Pandora's Box: Chapter 3
aka R&R

"You're burnin, yearnin for some/
Somebody to tell you/
That life ain't passing you by/
I'm trying to tell you/
It will if you don't even try/"

-Kenny Loggins "Footloose"

Trunks inhaled deeply as he stretched, his whole body tensing before falling limp again. He blinked a few times and smiled contently, 'Wow. I helped save the world.' It made him feel so happy and alive that he accomplished something as major as he did. Reassuring as well, to know that he'd fulfilled a lifetime of hopes. His mentor could rest in peace now.

With a sigh, he gathered himself up from the bed to go downstairs and eat breakfast. He pulled on his pants that he had removed so that he could sleep comfortably, and made his way down the hall. It had to be around ten in the morning, at least. He had slept well, though it was for the first time in a long time. He felt a bit comforted with all these nice, kind, sort-of-familiar people around. Well, not all of them were exactly nice and kind, but they were to him, and that partially counted. He barely knew them in truth, but he felt like he knew them forever. He'd never felt like that before.

The demi-Saijin figured he would leave for the future that evening, so that he'd have plenty of time to exercise his freedom before having to return to his duties. He also missed his mother a great deal, and he wanted to be able to assure her that he was okay. He put his hands in his pockets and strolled down the hallway when something caught his eye.

The door to one of the rooms was cracked open, and Trunks, being a sucker for curiosity, leaned over and took a peek inside. But the room was pitch black, and with a confused expression, he pushed open the door, felt around for the light switch, and flipped it on. A grumble of annoyance came from his father's form on the floor. "Turn off the fucking light," the prince moaned, flimsily pulling his arm up to block the brightness from his eyes. Trunks blinked, noting the room's decor, before obeying the command given. With a sigh, he traveled downstairs to have his morning meal.

It bothered him - that his father was as he was. He knew almost immediately he was an alcoholic, but what he noted was what others failed to notice: Vegeta's blatant depression. He wasn't drinking just to have fun - no - this was one of those drinking to drown out your sorrows sort of thing. The thing that bothered him the most was the fact that no one seemed to care. He sighed as he walked into the kitchen, wondering what exactly he would like to eat. Another thought flashed across his mind, and he replayed a scene in his head, 'Yes, well...I haven't seen Vegeta in a long while. I just heard about him recently. I.....I hate to admit that I'm worried..but I can't stop it. You have to understand, Trunks, I usually never worry, but I can't stop this time.'

As he opened the fridge, a smile came to his face, 'At least Goku cares.' Interesting too how Goku said worrying was wasteful, but yet, he worried about the prince. He found a gallon of milk and placed it on the counter. He went for the cabinets nearby - for a bowl and a box of cereal. Even though he had technically just met Goku, he felt fairly close to him, and he knew deep down that the full-blooded Saijin was not the type of person to just ignore others. No - Goku could tell when people were in pain, and it irritated Trunks that no one could see Vegeta's pain other than himself and the taller man, even though Vegeta nearly flaunted the fact. After digging out a spoon, he opened the box of cereal and poured himself a bowl.

While he was putting away the milk and cereal, Bulma entered the room with Keichii in her arms, "Hey there, Trunks." He gave a nod and sat stiffly at the table, quickly shoveling the food into his mouth so he wouldn't have to speak.

Another scene flashed through his mind, 'No. In fact, I hate her. I'd kill her myself if it wasn't for Zarbon. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must tend to my guests.'

He didn't exactly blame Vegeta for feeling that way. This version of his mother didn't seem to be showing him any real compassion or any forgiveness for that matter. Vegeta had faced the androids on his own, had merely treated them as guests in his home, and in return he had bought enough time for the rest of the fighters to figure out a way to stop them. In a way, it was Vegeta who had single-handedly defeated the androids. And he barely had a power level over three hundred thousand. A smile came to his face, 'That's my dad.'

He stood up and placed his bowl in the sink when a sudden set of crashes distracted him. "FUCK!" Vegeta yelled out, "Goddamn...son of a bitch! FUCK!" Trunks raced over to see what the matter was and found the older man at the foot of the stairs.

He knelt down, worry knitted in his brow, "Are you ok??"

Vegeta inhaled deeply, closed his eyes for a moment, let out his breath, and said, "Yeah. I just....nothing." He pushed Trunks away and headed towards the kitchen with swifter strides than he had yesterday, the teen also noting his posture had improved a bit. He kept his distance and watched as Vegeta took a drink of water from the faucet, paused, and then - after making sure Bulma wasn't watching - he took a look at his tail. Trunks' mind suddenly conjured up the image of Vegeta falling down the stairs and landing on the appendage. Assuming a Saijin's tail would be much like an animal's tail, he figured it would be a sensitive area and acute to pain.

He recalled then the contents of Vegeta's room: a heaping collection of empty bottles and cans to various alcoholic beverages, the windows painted black so that no sunlight would shine in, the walls bare except for stains from drinks that Vegeta must've thrown - whether on purpose or accident, the bed lacking covers and a pillow, the carpet dirty and partially burnt as well as speckled with broken glass (mainly near the walls) -- nothing else really, not even a TV.

He looked up at his father, who was intensely examining his tail, and stared at the pale face that had dark circles under the eyes and eyebrows that were scrunched up in an expression of concentration and pain. Yes, the pain was always lurking there - in Vegeta's bitter smirks and dark, unglowing eyes.

