

I hope so, she sighed. Either way, please don't make me do this alone, Vegeta. Especially if you aren't going to be here after tomorrow. I can't even think about what I will do if that happens, but for right now, you're still here and I need you! If you think you're protecting me by keeping you out, you're not.

He didn't say anything, but he knew she was right and relented and dropped his mental wall somewhat to let her in a little, sending her the feelings and emotions of encouragement and reassurance that he knew she needed but that he could not verbally communicate to her right now. He let her in enough to show her how afraid he was for her and for Trunks wellbeing; that the reason why he kept her at a distance was because he simply could not deal with the thoughts that were plaguing him.

Bulma's heart broke for him but she sent him her thoughts of comfort and reassured him of her love. She tried with every ounce of feeling she possessed to indicate to him that if she blamed anyone, she blamed herself for not getting out like she should have. We'll make it through this; together.

We'll see, Woman; we'll see. He replied softly.

They didn't speak anymore, but took turns strengthening and comforting each other the best they could until they both fell asleep. They may have been physically separated, but at least they had each other through the bond.

-0-0-0-

Bulma was woken up the next morning when Gero opened the door and tossed a small tray with some breakfast items on it for Bulma along with a cup of what appeared to be black coffee and a glass of water, "for the Namek," he'd said before abruptly closing the door on her.

"That's all you get?" she asked in outrage looking at the glass of water before handing it to him.

"That's all I need," Dende said, taking it from her. "I don't consume food like you do, just water is enough to sustain me."

"Oh," she replied, still finding that very strange but it made her feel a little better. "So you don't want any of this then?" she asked, holding out her tray to him. "I can't eat all of this, I'm just too stressed out."

"No," he shook his head. "I don't eat anything at all."

Bulma shrugged to herself and sat down, picking at her meal which seemed to consist of something that resembled scrambled eggs, a couple strips of bacon and a piece of toast. She nibbled on what looked like bacon and wasn't sure what it was. It was room temperature and seemed to have more of a taste and texture of beef jerky than bacon.

She wrinkled her nose after taking a bite and put it back down on the plate; it didn't taste bad, she just felt nauseous as soon as she swallowed it.

Eat it. She heard Vegeta growl at her.

Vegeta, I'm too stressed out to eat anything right now. My stomach is churning so bad I'm afraid that if I eat anything, I'll just throw up everywhere.

I understand that but at least try to eat something, he said. You need to keep your strength up.

She sighed and picked up the piece of dry toast, taking a small bite of it. Once again, her stomach objected but she wasn't physically ill at least and she managed to finish the entire slice even though by doing so she felt worse off than if she hadn't eaten anything at all. She washed it down with the warm black coffee beverage and decided she was finished.

Do you know when this thing starts?

No idea.

Did you eat? She asked.

No,

Shouldn't you eat too?

I would, but that son of a bitch hasn't given me anything to eat in two or three days.

What! Why?

Something else to do with whatever experiment he is running. Who cares anymore, just eat what you can.

About ten minutes later, Gero escorted Bulma to a washroom where she could comb out her hair, put some make up on and change into some different clothes. She was exhausted; both mentally and emotionally spent but did her best to make herself look somewhat presentable. Perhaps if she looked good, it would boost her confidence a little. They hadn't taken her diaper bag from her so she decapsulated a few of her things and a pair of pants and shirt for Vegeta and stuffed it all in her bag so that it would not seem suspicious.

She sighed as she looked at herself in the small mirror and tried not to cry; what was happening with the boys? Had they made it through the night alright, she wondered in anguish. She hoped that they were okay and that she could focus on the trial and not them; what good would it do?

"Are you done in there?" Gero barked at her as he rapped on the door. His abrupt rudeness shook her out of her sadness and reminded her that she needed to pull herself together now.

She walked out and made a beeline for Vegeta, who was standing outside of his room with his hands bound in front of him and still only wearing his old, torn flight pants.

"You're sending him for a trial like that?" Bulma asked Gero in outrage.

Gero looked at Vegeta indifferently and shrugged. "I don't see what difference it makes."

Bulma groaned and rifled through her bag, pulling out the fresh pair of loose pants and a gi top from Callisto she had stashed aside, handing them to Gero. "At least let him wear something, its frigging cold in here too!"

Gero sighed in frustration and nodded at the Android, tossing it the clothes. "Hurry up!"

The Android took the clothes and undid Vegeta's cuffs and escorted him back into his room to change.

I hope that helps, sorry it's all I have right now. Choosing anything else would have brought on too much suspicion that I may have more on me.

It is better than what I've got. He appeared a moment later, changed in the old loose-fitting clothes and hands cuffed in front of him again.

"Let's go," Gero grunted irritably.

Bulma walked up to stand next to Vegeta and linked an arm through his as they headed out of the lab and down the halls towards King Cold's throne room. She took great effort to keep her breathing calm and even as they got closer and closer her heart rate went up so much she could feel her pulse.

Calm yourself. Vegeta said quietly to her, subtly pushing his elbow into his side where her hand was resting, trying to offer her up some form of encouragement.

She squeezed him back in the crook of his elbow in response. I'll try.

