Disclaimer: Yeah, I don't own Dragonball Z.

Chapter 1

Ah me, me, me, me is all you say that I care about
Me, me, me, me is all I ever want to talk about
Me, me, me, me is what you think that I care about
Me, me, me, me is all I really want to talk about

An explosion was heard across the Capsule Corporation compound in West City. This being a commonplace sound at this location, no one within hearing range so much as blinked or turned their heads. Except one blue-haired scientist.

She was in her laboratory, so she knew the blast did not originate there. Her eyes widened in fear and she jumped out of her chair, running out of her lab as fast as her legs could carry her. 'If that monkey blew up the gravity chamber again and nearly killed himself, I'll finish the job this time!' she thought to herself as she opened the back door of the compound and ran out to see what damage a certain saiyan prince had caused.

She sighed in relief when she saw that the spaceship Vegeta was using for his training was still intact. However, there was smoke seeping out of the broken windows. Forgetting what she had said as she left the building, she hastened her steps and punched in the emergency override code and opened the door to make sure the saiyan was not injured (too badly).

"Woman! I have told you not to interrupt my training!" an angry voice was heard from the dark depths of the chamber.

"My name, your highness, is Bulma. B-U-L-M-A. And besides, what training can you do when you just broke the gravity console again?" she shouted back. Bulma was beginning to wonder why she had ever invited this arrogant man to come and stay at Capsule Corp. Sure, he was one of their best chances of victory over the androids, but that was irrelevant. He was driving her crazy.

Vegeta rolled his eyes. As if he cared what the blue-haired woman wanted to be called. She always answered to "woman" anyway. Yet, she was right. The gravity machine was broken after that last explosion and he would need her to fix it so he could resume training. He growled, making a shiver run down Bulma's spine. She hated when he did that, it made him sound like a feral animal. She couldn't help but think that's what he really was.

"Get out of here so I can fix it," she ordered him, trying to hide the slight tremor in her voice. Honestly, she was afraid of him. He was so dangerous and unpredictable.

The prince emerged from the chamber shortly after that, tail twitching angrily behind him as he fixed an icy glare on the intruding woman. He smirked when she turned her eyes away from him and tentatively stepped in. He decided that he would take a break while she was fixing the blasted machine. After all, he was a saiyan, so of course he was hungry. Vegeta walked into the compound to find the blonde woman so he could order her to make him lunch.

Bulma watched him go and shook her head, partially from relief, but also aggravation. She flipped on the back-up power and the lights came on. Finally able to see where she was going, she walked to the center of the room and kneeled on the floor to open the compartment where she had taken to storing her tools. She was in there often enough it had become a pain to have to drag them out with her every time Vegeta broke something. Sighing, she got to work.

Vegeta walked through a myriad halls, calling for the ditzy woman who cooked for him. Finally, as he was passing large double doors that he had never been in before, he heard a muffled, yet bubbly, voice answer, "In here, sweetie!" He growled slightly, hating the nickname given to him by that crazy woman, then opened the doors and walked in.

The blonde was holding a watering can as she made her rounds in the indoor garden. The sun was shining brightly through the sunroof and he could hear - and smell – many animals roaming around. 'What is this place?' he wondered as he crossed his arms and approached the singing woman. Her off-key yodels made his ears almost bleed, but he cringed and ignored the pain.

"Woman, I require nourishment," he spat through clenched teeth. If the food she provided wasn't so damn good, he probably would have blasted her on the spot. The blue-haired woman was annoying, but this one took the word to a whole new level.

"Oh, of course, honey! You've been training so hard all morning, I'll go make you a big lunch right now," she babbled as she dropped the watering can and ran for the doors. One thing that he did like about her was how she literally would drop everything and run to obey him.

Vegeta smirked and turned to survey the room. He could hear a small waterfall somewhere in the midst of the vegetation. It was like a rainforest in the middle of the building. The air was thicker, hot and humid. His tight shorts clung to his body even closer as sweat started to form on his body. He didn't mind the heat. Actually, he thoroughly enjoyed it. Saiyans were accustomed to hot climates, though more arid than this place.

Curiosity stirred in his mind as he wondered why this room was even here. He knew there were many animals around, but none had shown themselves yet. Perhaps they were hiding from him. He doubted that. 'The scent of the animals is wild. Most likely there are barriers of some sort to keep them from being able to hurt the humans,' he reasoned.

