Chapter 4: Confusion
Goku took a few breaths to work the shock out of his system. His hand retreated to a more supportive position against Vegeta's back as he gathered himself to take Vegeta back to C.C. A gust of wind blew through, trying to clear the landscape of scattered leaves, directly before a flash of lightning flickered against the sky, thereafter sending out a low rumbling roll of thunder. The prince's eyelids fluttered open, a dazed expression marked across his face as his mind began to come to grips with reality. "Wha-" Vegeta's first attempt to speak since the fight was evident, his voice was quiet, raspy, and it cracked. Slightly embarrassed the brunette swallowed, took a breath, and tried again, "What do you think you're doing, Kakkarot?" Goku looked down at him unable to hide his frown with a mask of cheerfulness. He didn't even try this time. He didn't really care. If Vegeta wasn't acting normal, why should he? "You need help," the other Saijin replied after a moment, but he dared not to move - yet. "I..I don't need any help," Vegeta insisted, pushing away from Goku with such little force it was no effort for the black-haired man to keep holding onto him. Goku let him push away from him because it made no difference, "Yes, you do." Finding his strength had left him completely, Vegeta gave up, falling limp in Goku's arm. The rain stopped falling but the lightning continued on, casting light upon the Saijins every few moments. Vegeta's dejected voice rang through Goku's ears as he whispered, "You can't help me, Kakkarot."
"You don't know that," Goku insisted, his eyebrows knitting together intensely. "Let go of me, Kakkarot," Vegeta demanded, again trying to push himself away, "You're acting like a fool." Goku unintentionally gripped the prince tighter, "Why? Because I care?" Vegeta let out a gruff snort wishing that somehow he could find strength to move, "Whatever, Kakkarot." Goku looked intently on Vegeta's face, trying to look the older Saijin in the eyes, "Hey! Don't tell me how I feel, how I think, or what I know!" The brunette turned his gaze away, a curt frown marked on his face, 'You just don't understand, Kakkarot.' After the silence began Goku started to wonder what he should do - whether to sit Vegeta down or carry him elsewhere. He examined the smaller man, a faint smile lining his lips. Why would Vegeta make him smile? And what an odd time to do so. "Wanna talk about it?" Goku questioned softly, rearranging their position so that Goku was sitting on the ground with Vegeta in his arms. The small man let out a near silent whimper of protest as his injuries were reinflamed by the movement. "What?" the Prince of Saijins asked, his lips parting slightly in confusion when he forced himself to surpass the pain. He blinked and paused for a few seconds to interpret what Goku meant and then he replied, "No." Goku nodded slightly, barely moving, indulging in his own thoughts. 'I'm going to have to heal him but I don't have any senzu beans..I doubt Vegeta would want me to move much less, could stand for me to move,' Goku sighed quietly, wishing he could massage his strained eyebrows. More than that, though, he wished he could make Vegeta feel better. He cursed his stupidity again, becoming a bit more frustrated.
"Sometimes it helps to talk about it," Goku muttered out loud, whether he was giving advice to Vegeta or to himself, he wasn't sure. 'Asshole. Why do you try to force it out of me?' Vegeta asked himself, looking away as if he had never heard Goku in the first place. He sighed lightly, realizing that at this point it really didn't matter - it really didn't make a difference. After a few moments of hesitation Vegeta drew in a shaky breath, pausing before letting quiet words slip over his lips, "I guess...no one bothered to listen before." Goku looked down at him intently, an urge to hold him and caress him overwhelmed his being. He'd never had that feeling before with anyone. It was true he didn't want his friends to be hurt, but he had never wanted to physically touch them to ease their pain. It confused him, but he had no time to waste pondering such things, he had to talk with Vegeta now and let him know that he was sorry for what he had done to the prince. "I'll listen," Goku whispered, leaning over so that Vegeta had his undivided attention, "I promise." Vegeta licked his dry lips, uncertain on what he should do: half of him screamed to blurt it out to see if it would make him feel better, but the other half told him not to, that is was stupid to tell the younger Saijin anything about himself. Vegeta closed his eyes knowing that the real reason that he didn't want to tell Goku was not because it was stupid, but because he was afraid. Pathetic. The Prince of Saijins was afraid. The Prince of Saijins was afraid of...What was he afraid of? He wasn't sure. Pain? Why would he be afraid of that? He was so used to it..
'Stop it,' he told himself, knowing that he was running in circles, and with each new question the only answer would be another question and so on and so on. He opened his mouth to tell Goku something about his life, but no words could come forth. He was at a loss. What could he say? What could he tell Goku? What did it matter? He could have said hundreds of things about his life long ago or about recent occurrences...he could have talked about when he was forced to join Freiza or how he had been held in the jail cell, or how he was alone with Nappa and Radditz as his only companions, or how he felt when Freiza had killed him, or the way he felt when he was in Hell, or he could have told him about how he had become a Super Saijin, or he could have told him about how he and Bulma had found each other, or how he needed the thrill of the battle, or how he knew he was a bad father, or how he felt at that moment...But no words came out because they all wanted to come out at once, forcing him into silence. What was the point in telling someone something that happened long ago when they couldn't even do anything about it? 'Like he'd understand anyways,' Vegeta told himself, closing his mouth again.
