Laughter echoed through the open doorway, mingled with occasional shouts and exclamations.
"What?! No way! Oh, come on-"
"Ha hhaa! I got you! How do ya like that, you cocky bastard!?"
"It was a freak accident! Thereís no way you could win again! Rematch!"
"Oh, of course, as soon as you lose itís time for a rematch! Well, I think...."
Vejiita smiled faintly, raising an eyebrow as he peered around the door that opened into the den, not making any noise. His son was seated on the floor, leaning forward intently as he stared at the TV screen, gesturing agitatedly as he continued to protest his loss, then giving his best friend a playful, mock-angry shove. Goten took Trunksí abuse good-naturedly, the smug look not leaving his face as he flaunted his victory. They were playing some kind of video game that involved picking characters and then trying to beat each other up, or something, and were apparently quite caught up in it.
"Oh, yeah!" Trunks spluttered, "Well you could never take me in a real fight!"
"You think so?" Goten replied, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah," Trunks grinned, "Come on, letís go!"
Goten groaned. "No way! Itís almost midnight! Iím not going to go spar with you at this hour! Youíre just afraid youíre going to lose again if we keep playing!"
"What!? I am not! All right, you asked for it, Goten!"
Vejiita shook his head, failing to understand how they could be so enthusiastic about the game, then slipped past the doorway without disturbing them, heading up the stairs to his room. Stripping out of his clothing, he looked for the loose, comfortable pants he wore to bed and tugged them on, stifling a weary yawn. Blinking, he wandered into the bathroom and brushed his teeth, then came back to the room and flopped down on the bed, sighing as the cool sheets embraced his tired body. Sleep came quickly.
He was walking along one of the garden paths that were so religiously maintained by Mrs. Briefs, taking in the quiet of the night. At least, it was quiet until he came upon Goten and Trunks, sitting in the middle of the garden and still playing that ridiculous game. He stopped and watched them bemusedly for a moment, then continued on, the thought only briefly registering: How in the hell did they hook up that... Playstand... Playstation? out here in the garden? Then he decided that it didnít really matter and didnít persue the thought.
While he was walking the surrounding terrain abruptly made a transition into forest, though it somehow seemed perfectly natural and not at all odd to him, despite the fact that there were no forests in the backyard of Capsule Corporation. The colors of the leaves were oddly bright and rich, and at the same time they blurred together, but he noted this only vaguely, inhaling deeply. The scent of birch trees blended gently with that of the damp soil beneath his bare feet, overlaid with the slightest hint of flowers and berries. Crouching, he pressed his hands into the dirt, digging his fingers into the earth, then letting it sift through his fingers, closing his eyes and listening to the rustle of the leaves and the steady song of the crickets. An occasional firefly glimmered in the darkness, shifting from place to place, and he could see with unnatural clarity the moths as they fluttered by.
Brushing the soil from his fingers he rose to his feet, his tail swaying gently as he looked up through the trees at the near-full moon, glowing softly amidst the stars.
Huh... he thought, gazing at it. My tailís going to cause problems. Iíll have to remember how to control the Ozaruu transformation.
"Vejiita." The voice was very quiet, gentle and familiar. Turning, he saw that Kakarrot had somehow appeared behind him without him realizing it. The other Saiya-jin was dressed in his typical workout clothing; orange gi tied with a blue belt and a blue shirt beneath. He remained still as Kakarrot stepped toward him, his black eyes almost tender in the dim light.
