I wake still propped up against the headboard, half slumped over, and enormously sore. I stretch painfully, a series of pops and crackles heralding my alert state. I glance over to the other bed, and notice my brother is gone. I frown, and climb out of bed hastily. The sun shining through the window is soft and muted, and I glance outside quickly. Still overcast.

“Kakarot?” I poke my head into the bathroom, but he isn’t there, either. Oh great, now I get to roam the halls of this impossible place to try and find him. I venture out into the hall, glancing up and down it, but seeing nothing that would lead me to my wandering brother. However, the thick aroma of bacon lets me know that I can probably find the way to the kitchen again. Well, if I find someone else, maybe they can tell me where Kakarot is.

I try and memorize my route as I head back to the little kitchen we had tea in last night, but I soon find myself hopelessly lost. It’s one of my least favorite traits about myself…I have absolutely no sense of direction. I hear familiar voices as I come ever closer to that tantalizing bacon smell, accompanied now by a delicious crackling noise. I sure as hell hope one of those voices is Kakarot, because I’m damn hungry!

For once, luck is with me. Kakarot sits at the little table in jeans and a long-sleeved cotton shirt with a scoop neck. It’s strange seeing him without his customary gi, but I noticed last night that he had neglected to bring one. Vegeta is standing at the stove, frying the bacon. And eggs. I groan inwardly at the tight black denim that molds his ass and muscular thighs so enticingly. Well, I suppose it’s good to know some things never change; I’m attracted to hopeless relationships and Vegeta looks absolutely ravishing in black. A huge pitcher of orange juice sits on the table, and a half-empty glass of the same in front of my brother, He smiles at me as I walk in…not his usually sunny grin, but much better than the blunted emotions of last night.

“Morning, Raditz,” he greets me quietly, and Vegeta turns to look at me. A tight indigo tank top does nothing to hide the broad planes of his chest and shoulders, and I quickly pull my eyes back to my brother before I embarrass myself.

“Hey, Kakarot. How are you doing this morning?” I pull out a chair and spin it around so I can perch backwards on it, leaning on the back, stretching out my tortured spine and pressing my bare chest into the wooden bars. He shrugs at me, taking another gulp of the orange juice.

“I’ve been better. But I’ve been worse, too,” he says, flicking his eyes down to the tabletop, then back to Vegeta. “Vegeta’s making me breakfast.”

“I suppose you’ll want some, too?” said prince inquires with some irritation, and I turn to look at him. Damn, but he’s beautiful when he scowls like that. All I can do is smile back.

“Yeah, if you don’t mind.” He eyes me up and down, and turns wordlessly back to the stove, adding some more bacon to the pan. Strange, and unsettling. Has he really changed that much since I last knew him? Or is it just these ‘special’ circumstances? And when did he learn how to cook? Like my brother and youngest nephew, I’m pretty useless in the kitchen.


I turn back to my brother, cocking one eyebrow curiously. “Yeah?”

“I wanted to thank you, for last night. I really wasn’t myself….leaving Chichi…well, it was kind of a shock.” I open my mouth to apologize, but he cuts me off with a wave of his hand. “Not that it wasn’t something I needed to do. You were right, we don’t really…fit. But I don’t think I could have left on my own. So I guess I have two things to thank you for…kicking me in the butt to get me going, and taking care of me.”

I reach over, grab his hand across the table, give it a brief squeeze. “Hey, that’s what I’m here for,” I say, and again that warm feeling of protectiveness and satisfaction in my role glows inside me. Funny, I never thought of myself as a natural caretaker. But something about Kakarot brings out that side in me. A month from now, we’ll probably be back to the same old him superior/me inferior relationship, but right now it’s nice to be needed.

He squeezes my hand back, then releases it, so I tuck it under my chin again. “Are you…you are going to stick around for awhile, right?” he asks, a bit hesitantly. I grin broadly back at him.

