The paper crunched in Trunksí grip as his hand tightened spastically, his face whitening as his vision darkened, then swam back into focus. Panic clawed at his throat as a sick feeling built in his stomach.

"Oh my God, please...." Horrified, he rushed out of the room and down the stairs, tripping on the last step in his haste and falling to his knees. Scrambling back to his feet, he dashed outside and thrust himself into the air, his breathing loud and terrified in his ears.

Father, what have you done?!

Trunksí hands curled into fists, the blood fleeing from his knuckles as he flew, pushing all of his energy into speed. The tears that were spilling unnoticed from his eyes dried on his cheeks almost before they had a chance to fall, and a weak, trembly feeling had invaded his body.

"Oh God, please.... Please donít let him do this," he whispered.

He wanted to scream, or sob, or tear his hair out, something to release the horrible fear that kept building in him.

Oh my God, what will I do if heís dead? Father, please...

A short, anguished sob was wrenched from his throat as his mind replayed the words from his fatherís letter, lingering painfully over two in particular. Love, Vejiita.

Trunks wrapped his arms around his chest as he continued to weep, the wind throwing his lavender hair into his eyes.

Oh Father, Iím so sorry...


Goku stepped out of the shower, dripping, and winced a little at the movement of his body. He had been the victor in his fight with Vejiita, true, but the Saiya-jin prince had certainly done his share of damage.

He pulled his towel from the rack and slowly dried himself off, then stood in front of the mirror, studying the darkening bruises on his ribcage and face, as well as the many cuts and scratches. He frowned, lightly running his fingers over the bruise on his ribs, remembering how Vejiita had attacked him. The prince had wanted to make him angry. And he had succeeded. Goku hadnít wanted to fight him, but that had only served to further enrage the prince, pushing him to goad Goku into attacking seriously.

Something about the way Vejiita had fought today bothered him. There had been an air of desperation to the princeís attacks that left him uneasy. And then, towards the end, it had almost seemed like Vejiita had wanted him to hurt him.

Shaking his head, Goku turned away from the mirror and pulled on a pair of his loose-fitting orange pants, tying a blue belt around his waist and then padding out of the bathroom, not bothering to put on socks or a shirt. He walked into the kitchen to get something to drink and found Gohan seated at his kitchen table, his brow furrowed as he tapped a pencil against the paper in front of him.

"Gohan," he said, raising an eyebrow as he continued on his way to the fridge, "What are you doing here?"

His son looked up at him and smiled. He shrugged. "I just havenít seen you and Goten for a while, and I thought Iíd stop in and say hi."

Goku nodded, pouring himself a glass of orange juice. It wasnít unusual for his son to let

himself in when he visited.

"How are Videl and Pan?" he asked, returning to the table and sitting down across from Gohan.

"Theyíre good," his son replied, another smile creeping across his lips, "Videlís pregnant again."

Goku looked at him in surprise, then grinned. "Really?" He laughed. "Good for you, congratulations."

Gohan nodded, looking pleased.

"Do you know if itís a boy or a girl yet?"

Gohan drummed his fingers on the table. "Iím pretty sure itís a boy, but itís still too early to tell for certain."

"And whatís Pan up to?" Goku questioned, interested to know what his grand-daughter was doing. "Is she still training?"

Gohan nodded, grimacing. "Like a madwoman. Sheís got her sights set on Trunks, you know, and sheís gotten it into her head that the best way to make him notice her is to be at least as strong as he is."

Goku laughed, leaning back in his chair. "Sheíll have to work hard to catch up with Trunks. Sheís got a long way to go before sheíll have a chance of becoming a Super Saiya-jin."

Gohan smiled, his brow furrowing slightly. "I wonder if thereís ever been a female Super Saiya-jin? Maybe itís not even possible for Pan, sheís three quarters human, you know."

Goku nodded, absently spinning his glass on the table. "But then, Trunks and Goten are half human, and they became Super Saiya-jins even before they became teenagers. And look at you," Goku grinned at his son, "Youíre half human and youíre the most powerful warrior alive."

