Vejiita stared down at the man kneeling at his feet, his hands limp in the Saiya-jinís grip. He was unaware that his black eyes had dilated and his breathing had become rougher, too stunned by Gokuís words to think of anything else. are Vejiita no Ou....

He swallowed rapidly, trying to decide what he should do. Kakarrot had just... just declared him his king. He looked down at their joined hands, wondering how he had come to this moment. He should have been dead by now. Why in hell was he standing here holding Kakarrotís hands, of all people?

He clenched his teeth, looking away from the other Saiya-jin to gaze at the night sky, feeling a humiliated blush sweep his cheeks, along with a strange sensation of gratitude. It was so odd, to be addressed by that royal title. He had never in his life thought to hear it. It swept through him, tightening his throat and making his vision blur foolishly, even as he cursed himself. It should not mean anything. It didnít mean anything, was just a bunch of nonsense that held no meaning any longer. But it reminded him of what he could have been, what he should have been. For Kakarrot, the only other full-blooded Saiya-jin, to say it, somehow... it struck something...

Vejiita became aware that he was holding Gokuís hands in a vice-grip and flushed more deeply, dropping them abruptly. This was pity. Kakarrot pitied him. He would never be King.

He backed up a step, leaning wearily against the rough bark of a tree, closing his eyes as he fought to keep his face from betraying his agony. Why had Kakarrot come? To save him? He barked out a short, bitter laugh, still fighting tears. He was so pathetic, but he knew he would not kill himself now. Not for a while, at least. He would drag out his weary existence for a while longer. Maybe... he could find something to believe in.


Kakarrotís voice drew him back to himself, and he blinked, looking down at the other man who was still kneeling several feet away.

"Get up, Kakarrot," he said hoarsely, folding his arms across his chest. The other Saiya-jin complied, picking up Vejiitaís knife as he did so. Something thrilled through Vejiitaís blood as he realized that, by Saiya-jin law, Kakarrot should be killed for ever touching the weapon. He was only a low-class warrior. He raised an eyebrow and forced his lips to twist into his trademark smirk. "Iíll have to punish you someday, Kakarrot, for daring to touch that knife," he said, extending his hand for the weapon. "But... not today."

Goku met his eyes, a faint smile pulling at his own lips, but he did not immediately hand Vejiita the weapon. "Vejiita, do I have your word that you are not going to use this?"

Vejiita sighed, gazing into the other manís dark eyes. Why did he care? Did he really care? Then he shrugged, telling himself it didnít matter. "I give you my promise, Kakarrot."

Goku nodded. "Then I know youíll keep it," he said quietly, placing the knife in Vejiitaís outstretched hand.

The prince curled his fingers around the ebony handle, holding it loosely as he stared off into the night, feeling unbelievably weary. He heard the rustle of Kakarrotís loose orange pants as the Saiya-jin moved to stand barely a foot away from him. "Are you all right, Vejiita?"

Vejiita wet his lips, knowing he could hardly respond with his usual Ďof course I am, Kakarrot, why wouldnít I be?í Not after all that had happened that night. Kakarrot would have to be a bumbling idiot to believe it, and he wasnít. At least, not anymore.

"No," he whispered, not looking at the other Saiya-jin, "But... maybe I will be. Maybe..."

He picked up the movement out of the corner of his eye as Goku nodded. Vejiita tried to suppress a flinch as he felt Kakarrot set his hand on his upper arm. "Youíll pull through this, Vejiita," he said quietly, "youíre too strong not to."

Vejiita sighed again, bowing his head for a moment and wishing he didnít seem so pitiful. He shook his head, glancing at the other man briefly. "I have been pulling my whole life, Kakarrot," he whispered, trying to sound calm rather than broken.

Goku was silent for a long moment, his hand still resting on Vejiitaís arm. Then he slid it across his shoulder and lightly patted his back before dropping it to his side. "Come on. Letís go home. Trunks has probably made himself ill with worrying by now."

Vejiita raised an eyebrow, looking over at him. "I doubt it," he said flatly, hoping Kakarrot didnít see how much it hurt him. In fact, he almost dreaded having to face Trunks after the boy had read his letter. What would he say? Or would he pretend it had never happened? Vejiita hadnít planned on knowing what his reaction would be.

Goku frowned a little, setting his hand on his shoulder again. "Vejiita, I think youíre underestimating Trunks."

