Chapter nine

Vegeta, prince of Saiyans, against a backdrop of muted greens and pastel yellows of a mural of some alien landscape, was examining himself in the full-length mirror adorning the entire expanse of one wall in the grandiose bathroom of the stately rooms he shared with Zarbon. It didn’t escape his attention that he was living in surroundings more befitting his status as a royal here, as the property of the Megalian,than while he had been free. Frieza was definitely very ungrudging in his rewards to those he was fond of and he was quite fond of Vegeta’s roommate. ~The brown-noser.~

Studying his form and features reflected flatteringly by the soft lighting, quite objectively he thought, he found himself bemoaning the fact that he was so vertically challenged: shorty, shrimp, squirt, and all the various endings to prince used so mockingly to describe him. He also realized that his build looked rather petite, especially compared to Raditz or that behemoth of a Saiyan, Nappa. He supposed he could bulk up on the musculature, but then he would lose some of the great advantage he gained with his speed and agility.

As for his face, he granted that there was a certain delicacy of countenance—that was to be expected of Saiyan nobility. But still, no one looking at him should mistake him for a woman. Not like Zarbon whose face any woman would behold with bitter envy.

Yet the combination of these qualities–his height, slender form and select features–seemed to embody some irresisitable magnetism for all manner of social predators on ship. He was cursed.

At least he had added a couple inches to his height this past year and, slipping out of his shorts and examining his member, pulling it tautly to its full length, he thought smugly ~And even more so down here.~ There was nothing stunted about that part of him.

The Prince was so involved in the minute scrutiny of his body that he didn’t realize he had gained a very amused audience.

Zarbon, puzzled as to the lack of normal shower sounds or any other sounds for that matter issuing from the bathroom, had arrived to investigate. Hands on hips, blue pectorals shaking in silent mirth, he waited for Vegeta, in all his naked glory, to sense his presence. But after a few moments of watching the small prince in the quiet and evidently satisfactory assessment of his raw commodities, he couldn’t resist remarking, “Well-pleased with the growth of our assets are we?”

Whirling around in total astonishment, cheeks flaming deep crimson in complete mortification, the Saiyan teen barked, “You’re never up this early! Are you spying on me you perverse bastard?”

Arching his fine eyebrows in feigned innocence at the young prince, the Megalian pointed out, “Perverse? I’m not the one playing with myself.” Grinning slyly, “Although I do have to admit that you have a right to be proud, princelet. That’s quite the impressive weapon you’ve been hiding.” Letting his gaze rake over the young man’s body in honest admiration, he added, whistling, “The entire package meets with my whole-hearted approval.”

Glaring murderously at the teasing insinuation in Zarbon’s comments and those damn laughing yellow eyes, Vegeta hastened to pull his shorts back on, fumbling at putting his tail, twitching rebelliously in discombobulation, through its opening.

“You didn’t answer my question Zarbon. Why are you awake so early?” Sneering, “Don’t you need your beauty sleep.”

Sighing mildly, the older man lectured, “You are way too skittish, Vegeta. I would think a person in your line of work needs to have a firm grasp on his nerves.”

“Hn..My nerves are just find. And in my line of work, people have only sought to kill me...not molest me,” he retorted, then added, “It seems it’s only my allies that plan on using that particular assault.”

Zarbon chuckled in reply, his laughter euphonius–even in its mild teasing–to the prince’s ear, as he cautioned, “I wouldn’t count on being killed, Vegeta. If you somehow managed to be taken prisoner, I doubt that sweet ass of yours would remain untouched for long.”

Feeling extremely dismayed at the direction this conversation was taking, Vegeta ,arms folding in familiar stance, asked once more, in hope of changing the subject, “Are you going to tell me why you’re willing to risk the besoiling of facial perfection with the addition of dark under-eye circles due to sleep deprivation---ten hours instead of twelve?”

Enjoying their banter immensely, as he appeared to be doing a great deal lately, Zarbon was sorely tempted to come back with another trifling comment, but taking pity on the plainly flustered young prince, he decided to answer his question. “I thought that we might spar together–without powering up. I woke early to catch you before you made other plans,” he said,gauging the boy’s reaction to his offer.