His tail unwrapped itself from his waist as he poised himself to jump into the tree nearest him. He wanted to explore while no one else was present. He shot one last look over his shoulder to make sure he was alone before he leapt onto a high branch, using his tail for balance. From his new vantage point, he was able to see a dinosaur roaming through the trees. His sudden appearance scared several birds from their perches. He smiled and inhaled deeply.

"Stupid thing, work!" Bulma screamed at the gravity console. She kicked it hard and it sprang to life. She smirked. "Score: Bulma 1, gravity room, 0." Seeing that her work was complete, Bulma put her tools away and wiped her greasy hands on a dirty rag.

She walked down the ramp of the spaceship and was greeted by the fresh scent of her mother's meticulously kept garden nearby. She hadn't even realized just how putrid the air in the chamber was, filled with the smell of old sweat and blood. 'Guess I've gotten used to it after being in there so many times.'

"I should probably tell his royal highness that he can get back to training," she told no one in particular, sarcasm dripping from her every word. Bulma walked back into the compound and headed for the kitchen, which was the most likely place for the surly prince to be.

When she opened the door, she found only her mother there, busily preparing several courses at once. Bulma rolled her eyes, still unable to comprehend why her mother would work so hard for someone who would never appreciate what she did. She stopped and chuckled to herself. 'Aren't I exactly the same? I go out of my way all the time to help his training.'

Hearing her daughter's laugh, Mrs. Brief turned and her ever-present smile widened. "Oh, honey, you're just in time to help me make Vegeta's lunch. He's always working so hard, you know, we can't let him go hungry!"

Bulma groaned at her mother's incessant praise of the man she wished she had never met. She could be so clueless sometimes. And anyway, she hated cooking. So, she tried to worm her way out of it. "Where is Vegeta, Mom?"

"I'm not sure, dear, but the last time I saw him he was in the indoor garden. Maybe he decided to stay in there and wait for his lunch. Why don't you go get him?" Mrs. Brief chirped, serving a massive helping of lo mein onto a platter.

"Alright, I'll be right back," Bulma mumbled as she turned and went to the garden. She thought it unlikely that Vegeta would still be there. He seemed to hate anything purely aesthetic, which is pretty much what that room was. Still, she knew how fond of that room Goku was, so maybe it was a saiyan thing. They did seem to thrive in hotter temperatures. Reaching the double doors, she pushed them open and walked in, but she didn't see anyone there. "Vegeta! Are you in here?" she called out.

There was a moment of silence before a voice shouted back, "What do you want, Woman?"

Bulma was startled and jumped a little. She had not honestly thought that he would be in there anymore. She shrugged and tried again, "Your lunch is almost ready, so get your butt in the kitchen." She scanned the room to see where he was, but he was hidden from her view completely.

Vegeta, far on the other side of the garden, was lying on the floor. He really didn't want to move. "Bring it here."

"What?" she asked, shocked. He not only had the nerve to demand that they cater to him, but also he wanted to eat his lunch in here? Why?

"I said, bring it here, Woman. Are you too stupid to understand such a simple command?" Though his words were angry, his tone was not. Bulma couldn't help but notice that he sounded different than usual. Relaxed.

Silently fuming, she turned on her heels and slammed the doors closed behind her. It wasn't until she was back in the kitchen that she realized she had entirely forgotten to tell him that the gravity chamber was ready for him to train again. She shrugged and turned to her mother. "The royal pain in the neck wants us to serve his lunch to him in the garden," she grumbled.

"What a lovely idea! He wants a little picnic in the garden, isn't that cute?" Mrs. Brief giggled and finished plating up the food she had just finished cooking. "Bulma, go find the cart I use for parties so we can take the food to him."

Bulma nodded and left the room in search of the catering cart.

Ten minutes later Mrs. Brief was pushing the cart piled high with food through the doors with Bulma following closely. "Vegeta, honey, your food is here!" she called out in her sing-song voice. Bulma grinded her teeth at the ear-piercing sound. Across the room, Vegeta did the same.

"Fine. You can leave now, Woman," they heard him yell from wherever he was. He leapt into the tree branches again and jumped and swung from tree to tree, his tail flying about erratically trying to find balance. He saw the edge of the forest and jumped to one last branch, latching onto it and swinging around it once before launched himself into a graceful backflip before he landed in a crouch and stood up.

Vegeta sniffed the air and his stomach growled impatiently in response. It was then he noticed that he was not alone. Bulma stood there somewhat awestruck. She hadn't even heard him coming through the trees, and before she knew it he was standing right there at the edge of the small forest.