"Vejiita," he said again, his voice low and soft. Lifting a hand, Kakarrot smoothed his palm over Vejiitaís shoulder, sliding his hand around so his fingertips tripped across Vejiitaís chest, lightly touching his collarbone. They stroked up his neck, traced the line of his jaw, and Vejiita closed his eyes tilting his head back slightly as a shiver swept him. Kakarrotís thumb smoothed over his cheek as his other hand lifted to press against the small of Vejiitaís back, urging him forward. With only the faintest hesitation, Vejiita moved toward him, his heart beating rapidly as his breathing quickened. When their bodies were lightly touching, Kakarrot brought his hand up to cup the other side of Vejiitaís face, tilting his head back, and Vejiitaís lips parted slightly, his eyes still closed. Kakarrotís lips were warm as they touched his, lightly, nipping gently, the contact barely there. Vejiitaís body tightened as he leaned toward him slightly, a soft protest in his throat as he looked for something deeper. He let his arms wrap around Kakarrotís waist, pressing fully against him, and Kakarrot slid his hands around so his thumbs were resting against Vejiitaís jaw, his fingers curling around the back of his neck as he pressed his lips against Vejiitaís, his tongue gently caressing his lips before moving into his mouth. Vejiita groaned, leaning heavily against the other Saiya-jin, clinging to him almost desperately, then gasped as one of Kakarrotís hand slid down his back, lightly caressing his skin before softly touching his tail. The sensation was incredible as Kakarrotís fingers closed around it, massaging deeply into the thick fur, ruffling the soft brown strands, and Vejiitaís body jerked as his head fell backwards, breaking their kiss. Heat flooded him, centered low in his abdomen, and he lifted his hands to grip the other Saiya-jinís shoulders, trembling.
"K-Kakarrot," he whispered, his voice shaking as both of Kakarrotís hands found his tail.
"Vejiita," he murmured back, gently nuzzling his face into Vejiitaís neck.
He didnít know how this had happened, or why he wasnít questioning it, but he couldnít think about that now. He held onto Kakarrot desperately, panting as the warrior touched him, sliding his hands from his tail down the backs of his thighs, then up again. He was painfully aroused, unconsciously rocking his hips into Kakarrotís, soft sounds slipping from his throat as he pressed his face to the other Saiya-jinís shoulder. Kakarrot groaned, the sound deep in his chest, and Vejiita started slightly as he pushed him back against a tree, the bark rough and cool against his skin. Kakarrot rubbed their bodies together, holding him tightly against the tree, and Vejiita squirmed slightly as the bark dug into his back. Kakarrot lifted his head and pressed his mouth to Vejiitaís in a kiss that was almost bruising, forcing his head back. His passion fading slightly, Vejiita tried to turn his face away, only to give a short, shocked exclamation as Kakarrot bit his lip hard enough to make him bleed. He tore his mouth free, staring at the other Saiya-jin in disbelief. Feeling almost betrayed, he pushed hard against Kakarrotís shoulders, trying to make him release him, but the other man didnít move an inch, instead crushing him to the tree more tightly.
"Kakarrot, stop it!" Vejiita said harshly, tasting blood, any desire having completely faded.
Kakarrot ignored him, a low growl in his throat as his fingers slid beneath the waistband of Vejiitaís pants, tugging them roughly down his hips. Horror built in Vejiitaís chest as he threw his weight against the other Saiya-jin, but it was as if Kakarrot were made of stone.
"God dammit," he hissed, feeling the bark of the tree scratch his back as he wrenched to one side. Kakarrot didnít let him get anywhere, though, holding him in place.
"I donít think so, princeling," he said, dark amusement in his voice as his hand caught Vejiitaís tail in a grip that was no longer gentle. Vejiita screamed in agony as he crushed the fragile bones in his grip, the pain making his vision go hazy for a moment. Taking his shoulders, Kakarrot pulled him away from the tree and threw him to the ground. He landed on his stomach, his clothing having completely vanished, and he gasped as Kakarrotís knee pressed against the middle of his back, holding him down. With a desperate cry of hopeless rage, he gathered his ki for the jump to SSJ3. Nothing happened.
What?! he thought, his vision swimming, What- How can this be happening?!
The rustle of clothing attracted his attention and he twisted his neck to look over his shoulder. Then his mouth went dry and he nearly fainted, absolute terror clawing at him as he watched Kakarrot begin to loosen his belt.
"Kakarrot!" he screamed, panic giving his voice a ragged edge, "Stop this! What are you doing!?"
"Be quiet, little Saiya-jin," Kakarrot said, his voice sounding strangely rough, not his own but still oddly familiar.
The hairs on the back of Vejiitaís neck prickled and he groaned as he used all of his strength to try and free himself. He might as well have been a child, for all the effect he had.
God dammit, Kakarrot isnít this strong!
Suddenly he felt the slide of smooth skin on either side of his hips and craned his neck to look again, beginning to tremble violently at the sight that greeted him. Kakarrotís clothing, too, had disappeared and the Saiya-jinís thighs were now straddling his hips as his hands continued to hold Vejiita down.
