A Life: Part One
Vegeta stared out into the night, his arms crossed over his chest and the perpetual scowl on his face. Behind him, Trunks and Bulma were having one of their many arguments over the boy’s chores. He had to admit that he agreed with the boy—he’d already taken out the garbage that day and the last argument had Bulma agreeing that Trunks could either take out the garbage or wash the dishes—but Trunks’ idea of persuasion was yelling at the top of his lungs and Bulma was responding in kind. All three of them were too much alike and their favorite mode of discussion was arguing, but to each family their own. Normally, Vegeta did not let it bother him too much, but this night he could not help wanting to blast them into oblivion if not just for a moment’s silence.
“SHUT UP, BOTH OF YOU!” he yelled, whirling on them and the air around them crackling with power.
Trunks and Bulma stopped arguing and looked at them. He glared back at them.
They resumed as if he had not said anything.
Growling, Vegeta took off into the night sky, their loud voices fading into the background, and he wondered how he got himself into this mess. He was a Saiyajin prince, he could have had a whole planet doing his every whim, but instead he was being supported by a shrill and shrewish woman and father to a spoiled brat. He had come to Earth with the intention of conquering it and ruling over it as he would have had his own planet not been destroyed by that monster Freeza, but that idiot Kakarot had to foil his plans. It still made Vegeta’s blood boil when he thought of that peasant, his good fortune, and his limitless strength. Kakarot may be gone, but Vegeta would forever seek to surpass his powers. Angrily, he knew that was all he had left of the warrior he once was. For here he was stuck on Earth with no kingdom, no minions, but at least he was more physically powerful than he could have ever imagined—a small concession in a life that he had not expected.
It had been over a decade, he cringed as he did the calculations, since he began living with the woman. A little less since they shared the same bed. The last thing he had wanted was to get involved with an Earthling, but Bulma had proved herself tougher than most. She was mouthy and opinionated, and they fought about as often as she blinked her big blue eyes in one day, but despite threatening to leave and her threatening to kick him out, Vegeta remained under her roof. When she was quiet, when it was just the two of them in the dark, he never thought he could care about someone as much as he did her. Though he would never say it and she had never said anything hinting at what she really felt. But he knew. When she curled up against him, her head pillowed on his shoulder, he knew.
Then, there was the boy.
Trunks was just like him, Vegeta was proud to note more than once. Imperious, arrogant, and self-involved, the lavender haired boy could irritate him more than his mother ever could. With his light blue eyes and purple hair, he could not look any less like a Saiyajin, until he powered up and fought as well as his father and friends when he had to. It had angered Vegeta at first that the son was quickly surpassing father but then he found that he was proud. Trunks was more than a little proud himself. More than once, Vegeta was tempted to punch the child through a wall to teach him some humility like his father did to him, but then he reminded himself that the boy was a Saiyajin prince in his own right, thus he could throw his weight around as much as he wanted. Grudgingly, Vegeta also noted that Trunks was the only beneficiary of the empire that his grandfather created and his mother now ran—he was a prince of the Earth as well.
Between the boy and the woman, he wondered when he started to go soft and forget what being a warrior meant. This was not the man he had planned to be and he was not sure if he wanted to remain in this position. His days were filled with pointless training, training for a fight against a foe who would probably never return. Gohan was the only one close enough to be considered a worthy adversary, but Vegeta would not get caught sparring with a young boy. Trunks, though powerful for his age, was not yet up to par. A Saiyajin was not supposed to be an idle househusband or a doting father; this was not his destiny. This life was too banal, too ordinary…too pointless. Vegeta had always been a doer, but the past few years, he’d let himself to be satisfied with what he had. The words of his father echoed in his head;
A warrior does not settle for satisfaction. He settles for everything.
Frustration boiled up inside Vegeta and he powered up. Kicking up his speed, he plunged into the waters beneath him and steam rose up as he cut through the waves. The cold water quickly warmed against him as he moved with lightning speed as he tried to cool his temper, but when he came up for air, he was angrier.
This was not how it was supposed to be.
Vegeta set his feet down on the beach. Dripping wet, he powered up briefly to dry himself off. He was breathing hard, not from the physical exertion but from his own emotions. He sat down, his arms resting on his bent knees, and he watched the waves ebb and flow.
This was not how it was supposed to be.
Bulma was beginning to worry. Vegeta had disappeared the night before but she was used to his temper tantrums and usually when she woke the next day, he was right next to her. Sometimes covered in mud, other times in sand, but he was always there. When she woke alone in their bed that morning, a knot had formed in her gut.
She was cooking breakfast, and burning it worse than usual, when Trunks appeared in the kitchen, bleary eyed. His fine straight hair was tangled and stuck out on one side, but all it took was a hand to smooth it all down. Bulma smiled at her little boy, but that smile quickly turned into a frown when she saw how much he looked like his father—especially when he scowled. Trunks yawned as he sat down, slowly waking up. Then, he realized it was just the two of them.
