THANK YOU: Klepto for bearing with my insistent teasing AND giving me a lovely question AND helping me with a few minor details regarding soda pop. Su-san and Vin for their help in transitions - they were greatly appreciated and needed. Espaa in the donation of a name. Ashes and Vege_Chan for grammar support. Skip for your emotional support, even if I only managed to write three sentences in one night. And Ashes again for just being the wonderful person she is.

NOTES: An asterisk (*) indicates a notation. Anything with a * beside it will be explained at the end of 10d.

Pandora's Box: Chapter 10a
aka Apparent Disregard

"Soy un perdedor/
I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me?/"

-Beck "Loser"

Goku stared at the lithe figure of the Saijin prince, diffused light cast down upon them. It was dimmer than candle light, and dimmer than moon light - that is, when the moon had been around. Vegeta's deep, even breaths were relaxing to the black-haired man, and Goku released a large sigh. The brunette that lay beside him looked, for once, truly calm. The evidence of his crying had long since faded, and his facial expression was no longer strained. Goku didn't think of crying as a sign of weakness, rather he knew Vegeta had been mentally exhausted. Sometimes, letting go like that made you feel better, even though nothing changes.

The pale skin looked smooth in the lighting, flawless except for the blood that had dried on his face and neck. Goku wrapped his arms around his knees and bowed his head. He kept remembering Vegeta's words: 'I hate you..because you make me happy.'

Goku's lips upturned into a small smile and he let out a small noise of amusement. On some level it seemed so absurd that it was humorous: hating someone because you liked them. However, with Vegeta, he knew there wasn't anything to really laugh about. In fact, it was so serious it was painful.

What had happened to the prince that made him react like that? What sort of abuse had he endured that caused him to automatically assume people hated him? What made him so dispassionate about life that he had no control over his own emotions anymore? Vegeta's "heart" may say that Goku's alright, but his head was one step ahead screaming "no" over and over, despite any evidence otherwise.

He looked up at the prone prince once more, feeling his stomach quiver with a surge of emotion. It was a mixture of feelings he couldn't properly define.

The prince always caused this confusion., probably because he was unlike anyone he'd ever met. He wasn't as light-hearted as Krillin, Yamcha, or even Piccolo, but, he wasn't as cold-hearted as Freiza or Cell.

The brunette was like a wild creature, untamable and fascinating, though deadly if provoked. On the other hand, deeper than the outer skin of bare instincts and old habits, Goku sensed the complete opposite one would expect from the prince: compassion, understanding, shyness, common sense stronger than most that matched a high intelligence, and loneliness.

Vegeta's character seemed to lack depth, but that was merely all it did..seem. Goku knew better from the countless times he had the privilege to enjoy the prince's company. He knew, before Vegeta had first attempted to take his life, that those dark eyes held a vastness that he couldn't even comprehend and expect to fully discover. He knew after each action that Vegeta spent most of his time making sure no one saw him as he "truly" was. Brutal. Cold. Saijin.

Goku let his throat rumble quietly as he continued his train of thought. Who Vegeta thought he was and who he actually was, was surprisingly drastic in concerns of contrast; the major difference was Vegeta's out-going character. Sarcastic, bold, and uncaring: the small, spiky-haired man didn't appear to be anything but these things. But Goku knew better. He knew that Vegeta was just as bashful, secluded, and careful as everyone else; he was just better at hiding it than the rest.

A soft, dark tail twitched back and forth, its tip gliding over the top of Goku's hand. The gentle caress drew Goku's gaze down towards the furry appendage. Vegeta's words firmly shouted across his memory, 'Nobody...NOBODY TOUCHES MY GODDAMN TAIL!!'

Regardless, Goku's hand carefully pulled back for a moment before reaching down and lightly - oh so lightly - caressing the tip of the tail in mute curiosity and wonder. Though he himself had had a tail, decades had transpired since that time. By now he'd forgotten what it was like to have it, only remembering that it was quite useful, though it caused a great amount of pain when touched. Goku's rumbling magnified into a purr as his fingertips glided across the smooth fur, 'It's so soft!'

More adjusted, the taller Saijin ran his fingers through the sensitive appendage, marveling at the feel of the brown strands of hair. Vegeta's breath hitched for a moment, and so entranced, the slight disruption went unnoticed by Goku. Running his hand across and around the tail, Goku idly toyed with the brown fuzz, his purr becoming deeper. He curled his hand and gently pulled on the silky tail, his hand easily sliding to the tip, and so he continued to repeat the process. Goku, however, could not ignore the quiet moan which spilled across Vegeta's lips a moment later.

Confused, he looked up at the prince, whose face was contorted in an emotion that Goku couldn't clearly make out. He had never seen Vegeta make such and expression before. Blinking, Goku stroked the tail again, watching Vegeta's reaction carefully. The prince's lips parted to exhale a breathless moan as his hips rolled upward. It was then that the Earth-raised Saijin noticed the bulge in the elder's pants. A blush spread hotly across Goku's cheeks and he let go of Vegeta's tail, but the velvety appendage would have none of it, and wrapped itself around Goku's wrist and forearm as if pleading for more. Swallowing, Goku decided to hold still and let things be, realizing fully that he had meddled enough with things he was not only not supposed to touch, but hadn't been given permission to touch either.

Watching the brunette intently, he noticed that Vegeta calmed after a few minutes, his tail's grip loosening itself to thump against the ground in a quiet rhythm. Goku gave a sigh of relief and sat back, still blushing from the little incident that had just occurred. Piccolo's voice haunted him again, 'Well, for one who's denying attraction I find it interesting how one will blush at the notion, yet not at the fact of being naked in front of others.'

At that moment, he could no longer deny it. He understood why Vegeta could never fully upset him, why he didn't mind spending all his money on the older man, and why it didn't bother him the time Vegeta accidentally touched him in the crotch with his tail when the prince's intention was actually to hurt him. He'd always understood, but he never acknowledged it. He couldn't avoid it now. Despite how he wanted to, he could not and would not let himself ignore his own feelings.

Even though Vegeta hadn't been conscious, to give him pleasure like gave Goku pleasure. It wasn't disturbing because the prince had been asleep, per se, but more because he wasn't awake. He wanted Vegeta to feel that pleasure, and he wanted to give it to him.

So, this was it, he thought. I'm attracted to Vegeta. I feel for him. I want him...

And, more than anything, I want him to be happy...

Reaching out, the taller Saijin lightly brushed the back of his hand against Vegeta's temple. He had hurt the man and breached his trust, and he wanted to remedy that. He'd done more damage with his words than with his fists, he knew. Yet, the consequences of his actions were..astounding...

'I TRUSTED YOU!' Vegeta had shouted. It was the last thing he said before it happened. The man's ki skyrocketed, burning higher and higher. His aura had changed in that instant, leaving the ordinary white behind. Goku closed his eyes at the recollection, visualizing it all in his head. The way the dark brown spikes bled a new color, not simply flashing all at once like his own did. From the roots to the tips, pure gold colored the prince's strands; even his tail underwent the same change. Super Saijin. Vegeta was now a Super Saijin like himself.

Didn't Vegeta say that there was only supposed to be one Super Saijin per millennium? Well, what did legends know? Goku and Vegeta were both in a league of their own. However, assuming that the legend was true, maybe it explained why the prince transformed differently.

The overwhelming energy had then taken its toll on the prince, and the internal fire of ki burnt itself out. The emotional toll that went with that gift was too much for the brunette. He simply couldn't maintain that state of being at that point in time.

What would it be like when Vegeta would be capable of holding onto that power?

Hell, what would Vegeta do when he woke from his restful slumber? Releasing a deep sigh, Goku wondered where to go from his current position. What was he supposed to do? How was he supposed to act? Shaking his head slightly, he decided to just let things work out for themselves. Worrying surely would not be helpful, and there was nothing that would be able to anticipate the elder's reaction.

And then, the prince's eyes fluttered open, and he stared at Goku's face for a moment. "You...stayed," he said simply.

"Of course," the younger Saijin replied softly, giving Vegeta a smile. Goku moved himself around and stood, walking over to a nearby sink.

Vegeta propped himself up onto his elbows, giving a quick glance around, "Where are we..?"

Goku ran some water, his back facing Vegeta, "A little place I know about. Even I like to be alone sometimes." Vegeta thought it best not to ask more on the subject. Goku turned around after shutting off the water. He approached, and then knelt next to Vegeta, "Here." His hand offered a washcloth, though his gaze never left Vegeta's face.