The massive throne room was packed with people of all races and nationalities to spectate the trial and it made Bulma immediately uncomfortable. Was this being taken seriously or was it a form of entertainment she wondered.

Bulma sat next to Vegeta in the front of the room and infront of Cold.

There was a loud whistle, drawing Bulma's attention. When she looked, she noticed Jeyice. Her stomach dropped as he winked and mouthed something at her. She wasn't sure what, but she was very sure she didn't want to know. "Great." She groaned.

When this is over, make sure you find some sort of sharp object and carry it on you at all times.

Good idea. She said.

If he makes a move on you, you are to gut him. Vegeta growled. That goes to anyone. I do not care who it is.

Bulma shuttered at the thought. I don't know if I can do that,

It is better than being dragged off into a corner somewhere and raped, woman, he replied harshly. You need to start considering these things, Bulma. I can no longer protect you and shelter you from it. Not if I am killed after today and certainly not if I am to live in Gero's lab from this day forward. You need to start fending for yourself because that kind of thing is as normal around here as the days of the week. If you see something you like, take it that is their mentality. There are no consequences.

She didn't reply for a moment, only considered his words. Somehow she always knew that, but it wasn't something she actually consciously feared until yesterday when Jeyice had groped her and now more than anything it was clear that he may be an ongoing problem. I still have my ki device. There was nowhere in my room to plug it in on the ship. Hopefully maybe I can find somewhere in the lab to discreetly charge it.

Assuming you are sent to the lab and not the whore house after this. He snorted.

They have that here too?

Vegeta turned and looked at her in disbelief. Are you seriously asking me that? A planet full of fucking low born warriors. What do you think occupies them during their downtime?

"Oh, god," she moaned quietly, feeling immediately nauseous.

And not only are you exceptionally attractive, you are my mate. I am not well liked. You will be considered a prize if for no other reason than because you belong to me. He said, his anger at her for not getting herself out of Vegeta-sei bubbling forth again but he swallowed it. There was no point in being angry about it anymore.

I'll die if that happens. She said.

Arm yourself. He said again. If you listen to anything I will ever tell you, listen now and arm yourself with something, anything.

Bulma didn't reply, only felt her face grow warm frim shame at his comment. He was right. And she had let both him and the boys down by not listening to him and not taking his overprotectiveness seriously. That she was here facing this predicament was all on her.

"My, what a turn out." Cold said looking around the auditorium. "This could become rather interesting. First, before we start with these proceedings, I wish to have a few character witnesses come forth and provide useful information pertaining to Prince Vegeta's overall demeanor and relationship with Lord Frieza before his death."

Fuck! Vegeta cursed.

Calm down, Bulma said quietly. This may be a good thing and could work to your advantage. Everyone else has to have seen how horribly he treated you. No one can deny that.

Vegeta laughed bitterly out loud at her. Do not hold your breath. This is going to be nothing more than a complete fucking waste of time. Cold has made his decision.

Then why is he doing this?

To prolong my waiting for my demise.

"Prince Vegeta, you are to remain silent during these proceedings." Cold said to him. "And as for you, my dear, I will call on you to speak on his behalf when I am ready to hear your end. Until then, you are to have no part. Understood?"

"Yes, sir." Bulma replied with a nod. Vegeta simply glared at Cold.

"Alright, who would like to go first?" Cold asked, gesturing around the room.

To Bulma's amazement, half the people in the room stood up. All of these people have something to say?

No, they have a complaint against me is more than likely accurate.

Maybe not, she replied confidently. At least half of these people has to have something to say in your defense. I can't be the only person defending you.

Vegeta snorted in response.

"You, over there," Cold pointed out to someone standing amidst several others. "Yes, you. You may go first."

A large burly man with pale green skin, dark green hair and very handsome face came forward. He looks like that guy Zarbon.

That is because he is Zarbon's brother, Marlon.

Oh, wonderful.

Exactly.

Zarbon's brother took a seat next to Cold and introduced himself.

"How long have you known Prince Vegeta?" Cold asked.

"I have known him since his youth, when he first entered Lord Frieza's service as a spoilt, sniveling monkey brat." He replied in a snooty tone, looking down his nose at Vegeta.

"And did you have much interaction with Vegeta at that time?" Cold asked.

"No, he was placed under my brother, Zarbon's tutelage and care and not mine, thank the gods for that," he replied. "I only heard stories of his insubordination. He was quite the difficult child from what I remember my brother telling me. I do recall one day on Lord Frieza's ship, however and I witnessed his poor attitude first hand."

"Do tell," Cold nodded.

"Well, it was so long ago, I can barely recall, but from what I do remember, Prince Vegeta and one of his fellow monkey brats were in trouble for not following orders or something. Zarbon was using them as an example and demanded they both kneel and kiss his boots. Prince Vegeta simply refused. His little friend was smart enough to at least kneel." He said.

"What was the outcome?" Cold asked.

"Well, I must say never have I heard someone of such a young age with such a colorful vocabulary but he simply refused to just yield; he even spit on Zarbon and sustained quite the beating from what I remember. It was simply appalling the lack of respect he showed to his superiors. After about an hour, he was beat into a coma but not before he vowed to kill my brother one day when he was stronger. Unfortunately, no one took the little monkey seriously as years later he did kill him."