Though both Goku and Vegeta had the same black eyes, their auras were completely different. Goku's shined brightly, expressing his enthusiasm, his happiness, and general awareness of life around him. Vegeta's were dark, lusterless, unreflective, and deep like a hole in the ground - so shadowed you weren't sure how far down it went and so you toss a stone down only to hear nothing echo back. Vegeta's eyes expressed the truth, but they often reflected a certain air about him. Some would call it arrogance. Most would call it arrogance. Trunks would call it sarcasm, maybe ever cynicism. What confused the teenager was that their seemed to be no aim to it at all, no particular person or thing he focused it on.

The next thing the demi-Saijin knew he was in the den with the phone in his hands and the other end of the line was ringing. "Hello?" a woman's voice answered.

"Hey," Trunks greeted, "This is Trunks. May I talk to Goku?" Chi-chi sighed to herself and put the phone down, running off to find her husband.

A few moments later Trunks heard the phone being picked up and Goku's voice said, "Hello? Trunks?"

The purple-haired teen held the phone with his shoulder as his hands played with the cord, "Goku? I hate to ask, but...Do you think you can do me a favor?"

Goku laughed for a moment, "Sure! What do you need?"

Trunks took a deep breath, "I want you to take my father out."

There was silence.

"Trunks?" Goku's voice was thoroughly confused, "What do you mean? I don't understand."

Trunks sat down, his hands balling into fists, "Exactly what I said. Take my father out. Take him out of this house and get him away for a little while. He needs to see the light of day, Goku. He needs to...lay off the drinks for a little bit. He needs..."

Goku tried to help him out, " have fun?"

Trunks shot up and he began to pace, "Exactly! You need to help him relax and have fun!"

There was another pause before the black-haired man said, "Well....are you sure I'm the guy for the job?"

Trunks gave a brief laugh, "Goku..Trust me on this one."

Goku chuckled a little bit, "Alright, I give in. I'll see what I can do, ok? I'll be over in five!" Trunks heard a click and so he too hung up the phone. He turned around and suddenly Goku appeared in front of him.

"OH GOD!" Trunks screamed, clutching his chest, "Don't do that! And aren't you supposed to have arrived in five minutes?"

Goku laughed and rubbed the back of his neck, "Oh, sorry. I meant five seconds. So, where is he?" Trunks pointed towards the kitchen and the taller man gave a nod and a victory sign.

Vegeta thumbed over his tail carefully, but gave a sigh of relief a moment later as it seemed nothing was broken, 'I can't believe I did that...I should tone down on the vodka in the morning.' The prince released his tail, confident that it would be alright, 'Who am I kidding? I wouldn't be able to hold back even if I wanted. Peh. Who cares...' A pair of hands were suddenly on his shoulders, causing him to tense up. The simple touch caused him to be paralyzed, his muscles already beginning to cramp.

"Hey Vegeta!" Goku said warmly, leaning over, "Want to go out?"

The prince viciously tore himself from Goku's grasp, "No."

Vegeta turned to leave, but Goku just kept following him, "Even though we'd be going out for food?"

Vegeta folded his arms to hide his shaking hands, "Yes. Even though it'd be for food."

The taller Saijin suddenly leapt in front of him and blocked the doorway with his entire body, "Even though I'd be paying?"

Vegeta's tail twitched back and forth, expressing his liking to the idea of free food. His stomach ached, and thanks to the wonders of intoxication, he couldn't remember the last time he'd consumed something nutritious, "Well....I suppose a little Saijin outing wouldn't hurt.." Goku's smile spread into a grin and he slung his arm over Vegeta's shoulder before they disappeared.

Bulma couldn't figure out what was going on. "Am I missing something?" she asked Trunks, leaning back in her chair.

The teen chuckled a bit, "I guess you could say that."

Once the two Saijins reappeared, Vegeta spun around to face the taller man, "What's the meaning of this!?" He threw Goku's arm off of his shoulder and stepped away, out of close proximity.

Goku gave a laugh and bent the truth a bit, also replying to a misinterpreted question, "Hey! The restaurant I want to go to just so happens to be in the mall, so sue me!" Vegeta's eyes narrowed and he looked over the warrior reluctantly, his tail coiled like a snake ready to strike. Finally, it simply wound snuggly around his waist, looking like a belt.

With a deep breath, the brunette relaxed enough to reply, "Alright. Let's go." Goku beamed as they walked through the parking lot and towards one of the entrances. Goku was aware that Vegeta hated this planet, and more so than that, he hated the people on it. So to ensure that Vegeta would have a good time at the mall, he planned on using up a bit of his life savings. Small change, in other words. The taller Saijin seemed to enjoy the atmosphere, while the other despised it. Vegeta kept his gaze locked on the floor, able to avoid people by sensing their ki, if not by seeing them through his peripheral vision. Goku looked over at the prince, who seemed to be having a dreadful time, and found that he couldn't smile like he normally could.

His eyes caught sight of what he had really come to the mall for, and his smile returned, "Oh hey. Is there any store you'd like to stop at?" Vegeta growled a bit, about to answer, when Goku cut him off. "C'mon! Over here!" the black-haired Saijin said, walking briskly ahead.