“As long as you need me, little brother. Well, and as long as Vegeta lets me stick around.” I glance over to the prince, who is now transferring the monumental pile of bacon onto a plate, and working on the eggs. I notice a plate piled high with toast over on the sideboard, and I stand up to get it, catching Vegeta’s eye as I do so.

“Well, as long as I have to deal with Kakarot, I might as well deal with you, too,” he mutters, but I can see a small smile quirking the corner of his lip up. Is he actually glad to have us here? Curiouser and curiouser. I take the toast to the table, and then begin searching cupboards for some plates. “Second one to your left,” Vegeta directs as he finishes up on the eggs, transferring them to an enormous serving dish.

I find the silverware on my own, and breakfast is ready. My stomach rumbles ominously as I sit down, and my tail waves slowly behind me in anticipation. By now I’m used to the twin looks of fascination and longing on both Vegeta and Kakarot’s faces as their eyes are drawn to the swaying dark pelt behind me. A double sigh, and they both turn to the food. We all dig in with a seriousness that only a Saiyan can direct towards food, and soon the simple repast Vegeta prepared is demolished, and we’re full for at least another hour or two.

I curl my tail neatly around my waist as I lean back, scratching my bare chest idly. “Hey, Vegeta,” I break in to the silence with a question that’s been bugging me for awhile. “How come you guys don’t get the dragonballs and use them to wish your tails back?”

It’s Kakarot that looks at me, though, his eyes suddenly bright with excitement. “Wow! I never thought of that! Why couldn’t we, Vegeta?” He turns to the smaller man, his bright face eager.

“Because, idiot, what if something happened, and we needed them again right away? What would we do? What a ridiculous wish. Besides, tails are a weakness. We don’t need Oozaru form, so why should we need tails?” His voice is harsh, dismissive, but his eyes tell a different story. I wonder why he’s denying what is so obvious?

“Oh, come on, Vegeta, you know we always get years notice whenever something big is up! That would be so fun! Go find the dragonballs and wish everyone’s tails back! I know I miss mine…” He turns to look over his shoulder mournfully, and I almost burst out laughing. But I realize why my brother has latched on to this so hard…he needs something to do right now, something to think about other than his split with Chichi. I can understand that, and I lock eyes with Vegeta, trying to make him understand how important this is. Unfortunately I’ve never been that good a communicator without words or actions, so Vegeta just scowls at me, obviously not understanding.

“I suppose we could go in a few days, Kakarot,” Vegeta concludes, glancing over at my brother. Hmm, I forgot to factor in that Vegeta is considerably more intelligent than I am. Who needs me making weird faces for him to get it?

“A few days?” Does my brother always sound this childish when he’s talking to Vegeta?

“Alright, maybe tomorrow.” And since when is Vegeta so genial? Huh. I guess love makes you do strange things. If Vegeta is actually in love with Kakarot. I can’t honestly tell…he’s obviously attracted to him, but beyond that, I don’t know. Vegeta has always been hard to read, and though that seems to have changed pretty drastically over the years, I’m still not up to all the subtleties of my prince’s expressions. Then again…of course, this is the perfect opportunity for Vegeta to jump Kakarot! Chichi’s no longer in the way…damn it, he’s not ready for that yet!

“I’m coming, too,” I state decisively, and am surprised to see Vegeta now eyeing me speculatively. I thought for sure he’d be pissed. But Kakarot just nods.

“Of course you are. You said you’d stay with me.”

“What are you guys planning?” The voice is behind us, and I lean back, arching backwards to see who’s come in the kitchen. The upside down face staring back at me has a pair of glorious blue eyes and is framed by soft lavender hair. Oh shit. I straighten up hastily, tucking my tail firmly around my waist to hide my agitation. The last thing I need is Vegeta to find out what’s been going on with his son.

“Hey Trunks! We’re going to get the dragonballs, and wish everyone’s tail back!” Kakarot’s voice has gained some of it’s old warmth and cheer in his excitement over this new adventure.