Vejiita sighed, shrugging off the offending hand. "Whatever, Kakarrot. Letís just go."

He took off without his usual aggressiveness, flying at a relatively slow pace through the night, Kakarrot remaining at his side. The other Saiya-jin was flying unusually close to him, in fact, and at times they nearly bumped shoulders in their lazy flight. Vejiita glanced at him several times, almost opening his mouth to question him about it, but then changed his mind and flew on in silence.

In what seemed an absurdly short time to Vejiita, they could see the lights of Capsule Corporation in the distance, and he felt a knot tightening the pit of his stomach. His son was there. He didnít want to face him. He knew he was being a coward, but he didnít want to see the look in Trunksí eyes, the mockery, the accusations. So this is how my big, tough dad deals with his problems. He runs off like a weakling to slit his own throat.... Vejiita winced, his fingers clenching more tightly around the knife handle, the blade pressed back against his forearm as if he could hide it from view.

Goku glanced at him, as if he could feel his anxiety, but, to his relief, the bigger Saiya-jin said nothing.

They descended quietly, landing in the cool grass of the front yard, and Vejiita stood still for a long moment, looking at the light pouring through the windows onto the lawn. Long minutes passed, and he could feel Goku looking at him quietly. He wondered at the other manís intuition, that he remained silent, saying nothing to encourage him. Somehow he seemed to know that was not what Vejiita needed to hear. Finally, taking a slow breath, Vejiita advanced toward the front door, feeling Kakarrot follow half a step behind him. When he reached the door, he did not pause again, turning the handle and stepping through the threshold in one movement.

His eyes found Trunks immediately. His son was seated at the kitchen table, his head pillowed on his forearms and his eyes closed. As soon as Vejiita stepped in, though, the door shutting behind him, he snapped abruptly upward, as though just wakened from a very light doze, blinking and staggering to his feet. His blue gaze focused on his father.

An odd, choking noise came from his throat, and he took a half step forward, his hand lifting, then seemed to freeze in place, merely staring, his throat working silently.

Vejiita heard Kakarrot step back toward the door.

"I guess Iíll be heading home, then, too. Iíll talk to you later, Vejiita. Bye, Trunks."

Vejiita wanted to scream at the fool not to leave him here alone with his own son, but swallowed down the protest, instead nodding calmly, his voice sounding only mildly strained as he said, "Later, then, Kakarrot."

Trunks made an unintelligible sound, gesturing vaguely, and Vejiita heard the door open, then shut quietly. He was alone.

He stared at his son, and the boy looked back at him, saying nothing. The seconds of silence stretched into minutes, and Vejiita cursed himself, feeling nearly panicked, wanting nothing so badly as to flee, though his face looked as impassive as ever. Then Trunks took another step toward him, drawing a ragged breath. He raised a hand to his hair, unconsciously pushing some of the lavender strands back over his ear, looking down at the floor for a moment. Then he looked at Vejiita again, and the prince was stunned to see tears in his eyes.

He watched Trunks cheeks darken faintly, as though he was embarrassed to be crying in front of him, and he sniffled most unbecomingly. "F-Father," he said, his voice unusually high, "Iím s-sorry.... Iím sorry, I didnít mean..." He cursed suddenly, wiping angrily at his tears, and Vejiita found himself stepping forward without thought. He struggled for something, anything to say, and came up blank, as was typical when he talked to his child. But... he didnít want to see the boy cry. Even through his own pain, he realized that. Helplessly, he reached out and tentatively laid his hand on Trunksí shoulder, the action seeming unnatural and forced to him.

Trunks froze beneath his touch, seemed to stop breathing, even, and Vejiita stiffened, beginning to pull his hand back. Then, suddenly, his son was stepping toward him, his arms wrapping around him to crush him in a tight embrace, the boy nearly lifting him off his feet.

Now it was Vejiitaís turn to freeze, his lips parting in a silent gasp as he hung limp in Trunksí embrace. It felt like the boy was trying to squeeze the life out of him, and he hardly understood what was happening. Trunks... was hugging him. He and his son had never embraced, not really, and now he didnít know what to do. But he could feel his son shaking, trying desperately to stifle his tears, and something instinctive that he didnít understand made him reach up and lay his hand against the boyís head, gripping his lavender hair.