"Now, just relax, little princeling," Kakarrot crooned, and Vejiita gave a cry of unadulterated horror, squeezing his eyes shut as tears seeped from beneath his lids. The voice that had come from Kakarrotís lips had unmistakably been Friezaís.
He lay limp, sobbing uncontrollably as Kakarrot forced his legs apart, feeling him begin to press against his opening. His hands slid forward to grip Vejiitaís shoulders. The skin had faded to a cool grey, and the fingers ended in blackened claws.
An anguished scream ripped from Vejiitaís throat as Kakarrot... Frieza... thrust into him, his claws digging into his shoulders at the same time.
God, no, no, this is impossible! Help me! Why canít I... Why canít I fight! Whatís happening to me!? Oh, my God, help me!
His breathing was rough and tearing as he closed his eyes tightly, feeling the familiar wetness as blood trickled down his shoulders.
No! Frieza is dead! Heís dead! I know he is, I saw it happen. My own son killed him! This doesnít make any sense.... Iím dreaming. Iím dreaming. ....Iím dreaming....
Vejiita woke with a cry, bolting upright in bed, his entire body shaking and sweat slicking his skin, running down his temples. His breathing seemed deafening in his own ears as he stumbled off the bed, staggering as he gained his feet and then moving drunkenly toward the window, throwing it open and gasping in the fresh air. His hands pressed against his chest, as if to calm the frantic racing of his heart. His throat felt constricted, his sweat running into his eyes as he raised a wildly trembling hand to touch his lips, gazing at his fingertips as if expecting to see blood on them.
Oh my God, he thought, hardly noticing as tears fell down his cheeks, Oh my God....
He could barely form a more coherent thought, the phrase simply repeating in his head as he stared out at the night. Finally he turned away from the window.
I have to get out of here...
Feeling trapped by the walls of his bedroom, he went quickly down the stairs, slipping silently past the den where Goten and Trunks lay sprawled across the couch and floor, each wrapped in their respective blankets. Padding across the tile floor of the kitchen, he headed outside, shivering as the chill wind hit his sweat-dampened skin. Pausing, he closed his eyes, taking slow, even breaths in an attempt to calm himself. He tried to focus on the reality around him, to bring himself back under control, but instead he found himself becoming more panicked. He couldnít get the dream out of his head.
He pressed his face into his hands, falling into a crouch and wrapping his tail around his ankle as he struggled with his fear, with the sensation of betrayal, of agony that still lingered.
It was just a dream! A dream....
But the terror, the despair would not leave him alone. His body continued to tremble as he remained huddled on the ground, his head bowed and his chest heaving.
You are the prince of the Saiya-jin! Look at you, curled up on the ground, bawling like a coward because of a little nightmare. Pull yourself together!
He slowly struggled to his feet, clenching his teeth to keep from crying out loud and wrapping his arms around himself. It still hurt so badly, all that had happened to him as a child. Heíd thought heíd put it behind him, but he had never really healed, just pressed it down inside himself where he wouldnít have to think about it. All his life he had been troubled by an occasional nightmare that left him extremely disturbed, but over the past weeks they had been occurring with much greater frequency. It hurt. It hurt, everything that had happened. He cursed himself for not being able to move on, called himself every kind of a weakling, but it made no difference.
A shuddering sound escaped him as he continued to hold back tears, closing his eyes and shoving his hands through his thick hair to grip his head. He wasnít helping himself. He was just getting worse.
"Fuck!" he almost shouted, his voice sounding more desperate than angry, the tone raw and tearing. With a scream of anguished frustration, he wheeled and threw a raging ki blast into the sky, watching it vanish into the night. Falling to his knees, he slammed his fist into the ground and a golden blaze surrounded him as he leapt to Super Saiya-jin three, just to assure himself that he could. The heavy weight of his hair settled around his shoulders, and he remained kneeling with his head bowed for long moments before allowing the golden glow to fade. He didnít move for long minutes, his eyes closed as he tried to fight the gaping despair filling him.