Nodding, the brunette took the cloth and began to wipe off the blood that tarnished his skin, "I'm..I..." Vegeta's eyebrows scrunched up as he tried to word what he wanted to say. He finished cleaning himself before trying to voice himself again, "I.....think..I..should apologize, Kakkarot."

Goku raised an eyebrow, his expression becoming very solemn, especially at the tone in Vegeta's voice, "Why, Vegeta? Because you've had things happen to you that were beyond your control?"

The prince looked up at him and into his eyes, but Goku's expression did not change. " not expect you to understand," Vegeta hesitantly said, handing the washcloth back to Goku as if to distract him.

Goku tossed the miniature towel into the sink before turning his attention back to Vegeta, "And I do not expect you to understand." There was a moment of silence as Vegeta seemed to be thinking about his next words. Goku, however, broke the uneasy pause first, "Have you ever played laser tag, Vegeta?"

The question wasn't necessary - Goku already knew the answer. "No, I have not, Kakkarot," the prince replied, a small smirk trying to curve his lips, "Why do you ask?"

Goku resisted a grin, giving off a toothy smile instead, "Why, my prince, I believe it is because I wish to take you laser tagging."


Vegeta stepped through the door which Goku held open for him. The main lobby area seemed quite small, and so the prince had many doubts about what he was about to do. Goku would occasionally catch a worried glance and say something positive and reassuring. They approached the main desk and Goku asked for a game for two. After paying, the employee handed him two plastic cards. "What the hell are you supposed to do with this?" Vegeta asked, looking at the card, which only had the company's logo on it.

"You hold onto it until they call us to get an activation arrow," Goku instructed, leaning against a nearby air hockey table.

"And what the hell is an activation arrow??" Vegeta snapped, more embarrassed than irritated.

"It's an arrow that will activate your pack," Goku said simply, trying to keep the atmosphere light, "Now no more questions. They'll be answered later, alright?" Vegeta mumbled something under his breath and crossed his arms, his gaze focusing on the ground.

After a few minutes of just standing around, Vegeta proclaimed, "This is so stupid."

Goku had to laugh, though he tried to resist the urge, "Give it a chance, Vegeta! You haven't even played yet..."

Vegeta said nothing.

Within the next minute or so they were called up to get activation arrows.

"Name?" a young girl questioned Goku, who was first.

"Kakkarot," Goku said, flashing Vegeta a grin, "K. A. K. K. A. R. O. T."

After shuffling around, and typing on the computer, she handed him an arrow and said, "Next?"

Vegeta stepped up, speaking before he was asked, "Vegeta. V. E. G. E. T. A." The process repeated, and the lady gave him his arrow. The two Saijins then proceeded to stand by the air hockey table once more. A few more minutes passed and finally they were called into a small room that was used for briefing. One of the employees gave a general breakdown of how the game was played before they were allowed into the next room that held all the laser packs. Goku slipped on a pack and activated it, passing up his arrow. Vegeta followed Goku's example, but abruptly got stuck when trying to complete the process. "Where the hell is that stupid strap!?" the prince growled, looking for it in agitation.

"Here," Goku said, spotting the buckle tangled around the other side of the pack. He unwound it and proceeded to buckle the pack for Vegeta, "There you go." Vegeta glared at the younger Saijin. A moment later the employee, or the "marshall" of the game, began to review a code of conduct. After this was completed, and all arrows were taken up, a large door opened and the players were allowed out into the arena. Vegeta fanned out and headed for the back corner, not paying the least bit attention to where Goku was going, though he was curious as to where he would end up. It was a solo game, and Vegeta knew how to play those type of games best.

Thirty seconds quickly passed and the game officially began. Being in the back corner, Vegeta had to wait a few moments before anyone passed by. The first person that passed didn't even see Vegeta, as they were some twenty feet away, but the Saijin successfully hit them regardless. Bored with his current position, the prince headed up a nearby ramp and onto the top floor of a tower. Above everyone else, he found it easy to peg people all across the arena.

Vegeta chuckled to himself - the game was relatively easy, but was a bit fun nonetheless due to how he annoyed the other people. A group of fed-up players snuck up behind Vegeta, but not only could the prince sense them, but hear them as well. Leaping into the air, Vegeta did a back flip over the edge of the tower and out into the air. He flew backwards, getting a shot in all of this attackers, who were now staring in complete shock. A second later, however, a figure gripped his ankle. "Vegeta!" Goku whispered harshly, tugging him towards the ground, though the prince would not move, "Don't fly!"

The brunette chuckled and got in a shot against Goku, "Why not? They didn't say you couldn't in the rules."

Goku stared at the prince whose eyes were, for once, full of mischief. A grin slowly spread across Goku's face, "Alright then, Vegeta." Swiftly, Goku shot Vegeta's pack. He laughed light-heartedly before flickering out. Vegeta cursed and went back to tagging all the people that dared come into his vision, and on more than one occasion he zoomed out of the way and behind the person. Within a minute or so, every normal human within the game was thoroughly scared or awestruck by the prince or the third class. Standing in various places, the humans watched the Saijins duke it out in the most hardcore laser tag game ever played. Fifteen minutes were soon up.

Walking into the main lobby laughing, Goku turned to look at Vegeta who was smirking at him. "Let's see our scores!" Goku said, taking a seat and patting the ground next to him. Shaking his head, the prince sat down next to him, folding his legs indian style. A group of men, women, and children followed after them, still tripping and stumbling in shock. The scores came up on a screen nearby and Goku released a cheer, "Damn! Way to go, Vegeta! You got first!"

The prince couldn't help but grin, the absurdity of it all was amusing, "Kakkarot, that was not challenging in the slightest."

Goku playfully punched his arm in response, "Aw, c'mon...having a score of roughly five thousand is more than triple the norm. And besides, I came in second only a hundred points behind you. So at least I was challenging..right?"

Vegeta stood up and put his hands in his pockets, "Hn...right." He glanced at the onlookers and felt his muscles tense. The staring, the gawking...he refused to take such treatment. He strode to the front door and slammed it open so hard it partially broke off the hinge.

"Vegeta!" Goku called out, chasing after him. He stopped the elder by placing a hand on his shoulder, "What's wrong??"

Vegeta gave a shrug, looking off into space, "Nothing."

Goku resisted the urge to call bullshit, so instead he voted to say, "That's not true."

The prince backed out of reach, "Yeah, well, maybe. I... I guess I didn't realize how much I don't like spectators."

Goku pulled his lips back into a terse expression, "Ah...Well.. ..What would you like to do now?" The prince looked down and away, giving a shrug. "Alright," Goku said with a sigh, putting his hand on Vegeta's shoulder, taking them elsewhere. As they reappeared, Vegeta knew right away they were in a department store. "I thought you wouldn't like to wear those Hawaiian print shorts," Goku said as they approached the swim suits.

"I do not wish to go to the beach," Vegeta said, his tone almost dangerous.

"We're not going to the beach," the taller Saijin declared with a playful smirk. Without saying anything more, he turned and began to look through a rack. Vegeta seemed to give up and began looking as well. Within seconds, the prince had decided on a pair of plain black swimming trunks. Goku took just a few moments longer, taking up a navy pair with yellow stitching. After paying for their selected items, Goku - ignoring the people around them - placed his hand on Vegeta's shoulder and transmitted them out. Again, they appeared in the dim room which Vegeta hadn't gotten a good look at. Instantly, Goku began to strip so he could put on his swimming trunks. He turned to Vegeta when he was done to notice that the man hadn't moved an inch.

"What?" the prince growled as Goku stared at him.

"Uh..aren't you going to change?" the younger Saijin asked innocently, raising one eyebrow. Vegeta seemed to fidget for a moment before, with reluctance, he began to pull off his shirt. Goku took a deep breath and turned around, suddenly realizing that the brunette needed his privacy. The prince had seemed so hesitant to undress in front of him, nervous as well. 'My god..he's so cute when he's shy,' Goku thought with a blush, biting his tongue to force his mind to not wander. There was the ruffling of clothes for a minute or so before Vegeta finally walked into view, decked out in his new wardrobe. "This way," Goku allowed himself to breathe, taking them towards a sliding door.