Trunks was pressing his face against Vejiitaís shoulder, and Vejiita could feel the moist heat of his tears. "F-Father," he tried again, his voice muffled, "Iím sorry, I-I didnít mean it. I didnít mean what I said. I was angry, but I... I didnít mean it when I said Iíd be better off without you." A choked-off sob escaped his throat. "Iím sorry..."

Vejiita pressed his lips together, feeling his own throat tighten. He closed his eyes, resting his cheek against his sonís soft hair that was so unlike a Saiya-jinís. So like his motherís. He... loved him. Loved his son. It wasnít the boyís fault, what had happened. All responsibility lay with him. In reality, he could hardly comprehend Trunksí forgiveness, his acceptance of him. That the boy didnít hate him seemed almost unreal.

"No-" he began, then had to pause and clear his throat. "No, donít be sorry, boy. Everything that has happened here is my fault. I... I caused this." He swallowed, his fingers tightening in his sonís hair. "Iím... s-sorry, Trunks."

Trunks seemed to break, suddenly, and Vejiitaís eyes widened as the boy began to cry audibly, nearly sobbing against his chest. Then something paternal heíd never known he possessed made him softly rub Trunksí back, a low sound escaping his throat that was nearly a growl. But it was not threatening like a growl; it was low, almost musical, and very calming. Without realizing it, Vejiita was crooning a wordless Saiya-jin lullaby.

Trunks became quiet against him, seemingly listening to his strange Ďsongí. At the same moment Vejiita became aware of what he was doing and flushed, stopping abruptly. Trunks sighed quietly and stepped back from their embrace. Neither of them looked at the other for long moments, each finding an interesting scratch on the floor to look at.

Then Trunks spoke, and his words came quietly, becoming more hurried toward the end, as though he were trying to finish before he lost his nerve. "Dad... I... I love you. And, I... I donít know whatís happened to you, or-or what made you do what you did tonight, but itís all right. Iím going to stick with you, youíre not alone. I promise th-that Iíll be here when you need me."

Vejiita stood silently, folding his arms over his chest and trying to ignore the burning in his eyes. But... He tried to remember the last time anyone had said those words to him. He couldnít. No one had ever said that to him in his life. His own father had certainly never told him he loved him. No, heíd sold him to Frieza to prove his affection. But now... his son loved him. Maybe... Maybe he hadnít failed entirely yet.

He took a trembling breath. "Trunks..."

But then he couldnít speak. He couldnít say the words, words he had never said in his life. Why couldnít he say them? He swallowed, cursing himself. Hesitantly, he glanced over at the boy. And Trunks smiled at him.

"Itís all right, Father."

Vejiitaís strength suddenly failed him and he sat down heavily on one of the chairs around the table, leaning forward and resting his head in his hands. He could feel his tears coming and swallowed rapidly, fighting them with all his strength. The last thing Trunks needed to see now was him breaking down. He heard Trunks move to stand beside him, shifting his weight uncertainly for several moments.

"Dad?" he said finally, "Are you going to be all right?"

He nodded without lifting his head from his hands and felt Trunks touch his shoulder lightly. "Maybe... Maybe someday youíll tell me about it. But itís not important now. Get some rest, Father, please. Donít just sit up here all night. Are you going to go to bed?"

Vejiita laughed shortly, his face still in his hands as he listened to his son look after him. "Iím not in a nursing home yet, boy. Go to bed. Iíll be up shortly, you donít have to worry about me."

"All right," Trunks said after a momentís silence. "Goodnight, Father."

Vejiita grunted in response, listening as his sonís footsteps receded up the stairs. And then he couldnít hold it back anymore. All the stress, the emotions, the ups and downs and memories of the last two days was too much. Something snapped, and, hating himself for it, he began to cry.


The hands gripped his shoulders; cold, black claws digging into his flesh, cutting him to the bone. His own blood ran hot and sticky down his skin, contrasting with the coldness of the hands. His entire body convulsed, trying to escape the pain, the humiliation. He knew it was futile. It had happened too many times already. But he fought anyway. He had to fight, even though it only meant more pain.

Then he felt the alien pressing against him, about to force his way into him, and he clenched his teeth so hard that his jaw ached. Clenched his teeth to keep from screaming, so that the alien could not have that satisfaction. And the thing was pushing inward, grunting as he tore him, and a low, tortured sound escaped Vejiitaís throat, quickly stifled. His breath came harsh as he still fought not to scream, not to break. But it was so hard.... There was never any other pain like this. A pain that started at oneís body but then bled into the soul.