“Where’s Dad?” he asked, his father’s scowl already fixed on his face.
Bulma scraped eggs from the pan onto his plate. “I don’t know. He must be on a training trip or something.”
“He didn’t say goodbye,” Trunks pouted as he scraped off the burnt . “He should have at least asked me to come.”
“You know how your father is.”
Trunks grew sullen, another trait Bulma wished he hadn’t picked up from Vegeta.
“Yeah, I know,” he muttered.
She ruffled his hair tenderly and turned away so that he would not see the worried expression on her face. She looked out the window, as if willing Vegeta to come streaking across the sky…but it remained stubbornly clear.
“Idiot…don’t do anything stupid,” she mumbled to herself.
An entire week went by and there was no word from the Saiyajin prince. Bulma called him every name in the book as she tried to focus on her work, but usually ended up imagining Vegeta trapped under a rock slide or drowning in a whirlpool or worse…in the arms of another woman. That particular thought made her throw her pliers across the room. She wanted to talk to him so badly, wanted to share her news with someone, but his disappearance ensured her silence. Trunks would have a younger brother or sister soon and instead of being ecstatic about it, Bulma had never felt worse. When day eight hit, Bulma slammed her hands down on her worktable and marched to the phone.
“Gohan,” she barked when the young scholar picked up.
“Y-yes, Bulma?” Gohan said, surprised at her tone.
“Do you know where Vegeta went?”
“Uh…he went somewhere?”
Bulma hung up without explaining. She wished, not for the first time, that Goku was around because he would be able to draw Vegeta out quickly. She had always known that keeping him at her side would be a challenge, but she thought it was a challenge she would meet for the rest of her life. She thought they had been happy, at least as happy as Vegeta could be, but she also knew that deep down, he was still the arrogant would-be conqueror who sought glory above all else. Family man, he was not. His treatment of his only son proved that, though Trunks did not hold anything against his father. It hurt Bulma that the young boy had put Vegeta on such a pedestal and she wished she had the foresight to steer her son down another direction. It was too late now, the damage had been done.
The knot that had formed in her gut the day after he left had tightened until she could hardly eat because no matter how hard she tried, she could not banish the one thought that was floating around in her head.
He was not coming back.
Vegeta had turned around more than once and found himself on the way back home before he corrected himself. The past two weeks had been like the old days, wandering around and picking fights when he could without any thought to the consequences. He slept where he found shelter and when he needed a bath, he simply found a lake or river to bathe in. It was not the perfumed baths he used to enjoy on Planet Vegeta, but he did it when he wanted, where he wanted. There was no Bulma telling him to take a shower before dinner or else she would not serve him. He had never felt more free…
…or more alone.
When in the middle of Trunks and Bulma’s countless fights, he had wanted nothing more than silence and solitude; without them, he craved the sound of their voices, even if they rose in argument. He had difficulty falling asleep the first night because he realized he had gotten used to having her warmth at his side, even though sometimes he pushed her to her side of the bed when he did not feel like cuddling. He found himself wondering if the boy was keeping up with his training in the gravity room even though his father was not there.
Unable to help himself, he flew to the top of a building that allowed him to take a look at the domed headquarters of Capsule Corp. The lights were on and never looked more welcoming, but to his surprise, it was quiet. His sensitive hearing picked up Bulma’s and Trunks’ voices in the kitchen, but they were talking normally, not fighting for once. They talked about their days, what Trunks wanted to buy for school which was starting in a week’s time, and not once did they mention him. Annoyed, he felt stupid for thinking that they would miss his presence. Vegeta turned, his arms crossed.
Then…the boy asked where his father was. Vegeta looked over his shoulder, his eyes finding the kitchen window, as he listened to Bulma stutter a response. He could hear the pain in her voice and the forced cheerfulness as she explained that Vegeta was still on a training mission. Trunks sounded sullen when he responded but Vegeta had heard all he needed to.
“Good…I like it better when it’s just the two of us,” Trunks said defiantly.
Bulma did not say anything but her sigh spoke volumes.
Flying away, he shut his ears to them and tried to decide what he wanted to do. He could not say that the boy’s words did not cause him some pain, but the calculating part of his mind considered Trunks’ words. From what he had seen, the woman and the boy had seemed to settle into a routine since he had left. There were fewer arguments, but also fewer words between them. They were…peaceful. He wondered if perhaps it was better when it was just the two of them.
The cool night air ruffled his hair and he slowed, an ache in his chest. He wondered if the disease that had had once threatened to kill Kakarot had been passed to him. When he didn’t fall to his death, he flew on stubbornly. Earth was a large world and he could easily lose himself in its lands. He did not know where he was going but knew one thing was for certain—he needed to get as far away from Capsule Corp. as possible.
This was his time. He would become the warrior he once was. It was better for everybody.