"I hate you." Raditz growled, his frizzed tail lashing around behind him like an angry cat's. He was angry that Vegeta had been the one to soothe Launch's concerns when it could, and should have been him.
"Hate is a strong word. But, I can't blame you after all, she did seem…flattered." Vegeta said once finishing his beverages, wiping his mouth with the back of his arm.
"I'll kill you." Raditz snarled, shattering his glass.
"Let's go back to the woods and you can 'kill' me there." Vegeta sneered, and Raditz nodded, more than willing to have a sparring match.
Raditz began the fight with gusto, aggressively punching Vegeta with all he had. There was a small satisfaction in hearing each smack of his fists impacting on Vegeta's chest and face. Raditz tossed his fist at Vegeta's cheek and watched as the other warrior's face remained stoic, never moving a centimeter even as his knuckles dug in and ground against bone, Raditz only came away with an aching fist that he clutched to his chest and rubbed with the other hand.
"What do you call those hits, Raditz? They feel like insect bites." Vegeta snickered, wiping the sweat from his brow.
"I- I suppose I'm out of practice." Raditz fumbled, blood rushing to his face in embarrassment.
"Have you really grown that weak and lazy in these past few weeks?" Vegeta sneered, hoping to provoke him. He knew Raditz had fight left in him, regardless of his power level. If he wanted to hurt him badly enough, he could do it. There was no question about it, when angry enough a Saiyan could potentially grow twice as strong just from sheer rage alone.
I'm like a flightless bird. If a Saiyan isn't strong, what is he? Raditz thought before feeling heat strike him in the abdomen, startling him and sending him hurtling back a few feet.
Once he realized he couldn't get him to budge backward, Raditz had given up, letting Vegeta beat him senseless. Vegeta grew tired of Raditz's lack of reaction and grew more forceful, using ki blasts and vicious kicks. Raditz attempted to fend off the attacks, but he only felt more pain when he blocked Vegeta's attacks, more shame upon realizing his own fingers were threatening to snap under their intensity, and he was afraid of that. When he fought Tien, he hadn't been afraid of being hurt. Maybe it was because he was fighting for something, for Launch.
If I don't have her, what do I have left to live for?
Pain seared throughout his body; physically and mentally, Raditz was suffering. The heat of Vegeta's blasts burned through his shirt and scalded his skin. He closed his eyes and let his mind go blank as he rocketed through the sky and his back hit a tree. Orange flashed through his vision, then flickered to black as Raditz endured a brutal fall to the ground, snapping off branches in his wake. He landed hard on the ground in a crumpled heap, aware that his body was aching. The pain hit him but he allowed it – savored it, even. Raditz opened his eyes a crack and let the breath leave him slowly as he felt the heat of blood leaking down his face then down his neck.
A moment later, he heard the snapping of twigs, then saw Vegeta's sneakers by his face. He closed his eyes and hoped that Vegeta would think he was knocked out, but before that could happen, Raditz was thinking about the farthest thing from sleep. Something tickled his nose and made the cilia tingle with joy upon taking in its favorite scent, his mouth watering and blood rushing through his body faster.
Raditz opened his eyes and gasped when he saw what it was that was causing his heated reaction. An easily recognizable red ribbon, with creases in the fabric from being used as a hair band. It was slightly damp from her dabbing the perspiration from her chest awhile ago and the scent drove his senses mad. Just the scent of his mate's sweat provoked both lustful feelings and his predator instinct all at once; he both wanted to wrestle and mate with Launch at the same time, to overcome her in battle then reclaim her body and mind once again.
The red flashing before his eyes had the same effect as waving a flag at a raging bull and Vegeta knew this as he snatched it away before Raditz could grab it, stuffing it back in his pocket with a wry grin.
"Where. Did. You. Get. That." Raditz spat with vicious malcontent, standing to face Vegeta, rejuvenated by a new wave of anger.
"Why are you so fired up? It's not as if she gave it to me as a lover's memento." Vegeta sneered. Raditz's body shook with rage, images of Launch with the despicable Prince flooding his mind and making his vision tunnel until all he saw was red.