It was agony; brilliant, lancing white dots of pain that radiated through him and exploded behind his eyes. Heíd thought that he might have gotten used to it, given time, but there was no getting used to this. No getting used to the tearing, the ripping inside him, feeling the passage become slick, his own blood the lubricant. The warm crimson liquid trickled downward, between his thighs, dripping onto the uncaring floor beneath him.

Clear liquid fell, too, from time to time. He was crying. He always fought not to cry, but heíd yet to succeed. At least now his tears were silent; he wept without making a sound. He did not scream, he did not sob. He suffered without noise. It made Frieza angry. The alien wanted him to scream, to beg for mercy.

He felt the claws tear at his shoulders, making the blood pour out more easily, more quickly. Vejiita stared down at the blood that pooled around him. He saw so much of that color. Red. So pretty, really. Vibrant. Red was life. That was his life, running down his arms, down his thighs, onto the ground.

Frieza was moaning as he shoved into him brutally, hissing with his perverted pleasure, reaching down to grope between Vejiitaís legs. Vejiitaís vision swam with agony as the clawed hand gripped him. But he would not scream. Not even as Friezaís thrusting damaged his internal organs. He was much too small to suffer this abuse without severe consequences. Still only a child, and he had always been undersized.

Frieza again drove into him brutally, and he just caught his scream in his throat, blood gushing out of him before he finally, mercifully, fainted.


Vejiita jerked upright, his breath loud and harsh in his ears as he threw back his covers, gripping his head in his hands. His whole body was shaking violently, and he felt the wetness of tears streaking his cheeks. Pain laced through him, centered just below the small of his back, radiating through his body. He gasped violently, terror ripping at his chest, his hands curling into fists in his hair, black spikes sticking out between his fingers. His own breathing seemed deafening to him as he closed his eyes, arching away from the pain, not understanding it. Still half-caught in his dream, for a moment he wondered frantically if Frieza was back, then gripped his throat in his hands, telling himself he had to be calm. Be calm, when all he wanted to do was scream hysterically and run from what was hurting him.

Leaning forward on his hands and knees, he clenched the bedcovers in his fingers, closing his eyes and breathing slowly through his nose, knowing that it would pass. That the panic would leave him if he just waited a moment.

Slowly, the unthinking terror receded, and at the same time he felt the pain at his back lessening until it was a dull, hardly noticeable ache. Trembling now, he pressed his forehead against the bed, not moving for long seconds. Then he gradually sat up, untangling himself from his sheets and throwing his legs over the side of his bed to rise to his feet.

He immediately fell to his knees.

He blinked, wondering what the hell had happened. And then something warm and soft curled over his thigh to brush his hand.

Vejiita stared at it stupidly. His tail. His tail had grown back. Reaching out, he lightly touched the furry appendage, as though to make certain it was not a figment of his imagination. It remained solid under his touch. He tried to move it.

At first it flopped around awkwardly, completely graceless. But then his mind subconsciously adjusted, remembering once more what it was like to have a tail, and he managed to curl it around his waist, then uncurl it. Curious now, and still not completely believing he wasnít dreaming, he reached out and wrapped his tail around the leg of his bed, then pulled. The bed groaned in protest as it was dragged several inches toward him. The tail seemed strong enough. How odd. Tails could regenerate, of course, but...

Then Vejiita moaned and buried his face in his hands, once more wrapping his tail around his waist. His amazement at the regeneration faded, leaving him feeling depressed and almost frightened. Shakily, he climbed back to his feet, his tail unfurling as he unconsciously adjusted his stance, balancing differently, just to see if he still could.

Swallowing, he left his bedroom and made his way down the stairs, glancing at the clock to find that it was three in the morning, hardly two and a half hours after heíd gone to bed. Moving into the kitchen, he opened the refrigerator and took out a carton of milk, drawing a glass out of the cupboards. But when he tried to pour the liquid into the glass, his hands were shaking so badly that he managed to slop a great portion of it onto the counter and floor. Cursing, he slammed the carton down, causing the milk to spatter upwards, showering him lightly. Swearing again, his voice tight and strained, he gave up, turning on the water faucet and leaning over to drink the liquid directly from the tap.