ĎI... I wanted you to know... that if you ever needed to talk... you know, about anything... that... Iím here. I... Iím willing to listen... whenever... if you need it.í
Something tightened inside of him, and without thinking he rose to his feet, pushing himself into the air. It had been three days since that conversation with Goku. His hands were trembling as he raced over the treetops, ignoring what his mind was saying and just listening to his instincts. It didnít make any sense, that he should want to see Goku after the dream he had just had, but he pushed the thought aside. He wanted to see Kakarrot and confirm his reality, and he wanted... He just... wanted... He couldnít think about it, because if he did he was afraid heíd change his mind.
Gokuís house came into sight and he checked his flight, falling rapidly until he alighted on his doorstep. Barely giving himself an instant to draw a breath, he pounded sharply on the wood, then stood back and waited. As soon as he paused enough to give himself a chance to think, his chest tightened with anxiety and he folded his hands under his arms to still their shaking.
What the hell am I doing? What is wrong with me? Rushing over to Kakarrotís house in the middle of the night. I just... I should go...
He took several steps backward, torn between the pride that insisted he stay and the terror that told him to go. Then the door opened, making his decision for him.
Goku blinked at him sleepily, his dark eyes confused, dressed in almost exactly the same manner as Vejiita, though his pants were red. His black hair was even more wild than usual, springing out from his head in all directions, and his arms were folded over his naked chest to ward off the slight chill of the night air.
Then his eyes widened, the sleep clearing from them as he stared in surprise.
"Vejiita, what... What are you doing here?" Then, as soon as he got a better look at the prince, a faintly alarmed, "Whatís wrong?"
Vejiita cleared his throat, glancing to from one side to the other instead of meeting Gokuís eyes. "I... I... you know... I just... I had... I had... When I was asleep... I was..."
He swallowed several times, aware that his voice was becoming noticeably strained. He cursed, quickly ducking his head and wiping at his eyes to hide the tears he felt building. "I, um... w-well... I was... sleeping and I-"
"Vejiita," Goku interrupted very quietly as he stepped back, holding the door open, "Do you want to come inside?"
Vejiita hesitated, his breathing a bit too loud as he glanced at Goku. There was a long silence as Goku remained still, not pressing him. Finally Vejiita stepped past him, into the house, and Goku shut the door softly before turning to face him. He seemed to note the faint shivering that wracked Vejiitaís frame and with a slight gesture and an exertion of his ki he sent the fireplace flaring to life. He stood quietly, watching as Vejiita paced the room back and forth several times, glancing at the pictures and photos on the walls without really seeing them.
"Kakarrot," he whispered finally, stopping in front of the fireplace with his hand resting on the mantle. "I-I-I...." He paused again, cursing and telling himself that he sounded like an idiot, trying to calm down before going on, "I had... Itís... Itís nothing, really. Nothing important. I just... I had a dream..."
He turned away from the fireplace and glanced at Goku, who was standing in the center of the room, watching him silently. Swallowing, he took a shallow breath and continued. "It... It was... I... it..."
Goku slowly moved closer to him until they were both standing in front of the fireplace, Goku facing Vejiita, Vejiita gazing at the floor. "You had a nightmare," Goku said softly. It was not a question. "Do you want to tell me?"
Vejiita shook his head at himself, closing his eyes. "I shouldnít have gotten you up for this."
"Vejiita," Goku whispered, "Itís all right. If... you need me to listen, I want to hear it."
Vejiita looked into the fire, not speaking for several moments. Finally he took a slow breath, not looking at Goku as he began. "I... I was walking in one of the gardens at Capsule Corporation.... I... saw Trunks and Goten playing that ridiculous game... and then I was in a forest."
He licked his lips, knowing he was stalling slightly. The beginning of the dream was not important. "I wasnít really doing anything, but then you were behind me. You said my name."
Turning to fully face the fire again, Vejiita folded his arms on the mantle and laid his forehead against them, finding it easier to speak with his face hidden. "I... You... You touched me..."
Goku made a soft sound and Vejiita felt him move closer to him, one of his arms on the mantle also.
"I... what you did... I..." Here Vejiitaís face flushed, though it was buried in his arms, and his voice lowered to a whisper so quiet Goku had to lean toward him to hear it. "I... liked it..."