"Why don't we play a little 'capture the flag' Raditz? If you can get it out of my pocket, you can have it." Vegeta offered, playing with the tip of the hair ribbon. Raditz gave a scarce nod before barreling directly at him, Vegeta taking off laughing at his fellow Saiyan's foolish thirst for his mate's worthless garment.
Pathetic… You'd never catch me looking so desperate for some weak little woman. He thought, the idea of Bulma being stolen away and bearing another man's child suddenly flashing through his mind. The thought disgusted him, and he shook it away as he sped up to get Raditz off his tail. Perhaps I can't really blame him for how he's acting. Vegeta decided, then smirked as he felt the heat of a ki blast rocketing towards his back.
"Thank you for lunch, darling. I'll be off to the lab now." Dr. Briefs said, pushing in his chair and placing a fresh cigarette on his lip. He had cut down on smoking, at least in the house while their expecting guest was around.
"I'll see you later, dear.'' Bunny responded with a kiss on his cheek, then the Doctor gave Bulma and Launch a nod and took off back to his laboratory with Scratch on his shoulder. Launch smiled as she rested her chin in her hands, feeling more relaxed now after her earlier excursion. Who knew that Vegeta would be so good at giving advice? The thought reminded her that the Saiyan had been missing since their afternoon tea, and Bulma didn't seem too happy about his absence.
"Vegeta's still not back, huh?" She murmured, noticing how Bulma's face spelled out her frustration with the statement.
"I just don't get it. Why would he miss lunch?" Bulma muttered as she pushed around the macaroni salad on her plate, having picked away at half her food; being too distracted by Vegeta being missing to finish it, or work on the blueprints for his new exercise equipment. "Perhaps he ate someplace else? Oh, I hope he isn't tired of my cooking!" she exclaimed, pausing her scrubbing at a dish.
"I don't think it's that. He's up to something." Bulma said with conviction, standing up so quickly her chair nearly toppled over.
"Do you think… maybe he's with Raditz?" Launch questioned, looking down at the table sadly as she broached the subject of the missing Saiyan once again.
"You know what they say, birds of a feather flock together!" Bunny chirped, waving one soapy finger as she dispensed her wisdom.
"That's a very convenient phrase, mom." Bulma hummed, "Sort of like, Monkey see, monkey do." She smirked, pushing her chair back into the table and sauntering down to her lab with a sure step. Launch stood as well and picked up their dishes, cleaning them off quickly into the trash before handing them to Bunny. She had the hunch that Bulma was onto something, and she decided she'd like to see the genius at work with her own eyes.
"Thanks for lunch, Bunny! I'll talk to you later!" She chirped, taking off in the direction Bulma went.
Gnats buzzed around Vegeta's head as he grumbled, swatting them away. He hated being out here in the middle of nowhere, in the sweltering heat with no annoying old woman bringing him lemonade and cookies every thirty minutes. Vegeta honestly missed the old broad and her spastic daughter just a bit, considering where he was now.
"What on Earth are you doing, Raditz?!" Vegeta growled, tapping his foot.
"I'm looking for a calabash sapling, I told you that. We could find them faster if you'd only pay attention to where you're walking! You've crushed three of them now!" Raditz hissed back angrily, clenching his fists.
Vegeta grumbled, finding Raditz's plan of action sheer foolishness.
"What does it matter if you have these inconsequential trees? What about the more important things? You still require proper food storage, bedding, fixtures and amenities. This search will prove fruitless." He sighed, Raditz turning to look at him seriously now.
"But how? I have no Earth tender." He frowned. Vegeta paused to consider his issue, thinking.
"Well…The Briefs have just about everything you need. Do you know how many rooms- fully furnished mind you- are in that house that they don't even use?"
Raditz considered his suggestion with great uncertainty, thinking of how kind the Briefs had been to take in Launch, and so very generous to Vegeta.
"I don't know… stealing? Maybe I could find an Earthing occupation?" He mused, crossing his arms.