"I see," Cold said thoughtfully. "And that was on a trip to Vegeta-sei, wasn't it?"

"I don't know, my lord."

"Zarbon attempted to violate me mate." Vegeta said.

"You are not to have a say at this time, Prince Vegeta." Cold reprimanded him. "We will revisit the incident later on when we speak with your mate on the matter. Until then, you are both to remain quiet."

After Zarbon's brother, Marlon had said all he wished to say, the trial went on for hours and hours without a break, so long that Bulma was beginning to have a difficult time staying awake.

Most of the so-called witnesses coming forward to testify against Vegeta seemed to have their own personal vendetta against him that they wanted aired out into the open, rather than having any useful information pertaining to the events surrounding his actions against Lord Frieza.

Good grief! Who haven't you offended in some way, shape or form? She asked irritably as Guildo took a seat next on the stand and narrowed his beady little eyes resentfully at Vegeta.

Vegeta quickly smirked as he gave her a side glance, making brief eye contact. I served in Frieza's service for seven years after my mother passed, was off for two and then sent back for almost a year after you. Trust me, I was not in a great frame of mind both times. I was in there with the mind set of either getting out as quickly as possible or killing Lord Frieza as soon as I was able; making friends was not on my list.

I can see that, Bulma sighed inwardly.

"He would mock me and berate me non-stop!" Guildo complained. "I think he was just jealous that I was good enough to join the Ginyu Force and he wasn't!"

Vegeta snorted out loud.

"Why else was I asked to join and you were never even considered?" Guildo shouted at him snidely from across the room.

"Because everyone knew I would never reduce myself to joining the ranks of that useless clown and pony show of freaks like you," Vegeta replied mockingly. "I had much better things to do with my time that did not include exotic dancing as part of my training regimen."

"Exactly! Like plot and scheme against our beloved Lord Frieza!" he accused, ignoring Vegeta's degrading remark.

"Oh, please," Vegeta snorted. "How many times did I kick your ass in the halls of the barracks for shooting your mouth off and Lord Frieza happened to be around to offer me a far better mission than anything he would send you goofs out to accomplish? Nor did he care that I had just handed you your ass."

"Because he knew he needed to keep a tight leash on you, you monkey scum!"

"Enough!" Cold growled, "That will be all, Guildo, thank you."

Guildo growled in annoyance before stepping down all the while glaring at Vegeta. "Mark my words, if Cold decides to execute you, I will insist on first row seats!"

Vegeta smirked at him in reply but said nothing.

"You are not to have a say in these proceedings, Prince Vegeta." Cold reminded him.

"My apologies, however the witness addressed me personally, I felt it necessary to respond," he replied in an unapologetic tone. "I would like it to be known that I was personally harassed by all members of the Ginyu Force on more than one occasion. Any and all negative run ins I did have with them were not always instigated by myself."

"Noted." Cold nodded, however Bulma could tell that he had more or less simply dismissed Vegeta's comment altogether. "Now, if no one else has anything further to add to the character witness of Prince Vegeta, I would like to proceed by calling up his mate, Bulma."

Oh, god! She said to herself as her stomach dropped. To both her dismay and relief, no one stood up or made a move to want to say anything more against Vegeta; not a bad thing, I guess, she thought to herself. Except now I'm on the hot seat.

Bulma wasn't sure what else to do as the seconds ticked on into about a minute and no one else came forward so she finally stood up. She looked down at Vegeta almost pleadingly. What if whatever I say doesn't help?

Then it doesn't. Just be honest and mindful of what you say. He said gently. All you can do is answer his questions and tell the accounts the best you can.

But what if my best isn't good enough, Vegeta?

Then it is completely out of your hands.

Bulma swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. She could do this; Vegeta's life depended on it.

"Come on up, my dear, I will not bite." Cold gestured to the side where the others had taken their stand previously. She nodded and slowly may her way up towards him and took a seat. "So tell us, Bulma, how did you come to meet Prince Vegeta?" Cold asked pleasantly.

"I was taken from my home planet before your son, Lord Frieza, destroyed it in a purge," she answered, trying to sound confident and not rattled. "I was sold in a slave auction to a pleasure tavern and a few weeks after my arrival, Prince Vegeta and some of his fellow comrades showed up and he purchased me as his own."

"Legally?" Cold asked.

Bulma blinked a moment and then looked at Vegeta, deferring to him before answering. She had assumed everything had been fine at the time and it never occurred to her that it wouldn't have been.

Vegeta nodded once in response.

"Yes, sir. Legally," she replied.

"So he bought and paid for you rather than taking you for himself by force and destroying the establishment." Cold clarified.

Bulma held back a heavy sigh; what difference did it make? "Yes, I was bought and paid for. Would you like the name of the establishment and the name of the owner? I can provide that for you so you can verify it for yourself if it is that important to you; it was a tavern on Vegas."

"Alright; no, no that will not be necessary, but thank you," Cold said, shaking his head. "And after that you were his personal concubine, I understand?"