Gohan grunted. "Not me. In terms of sheer ki, maybe, but I donít have the desire to fight like you do, or even like Goten and Trunks. Without that kind of drive Iíll never be the greatest warrior. Itís just not important to me."

Gohanís eyes ran down his fatherís face and chest, observing the bruising and scratches. "Iíd come here to see if you wanted to spar, though, since I havenít done it for a while. Iíd just like to see how I hold up against you now. But it looks like youíve already had a pretty rough session today."

Goku grimaced in agreement, tipping his head back to finish off the last of his juice.

His son grinned slightly. "Vejiita, Iím guessing?"

Goku nodded, frowning a little as his thoughts returned to the Saiya-jin prince. He was worried about him. "Heís made it to Super Saiya-jin level three," he commented absently.

Gohan looked at him in surprise. "Oh really? What-"

His words were suddenly cut off as the door slammed open and Trunks burst into the house, his lavender hair hanging in wild tangles around his face and his blue eyes wide and panicked.

Goku and Gohan both got to their feet, and Goku felt apprehension tightening his chest as he took several steps toward Vejiitaís son. "Trunks, whatís wrong?"

The boy moved forward unsteadily, raising hands that were visibly shaking to either side of his head as if trying to hold himself together. "M-m-my f-fa... my- V-Vejiita, he-heís-"

Goku felt himself tense involuntarily, and he reached out, gripping Trunksí shoulders and shaking him gently. "Trunks! Calm down and tell us whatís happened!"

Wordlessly, Trunks extended his hand, and Goku noticed the crumpled paper he had been clutching in a death-grip.

Carefully extracting it from the boyís fingers, Goku smoothed it out and began to read, his eyes racing over the paper. It seemed as though the blood in his veins suddenly turned to ice as terror gripped his heart.

He looked at Trunks, wide-eyed.

"Fuck!" he exploded suddenly, and both Gohan and Trunks stared at him. Goku had never used that word before in his life. Then Trunks sagged against the wall, closing his eyes.

"Itís my fault," he whispered, his voice wracked with pain.

"What the hellís going on?!" Gohan broke in, raising his voice.

Goku shoved the letter at him in response, slapping the paper against his sonís chest.

"Itís not your fault, Trunks," he said sharply, "God dammit, I should have seen this, I knew something was wrong!"

His face hardening in determination, he stepped around Trunks, heading for the door. "Iím going to find him."

"You canít," Trunks whispered. "Heís shielding his ki. Or heís already dead. I stretched my senses as far as I could go coming over here. I canít find him!"

"Heís not dead," Goku denied, refusing to believe it, "And I can find him. Vejiita and I have always had a bond as Saiya-jins, and after we became Vegetto it only strengthened. Donít come with me!" he said sharply as Trunks and Gohan stepped toward him. "The last thing we want is to push him over the edge. I need to talk to him one on one."

Trunks crumpled to the floor, leaning brokenly against the wall. "Find him, Goku, stop him, please...."

"I will," Goku replied, turning and sprinting out the door. He blasted into the sky as soon as his feet hit the grass outside, the air around him rippling with aftershocks at the force of his passage. He immediately stretched out with his senses, trying with all of his might to locate the familiar ki that belonged to Vejiita. He could feel nothing, distinguish nothing from amidst the chaotic rush of spirits that filled the world. Cursing, he wildly tried to extend himself further, only to have his mind whirl into vertigo. He veered drunkenly in his course, hastily retreating back into his own mind and waiting for the feeling to pass.

Closing his eyes, he forced himself to calm, to push down the panic that was threatening to overwhelm him. He could only do this if his mind was clear. When he felt a kind of lull inside of him, a brief space of quiet peace, he slowly extended his senses once again, stretching, pushing himself to his very limits. His face twisted in pained concentration as the ki of the whole world flooded his senses, all the humans going about their daily lives. It was overwhelming, stunning, and it threatened to crush him with its complexity. No! He had to sort through it, ignore it, overcome it and find him.

Sweat slicked his forehead as he flew, his breathing becoming labored as he struggled to find the ki he sought.

Vejiita, you canít be dead. You cannot have done this. I will not let you take your own life!

