AU/Yaoi fic. Hope you enjoy. Review if you want. Criticize if you must, but do so out of the need to correct, not hurt.
Remember that I own nothing at all.
Vegeta's Point of View:
I watched from a small window. This was my secret window. There is a small recessed window with a seat beneath it tucked away in an unused part of Capsule Corp. This is my place. My private place where I could drop my mask. A place that I could breathe for a second. There was no judgment here. No grudges. No suspicion. That was all outside. I watched the gathering from my window as they frolicked happily in the pool or sat eating Bulma's catered barbecue lunch. My eyes went to Kakarot as he cannonballed into the pool. There were smiles and cheers. It grew hard to breathe again. My heart throbbed as I watched the happy gathering and I shivered from the chill that ran through me. I would never feel that type of warmth. Outside nobody missed my presence and that included my own family.
I wasn't born for a life like the Earthlings had with kindness and gentle touches. I gasped softly as I reigned in my emotions again. Father has told me that all Vegetas were destined to die alone. That was how our line had always been. We lived until we were no longer needed. That was all. I watched as the woman left the party and soon I heard my name being shrieked from afar. I shook myself and rose to answer her call with my mask of indifference firmly placed on my face. It wouldn't be much longer.
"Where have you been?" Bulma snapped at me irritably, "I have spent hours arranging this party and the least you can do is show up for a change! At least you are wearing the new swim trunks and t-shirt that I bought you. Trunks and Goten came all the way from college for the party, so don't ruin it for them. Come on already."
I said nothing and she spun around to march outside. Another chill ran through me before I followed Bulma outside and watched as she and Chichi began to chatter happily together. I raised my head haughtily and went and took a seat as most of Kakarot's friends frowned over at me. Nice to see all of you too. Not like I helped that Clown save this planet just as much as you did, but who's counting right?
"Vegeta!" Kakarot crowed as he hurried over with a plate of ribs and plopped down at the table beside me, "Where have you been?"
"Hn," I snorted as I leaned away from his dripping person, "Not here. Stop dripping on me you idiot."
The Clown actually giggled at me as he tore into his ribs. I scowled and looked away. He was disgusting. My son looked at me in contempt from afar with a look of "can't you ever be nice" on his face. I averted my eyes as again it grew hard to breathe. I jumped as a wet hand was laid on my shoulder.
"Are you okay?" Kakarot asked as he looked at me with those blasted doe eyes of his, "You look a little pale."
"Fine," I snapped as I brushed his hand off my shoulder and watched as Krillin, Yamcha, Bulma, and Piccolo wandered over.
"Is his Royal Highness being as ass again?" Bulma demanded with a wink at Kakarot as the others laughed.
I vaguely heard the Clown denying this as I sank into my own thoughts. It hurt to hear this from the woman. It had been Bulma that had slowly worn down some of my shields with her declarations of love. That love had been short lived when she decided that I couldn't be shaped as she so choose. Now she allowed me to stay at her home "for the children," children that had been poisoned against me by Bulma's snarky words. I had to admit that my kids' coldness was also due to my not knowing how to be a father. I had lost my own so very early that I had no clue what to do around my brats. I wasn't needed here.
I came back to myself with Kakarot waving his hand in front of my face. The others looked on with unfathomable expressions on their own faces.
"What?" I grumbled as I slapped his hand away.
"I've been calling your name like forever," the Clown said as he scrutinized me, "I was trying to ask if you wanted me to grab you some ribs while I get a second helping?"
"Not hungry," I declared before snapping to attention when all eyes turned on me in astonishment.
I growled loudly when Bulma was suddenly by my side with a hand on my forehead. Her look of concern was almost heartwarming until she smirked over her shoulder.
"No fever. He's fine, probably just pouting that I made him come to the party."
"Saiyans don't eat all of the time!" I snapped as I rose to my feet, "Plus, I don't take orders from you, Woman!"
"You really don't have to be here if you don't want to be," Yamcha laughed out even as his words struck me deeply, "Nobody would miss you."
I held my ground as the clenching of my heart made my chest tighten and hurt again. I turned to leave even as I saw and heard Kakarot begin to chastise Yamcha. I took a few steps before a wave of dizziness overtook me. Everything grew hazy as I felt myself begin to fall and the floor rushed up to my face. I felt so cold as everything went black.
