Machina (Rewrite) - Chapter 1

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Machina (Rewrite)

by Kichi

Libraries: Alternate Universe, Angst, Dragon Ball Z, Drama, Erotica, Romance

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Vegeta comes to Earth after the androids have killed everyone

Machina (rewrite) TITLE: Machina (rewrite)
AUTHOR: Kichi
PAIRING (if applicable): B/V
RATING: M
WARNINGS: sex, violence, death, gore, implied rape
NOTES: implied rape in this chapter (not descriptive)
ARCHIVE: www.geocities.com/kichisama666/index.html
SUMMARY: I was not satisfied with how my first attempt at this story was coming along so I started over.. Vegeta comes to Earth years after the androids destroy everything.  Bulma saves his life after 17 and 18 beat him nearly to death..
DISCLAIMER: Dragonball Z and it’s characters belong to Akira Toriyama and are being used without permission for non profit




Chapter 1 - How he escaped and met the girl

    If there was ever a time to escape it was then.  His heart racing, he ran to his pod and jettisoned, and he wouldn’t be the last.  His “Lord and Master” as the depraved fiend liked to call himself had begun to engage his older brother in combat.  In terms of strength they were both unsurpassed in the known galaxy.  Not an hour after he’d escaped the brother’s ships and crew were destroyed as they attempted to best each other.
    He had never felt such fear as he did when his eye lids began to grow heavy under the influence of the gas installed in each pod.  He knew he might never wake again.  If his master won his war against his elder brother, he could easily catch up to Vegeta and incinerate his pod with little effort.  
    His only hope lie in the tiny, unregistered planet that Radditz and Nappa had gone to.  Radditz left in search of his brother two years gone and Nappa a year earlier to find Radditz.  Both had mentioned something strange that had caught Vegeta’s attention.  Vegeta alone knew of the legend and as their scouters were one their own separate channel (when Vegeta could tune them all to an unused frequency) no one in Frieza’s army knew what happened to the older Saiyans, where they had gone, or what they went in search for.
    Vegeta did not care to find Kakarotto.  He didn’t care if the youngest of the four had killed his two retainers.  Only one thing mattered to him.  He would make a wish- he could make a wish.  He wasn’t sure what he would wish exactly but the outcome would mean Frieza’s death and that was all that mattered.
    It seemed moments had passed before the crash landing began to wake him.  The gas that began to fully rouse him set his adrenaline racing as it was designed to do and his heart began to pound as he lurched out of his pod.  His scouter was set to find Kakarotto as he knew where to seek the Dragon balls, and when functioning would have started beeping the moment he tapped the button on the side.
    Nothing happened.
    With a snarl, he tore it off the side of his face and examined it closely.  Everything was functioning.  So why, then, had Kakarotto not shown up?  And where were the gross amounts of ningen that occupied the small planet?  He knew one way to draw out the soft-headed fool.  If he started blowing things up the Earth-raised Saiyan was bound to show up.
    “Well, well, well.  Look what we have here sister.  Another monkey to play with.” Vegeta gasped and spun around.  His scouter was definitely broken to not have picked up two humans so close.  He raised his hand and sent a blast at a slim, dark-haired youth.  His eyes widened when the young man slapped it away with a smile and no real visible effort.
    “Apparently he’s as weak as the rest of them.”  A feminine voice replied behind him.  He turned his head to the side to see a young woman who looked very similar to the young man, but with pale yellow hair instead of black.
    “But still, he’s much stronger than a human.” The young man said.  Vegeta snarled, craving bloodshed and fired upon them both.  Blast after blast turned the surrounding area a bluish white as his power released.  But when he stopped he was shocked to see the two still standing in the same place, looking as when they’d first appeared.  
    “He looks confused, brother.  Shall we enlighten him?”
    “Of course my dear sister.”  