What could the other Saiya-jin be thinking? Goku wondered despairingly. He had so much to live for. Didnít he understand what this would do to Trunks?

Donít you understand, his thoughts continued, almost of their own violition, Donít you understand.... what this will do to me?

Goku swallowed, feeling tears begin to burn his eyes. He cared so much. Didnít Vejiita see that? Maybe he cared too much. It was so easy for Vejiita to hurt him. A careless word, a derogatory remark, an impulsive gesture. He would pretend they didnít affect him, but inside they tore him apart. They hurt because he cared. He cared about Vejiita and he cared what Vejiita thought of him. Because, he admitted painfully, he wanted Vejiita to care about him too.

Over the years, he had gradually grown closer to the Saiya-jin prince, until he couldnít imagine life without him. When Chi Chi had died, it had somehow been Vejiita who had comforted him the most, and Goku had seen in Vejiita a mirroring need for understanding. Whatever anyone else may have thought, Goku knew that Vejiita had cared about Bulma, and that her death had shaken him. He did not know the depth of the princeís feelings, but there was something there, and they were tied together by their grief. A tenuous bond had formed then, that of friends and companions, at least on Gokuís part. He had felt drawn to Vejiita, starting to enjoy the time they spent together more and more. Even though it hurt. It hurt when Vejiita belittled and mocked him. Somehow, despite his small stature, the prince had managed to look down his nose at him, and despite the fact that Goku could defeat him in combat, something about the forceful Saiya-jin was almost intimidating to him. But as they spent more time together, Goku began to feel that Vejiita might have accepted him as a friend, or at least a comrade, if nothing else. And, he realized, ever so quietly, Vejiita had replaced Chi Chi in his heart.

As he finally came face to face with the truth, Goku gasped, his eyes widening in his desperate flight. Vejiita... How had this happened? How could...? He... He was...

Now he closed his eyes and forced himself to let the words come. He was in love with Vejiita.

The words brought with them a rush of relief and fear and a thousand complications, but he had no time to think about it. Because, at precisely that moment, off to the northeast, as the sky deepened into twilight, his senses fixed on a familiar ki.


Vejiita stood near the edge of a rocky dropoff, tall, quiet trees rising high above him as he gazed at the sky. The sun was almost below the horizon. It was almost time to end this mockery called life.

He didnít know why he had felt compelled to wait for the night, but it did not seem right that he should die in the sunlight. He was, after all, a creature of darkness, he thought with a sarcastic smirk. The smile immediately faded, though, and he was left to wonder at the ruinous turns his life had taken. How had it happened that he, who was meant to be the king of an entire world, was left homeless, friendless, a refugee on an alien planet and allowed to remain only at the sufferance of one of his own subjects? Allowed to remain only as long as Kakarrot saw fit.

Bitter tears built in his eyes, and he cursed himself for his weakness. Cursed himself for allowing Kakarrot to make him weep. He had tried so hard to match the other Saiya-jin, to better him, but he could not, because...

He gritted his teeth, the admission crushing him.

Because Kakarrot was better. He was stronger. He always would be.

Vejiita closed his eyes against the pain, against the knowledge that he would never do what he was meant to do, never be what he was meant to be. He had wanted to show the universe that he was Vejiita no Ouji, the strongest Saiya-jin who had ever lived. That he could not be defeated. But he wasnít, and he could be.

There was nothing left for him to live for.

His people were gone, his planet destroyed. His son was an adult who was better off without him. His Ďfriendsí would surely be glad to see him go. They had never really considered him one of them anyway. Maybe he hadnít either.

He looked blankly toward the sinking sun. Kakarrot would be the last of the Saiya-jins. That stupid fool that he hated so much.

He closed his eyes again. I need him so much.

The contradiction was painful. Hate and need intertwined so closely. He hated Kakarrot for his strength, for his goodness. He hated him because he was stronger, and because, being stronger, he allowed Vejiita to live. But he needed him for the same reasons. And he hated the fact that he needed him. He didnít want to need him. But he did.

"God damn you to hell, Kakarrot," he whispered painfully, bowing his head. "I hate you for doing this to me."