Goku's Point of View:
Yamcha's words made me angry. Vegeta was just sitting here minding his own business. Why was everyone being so mean to him?
"That was uncalled for!" I snapped out angrily as the whole party turned to look at me in surprise, "How dare you talk to Vegeta that way. Isn't this party about celebrating that we won? I couldn't have won without Vegeta being there to help. You owe him as much thanks for saving the world as you owe me."
"But Goku…" Krillin began before a sudden noise had everyone snap their eyes over to watch as Vegeta stumbled into a table before collapsing to the ground in a dead faint.
I must have IT'd over because I was the first to reach Vegeta's side. I carefully turned him over as chaos erupted around me. Vegeta was even paler than before and I felt minute shivers wrack his body as I lifted his torso from the ground and I cradled his limp head against my shoulder. I thought I was mistaken earlier when I laid my hand on his bare shoulder, but his skin was icy cold. Something was wrong. Something was wrong with my Prince. I growled loudly when hands descended on Vegeta.
"Don't touch him!" I heard myself growl out as I cradled the smaller Saiyan's body against my chest.
"Let me look at him!" Bulma insisted as she tried again to examine Vegeta, "I need to see what's wrong."
I cocked my head at her in question. Bulma hadn't been kind to Vegeta in a long time. People think I'm stupid, but I see things. I was surprised to hear Trunks and Bra panicked voices yelling at me to let their mother examine their father.
"Dad?" Gohan gently questioned as Chichi urged him towards me while Videl walked up with Pan in her arms, "Let Bulma examine Mr. Vegeta in the medical wing. Dad, he is sick or hurt. We're all just trying to help."
"None of you cared earlier," I heard myself snap before a large shiver shook Vegeta's smaller frame and I realized that he would need medical help, "Someone give me a dry towel."
Piccolo handed me a large beach towel and I carefully wrapped up the Prince before lifting him in my arms bridal style. I glared down at everyone angrily and watched in satisfaction as they cringed back.
"Lead the way," I growled at Bulma.
I vaguely realized that many others were following behind me as Bulma quickly led me though her home. It was terrifying to see how still and pale Vegeta was in my arms with his head tilted back and dangling over my arm. This was a man that was usually so full of life and his presence drew your eye without him trying to, but now he seemed almost fragile. What was wrong? Why did he feel so light in my arms?
"Lay him here," Bulma insisted as she gestured to a hospital bed once we reached the medical wing.
I gently laid the still form on the bed and ran a hand through Vegeta's soft locks. Saiyan hair was just like velvety fur. The Prince didn't stir a muscle. I growled when Bulma tried to uncover Vegeta and pushed her hands away from my vulnerable friend.
"I have to examine him!" Bulma snapped as she pushed at my unmoving hands, "Stop it, Goku!"
I came back to myself and took a step back so that she could work. Gohan and Goten came over and leaned against me while Trunks and Bra watched anxiously from behind their mother. I realized then that there was a pull. An instinct to protect. I figured that our Saiyan instincts were rallying all that shared Saiyan blood to defend our Prince. I hissed when she pulled Vegeta's shirt off and I saw just how much weight the smaller Saiyan had lost. His muscles were still defined, but I could count each of his ribs.
"What the Hell?" I growled as I hurried forward even as many blinked at my rarely used cursing, "What is this? Have you been starving him?"
"Of course not!" Bulma insisted as she continued to run tests and push and prod on her husband, "He…he hasn't been coming to dinner. I just thought he had already eaten somewhere else. I…I never even noticed any of this."
"Mom, why is Dad so thin?" Trunks choked out as he kept his eyes glued to his father's pale face, "What's wrong with him?"
"I don't know," Bulma whispered as she drew blood with a needle that made me bristle, "I need to finish my exam and get the test results back. Trunks, get your father hooked up to some oxygen and I need that heart monitor against that wall."
Goten jumped to push the heart monitor over while I watched Trunks carefully place an oxygen mask over Vegeta's nose and mouth. I scowled in agitation when I heard the tone of Vegeta's heartbeat on the monitor a couple of minutes later. It was much too slow for my liking. I grabbed a soft blanket from off another bed and gently tucked the blanket over Vegeta's still form as Bulma began to run her tests. My head snapped up when I heard a whisper of "leave it to Vegeta to ruin a great party."