What surprised her the most, though, was the fact that he had a stowaway that didn't seem to bother him at all. A chipmunk was clinging to his leg, absolutely terrified by the journey through the trees. She couldn't stifle her giggle when she thought how adorable that was. At the soft sound, Vegeta's head jerked in her direction and his face returned to its usual scowl.

"I thought I told you to leave," he snarled.

"No, you told my mother to leave, not me," she retorted. Bulma wasn't even sure why she was still here. She hated being anywhere near him, yet she had wondered why he had stayed in the garden instead of following her mother to the kitchen where he usually waited for his food.

"Hn." Vegeta decided to ignore her and walked over to the cart of food. He carefully placed all the plates of food around him in a circle on the floor and then sat down.

She mentally shrugged and leaned against the wall, waiting for him to finish his meal. She knew that talking to a saiyan who was eating was like talking to a rock. Neither bothered replying to a word she said.

Finally finished with his food, Vegeta seemed to just now notice the small creature attached to his leg. He pinched the scruff of its neck and pulled it off so he could hold it up to eye level. Bulma gasped, afraid that he was going to hurt it. She was shocked when she saw him grab a scrap of food and feed it to the chipmunk who seemed unaware of the danger it was in.

He then set the animal down on the ground and with a short grunt, motioned towards the trees. The chipmunk looked up at him full of trust and then scurried towards the forest.

"Animals listen to you?" Bulma blurted before she could stop herself.

Vegeta looked at her in annoyance, having forgotten that she was in the room with him. "Hn," was his only reply.

Shaking her head in irritation, Bulma planted her hands on her hips and glared down at the saiyan prince. "Whatever, anyway, the gravity chamber is fixed so you can go train."

Before she had finished turning a soft response reached her ears: "Not today."

Bulma nearly fell over from the shock. Vegeta was refusing to continue training for the whole day? Was he sick? Did he have a serious injury he was hiding? She looked back at Vegeta, who was now standing in the midst of dirty plates. "Why?" she whispered, unable to get her voice to work.

She noticed his shoulders and back tensed slightly before he replied, as if he didn't really want to answer but was resigned to the fact that she wouldn't leave him alone if he didn't. "I am content to be here," he grumbled. With that, he turned and leapt back into the trees, disappearing from view.

After watching him go, Bulma began to pick up the dirty dishes and pile them back onto the cart. She was too stunned by what she had just seen and heard to even complain about the chore left for her. As she was pushing the cart back to the kitchen, she started thinking about his interaction with the little chipmunk. 'He acted as if he was caring for it. But why would he do that? Vegeta doesn't care about anything but power. He said he was content there. That's something I never thought I'd hear. Vegeta, content. Nothing's ever good enough for him.' She smirked to herself. 'All he cares about is himself. He's a self-absorbed, conceited, arrogant jerk that expects us all to put him on a pedestal and serve him. And for some reason we do.'

Hours later, Vegeta jerked awake as he heard loud footsteps approaching, cracking twigs and rustling fallen leaves in their path. He growled softly. Whoever was trying to sneak up on him wasn't very good at it; they had obviously never learned the concept of stealth. Slowly, he moved into a crouching position, ready to pounce on the one foolish enough to try hunting him down.

The room was dark now, the sun having set nearly an hour ago. The only light in the room came from the stars above. Though the light was dim, Vegeta could see clearly. He sniffed the air and snarled. What was he doing here?

When he emerged into the small clearing where Vegeta was, he was immediately floored as a huge weight crashed into his chest.

"What are you doing here, Kakarrot?" Vegeta hissed as his scowl returned to his face.

"I came by to see how your training is going. I was thinking maybe we could have a spar to test our strength. Bulma said you were resting, so I decided to wait for you to wake up, but then dinner was ready and Mrs. Brief said I should stay but they won't let me eat until you come, so I came to get you," Goku answered, his words starting to run together at the end. When he finished explaining himself he rubbed the back of his head and grinned at the older saiyan as he got back on his feet.

Vegeta snorted. What a typical response from that low class clown. "Very well. We will eat and then spar if it will get you out of my hair."

"Great!" Goku barely noticed the incident and turned around to run back through the woods. Vegeta watched him take off and jumped into the branches, smirking as he moved above the other saiyan. He dropped to the ground in front of Goku, who nearly plowed into him.

"Whoa, Vegeta, how did you get here before me?" he asked, scratching his head.