"Please, Vegeta," Goku still whispered, again resisting the urge to caress Vegeta's hair to soothe him, "I promise I won't make fun of you." Vegeta swallowed, still nervous. He could trust Goku, right? 'What am I thinking!? Trust that idiot!? Why should I tell him anything, anyways!' the brunette silently yelled, trying to clench his fists but only able to curl his fingers upwards. His whole body ached in protest, or it at least felt like it, and he verbally announced this. "Vegeta!" Goku called out in surprise and worry. He quickly scooped him up into his arms, ready to leap into the air. "Stop, Kakkarot," Vegeta demanded though his voice was weak, "Just...put me down." The black-haired man paused for a few seconds before complying, gently laying the prince down on the cold ground. He sat directly beside him, Vegeta's side and Goku's knees lightly pressed against one another. He wanted to tell Goku to go home and forget about him, but even if he had been able to he had a feeling that the younger Saijin wouldn't have listened to the request anyways. What the hell was with him, anyways? How could one little bump on the head when he was a child turn him into..such a human-like weakling? There was that word again..weakling. But still, Goku was a paradox he didn't understand, and maybe that was one of the reasons he had hated the man. Not truly hate, no..he was just frustrated. Goku frustrated him more than anything else had in his whole life. How was the man able to be such a bumbling happy idiot and a Saijin at the same time? Actually..he wasn't holding any of those characteristics at the moment, and that confused him even more. Ever since Goku had arrived he had been quiet, calm, and supportive, except for that brief time when Vegeta had been able to thoroughly enrage him to the point where he was not thinking; but other than that he hadn't been showing any of the typical happy-go-lucky foolishness Vegeta had always related him to. 'He does seem different..I wonder why..?' Vegeta thought when he suddenly felt a sneeze coming on.
"Aahh....Aaahh..." Vegeta tried his best to resist the urge, but it was inevitable. Goku blinked a few times but he didn't move or say anything. "ACHOO!" the brunette sneezed directly into Goku, giving out a cry as the sudden movement of his body annoyed his injuries. The black-haired Saijin couldn't help but chuckle, smiling warmly down at the prince. Vegeta gave a few small moans before mumbling, "Sorry, Kakkarot..." Goku contained his laughter and he calmly replied, "It's alright, don't worry about it." The prince sniffled, wiggling his nose to get it to feel normal again, 'Why the hell did I just apologize...?' Goku switched his position, laying on his side next to Vegeta, his elbow bent, his hand propping up his head, "I can go get a senzu bean from Korin if you'd like." Vegeta stared up blankly for a few moments, "...No.....Thanks." He closed his eyes his teeth clenching lightly, 'Thanks? Stop it Vegeta, just STOP IT. Don't you realize how pathetic you sound? JUST STOP IT.' Goku nodded and replied, "Okay." Vegeta's mind began to replay a memory that had occurred a few years ago...
He recalled the way Bulma had looked after they had had sex for the first time - the night Trunks was conceived. She glowed. Simply glowed. Her skin glistened with a thin sheen of sweat, some of her turquoise hair plastered to her forehead. Her breathing was beginning to return to normal, the warm carbon dioxide being forced past her lips, and those smooth lips had been upturned into a content - very content - smile. He had rolled over, preparing to leave the room, and her, until whenever he wished to return. But she had reached out, wrapping her arm around his waist to pull him back down. He could have easily escaped her grasp but curiosity got the best of him and he stayed to hear her reasoning. "Don't go," she had whispered, laying on her side, "I need you here." How intrigued he had become. Why would someone need for him to be with them? How interesting..And so he had stayed. He had lied back down and she had curled against him, her body heat keeping him warm. It was quite an unusual situation because he had been used to sleeping even when he was uncomfortable - temperature wise. But she had kept him warm all throughout the night.