Finished, he turned the water off and wandered outside, feeling extremely tired but knowing he would not fall asleep if he went back to his bed. He wanted to go somewhere, but he didnít feel like flying. Then he paused, sighing, and went back into the house, leaving a note for Trunks on the table. He didnít know when heíd be back, and he didnít want the boy to flip out if he woke to find Vejiita not there. Then he went out into the night again, not caring that he was dressed only in the loose black gi pants he wore to sleep.

The grass was cool under his bare feet as he walked away from Capsule Corporation, no destination in mind, keeping his newly acquired tail around his waist. What would he do now? His chest tightened. He had humiliated himself, at least in front of Kakarrot. And God knew how many other people knew what had happened that night. And his son... Trunks loved him. He believed it. But did he pity him too? Did he think he was a weakling? How could they not despise him, on some level? How could they not laugh at him? For years he had boasted about his strength, mocked and belittled everyone around him. Well, now they had seen the extent of his power. He was weak.

But, no! He would prove to Kakarrot that he would not be beaten, that he would not be humiliated. It almost angered him, that the other Saiya-jin had dared to witness his breakdowns so often, though he knew it wasnít really his fault. He would prove himself to Kakarrot.

But why? Another part of him argued. Why is it so important?

He swallowed, looking down at the ground as he continued to walk. Why was it so important that he have Kakarrotís approval, his respect? Who cared what the idiot thought?

"Kakarrot," he whispered into the darkness, his heart twisting painfully. "You are destroying me. How can you do this to me?"

He closed his eyes. Why was it you who found out... what Frieza did... Why? Why canít I just keep something of myself pure in your sight? And why do I even care what you think?!

The prince snarled angrily, slamming his fist against his thigh. Kakarrot had always been his obsession. For years, his thoughts had revolved around the other Saiya-jin; he couldnít get him out of his head. When they had first met he had wanted only to better him, to grind him into the dirt so hard that heíd never be able to rise. But then, to his absolute horror, he had failed. He, the prince of the Saiya-jins, had failed to defeat the lowly third-class warrior. And so his fixation had remained.

His whole life he had felt a need to prove himself to others, and with Kakarrot it had been no different. From the beginning, he had wanted to force the Saiya-jin and all of his friends to respect and fear him for his strength and power. He wanted, he needed to dominate. But he couldnít. Kakarrot always found some way to better him, to defeat him, and, worst of all, even as he crushed him, he showed him compassion and mercy.

Vejiita shivered, his eyes closing for a moment as he continued to walk aimlessly, unconsciously wrapping his tail more tightly around his waist. Mercy. Kakarrotís mercy had enraged him, but at the same time it confused him. It almost hurt him, and he didnít know why.

He opened his eyes again, pausing to look up at the night sky, stars twinkling brightly in the velvet blackness. For a moment he wondered which one of them had belonged to Vejiitasai, then brushed the thought aside. It hardly mattered.

Sighing, he gathered his ki, almost without realizing it, and took to the air, gliding silently over the homes and streets below. He still wanted to die, in some ways. But he would not kill himself now. If nothing else, there was Trunks. For the boyís sake he would go on living, and try to maintain his confident facade.

The wind whispered coldly over his bare shoulders and he shivered again, his thoughts drawn inexplicably back to his dream. He winced, his hands moving to unconsciously press against his abdomen, as though remnants of phantom pain still lingered there. No, he thought desperately, I will not think about this now.

But then the images assaulted him, and he gasped, his hands moving to grip his head as his eyes shut tightly.

"No..." he groaned though his teeth, dropping toward the ground.

He felt his feet touch the grass, then dropped to his knees, supporting himself on his elbows with his head still in his hands. His breath came loud and fast.

...clawed fingers touching him, tearing him....

A low moan eased from his throat.

...a cruel, sadistic voice murmuring throatily in his ear. Laughter....

He hissed, twisting sharply to sit on the ground, bracing himself with a hand as the other remained clenched in his hair.

...a hand stroking, fondling, teasing, humiliating....

"Stop it," he choked out, as though he could force his memories back by speaking.

...blood, trickling down his thighs, his chest and arms... that hand, smearing his own blood across his skin...