The black-haired youth opened it, letting pent up humidity escape and cover their skin. A bead curtain hung in the door frame just behind the door, and inside the ornate room which held no windows, sat a single object in the center of the room - a hot tub. Vegeta stepped inside, eyeing the tub warily as he walked on the tile floor. Goku slid the door shut, casually walked over the the tub, and stepped in. "Hm," the taller Saijin purred, "It's really nice. Perfect temperature." He stepped down again so the water came up to his waist, then after pausing there for a moment, he sat down and leaned back, releasing a deep, satisfied sigh.

Vegeta seemed skeptical, but allowed himself to dare into the tub, following suit to Goku's actions, minus the satisfactory sounds. After sitting for a minute however, Vegeta leaned back, letting his elbows rest on the tile side of the tub, his hands hanging limply, the fingers just centimeters above the water's surface. The prince tipped his head back and made a small noise, his eyes closing. Goku watched him, a smile breaking out across his face, 'Thank god, he seems to be enjoying it!' He suddenly felt his stomach do a back flip as he examined the older Saijin.

The dim light did nothing for eradicating the sensuality of the situation (at least, the sensuality in Goku's eyes). Water splashed and played against Vegeta's wonderfully toned chest, leaving behind glistening skin in its wake. Even more tantalizing, was the prince's tail, which only let its tip venture out of the water, twitching back and forth, submerging and surfacing again and again, as if beckoning. An image of Vegeta's tail softly caressing the taller man's thighs invaded Goku's mind, the brown fuzz moving upwards, closer and closer...

"Are you blushing?" Vegeta abruptly asked. Goku flushed a darker color as he realized that he hadn't even noticed the prince looking at him.

'Stop daydreaming, you pervert!' he mentally slapped himself. He shrugged to Vegeta, trying to act nonchalant, "Must be the heat." A part of his mind taunted, 'Yeah, the heat in your groin...pervert.'

Goku coughed and slipped deeper into the water for a moment, his eyes level with Vegeta's chest. There was a long scar over the right side of his chest, as well as a few other random, jagged ones. There could of been more, but he couldn't see properly in the lighting. They almost seemed fitting on Vegeta, but awkward as well. Fitting, since he was a warrior, awkward because Goku knew better of the healing capabilities. Wouldn't regeneration tanks stop scarring? On Namek, he received no scars from the wounds that healed in the tank.

The black-haired man sat up and quietly asked, "Hey, Vegeta?"

The prince regarded him for a moment before replying, "Yes, Kakkarot?"

Goku cleared his throat, moving around nervously, " don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but-" He paused for a second, watching the brunette's eyes narrow. "-um...Why did you...stop talking? You know, when you were young..." Goku spoke softly, only glancing up at Vegeta every few seconds. An uncomfortable silence ensued. Goku broke it before it went on even longer, "You don't have to answer me, it's okay, I understand."

Vegeta sat up, running a hand through his hair, "No. I was thinking you'd really want to know why I started speaking again."

Goku slowly raised his eyebrows, "Um...I..."

Vegeta shook his head, looking down for a moment, "Stop fretting." The prince looked up once more, his voice dangerously low, "When I learned of my planet getting destroyed..When I heard my father was dead..That's when I stopped." The dark orbs of Vegeta's eyes bore into Goku's, "I started again when-" He suddenly broke off, unable to finish the sentence.

"It's okay," Goku insisted, not wanting to press the matter.

"No," the prince said firmly, the black depths once again connecting with Goku's. If Zarbon could know, then surely Kakkarot could? He'd heard a few times that talking about it made you feel better. Maybe he could try..just this once.

"I had just returned from purging a planet when an elite soldier grabbed a hold of me," Vegeta's skin lost what little color it held, "He took me to a room where there was other elites inside. They pinned me down and began to, erh...touch me and take off my clothes." Goku felt his insides twist and revolt against his body, wishing to escape, dread poisoning his bloodstream. Vegeta's face contorted to anger and shame, "So I..called for help. Frieza and Dodoria had been nearby, I guess, and heard me. They said if I didn't tell them what happened they'd let them go, so I, uh..told them."

Goku's eyes flashed with emotions and questions left unanswered. "No," Vegeta said before the young man could actually vocalize any of it, "Nothing really happened." A wave of relief overcame Goku's features, or at least, partial relief. The prince sighed, letting his head roll back so he'd look up at the ceiling. The tip of the tail submerged only to not surface again.

"I didn't want to make you upset or anything," Goku admitted, his eyebrows furrowed in concern.

"You didn't," Vegeta said blandly, his throat contracting with a swallow, "It isn't you. It's those dead, long-gone bastards." A deep sigh emitted from the brunette as he muttered, "Fuckin' pedophiles..." Shaking his head, Vegeta sat up again, his tail once again appearing. There. He'd said it.

"Yeah, well, I'm sure they wouldn't have done anything if they knew they were messing with a Super Saijin," Goku said, sporting a shy grin as he tried to lighten the mood. The prince stared with an odd, confused expression across his face. It was then that Goku realized Vegeta wasn't aware of his own transformation. "You don't know," Goku stated in shock, "You really don't know."

The brunette's tail began to twitch faster as adrenaline started to run, "Know..what...exactly?"

Goku ran his hand over his face, rubbing his forehead. He looked up at Vegeta and smiled, "Vegeta..." He didn't know how to explain this to him. The prince allowed one eyebrow to raise, though he didn't say anything else. "Vegeta," Goku informed, his eyes glittering with something akin to mischief, "You're a Super Saijin." Vegeta merely stared for a moment, his eyes drilling deep into Goku as if to see if he was lying or not. And then he closed his eyes, gathering his energy, as if to prove the third-class wrong.

An explosion of ki erupted throughout the prince, Vegeta himself surprised. When he had first transformed, the raw surge hadn't been noticed over the extreme emotional adrenaline rush. The room glowed golden at his presence, the water hissing, announcing its evaporation when the aura had suddenly flickered to life. Vegeta stared in awe as the energy tingled him, coursing through every fiber of his being. "My god..." he breathed, looking at his hands as he flexed them. It felt..too amazing for words!

A shimmer underwater refocused his attention, and he brought up his tail which proudly modeled for fur spun of pure gold. The dim light danced across the strands, and he grasped a hold of his own locks, pulling them down in front of his face to see the new color for himself. He laughed lightly, "I'm a Super Saijin." A more joyous cry erupted from him, "I'm a Super Saijin!" He flexed his ki, letting it increase, "I AM A SUPER SAIJIN!" His throat rumbled rapidly with an enthusiastic purr, "Kakkarot, I'm a Super Saijin!"

The black-haired man chuckled at the prince, "Yes, Vegeta, you are."

Vegeta finally settled down somewhat, still staring at his golden tail, "I would have never...I mean, I had certain potentials, but never would have, a Super Saijin! Father would be so proud..." Vegeta smiled weakly, embarrassment coming over him when he realized he was acting rather childish.

"I'm proud of you," Goku suddenly declared, a warm smile on his face, his mind trying to stay on target. He knew how important this moment was, but he couldn't help but thinking how wonderful it would be to have a tail softly caressing his thighs, golden fuzz moving upwards, closer and closer...

"You..are?" the prince questioned, his tail fluffing for a second as Vegeta stretched it.

Goku's eyes could barely keep themselves away from the appendage, "Yes, of course. You've accomplished many great things, Vegeta. Not to mention the many horrific things you've overcome. I don't see anything to not be proud of.."

The prince seemed to ponder this for a moment before replying, "I suppose so, Kakkarot, but I think you neglect the fact that I too did many horrific things."

Goku's smile faded into a more solemn expression, "Vegeta, didn't you once tell me that Frieza made you who you were?" He was careful in saying "were" and not "are".

Vegeta's eyes darkened, his eyebrows drawing together as he tipped his head downwards. As he spoke, his eyes did not leave Goku's, "In essence, he made me do what he wanted me to do, but that does not mean I didn't enjoy it in the meantime. Just because I had to accept the fact that I was weaker doesn't mean that I didn't delight in causing pain."

Goku closed his eyes, breaking free of the brunette's odd gaze, "Vegeta...It doesn't matter. What matters to me is you, not your previous actions. All that was such a long time ago, Vegeta.."

The prince scoffed, "Well, that's a pretty dangerous move considering, Kakkarot. Times have changed, but I have not."

It was Goku's turn to scoff, "You kid yourself."

Vegeta gave time to let that thought simmer, "You do as well."