He couldnít go on living like this. Needing someone who had beaten him, crushed him into the dirt so many times he no longer had the will to rise. And Kakarrot didnít even know. He had no idea how he had hurt him.

But I hurt you worse, didnít I, Kakarrot? he thought, not opening his eyes. I wanted to hurt you. And more, I wanted to break you, as I was broken, so that I wouldnít be the only one. And I did hurt you. I succeeded and caused you pain. But once I did, I was sorry. I didnít want to break you anymore. Instead, without realizing it, I let you break me. You made me look at myself, and I hate you for it. It hurts. Youíve made me care. Caring, it hurts so much worse than anything else. Especially when no one cares back.

Vejiita didnít even realize that his tears were dripping onto the grass at his feet.

But I have made this bed for myself. There is no one else to blame. Somehow I wish that I could have gone another way. But it doesnít matter anymore.

He sighed as the sun slipped completely beneath the horizon.

Iím tired of caring.


The wind whipped through Gokuís black hair and made his eyes water as he threw himself to the northeast, using everything he had to get there quickly. He kept his senses locked in desperate hope on that small, shielded ki, hardly noticing when the land ended and he began flying over the ocean. He cursed as the sun fell below the horizon, straining for more energy to put into his speed. Then he was coming up on an island completely covered in forest and entirely undeveloped. Vejiitaís ki was radiating from that point.

Taking a deep, unsteady breath, he slowed, focusing on keeping his ki hidden. He didnít want to alarm Vejiita before he had to, startling him into doing something stupid. Swooping down low, he flew just above the treetops until he was almost exactly above the spot where he felt Vejiitaís ki. Quietly, he slipped through the trees, descending until he alighted softly on the ground. He raised his head, dark eyes turning a little to his left.

Vejiita stood with his back to him.

Goku felt his heart tighten in relief and fear. He swept his gaze over the princeís form, clad entirely in black but for the white of his gloves and boots. At that moment his mind informed him, absurdly, that he was only wearing his orange gi pants, without either a shirt or shoes. Frowning, he brushed the thought aside, then froze as a glimmer of light from the rising moon reflected off something in Vejiitaís hand. Taking a silent step forward, he looked closely, his throat tightening in apprehension.

In Vejiitaís gloved hand gleamed a long, wickedly curved knife, glinting coldly. Itís blade was wide, with sharp, serrated edges on both sides. There were several artistic, strategically placed gaps in the metal, giving the weapon the affect of being a frozen flame. The handle, from what he could see of it, was made of some type of bone, worn smooth and dyed to a perfect ebony finish. The immediate impression was that of deadly beauty.

"I thought it was suitably ironic," Vejiitaís voice came out of the night, and Goku nearly shook his head at himself for ever believing Vejiita didnít know he was there.

After a moment the prince turned toward him, his black eyes unreadable in the darkness. He flipped the knife in his hand into the air, letting it spin half-way before catching it again, this time gripping the blade. He held it up for Goku to look at.

"This knife," he said, his voice so soft it was almost frightening, "has belonged to the royal family of Vejiitasai for generations." He flipped it around again, holding the blade forward into a stray beam of moonlight so Goku could see it better. "It is used to complete a princeís accession to the throne. This knife makes kings.... All it takes is a simple cut, right here." Raising the knife, he lightly tapped the blade against the soft skin at the hollow of his throat. Goku fought to suppress a wince. "Once the new king is crowned, and bears an heir, the knife passes out of his hands, first to a caretaker for safekeeping, and then, once he is old enough, to the prince, who will hold it until the time of his own coronation. For a commoner to touch it is punishable by death." Vejiita gazed blankly at the knife in his hand, slowly turning it over in his palm. After several long moments he spoke again, and his voice was a whisper. "There will be no more kings of Vejiitasai."

Goku swallowed, wondering at the pain Vejiita must be feeling. He himself had no memory of their world, there was nothing for him to miss or mourn for. But Vejiita.... He was meant to be King. And now he really was the last true Saiya-jin. Certainly Gokuís blood was entirely Saiya-jin, but his heart and mind were human, he knew nothing of his true heritage other than what he had learned from Vejiita.