“Huh,” Trunks comments, opening the fridge and sticking his head inside. Vegeta watches his son idly, and I turn my face hastily away, afraid he’ll see the crimson stain there. Of course, now I’m looking directly at his son’s shapely rear, which is hardly any better. “Hey, Dad?” Trunks asks from the depths of the fridge. “Did I ever have a tail?”

“Yes,” Vegeta growls in response, “But the woman had it cut off when you were a baby. Against my wishes.” Trunks straightens, the loose black cotton pants he wears finally allowing me a safe haven to rest my eyes on. He pulls out the milk and pours himself a glass.

“So me, Goten, and Gohan would grow one back, too? That’s cool. Neat idea, Goku.”

“Actually, it was Raditz’,” Kakarot comments, giving Trunks an excuse to look at me. And look at me he does, sweeping his eyes from my flushed face, down my bare chest, lingering on my hip bones before taking in my baggy shorts and bare feet. He then takes a slow swallow of his milk, running his tongue lightly over his upper lip as he holds my dark eyes with his paler ones.

“Good idea, Raditz,” he says. Is it my imagination, or has his voice gone seductively low? He sure hasn’t taken offense at my hasty retreat last night.

“I…uh…I need to take a shower.” I stand hastily, thankful for the looseness of my shorts. My hand automatically goes to the back of my neck, and I turn to smile at my little brother. “You going to be okay, Kakarot?”

He nods encouragingly at me. “Yeah, I suppose I should talk to Bulma about borrowing the dragonball radar, and pack, and…” I flick my eyes over to Vegeta. He’s staring hard at his son, then he looks at me. A small frown furrows his brow, and I swallow.

“Okay, see you later!” I leave the kitchen quickly, knowing it’s going to be hopeless…I’ll never find my way back to the room now.

As I climb the stairs, I hear a low voice behind me. “Can you find your way back okay?” It’s Trunks, he’s followed me. Shitshitshit.

“Oh yeah, I’m fine.”

“You’re going the wrong way.” He slips by me, just brushing his shoulder against my arm, then turns around. “Come on,” he purrs, and leads me back to the room. By the time we reach the door, I’m staring fixedly at the ceiling, so I miss it when he stops, and I run into him. He laughs and turns, running his fingers lightly up my chest.

“So I guess you’re going to be staying with us for awhile,” he purrs, looking up at me hungrily.

“Um, yes…Trunks, I don’t think…” I stammer, licking my lips nervously.

“Oh, don’t worry, Raditz. I’m not going to force anything on you that you don’t want…” His voice is low and husky, and unconsciously my tail uncurls from my waist, flicking around my hip. He leans his warm body into me, and it’s much better without the mesh, just my bare skin against the soft cotton of his tank top. I lick my lips again, but it’s not in nervousness this time.

His hips do a slow roll as he grinds himself sensually against my upper thigh, putting one finger in his mouth and letting his tongue swirl around it suggestively. He pulls it out of his mouth wetly, then reaches up to run that slick finger down the side of my neck, lightly scraping with his nail. I can’t help it, I let my mouth fall open as a low groan escapes me. He smiles wickedly, running his thumb over my bottom lip softly.

“What I am going to do,” he murmurs, watching in delight as I flick my tongue out to taste the pad of his thumb, “Is tease you unmercifully. Until you’re begging for me.” I blink down at him, not really thinking straight as he pulls his thumb back from my mouth and lightly licks it himself tasting my saliva. “Maps are in every guest room, in the nightstand. See you later, Raditz.”

And he walks away. Just like that, he sashays his ass down the hall and around the corner. GODS! Either tempt me to do something awful, or don’t, but leaving me halfway like this? When were teenagers so goddamn canny about how to drive a man mad? I lean up against the door panting heavily. The only blessing is that I’m alone and about to take a shower, so I can take care of this. But still…! My life is getting far too complicated, far too fast.

Part Thirteen | Back
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