Goku nodded and shrugged, "I suppose I do. But at least I do it about all the right things." Vegeta released a half-sigh half-growl, looking at the wall. They sat in uncomfortable silence. "Uh..I think we better get out," Goku spoke up, chuckling, "You know, before we turn into prunes." Vegeta gave a small nod, climbing out and flinging his tail to remove most of the water, dropping his Super Saijin form at the same time. Goku disappeared for a moment, returning with two towels. Vegeta quickly dried himself and Goku followed suit, taking the damp towel from the prince once he was finished.

They stepped out into the main room, Goku dropping his shorts and kicking them away. He grabbed his pants and quickly pulled them on, glancing over at Vegeta. What he saw he didn't expect; he expected to see Vegeta looking off, waiting - but instead he saw a nice view of the prince's back-side. Eyes took it in as a whole before looking down at the feet, slowly following the curves of the ankles, then the legs, up the thighs, all the way to...

'What am I doing!?' Goku blinked hard, trying to tell himself to stop, but something caught his interest. The tail swung slowly back and forth. He followed it up from the tip to the base, then followed the indent of the spine to the neck and then the hair. His gaze refocused when Vegeta promptly bent over to pick up his clothes.

'Oh god,' Goku felt his head spin and his stomach muscles clench insanely hard. The butterflies in his stomach tickled him mercilessly as an odd, nervous smile broke out across his face, and he turned a bright shade of red. He swore he was going to either pass out or vomit, or both, though in what order he wasn't sure. Vegeta stoically dressed, but it wasn't fast-paced or abrupt - it seemed that the prince's mind was focusing on other thoughts besides getting clothes on.

Goku quickly pulled his on however, trying his best to distract himself as well. Soon, but not soon enough for Goku, the prince finished dressing and regarded the black-haired man. "It's getting late," the prince mentioned, "You ought to go home."

Goku gave a sort of forced smile, "I guess you're right..." His smile altered into a real one, "But only if you accompany me the way there." The brunette looked at him in a mixture of confusion and skepticism before giving a small nod. Goku's smile widened, and placing his hand on Vegeta's shoulder, they were instantly outside. The two Saijins took off into the sky, the sun falling towards the horizon, bringing about twilight slowly, gradually. The rays cast themselves upon the clouds, splattering brilliant hues of gold into the sky. Goku flew higher, and naturally, Vegeta followed.

"What are you doing?" the prince called through the mass of water vapor.

Goku did all sorts of flips and spins, giving out a laugh, "C'mon, Vegeta! Loosen up a bit!" The brunette said nothing, merely following the younger Saijin, but not in the same manner. They burst through the edge of the cloud, and Goku slowed down to let Vegeta catch up. "Lord.." Goku paused, closing his eyes and inhaling deeply. As the fresh, cool air invaded his lungs, it sent a sensation down his back, and in return, a shiver ran up his spine.

"Are you okay?" Vegeta asked, sounding not at all worried, but more curious.

"I just..." Goku began, his eyes opening. He looked at Vegeta and smiled warmly - happily. He stared at the prince, his smile growing wider, joy pumping from his heart and down through his veins, "I'm just so...happy, and everything just looks..." He glanced around at the shimmering sky in approval before looking back at Vegeta, "It's all just so beautiful." He whispered now, hoping he wasn't blushing.

"It does look..." Vegeta trailed off, searching for the word he'd like to use, "...nice."

Goku twirled around, giving out a short laugh, "I feel so alive!" He flew up in an arc, and then dropped his ki, letting himself fall through the clouds, wind curving around his body, hair wild, clothes flapping, flowing. He could sense Vegeta following him as he neared the earth. 'Catch me,' Goku whispered in his mind, begging silently, 'Catch me, Vegeta. Don't let me fall.' His heart pounded in his chest, rapidly, excitedly. He knew if Vegeta did not catch him, he would fall, and he would die. Still, it was thrilling in a fun sort of way. It was a buzz, a joyous one. He felt so alive now, that death didn't even bother him. 'Catch me,' he thought again, smiling.

The prince, at first, thought it was another strange game that the black-haired Saijin wished to play, but soon enough there was only a few hundred feet to go, and Goku was making no indication that he was going to move. Still, Vegeta had no doubt that the man would, yet he followed. They neared the ground - the rolling plains of green grass. 'Catch me,' Goku whispered again, having no idea how high or low he was in the air. The ground was almost upon them, Vegeta still in tow.

A voice whispered in the back of the brunette's mind, 'Catch me.' He didn't question the request, but instead he instantly reacted. His body burst into a golden shower as he dove faster, carefully and swiftly hooking his arms around the taller man's body. They slowed to a halt, Vegeta laying the man down on the green grass, the golden aura disappearing. Rolling plains encompassed them in every direction, to every horizon. They were alone. Goku's eyes opened, his smile never once fading in the slightest, "You caught me." His breath was nearly gone, however, and his voice was soft.

Vegeta furrowed his eyebrows and looked away. Something about the situation seemed a bit odd, and Vegeta wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Goku sighed, stretching his body, spreading himself out across the grass. "Vegeta?" Goku quietly asked, "When I go home, where will you go?"

The prince sighed silently and replied flatly, "I don't know." Goku closed his eyes, wallowing in the perfection of the moment. Just being there without a care. Just lying down. Just being with Vegeta. "It's getting dark, Kakkarot," Vegeta mentioned, his gaze moving down to the prone man.

Goku sighed, sitting up and stretching, sadly agreeing, "Yeah..." He leapt into the air easily and they continued on their way, minus Goku's previous bubbling attitude. He seemed quiet, almost solemn now, and this made Vegeta wonder just a bit.

"Are you sure you're feeling alright?" the prince asked nonchalantly.

Goku looked at him and a smile came to his face, "Just fine." Yes, every time he was around Vegeta he was fine. He was better than fine. He was happy. The smile widened, becoming perfectly genuine, nothing forced behind it at all. Vegeta gave a nervous little smile in response before focusing his attention on the direction they were heading in.

The gold had faded into orange and red, and farther from the western horizon it bled to purple, and then navy which was becoming the night sky. Both Saijins landed on the doorstep of Goku's small secluded home. "Thanks for joining me, Vegeta," Goku said, his smile content as he gazed at the brunette. Vegeta gave a small nod in response. They stood for a few moments, just staring at each other, Vegeta's tail swinging in an extremely slow fashion. 'My god, he's so handsome,' Goku thought, his entire body growing warm. He hoped his cheeks weren't blushing as he thought, 'I just want to..God, I just want to kiss him right now...'

He shifted, ready to take a step toward Vegeta when the older man turned, "Well...I'll see you..around, Kakkarot." Goku wished for a fleeting instant to just grab Vegeta by the wrist. He wanted so badly to pull that small compact body against his own and hold it close. He just desired to press his mouth against those forbidden lips and forget all the consequences. He wanted to show every amazing emotion he felt in a single soft kiss goodnight. He wanted Vegeta to pull back and whisper, "Kakkarot..." He wanted....


Goku's eyes fluttered as he came out of his daydream, "Huh? What?"

Vegeta's voice was firm, but full of confusion, "Is there something you need? Because if not, I'd like for you to release me now." Goku looked down to see his hand encircling the smaller wrist.

He knew that his face had, for certain, changed colors this time, and he let go of the prince while speaking, "Uh...I wanted to say that I'd like to see you tomorrow..if that's alright.."

Vegeta nodded, saying quietly, "Okay." Awkward silence. Nothing more to say, but hundreds of thousands unspoken words.

"Good night, Vegeta," Goku finally said, trying to sound as comforting as possible, though he didn't understand why he wanted to sound so..sweet.

"'Night, Kakkarot," Vegeta replied, holding his hand up in a parting gesture before he took off into the sky.

The taller Saijin watched him go, and stared off in the general direction for a few moments after he was gone from sight. He then sighed, feeling suddenly very tired as he opened the door and stepped inside. "Goku! Where have you been all day!" Chi-chi ran over to her husband, "Krillin said there was an awful fight with some Cell character and at the end of it all you just left with Vegeta! You could have at least said where you were going instead of running off like you always do!"

Goku sighed again, rubbing his temples, "Chi-chi...I swear there are just some things you won't understand, and I am one of those things."

She placed her hands on her hips, giving him "the look", "Oh no, mister! Don't try to pull this off as some sort of Saijin thing or another because I-"

He interrupted her for the first time either of them could recall, "It's not a Saijin thing! Chi-chi...! You don't even know half of the story."