"Who said that?!" I demanded as I whirled around in a rage and stared at the group that were in the medical wing and hovering out in the hallway, "Vegeta is laying here unconscious and obviously ill and all you can think about is a party?!"
"Calm down, Goku," Chichi urged as she hurried up to me before stopping in confusion when my body automatically moved to shield my Prince, "Goku, nobody is going to harm Vegeta."
"Damn straight," Trunks growled out as he also shielded his father.
I snorted aloud which made many look over at me in surprise. I glowered at everyone in my anger.
"Why are you all here?" I demanded as I watched most of the group's eyes widen at my anger, "I saw when you glared at Vegeta at the party. He has done so much for all of us and overcome so much, yet all of you still won't give him any kind of a break at all. You are being cruel."
"We're all concerned about him too," Krillin volunteered as he stepped up and stood his ground against me, "I know we haven't been behaving like it, but Vegeta is a part of the team."
"You are all a bunch of hypocrites," I stated in my anger before rounding on Trunks and Bra, "You two as well. I know for a fact that you and your mother have been acting horrible to Vegeta. I know that he can be difficult, but Vegeta has no point of reference on how to be a father, husband, or even a friend. This is still new and hard on him. He has made mistakes, but he is trying to learn this culture. Not one of you has even tried to meet him halfway."
"Don't you talk like you know everything!" Bulma snapped as she looked up from one of her computers, "That man can be a beast to live with at times."
"And you can't be a beast at times?" I retorted which made her look at me in astonishment, "I clearly remember what you are like before your morning coffee. Even Vegeta has wondered aloud to me if you are not part Saiyan."
Bulma looked clearly embarrassed and hung her head as several of the others looked sad and uncomfortable. The computer beeped and she quickly looked back at the screen.
"Nothing," Bulma spat in irritation before spinning back around and addressing the room, "Several of Vegeta's enzyme and protein levels are dangerously low. He is clearly missing some of the most important neurostimulators, including the one that makes you feel hungry. He lost the urge to eat and probably didn't even notice his own weight loss. This didn't happen overnight to him and because I was too busy snubbing Vegeta, I never noticed. Kami, this is all my fault."
"This is not your fault," Chichi denied as she hurried over to her crying friend, "Vegeta doesn't make it easy to know him. This is his fault since he never knows when to ask for help."
"This is not Vegeta's fault!" I snarled out, "Stop putting him down when he can't even defend himself. How can he ask for help when he feels so persecuted by the people who are supposed to be on his side?"
"Well that man can be pretty difficult to get close to," Yamcha offered before cringing back at my glare, "Goku, you know this to be true. Vegeta never asks for help."
"Daddy's behavior can sometimes let you know when there is something on his mind," Bra offered making everyone look to her in surprise, "Hasn't anyone else noticed that when he needs to talk he usually hangs out near you until you finally ask him what is up? You have to make it seem like talking is Daddy's idea, but then he'll finally tell you what he wanted to say. I've just been so busy with school and everything I didn't take the time to talk with him. What if Daddy is sick because I didn't take the time to listen?"
Bra began to wail which set off Bulma again. Many rushed to comfort the two before a loud voice interrupted the chaos.
"Guys! Look!" Goten yelled as he pointed at the still unconscious form of Vegeta.
We all stared in astonishment at the Prince. Vegeta's usual flame locks of hair had begun to drop as if weighed down with water. It was as if his body was so worn down that not even his hair had strength to stand upright anymore. I reached out a trembling hand to push locks of hair out of Vegeta's face. I felt like I was watching my best friend beginning to die right in front of my eyes.
"How do we find out why this is happening to Mr. Vegeta?" Gohan asked as he hurried over to look down at the Prince's still face, "This just doesn't seem normal. Dad and Mr. Vegeta has always been the strongest of us all."
"I don't know," Bulma sniffled out as she read some of her husband's life readings, "It's…it's like he is just fading away. There are no viruses are poisons in his system. His organs are functioning properly, but they are slowing down. Maybe this is some sort of Saiyan illness. A flu or something? I wish I knew more about the Saiyan culture to determine what this is because from these readings…Vegeta doesn't have very much longer to live."