"You're kidding, right? What would a meathead like you even do? I should take over this entire operation, because if I don't, it'll never happen!"
"No. This isn't your responsibility, Vegeta. But…" Raditz chuckled, a devious look coming over his face.
"What?" Vegeta snapped, growing more irritable by the second.
"Perhaps if you did a few favors for me, this could all be done sooner rather than later. And, maybe I should find an occupation in the meantime."
"Favors?! What's in this for me?" Vegeta asked incredulously, practically steaming from the ears. Raditz placed his burly arm around him and sighed, patting the smaller Saiyan on the shoulder.
"Isn't my gratitude enough? Oh, and I could get you in Bulma's good graces as well."
"W-who said I needed assistance from you with that - that impossible woman?!"
Raditz smirked, looking down at the smaller Saiyan with a knowing glance.
"You didn't have to tell me, I just know." Vegeta grumbled and peeled Raditz's arm off his shoulders, brushing off the raw areas and wincing as his hand grazed them. During his sparring with Raditz, the game of 'capture the ribbon' they played had gotten quite intense in Raditz's mission to get her hair ribbon– which was now tucked safely away in his pocket. The large Saiyan had let his primal side overwhelm his senses and had gone into a rage, his punches and ki blasts throwing Vegeta through multiple trees, then chasing him down as he skidded across the forest floor before pouncing on him like a puma.
Raditz sighed and bent down to examine a few new saplings by tenderly inspecting their leaves, quite unlike how those gargantuan paws had manhandled Vegeta before.
"Perhaps you should start by going home and having her bandage those wounds…" He mused, reminiscing about how his romance with Launch had begun with her nursing him back to health.
"Do I look like a helpless weaking to you, Raditz?" Vegeta snapped angrily, clenching his fists as fresh blood ran down his bicep in a trickle.
"You seem to forget who calls the shots between us, third class. I am no coward. I will not bend to her whims like you would have me, emasculated and primped!"
Raditz shook his head and picked the sapling he wanted, walking back to his camp wordlessly. Vegeta kicked the dirt with an angry huff, then followed after Raditz silently, tendrils of his intense aura making the sweat evaporate from him as steam.
Launch tiptoed around Bulma's lab, being careful not to bump into any of the tables with tottering beakers, or damage any delicate items. She'd gotten a bit lost on her way here, not realizing the size of the lab, nor the labyrinthine path she would have to take to find Bulma.
"Whoops!" She blurted out sheepishly; in Launch's effort to be extra careful, she bumped her shoulder against a rickety bookshelf, knocking over a large, open book and causing a dust cloud to erupt from the ancient pages. "Ah-choo!" she sneezed, her blue hair quickly flashing to blonde. She then took in her surroundings and remembered her reason for being in the dusty lab, and thought to use her half Saiyan olfaction to sniff out the elusive scientist within.
It was by the sound of a wrench turning and Bulma's strawberry breeze scent that she found her, hunched over a desk with a small item magnified under a large glass lamp which made it easier for her to see the intricate systems inside the tiny device she was tinkering with.
"Bulma…?" Launch whispered, worried she would startle her and accidentally cause her to break something.
"Launch! You're just in time." She grinned, having finished screwing in the last micro bolt on a tiny object with tweezers. Launch could only compare it to the size of a tick, with tiny legs included to complete the illusion.
"Gross! Is that what I think it is?"
Bulma chuckled, letting the tiny object walk on her finger. It crawled exactly like a real bug would, and would drill painlessly into the skin and latch on with a corkscrew appendage. "Don't worry, It's just a clever imitation of a tick, Launch. These were originally made as an alternative method to track the Dragon Balls by riding on the backs of squirrels. I decided that method was too unreliable. So, instead of tracking Dragon Balls, these babies will be tracking devices for Saiyans."
"What?! You gotta be kidding me!" Launch looked surprised by her statement, pausing to watch as the robo-tick hopped off Bulma's finger and made a buzzing sound.