"Nevermind that," Vegeta spat before walking out of the garden. He was getting hungry even though he had spent the day resting instead of training. When he reached the kitchen he sat in his usual place at the table and began piling food onto his plate. His hosts may have waited for him before starting, but he never gave them the same respect. He didn't figure he owed it to them. He was a prince, after all, so it was their duty to serve him.

Goku had followed right behind and sat across the table from the prince and started grabbing food and hastily shoving it in his mouth. Acting as if nothing were out of the ordinary, the three humans served themselves and chatted about the events of the day. Neither saiyan was really paying any attention, frantically trying to claim their food before the other was able to grab it away.

"Kakarrot! That is on my plate, it is mine," Vegeta growled. The not-so-sneaky hand quickly retracted from his plate and dove for another helping of rice. Goku grinned guiltily and hid his face behind a stack of dirty plates.

Mrs. Brief giggled. "Goku, there's plenty of food here for everyone, don't worry."

"Thanks, Mrs. Brief," he mumbled between mouthfuls of food.

Bulma watched the two saiyans eat in fascination. Their speed was incredible. She wasn't sure how they could eat that fast without choking. She also noted the difference in their eating style. While both ate inhuman amounts of food, Vegeta did so without making the slightest mess. Every bit of food he put in his mouth stayed there. No food slopped onto the table or on his clothes, and there wasn't any food to be found on his face. 'He eats like a prince,' she decided, 'even though he eats a lot, and fast, he does it with grace.' Turning to Goku, she couldn't say the same. He used his hands as much as the eating utensils, food flew out of his mouth as he chewed, and the area surrounding him was a mess. She sighed and looked away in disgust. She actually preferred something about Vegeta over Goku. That revelation surprised her.

Long after the Briefs had finished, the two saiyans sat back in their chairs and rubbed their bellies contentedly. "Wow, Mrs. Brief, that was delicious!" Goku exclaimed. Vegeta just grunted.

Mrs. Brief smiled and started clearing the dirty plates away. "Why thank you, Goku."

Bulma started stacking the dishes and carrying them to the sink where her mother was busily washing them. Then a thought struck her. "Hey, Goku, can you talk to animals?" she asked, turning to face him.

Goku looked at her in confusion. "Talk to animals? No, why?"

"Oh. I just thought it was a saiyan thing because Vegeta can do it," she answered, rubbing her chin as she thought.

At the sound of his name, Vegeta listened in on the conversation. "Foolish woman, I do not talk to animals," he informed her.

"What do you mean? They listen to you, don't they?"

"I communicate with them in a way all animals can understand. I can command them to do as I want and they understand it and do it."

This caught the interest of Dr. Brief. Able to communicate with animals? Interesting. "How are you able to communicate with them, Vegeta?"

The saiyan shrugged. "It's something instinctual. Saiyans are basically sentient animals. It makes sense that we are able to do so." The tone of his voice clearly said that he was quickly growing tired of this topic of conversation.

Goku looked even more confused. "But Vegeta, I can't do that with animals."

"You can communicate on some level, Kakarrot. Few saiyans were actually able to control animals as I can. It is probably because I am somewhat…" he trailed off as he tried to think of the words he wanted. The others waited expectantly. He sighed. "My animal side is stronger than that of the average saiyan."

The others nodded in understanding even though they really had no idea what he meant by that. Choosing to end the conversation before more questions could arise, Vegeta stood from the table and looked at Goku. "Let's spar."

Goku jumped out of his seat and followed Vegeta out of the compound. The prince chose not to use the gravity chamber since it was so small. Without a word he took off into the sky. He and Goku arrived at an uninhabited area a few minutes later and landed.

The two saiyans faced each other and simultaneously flew towards one another, starting another all-out saiyan brawl.

A/N: This is the beginning of an epic long story that only took me four months to write! I'm still in the process of revising it, so chapters will be posted in regular intervals (hopefully). This is AU where Vegeta still has his tail because him losing it in DBZ was possibly the saddest thing ever. I've tried to keep the characters mostly in character, but let's face it, that's not always possible, so don't hate me when they're a little OOC. Usually it doesn't last too long. Also, you will find I'm trying to create bits and pieces of saiyan culture since it was never really explained aside from them being warriors. I apologize in advance if you don't like it.

Anyway, I know this isn't the best chapter I've written. I promise later chapters get better! As always, please leave me reviews and let me know what you think.

Song: "Louis XIV" by Louis XIV