"Hey! Kakkarot!" Vegeta called out after him, getting angrier by the moment. He cursed colorfully under his breath when Goku didn't respond. He followed the third-class to where ever he was going, and was about to complain about the promised meal when his nose was suddenly overwhelmed by a familiar scent. He spun around and examined the shop in a newfound interest. Goku chuckled to himself as Vegeta began to examine the things around him.

He leaned over and said in a quieter voice, "See something you like? I'll buy it." Vegeta's eyes met Goku's, the prince's bit wider than normal from surprise and uncertainty.

"I..." Vegeta started, but Goku knew that he wanted something, his tail was already showing that by the full swings it performed.

"You want the Cuban ones?" Goku asked, leaning against the counter top carefully so as to not break it. Vegeta looked up at him again, not sure what to say, his tail curling and uncurling in an odd mix of embarrassment and anxiousness. "Consider it done," Goku said before he called the sales clerk over.

As the transaction went underway, the prince suddenly added in, "Cloves too. Both flavors." It was a done deal. Roughly two minutes later, Goku and Vegeta were walking through the mall once again, only this time Vegeta was holding a plastic bag in his hand. He hadn't said anything since the shop, but Goku could feel the emotions swarming around inside of Vegeta. Confusion was the majority of it all right now, but somewhere past all that, there was a whisper of happiness.

Out of seemingly nowhere, Goku asked, "Have you ever been to the beach?"

Vegeta roughly huffed, "Of course I have."

Goku shook his head, "I mean, not just been there, but actually went there, for the day or something."

Vegeta slowly raised an eyebrow at him, "What do you mean?"

Goku shook his head slightly at Vegeta's ignorance. It kind of reminded him of when he was a child here on Earth, unaware and unaccustomed to all the traditions, customs, and such. "On this planet, Vegeta, people will go to the beach to have fun," Goku stated warmly, as he put his hands into his pockets.

"Oh," was all reply the smaller Saijin gave.

"Well," the black-haired man went on, his tone turning slightly mischievous, "I haven't heard any complaints, so we're going!"

Vegeta's tail puffed in shock and he spat out, "What about swim wear!? You honestly don't expect me to swim in this, do you!?" The prince's mind instantly retaliated, 'And what difference would it make? And why am I agreeing to this!?'

Goku rubbed the back of his neck and resisted the urge to grin, "Oh yeah.... Well, we can just go buy some right now! C'mon!" Within five minutes, Goku had found a reasonable department store to shop at and they were sifting through all the swim wear. "No. No. No. No..." Goku muttered as he flipped through the racks, Vegeta merely stood nearby with his arms crossed. "Hey! This would be great for you!" the taller Saijin said with confidence, holding up a pair of swimming trunks that were bright yellow with orange hawaiian floral print. The expression the prince made was priceless and caused Goku to burst out laughing. The taller man declared, "Yep! These are a definite buy!"

Vegeta grit his teeth for a moment as Goku gloated his victory, but he suddenly disturbed Goku's little parade, "Very well then. I will choose your suit for you, as you have chosen mine for me."

Goku's laughter instantly faded off as he realized the situation he put himself into, "Well...alright. It's only fair."

Vegeta snapped back, "Damn straight." He sifted through the seemingly endless supply until he came across what he decided was to be a suitable match for the damage done to him: a bright green pair of swimming trunks decorated with silver polka dots.

Goku burst out laughing as he grabbed the piece of clothing from Vegeta, "Let's pay and get out of here!"

The flight to the beach was silent, but there wasn't a feeling of unease like Goku had usually known for there to be. After landing a fair walk from the shoreline, or from the entrance for that matter, they began to talk again. "Hn. What should I do about these?" Vegeta asked, gesturing towards the bag he held.

Goku gave a shrug, "Get a locker, I suppose." The prince gave a nod.

"Do you think anyone will be upset over my tail?" the shorter Saijin inquired, drawing it up into plain view for emphasis.

"I don't think you should worry about it," Goku said, scouting out the buildings up ahead and looking for the bathroom so they could change, "If anyone bothers you I'll...tell them to..piss off." Vegeta barely contained his laughter from the sudden statement. It didn't seem much like anything Goku would say at all, but even so, would be classic to witness.

He nodded nonetheless, "Just be sure to keep your promise."

Goku turned to him and gave a grin, "Like I said..don't worry." After slipping in between cars for a couple of blocks or so, they finally came across sand. Vegeta fumbled around, not exactly used to the feel of the ground slightly moving beneath his feet - even if the movement was caused by the pressure of his own body.

They entered the combination rest/shower/locker room and the prince merely snatched his chosen swim wear from the taller Saijin and headed towards a stall. Goku, the less bashful one, made a quick change in the locker area, and while waiting for Vegeta, rented out a locker. The brunette approached him as Goku stuffed his clothes into the small space. "Here," Goku said, taking the bag, and the clothing, out of Vegeta's hands and putting it in there with the rest of his belongings. "All done!" the black-haired man proclaimed with joy, "Now we can go!" Vegeta grumbled a bit before following behind Goku, muttering something about not liking the sun.