"See, it can tell that I'm not a Saiyan!" She exclaimed, clearly proud of her little project. "And, I've modified the dragon radar to keep track of these ticks just like it did with the dragon balls!" she explained as she fished it out of her pocket to watch the green arrow recalibrate and point towards Launch. She looked up and grinned just as the other girl began itching and fidgeting around, while the tick crawled around on her body searching for a warm area to latch onto.
"Get it offa me! Bulmaaa!" Launch squealed, hurriedly scratching her back and attempting to shake it out of her gold, curly locks. Bulma attempted to stifle her laughter as she pushed a button on the radar, quickly making the tick hop off of Launch's back and back onto Bulma's proffered finger.
"There's just one issue with your little plan! Won't the guys just crush them once they start itching?"
Bulma giggled, pressing another button on the modified radar, which made the tick on her finger relax and lay down.
"Stealth mode! In stealth mode, the ticks will remain still. Plus, they're so tiny, I doubt they'll even notice!"
Launch had to admit, Bulma's idea was certainly intriguing. She sneered and felt less uncertain about the robo-tick's capabilities. "Ok, I'm picking up what you're puttin' down. It's worth a shot at least! Now, just how are we gonna do this?"
Now it was Bulma's turn to grin as she giggled impishly, she had already thought of that. "I have a plan. And Vegeta won't know a thing."
Vegeta crossed his arms and huffed as he watched Raditz plant the last of his pointless saplings in the dirt, patting it lovingly. His scowl deepened the longer he watched the pathetic show, and the thought of destroying the plants Raditz was coddling came to mind.
He sighed wearily and rubbed his tired eyes, images of Bulma coming to mind. He was successful at shaking them off before by fighting Raditz but now they just appeared whenever he wasn't expecting it. A vague sense of wonder about her whereabouts entered his thoughts and he attempted to quash it, his foot landing on the fragile little plant that Raditz had just finished planting as he did.
A growl came from Raditz that Vegeta hadn't predicted, his eyes widening in reaction to Raditz's tone with his superior.
"How dare you growl at me, cur!" Vegeta spat, but Raditz didn't seem like he felt like engaging in idle chatter.
The larger saiyan stood and his features tightened with anger, his aura radiating out in waves that pricked Vegeta's skin and caused his blood to rise and fall as if with the tides of the ocean. Vegeta removed his foot by dragging it in the dirt, shredding the plant furthermore as he bore his teeth; showing he wasn't afraid of Raditz.
Suddenly, Raditz was upon him and Vegeta was flung across the forest by Raditz's vigor and weight, landing hard against a tree and feeling the bark shatter into spikes that stabbed into his back. The pain rendered him immobile momentarily as Raditz backed away and waited for Vegeta to recover. When he didn't, Raditz grabbed him by the front of his shirt and brought him up close to his face to glare at him.
"Don't you ever insult me that way again, Vegeta. You may have nothing you treasure, nothing that you've ever had to work for to earn, but I do." He snarled, his fingers tightening on Vegeta's shirt until it was constricting around his body.
Vegeta sneered and spat the blood that was pooling in his mouth onto Raditz's face, snickering as he watched Raditz's reaction to the rude gesture. Raditz wiped his face with one hand angrily and let go of Vegeta, turning his back on him. The two Saiyans stood there in silence for a moment until Raditz had cleaned his face and regained his dignity, turning his cheek slightly to Vegeta, which still had some mess left on it. The Prince scoffed, but he wouldn't leave on this note.
"I too have much that I desire, I am a proud Saiyan, I'm not afraid to claim it if I so wish to. You however, are nothing but a runt hiding his head in the sand while your treasured mate waits for you to show your cowardly face to her!"
The words Vegeta spoke settled in the air and he left them with Raditz, taking flight. Before Vegeta was out of sight, Raditz flew up and faced him, halting his flight away. He removed the red band from his arm and offered it to Vegeta.
"Give this to Launch as a memento of mine. Tell her that I haven't forgotten about us, and that I'm working to fix things now as we speak. Thank you for helping me see my fault, Vegeta. As much as we bicker back and forth, I see you as my true friend."