    The agony of seeing her life crumble in front of her had not destroyed her, nor the deaths of her friends and loved ones.  It had hurt terribly, of course.  And there had been times when lying down and dying had seemed all too appealing.  But she had survived it all and come out stronger.  She always did.  
    But the loneliness got to her occasionally.  Sometimes she would sit and weep in helpless frustration and utter abandonment.  There was no one to confide in, no one to hold her when she was scared or sad.   There was no one to argue with or chat about meaningless trivialities.   
    It was becoming unbearable.  Nothing else had conquered her.  Pain, fear, uncertainty, she had risen from the brink time and again, but with no one to turn to she was quickly finding herself hopeless.  Hatred for the ones responsible began to seethe beneath the surface.  Usually she could control her rage with the knowledge of it’s futility.  But anger was easier to deal with than the aching sadness that had begun to pervade throughout her entire soul.  
    Whenever refugees came to the remains of Capsule Corp. She was always delighted to offer anything she could if only they would stay awhile.  Then she could speak to an actual person, not the four walls.  But they always moved on.  They searched for warmer climate and easier living.  She didn’t live very far North, but the winters could get chilly, and those without homes much preferred the warmer climate- and she didn’t blame them.
    She had been offered many opportunities to leave CC forever, but she’d never had.  She couldn’t  totally say why.  Part of it was her family, and the life she’d led before the Great Destruction.  Part of it was the help she could and had given many refugees in need.  But another part was simply fear.
    She was afraid to leave- because even though she could easily bring all her belongings with her, it would never be the same.
    She knew she should leave and staying was only killing her inch by inch, but she had tried to flee before, right after her parent’s death.  She had learned a brutal lesson that day, it had sent her scurrying back home to safety, never to leave again.  If she left she knew it would be for good- there would be nothing to return to.
    But she was growing restless again.  The jouziningen had not been seen for months and it seemed like a good time as any to make good her escape.  But then the nightmares returned.
    After Son Kun, Yamcha, and Krillin’s death’s she had relived the episode over and over in her dreams.  She often woke screaming, in tears.  Eventually the dreams came less frequently, but as of late they’d returned.  And while they were less painful, they still disturbed and frightened her.  
    She began to build weapons.  She had begun when the androids had first arrived but after everyone had been killed she no longer cared if they came to finish her off as well.  Her anger overrode the apathy after awhile and she continued her work.  She gave her creations away to anyone with the desire to wield them.      Her life was beginning to be fueled by hate, it should have bothered her more.


    He didn’t see them coming.  But he felt the blows they rained upon him.  In seconds they had snapped his left arm like a twig, dislocated his shoulder, broke his collarbone and several ribs, and only a minute after they had begun to attack him, he began to choke on his own blood.  
    His mind was numb with shock and pain.  Each breath was agony, and his surroundings were growing dim.
    “On second thought, he wasn’t much fun.” He dimly heard one of them say.  He felt a foot stomp on his tail and a gasp escaped him before he could stop it.  It proved the final straw and his mind went black.
    