They made their way out to the shoreline, Vegeta pausing at the edge so that the waves only washed across the bottom of his feet. He looked down to watch the cool, ocean water continually approach and retreat over and over again. Goku bounded into the water until he was deep enough in to swim. Vegeta stood at the shore, watching the idiot splash around. His tail would twitch, pause, twitch the other way, pause, and so on and so on. He really didn't like being out in the sun. That triggered a thought, and caused him to speak up, "Hey Kakkarot! We're not wearing any sun block or whatever."

The taller Saijin came out of the ocean, the water dripping off of battle-hardened muscles, "Oh, let's just up our ki a tiny bit. We can survive nuclear blasts, I think we can survive the sun's rays for a few hours." A tiny smirk tugged at Vegeta's lips and he slowly kicked a little bit of water onto Goku's shins. Goku turned his head slightly to the side, a mischievious smile forming before he simply backed into the water to go swimming once more. Vegeta shook his head lightly and turned to walk down the beach, pausing occasionally to wiggle his toes, still unsure about the odd sensation he felt when the cool, wet sand met his bare feet.

After a quarter mile walk, he turned inward and found a fairly empty spot in the sand to camp out. He sat down and leaned back, his knees bent with his hands supporting him. His tail flopped around on the warm sand and he looked up at the cloudless blue sky. He released a sigh and gazed at it. He stared out into nothing, simply trying to disconnect himself from the situation. He could pretend he was on another planet of his own accord - could pretend he came alone - could pretend that everyone was gone, that he was the last - could pretend that it would all be over soon...

A figure suddenly blocked his vision and he blinked. In a flash, he was returned to Earth again. He wondered why his relaxation was interrupted, "What?"

Goku had his hands on his hips, "Aren't you going to come swim?"

Vegeta's tail stopped moving as he replied, "No."

The black-haired Saijin knelt down, "Do you want anything to drink?"

The prince collapsed completely onto the ground, and sighed, "Oh god, yes. Scotch." Goku restrained himself from laughing, and put two fingers to his forehead. In approximately three minutes he returned with a bottle of scotch.

"Here," Goku said, extending it to the brunette.

Vegeta sat up and quickly grabbed the bottle from the other Saijin, "Seriously!? No shit!? Damn-" He stopped talking and began drinking as soon as the lid was off. After a few gulps Vegeta pulled back and released a sigh. He stretched and put the scotch up for the moment, feeling very lazy. Goku just chuckled and sat down beside the shorter man. They sat together, neither saying a word, just soaking in the warmth like cats on a windowsill.

A moment later a beach ball bounced off of Goku's head and landed neatly in his lap. A pair of girls ran up to them, identical twins as it seemed, but thankfully they wore different swimming suits to tell them apart.

"Sorry," the one on the left apologized, "Would you mind giving us our ball back?"

Goku smiled warmly and handed it to her, "Sure!"

The one on the right giggled a bit, noting their choices for swimming trunks, "Hey. You're really cute. You wanna play volleyball with us?"

Goku instantly began to blush at the compliment and he rubbed the back of his neck from nervous habit. He chuckled for a moment before saying, "Um..I really don't know. Vegeta? Would you like to play volleyball?"

Vegeta raised an eyebrow, his expression completely full of doubt, " this...volleyball...?"

Goku laughed and tugged on Vegeta's arm lightly, "C'mon! Live a little!"

The prince grabbed his bottle of scotch before he was dragged off, "What!? Hey, Kakkarot!" The girls seemed to be enthusiastic to gain two muscular - not to mention extremely handsome - men on their team. They stopped beside the court, Vegeta pulling himself loose.

"The object of the game is to hit the ball on the ground on the other side of the net. You can do this by bunting, setting, and spiking," Goku quickly ran through his tutorial, giving a demonstration for every move, "You have to stay in bounds. If you hit the ball out of bounds the other team gets it. Simple enough?"

Vegeta seemed quite unsure about the whole idea, "Yeah, I get it. I don't think I like it, but I get it." The girls split up, as well as Goku and Vegeta. The twin with the blue bathing suit took the front with Goku, and the one in red took the back with Vegeta. The other team was composed of similar players - two men, two women, one man and one woman to each row. A bit cautious, Vegeta's tail coiled around his waist and he kept his arms folded. The opposing team started, and the ball kept bouncing back and forth between the teams until it finally came Vegeta's way - however - the prince made no move to hit the ball, and so, it landed in the sand at his feet.

"What are you doing!?" one of the twins yelled out as the other team cheered.

Goku cast him a worried look and Vegeta took a drink of his scotch. He walked a few feet out of bounds, set the bottle down, returned, and proclaimed, "Ok. I think I know how to play this stupid game. Peh. Earthlings are so strange..." The black-haired Saijin nudged the ball over to the opposing side and they served it towards Vegeta. This time though, the prince slapped it straight up so high it became a speck.

Goku scolded him in a hushed voice, "Vegeta! Try to at least play the game normally?"

Vegeta shrugged, "What? This isn't normal for me?"

Goku gave him a look, "You know what I mean." The ball returned to its point of origin, and without looking, Vegeta set it to his fellow Saijin.

Goku caught the ball and Vegeta raised his eyebrows, "Now what?"

Goku shook his head and rolled the ball over to other team, "It's not your fault. I forgot to tell you. You can't hit more than once at a time."

Vegeta grit his teeth, "Yes. That information could've been quite useful beforehand." The other team served again - aiming at Vegeta once more. But before most people realized what happened, the ball was on the other side of the net and a person was on the ground cursing wildly over a stomach injury.

