STRANGE BEDFELLOWS
Chapter four

There was an insistent buzzing just at the edge of his consciousness, slowly dragging him from the warm arms of solacing slumber. He tried to block it out…remain in the comfort of rest, but it was persistent, unrelenting.

~The alarm.~ With a curse to the heavens Zarbon opened his bloodshot eyes; blurry from lack of sleep, ardent witnesses to a night spent bouncing between fleeting, tension-filled dreams and startled awakenings. It stood to reason that with the current upheaval in his once highly structured life he would finally find the long sought-after peace of deep sleep only to be rudely roused a few short hours later.

Rubbing at the soreness of his eyes he gradually focused on the (except for himself) empty bed. ~Where is Vegeta?~

Sounds of water running answered that question soon enough. The prince was taking a shower, door to the bathroom fully closed to give him, at the very least, a semblance of privacy. There were no locks on the doors within the quarters so the barricade it represented was mere illusion, but Zarbon was willing to wait his turn, figuring Vegeta would not relax enough to stay in there long.

While he waited he recalled something he had seen as he passed by the Saiyan during one of his many restless moments in the long night. Vegeta was no longer facing towards his side of the bed, having changed positions during the night and was holding what appeared to be scraps of timeworn material up against his cheek. Zarbon was positive that the prince had not gone to bed with those initially so he must have risen at some point in the night to retrieve them. ~Curious.~

So deep into his musing was he that he had missed the water being turned off, the door opening, and was startled to see a dried and clothed young prince appear in his line of vision.

Smiling at the boy in what he hoped was his most pleasant and most reassuring manner, Zarbon said, “Good morning. I’ll take a quick shower and then order us some breakfast.”

“Hn..” As expected Vegeta merely grunted in reply.

As the older man stepped past the younger, he noticed something…or rather the lack of something. Where was the lingering fragrance of soap and shampoo that one would expect after a shower? Had the prince forgotten to bring his own toiletries? The bathroom was filled with Zarbon’s ample store of bathproducts. Did Vegeta not deign to use them…or would he not use them without permission to do so? He decided to find out.

“Vegeta. You could have used my soaps and shampoos if you didn’t bring any with you. I have plenty.”

Sneering, the Saiyan replied rather nastily, “So I noticed.”

Realizing he was being mocked in some manner, Zarbon experienced a brief surge of anger. But before he could give voice to it the young prince continued.

“I used my own soap and my own shampoo.”

“You did?” Zarbon was unconvinced.

Rolling his eyes and then locking his intense obsidian gaze on the Megalian he asked, “Do you stink?”

“W..what?” Zarbon felt extremely disconcerted, no one before had ever broached such a topic.

“Is your own body odor offensive to you?” Not waiting for a reply, the prince went on. “I shower to get clean-- not to disguise my natural scent under a heavy mantle of over-ripe fruits and floral bouquets.” He continued haughtily, “My soap and shampoo and what not do not contain those perfumes you seem so fond of.”

Glaring at the oh-so-smug little prince, Zarbon retorted, “My body odor is not offensive. I don’t even really have much of a natural body odor.” Stopping a moment to regain his previous composure, he added, “I rather enjoy the scent of my toiletries which, by the way, happen to be concentrated in the fragrance of spices..not fruit and flowers.”

“Hn…whatever you say,” snorted the Saiyan prince as he turned from Zarbon dismissively.

Unable to believe the incredible gall of the boy, the blue-skinned beauty clenched his jaw in outrage and went to his shower. As he stepped into the shower stall, he couldn’t help but gaze longingly towards the bath. With everything that had happened the day prior, he had forgone his usual bedtime ritual of a long soak in the tub; luxuriating in the heated, fragrant, oiled water, soothing work-related stresses away, and relieving the ache of an occasional sore muscle. He liked to follow his bath with a few chapters of a good mystery novel, accompanied with the slow savoring of a nightcap poured from the bottle of one of his vintage liqueurs with the soft strains of a favorite orchestral composition in the background.