Vegeta took the arm band and nodded, tucking it in his pocket.
"And… that if she so wishes, she may open up the link with me, for mine is always open. But…I.. I won't push it."
Vegeta moved closer to Raditz and slapped him across the cheek, but the slap didn't seem to have the same impact as his blows from before. Raditz recovered quickly and looked at him in question, stroking his cheek. Vegeta flung the blood and spit off his hand in disgust, and Raditz smiled upon seeing that the 'slap' was Vegeta's unaffectionate way of apologizing for spitting on his face. Grooming– a very Saiyan action that effectively mended any bonds they had broken.
"Don't belittle yourself, Raditz. Don't you see that the girl doesn't want to be the one to make the choice? A Saiyan doesn't back down when he is bested, and your only opponent now is yourself! Tien is long gone; he cannot claim what you have taken as your right. I will not tell her to open her link to you, but the rest I will divulge. With time, she will realize that she also fears herself, and she will let go of this foolish resistance. I hope you're ready, Raditz, because Launch will be before you know it– and if you miss that opening, you lose your opportunity."
Raditz nodded solemnly, his gaze baleful.
"I know…I don't want to lose that chance, either. I'll follow you, I have business on the grounds as well."
Vegeta narrowed his eyes and ascertained Raditz must be talking about what they discussed before, and grunted in agreement. The two took off, marking the sunset blushed sky with white trails in their wake.
Mrs. Briefs was outside watering her roses when she heard a strange sound and looked up to the sky, and dropped her watering can in surprise. "Oh! What on Earth was that?" She questioned with her hands on her hips, before her blissful expression revealed her pleasant surprise.
"Hmm… Birds of a feather do flock together…" Bunny giggled as she watched the two Saiyans streak across the sky and land on the Capsule Corps lawn before parting ways. She finished up her watering, humming to herself with her curvy hips wiggling to the happy tune.
Finished with their conspiracy in the laboratory, Launch parted ways with Bulma, both girls feeling a sensation of excitement in her veins for the potential success of their experiment. Bulma remained in the lab working on another project while Launch was picking out her nightwear for the evening, her blonde curls covering her face as she bent down to peruse her options. She found a cozy tee shirt and loose shorts to wear, and headed to her bathroom to take a shower with a pep in her step. She undressed and removed the gaudy orange bandana from around her neck, rubbing the skin there with a grunt of satisfaction.
"Stupid thing. I ain't no chicken like Blue, I'll just go to bed without it." She muttered to herself as she pulled open the shower curtain and stepped inside.
When Raditz arrived at Capsule Corps, his feet dropped to the dirt at the same time as his heart fell in his stomach. He could sense Launch even from out in the yard, and it made his blood thrum throughout his body excitedly. His Saiyan company didn't stay long to try and give him any more words of encouragement; Vegeta was dealing with an internal dilemma of his own.
Raditz took a deep breath of the balmy air and closed his eyes, directing his attention to the energy of Dr. Briefs. He sensed the little blip of ki without the assistance of a scouter - Bulma's father was outside having a cigarette break not too far from him. With that, he also subconsciously reached out to Launch, and found she wasn't far away at all.
He could sense both her ki and the miniscule ki of the infant inside of her, along with her scent. A pleasant aroma was crawling towards him from an open window, steamy with hot shower mist. Raditz tried his best to hold back the temptation to sneak a peek through the window at his mate; Launch surely wouldn't like that, not to mention he had to have better self control than that! Raditz shook his head and flew towards Dr. Briefs' ki signature instead. He had business with him that could not wait.
Dr. Briefs looked at the cat on his shoulder. And Scratch at him in confirmation of their suspicions. Raditz had returned, and was coming over to talk with him. He looked rather worse for wear, with blood oozing from many cuts, along with bruises and caked on dirt that surely wasn't aiding the healing process. He tutted and stepped up to meet with the Saiyan, reaching up and taking hold of his chin to turn his face this way and that, attempting to study the scrapes on his face.