"I was, yes."

"I see; and how long until he took you as his mate?"

"I don't know, not that long," she replied, shaking her head. "A few weeks maybe?"

"And it was in that time frame Frieza came to Vegeta-sei on a diplomatic visit?"

Bulma shrugged. "Yes, he was there, but I wasn't privy to the nature of his visit."

"Were you mated to Prince Vegeta at that time?"

Bulma looked at Vegeta, trying to hide her exasperation at all of the personal questions. What did any of this matter?

Just answer and tell him everything to the best of your ability. Vegeta said, though he wasn't even looking at her. It does not matter anymore.

She swallowed a lump in her throat as she felt the despair coming from him. He may have given up, but she certainly wasn't going to! "We were married, or mated, sorry, during Lord Frieza's visit," she answered, feeling her face growing warm but deciding in that moment that disclosing everything at this point may be their best bet. "We were going to wait, but Vegeta was concerned about my safety after a rather frightening experience with one of your son's general's. Being that we would forge a bond that mentally and emotionally binds us, he thought it was the best way to protect me should anything else happen."

"Was that Zarbon you are referring to?"

"Yes," she nodded, her stomach churning uncomfortably at the mere mention of his name.

"And as we already established, it was Prince Vegeta who so violently killed him, correct?" Cold asked with a frown.

"Yes he did, however Zarbon was out of line!" Bulma said harshly. "If Vegeta hadn't been near, he would have raped me! Zarbon knew that Vegeta was not comfortable with me in his presence in a private setting, yet allowed it because Lord Frieza and his father insisted just to spite him. The condition was that he not touch me and he overstepped. Where I come from, any man would have reacted the same if someone was trying to violate their wife in that way."

Cold considered her admission for a moment. "Alright, that seems fair and just, however you were nothing more than his concubine at that point in time and therefore it was considered poor hospitality for Vegeta to act out in such a violent way."

"But it was his intent to take me as his mate as soon as our circumstances allowed it," she countered. "In his mind, I was already his mate and off limits. Sure no one else knew that but Vegeta had made it clear in no uncertain terms to everyone that I belonged to him and him alone. Therefore he was very much within his right to protect me from any and all harm."

"Alright, Zarbon was not my concern but he was my son's best general which means something," Cold said and Bulma immediately remembered right then something that Vegeta had told her right after he had killed Zarbon and she had been so shook up about it.

"True, but despite that, Vegeta was able to defeat him with little to no effort-"

Cold snorted mockingly.

"It's true! I was there and saw the whole thing," she insisted boldly. "It was over very quickly. In any case, something that I have come to learn since I was taken from my home is that on this side of the galaxy, strength is all that matters. Yes Zarbon was strong and he was favored and what not and stood at Frieza's right hand but if that general was so easily taken down by one of his own subordinates, then that general had no business being there." She said, trying to remember exactly what Vegeta's words had been about it that night. "Frieza had offered Vegeta the position as First Lieutenant and had apparently not so subtly indicated to him that all he had to do was defeat Zarbon and the position was his. It was an eventuality anyway."

"True enough," Cold nodded in agreement. "No one wants a general that can be so easily eliminated and perhaps Zarbon's days as Frieza's right hand man were up; your argument is not without merit, my dear. However it is still a very strong testimony of Vegeta's violent tendencies and lack of respect for not only his rank but for the proper way of things to be handled and it would seem that you are to blame for his lapse of judgement on this among other things that we will be examining more in depth into in just a little bit."

"Wait, wait just a minute so I can make sure I am following you correctly here; so I am taken against my own will and nearly raped by some asshole pig and my husband helps prevent that and it's My fault? Is that how I am supposed to interpret that?"

Cold thought a moment, "Maybe not your fault, but it was because of your presence and influence that Vegeta acted out the way he did, so in a sense, yes."

Bulma snorted in disgust. "Wow, that's unbelievable. Here's an idea, why not teach your soldiers how to exercise a little self-control where women are concerned! No means no!"

Laughter erupted throughout the room and Bulma felt her face burn in anger and had to swallow back another lump growing in the back of her throat and blink back tears of anger and frustration. Vegeta was right, there was no way to win this. No matter what she would say to defend him, he would still be seen as the bad guy in this for doing the right thing and it was apparently her fault for simply being the female he cared about.

You are doing well, Woman, Vegeta said softly to her, looking intently at her now. This will be difficult and you may be fighting a losing battle but you are doing just fine.

I can't defend you against barbaric reasoning like that, Vegeta! She panicked, taking a deep breath to calm herself down. I'm doing the best I can.

I. know, Woman, I know; and I love you for that. He said so quietly into her mind it was practically a whisper and she'd barely heard it over the ruckus and laughter still filling the room.

Bulma had to clench her teeth to keep from succumbing to the overwhelming emotion that was trying so hard to escape from below her carefully crafted confident demeanor she was trying so hard to keep. Don't you do that! She said harshly to him, swallowing the painful lump in her throat. Don't you dare give up! If you give up, Vegeta, I have nothing. I will not sit here and be mocked for trying to save you if you've already given up. Do not do that to me!