Claiming the prince for his own was presenting him with quite the downside.

Noticing what must be Vegeta’s soap and shampoo in the caddy next to his own, he felt the overwhelming urge to smell them. He inhaled deeply of first the soap…and then the shampoo. Nothing. There was no hint of fragrance as far as he could detect. Turning on the water and grabbing his own soap, he quickly and thoroughly lathered his body and proceeded to practically scrub himself raw as he thought back to the dark prince’s snide comments. ~I can’t believe I actually thought I was attracted to that arrogant little brat. He’s a rude, obnoxious, irritating, cocky, self-important monkey…And he probably smells to boot.~

About five minutes later, an extraordinarily clean and aromatic Zarbon exited the bathroom and changed into some freshly laundered clothing (also perfumed he idly noted). Vegeta had left the bedroom and was sitting at the dining table, arms folded and waiting impatiently. As much as he was tempted to hold on to his righteous indignation, the Megalian decided it would be better to let it go as they were now roommates and destined at some point to be more.

Adopting a conciliatory tone once more, Zarbon smiled benignly and asked, “Is there anything special you want for breakfast?”

Glancing briefly at his companion, Vegeta replied, “Yes…to eat with my guards.”

Feeling a renewed rush of sympathy for the young man, Zarbon said softly, “Look, Vegeta. I won’t try to force you to eat breakfast in my company every morning but I do want us to discuss our situation. We need to come to an understanding about this relationship.”

Face contorting in fury, the small prince pushed away from the table and leapt to his feet. He shouted, “I do understand the fucking arrangement. I’m…” Face staining crimson as he realized the poor choice of wording, he faltered before continuing more calmly, “…I’m to be your whore.” Pacing around the dining area in obvious agitation, he said, “Do you think that talking about this unnatural pairing I was forced into…forced to choose…will suddenly endear me of this travesty. I am a prince…the Prince of Saiyans. I should choose whom I desire to be with--not have a decision shoved down my throat.”

Surprised, the Megalian questioned, “Lord Frieza had you choose?”

Smirking at the hurt look on the pretty boy’s face, Vegeta said in mock condolence, “Don’t worry, Zarbon. I’m sure you’re still the ice lord’s favorite. He knew I would choose you. He just wanted to hear me do it.”

Zarbon decided to ignore this revelation to focus on establishing some sort of inroad past the Saiyan’s potent anger. “I only stepped forward and asked for you after hearing Dodoria and Jeice make their pleas to Lord Frieza. Would you have preferred that I left the choice down to one of those two? I was trying to help.”

Uncertain whether to believe the green-haired man who was facing him, gold eyes seemingly earnest, Vegeta asked, “Then… we don’t have to have sex?”

The stricken, guilty look that passed over the Megalian’s visage as well as the silence that greeted his question gave Vegeta the answer. “That’s what I thought.” He shook his head coldly.

Finally finding his voice, Zarbon said, “Vegeta, I want to explain to you the intricacies of this predicament. I want you to understand why there is no choice in this matter.” Reaching for the printout menu on the table, he said, “But first, let’s have some breakfast. There are some rare cuts on the meat platter. I’ll order you three of those if it’s okay and the pate’ sampler and three bread baskets.” With no response from the boy to the contrary, Zarbon placed the order.

While awaiting the arrival of food, fingers drumming nervously on the table, Zarbon asked, “Did you place your possessions in the storage room? I don’t see anything here.”

Vegeta simply said, “All my possessions are in my bag. There is nothing else.”

“You have been to hundreds of worlds. Didn’t you ever desire a memento from any of them?” asked an incredulous Zarbon.

Brilliant black eyes bored into the older man as Vegeta proclaimed, “All I would ever want would be Saiyan in origin. I desire nothing else.”