"Dr. Briefs, I–" Raditz stuttered, blinking as the strange old man patted his cheek then waved him along with one hand, as if he should follow after him.
"Come on, then! We'll get you fixed up, Radish." He announced with a puff of smoke.
"I have a question to ask, err," Raditz bumbled before gagging on said smoke.
"All in due time. First, to the med wing with you, boy-o!"
Raditz went to reply, then simply closed his mouth and nodded in compliance. He did need some looking after it seemed, and once Dr. Briefs was satisfied with his care, he could ask him the question.
Soon, Raditz was stepping out of a refreshing hot shower, though fresh wounds still leaked blood down his body, at least now they weren't caked in mud and dried blood. He wrapped a towel around his waist and inspected the odd 'robe' garment a nurse had given him. Once he put it on, it was so small it fit him like a vest. Frustrated, Raditz tossed it and sat on the small bed.
The nurse walked back in with Dr. Briefs, and began preparing the items she needed to aid Raditz. The purple haired scientist took the stool beside the bed and pulled out a newspaper, casually reading. The Saiyan looked at Dr. Briefs in confusion, then remembered that he said to ask any questions until afterwards. Until then, he'd have to sit still and be bandaged.
Bulma was quietly sitting at her desk while looking over the schematics for a new invention that she hoped would help Vegeta in his training. Beside the diagram sat a small model of the machine, made of polymer clay and wire. It wasn't functional, it was simply a visual aid to help her map out the dimensions of the chamber that she was hoping would alter the gravity to improve the effects of Vegeta's workouts.
Humming, she drummed the pen on the table and found her mind drifting off from her project.
Meanwhile, Vegeta had cracked open the door to her laboratory and was looking inside, almost in an annoyed fashion as if he was hoping she would get up and do something interesting. He watched her rap her pen on the desk incessantly, and sighed heavily, deciding he would need to capture her attention someway. Clearing his throat, he approached her and got a better look at what she was doing.
The tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood up when she felt a hot breath behind her and dropped her pen instantly. Tingles crawled along her back and made her shudder as her ears strained to hear whatever it was in the lab with her. She could hear nothing at all, just the ticking of the clock as the dark shadow in her peripheral inches slowly closer. Bulma held her breath as she clutched the pen she was holding as her only weapon and whirled around to face the mysterious foe.
"Hah! Got you!" She proclaimed with success as she brought the tip of the pen down onto a hard, unmoving object. It was only when she saw what she had attacked did she finally breathe to gasp in horror.
"Vegeta! Why were you creeping around my lab at night like that? I could have killed you!"
A snort followed her statement as he took her wrist and pulled her dull weapon away, which had actually broken upon impact. His shoulder was untouched, but he still brushed it off as if she had dirtied it somehow.
"I simply came here to be sure you weren't dozing off on your blueprints and smearing all the ink with your drool." He sneered, an almost playful light in his eye. Bulma shook her head and walked back over to the table, sitting down.
"Well, in that case, you'll be pleased that they're all intact." She snapped, turning her face away from him. I don't drool in my sleep, and if I did, how would HE know that anyway?
"According to you."
She turned her face to see Vegeta leaning down to get a better look at her drawings, one tanned hand flat on the table.
"Hn. What's this…?" He asked, more to himself as his dark eyes scanned over the blueprint and model ship with a light of intrigue.
"I didn't take you for an engineer, Vegeta." Bulma stated, watching his eyes roll with the comment.
"That ranking was below me, obviously. Yet, I've seen enough alien and human engineering to know that this is something unique. You haven't forgotten that I need new exercise equipment, have you?" He grumbled, backing away and crossing his arms over his chest. Bulma spun around in her chair and huffed, getting up so that she could be on his level.
"For your information, this does have to do with your exercise regime! It was supposed to be a surprise, but–"
"I'd like to avoid any of your 'surprises', if possible." He growled, recalling a few pranks she'd pulled in the past.
"Vegeta! Did you come in here just to annoy me? I was in the middle of something!"
For once, Vegeta didn't have a snarky reply to fire back at her. He averted his eyes to something on the wall, the tips of his cheekbones and ears turning an odd rosy shade.