He probably could've fallen asleep at that moment, even on the cold muddy ground, if he had allowed, or willed, himself to do so. But he opened his eyes to see Goku next to him, his body in the exact position that Bulma was in in the memory he had just recalled. It was strange for him to see the black-haired man like so, but for even stranger reasons he wasn't annoyed by it. 'Don't you dare relate Bulma to that fool,' Vegeta's mind warned and he felt a flicker of anger pass through him. Did Goku even notice how broken he was at the moment? How broken he had always been? Bulma noticed it, he knew that she knew; but she had never said anything though she offered comfort. Again, how interesting that she could ease his pain without acknowledging the problem, yet at the same time know what was wrong. But was Goku capable of such properties? No. He couldn't. And why not? 'DAMNIT. I told you to STOP IT!' his mind screamed, another pulse of anger rushing through him, this one stronger than the last. 'What have you got to lose? What difference does it make?' he heard himself proving a good point. 'Are you afraid, Vegeta? Of course you are,' the little voice in the back of his head began to taunt, 'You. The Prince of Saijins..is afraid of a lowly third class warrior who doesn't know a damn thing about the Saijin ways. You. The Prince of Saijins..is afraid that if you tell someone about how you feel that they'll use it against you and shove it in your face. You. The Prince of Saijins..is afraid that if you accept the fact that they care, they'll turn around, beat you into the ground, spit in your face, and tear you shreds like all the others have done. But yet, the others didn't care, did they Vegeta? They didn't care if you lived or died, they didn't care how you felt or what you thought. You don't know how to react, do you Vegeta? So you're afraid because you think they're going to react the same way the others have. You think you can't trust anyone. You think you can't be honest. Would this man before you do what the others have done when he has forgiven you so many times?'
'Why what? Why has he spared you? Why does he care? Why does he listen, and why does he try? You want to know all of the answers to these questions, don't you, Vegeta?' the voice continued lowly, solemnly, 'You want to know the answers but you don't want to admit that you want to know. You have no more pride, Vegeta. No more strength. No more will. No more ambition, and no more fire. You know there is nothing left and so there is nothing to lose. Why are you afraid of losing something you don't have?'
'If I'm afraid of losing something I don't have..then I must have it.'
He blinked, his lips parting as he finally understood that the voice, his conscience he mused, had done the unthinkable and made him be true to himself. He was now perplexed, however, 'What exactly do I have then?' Goku studied the confused face of the brunette, and decided that he should try to gently press him into a conversation, "Remember the time when I came back from Namek and you were wearing that shirt that said "Bad Man" on it?" Vegeta looked at him, an expression resembling shock written across his face. 'Now WHY would he bring that up now??' he thought, utterly confused by the question. He nodded after a moment's hesitation. "I was just thinking about how you never really wear anything other than your..well...normal outfit," Goku murmured, fully aware that the whole mention of the subject was stupid and it was probably a mistake to even speak of it in the first place. "You don't change much either, Kakkarot," Vegeta stated, defending his routine. "Yeah, I don't, do I?" Goku asked, his question more rhetorical than anything, "I guess I should go out and get some new clothes." Vegeta made a low noise as a response, and if Goku had to guess what it was it probably would have been a, "Hn." The smaller man sighed silently, 'You're pathetic, you know that, right? You are simply pathetic, Vegeta.'
He took a few breaths as his body suddenly rushed with adrenaline. He licked his lips, his heart pounding in his chest, 'You are and have always been...No, STOP. I am not going to do this anymore. I'm not going to pretend, I'm not going to tell myself things I already know. I'm pathetic, so what? What does it matter? It's not going to bring Bulma back. I'm strong. What does that matter when Kakkarot is stronger? What am I doing, lying here next to him? What kind of weakling am I to make him comfort me? I know that if I push away he will only hold on tighter. That is his way. I must not let this facade continue on. I must get away from here. Away from..Kakkarot...' He turned quickly to look at the black-haired Saijin, a jolt of pain electrifying his neck. "Vegeta?" Goku's calm voice made him refocus his attention and the brunette raised an eyebrow slightly. The younger Saijin had been studying the face of the prince, noting every detail so he could read, on some level, what was occurring inside of Vegeta's mind. And he hadn't been able to make a strong judgment with all things considered. Even at that moment, with Vegeta's dark eyes staring into his own, he was unable to come up with an assessment. "Vegeta?" he questioned again, gauging the smaller man's reactions. "Kakkarot," Vegeta's voice rasped before he cleared his throat and attempted speech again, "I....I'm tired. I think I shall go home now." Goku stared into his eyes, an overwhelming feeling that something about this situation wasn't exactly as it should have been pitted in his stomach, and even though he knew he shouldn't ignore his instincts, he merely nodded.
"Would you like for me to fly you home?" Goku offered, his voice barely above the level of a whisper. A part of him screamed out hopefully that Vegeta would accept this - it was his worry, his doubt, his concern. "No, Kakkarot," Vegeta lightly insisted, forcing himself into a sitting position without showing a trace that he was in pain, "No. I shall make it on my own." His muscles nearly gave out upon themselves as he stood. He trembled for a moment before he began to gather the very last of his power. He felt obligated and so he said to the younger warrior, "Thank you." Goku felt compelled, but he did not move from his position, his emotions and instincts were stuck in a whirlwind. Vegeta gave him a slight nod before a white aura glowed around his body, "Goodbye, Kakkarot." The other Saijin didn't reply, but instead he watched the prince take off in the direction of Capsule Corp, his flight agonizingly slow. Guilt overcame Goku again and he held up his hand as a gesture of parting, whispering into the night, "Later, Vegeta..."
Part Five |