Vejiita was the last of his kind. He was alone in the universe.

Gokuís throat ached so badly he longed for the release of tears, but Vejiita would only scorn him for it. Right now he needed to listen.

The prince once more turned the knife in his palm. "And so I thought it was fitting that this knife, which has made all the kings of the past, should unmake this one." He once more touched the knife to the hollow of his throat, then slowly trailed the tip down, over his chest, and a little to the left, so it rested against the depression marking one of the spaces between his ribs, directly over his heart.

Goku stepped forward, his hand rising in a warding gesture as his eyes widened in horror.

"I might have wished for a nobler end," Vejiita continued, his voice inflectionless, "a warriorís death, but this path is really most appropriate for me. A pathetic weakling, a failure my whole life, I deserve no better than a cowardís death."

Goku moved toward him again, his expression pleading. "No, Vejiita, donít... Youíre not a coward. You are the bravest person I know, one of the greatest warriors in the universe. Donít do this..."

Vejiita looked at him for long moments, not moving, the knife still pressed to his breast. Then he said quietly, his voice strained. "Go away, Kakarrot. Donít trouble yourself to try and

save me. Your conscience will be clear, you can go home free of guilt. This is entirely my own choice, you play no part in it."

Gokuís teeth clenched together. "Do you think thatís why I came, here, you idiot? Because I didnít want your death on my conscience?! The thought never even crossed my mind. I didnít come to stop you so I could feel good about myself, Vejiita!"

Vejiita didnít respond for a moment. Then he shrugged. "There is nothing for me to live for. The more I think about it, I realize there never has been. My life has been pointless, a desperate search for something that was never real to begin with. Iím done chasing dreams, Kakarrot. And..." His voice suddenly changed timber as he switched to the guttural language of Saiyago. "Tash et kundah nandak farshan ken nand virsh rahíshalt kanzan. ĎIt is better to be dead than to live without honor.í"

Goku stepped toward him again, but didnít dare press him too far for fear of what he might do. "Without honor?! What does your honor have to do with any of this?! Thatís a load of shit and you know it! Iím not saying that honor means nothing to you, but I canít believe that honor alone would bring you to this. And your honor has never been in question, at least in my sight. Thatís not the real reason behind this."

For a moment the blank mask Vejiita was wearing flickered, revealing dark eyes immersed in pain, and, trembling behind that, something that almost seemed to be fear.

"Go away, Kakarrot," he whispered again, his voice rasping slightly.

Goku chose that moment to act, stepping forward quickly and extending his hand to take the knife. But, even in his distraction, Vejiita could not be taken by surprise, and faster than thought the knife was pressed to Gokuís throat.

Goku blinked, surprised at how the situation had changed. He looked down into Vejiitaís black eyes, which were again carefully blank, gazing back at him coldly.

"Do not get in my way, Kakarrot. Leave me alone and let me finish this. Go back to your family and forget about me."

"And what about Trunks?" Goku whispered, fighting the urge to pull Vejiita into his arms.

"What?" Vejiita asked.

"What will he do? What do you think it will do to him when he finds out youíve killed yourself?"

Vejiita swallowed. "The boy..." He swallowed again. "The boy hates me, Kakarrot. He has every right to. He will probably be relieved that I am gone."

Goku frowned at him. "Why would you think that Trunks hates you?"

Vejiitaís jaw tightened. "I as much as abandoned him in his childhood, Kakarrot, whatever you might say about me taking care of him. I was not the kind of father he needed. I hurt him by neglect."

"Vejiita, Trunks was angry, he said things he didnít mean. And I know you made mistakes. But," he softened his voice, "youíre his father. He loves you, Vejiita, it isnít too late."

"Be quiet!" Vejiita hissed, and Goku felt the pressure of the knife against his neck increase just slightly. "The boy doesnít care about me, no one does. Now get out of here and let me do this."

Goku didnít move. "Youíll have to kill me first," he whispered.

Vejiitaís dark eyes widened very slightly before he covered the reaction. For long moments the two Saiya-jins stared at each other, neither blinking. Then Vejiita growled and pressed the knife inward.

