Uncertainties and Revelations
The second he saw her silhouette, he sprinted from the window and ran out the back door into the gardens where he wouldn't be able to see her. Despite his recent streak of rebelliousness, he was still uncertain about what to do with her. He could push her away or get to know her, and let her know him. As he slowed to a stop in front of the fountain, he knew seeing her would not make his decision easier.
He stared at his reflection in the water, tormented by how he looked exactly the same no matter how many years passed. The same onyx eyes, widow's peak, flame of upswept charcoal black hair, defined chin, and no signs of aging whatsoever.
He was tired of being by himself. Tired of having only animals as his company. Tired of leaving things to his imagination to take the pang off the edge of his loneliness. But was that exhaustion enough to make him forfeit his secrecy? What if she was cruel? Told others of him? He wasn't willing to branch himself that far, but how would he ever know if he didn't try?
Apparently, just not looking at her wasn't enough. He voice carried over the stone wall easily. "Hello? I know you're in there," she called. "I want to talk to you! Come on out already! I'm not going to do anything bad, I swear!" Her voice was sweet to his ears. If music were candy.
He clutched his temples as if to stop himself from thinking about it. He was lonely, lonely, lonely. Isolated. Without human companionship and had been for over a century. His father, mother, and brother all gone. Taken from him by fate's black heart.
He cracked his eyes open, and as he gazed at his reflection one last time, his mind was made up.
Bulma huffed with frustration. She knew he was here, and she was dying of curiosity. She tried again. "Seriously! Just let me see you at least!"
"You should go home." She jumped at the deep masculine voice and looked up to find its owner crouched on a branch of the cherry tree.
Side-stepping the suggestion, she watched him from below. "Hi. You remember me don't you? From last night? My name's Bulma."
"I remember you," he stated. That was the name. That was the name he couldn't find in the hours he tried. That was the name that fit her. He hadn't moved an inch yet. Truth be told, he was nervous. This was the first conversation he'd had in who knew how many years.
She shifted somewhat awkwardly. "Well, who're you?"
"I have trouble remembering sometimes." Those lapses.
Most people just told her their name. "Uh…Well…Do you know your name then?"
"Vegeta." The same. She knew it was impossible, but she knew it was him. It was the same person in the portrait. There was no mistaking it. They were identical.
Pushing aside the many questions her mind was screaming at her to ask, she moved forward. "Can I come in?" He silently contemplated this. He'd already let himself be seen; why not? He leapt from the branch, and for a moment, she thought he'd simply left. She was about to start cursing her brashness when a hand made its presence known in front of her face.
He was crouched on the brick wall adjacent to the gate. His arm was extended, wordlessly telling her to grab on.
As she stared at the calloused hand, she couldn't help but feel that it was a big decision. If she took his hand, it would set something in motion. Something big. It would alter her future forever.
And she was right.
Still gripping her clutch, she took the offered appendage, and felt herself being effortlessly lifted. He showed no strain or discomfort. Before she knew it, she was on the other side. She gasped with delight at the sight of the hidden grounds. Blooming, free flowers were everywhere. Ivy crawled up the sides of the mansion. There was a fountain nearby, and the sound of small chattering animals could be heard.
Bulma was never one to be flamboyant or embellish.
But it was enchanting.
She looked at Vegeta without hesitation.
"Would you like a chocolate bar?"
"Where…Where…where oh where could you be?" He sang. The ground was lightly blanketed with loose fog. Crunching footsteps were barely audible. The headstones were visible under the moonlight.
"How taxing…You're not easy to find, you pest. Where are you?" The being shifted, eyes of red scanning the graves. He grinned. "There you are! Finally!" The man snickered to himself with his high-pitched screeching voice. He raised his arms over his head, holding the blade. He swung down hard and the stone was cut clean in two.
He snickered some more and grinned again over his shoulder. "Well, Zarbon, Dodoria? Aren't you going to get to it?" It was a threat, not a question.
They started digging.
He'd had chocolate before, but never had it been given to him wrapped in a metallic like and crinkly paper. When she pulled it out and handed it to him, he was confused. This brightly colored thing was not chocolate. So she laughed lightly and opened it up, asking how he'd never seen it before.
He didn't answer.
Then the questions came.
"So, you live here?"
"Does anybody else?"
"Do you have a girlfriend?"
"A what?" He stared at her with confusion. True, he'd never consciously left the grounds, but he had no idea there were new terms. He'd expected jargon to change with each generation, but what in Kami's name was a girlfriend? A friend of the opposite sex? But her tone implied that it was more intimate. A wife, maybe? Hadn't he told her already that he live alone?