Goku couldn't believe all of this, "Vegeta! Try to restrain yourself a bit, please?"

The prince shrugged innocently, "Oh, well.. You know me, I just can't help myself."

Goku smirked, a thought forming in his head, "Alright. How about this: a volleyball game of just you against me. Hmm? How's that sound?"

Vegeta looked off for a moment, thinking it over, "Alright. turning Super Saijin. No flying. No ki. Got that?"

Goku's smile widened into a grin and he nodded, "Yeah! No problem! Let's get started!" The taller man turned to the others and explained his request, and not-so-reluctantly, everyone agreed to allow them use of the court. Goku turned to the shorter man, "Since there's only one person on each side, we'll make it two hits at a time, ok? That should be plenty." Vegeta merely nodded.

The brunette was allowed to serve first, and Goku retaliated with a spike so fast that most of the spectators that blinked nearly missed it. Vegeta merely spiked it back and this kept each side going for quite a while. Everyone silently watched the furious battle of the two Saijins. The only sounds were that of the beach and the soft smacking sound of skin against leather.

Goku leapt up, intent on winning the game, but Vegeta raced directly up to the net, jumping to knock it back down the second it threatened to pass onto his side. Goku spiked it at an angle so wide and so fast that Vegeta would need to reach farther than he was able to to save it. Thinking he won the game, Goku was rather surprised when Vegeta spun around and the ball somehow landed on the backside of his court. The black-haired Saijin blinked a few times before he noticed something: Vegeta's tail swaying back and forth proudly in the air. "You used your tail!" Goku exclaimed, "That's not fair!"

The prince merely smirked and folded his arms, "Oh? I don't recall anyone saying I couldn't."

Goku sighed while shaking his head, his smile returning, "Okay. Alright. You win."

The twins reappeared, cheering on both of the Saijins. "That was the most intense game I ever saw!" the blue one said in astonishment.

"I've never seen anything like it!" the red one added before her eyes began to follow the swing of Vegeta's tail. It couldn't be real, could it? It looked so real, moved so real... This man was like a cat, and she liked cats. Entranced, she reached out for the brown appendage, her hand grabbing it to stop its motions. She wanted a closer examination, to merely pet it - however - the next thing she knew, she was sitting on the ground with a bloody, perhaps broken, nose.

"What the FUCK!?" screamed the blue twin, kneeling to aid her sister.

Vegeta's tail was bound tightly around his waist once more, his words were like venom, "Nobody...NOBODY TOUCHES MY GODDAMN TAIL!!" The panic in Vegeta began to die down once he was almost certain he wasn't in danger any longer. The anger and rage, on the other hand, stayed fresh and deadly.

"Why do you have to be an asshole about it!?" replied the hysteric red twin, tears spilling down her cheeks, "You didn't have to hit me!" Vegeta gave Goku a look. A look that spoke so loudly, Goku knew he was obligated to take action. They stared at each other for a few moments more before Goku turned to the girl.

"I'm sorry, but you should've asked," Goku said in a calm, nearly monotone voice, "...but if you can't handle common courtesy then you can.......piss off." The last part was spoken rather quickly and rather quietly, but Vegeta heard it as clear as day, and that was all that mattered. Vegeta turned and marched over to the sidelines, making his way through the crowd easily as it parted for him. He picked up his bottle of scotch and turned to go claim his things from the locker.

After Vegeta was out of ear shot, Goku added his own opinion, "I'm sorry about that. I really am. Are you ok?"

"My nose is bleeding! Do I look okay!?" the young woman screamed in his face.

"Look, here's my name and phone number. If you need to see a doctor because of it, don't hesitate to call me. Actually..I'd be surprised if you didn't have to see a doctor... Is there anything I can do for you otherwise?" Goku offered, writing his information down on a scrap piece of paper.

"Yeah!" the blue twin shouted back, "Restrain that brother of yours!"

Goku nearly fell over, "Whaaat?? Vegeta?? Oh no, he's not my brother!"

"Oh? Is that so?" she continued, "Well, I'm sorry, but maybe you have a bad taste in boyfriends then!!"

The Saijin suddenly felt like his face was on fire, "B-Boyfriend!? Vegeta's not my boyfriend!!"

"Yeah, sure," the red twin mocked, "Two hot guys like you alone on the beach? You're either related or gay!"

"Excuse me, but I'm married!" Goku spoke louder than he intended.

"Really? Then where's your wedding ring?" the blue twin wiggled her fingers as a gesture.

Goku looked at his naked ring finger in shock. It was true he shouldn't have been so surprised, but the girl had taken him off guard. At first he'd removed it so he wouldn't lose it in combat, but after returning from Namek he had never put it back on, even in the three years of peace. He clenched his fists together, nearly yelling, "Look! This isn't about me and my sex life!" Goku blushed profusely, "Now if you'd kindly excuse me, ladies, I..I have to go!"

He rushed away from the crowd to catch up with Vegeta. In the trip from the beach to the locker room he tried to gain his bearings. Once he found his companion, he was able to gather the words he wanted to say. "You shouldn't have punched her," Goku said in a stern voice, "You could have killed her."