Goku gasped slightly as he felt the point of the blade slice into his neck, making a very shallow cut against the softness of his throat, but he refused to move back from the pain, standing very still. He did not look away from Vejiita. Warm wetness slid slowly down his neck as blood leaked out of the wound, pooling slightly in the hollow of his throat. He winced as the knife point shivered jerkily against his neck, and a moment later realized that Vejiita was trembling.

"Just kill me, Vejiita," he whispered. "Youíve struggled for this for so long. If you really want to kill yourself, you have to kill me first."

The blood slid from his throat, trailing warmly down his chest, leaving a wet path of crimson. Vejiita bowed his head for a moment, though he didnít move the knife.

"God damn you, Kakarrot!" he half-sobbed, his voice harsh with tears.

"Donít do this, Vejiita," Goku said quietly, "Thereís another way. Donít end it like this."

Vejiitaís head lifted and he glared at Goku, his angry eyes shining with tears. "Iíll kill you, you fool!" he hissed, his hand tightening on the knife.

Goku carefully extended his hands to the side in a defenseless gesture. "If thatís what you have to do, then do it," he whispered.

For long moments there was silence, Vejiita holding the knife to Gokuís neck with shaking hands. Then, very slowly, Goku brought his hands forward, resting his palms against Vejiitaís forearms. Vejiita didnít move. Gradually, Gokuís hands slid upward until he was gently grasping Vejiitaís wrists. Holding him firmly, he drew the princeís hands down, away from his throat, meeting no resistance.

Vejiita stood with his head down, his arms hanging limply by his sides, the knife grasped loosely in his fingers. Carefully, Goku extracted the weapon from his grip, closing his eyes briefly in relief and thanking God.

For long minutes Vejiita was still and silent, not moving from his position or looking away from the ground. Then his hand came up to cover his eyes, the other supporting his elbow, and an odd noise came from him that Goku recognized as a painfully stifled sob.

He couldnít stop himself. Vejiitaís agony hurt too much and, reaching out, he pulled the smaller man into his arms, holding him against his chest, one hand cradling Vejiitaís nape, the other wrapped around his back. The prince was trembling and he held him tighter, closing his eyes as he unconsciously began to sway back and forth, as though he were rocking a small child. Vejiita sobbed in his arms, crumpled limply against his chest.

"I canít," he gasped, his words barely intelligible through his tears, "I canít... canít do this anymore...."

"Yes, you can," he murmered back, pressing his cheek to his princeís hair. "You have so much to live for, Vejiita. Donít give up."

Vejiita shook his head and struggled briefly before collapsing again. "I canít stand... to look at myself," he wept, his tears hot and moist against Gokuís skin. "God!" he screamed suddenly, his head tipping backward as he howled at the night sky, "How could this have happened to me?! How could I have let it happen?! How could he have let it happen?!"

He slammed his fist against Gokuís chest, and Goku grimaced slightly but said nothing.

"Why are you holding me, Kakarrot!" he yelled in his face, pushing against him. "Does it amuse you to see me like this?! I am not weak!" he roared, fighting Gokuís grip.

"I know youíre not weak, Vejiita!" Goku said, raising his voice to get through to the other Saiya-jin.

"God, if only Iíd killed you that day we first fought!" Vejiita cried. "Iíd still be as

miserable and worthless as I am now, but at least I wouldnít know it! I wouldnít see it! I wouldnít have known what I was missing!"

Suddenly all fight went out of him and he sagged in Gokuís arms, not even holding himself up. Goku tightened his grip to keep Vejiita from dropping to the ground, pressing the other Saiya-jinís body against him. "Let me die, Kakarrot," Vejiita whispered, staring dully at nothing. "Iím so tired of everything. It isnít enough just to train every day, to try to be the strongest when I know I never will be. How can I go on living everyday with nothing to look forward to?" His voice was becoming strained. "I never thought.... I somehow convinced myself that I liked who I was, but it was only that I was too weak to face the truth. Iím ruined, and Iíve destroyed myself. I wanted to be able to stand on my own, to be the strongest, so what Frieza did to me.... When he... It was so many.... times..."