"Tch!" He grunted, his tail moving around his back and snapping in midair to show his embarrassment, making a whooshing sound.
"I simply…think you have done enough work for the night. You require much more sleep than I, and since you're making this workout equipment, I want you rested and alert." He explained, looking back at her now, feeling more assured of himself. She didn't know that his real reasons for coming down here were in thanks to his brawl with Raditz today, where he'd realized that keeping Bulma in suspense wasn't doing him any favors if he wanted to keep her interest in him.
Bulma stared at Vegeta for what felt like days, examining his body language and his choice of words. As her eyes explored his body, she noticed the mud, specks of dirt and blood covering him, and shook her head while clicking her tongue.
"You say this, and yet, look at yourself. How can you expect to be in top form in your condition? You come to me once again, beaten and bloody, ordering me around?"
Vegeta's brow rose in a curious fashion as Bulma's voice began to rise in volume, and she approached him while gesturing towards his wounded and filthy body.
"My Kami, look at the mud you tracked through here! You need to take a shower and get to the med wing Vegeta, then we can talk about my work schedule!" She huffed, but it wasn't all out of anger. There was concern in her tone as she placed her hands around his arm and began walking him there.
"What do you do all day in the woods, anyways? Fight bears and wolves? My mom made you lunch and dinner, but you never showed up! Plus," She ranted, yet Vegeta held his tongue and let her blow off steam as they made their way across Capsule Corps.
Now that Raditz's wounds were mended and his concerns attended to with Dr. Briefs, he stood up to return home and instead was startled by seeing Vegeta be almost shoved into the examination room he was in. Bulma didn't stay long enough to spot him, the clacking of her heels going down the hall echoing as Vegeta turned to look at him and Dr. Briefs.
"Well, I suppose you need medical attention as well?" The older man prompted as Raditz covered his face with one hand. Vegeta said nothing, his eyes slowly moving from Raditz, to Dr. Briefs, then finally to a shell shocked looking nurse with blood covering the front of her smock.
"Just leave." He growled at the frightened woman, then glared at her until she hurried out of the room.
"Yes. Your daughter's demands." Vegeta clipped. Raditz got up and hovered by the door, peering out to be sure Bulma wasn't still nosing around. Satisfied that Vegeta had bathed, she returned to her room to get changed into something more comfortable. The jagged scrapes on his arms from being thrown into trees by Raditz were still bleeding, and now that he wore nothing but a pair of black shorts and sneakers, all the wounds could be found much easier.
With the nurse frightened away, this left the care up to Dr. Briefs. He sighed, rubbing his tired eyes as he readied himself to bandage up the bloody Saiyan. "Why don't you head out, Dr. Briefs. I can help Vegeta." Raditz said, patting the small human on the shoulder even though the black cat sitting there sniffed his hand and raised one paw as if to swat him.
"Are you certain, Raditz? I may not be a medical doctor, but I know my way around a wound. It's not the first time Vegeta's been here with me."
"I'm sure. I've fixed him up before myself many times."
"...Alright then. I'll leave you to it… Though, there's just one thing I find very telling."
The two Saiyans looked his way quickly, gulping.
"You both have wounds that look to have occurred around the same time. Not to mention, if your Saiyan restitution is as powerful as you suggest, then it would be impossible for anything other than another Saiyan or something stronger to cause such wounds." He mused, patting Scratch on the head as the cat licked its paw.
Vegeta and Raditz both were silent, glancing at each other, then back at him. Though they were both silent, their unique alien anatomy reminded the doctor of something very familiar he knew lots about– a cat's tail.
"By the way the ends of your tails are flicking, I'd say that I'm onto something. You may as well just come out with it now, boys."
Raditz opened his mouth to speak, yet nothing came out. Vegeta shook his head in response, and gave the doctor the response he was sure he had already hypothesized. "Training."
"Training, you say? Raditz was just asking for a job in my laboratory… Well, that's none of my business, I suppose. Carry on."