Vegeta scoffed, his teeth clenching, "Well, I didn't. And she shouldn't have touched my tail." There was an insanely long pause before Vegeta added, "Besides, it wasn't entirely my fault."

Goku turned to him, slowly speaking, "'s not?" They headed towards their rented locker. Goku opened it and they removed their things.

"No. It's not," Vegeta said as Goku slammed the door to their locker, "I'm a...warrior as you know." He winced inwardly as his mind taunted, 'More like you used to be a warrior.' He blinked hard, pushing himself to continue talking, "And as such it should be known suicide to go for my most vulnerable..part. Do you not agree that it would be, and only is, a natural reaction to attack one that is reaching for your most fragile weakness? That you would not protect yourself from a threat of danger? If you don't then it's sad to say you're hardly a Saijin. You've had a tail before, did you not watch it carefully?" Goku shed off the bright green shorts and threw on his clothes; Vegeta merely held his outfit and stared relentlessly at the younger Saijin's face.

Goku sighed deeply, "I don't disagree with your reasoning behind your actions. I just..wish it could've been avoided. It's okay though, right? I mean...I told them to..piss off...."

Vegeta's lips pulled into a tight smirk and he nodded, "Precisely." Goku raised an eyebrow as he watched the prince head into a stall.

When they were in the air once again, Goku noticed that the tension had returned, although not in full force, it had nonetheless made a come back. 'Well, there goes the day at the beach,' Goku thought to himself, scanning the horizon, 'It's barely past noon...maybe we should get something to eat.' The black-haired man placed his hand on Vegeta's shoulder and the next thing the prince knew he was back in the mall.

"What!?" the brunette shouted, turning towards Goku with fists clenched. He was sick of the surprises already.

"Hey!" Goku said with a smile, "I promised you food, didn't I? Like I said, there's a good place here to eat at..." Vegeta's shoulders slouched and he gave a small nod of approval. Going to a restaurant at one in the afternoon is worth the hour wait from the normal lunchtime - eating at one instead of twelve decreased the waiting time significantly. Goku and Vegeta were seated immediately, a small booth in the back corner of the restaurant. Vegeta seemed to relax a bit because there was distance between him and everyone else. His tail finally uncoiled itself from around his waist and it dangled, the tip curling and twitching in boredom.

The Saijins overlooked the menu, trying to decide what sounded most appealing to them at the moment. "What're you getting?" Goku asked in curiosity, still examining his menu. Vegeta folded his back up and placed it at the edge of the table. He turned his body and leaned back against the wall, one leg resting up on the booth seat, the other bent with his foot on the ground for support.

Vegeta tilted his head back and folded his arms, "Nothing. I'm not hungry right now."

Goku let his menu drop from his hands, and after a pause, he replied, "Hm...okay."

A young lady came to take their orders. "A glass of ice," Vegeta requested when she took out a pad of paper and a pen.

Goku thereafter ordered just about everything they offered at the restaurant before finally stating, "I think that's all...for now." The waitress returned a few minutes later with Vegeta's glass of ice, and once she was far enough away, Vegeta pulled out his bottle of scotch and poured himself a drink. After finishing the bottle, he leaned back and closed his eyes, seemingly dozing off. Goku leaned back in his seat, lacing his fingers and putting his hands behind his head. He overlooked the pale prince with a blank expression even though a surge of emotion was running through him. Even while sleeping, Vegeta's eyebrows were knit together in a scowl, as if he could never be relaxed; but Goku knew better, as he had seen him looking rather calm at other times.

'Yeah, Vegeta looks calm after drinking enough to kill a normal human,' Goku thought to himself, sighing silently. His first plate of food arrived and Vegeta's eyes opened, watching the taller Saijin chow down. A moment later and the waitress returned with four more plates of food. Goku ate rapidly, enjoying his meal, until he noticed he was being watched. He froze with a fork full of food in mid-air, his mouth open and ready to receive it. He blinked a few times before he smiled, "Wanna try it?"

Vegeta's eyebrows raised and his eyes widened a bit, ""

Goku grinned and pushed a plate towards him, "No, go ahead! Try it! It's good!" Vegeta was about to protest but Goku hushed him by pushing his fork into Vegeta's mouth. Glaring at the younger Saijin, Vegeta slowly removed the fork, chewing the food that had been forced into his mouth. He swallowed and seemed to be thinking it over, his tail swinging slowly back and forth.

He cleaned off the plate Goku had shoved his way in less than a minute, and gave his opinion, "'s not that bad." The black-haired man smiled warmly and pushed another plate Vegeta's way while he ate off of the last one available. They didn't talk at all while eating, though Goku was thoroughly content with the entire situation. Vegeta, similarly, hadn't realized how desperately he needed food, despite the bouts of feeling light-headed and shaky. He figured it was the booze, but deep down he knew the truth, he was simply too afraid to admit it. After gathering their things, and paying the bill, they left. Goku was happy now that he had eaten, and the restaurant was happy with the business they had made.

'It's still pretty early in the afternoon,' Goku noted as they walked through the mall. A small grin came to the taller man's lips as an idea formed in his mind. He took hold of Vegeta's arm to stop their walking.

"What is it!?" Vegeta hissed at the physical contact, his tail tensed into a straight line. He wondered why Goku didn't get the message.

"This way," the younger motioned, tugging the prince into a different direction.