"What?!" Everyone including myself gasped out.
"Vegeta's body is starting to shut down," Bulma continued with tears streaming down her face, "He's dying."
Everyone erupted at once and began to call out suggestions. I was too stunned to speak and could only stare back down at my dying Prince. This couldn't be happening!
"Dende!" Piccolo roared making everyone grow silent as the small Namek ran up, "Can you sense anything? Can you heal Vegeta?"
I looked up suddenly hopeful. Yes! This could work. Maybe Dende could heal Vegeta. The smaller Namek sat beside the Prince's prone form and sat a hand upon his chest. I grew more excited when after several tense minutes some color came to Vegeta's cheeks and his heart rate seemed to grow a little stronger.
"That's the best I can do," Dende said with a frown as he looked at everyone sadly, "I couldn't heal him."
"But Dad looks better," Trunks insisted as he reached out and took a hold of one of Vegeta's still hands.
"I could only give him some of my energy," Dende regretfully informed us, "Vegeta's very spirit is weakened and ill. There is something that is draining him, but I do not know enough about Saiyans to help more. I'm sorry, but it is just a matter of time before Vegeta's body gives out."
I tuned out everyone else as I looked down again at the Prince. Vegeta's hair was now fanned on his pillow. I was amazed at how long his hair was as the tips rested just past his shoulders. His and Trunks similarities were really noticeable now. I brushed a hand down Vegeta's cheek and willed for those long lashes to part and for him to sit and up and yell at me. I couldn't lose him. I couldn't lose my best friend. The very thought of Vegeta dying hurt so bad I was taken by surprise at the amount of pain.
"Someone who knows about Saiyans?" I wondered aloud making the room grow still again before I looked up and set my face in determination, "Hell is full of Saiyans. Maybe I could find someone down there that could help Vegeta."
"Goku! You are not…" Chichi began already beginning to frown.
"No!" I shouted as everyone took a step back as I stood breathing heavily, "I am a Saiyan! This is my Prince! I won't just stand here and let him die if there is some way that I could save Vegeta. I'm going to IT to King Yemma and get his permission now."
"I'm going too!" Trunks called out before frowning when I shook my head, "He is my father! I'm going to help. I have to do something to make up for how I've been treating Dad."
"King Yemma would never allow you down in Hell," I denied as I sat a soothing hand on his shoulder, "If Dende could offer Vegeta some of his energy then the rest of you might be able to as well and it will be doubly important that his own son can assist him and anchor his spirit. I need everyone to guard Vegeta while I am gone."
"This could work, Goku," Bulma agreed as she hurried up and looked at me tearfully, "But you have to hurry. Dende's energy is already beginning to wane."
We all looked at Vegeta and noticed that his face had again grown pale. Piccolo walked over and began to share his own energy with my Prince as he locked eyes with me and jerked his head as a sign for me to hurry and go. I nodded my head and locked eyes with my and Vegeta's family.
"I won't be long," I promised as I lifted two fingers to my forehead, "Just keep Vegeta safe."
My friends and family called out good luck to me as I faded from view. King Yemma agreed to allow me in Hell, after I explained the emergency, and after a quick bit of concentration I was able to lock in on a familiar ki signature and IT'd down to Hell.
"What the fucking Hell!" Radditz gasped out as I appeared in front of him, "Kakarot?"
"Radditz," I growled out as he took a defensive stance, "I don't have time for this! Vegeta is sick and I need your help."
"What?" Radditz questioned as he straightened while still keeping a wary eye on me, "The Prince is ill?"
"Yes!" I agreed as I hurried over to him in my agitation, "He just collapsed and he is freezing to the touch. His wife thinks he might be dying. I won't let him die!"
"Holy shit! Prince Vegeta is married?" Radditz demanded with wide eyes.
"Yes, but that is neither here nor there, Radditz," I groaned out as I suddenly began to get a headache and wondered if this is how Vegeta felt like when he spoke with me sometimes, "Focus!"
Radditz gave me the once over and began to chuckle.
"What?" I gritted out before gaping as my brother beckoned me into a crude hut and handed me an extra set of armor, "Huh?"