He frowned at her, his eyes hardening as he looked at her; had she not known him so well she wouldn't have even noticed.

It's not fair! She continued to rant at him. I'm sorry for everything, that I didn't get out in time and ended up here and that your home and everything you held dear to you was destroyed but you need to snap out of this!

Not everything, he said to her. Not yet.

Okay then, pull it together! She said in a little lesser harsh tone than she'd been using. Let me fight for you for a change. Have faith in me! I always have faith in you and you always come through for me. Let me at least attempt to come through for you.

He subtly smirked at her from across and the room and nodded once. I do have faith in you. It is King Cold that I have no faith in.

Ok good, because if you don't, I can't do this and I may as well not bother here and let what's going to happen take its course.

So long as you do not blame yourself if things do not go your way, he said. I have not given up, I am simply preparing for and accepting the worst, which at this point in time seems to be quite imminent at the moment though it is of no fault of yours should the verdict not be in our favor.

I know that it's not looking good but I still need to try! She insisted.

I would not expect anything less of you as you would not expect anything less of me if I were able to get us out of this hell hole. He said intently, shame washing through him again that he could not simply blast everyone in this room, grab her, and find the boys and go.

I love you, she said, noting that the room had quieted down again and that the questions would likely resume in a moment. I can do this,

The corner of his mouth turned up slightly for a split second and he subtly nodded once at her. God he loved his woman! Despite the overwhelming feeling of despair that had taken hold and was dragging him down into a deep pit of depression and hopelessness, he knew she was right: it was unfair to her for him to succumb to it. Who knew? Maybe she could talk her way out of this. Whether she could or not, he was proud of her for at least fighting for him the only way she could.

"Moving on, my dear, I can understand entirely your position however you fail to see my position. Every offence Prince Vegeta has committed was in your name, because of you. I am not meaning to say that improper advances made against you were deserved, I am simply noting that the influence of your presence in Vegeta's life was the reason for him making these poor decisions."

"Decisions to protect and spare his wife-"

"He was a warrior, a soldier!" Cold cut her off.

"I Am a warrior!" Vegeta bellowed.

"No, you were a warrior; you were the perfect warrior from what I heard until she came along," Cold snapped at him, pointing accusingly at Bulma.

"And that's my fault?" Bulma asked him, angry now and not caring. "As far as I'm concerned, all of this is your son's fault! We are all here because of him! He is the one who had my planet purged and destroyed. If he hadn't done that, I would still be living happily on my own planet, doing my own thing. I wouldn't have been taken and sold as at slave or purchased as a concubine; I wouldn't have ruined some perfect warrior's life and reputation because of a chance meeting! If that is how closed minded you are on this, then look at it from that perspective! Because if your son hadn't destroyed my planet, I am sure everything would still be as it was! Ever for one minute consider that maybe his own actions are partially to blame in all of this?"

Cold glared at her. "You are from a planet of weak beings who happened to have useful technology. It was one of your own who sought us out. Your planet had no use to us so it was destroyed. That is the way it is done. Frankly, I am surprised my son even went to your planet and handled it personally. Usually things like that were left to our many soldiers, not unlike the Saiyans. If I recall, it was none other than your precious prince who was rather efficient at purging planets. He was a great asset to my son until you came along. I wonder how you would feel about him if it had been he who had been commanding the mission to destroy your home world."

Vegeta looked down in shame. It could have been a possibility. Even though he had not been in Frieza's service, Lord Frieza would still commission the Saiyans to purge planets of his choosing for various reasons. Had he, Nappa, Raditz and Kakarott been sent to her planet they would have destroyed her along with the rest of the planet, no questions asked and he would have never known her.

Don't dwell on it, Vegeta, she said to him, picking up on his train of thought. It didn't happen that way, so it's a moot point only meant to throw me off.

I know, but it could have happened that way.

Nah, you'd gave spotted me and wouldn't have been able to stop yourself from taking me with you. She teased trying to keep him in a positive frame of mind.

"Well, it didn't happen that way and here we are," she replied boldly, closing that discussion.

"So after becoming Prince Vegeta's mate what happened then? I was under the understanding that he sent you away and my son allegedly destroyed your ship in a dramatic attempt at your life but you somehow miraculously survived? Do tell,"

"There's no "allegedly" about it, sir. Vegeta tried to send me away someplace safe and Lord Frieza destroyed the ship. If it weren't for Kakarott's quick thinking, we both would have been killed."

"Do you know why he tried to kill you?" Cold asked.

"Because he had some sick obsession with him and thought that it was me standing in his way distracting Vegeta from being his general as well as roma-" she started to reply in a snippy tone.

Do not go there! Vegeta raged at her in her mind in alarm and anger as he realized what she meant to say. That topic is off limits, you know that!

I know, but it's the truth! She argued. What if knowing about this saves you?

I do not care! He spat. It is not to be discussed. Not here, not in front of all these freaks, not ever!

But-

I said no!