"What!?" Vegeta stumbled over his feet as he was swiftly turned around, "I don't wish to go into anymore shops!!"

Goku looked over his shoulder and he gave the brunette a mischievous grin, "Ah..well, this isn't a store." Vegeta was about to question him when they walked through some automatic doors and into the large room. The prince's tail lashed around at the sudden temperature difference and he looked around in suspicion and doubt. "Don't worry," Goku assured him with a warm smile as they headed towards a large counter, "This'll be fun. I promise." Escaping the hold he was in, the prince folded his arms and refused to look at Goku, not trusting the larger Saijin at all.

After doing some business, Goku rented out yet another locker and they took a seat on a bench. "I hope I guessed your size right," Goku said as he handed Vegeta a pair of what, to Vegeta, looked like shoes with blades on the bottom of them. They put their items away before putting on their ice skates. Nearly tripping after standing up, Vegeta cast a wary look to Goku. "Stop worrying!" Goku said with a laugh, "I just thought you'd like to try a winter activity since we just did a summer one."

Vegeta carefully walked out to the rink and stepped onto the ice, Goku directly behind him. "Let's not use any ki!" Goku suggested cheerfully, "It'll be more challenging that way. I mean, I've never ice skated before either." Vegeta looked up at the taller man, not giving a response, which was fine because Goku pushed himself out onto the rink. Goku laughed and cheered himself on, "Yeah! Look at me go! Hey, Vegeta! See? It's easy!" He looked over his shoulder to see the prince, but lost his concentration and slipped. As he fell directly on his ass Vegeta burst out laughing at the display.

"Oh yeah, Kakkarot," Vegeta teased, "Easy to make an ass out of yourself as usual." He smirked at his choice of words.

Goku laughed as he slowly got back up again, "Oh yeah? I'd like to see you do any better!"

Vegeta's tail puffed a bit and he growled lightly, "Just watch me!" He swallowed, a bit nervous despite the fact that he shouldn't have really cared. He glanced around at the other people, who were gracefully skating, before pushing himself in Goku's direction, careful to keep himself balanced.

"Hey! You're doing it!" the taller man said happily. Vegeta blinked hard, trying to ignore Goku's encouragements so that he wouldn't mess up. Slowing down, Vegeta lifted his foot to push off for more momentum, but he stumbled. The prince flailed wildly, attempting to regain his lost balance, his tail lashing everywhere to find a position that would help him out, but luckily the brunette's fall was broken by a large pillar. Vegeta blinked a few times as he stared at the orange cotton he knew so well, and then his mind suddenly realized the rather embarrassing position he was in. After falling forward, Goku had caught him, but Vegeta had also clung onto him to ensure he wouldn't fall. His arms were wrapped around the taller Saijin's waist, and his head was pressed against Goku's torso while the other man's arms were holding him close to make sure he wouldn't fall down.

"Whoa! You okay there?" he heard Goku ask, the supporting arms moving to grasp him and pull him up.

"Of course I am, you idiot!" Vegeta snapped back, pushing himself away from Goku's warm body, almost falling backward. Goku went to help him again, but Vegeta batted away his hand. "I don't need your help!!" Vegeta growled loudly, his tail twitching sporadically in panic. Goku's expression slowly fell into one of seriousness and curiosity.

Confused, the taller Saijin thought to himself, 'No way...Vegeta isn' he...??' He forced himself to smile again, "Okay, alright! I'm sorry.. I'll leave you alone..." He turned to skate off, but instantly slipped and fell on his bum again. A smirk threatened to take over Vegeta's lips, but the brunette was able to resist the urge.

"Idiot," Vegeta murmured before attempting to push off once more - this time succeeding. Goku watched Vegeta slowly skate around the rink, seemingly getting used to whole idea. Goku picked himself up and moved towards the railing so he wouldn't be in the way. He turned to see Vegeta becoming more confident in his newfound ability, and with a grin he shoved off in the prince's direction. Fumbling the entire way, he was a bit relieved when he caught up to Vegeta.

"You seem to be adapting well," Goku mentioned, his feet slipping back and forth. Vegeta smirked and pushed on Goku lightly, chuckling as the taller man fumbled around with no rhyme or reason. When he caught himself, he looked up at Vegeta with a playful glare, "Oh, you're going to pay for that."

Vegeta laughed a bit at this one, "Oh really? Well, you're going to have to catch me first." The prince took off towards the opposite end of the rink, leaving Goku by himself.

A grin came to Goku's lips again, 'If Vegeta can do something that's not fair, yet isn't cheating at the same time, so can I...'

Vegeta spun around when he reached the other end of the rink, and looked around to watch Goku attempt to chase after him, but he was a bit surprised to see that Goku was no where in sight. He scanned the entire rink but there was no sign of the taller Saijin.

"Boo!" a voice called out from behind him, warm arms wrapping around him to make sure he didn't get away.

"Kakkarot! You cheater!" Vegeta glared back at the younger man, squirming furiously.

Goku gave a small laugh, "Oh no, I didn't cheat. You see, Instant Transmission doesn't use ki, only concentration." Vegeta would've frowned in defeat if he wasn't trying to get away from the hold he was in. "And now.." Goku said, a large, toothy grin spreading across his face, "..I'm going to make you pay!" With ease Goku lifted Vegeta off of the ice and, now using ki, spun them both around.