"You're wearing a bathing suit, Dumb Ass," Radditz cheerily informed me before sobering up as I tugged the armor on over my head with flushed cheeks, "Prince Vegeta never got sick when Nappa and I were with him on Frieza's ship. This must be serious because Saiyan's rarely ever get ill. We get injured, but our systems can usually heal any kind of infection."
"Is there anyone that could help me?" I asked in desperation.
Radditz regarded me thoughtfully with a look of surprise on his face. He seemed to shake his head in wonder at me.
"I can't believe that my little brother who so adamantly denied his heritage would come all the way down here to try and save our Prince," Radditz exclaimed with a look of approval on his face, "Might be hope for you yet, Kakarot. I'll take you to see King Vegeta. The royal line is special. If there is a way to save Prince Vegeta then he would know."
Hope filled me and I found myself nodding mutely. Radditz again gave me a thoughtful look before leading me outside and taking off into the sky. This had to work. I couldn't lose Vegeta.
Vegeta's Point of View:
I am cold and it is very dark where I am standing. I panicked for a moment before getting my wits about me again. I lit a ki ball which brightened the area around me, but my eyes could only concentrate on the ki ball. It was so small and didn't glow like it should have. What was going on? I looked up and noticed that I was in a hallway of some sorts and decided to move forward. I turned a corner and saw a doorway that emitted some light. I cautiously inched forward as I extinguished the ki ball. I entered what looked like the hallway where my favorite window sat. The window seat beckoned as I realized just how tired I really was. None of this made sense, but I went and dropped in exhaustion on the seat. It was pitch black outside my window, but I felt myself nodding off despite the lack of clarity over where I was.
"Can't sleep," I mumbled to myself as I looked around in confusion, but the urge to slumber proved too strong as I drifted off, "Where am I? What's going on?"
I lost touch to my whereabouts with a confusing feeling that I could hear someone calling my name from far away.
Bulma's Point of View:
"Vegeta? Vegeta, can you hear me?" I asked as I held my husband's icy hand while I sat next to his bedside, "Come on, Vegeta. Wake up and call me 'Woman.' Please?"
I had several IVs running to Vegeta's other hand in my attempt to get some needed hydration and nourishment into my husband. I regarded my son's and daughter's anxious faces from across the bed. Just this morning I was intent on enjoying myself with my children at the party. I had only sour thoughts left for Vegeta and didn't once think of him in the least. He and I had drifted apart while I was still pregnant with Bra. It had been my idea to keep up appearances. Truth to be told I did this so Capsule Corp.'s reputation wouldn't be tarnished. Yamcha and I had been discreetly seeing one another ever since. Vegeta knew, but he never argued or put up any kind of fight. It wasn't like I didn't love him anymore, but it felt more like the love for a very annoying brother and not for a lover. Guilt pricked at me. Could my treatment of Vegeta have led to him getting sick like this?
"Mom? Daddy is going to get better right?" Bra whispered as her brother put his arm around her shoulders.
"I don't know, Honey," I truthfully admitted, "I hope so."
"We did this," Trunks said as he hid his eyes in his bangs, "Mom, we've been horrible to Dad. I…I've just been so angry with him. I kept thinking why he couldn't be more like Goku. I never wanted this."
"No," I denied as a reached up to raise my son's head, "This is not your or Bra's fault. You two are young. It was I and the other grownups that have not acted very mature. I don't know. It's like I've been getting even with your father for not being the way I wanted him to be."
"I think that is what we've all been doing"
I turned at the voice and saw Yamcha and the other Z fighters shuffling into the room. Ever since Goku had left everyone had dispersed through the house to wait until he came back. Everyone was worried for Vegeta. I think the unconscious Saiyan would have been surprised by this. It had been Yamcha who had spoken.
"I've been pissed by Vegeta's behavior for years. It felt good, in a sick way, to finally be able to sock it to him for a change," Yamcha admitted as he hung his head, "I've never once tried to understand Vegeta for who he was. I only ever tried to change him for what I wanted him to be. I hope that I can apologize to him."
"Me too," Krillin agreed as he looked mournfully over as Gohan began to share his energy with a rapidly declining Vegeta, "I hope he can feel how much everyone is rooting for him to pull though."
I blinked tears from my eyes as I released Vegeta's hand to hug the former monk. A shrieking filled the air and all eyes turned towards the still Saiyan. Vegeta's heart had flat lined.
To be continued…