She frowned and let her arms come up to her chest and fold. Her face was serious, but not stern, "Alright then. Explain." Goku's gaze moved upward until their eyes met. Something was gone from this moment - something Goku couldn't directly place. It just didn't feel the same, and somehow he knew it would never be that way again.

"Vegeta's my friend, and I'm Vegeta's friend," he stated strongly, "And I'm possibly his only friend. Ever. Vegeta has had many..bad things happen to him in his life, and for this he hasn't..made the best decisions. He almost lost it today, and I personally cannot blame him."

His wife turned it over in her mind a few times, "Well, I don't understand why he can't deal with his issues like a normal person. It sounds like a personal problem to me." Goku blinked hard as if he wasn't able to fathom the idea that Chi-chi's words produced.

Finally, his voice found him and his thoughts were vocalized, "Chi-chi..that's absolutely correct. You don't understand-" She opened her mouth to speak, but Goku put up his hand, silencing her.

He continued, "-and I believe it's because of your sheltered life. Let's pretend for a minute, shall we? Try to fathom Earth getting blown up and you're the sole survivor. Just try to imagine everyone dying and you being sent off to work for a maniac who assigns you to missions where you kill off entire races of people. Then, all your hopes and dreams are crushed right before your very eyes. You lose everything, and no one is willing to lend a hand. No one cares, and so, you learn not to care. Well, eventually someone does care, and you don't understand why, so you hate them. You hate them because they make you happy. You actually believe you hate someone, and it's because they make you happy..Now, if all that happened to you, where do you think you'd be?"

Chi-chi made several attempts to speak, but Goku decided to go on. "Chi-chi...look, that's not even the whole story, but do you sort of know what I'm getting at now?" he asked, wanting nothing more than to go to bed and get some sleep. She closed her mouth, sighed, and shook her head. Some how he found this rather predictable. It'd take a miracle for his wife to understand a single word he said. ...And people called him simple-minded... "I'm really tired," Goku stated flatly, "I'm going to bed." He turned around, not waiting for a response, and went to the bedroom. He didn't bother switching his clothes, he merely fell onto the mattress with a deep sigh, and, almost immediately, he was out.


Vegeta had been flying aimlessly, trying to decide where he would go. He had stopped by to pick up his things, and then made his way back towards civilization. He was currently debating his situation on where he would stay. He had no money and no form of identification, and so he couldn't rent a hotel room. He doubted anyone would take a stranger in at random, and anyone who did was likely to want something in return. He hated being in debt.

Inhaling deeply, he let out a sigh and closed his eyes to try to clear his mind. He opened his eyes and maneuvered himself so that he viewed the world upside down. Things just looked so much more interesting upside down rather than right side up.

His gaze focused on the night sky, the tiny dots of light in the vast darkness, some twinkling, some not. He thought about how just now, some light was reaching the Earth, and that the star he looked at now, might not even exist anymore. A ghost, visible, but nothing more. Perhaps he could even see Namek still, and perhaps maybe sometime astronomers would be able to watch its death - sometime in the distant future, when he himself would be dead. He shook his head, closing his eyes again, 'What am I doing?'

He felt queasy. It was as if the day had put a damper on the events of the previous. How long had he slept? How much had he slept? He couldn't remember. One way or the other, he knew he was exhausted. Senzu beans may heal you, but they didn't exactly give you a stamina boost.

He watched the constellations as he flew, as if expecting something to happen. Then suddenly, a large portion of the sky instantly blotted out. He realized he was below something. Curious, he moved upward to see where exactly he was.

He finally floated above a ledge, soft light spilling out into the night. He blinked, eyes instantly adjusting.

A quiet, but deep voice spoke through the shadows, "Hello, Vegeta." The prince blinked again, not moving, not really thinking or feeling anything. "Do you normally fly upside down?" the gruff voice continued with no hostility at all present. The tone sounded rather..respectful.

"No," Vegeta merely replied, turning himself around and landing on the tiled flooring. He gave a quick glance over his current surroundings, recognizing it with only a few moments time.

"So where are you headed to?" Piccolo asked, not moving from his meditating position.

"Why do you ask?" Vegeta replied shortly, tail twitching with mixed signals.

"No ill intentions," Piccolo answered honestly, "but I'm aware you don't have shelter at the moment. I was curious, if you dare call it that."

Vegeta examined him for at least a minute, "Are you..attempting to look out for"

Piccolo smirked, one eye opening to regard the Saijin prince, "Perhaps. What would you say if I was?" Vegeta picked up on the playfulness in the voice, his tail starting to swing rather than just twitch - he was skeptical, but relaxing.

"I'd probably ask why," the brunette said with honesty. Piccolo paused before letting his legs unfold from their indian style position, moving so his feet touched the ground.

"I'll take your belongings and show you to your room," the Namek spoke almost as if it was a statement.

As Vegeta had said he would, he asked, "Why?"

Piccolo smirked again, arms folding, "You really want to know why?" Vegeta's tail stopped its motions and slowly curled around his waist. He wasn't going to trust the Namek easily, but that was predicted. Piccolo almost chuckled at his actions, but decided against it, "Because I know you on a type of level I don't think anyone else around here can relate to. I was like how you were once were." Vegeta's gaze moved into the depths of Piccolo's eyes, not challenging, but searching, scrutinizing.

His voice was nearly a whisper when he spoke, "You enjoy killing?"

Piccolo gave a small nod, "I did; yes."

Vegeta huffed slightly, clutching his items a bit more, his tail visibly tightening around his waist. It took him a moment to respond, "I still do."

Piccolo's smirk faded to a supportive smile. "That's okay," the Namek said, "I still understand." Green arms extended outward, palms up, "Now if I may take your belongings..?" Vegeta wasn't too sure why, but he handed the small pile to the taller man.

Piccolo turned, cape billowing in the sudden movement, and led him inside the lookout. Vegeta's tail uncurled, swinging behind him once more. A question burned in his mind and he finally gave up and asked it, "Don't you hate me?"

Piccolo abruptly turned to him, "Why would I?"

Vegeta looked up into the black eyes of the Namek again. His eyes moved a bit from side to side - searching the depths in confusion, "I don't understand."

Piccolo gave a small nod, "I didn't expect you to." He motioned for him to follow him again, and five doors down from where they stood was where Piccolo said he'd be staying.

"Piccolo," Vegeta addressed him by his name, "I...would you....." He looked down, as if trying to figure out exactly what he wanted to say, if anything at all.

"Yes, Vegeta?" the elder questioned, waiting patiently.

Vegeta growled lowly towards himself, not able to look at the Namek as he spoke, "I' for you to stay in my company for awhile so we may discuss some points of..interest." Silence came about the peaceful lookout, and the prince prepared to close the door when Piccolo spoke.

"I'd be more than happy to keep you company," the Namek stated, stepping inside stoically and standing to one side of the room, light provided by a variety of candles. Vegeta blinked and silently closed the door, realizing that Piccolo had said "more than happy" in reference to being around him. It was odd because the prince realized how often Piccolo was "happy". Yes, the Namek was content, but not exceedingly "happy". Of course, neither was he. "What would you like to talk about?" Piccolo asked as soon as Vegeta began to settle in.

"I..." Vegeta paused to think about that. He felt like there was something he should talk about, but wasn't exactly sure what. If all else fails, start at the beginning, "Why don't you hate me?" Piccolo's expression almost seemed..soft, but it held the normal gravity it always had. When you're three people in one, it does that sort of thing to you.

"There is no reason to," Piccolo replied, "You have not done anything specifically towards me, and you do not purposely attempt personal attacks. You have played a key role in many fights, and are worthy of recognition. You have proved thus when you destroyed Cell." It was quite an amazing thing and Piccolo was still trying to register the fact completely. Vegeta thought this over as he took a seat on the edge of the bed.

"But you disregard the other factors," the prince said bluntly, lacking emotion.

"Such as?" was the cocky response.

"Such as what occurred between all that," Vegeta said, his eyes meeting the taller man's again, "Such as me coming to Earth and trying to blow it up. Such as..on Kakkarot's birthday..." His voice got slightly quieter when he spoke of that particular incident, and Piccolo, with his superb hearing, was able to catch it easily. The Namek resisted the urge to say: "There's nothing to be ashamed of." He didn't need to treat Vegeta like a small child; that would not go over well at all.

"It's all understandable given the circumstances," Piccolo opted to say, his face relaxing a tiny bit more.