    Pain awoke him.  Pain and soft hands.  He opened his eyes and saw that it was night.  He heard a females voice but he hadn’t the time to learn anything other than English and couldn’t understand what she was saying.   Or perhaps he had suffered brain damage, his head certainly ached enough.  
    “I can only speak English.” he said, his voice hoarse from disuse, but otherwise flawless in pronunciation and near perfect accent.
    “Oh, I speak English.” She said, her accent heavy, but she spoke the language properly and he understood her well.  “I was just expressing my amazement that you’ve woken up.  But I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, I had a friend like you once- he had a tail and healed really fast.”  His eyes widened in surprise.  Had she just described the lost brother of Radditz?  But it didn’t matter.  He’d had one goal on reaching this planet- that goal had not change, it had only been complicated. “I thought I was going to lose you at first- those goddamned androids-“ she began, her cheeks growing pink as rage filled her.  
    “Androids?” he murmured, his brow wrinkled in confusion.  He knew the word- knew what it meant- had himself in fact destroyed many.  But that made it even more confusing that two had the strength to subdue him- hurt him even.  It had never happened before. She began to explain until he shook his head in negation- he knew what they were- he didn’t need anything from her.  Yet she did not leave.  He could almost feel her thoughts- it would be easy if he tried, but at the moment his only desire was to rest, and maybe eat.  The thoughts and information began to filter in anyway, he’d always had the ability to see and speak into other minds and receive their messages in return.  All of his ill-fated race had been equipped with the ability from birth.  
    Sometimes, he was unable to block the thoughts out.  Most were not as sensitive as he was.  Most could refuse to hear anything whenever they chose.  He had tried over the years to block the  vague impressions and outright flashes of burning rage or hate or fear from others.  He was never really successful.  Peoples thoughts had directed his dreams at night sending him to places he’d never been, having him talk to the living and dead he’d never met.  It was maddening at times.
    He lay there, wrapped in pain, tortured by it, and her thoughts began to bombard him.
    She was not afraid of him, he noticed that right away, only terribly lonely.  She had prayed for someone to come and end her isolation, even if that someone was death.  Revenge preyed on her mind for those that had hurt him.  They had slaughtered everyone she’d known and come to care for.  She hated them with a single-mindedness that he recognized in himself.  That he was awake and speaking filled her with joy and relief.  She was as young for her kind as he was for his, and he realized she found him very desirable and attractive even as he tried not to draw in anything more about her.  He would never forgive this intrusion by anyone else.  Yet he couldn’t really stop himself.  He would not admit that he found her blue eyes shockingly beautiful.  Her face flawless and lovely, her skin looked incredibly soft and smooth.  Her blue hair was odd, but he realized he did not find it unsuitable for her.  She was small and luscious with beautifully shaped breasts, hips, arms and legs.  And her cute little behind as she left to get him food, he felt his head swim suddenly.  Exhaustion swept over him as the door shut behind her.  He really was a wreck.  He was stitched and bandaged up.  She had done the best she could, he saw this in her mind.  She had prayed to gods she almost hated for his life.  Thoughts still came to him as she went to get him something to eat.  They would undoubtedly filter into his dreams as well.
    He had to get away as soon as he could, but a part of him already wanted to stay.

    
    He spoke English perfectly, as if he’d been born in America.  But she knew he was not human.  The tail- it was the same as Goku’s.  It was the same as the two men who’d come to take Goku away.
    “Vegeta.” he’d said when she asked him his name.  His eyes were the darkest brown she’d ever seen, they looked black sometimes.  His hair was wild and spiky.  But nothing like the disheveled mane the other one had possessed.  Bruises still peppered his torso, back, arms, and legs, and the lump on the back of his head was still there, though significantly smaller.  He had stopped coughing up blood a few days before he woke.  His tail was still broken, but it seemed to be mending incredibly quickly, as were his left arm, collar bone, and ribs.  
    He frequently moved and talked in his sleep, she’d sworn to the gods she’d heard him say: “Shut up, Bulma.” as he lay, comatose.  But he hadn’t even known her name yet.  He’d been unconscious since she found him.  She’d had to have heard him wrong.  He had to have said something else, but part of her swore he’d said it.  Goku had always had an odd ability to know when she was upset and to know exactly how to comfort her.  It was part of the reason she’d loved him so much.  It was so uncharacteristic of any male she’d ever known- her father included- that she always suspected it was part of what made him different.  Like his insane strength, his tail, the horrifying transformations..  But she loved him for it.  When she had cried he had been so tender with her it nearly broke her heart.  When she was wrong and was stubbornly refusing it, he always knew- but never hurt her when he rebuked her.  He was always loving, always kind.  There were many similarities in his and Vegeta’s appearance- tail not included.  Their muscles were like stone beneath their smooth skin.  Their eyes were that same color, only Goku’s were just a bit warmer and lighter.  They both had those thick, jagged locks that defied gravity, and slightly sharp canines.  Just a little too long and sharp for a human.  Body hair was pale and fine like a child’s.  Both were warm beyond reason, like a furnace burned within them at all times.  
    But she could already sense that all the similarities were physical and ended there.  Vegeta gazed at her as if she were a ghost at first- as if he’d never expected to see her.  She could tell he was in pain, though he was frighteningly good at hiding the fact.  But she had seen it too much over the years to be deceived.  She had an astonishing storage of food still.  Even if he ate as much as Goku she could feed them for at least three months.  He would be fully healed in about two weeks at the most she imagined.  Then they could decide to do from there.  His ship was destroyed there would be no way off the planet for him.  But he was free to leave her as he would like.  The thought filled her with a crushing grief.  She’d only spoken to him for moments, but she knew that if he left her now she would utterly shatter.  She could no longer endure her loneliness.  She would do anything to keep it at bay.  And he was amazingly beautiful to her.  It was easy to imagine clinging to his side forever.  For surely he would not care for her plight or her need. All she would be was a thorn in his side refusing to come free.  
    The first emotion she’d recognized in his eyes was wariness, mistrust, and even fear as the pain gripped him and he realized he was at her mercy.  She hated it.  She didn’t want him to feel that way for her.  She knew her painful need was drawing these conclusions from her and driving this incredible ache inside her to find someone- anyone to cling to.  She knew it.  But she could not more stop it than she could force herself to stop breathing- for surely she would have done so if she could long, long ago.  She had never imagined herself capable of enduring such misery.  She was truly strong.  But her strength was fading.  She needed someone- anyone!  She was all a greedy bundle of want and need and hope and despair.  
    She hated it.  How she despised her weakness.  She could do nothing to change her heart though.  