"Stop!" he screamed, his throat raw as he slammed his fist against the ground. Shaking, he forced his mind to blankness for a few precious moments, bile rising up as he gasped for air. Raising his head, he dragged himself to his feet, bracing himself on a nearby tree without realizing it. He was trembling with violent self-disgust. How many times was he going to break down like a fucking cry-baby?! The past two days had turned him into a nervous wreck, the memories heíd managed to keep suppressed for years seemingly out of control.

"God damn you to hell, Kakarrot," he gasped, cursing the other Saiya-jin for ever questioning him about his past.

Then he heard a door open.

He froze, blinking. What in the hell? Twisting sharply, he looked around, trying to figure out where he was while wondering if he was imagining things. Then his mouth dropped open as he gaped in absolute disbelief.

He was in his front yard. He was in Kakarrotís front yard!

Groaning low in his throat, he leaned his head back against the tree behind him, closing his eyes. "Shimata," he cursed wearily. He then almost broke into hysterical laughter. How had he managed to end up here? Everything seemed to be throwing him and Kakarrot together lately. He pressed his face against the tree, the rough bark scraping his cheek. But no, each time it had been him. He kept coming back, almost like he was seeking Kakarrot out without even realizing it.

Why do I need him?! he thought desperately. Why do I do this to myself? Kakarrot... what is it... what is it about you?

He knew without looking that Goku would be walking across his lawn, heading toward him unerringly. He almost felt it when the Saiya-jin paused beside him. Of course, he would have heard him scream out like a child... The thought left a bitter taste in his mouth. He wanted Kakarrot to respect him, not... see him like this.

There were long moments of silence, Vejiita still refusing to look at the man beside him.

"Vejiita," Goku said finally, his voice quiet, "What happened?"

Vejiita shrugged, trying desperately to feign nonchalance. "Nothing, Kakarrot. I just needed some fresh air."

"That doesnít explain why youíre standing in my yard." The other issue remained unvoiced between them. It also doesnít explain why you were screaming.

Vejiita cleared his throat. "Everythingís fine, Kakarrot. I just... I was just..." his mind searched desperately for anything he could say. "Working out!" he blurted finally, then winced at how completely unbelievable it sounded.

Goku was silent for a moment, and Vejiita could feel his eyes on him. "Did you have a dream?" he whispered suddenly, and Vejiita turned to stare at him, unable to keep the shock from his features. How the hell could he have...? Then he tried to recover himself, letting out a laugh that sounded forced even to his own ears.

"Of course not!" he said, his voice shrill as he fought to keep the memories from flooding him again, "Do you think a little nightmare would send me running to you, or something?"

Vejiita suddenly realized his hands were shaking and stifled a curse, folding his arms to hide the trembling. He felt like running; his stress had reached the breaking point, but he had to stay. And he wanted to...

He swallowed rapidly as he felt confused, frustrated tears building in him. He suddenly wished Goku would simply fire a ki burst straight into his heart, just to end the chaos inside him.

God! Kakarrot... help me... please...

"Vejiita..." Goku whispered uncertainly.

"What?!" Vejiita snapped, trying to mask his pain with anger.

Suddenly Goku froze, his eyes widening as he stared at something. Vejiita tried to follow his gaze, wondering what the problem was. Then he realized that he had unconsciously unfurled his tail, and that it was now snapping from side to side in agitation. He abruptly wrapped it around his waist again, as though he could somehow hide it. He didnít really even understand why he wanted to hide it, it was just instinctive.

Goku stepped toward him, still staring at his tail. "Vejiita... what...? When...? How did this happen?"

Vejiita crossed his arms over his chest, staring over Gokuís shoulder as he shrugged. "I donít know," he muttered hastily, "I was dreaming," he began, then winced as he realized he had just exposed his own lie. It was too late to stop now, though. "I was dreaming, and when I woke up, I had a tail."

"Hmmm..." Vejiita glanced at Goku to find that the Saiya-jin had still not looked away from the tail that was tightly wrapped around his waist. "What were you dreaming about?"

Vejiita stiffened, unaware that the color had drained from his face. "Nothing!"

Goku met his gaze for a moment, not speaking. Vejiita swallowed, cursing himself and wondering why it felt like Kakarrot could see through him.

"Can I see it?" Goku asked suddenly.

Vejiita stared at him. "What?" he asked stupidly.

"Can I see your tail?"