He suddenly twisted in Gokuís arms, freeing himself from his hold only to drop to his knees, wrapping his arms around his stomach and vomiting into the bushes. Breathing shallowly in an attempt to stay his own grief, Goku crouched beside him, rubbing his back in comfort once more as Vejiitaís body heaved sickeningly. Several moments later, the prince sat back, twisting away from the vomit and wiping his mouth with a trembling arm. Goku sat beside him, still rubbing his back gently.

Vejiitaís head dropped to rest in his hands. "How can you touch me, Kakarrot?" he whispered. "How can you stand to look at me? You donít know... dirty... The perversion inside me... Thereís... so much darkness..."

"Vejiita," Goku said firmly, "you are not dirty. What happened to you hasnít stained you in any way. How could you be at fault? You were nine years old. It was a crime, Vejiita, you were raped." Vejiita flinched, his body tensing. Goku gently pulled him around so that they faced each other. "What you are is a strong, proud man, a warrior who I am glad to know. To come as far as you have since I met you... How can you think you have failed? Only look at your son, if nothing else can convince you. You havenít failed him yet, Vejiita. The only way you could fail him would be to give up."

As Goku looked at the small man beside him, a quiet respect for all he had done welled up in his heart. For him to have continued with his life, to have turned himself around so completely in the last twenty years.... Vejiita was truly worthy of his royal title. But somehow, Vejiita had lost sight of who he was. All those years he had thrust it in Gokuís face, that he was Prince Vejiita, the greatest of all Saiya-jins, but it had become simply a rote saying that held no meaning for him anymore. Merely a phrase he clung to because he had nothing else. How could Goku show him he was still worthy of his people?

He gazed at the man sitting beside him, the silvery light of the near-full moon piercing through the branches, casting Vejiitaís face in light and shadow. So like Vejiita himself.

I love him so much, he thought, closing his eyes for a moment. I donít know how it happened, but his arrogance, his mockery, the vulnerability underneath, all of it... He fits me somehow, like no one else ever has. Vejiita is the last person I would have expected to find my soulís mate in. But still he.. he fits me. But... do I fit him? He shook his head. It didnít matter right now. He could think about that later.

Rising to his feet, he looked down and extended his hand to Vejiita. After looking at him a moment, Vejiita wearily took his hand and allowed Goku to pull him to his feet. When Vejiita stood beside him, Goku reached out and wrapped his left arm around the Saiya-jinís shoulders, pulling him toward him until they were pressed together.

Vejiita gasped slightly, his mouth opening as though he would speak, but Goku silenced him, and, for once, he obeyed. Keeping his elbow pressed into Vejiitaís back, Goku reached up with his left hand and threaded his fingers through Vejiitaís hair, gripping the black spikes firmly. Vejiitaís eyes widened uncertainly as Goku pulled his head back, and his hands came up to grip Gokuís upper arms for balance.

He was standing with his hips and stomach pressed against Gokuís body, Gokuís hand in his hair forcing him to bend backwards so his throat was bared, but he could still meet Gokuís eyes.



Goku brought up his other hand, which still held the knife he had taken from Vejiita. Carefully, he brought the blade forward and pressed the tip into the hollow of Vejiitaís throat, twisting his wrist quickly before pulling the blade back again. Blood welled up in the tiny wound, gathering in that depression at the base of his throat, and Vejiita gasped as he began to realize what Goku was doing.

Goku looked down at Vejiita, at the blood on his throat and the uncertainty in his eyes, and instinctively bent forward, his eyes closing as he touched his lips to Vejiitaís neck. Unable to understand why he was doing it, he opened his mouth and gently ran his tongue over the wound he had made in Vejiitaís throat, the coppery taste of blood flooding his senses. He felt the vibrations of Vejiitaís startled moan against his lips before he slowly pulled back, releasing Vejiitaís hair.

The Saiya-jin slowly straightened, stunned eyes coming to rest on Gokuís face. Reaching out, Goku took Vejiitaís hands and knelt in the cool grass, laying the knife at his feet and looking up at him.

"My prince," he whispered, his voice strangely tight. "You are Vejiita no Ou."


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