"That's what you believe?" Vegeta said, pulling his feet up and taking off his shoes.

"That's what I believe," Piccolo said with a nod, shifting his weight. Vegeta said nothing, merely pulling his shirt off and placing it next to his shoes on the floor. It didn't appear that he wished to take anything else off, and his tail twitched against the smooth sheets.

Piccolo wished to keep the brunette talking, but wasn't sure what to say. As he examined the prince, he found himself curious, "Where'd you get your scars?"

Vegeta frowned, staring fixedly on some area of the wall. A slight pause ensued before he spoke, "I don't want to talk about it." Silence filled the room, Piccolo looking sympathetically at the younger man. Then abruptly, the prince spat out, "From a rayh-tenk." Of course, Piccolo had no idea what that meant. Vegeta knew this and continued, "The closest translation would be..a hate crime. Except out there hate crime is organized and not so sporadic and maintained as it is on Earth."

Slight confusion set in on the Namek and he softly asked, "Why would you be involved in a hate crime?"

Cold, bitter laughter echoed throughout the room as Vegeta heard Piccolo's response. "I am Saijin, and that is reason enough," Vegeta said calmly.

"How old were you?" Piccolo asked, his voice no longer cautious, but serious.

"What?" the prince almost didn't believe he was being asked this question.

"I said: How old were you?" Piccolo repeated, his voice growing calmer again.

Vegeta breathed for a moment, staring at the wall again. He forced himself to remember, "Nine."

Piccolo grit his teeth together, thinking, 'Shit.' Vegeta continued to stare, his eyes not blinking, his tail twitching. "You should stop dragging yourself down," the Namek pointed out, walking slowly towards the brunette.

Vegeta turned and acknowledged him, "I..."

Piccolo shook his head and carefully took a seat next to Vegeta, keeping a comfortable amount of distance between them, "You don't give yourself enough credit, but hell...I can't make you feel good about yourself."

Vegeta's gaze lowered to the floor, "I don't wish to speak of this."

Piccolo folded his arms smugly, "Alright then, let's talk about..Kakkarot."

The fact Piccolo said the Saijin name instantly caught Vegeta's interest. "What about him?" the prince asked almost..defensively? Piccolo wasn't sure what emotions the shorter man was feeling.

"Well, he's your best friend," Piccolo stated matter-of-factly.

Vegeta's tail fluffed, "..Perhaps."

The Namek released a small, hearty laugh, "It's just like you two to both be in denial!"

The hairs on his tail puffed even more if it was possible, "What do you mean?"

Piccolo gave him a warm smirk, shaking his head, "Nothing. It's just that Goku truly believed you hated him at one point, and he was quite upset because of his strong feelings for you. I think it's amusing how you are wary of calling him your friend even though you've already admitted your feelings."

Vegeta's tail finally smoothed itself out as the prince narrowed his eyes at the Namek, "I didn't say he wasn't, I just said perhaps."

Piccolo gave a smirk as he chuckled, "That is almost pathetic. What are you so afraid of that you can't call him friend?"

Vegeta sighed silently, closing his eyes to think it over, "..because, you don't know."

"Don't know?"

"What it's like," the younger man growled out.

Piccolo let it go and paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. "Look," he said, "I've known Goku-- I've known 'Kakkarot' for a long time now. He is a very passionate and caring person, and, yes, he is friendly and kind to everyone, but when he speaks about you it's different. He has friends - good friends - like Krillin and Yamcha, but he has visited you more often in the past month than any of them in the past few years. All I'm saying is that you aren't just another friend in his book - you're someone very special to him, and it's completely obvious."


"Why do you keep calling him Kakkarot?" Vegeta finally asked.

"Because I know how you hate it when people call him Goku," Piccolo replied, giving a smile, "I thought you'd like that. Think it respectful or something of the like."

The brunette gave a nod, "..I do."

Piccolo smirked to himself, "Hn... Sleep well, Vegeta. If you need anything you know where to find me."

Vegeta merely watched the Namek go, blowing out the candles in the room for the Saijin.

He lied down on the bed, sensing sleep a bit of ways off. How could he be so tired yet not so tired? It was aggravating. All he wanted to do was sleep so he forget about all this. He wanted to forget about Kakkarot's birthday, forget about killing Cell, and most definitely forget about Kakkarot and his damn "friendship"...


Goku awoke in the middle of the night when a cool breeze swept over him. Sitting up, he noticed that the window was open, and carefully getting up (as to not awaken Chi-chi) he stepped towards it to close it. As he took hold of one side of the window he noticed a shimmer in the distance. Curiosity getting the best of him and he casually, silently, leapt out the window to see what it was.

He waited, and again there was a slight glimmer. It came and went, flowing smoothly. With eyebrows knit together he began to approach the tree line where it emitted from, his feet tingling with the sensation of fresh dew against his skin. Closer and closer he came to the shine, and finally he was within reach. It flickered, golden, and his hand grasped it. A hiss was heard from the shadows, followed by a growl, "Let go of my tail now."

Goku instantly opened his fist, "Vegeta? What are you doing out here?"

The Super Saijin stepped out into view, "I couldn't sleep."

A sly grin came to Goku's face, "So you woke me up?" Vegeta made a face and if Goku didn't know any better, he'd say it looked like the brunette was pouting. "Hey, it's alright," Goku said, smiling warmly, "What would you like to go do?"

Vegeta shrugged, putting his hands in his pockets, "Nothing's open this late at night."

Goku looked up in thought while giving a small nod, "Yeah, that's true...Hey! I know!" Placing his hand on Vegeta's shoulder they phased out to reappear in a large open field.

Vegeta looked around at their surrounding in little interest. Goku suddenly smacked his shoulder. "Kakkarot!" Vegeta gaped in surprise, his throat growling lightly, "What was that for!?"

Goku burst out laughing, jumping back a few feet, "TAG! You're it!" Vegeta blinked in surprise before leaping after the black-haired man who he easily tagged. Goku nearly hit himself when he realized why Vegeta had such a great advantage. With minimal effort, he powered up.

"No techniques!" Vegeta instantly shouted out, intent on winning this by skill alone.

Goku chuckled while chasing after the older man, "Fine by me!" They flew around the park at top speed, weaving in and out of trees and playground equipment. He was about to catch the prince when he took an abrupt vertical ascent through the monkey bars. "Clever!" Goku shouted out his compliment, following after Vegeta, intent on tagging him. When the prince hesitated for the slightest of moments, Goku quickly slapped him across the calf before taking off in the opposite direction. Vegeta yelled out a curse word and spun around to chase the renegade Saijin.

They dove and swerved around the swings, the chains rattling in their presence. They zipped through the tunnels and Vegeta was still in hot pursuit. He trailed the younger Saijin down the covered slide and his eyes widened when he saw Goku waiting for him, a grin on his face. Unable to stop in time, Vegeta crashed right into Goku's stomach, sending them both reeling past the playground a good twenty feet or so. Tumbling around in shock, the prince started to snap out of it a moment later, realizing Goku's weight was pressed against him.

Sighing, the prince looked up to see Goku giving him a big grin. "Why the hell did you-" Vegeta began to ask when Goku suddenly attacked his sides with deft fingers. Vegeta cried out in surprise before tossing his head, struggling. "No! Stop it! Kakkarot, I mean it!" the voice was losing all gravity, sinking quickly into small gasps for air. Goku grinned like a mad man, laughing as he let his fingers dance across the hardened stomach. Vegeta wasn't able to hold back any longer, and the laughter came from his throat, rich and warm. In response, Goku's throat rumbled with a purr, even though in between gasps Vegeta was giving him death threats.

After Vegeta proclaimed that he was unable to breathe, however, Goku stopped his assault and let the prince rest. It took a moment, but Vegeta was able to catch his breath, his black eyes opening to look up into Goku's which were equally dark.

Goku acted upon pure emotion - his head dipped down, swiftly catching Vegeta's lips in a tender kiss. The older man gasped, and when Goku pulled back, the prince whispered, "Kakkarot..." Fingers caught the hem of Vegeta's shirt and pulled it up, hands roaming across the same muscles he tickled a moment before. Vegeta's head tipped back, a purr emitting into the air as he was lightly caressed. Goku purred in response as he leaned over, lightly biting at Vegeta's ear.

Goku then felt a small pressure against his body and he looked to see Vegeta's golden tail lightly trail over his clothed legs. Softly the golden tail swept, crossing his thighs in small circles, teasing his hips and waist before returning to his legs. Goku felt his muscles clench, his entire being trembling at the sweet sensations as the tail flicked across his inner thighs, slowly working its way upward.