Bulma looked at him in disbelief. She understood his embarrassment over what had happened and him not wanting all of these people to hear about his deepest shame, but it was such a huge reason as to why he hated Frieza as much as he had. It was a strong testimony to how vile and disgusting Frieza really had been. She understood King Cold being angry about the death of his son and wanting justice and retribution as a parent, but at what point did a parent sit back and be honest to themselves and see that their child was a horrible being and accept that maybe they had been a part of something that wasn't forgivable?

What if it was this that helped clear Vegeta's name, got him off the hook?

I do not care, you will not bring it up!

Look, Vegeta, I know it might be humiliating, but what if-

NO!

Alright, then, she sighed. I don't agree, but I will respect that if that's what you want.

"I beg your pardon?" Cold asked, looking furious.

"I am sorry, but I am not at liberty to say anything more other than maybe you didn't know your son as well as you think you did." She said icily.

"I will not have you spreading disgusting lies about my son!"

"I'm sorry, sir," Bulma sighed wanting to kick someone. "Going back to your original inquiry as to why Lord Frieza wanted me dead, I guess he and Vegeta's father felt it best if I was taken out of the picture permanently and so that was that. Vegeta was then sent back into Frieza's service and served as his new general."

"Yet you survived with Kakarott and found someplace to stay?"

"Yes," she nodded.

"Where?" he asked.

"I don't know," she shrugged elusively. "Some planet that Kakarott found."

"And how was it that you got back in touch with Vegeta?" Cold asked her. "Rumor has it that it was you and Kakarott who were the ones who caused all the problems on Bellatrix in an effort to get Vegeta's attention."

Uh ohh, she thought. "Yes, that's right."

"Are you aware of how much trouble you caused?"

"I have a pretty good idea, sir." she answered quietly.

"Do you realize that as a result of your little stunt that the economy of the entire fuel industry nearly collapsed because of the months' worth of damage you did?" Cold asked her. "Do you know how much of a financial hit we took because of that? That other planets who depended on us to supply them with fuel had to go out and purchase it from our competitors and that we ourselves had to be reduced to buying fuel from our own competitors? We are still recovering financially from that debacle!"

"Sorry?" Bulma squeaked, not having anything to say in her defense.

I told you that you were in deep shit for your activities. Vegeta said to her, shaking her head. You will be lucky you aren't executed just for that alone.

Bulma felt the blood drain from her face. She had nearly forgotten all about that. "I-I am so sorry, sir, I had no idea. At the time, it was only to draw Lord Frieza's attention to something so that he would send Vegeta to investigate and I could let him know of my survival. Until then, he had no knowledge that I lived. I acted alone and independently and I think it's important to note that I only affected low production areas, I never caused any irreparable damage, only enough to cause a delay and enough to make sure Frieza was concerned enough to send someone to investigate and I only did this until he finally sent Vegeta."

Cold glared at her as she explained her actions. "So Prince Vegeta was not in on this little scheme as a means to sabotage our empire?"

"No, Vegeta had no clue until he arrived and I approached him and explained that it was me who was doing this," she answered quickly, not wanting Vegeta to take the fall for this as well. "I had no idea the extent of the damage I was doing, I was only doing it to find my way back to Vegeta. We both left together the next day. That's why it abruptly came to an end."

"And after Prince Vegeta abandoned his post you both did what, resided happily ever after on some obscure little planet somewhere?"

"Yes, sir." She nodded.

"For how long?"

"Not sure, a month or two?" She answered, deferring to Vegeta who was still not looking at her. He was still angry with her for attempting to use his nightmares as a means of defense strategy.

"And how did it come to pass that you ended up on Frieza's ship?"

Bulma sighed and went into the story about how Yamcha had kidnapped her and brought her Frieza against her will as a means of luring Vegeta.

She told them all about Dr. Gero as well and what he had done to her mind and how it had been Frieza's every intention to enslave Vegeta, herself and their unborn child at the time.

"Once again, had Lord Frieza just left us both alone, everything would have been fine." She said. "Vegeta only acted out as he did because he was trying to protect his family; nothing more, nothing less. There was no premeditated plan to assassinate Lord Frieza."

Cold nodded at one of his men who brought up a video screen.

"See here, the brutal and inhumane way Prince Vegeta ended my son's life." Cold said to her.

The screen showed a black and white surveillance video of a white-haired Vegeta blasting Frieza to the floor and then stepping on his tail, slowly breaking the bones one by one up the length of the shaft and looking as though he were greatly savoring the moment before severing it completely. There was no audio so no one knew the content of the conversation that was taking place, much to Vegeta's relief.

You could tell, however Frieza's obvious distress over the destruction of his tail and predicament in general and the gleeful look on Vegeta's face showed how much he was unbothered over his former master's agony and helpless position.

Bulma's stomach dropped as she watched the video; never had she seen her mate look so cold and ruthless; the look on his face almost sent a chill through her bones right then and had she not known anything about Frieza or how evil and vile he really had been, she would have agreed, that this was a pretty damning piece of evidence against Vegeta and it perfectly showcased how brutal he really could be if the situation called for it.

Sitting there, however she wondered what she could say to defend Vegeta's actions now? She had nothing.

The events on the tape didn't last much longer, it looked almost as though Frieza had been begging for his life or to be released and Vegeta cocked his head to the side in amusement before blasting him altogether and finishing him once and for all.