She looked surprised. "You don't know what a girlfriend is?" He shook his head. She tapped her chin in thought. "How do I explain this…? Oh! A girlfriend is sort of like the person you're courting if you a guy. A couple that isn't married is called boyfriend and girlfriend."
He nodded slowly.
"So I take it you don't have one?" He shook his head again.
It had been so long since he'd actually had a conversation. It was hard.
"What's today's technology like?" he asked. He couldn't help it. He was a curious person. She looked surprised again. He figured he would see that expression on her often if he kept it up.
"What do you mean? Like, what's been invented recently?"
"Within the last 100 years or so."
Her brows furrowed. "How old are you again?"
He froze. Here it came. He sighed, knowing she would figure it out sooner or later. He may not have been around people for a long time, but he knew lying never made things easier in the end from the novels in his library. It was best to get all of the hard truths out of the way at the initial introductions anyway, so he could see her real reaction instead a fake one if she got to know him for a while first.
So, he took a deep breath.
He rushed to explain himself, though with calm. She couldn't think he was insane. She would go for help and he would be locked in an asylum. Surely they still had facilities for the mentally unhealthy? "I don't know why, really. I've been keeping track though. I was born 203 years ago on October 2nd."
Her head tilted slightly. She reached into her pocket and he tensed. She pulled out a strange device that was rectangular and green. It flipped open and she pressed several brightly lit squares that made beeping noises at her touch. She held it up to him…
And he found himself staring at the family he'd lost so long ago. His expression softened, his heart wrenching so that he didn't bother considering how this thing held that picture.
Bulma watched him as she showed him the portrait. She didn't know how, but this was the same man in the picture. He hadn't aged a day.
"That's you, isn't it?"
"…How did you get that?" He whispered.
She took her phone back and flipped it shut. "When I saw you in the window, I did some research, and found the portrait in the city's archives. What…if you don't mind my asking, that is… What happened?"
That simple question. She saw flashes of pain, grief, exhaustion, confusion…but most of all, she saw longing. He just wanted someone to be around him.
He opened his mouth to speak, but closed it again. How was he supposed to explain it? How was he supposed to tell her of over a century of pain? How could he even revisit old memories without breaking down?
And you know what?
He had no idea.
Bulma watched him struggle. She'd seen the reports, and knew what happened to his family, and by the looks of his reaction, they were fairly accurate. She frowned. He was traumatized.
"Hey," she said softly, resting a hand on his muscular bicep. "It's okay. You don't have to answer me right now if you don't want to." He nodded. He wasn't ready to share everything yet, and that was okay.
So, they talked about other things. She told him about cars, the economy, culture, air travel, who the world leader was, medicine, art, books, politics, architecture, manufacturing, communication, computers, phones, and anything else she could think to tell him, or that he asked about.
Vegeta was in awe. He'd never imagined things would progress so rapidly. She told him of the wars that had been fought, diseases cured, treaties made, and anything else he could ask about. What grabbed his attention were things like the Industrial Revolution and World War II. India had gained freedom from England, Africa was in a state of terrible poverty, China was one of the world's manufacturing leaders… So much had happened.
"Is there equality concerning civil rights yet?"
"You mean women and people of different race?" He nodded. "By law, yeah. Although, there is still discrimination offered by individuals, pretty much everyone's equal, at least in this country. But there is that whole, women are actually paid less than men, homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to get married, and other things like that. It stupid how immature people can be. We're all human."
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him smile lightly. Little did she know it was the first time he'd really smiled out of happiness in many years. "I always had wondered why women weren't allowed to vote and such… I'm glad though. I know my father married my mother because she had a backbone, and freely disagreed with him on certain matters. He respected her for it." She grinned at the treasured piece of information she'd gotten from him. He was happy women were equal, and she learned something about his family.
They talked for hours. He didn't have much to offer, but so much had happened within the last few decades that there were limitless topics to cover. Soon the sun began to set, and Bulma began to yawn.
"You should go home." She nodded, and stretched her arms over her head. She didn't want to leave. She liked being around this mystery man. She liked sitting in the middle of the garden, surrounded on all sides by wildly grown flowers. But alas, she hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and it was catching up to her.
"Would you walk me there?" He shook his head. "Why not?"
Vegeta looked to the gate. "I can't leave."
"But yesterday, when I found you…"
He shook his head again. There was another big secret he would have to give away. Still, he'd read enough books to know what happened when one of the main characters kept something like that under wraps from someone. It never ended well, and he'd rather avoid the complication.
He looked at his hands, his eyes tracing over the odd anchor like scar burned into his palm. He sighed. Bulma watched him curiously.
"I…I can't leave for some reason. It's just that I think something bad will happen if I do. But…I black out, and when I wake up, I'm always lying on the road. And I'm always covered in blood. I don't know."