    He was falling asleep when she returned.  The scent of food roused him further and his stomach began to whine in anticipation.  He devoured everything she set before him and then promptly fell asleep without a word.  It unnerved and saddened her.  

    The next morning she caught him out of bed, wandering through the house, picking up everything he could hold in one hand and inspecting it.  Alarm raced through her and his eyes met hers, his dark, heavy brown uplifted in surprise.  
    “What are you doing out of bed?” she cried and at once his face resumed it’s neutral expression.  
    “You can see what I am doing, can’t you?” he sneered, and she froze.  The unkind tone immediately making her nervous.  And it seemed he instantly realized it for he looked at her again and smirked softly and her tense muscles instantly unwound.  
    “Yes, but your not better yet-“
    ”I’m not dying.” he cut her off.
    “Anymore!” she snapped.  The anger that had sprung onto her face at his stubbornness was quickly subdued.  “I’m sorry-  I just worry.”
    “I know.” he said, and she didn’t dispute it.  Perhaps he did.  She asked him if he was hungry and he nodded, still watching her as if her were unsure of her motives.  In fact her thoughts were becoming increasingly jumbled.  She went to the kitchen to cook and was pleasantly surprised to hear him follow her.  She began their breakfast as he poked the appliances.

    He couldn’t stop looking at her.  She had yet to noticed, but she might eventually.  She often turned to look his way when she felt the heat of his gaze.  He knew suddenly that he had but to ask her anything and she would gladly comply.  His power over her was becoming more apparent as the day progressed and she left his side only out of physical necessity.  He couldn’t help but realize that she was beginning to think on him in an erotic fashion.  The thoughts plagued him.  
    She hadn’t lied when she said he wasn’t completely healthy.  He had nearly been overcome by a nauseating wave of vertigo and had been maneuvered onto the sofa by her soft, gentle hands.  She ran her nimble fingers through his hair as he lay gasping and sweating.  Her fear made him afraid- a reaction which was completely unnerving in itself.  
    Soon he lay quietly, dozing on and off, and she never left his side.  He was oddly comforted by this.  He had never received such attention.  It was utterly foreign and yet he was not averse to it.  And her scent, he had not really noticed it until he was immersed fully in it.  It was wonderful.  It calmed him in a way that should have surprised him, but he was too dizzy and unfocused to dwell on it for long.  He heard her humming softly, perhaps out of boredom.  He wanted to tell her she could go- amuse herself elsewhere.  He didn’t need her.  But when he opened his mouth a contented sigh slipped out instead and he heard her laugh softly in delight.  The fear had left her as he grew more relaxed.  He heard a click and singing voices filled the room along with music.  It was very quiet- so as not to bother him.  She thought him already asleep.  He felt a warm and soft blanket cover him and he sighed again, blissfully.  He had never felt this good, even as he felt weary and sick.  He felt her small hand softly rub his shoulder and back, and run through his violent locks of ebony.  If his tail wasn’t maimed he knew it would be trying to coil around her thigh.  He should have been more bothered by it.  But he could only purr softly in pure enjoyment as she innocently caressed him.  He realized she was gaining power over him as well.  It should have alarmed him - but he didn’t even care.