They watched Vegeta stand there over Frieza's body for a few moments, seemingly taking in what he had just done before he blasted Frieza's head with a ki ball, ensuring that he was in fact dead for good. Cold paused the tape at that point.

"Anything to say, my dear?" he asked he calmly, knowing that there wasn't much that she could say.

"Only that if Frieza had left me alone that Vegeta wouldn't have done that," she answered.

"You honestly believe that?" Cold snorted.

"I do, yes." Bulma nodded confidently. "Vegeta wanted to simply be left alone. Had your son not made a point of going after me, Vegeta would have left him alone. Vegeta's next order of business had been to fix things with his father and return home to Vegeta-sei; Frieza wasn't even a thought until he put himself into the equation."

Liar. Vegeta snorted in her mind.

I know, but what else do you want me to say? She replied in irritation. I'm trying to help you, remember? If I say Frieza was number one on your hit list as soon as possible it's over for you, for us!

Vegeta didn't say anything and he still wouldn't look at her; he was still angry that she had attempted to use the darkest secrets of his personal life as a defense strategy. Honestly, at this point he almost didn't care about the outcome anymore.

Bulma took a deep breath in frustration with him, picking up on his thoughts of defeat; she still couldn't bring herself to not do everything she possibly could to get him out of this. "Frieza went out of his way to torment Vegeta, sir. Everyone has their breaking point. I am not at liberty to disclose certain facts, I was not present, nor is it my story to tell, but your son spent years making Vegeta's life a living hell and when he took me while pregnant, that was the breaking point.

"You are upset and angry over your son's death. As a parent, I completely understand that; so how do you think Vegeta felt when his pregnant wife was taken to be used as a slave and his son, or sons as it turned out to be, to be raised by another? Not only that, but you know as well as I do that his sentiments for his family would be exploited and used as a means to control him." She finished passionately.

Cold glared at her a moment but said nothing.

"As a parent, please be honest with yourself and put yourself in Vegeta's shoes," she pleaded. "You want justice for your son, when it was the fault of your son's actions that led to his own demise. If the roles were reversed, would you not go after and destroy someone if they had done what your son did? Obviously you would. Is that not why we are all here?"

Cold nodded silently to himself and looked from Bulma to Vegeta. "She's good," he said, addressing Vegeta.

"I know." Vegeta smirked at him, his pride in her showing despite the fact that he was still angry with her.

"I can see why you put so much faith in her," he commented, seemingly deep in thought. "Well, this has taken much longer than I had originally anticipated and I have grown weary of it. I think it best we leave things as is for today and continue on tomorrow."

Bulma nodded, she herself was feeling very drained, both emotionally and mentally.

"I think we should finish this, today!" Vegeta growled at Cold.

"You've waited this long for the outcome, what's one more day?" Cold smirked at him. "You," Cold pointed out to two androids. "Take them both to a holding cell until tomorrow morning."

Vegeta snorted in annoyance as he stood up, glaring daggers at Cold. The Bastard was doing this to him on purpose.

Bulma stood up and walked up towards Vegeta, wrapping her arm around his possessively as the two androids approached. So these are them, huh? They don't look like much, sure are pretty though.

Shut up. Vegeta sighed.

"I will have more questions for you tomorrow, my dear." Cold said as they were led out of the room.

"Yes, sir." Bulma nodded in response as they left and were taken down a different hallway than she had previously been in.

"We aren't going back into the lab?" she asked one of the Androids as they walked in a hurried pace.

"No, you are to be detained in a holding cell." It replied.

So we're going to jail then? She asked Vegeta.

He didn't reply, only looked ahead, stone faced as they walked.

It didn't take them long to make it to a cool room with cells along the wall. One of the androids opened one of the cells and indicated for Vegeta to walk in.

Thinking quickly, Bulma dragged him in with her. "We will stay together." She said to them in a tone that wasn't up for debate.

The androids shrugged, pushed Vegeta inside and locked the door behind them.

"How could you bring that up?" He asked in outrage once he knew they were alone.

"I'm so sorry, Vegeta." She said, trying to remove his cuffs. Fortunately they didn't need a key and were easily unlocked. "I wasn't thinking-"

"Clearly not!" He cut her off, tossing the cuffs on the floor and walking away from her. "Is it not bad enough that Cold is exploiting everything I have done since we have met and has mocked me as weak because of my sentiments over you that I also need to have the details of what his disgusting son did to me made public knowledge as well? Woman, anything I disclosed to you about what was done to me was done so in the strictest of confidence with the expectation that it would never again be spoken about under any circumstances."

"I know, Vegeta, I know; I'm sorry! It wasn't my intention to exploit you or embarrass you, but to defend you," she explained, sliding down the wall and sitting down. "Cold isn't being fair in this trial against you, so I am using everything in my arsenal to discredit Frieza and make you look better."

"By making me out to be a weak, defenseless victim!?" He shouted. "How is that better?"

"I understand how you could feel that way, but-"

"The hell you do!" He snarled. "What would you understand about having someone-" he couldn't bring himself to finish the sentence.