The rest of the time spent waiting for their breakfast to arrive as well as the partaking of the meal was mainly passed in silence, broken only by a “Please pass the bread basket” here or a “Try this cut of meat” there.

Meal finished, Zarbon began his explanation, “Vegeta, we…” The buzz from the video-com interrupted his sentence. Sighing, the Megalian answered the call.

Frieza’s form appeared in view. The ice lord peered at the Megalian intently before frowning. “Zarbon. You appear a bit fatigued. I hope there is no problem,” he asked, concerned.

“No, my lord.”

“Good. The Carnid team sent to purge planet Tibias has been eliminated. I need the Saiyans to go there immediately and finish the job properly. Nappa and Raditz have already been informed….I also would like you to go to the docking bay as well to greet the Pippien ambassador. He should arrive within the half-hour.”

“Of course, Lord Frieza.”

Communication over, the screen went blank. Zarbon turned to Vegeta and said, “I guess our talk will have to wait till you get back.”

“I need to pick up some new armor,” stated the prince.

“Have Nappa stop by the armory for you…he’s closer.”

After calling Nappa and gathering a few other items to take with him, Vegeta indicated to Zarbon that he was ready to go.

Nappa and Raditz were standing ready at their pods when Zarbon and Vegeta arrived at the dock. Before parting with the prince, Zarbon wanted to try to settle some of the boy’s uneasiness with their association. But before he could say anything, he heard a familiar voice, flirting lilt in conversation behind him. ~Jeice.~ Closing his eyes briefly, then looking into the deep, dark orbs of the prince, Zarbon whispered, “I’m sorry” as he pulled the astonished young Saiyan close, crushing their bodies together and leaning down and capturing the surprised gasp from the boy’s parted lips with the forceful press of his own. The kiss was fierce, demanding; the moment wild and fleeting--broken by the knee of the younger participant coming up to meet the groin of the older. Vegeta glared up at Zarbon in fury and betrayal.

Nappa had looked away in distaste when the kiss was initiated and didn’t catch the finish. Raditz, however, was mesmerized. Even as several other emotions chased over his visage—first, anger at the blatant assault on the prince’s pride; then, humor at the result; finally, uncertainty as to Zarbon’s intent—he marveled at the vision of two such beautiful beings joined together. ~Breathtaking.~

As the angry young prince stalked off to his pod, Zarbon turned to the sound of jeering laughter behind him. Jeice had obviously been trolling off-ship, witnessed by the arm draped loosely over the shoulders of his companion. The Megalian noticed that this latest conquest of the white-haired soldier bore a passing resemblance to Vegeta. The skin color was wrong, a chalky-gray rather than olive, the features coarser, the frame heavier, and he lacked that glorious hair…but there was a resemblance.

“Doesn’t look like our sweet young prince appreciates a public display of affection,” said Jeice drooly. “Or maybe it’s your technique that he has a problem with, Zarbon.” Peering up at the taller man through slanted eyes as he nuzzled the neck of his lover, Jeice offered, “I know it’s been awhile for you so you’re more than welcome to come watch Rhaal and I for pointers.”

Smiling sweetly at the red-skinned mercenary, Zarbon responded, “Thanks for the offer, but I need practice not lessons…and I’ll wait for my prince’s return to get started.”

Smiling in return, a smile that failed to reach his eyes, Jeice and friend took leave of the Megalian’s presence.

Zarbon turned back in the direction of the pods, only to see the doors hissing shut as they readied for launch. Rubbing his sore groin, he thought. ~The little shit. It’s a good thing the family jewels are retractable~ and ~Vegeta… I am sorry to have embarrassed you, princelet.~

Recalling their kiss and how it felt when Vegeta’s body had melded to his own, Zarbon grew hard again. He hadn’t thought it possible for him to become involuntarily aroused. Of course he could do so consciously, but for it to happen like that---spontaneously. It was amazing…frightening really. His brain kept telling him that the prince was still too young, but his body seemed to have other ideas.

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