Her eyes widened. Instantly her mind went to the newspapers, the grisly murders, and his cold stare with teal eyes the night before. But he didn't know.
His story was far-fetched, even she could tell that much. She believed him though. He was too sincere. Lying seemed beneath him. He wasn't crazy. He was a lonely child that had been abandoned at the playground and left to wonder why.
He was sad.
He was happy she'd come.
He liked that chocolate bar.
And he needed a hug.
When he felt her slender arms around his neck, something inside of him tore away, and melded back into place with no cracks. When was the last time he'd been offered support and comfort? He couldn't remember.
He didn't realize he'd hugged her back until he felt a warm wetness on his cheek. His face held no expression, yet silent tears rolled. She felt them on her shirt.
"It'll be okay." Her voice did not waver or shake. She smiled as she said this.
"I thought I'd forgotten how to cry," he whispered nearly in awe.
"It would be sad if you really had."
"Why is that?"
"Sometimes, it's just better to let things go. Otherwise, they scar on the inside trying to get out."
"I think I feel relief."
She yawned as she saved her notes and shut down her laptop. Checking her watch, she got up and started tying her shoes.
It had been almost another two weeks since she'd met Vegeta. In that time, she'd learned that he was unlikely to freely express himself the way he did on the first day ever again. She'd brought him books, little gadgets, and anything else she thought he would enjoy learning about whenever she went over, which was at noon everyday so that they could eat lunch and talk.
It amazed her how quickly he went through the books she brought him. He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, much like her own. He seemed to like the work of H. P. Lovecraft, Joseph Campbell, and Mark Twain.
As an inventor she would present her prototypes, and he loved watching her explain her new ideas and trying to put them together in the gardens. She got a lot from bouncing ideas at him. It helped her sort her thoughts.
He ate a ridiculous amount.
He trained by running and swimming and such.
He was immortal.
Bulma loved him.
It was not the same fantasy crush she'd had on Yamcha at one point. No. This was so much deeper. It had only been a short amount of week but she knew. There was no doubt.
Which was why she was working. And working. And working. He didn't want to go on the way he had been. No. She wanted him to experience real life. Not a permanent hell. So she spent hours in her lab. Studying. Mixing. Experimenting.
She would help him. Then he would be happy. Then she could be happy too. They could be happy together.
But not forever.
Forever was not something she knew he looked forward to.
He plunged the knife into his abdomen, the young man's flame-haired silhouette doubling over with shock and pain. His eyes were wide, and he couldn't breathe.
Frieza Cold smirked cruelly above him.
The shorter male kicked him to the floor that was soon smeared with Vegeta's blood. He chuckled. 20 years old, he lay at the man's feet. His parents and younger brother were out at a party. He was alone with his father's believed business partner.
He wasn't supposed to be.
As his vision faded in and out, he registered his arm being lifted tenderly, and the crisp white sleeve being rolled up to his forearm.
Frieza pulled a syringe from his coat pocket.
It was glowing.
"Do you know what this is?" he asked sweetly. He licked his lips. Thunder shook the sky. "No? Well, let me tell you, Vegeta Ouji. Have you ever heard of the dragon balls? No again? They are magical orbs with the power to grant any wish. When all of them are collected, the mystical dragon, Shenron, will appear. Far-fetched, isn't it? I don't think so. For reasons that I don't want to waste time explaining to you, I could not have my wish granted." He leaned down, and put his lips to the bleeding man's ear. "Do you know what my wish was, Prince?" he whispered.
How dare he call him that. Only his family could use that beloved nickname.
"I wanted immortality." He backed away slightly, and inserted the needle into his arm. He did not push on the plunge. "The dragon could not give it to me. But, then I thought, "The dragon lives forever!" Within this is the crushed essence of the dragon balls. You're my experiment. Should you suffer no ill effects, I will take my own dosage. Be happy, sweet Vegeta. You will live forever. Never age. Witness the deaths and rebirths of the world." He started to inject the serum. Vegeta howled as the powerful substance began pumping through him. "Be happy."
After that day, though he did not remember it happened, Vegeta was not happy.
He was not happy when he found his mother beaten to death.
He was not happy when his father hanged himself.
And he was not happy when he found his brother stapled to the shed.
He was not happy again.
Until a certain blue-haired woman with a spit fire attitude and craving for knowledge came along.
A/N: Okay. Wow. You guys seem to like this more than The Sea Girl. I'm glad, since I have to agree. Don't worry, next chap for that one is almost done.
Plug Time: If you like yaoi, you may want to check out my friend, Wilted Passion's story, Locks and Keys. She told me she's about to update! Good character development and stuff.