    His breathing had evened out, he was definitely asleep.  She felt she might drop off as well, but she was getting too cold for that.  The day had been warm.  Wonderfully warm and inviting after the painfully cold winter.  She had the West-facing windows open and she watched the sun set as the breeze gently blew the curtains about.  It had been a beautiful day.  The colors of the sky were a bright, yet subdued orange, yellow, and blue.  The wind was growing cold.  She rose from her spot on the sofa and closed the window and turned off the music.  She listened to his soft, even breathing for awhile.  She could definitely get used to having him around.  He was quiet, a little more than she liked, but just his mere presence was helping immensely.  He was aware of everything.  His almond shaped eyes were constantly moving around the room.  She could tell he hated being subjected to his care though he never said anything or appeared unduly distressed.  In fact he had a curiously passive expression.  As if the goings-on of the day-to-day world were beneath his notice.  And maybe it was.  She knew nothing about him.  He could have been a prince or a pauper where he came from.  She knew nothing.  But somehow, his bearing told her that it wasn’t likely that he belonged to the lower classes.  He knew English, and he had to have learned it before he came or on the way somehow.  And he spoke it perfectly!  No, he had to have a well-rounded education to absorb a language that quickly and completely.  She wished he was awake suddenly, she wanted to speak to him so badly.  But every time she opened her mouth he would shoot a look at her that she was beginning to interpret as: “Not right now.”  Every time she opened her mouth it seemed he was giving her that look.  
    She decided to try and draw him out of his shell a little more when he woke, anyway.  She turned on the tv and set the volume low.
                

    He woke feeling more tired than when he’d gone to sleep and knew she had given him more of the drugs that made the pain fade away.  She sat beside him, completely asleep.  He shook his head as he sat up.  He stretched, enjoying the feeling immensely.  He caught wisps of fragments of her dreams.  It didn’t make any sense.  He tried to block it and was successful.  It was a relief.  The drugs had the additional effect of rendering him dreamless- or at least he couldn’t remember a thing when he woke.  And that was fine with him- they were nothing but a surreal parade of his fears, and of course there were the dreams made from the thoughts of others.  
    She moaned softly, drawing his attention back to her.  The sound sent a chill up his spine.  He wanted suddenly to hear her moan in pleasure.  The thought made him frown and study her closely.  She was gorgeous.  He knew it.  He couldn’t lie about it to himself or anyone.  He knew she craved his touch, even had he been able to fully block her thoughts he would have known.  But the damn drugs! They made him tired and uncoordinated.  He could hurt her like that very easily.  It would be a poor way to repay her kindness.
    He gently touched the side of her face and she woke immediately, her eyes suddenly bleary and confused.
    “You should lie down.” he murmured softly, he watched her as she stretched and yawned.  She nodded and did just that, her legs sliding against his thigh as she stretched out and claimed his spot.  She yawned again and seemed to be falling right back asleep.  She shivered a little and he covered her with the blanket she’d given him earlier.  
    He stood and wondered what he might do.  It was growing late.  The sky outside was black, the room was only dimly lit.  His legs weren’t broken.  He wanted to walk outside.
    He opened the glass sliding door in the dining room and shivered as a blast of cold air hit him.  He hated the cold.  He absolutely loathed it.  He had no desire to go out in the cold, but he still ached to do something- anything.  His eyes went back to the girl lying on the sofa.  It was true he was a very selfish person by his own standards, but he couldn’t wake her just to amuse himself.. Could he?  He could find something to do while she slept, couldn’t he?
    He ate first.  He searched the rest of the house afterwards.  He  found books, but was disgusted that he couldn’t read Japanese.  He flipped through the few with pictures- her mother had loved photography.  He saw a lot of interesting and even beautiful people and places.  It made him curious about the world he found himself in.  He found two history books written in English.  The histories of the Western and Eastern civilizations.  He smiled faintly.  He was bored and unable to do as he pleased.  It would distract him until he needed to eat, or sleep, or the girl woke again.  He took them back to the living room.
    