To say that Vegeta was surprised by that offer was an understatement. Mouth dropping in shock and jet eyes narrowing in disbelief he asked, requiring further clarification, “You want to spar with me?” Ebon orbs reflecting the birth of keen interest he repeated, “You want to spar ...with me...just our physical skills alone?” This was too good to be true. He wasn’t lucky enough to get the opportunity–an invited one at that-- to kick the ass of one of the stronger (when powered up) of Frieza’s men. Not in the league of the members of the Ginyu Force, but–indignant at the painful reality–stronger than he was. He would so relish batting Zarbon around, a chance to retaliate for how off-balance the pretty-boy managed to throw him, simply by existing.

As if able to read his mind, understanding that the Saiyan prince was doubting the veracity of his statement, Zarbon reiterated, “You and me. No powering up–just our skills.”

Lips settling into a predatory smirk, the whites of his teeth set off distinctly against the dusky olive of his skin, the small prince warned, “I fight to win, Zarbon. Expect no mercy. If you don’t want that pretty face of yours marred by a bruise or cut...or worse, you should back down from this challenge right now.”

Smirking back at him, the Megalian derided, “You’ll have to land a punch or kick on my face to mark it and I doubt you’ll be able to do that.” Eyes sparkling in needling razz, he taunted, “Maybe you should worry a little more about your own handsome face and stop obsessing on mine.”

Fingernails digging into his palms, the prince was livid. ~That arrogant coxcomb! I’ll show that Frieza’s pet how a warrior fights.~ Fuming, he angrily responded, “Let’s go. I’m ready as soon as I put my bodysuit on.”

Fifteen minutes later they were warming up in the private training facility reserved for the use of the ice lord ( who rarely bothered to utilize it) and a few of his favored followers. Like everything else that the over-indulged faction of Frieza’s army employed, it was bigger and better than what the lesser-appreciated residents of the massive ship had to work with.

Watching the Saiyan looking eagerly at the latest training bots and other assorted training aids, Zarbon kept telling himself that he had made the right decision in offering to spar with the cocky prince. They had spent the last couple of weeks slowly acclimating themselves to living together, but the hard-edged young man was not responding to Zarbon in the way he had hoped he might after getting settled into this new life. Although they spent a significant amount of time in one another’s company, Vegeta was not forthcoming in his emotions except to mock his companion for the most part if he bothered to speak to him at all. Even the prince’s joy in his new pet, Leto, was dampened by his sulky recognition of the fact that the viveret considered himself as much Zarbon’s as he did Vegeta’s.

And Zarbon was amazed to find himself in steadily increasing, shameless flirtation with the boy. Of course in his duties as ambassador for Lord Frieza, he’d had to use his charm and at times, a careful, flirting manner with the persons he dealt with. But that had been duty, no personal considerations involved in any of the meetings. These interactions with the prince were nothing but personal..and seemingly beyond his ability to control. He felt compelled to bring a blush to the sharply-defined cheekbones of the boy, loving how the color enhanced the already-exquisite beauty of the Saiyan.

There was no longer any lingering doubt if he wanted this boy, his youth a concern that was fast losing sway. Though he still planned on waiting until the boy’s awakening to become intimate, he was going to have the boy and longing to do so.

But if he was to ever truly have a relationship with the gorgeous prince that involved more than just their obligatory physical coupling, he would need to gain a measure of respect from the boy. Fighting the Saiyan was the only way he could think of to accomplish that. Vegeta respected fighting strength and skill.

And while Zarbon could easily defeat the prince using the power at his disposal, that would be at odds with his purpose. The Ginyu Force were more powerful than the Saiyans but though Vegeta envied that power, he had no actual respect for them. He seemed to feel that they skated by with the help of various tricks as he called them. No. He needed to match the prince blow by blow, block to his hit or kick.

His reverie was broken by the whoosh of a small foot as it narrowly missed his nose.