He coughed, horribly embarrassed by the admission. Goku didnít speak, but he was so close now that Vejiita could almost feel his warmth. "But then you... you..." Cursing, he twisted away from Goku, humiliated. "This is stupid."
"Vejiita," Goku said, and while his voice wasnít sharp the intensity of it halted him. "Please. Please talk to me. I donít want you to have to deal with everything on your own. Everyone needs to talk to someone sometimes. Iím not going to think any less of you because of it."
Vejiita closed his eyes again, half turning toward the fire once more. He sighed, swallowing and hesitating slightly.
"Will you tell me what happened?" Goku whispered.
Vejiita finally braced his arms on the mantle again, bowing his head but not quite covering his face. "You... You hurt... me..."
He flushed deeply, realizing how childish he sounded.
There was a silence from Goku, the crackle of the fire the only sound present in the room. "I hurt you?" he whispered finally.
Vejiita nodded slightly, still refusing to meet Gokuís eyes.
"You mean I...?"
Vejiita drew a deep breath, his throat tightening. Tears glittered in his eyes. "You... were raping me."
Goku winced, flinching slightly as a pained look crossed his face.
"I couldnít fight you!" Vejiita said, his voice roughening. "I couldnít... It was impossible... Just... Just like," his voice rasped, "When I was a child.... ....And then.... when you spoke, you.... you said... exactly what Frieza... would say... It was his voice... in your mouth."
Vejiita was shaking, and finally he did cover his face with his hands, knowing his tears could be heard in his voice. "By the end you were Frieza."
He pressed the heels of his hands against his lips, disgusted by how close he was to sobbing, embarrassed that he had told Goku any of it, ashamed of what he perceived as weakness.
He released a straining, tear-filled breath, trying desperately to hold back his pain.
"Vejiita," Goku whispered finally, "I... Vejiita... will... you let me touch you?"
Vejiita said nothing for long moments, too focused on controlling his tears, taking deep breaths in an effort to relieve the ache in his chest. Finally he muttered, "I donít care."
There was a momentís hesitation. Then Vejiita felt Gokuís hand touch his shoulder gently, his warm palm sliding over Vejiitaís skin. Slowly, his hand moved to Vejiitaís back where he began a soft rubbing motion. Vejiita was trembling, swallowing repeatedly as he realized how soothing the touch was. He turned toward Goku slightly, his breathing noticeably tight and strained.
It didnít make any sense for Goku to apologize. He had done nothing wrong. But somehow it broke something inside Vejiita and finally he began to cry in short, bitten off sobs. Gokuís hand on his back paused, and Vejiita, too, became still for a moment, gasping. Then he leaned forward, resting against Gokuís chest, his head on the other Saiya-jinís shoulder.
For a moment Goku stiffened, and Vejiita cursed himself. He hadnít meant to do that. His body had simply taken what it needed instinctively, he hadnít been able to stop himself. He was an idiot. He should leave and let Kakarrot go back to sleep.
Then Goku slid his arms around him, holding him tightly. His lips brushed over Vejiitaís temple, his ear, in a feather-light kiss.
Feeling a painful relief, Vejiita returned Gokuís embrace, clinging to him desperately as his tears moistened Gokuís shoulder. His sobs became agonizing, wracking his body as he held onto Goku like a lifeline. It seemed that once they started there was no stopping the tears; they were torn from him almost against his will, years of buried anguish finally breaking free. The man shed the tears that the boy never had, his hands curling into fists against Gokuís back and his face pressed to his neck. Gokuís arms only tightened around him and he rested his cheek against Vejiitaís head, saying nothing, just letting him finally release his grief.
Vejiitaís fingers dug into Gokuís back, almost painfully, and the other Saiya-jin stirred slightly but didnít speak. "Why, Kakarrot?" Vejiita sobbed, his voice muffled against Gokuís skin, "Why? Why?"
Sick with weakness, with the memory of the abuse he had suffered, Vejiita sagged against him, as though no longer able to bear his own weight. Goku held onto him, slowly sinking down until they were both kneeling on the floor before the fire.
Even as he wept, Vejiita was humiliated, embarrassed at his display of emotion. Slowly, he pulled back from the other Saiya-jin, his tears not slowing. Goku allowed him to move away, his face twisted with pain as he watched Vejiita pause, breathing hard on his hands and knees.