    
    For three hours he read, absorbing human’s prehistory.  It was almost as violent as his own culture in some instances.  He was very amused.  He could not imagine the girl trying to hurt even a tiny insect.  But it didn’t mean the other human’s were like her.    
    Then his head began to throb and he put the book away.  He returned to the living room to see her still sleeping.  He wondered how much sleep she required.  He sat opposite her on the other sofa, sinking into the soft cushions.  A nap would make his head stop hurting.

    He was asleep sitting opposite her when she woke.  The position didn’t look very comfortable, with his head resting on his shoulder.  His cheeks were pink thought he was uncovered by blankets and the room was slightly chilled when she lifted her blanket off.  She murmured his name and his eyes wearily slid open.  She pressed her hand to his forehead and he winced, trying to draw away further into the soft cushions.  When she asked how he felt he said he was fine.  She scowled and badgered him until he admitted his head hurt so bad he was seeing double of her.  She immediately began to fuss over him, forcing him to lie down properly and covering him with the blanket that she had slept under all night.  She turned on the tv for him and he stopped her from turning the volume up any more than it already was.  He was lying there with his eyes closed, then rolled onto his side and burrowed into the blankets more.  She went to make some tea and soup.
    
    He woke about an hour later, his eyes squinted as if the dim light from the over-cast sky was hurting them.  He groaned and covered his face and she assumed his head still hurt.  She brought soup to him.
    “Are you feeling better at all?” she asked, her expression one of concern.  
    “Yes.” he snapped, his eyes still shut.
    “Your lying.” she said.  “Let me give you something for the pain.”
    “No!” he said, his voice softer.  “I don’t need it, I don’t want it.”  She shook her head, she couldn’t understand it.  “I’ve been in a lot more pain that this, I’ll be fine!”  She still was not understanding.  
    “But if you can stop hurting sooner why wouldn’t you?” he sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.  
    “It’s making me sick!” he sighed.  “I don’t want anymore.” his face was sullen, and he was surprised to feel shock coming from her.  They were supposed to help him, not hurt him, but she began to apologize profusely, swearing up and down she had only meant to help.  And she meant it.  He felt himself relaxing.  Suddenly her whole body gave a start and he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye.  She had an idea.  But what it was he wasn’t sure, he only saw a field full of flowers in her mind.  He frowned at his lack of control and again forced her thoughts away.
    “I’ll be back in an hour or so.  Will you be alright until then?”  
    “Of course.” he muttered, annoyed with himself and the pain which was moving to his broken bones as well.  She hurriedly ran upstairs and returned moments later with a few small capsules.
    “Bye, Vegeta!” she said with a sweet smile that left him breathless.  He watched her walk out the door and then snuggled into the blanket that smelled like her.