"Wait! Please, don't tell Launch I asked, would you?" Raditz pleaded, and Dr. Briefs shrugged his shoulders while lighting up a cigarette. "Mum's the word."
Once he had left the room, Raditz turned to Vegeta and began eyeing him up, wondering how many bandages he would need to stop the Prince's bleeding.
"Well, that's a relief." Raditz sighed, and wet a washcloth with warm water to begin cleaning up the fresh blood.
"We'll see how good that old codger is at keeping a secret. At least he doesn't know about the plan."
Raditz nodded, coming closer to his fellow Saiyan and wiping away the blood. Vegeta clenched his jaw and allowed Raditz to tend to his wounds, now dabbing at the raw skin with a cotton swab coated in ointment.
"I'll begin working at night here soon. For now, perhaps we should ease up on the training and focus more on other things. We don't want them to become suspicious."
Though Vegeta growled with irritation, he supposed Raditz had a point. Plus, Bulma seemed unhappy with their current schedule. He had to be more creative, if that meant appeasing her by showing up for each meal clean as a whistle than he supposed he could do that.
"Fine. Once you find out your schedule, we begin working in shifts. It's nonsense, but if this project is as important as you insist, you'll do it how I say."
Raditz nodded in his compliance while gingerly wrapping Vegeta's arm with a bandage; he was grateful for the Prince's assistance and would take it anyway he could get it.
"At least we should have a few days of rest until then. Once I know the schedule, we can begin."
"Hmph." Vegeta grunted, gritting his teeth to hide his discomfort as Raditz bandaged his injuries. It was annoying to have to wait, but perhaps that gave him a chance to fix things with Bulma.
Though Launch was ready for bed, she couldn't seem to fall asleep. A strange, tickling movement in her tummy made it more difficult to rest, not to mention her constant trips back and forth to the bathroom to either empty her bladder or wonder if she was about to throw up. Angry, she threw a pillow at the wall and screamed in frustration.
Now that she was too awake to lay down, she got up and headed to the kitchen for a little snack, hoping it would help. She was craving strange combinations of food, and was wondering if they had any ice cream to eat that would go well with pickles. Her mouth watered as if she were Master Roshi drooling over a hot babe, and she wiped it with the back of her arm. Being half saiyan didn't help her hunger at all, but the bonus was at least she could eat all she wanted and not get fat from it.
With that fact in mind, she wandered into the kitchen. When Launch opened the freezer, she was greeted by a large tub of peanut butter cup ice cream. The drool returned to her mouth and she grabbed it, a spoon and an entire jar of whole dill pickles, a devilish grin on her face as she took off to go eat it somewhere private, somewhere nobody could see her indulging in the strange pregnancy cravings that the seventh week had brought about. It had been 49 days with no Raditz, a fact that she wanted to bury deep, and numb all her feelings by way of cold ice cream.
Bulma sighed as she painted the last of her toes a lacquered red shade, wondering why she was sprucing up something as silly as her toes just to put them back inside a pair of shoes. Ever since she dropped Vegeta off at the medical wing, she felt restless. Something was off about him tonight, she couldn't be sure what, but she had a hunch that Vegeta hadn't come into the lab just to annoy her tonight.
Screwing the top back on the polish, she admired her toes before looking at the clock. She recalled the way he had crept into the room, and she had heard nothing but the clock. I wonder what he would have done if I didn't stop him? She thought with a sigh, lifting up her wine glass of courage and taking a sip. Vegeta had been somewhat antsy when he was confronted, and that wasn't like him at all. Did he have something he wanted to say to me? She suddenly realized, and covered her mouth with one hand. Maybe he wanted to apologize for the way he's been acting lately, is that something he would even do?
Bulma didn't have time to answer the question at mind, when a knock on her door made her almost spill her wine. Incapacitated by her wet fingernails and toes, she bit her bottom lip and wondered what to do.
"Who is it?" She asked, gulping.
"It's Vegeta. Let me in."
Frozen in place by her surprise, Bulma took another large swallow of wine and replied. "Come in, I've been expecting you."