Goku's breathing faltered, and he whispered, "Vegeta..." The tail brushed up and against the crotch of his pants, applying pressure and swirling. Goku sat for a moment, unable to do anything more than writhe in the beautiful pleasure his prince granted him.

The said prince nipped at his earlobe and whispered back, "Goku..." The younger man's eyebrows knit together in confusion. Vegeta never called him Goku...

"Goku, wake up already!" Chi-chi hollered, shaking him roughly.

Goku released a small moan, lifting his face from the pillows, muttering in a voice barely above a whisper, "Vegeta...?" Still disoriented, he tried to blink away the grogginess as his wife hit him over the head with a pillow.

"Wake up! It's going on noon!" she declared, tossing the pillow away and storming out of the room. Goku took a deep breath and sat up, his arousal obvious in his loose gi.

"Shit," he whispered, eyes widening, face flushing deep red. He growled at himself, angry that he'd dream about Vegeta in such a way. A voice in the back of his head taunted, 'Oh come were trying hard not to dream that while you were awake, how could you not dream it while you were asleep?' He glared down at himself before hissing, "Go away." His body didn't listen. His eyebrows narrowed and he sighed. 'Geez, this is just like me to go home and have a wet dream about him while he's forced to go find some place to spend the night,' Goku fumed, shifting uncomfortably. Suddenly, the rational portion of his brain caught up with his thoughts, 'Wait..That's it!'

Chi-chi heard a thunder of footsteps racing down the hallway and she turned in enough time to see Goku throwing on a jacket. "Wait! Where are you going?" she called out, exasperated.

"Oh! Yeah! That's right!" Goku said, her words triggering his memory on a completely different subject. He raced back over to the counter and picked up his wallet.

"You have a wallet?" Chi-chi asked, completely surprised by this fact.

"Uh huh! Gotta go! 'Have lots to do and little time to do it in!" he replied, jamming the wallet in his back pocket while opening the front door, "Bye!" The door shut and Chi-chi was left standing there, stunned.


The morning for the other Saijin was not as abrupt and undesired as Goku's, however. Vegeta awoke in the early hours, before sunrise, relieved that he what he had just witnessed was only a dream. And what a dream that was... It reminded him of the days he spent of Frieza's ship. He closed his eyes, rubbing his face briefly to wipe away the stiffness. He consciously noticed no light entering the room, so it was still before dawn, meaning he had plenty of time to sleep some more. He was wary however, that if he fell asleep now that he'd dream about things similar to what he had just moments before. His eyes looked up at the ceiling even though he couldn't see it through the pitch black.

He could nearly feel the rough, large hands pinning him to the icy metal ground, could almost absorb the lust filled sounds which escaped the breath of his captors so long ago. Almost hesitantly, he wrapped his arms around himself as he felt his jaw clenching harder and harder till it began to hurt. The worst thing about it was that the dream - the nightmare - was worse than the reality. It wasn't fair. He didn't want to even think about it anymore, and here it was, invading his subconscious mind. Not fucking fair. He shivered and his nails dug into his sides, his eyes closing tight. 'God, I'm afraid,' he realized, suddenly feeling sick. He swiftly rolled over and buried his face in the pillow, 'No! I will not be so weak! It's only a dream, it cannot hurt me! I'm acting like a goddamn moron!'

The silence of the room was deafening as Vegeta tried desperately to make his mind think of something else. Anything other than the old memories of long ago. He had nothing to block this out with, and he suddenly wished that he was at Capsule Corp.

Vegeta sat up, tossing off the covers as he made a decision. He fumbled around for a moment before he found his shirt and shoes; and after putting them on, he carefully made his way towards the door. Once outside, he lifted into the air till he was past the lookout, then took an easy decline. He knew he probably shouldn't be doing what he had in mind, but in this case, he saw no other option.

After a few minutes, he landed, and with a deep breath, he opened the door in front of him. The convenience store was exactly how it should of been for early morning - dead. No one was there except for the clerk, who sat reading a magazine. An eight inch, black and white television was on in the background. "Can I help you?" asked the young man. Vegeta stopped and looked at him, which was enough for the guy to turn his attention elsewhere.

The Saijin stepped toward the coolers in the back, almost regretting what he was about to do. With ease he picked up a few cases of beer, as liquor was not to be sold. He strolled nonchalantly towards the door when the clerk stood up. "Hey! You have to pay for that!" the guy said, though he looked extremely nervous. Vegeta stared for a moment, then smirked. Slowly he uncoiled his tail and waved it in the air for the clerk to see. The man swallowed, nearly shaking, "W-Who..? W-What are you?"

Vegeta chuckled smoothly, darkly, "My name is Vegeta."

The guy looked at him with an expression of a kicked puppy, "A-Are you going to kill me?"

Vegeta laughed this time. Oh, sometimes he really did miss seeing the fear in other people's eyes - fear that he implemented.

"No," Vegeta said, his right hand moving out and pushing the door open, the other holding the cases up with no difficulty, "I'm simply going to leave." He stepped outside saying, "Have a nice night."

The clerk fell back into his chair with a sigh, "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"

The minutes passed by quickly and in no time Vegeta returned to the lookout. He set down the cases in his room and instantly pulled out a can, sighing as he opened it. He gulped down the beverage easily, wondering when was the last time he had touched alcohol. It was....Kakkarot's birthday. He drank like a man who hadn't had a drink in days, and the only thing available was beer.

His hand found another can and he opened it as he began to reminisce. He remembered how he drank everything in the house before moving on to..other options. He placed an empty can down and reached for another in the case. He had been surprised when Kakkarot stopped him - amazed that someone would show him that type of concern. His hand set down another empty can. He was grateful now that Kakkarot had stopped him...that blue gunk was awful! Too..gross... He chuckled bitterly, picking up another can.

For some reason he couldn't blame Zarbon for acting the way he did, but he did cross the line on almost every occasion. Insult his abilities as a warrior, but never insult his personal life. His past was not something that anybody really knew about, except for the basic jist. Zarbon, himself, and Kakkarot were the only ones who knew now... His hand searched for another can as he tossed the used one away.

God... Kakkarot knew! ...It was almost embarrassing. To know how weak he had been. What a humiliation... But he was a Super Saijin! That aspiration had previously been violently crushed once he found out that Kakkarot had become the warrior of legend. Never before had he heard of multiple Super Saijins, especially within the same millennium! It was amazing, truly... His hand set down a can. Amazing, really... Staring out into space, can after can began to accumulate around him.


Piccolo had been in a semi-conscious state when echoes of laughter pulled him from his tranquil position. His ear twitched in the direction of the noise, and he forced himself to take on a standing pose as he tried to make out what was going on around him. He heard the laughter again, coming from the middle of the lookout. It was Vegeta's laughter, unmistakably. With curiosity getting the best of him, he walked towards the source, noting that Vegeta was not in the room he had given him. He was a few doors back - in the bath.

'What is that Saijin doing?' Piccolo wondered to himself, giving a small knock on the door that went unnoticed. "Vegeta?" he called out, but only laughter was his response. With a breath, he turned the knob on the door and pushed, peeking his head inside the doorway, "What are you-" He abruptly halted his question as his eyes laid upon Vegeta in the bathtub.

The prince looked over at him and gave a wave, "Hey there!" Vegeta switched positions, still waving happily.

"What is that smell?" Piccolo finally asked. Stepping towards the smaller man, his eyes noted the large amount of empty beer cans.

"After I drank a c-c-case," Vegeta chuckled as he began to explain, "I got the best idea!" Piccolo froze in his footsteps, watching Vegeta slip and fall into the tub ungracefully. The tail jutted in the air, whipping around wildly in shock before the prince pulled himself back up.

"You didn't," the Namek said, shaking his head. He didn't especially want to deal with a drunken Saijin at the moment, but it appeared that his wishes would not be granted.

Vegeta raised an eyebrow innocently, "Do what?"

He stepped forward and confirmed his suspicions, gazing unhappily down at the prince and the tub. Vegeta chuckled again and leaned back, his tail flopping around, splashing the Namek. Piccolo let his eye ridges narrow as he tried his best not to get upset. "How much time did you waste?" Piccolo asked bluntly, "Putting all those cans in to fill the tub.."