    An hour passed and she did not return.  He did not worry about it.  He was in too much pain to really care about anything.  Then he noticed that three hours had passed and he thought back through the slowly fading haze that the drugs had slapped over his most recent memories.  She had been gone too long, her scent was fading from the room which for some odd reason made him anxious.  He staggered to his feet and made his way to the window, each step jarring his shoulder and arm painfully.  He had not had such trouble the night before but then he remembered he refused the drugs she’d tried to give him.  The pain-killers.  He cursed his pride for a moment.  He didn’t see her anywhere outside.  He frowned and made his way to the door.  Shockingly warm air hit him and he smiled before he could stop himself.  It was such a relief after the cold he had felt the night before.  He scanned the lawn and the surrounding area.  He saw ruins in the distance.  She hadn’t gone there, had she?  He had to find her, and quickly, he realized with a growing sense of alarm.  He closed his eyes and began to search for her.  She was close, very close indeed.  And she was hurt.  Terribly hurt.  Her mind was in chaos, her thoughts echoed his most painful moments.
    I want to die.. She was thinking.  He followed her agony like a beacon in the night.  She was still on the grounds.  He saw a small building on the edge of the property partially hidden by ragged trees and dense undergrowth.
    She was within.  Lying on a blood-stained mattress.  He felt his heart constrict painfully.  He felt the world tilt back and forth.  The poor, beautiful girl had been beaten, that much was obvious.  He selfishly  didn’t want to know what else had happened, but it was painfully clear as he drew closer and saw her ripped panties lying on the floor.  And the blood on the sheet had flown from between her legs and from tiny tears all over her creamy flesh.  Bruises covered her.  Gods who had done this? He would kill them!  He felt his chest heaving for air, he had to calm down.  She was barely conscious, but she had heard him.  She thought he was one of the men who had hurt her and tried to pretend she was asleep.  
    “Why did I let you leave?” he gasped before he could stop himself.  She tensed and began to cry softly.  She couldn’t bear for him to see her like this, he knew it as if she’d said it aloud.  But how could she think he could leave her here?  He was shocked at the pain filling him at the sight of her small, battered body.  But he couldn’t make it go away.  He had to help her as she had helped him.  And he had to find those who’d done it and kill them.  He  scanned her mind furiously, before she blocked their faces from memory.  Three of them, mad and brutal as he could be.  He suddenly hated himself as their viciousness mirrored his actions many times in his life.  For a moment he didn’t want to touch her, afraid she would know just by his touch that he was no better than those who had hurt her so badly.  She was shivering and crying, she was bleeding still, and she hurt terribly.  He had to do something.
    “Bulma.” it was the first time he’d said her name, and she responded.  She lifted her head, and a black eye greeted him, his heart clenched again.  “Come on.  He lifted her easily with his unbroken arm and she wrapped her arms and legs around him.  She buried her face into his neck and he could feel her hot tears rolling down his skin and her small body quaking with her sobs.  He carried her inside, glad he’d left the door wide open, and up into her room as she directed him.  He went into her bathroom and set her on the toilet and began to fill the tub with warm water.  
    She tried to stand on her own power and climb into the tub, but her knees buckled before she even reached full height.  He stopped her descent easily and pulled her upright by her elbow.  She dared to look at him and noticed he was pale and sweating.  She had gone to help him.. Now he was struggling to help her.  She began to cry again, and to apologize to him.  He was bewildered by this.  If anything he felt he owed her apologies, for allowing this to come to pass.  
    “Just get in.  I’m fine.” he argued.  She nodded obediently and climbed into the warm, bubbly water, and removed the rest of her torn clothing.  He slid down the wall, not looking at her, trying to slow his breathing.  The pain was growing more intense.  
    
    She didn’t know why it didn’t bother her that he was in the bathroom with her while she sat in the tub soaking the blood and dirt away.  Possibly it was because he had found her and helped her just as she had done for him.  Maybe it was because she’d recognized fear and guilt in his voice when he’d found her and she wanted to obey him completely if only to assure him she would be alright in time. It was probably because as soon as he’d helped her in the tub he had turned away and nearly collapsed to the floor and was now panting for breath.  
    She couldn’t afford to wallow in misery any more.  He needed to get back to bed.  He needed to rest.  And so did she.  But she couldn’t relax until she knew he would be ok.  She knew he was suffering.  She was hurting too.  She just wanted to get back to their large, over-stuffed couches and sleep the day away.  She climbed to her feet, legs shaking wildly.  Where had her strength gone?  Her body was nothing but pain in each step, but nothing was broken.  Vegeta suddenly gasped and trembled.  She dried off and wrapped a towel tightly around her.
    “Vegeta, can you get up?” she whispered softly as she knelt next to him.  He sat up with a gasp, his eyes snapping open.  He gazed at her in confusion, his eyes bright and cheeks unnaturally flushed.  She reached out to feel his temperature and he recoiled.  “Your head, still.”
    “Everything!” he blurted before he could stop himself.  
    “You have to get up.  At least walk to the bed, I can’t carry you, please.” he heard the desperation creeping into her voice.  He knew she wasn’t lying. She was too hurt to even try to help him to his feet.  He struggled up and stumbled out the door.  She led him to her bed and forced him to sit.  He tried to protest, but she shook her head.  “You need to rest and so do I.  And I know I will be too afraid to sleep without you close by.” the last part she said very quietly as if she hadn’t meant for him to hear, but he had and it silenced any further protests.  He awkwardly fell onto the impoosibly soft bed and was asleep within moments.  Bulma smiled weakly before tears again blurred her vision.  She hastily dressed in her softest night clothes and crawled into bed beside him.


TBC...               

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