Vegeta tried in vain to flee, 'Why do I even bother?'

Goku lightly chuckled in his ear, "Are you ticklish, Vegeta?"

The prince cursed loudly before threatening, "You dare attempt to find out, and I'll be sure to break all your fingers!"

Goku spun a bit faster, taunting, "Oh? A threat? Or is that...a challenge!? I love challenges, Vegeta!"

The brunette fidgeted, "Damnit! I said no such thing of a chall-!" He was cut off by Goku's laughter, who stopped their spinning and dropped them onto the ice. The taller Saijin climbed over Vegeta, one leg on each side of the smaller man's sides, and he knelt down, going to attack Vegeta's stomach with deft fingers.

"Son of a bitch!" Vegeta screamed, his hands reaching out to push Goku away, but the other man was faster and he pinned his wrists together in one hand, leaving the other free to find out how ticklish Vegeta was. "Don't touch me!" Vegeta growled darkly, a simultaneous defensive and offensive sound, "I'm warning you!" Goku paid no attention and heeded no caution; instead, he began to assault Vegeta's sides.

The prince hissed loudly and reacted the only way he knew how, and Goku, who was not expecting an attack, froze in place. A blush instantly spread across Goku's cheeks, and after taking a few breaths, he let go of Vegeta and rolled away. There was silence save for the sound of other people chatting and skates on ice. "Are you...okay..?" Vegeta asked quietly after a minute or so passed, 'Why am I even asking? He deserved it!'

Goku slowly moved up into a sitting position, the blush still on his cheeks, "God, didn't have to..." The blush deepened a bit and Goku looked down.

"Are you hurt?" Vegeta asked, his voice flat.

"," Goku blushed even more, if that was possible, "No, didn't hurt me...just....surprised me..."

Vegeta felt his cheeks grow a bit warm, "Oh. Well..pity. I had intended on hurting you." In all actuality, he hadn't really wanted to hurt the other Saijin, just teach him a lesson, but now the entire situation had become embarrassing for the both of them.

"Let's leave..?" Goku asked, slowly climbing to his feet.

"Uh..yeah," Vegeta agreed, feeling highly uncomfortable. They left the rink and headed towards their locker. After they quickly put their shoes back on, they returned the skates and left.

When they reappeared next to Capsule Corp, Goku decided to speak again, "Ah..I wanted to apologize for earlier."

Vegeta seemed very shocked, "What?"

Goku gave a nod, "I uh..should've respected your wishes. Sorry, I won't touch you again, unless you want me to or whatever."

Vegeta looked anywhere except at Goku, "Oh, I see."

Goku's smile began to return, "But at least I know you're ticklish!"

The prince grit his teeth together, "Believe what you want!"

Goku motioned for him to follow, "C'mon. I'll walk you in."

Vegeta clenched his fists as they walked towards the building, "I know the way myself!!"

Goku turned around and walked backwards so that he could look at the elder, "I know. I just wanted to talk to you a bit more. Is that okay?"

Vegeta's tail lashed around nervously, "I suppose."

Goku's smile fully returned, "Good! So I was thinking...maybe you'd like to go out again sometime? I mean, I hardly get out of the house and stuff, so-"

Vegeta's growl interrupted him, "I don't think I'd like to repeat this day, Kakkarot."

The taller Saijin's smile turned into a frown, "Why not? Was it really that bad? Was it something I did or said? Hey, I'm sorry...I had fun! I really did! Hanging out with you, Vegeta, has been the coolest thing I've done, I can't even compare! That's why I want to do it again."

The prince slowly met the other's gaze, "You mean that? You had fun? With me..?" Goku gave a nod, his smile coming back. "I wasn't that bad," Vegeta admitted, unable to look at Goku while he said it.

"One thing though," Goku said, his cheeks turning a bit red, "If you're going to attack someone with your tail, I'd be more careful how you go about it. If your aim is to have the effect of kneeing someone in the crotch, I'd try to work on putting some more power into your lunge, otherwise it just..." Goku laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his neck, "But don't worry, I won't tell anyone!"

Vegeta was nearly shaking because of embarrassment, "Yeah, damn right you won't tell anyone. And do expect the next time to hurt."

Goku, not watching where he was going, walked into the wall, "Ah..well, I'll call you!" And then, Goku disappeared.

Vegeta opened the door and stepped inside, cursing softly under his breath. "Vegeta? Is that you?" Trunks' voice asked from one of the adjacent rooms.

"What's it to you?" the prince replied as he headed for his room.

The demi-Saijin walked into the hallway and stopped Vegeta in his tracks, "Oh...well, I'm going tonight, I just wanted you to know." Vegeta shrugged and tried to pass the purple-haired teen, but Trunks' words stopped him, "How was your day with Goku?"

The prince slowly turned around, his tail twitching in an odd manner, "It was..interesting to say the least."

Trunks smiled and turned to let his father pass, "That's good to hear. It was nice seeing you, but I really ought to be getting back. My mom is probably worried sick... If all goes well though, I'll be returning soon. So, I'll see ya!" Vegeta, for some reason unknown to him, gave a small wave over the shoulder before passing into his room, the door closing behind him. Trunks sighed and gave a smile, 'It was good to know you had at least one day out, father...'

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