Bulma clenched her teeth and nodded silently as she put her hand on her mouth. If she opened it up to say anything to him, she would end up telling him about his father and right now was not the time. However she did relate to his expressed anger at her for even considering mentioning such a thing; she was still so disgusted and shamed by what had taken place with his father that she didn't want anyone to ever know about it; Vegeta especially. Fortunately anyone who knew about that was dead so she could hopefully keep it to herself for the rest of her days.

"You're right," she whispered once she felt confident she wouldn't blurt out her own experience, even if it was in her own defense. She couldn't do that to him right now. "I'm sorry, I should have thought of how you would feel about it before mentioning it."

His back was to her but she could see his jaw pulsing still in agitation.

"I don't want to fight with you, Vegeta; not right now." She said pleadingly as she stood up and wrapped her arms around his waist from behind and hugged him. Her heart sank as she felt him tense up at the contact and she knew he was withdrawing from her. While she understood, considering the circumstances, that didn't make it hurt any less.

Vegeta sighed heavily and laced his fingers with hers that were wrapped around his waist. I need to distance myself if I am to remain strong.

But I need you if I'm going to be strong,

She said, hugging him tighter and resting her cheek on his back for a moment, just happy to be able to physically touch him. "You're cold," she murmured to him, letting go and walking in front of him.

Vegeta placed both his hands on either side of her face and looked at her so intensely she almost lost herself in the dark pits of his eyes as she stared right back at him, reading the carefully concealed emotions that were brewing like a storm he was trying so hard to contain.

He opened his mouth and then closed it as though had been about to say something but then couldn't. What could he say to her?

She closed the gap between them and kissed him; chastely at first and when he responded to her, he pulled her close to him and kissed her within an inch of her life with such a fiery passion, it threatened to consume them both in that moment.

As her arms wound around his neck and she kissed him back with everything she had, she felt him slowly begin to drop his mental wall he had so carefully kept up so she would not see and feel everything that was running through his mind.

Feeling brave, she delved into the bond, trying to see and feel everything he had kept from her ever since this whole nightmare began.

He balked a moment at her deliberate intrusion into his thoughts but instead of closing himself off to her, he let her in. What if this was their last real moment together? He did not want to leave her permanently without her knowing how he truly felt.

Don't think that way. She said to him.

He took a few steps back until his back was against the wall and he slid down the length of it, taking her down with him, his lips never breaking from hers.

She nestled herself in his lap, straddling his hips, kissing him back hungrily, urgently, not holding anything back from him.

Stop blaming yourself, she said to him, pulling away so she could look him in the eye. You're not a fortune teller. You did everything you could have done to win this and you went over and above in your attempt to keep us safe. It was me who dropped the ball on that. Not you.

He frowned lightly at her and cupped the left side of her face with his hand as he looked at her. She looked tired and worn down but her eyes shone back brightly at him reflecting nothing other than love and sorrow in their blue depths. He knew it was horribly selfish, but in that moment he was glad she was here with him.

"It's not selfish. I'm scared to death but I'm glad I'm here if things go bad for you." She said out loud. "If this is it and I was someplace else, this is still where I'd want to be."

He shook his head at her. "Stupid woman," he mumbled, leaning in to kiss her again.

Bulma was overwhelmed as he unleashed a torrent of emotions onto her right then. What he could not put into words, he sent to her through the bond and it hurt, god did it hurt and she understood why he had kept himself closed off from her in an effort to shelter her.

As she kissed him back hungrily and mentally pushed her mind deeper into his, she saw it and felt it; he was absolutely petrified for what may happen to her if he was gone. He knew she needed him as much as he needed her in order to make it through hardships. He was worried about the boys too, but it was different. It wasn't fear for their lives, it was more dread and sadness in that they wouldn't grow up the way he would have liked. Yes, it grieved him but he knew ultimately they would be alright. It was her he was afraid for. Even if he could not physically protect her, at least if he was here, he could be an emotional support to her. Whatever may happen, she could see it through with him at her side, if not physically then mentally.

Thoughts of Jeyice flashed through his mind and feelings of rage and fear for her washed over him. He knew the orange skinned man had his eye on her and this deeply disturbed him.

I wouldn't want you privy to that if it happens, she said, ending their kiss and leaning into him to rest her head on his shoulder. Hopefully he'll be sent out on missions and be too busy to remember that I'm here.

Not likely, he sighed. You heard how much everyone detests me. Most of them would jump on any available opportunity to do harm to you or Trunks for no other reason than to hurt me.

Let's hope they don't, was all she could say even though she knew he was probably right. She put aside her own fears for her wellbeing as she tightened her grip around him and buried her face in his shoulder.

They both clung to each other tightly, not speaking anymore about what couldn't be changed and what may or may not happen. For right now they were together and that was all that mattered.

Vegeta closed his eyes and took in her scent as he wrapped his tail around her waist and gently caressed her sides and back with his hands comfortingly reveling in having her close to him again where he could pretend for the moment that he could still protect her from any and all harm.

Neither of them slept despite how tired and drained they were. They simply held each other close taking comfort from each other's company.



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