Vejiita frowned. "Youíve seen a tail before, you idiot. You had one yourself, if youíll remember."

"Yes, I remember!" Goku snapped, sounding slightly irritated. Then his voice softened again. "But itís just been a while. I donít know why... Iím curious."

Vejiita wet his lips, feeling his pulse pounding in his throat. For some reason Kakarrotís request terrified him to the point that he had to stiffen his body to keep from shaking.

"D-Donít be a fool, Kakarrot! This is ridiculous!" His voice was laced with scorn, but Goku looked at him sharply, and Vejiita cursed his perception. Gokuís eyes narrowed.

"Youíre afraid."

Vejiita tensed at Gokuís words, a flush sweeping his cheeks. He gritted his teeth, knowing he could not back down from the challenge, that his pride would not allow him to back down from the challenge.

"I am not afraid!" he protested, too loudly. In a desperate bid to prove his words, he loosened his tail from around his waist. Goku extended his hand.

Vejiitaís breath rasped in his throat as he forced himself to lay his tail across Gokuís open palm, his hands curled into fists and tucked under his arms to stop their shaking. But his tail... the furry appendage was trembling violently and he blushed more deeply, humiliated. But it would be even worse to back down now.

"Shhh, Vejiita..." Goku whispered, very lightly closing his fingers around the princeís tail, the other hand coming up to stroke the soft fur.

Vejiita bit his lip to keep from making any noise, his eyes widening as he pressed his back against the tree. Goku gently caressed his tail, from just above halfway up, down to the tip, and he gasped through his nose, his eyes rolling back in his head. What... was this? Gokuís touch sent little shocks racing through him, making him shiver. His breath came shallowly as he tipped his head back against the trunk, swallowing. The other Saiya-jinís hand slid upward, going the opposite direction of the lay of Vejiitaís fur, ruffling it, and the prince reached out to grip one of the branches above him, his knuckles turning white as he held on tightly. He had never known... he hadnít realized... Whenever... Frieza had touched his tail, the pain had been incredible, enough to send him to his knees, but this...

Goku stroked down his tail again, and Vejiita made a low keening sound deep in his throat, his knees going weak as he nearly slid to the ground. But then Goku was there, holding him up, supporting him, one hand still on his tail, the other around his waist, pressing them together.

Gokuís hand continued to caress his tail, and then his lips were on his shoulder. Vejiita could not think, he only felt, and a low moan escaped him as he tipped his head to the side.

"Vejiita," Goku whispered, "Itís all right..."

He placed soft kisses along Vejiitaís shoulder, up his neck to lightly nip his ear.

Vejiitaís breathing was harsh, his hands clinging to Gokuís shoulders, his entire body trembling. His mind could hardly function, he couldnít understand what had happened. But it didnít matter, because for once in his life it didnít hurt... Someone else was in control, and it didnít hurt.

Gokuís hand slid from the base of his tail to the tip, and his vision whitened as his body arched without thought. He felt Gokuís lips on his cheeks, kissing away tears he hadnít known he had cried, and a soft sound slid from his throat. Then Gokuís lips were against his own, brushing against them softly, and he instinctively opened his mouth, his tail slipping from Gokuís grip to wrap around the other Saiya-jinís thigh. Gokuís hand came up to gently grip the nape of his neck, tilting his head further back, and then his tongue brushed over Vejiitaís lips, stroking them softly before dipping into his mouth. Vejiita moaned low in his throat, heat rushing through him as Gokuís tongue slid against his, his hand moving to clench in the other Saiya-jinís hair. He could not believe what he was feeling, it had never been like this... Kakarrot...

Suddenly his eyes snapped open and he almost choked, nearly biting Gokuís tongue. This was Kakarrot! he thought wildly. He was in Kakarrotís arms, with Kakarrotís lips on his and his tail around Kakarrotís thigh! The person that was making him fall apart was Kakarrot!

He staggered backward so quickly he nearly tripped, gasping for breath, his stunned gaze on Gokuís flushed face. He was shaking, suddenly feeling cold without the other Saiya-jinís arms around him. He just stared at the man for long seconds, trying to come to grips with what had just happened. Oh my God...

Goku stepped toward him suddenly. "Vejiita..." he started, but Vejiita could not listen.

He stumbled backward several more steps, wide-eyed, then blasted off into the night.


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