“Count yourself fortunate, Zarbon, that I actually desire at least a short workout or you’d be strewn unconscious on these spotless floors, adding a nice splash of color to the neutral decor,” the Saiyan snorted, black eyes bright in wicked daring.

Vegeta found himself resentful of these state-of-the-art surroundings that the Megalian was accustomed to and took for granted. By all rights a prince should have access to the best–instead of having the scraping toadies of that vile lizard reserving it for their own use. And he felt strangely irked at Zarbon for wearing a skintight bodysuit in the exact shade of blue as the man’s skin, a passing illusion of nakedness that popped frequently back to mind when forgotten for a few moments. ~As if he doesn’t expose himself enough as it is, prancing around the apartment buff-bare after his nightly bath.~

Zarbon knew he had better concentrate on the Saiyan befoe him as the young prince was deadly serious in his intent to best the older fighter. And that one warning was all he received as Vegeta lunged abruptly into a flurry of two-fisted jabs, harsh uppercuts, and a series of short, rapid kicks.

The prince was testing him, getting a feel for the extent of the Megalian’s abilities–looking for a weakness to exploit. It went on like that for twenty minutes or so, Zarbon staying on the defensive, blocking the subdued force of the Saiyan’s attacks and the occasional punch to the gut swung harder and foot to the head kicked more vigorously. But the blue-skinned elder knew the younger prince was continuing to hold back, perhaps toying with him or maybe uncertain as to what Zarbon might have planned.

And it was actually Zarbon who got the first real hit in, kicking out forcefully with the added advantage of his longer legs and surprise of his change to offensive action. It caught the prince in the right side, and rather than anger, his visage brightened in delight and his heart thrilled, as the other man was finally joined in the fray, acting... not merely reacting.

Sparring in earnest, they continued for another hour—each landing blows, but Vegeta gaining the upper hand. Several kicks he aimed at Zarbon’s groin instinctively, the prince forgetting that the Megalian was not as susceptible to that attack as others would be. The prince was faster, more dexterous, years of bloody campaigns behind him. Zarbon, though he trained faithfully, was a fighter in name and hobby, not occupation.

With a hard cross to his face to stun him, Vegeta then swept Zarbon’s legs out from under him, sending the dazed man to the floor on his backside. Staring down at his victim, a winning grin tinged pink with the froth of bloody saliva, the prince looked like a newly deified god of war, exalted in his victory. Wiping the blood from his mouth on his sleeve, courtesy of an uppercut the Megalian had punishingly delivered, he said, “Looks like your skills were a bit lacking, Zar...”

Before his statement could be finished, the prince was landed on his backside in turn as Zarbon used his last vestige of energy to knock the prince off his feet with his own chop to the legs.

“You should always make sure you have your opponent’s surrender before shouting your triumph,” Zarbon gasped, more tired than he’d ever been.

Vegeta wanted to hold to some anger, but looking at the purpled cheeks of the other man, seeing the beginnings of several bruises on his hereto now unblemished face, all he could do was laugh.

And hearing the normally petulant prince chortle, seeing the stern expression disappear, Zarbon laughed as well, still gasping for breath.

Going over to the other, Vegeta examined his facade with a critical eye. “Unfortunately, I think you’ll come out of this no worse for your beating. Some restorative gel should heal these bruises,” he said wryly as he reached out to touch the minor damage on the Megalian’s face.

As his fingers touched the smooth, luminous skin of Zarbon’s face, the prince felt the breath rush out of his lungs. It seemed that Zarbon had stopped breathing as well. For minutes there was no movement. Silence as the black eyes of one found the yellow of the other. Pools of molten gold, a treasure unburied, beckoned the prince to dive into their depths. Closer...and closer...till he saw nothing else. Drowning...And then...warm breath on his parted lips, a gentle touching and...

Vegeta jerked to his feet and walked quickly away, leaving Zarbon in the silence behind.

Mind awhirl in befuddlement, heart pounding more in excitement than from exercise, he slowly made sense from confusion. The Saiyan prince had kissed him. It was only a whisper, a ghost of a caress... but...Vegeta had kissed him.

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