"Iím sorry," the prince sobbed, "Iím sorry..."
He clenched his teeth tightly, squeezing his eyes shut, his body shivering as he tried to bring himself under control. "K-Kakarrot," he choked. Then he bowed his head, not continuing. He had to stop this. He was shaming himself and his race. Saiya-jinís did not cry. He was pathetic.
Angrily, he smashed his fist against the floor, trembling with the desire to destroy something. He forcibly checked the instinct, grinding his teeth together, then abruptly released a scream of rage, finding no other outlet for his anger. His emotions swayed wildly again and he slumped forward weakly, despair threatening as he collapsed to lean on his elbows, staring blindly at the intricate patterns of the rug on Kakarrotís floor.
He should go. He had to go; he was being ridiculous. Go back to his own house, get into his bed and stop behaving like a child.
Slowly, he pushed himself to his feet, not looking at Goku as he breathed shallowly, refusing to break into tears again.
"Kakarrot..." he said lowly, "I... should go. Iíll let you go back to bed." He shook his head at himself, then said roughly. "Iím sorry."
He took a step toward the door.
Goku, who had been silent all this time, giving him the space he needed, suddenly moved forward, reaching out and catching Vejiitaís arm in his hand. Vejiita paused, though Gokuís grip was not strong enough to be confining, and waited for the other Saiya-jin to speak, not looking at him.
"Vejiita, wait..." He stopped for a moment, and Vejiita could almost see him running a hand through his hair in his mindís eye. "I... donít leave. Why donít you stay here?"
Vejiita went very still, still refusing to turn toward Goku. Kakarrot was inviting him to stay. He lowered his head. If he stayed he would be betraying an unforgivable weakness, showing that... that Kakarrot... He swallowed. But... God, he... he wanted to stay. He didnít want to go back to his own empty bed and spend the rest of the night staring at the ceiling, unable to fall asleep again. But... he couldnít...
"I-I... I donít... Iím..."
He swallowed sharply, closing his eyes as Gokuís hand slid from his arm to gently glide over his back, then rest on his shoulder. His other hand mirrored the action, resting on his opposite shoulder, and Vejiita trembled faintly as Goku pulled him backward until he was leaning against Gokuís chest. Goku pressed his cheek to Vejiitaís, loosely wrapping his arms around the princeís waist, holding him lightly enough that Vejiita could easily break away.
No... You canít let him know that you... that you care... You canít, you donít-
With a quiet sound Vejiita allowed his head to fall back on Gokuís shoulder. Goku softly stroked his throat, tipping his head forward to gently kiss Vejiitaís cheek.
"Will you stay?" The voice was barely audible.
"I... Kakarrot..." he trailed off. Goku stepped back from him but remained touching his arm, gently drawing him inside. Everything that had been drilled into Vejiita since his childhood screamed at him, but he couldnít stop himself. He allowed Kakarrot to pull him toward the couch. But once they were standing in front of it the taller Saiya-jin paused.
"Youíll stay?" he asked again, dropping his hand as he waited for an answer.
Vejiita gazed blankly at the cushions of the enormous couch, his heart in his throat as he looked for an answer.
Stay.... No, you damn idiot! You canít let him be close to you.... ...I want to be close to someone... ...This has already gone much too far...
"Yes," he whispered, hardly aware that heíd spoken.
Then Gokuís arms slid around him, holding him against his chest, and Vejiita shivered, closing his eyes as his arms wrapped around Gokuís waist. For long moments they remained still, Gokuís breath lightly stirring Vejiitaís hair. The fire crackled softly and Vejiita sighed quietly. And then, somehow, they were stretched out on the couch, Goku laying beneath Vejiita, the prince stretched out half on top of him. Vejiita couldnít recall how they had come to be lying there, and he thought that he should be alarmed by this. But Gokuís skin was warm against his, his fingers gently stroking the back of his neck, cheek resting against Vejiitaís hair, and Vejiita relaxed, his eyes closing again as he felt the rise and fall of Gokuís chest beneath his head. The room was dark and quiet, the only light that of the flickering fire. Vejiita had never felt... so completely safe. He drifted softly into sleep, and did not dream.