Vegeta looked up in thought, his tail circling in the liquid like a shark, "Hm...I don't know, I had to stop once and get some more cases."

Piccolo shook his head slightly, taking a seat on the edge of the tub. 'He just didn't decide to get drunk for no reason,' the Namek thought to himself, careful not to let Vegeta splash him. "So why did you start drinking?" Piccolo asked, drawing his cape closer to himself.

"Why?" the brunette asked, his expression falling to somber, "Because I couldn't stop thinking"

Piccolo raised an eye ridge, pressing him on further, "What couldn't you stop thinking about?"

Vegeta's tail curled tightly as he switched positions - hunching in the back of the tub, "You How-How-How I' know, I'm just not a warrior. I'm just not cracked up to be a Super Saijin... 'Thinking about how I couldn't" The last part was barely above a whisper.

The Namek felt a growing nervousness pitting itself in his stomach, "Stop it?"

Vegeta shook his head a few times before plainly looking down, shameful tears coming to his eyes, "I was...I am still...I think I will always, always be...too weak... It's paTHETIC! I'M - that's me and no one else - IIII'M..the Prince of Saijins, and IIII can't even stop people from..from.. taking...'taking advantage' of me...oh no, no, no. I can't do it...I'm dependent because I'm weak..."

Piccolo looked down at the Saijin, concern and worry radiating from his gaze, "It's over now, they can't hurt you..."

Vegeta sniffed, his tail wrapping around his waist, "They'll come back, sometime... It always comes back in the end..."

Piccolo leaned down, speaking softly, "You don't have to face it alone." The brunette let his eyes meet the Namek's.

Suddenly, he leapt forward, leaning against the edge of the tub, "Kakkarot! ..Kakkarot....he...." Vegeta trailed off, letting silent sobs overtake him. Piccolo cursed himself for forcing this upon the prince, but sometimes it was better that one dealt with unresolved issues.

Hesitantly, the green-skinned man reached forward to lightly rub at Vegeta's back. Then, he thought better of it, "Hey, it's okay now. Let's get you out of that tub so you can take a shower, and get cleaned up, ok?" Vegeta merely slumped, having lost all will to move voluntarily. Piccolo carefully picked him up.

"Kakkarot..!" Vegeta wailed, "Does he...he hate me too...?" Piccolo glanced at his face, wondering if Vegeta was always a melancholy drunk, or whether this was an exception.

He wrapped the brunette in a towel before lifting him up, "No, Kakkarot doesn't hate you. Kakkarot is your friend."

Vegeta echoed, "Friend..."

The trip to the showers was silent, and Piccolo set the Saijin down to turn on the hot water. As Piccolo reached for Vegeta, the prince spoke again, "Kakkarot...he really likes me?"

Piccolo nodded, "Yes, he really likes you." He removed the towel from the younger man.

The prince suddenly snapped at him, pushing him away, "God, NO! Don't hurt me!" Piccolo looked at him, confused. Vegeta grabbed the towel and wrapped it around his naked body. "Please...don't...don't touch me," he whispered, shivering, sobbing. "God, don't touch me, please.. I'm sorry, I'll do anything, just don't..." he called out, curling up into a ball.

'Shit..what happened to him?' Piccolo cursed mentally, kneeling next to the distraught brunette. "Hey, it's okay. I'm not going to hurt you. I was just going to get you into the shower so you can get clean," Piccolo explained.

Foggy, black eyes dared a hesitant look at the Namek, "I'm so tired..of fighting and losing..."

Piccolo again shook his head, "You just let your emotions get a hold of you, that's all."

Vegeta sniffed a few times, his eyes red and his expression strained, "I try to pretend like I don't feel."

Piccolo nodded in agreement, "I know."

Vegeta released an odd sound, like bitten-off laughter, "But the truth is..that I feel too much." He bowed his head in shame.

They sat in silence for a moment.

"Let's get you in the shower," Piccolo declared, wrapping his arms under the prince's shoulders and carrying him under the spray. He was rather surprised that the brunette let him do it, but he did seem quite out of it.

He let Vegeta lean against the wall as he prepared the soap and washcloth, praying the soapy smell would override the odor of alcohol. He rubbed the smaller man's back stoically, intent on getting the man clean and into bed where he could get much needed rest. Vegeta sighed and let go of the towel so that his tail could unwind from his waist.

Piccolo quickly lathered the prince's body up, obviously avoiding some areas. He was surprised at one fact however - the amount of scars Vegeta had across his body. Now that he thought about it, he'd only seen Vegeta wear body suits and t-shirt/slacks combos. No wonder.

He took the shampoo and began to wash the prince's hair. He was amazed when the spiky points had begun to collect together and finally fall flat. The prince looked much different with his hair down.

The pale-skinned warrior released a small noise that had the Namek curious. Hands lathered shampoo and ran through dark brown strands. Vegeta let out a breath, mumbling, "Nice..." A scalp massage was probably one of the better ways to calm down the Saijin prince.

"Okay," Piccolo said, letting the water rinse out the suds-filled hair, "Now all that's left is your stinking tail." A correct statement considering the appendage reeked of beer. The prince said nothing, merely letting the water rinse out his hair which cascaded down his back. Lathering his hands with shampoo again, Piccolo lightly caught the tail - knowing how painful it was to fully grasp it - and began to run his palms over it in an attempt to work in the soap.

Vegeta gasped and tossed his head back, eyes wide. Piccolo, worried that he had hurt the man, loosened his grip and stroked even lighter, but the prince still made a few choking noises before leaning against the nearest wall, his knees shaking. Panting, the prince rasped out, "Oh god...!" The Namek decided to stop, but the tail wound around his wrist snuggly.

"Are you okay??" Piccolo asked when the younger man whimpered. "Vegeta," Piccolo's voice held a stern statement, as if he was trying to gain the prince's attention. Another whimper and the tail began to run itself through Piccolo's fingers. Surprised, Piccolo allowed him to do as he wished, though the entire situation seemed a bit odd.

Vegeta's body suddenly tightened like a bow, his breaths coming in quiet little pants, "K...K........Kakkarot...!" Piccolo pulled back, acting almost instinctively as the brunette obviously thought he was someone else. The brown fuzz looked for his arm, but Piccolo stepped out of reach. Heavy-lidded eyes turned to question, the black orbs hazy with what Piccolo dared to call desire.

Raising an eye ridge in confusion, the look was quickly torn off of his face as another slapped him hard - shock. From shock it went immediately to embarrassment as Piccolo couldn't deny the erection the prince's body proudly stuck in the air. Acting wisely, Piccolo reached around the brunette and turned the spray from a nice steaming hot to a nice ice cold. Vegeta yelped, leapt out of the shower, grabbed a towel on the nearest rack, and wrapped it around himself.

'That was a little too uncomfortable for my tastes,' Piccolo thought to himself as he shut off the water, 'Let's just hope Vegeta doesn't remember that, otherwise I think he'll try to avoid me until the day one of us dies.' The prince, however, was too busy catching his breath to do much of anything else - especially in his drunken state.

Piccolo pointed his hand towards himself, and in a small flash, his clothes were returned to normal. Likewise, he outstretched his palm towards the brunette, giving him a set of clothes identical to the ones he was wearing previously. The prince blinked before dropping his towel, letting the Namek pick him up and carry him to his room.

After being put into the soft cushions. Vegeta spoke again, his voice low, almost husky, "Why would...Kakkarot touch my tail like that?" Piccolo sighed silently and shook his head, not answering the prince's question. Vegeta relaxed, his throat rumbling again with the same sound as before, only now Piccolo could recognize it: a purr. "So nice..." the prince whispered, his eyes closing, "So one has ever..touched me like..that...." Once it was evident that Vegeta had finally drifted off to sleep, Piccolo gave a deep sigh.

'Tomorrow is going to be a long day,' he thought, carefully and silently removing himself from the room. He returned to his normal meditating spot to review all that had occurred within the short period of time.

'Why did Vegeta react like that to me touching his tail? So all Saijins get aroused if you do that, or is he an exception to the rule? If touching a Saijin's tail is supposed to hurt but it felt good for him, what does that mean?' he pondered, 'And he mistook me for Goku. Perhaps that was wishful thinking, but what if it was just the alcohol talking?'

Deciding to let things be for the moment, Piccolo cast all questions to the side so he could relax. Besides, he also knew how Vegeta was likely to feel in the morning, or whenever it was when he'd wake up.

Part Ten: b | Back
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