Challenges

By:

Me

Continuation of "Misunderstood." This will not make a whole lot of sense if you don't read that story first. Also, this story will be much longer than the previous since "Misunderstood" had to move faster due to the critical health of Vegeta. That story was only a set up for this story and I hope your enjoy.

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Thank you for all the reviewers. You are much appreciated for all you said.

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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.

I own nothing

Chapter One

It felt good to be outside in the sunshine enjoying this party with my family and friends. Just a little over six weeks ago, the last party had ended badly with my soon-to-be-mate falling terribly ill. I still couldn't believe how long it took me to figure out my feelings for Vegeta and now it still made my heart freeze up at the thought of how close I came to losing my mate. I smiled when I felt my Prince's ki flicker at me in response to my simmering emotions. I turned and regarded my mate sitting across the patio as he obligingly allowed our friends to come and give him well wishes for his recovery. Even distracted, Vegeta was looking out for me and soothing my raw emotions. He was a true Vegeta of the royal line of Vegetasei.

"Coin for your thoughts, Goku," Chichi said as she handed me a glass of cold lemonade and hopped into a chair to sit beside of me.

"Just remembering," I admitted as I sent a smile towards Vegeta before turning my attentions back towards my soon to be ex-wife, "I'm also a little nervous. Actually, I'm a whole lot nervous at the moment."

"You two are planning on telling everyone at the party today about your mating, aren't you?" Chichi asked with wide eyes as she caught on.

"Yes," I said as I sipped at my drink, "I am proud to call Vegeta my mate and want all of my friends to know this and accept me for who I am as a Saiyan. I don't want to keep secrets or make my Llazzine feel like he is something I am ashamed of in any way shape of form."

"Llazzine?" Chichi echoed, "I heard that word before from you. What does it mean?"

"It's Saiyan," I answered proudly as I again looked up at my mate as he interacted with his children with veiled humor and tolerance, "It means 'beloved.'"

"You've got it bad," Chichi whistled out in appreciation as I blushed, "I think the mating has done both you and Vegeta a lot of good. You seem happier and he seems…he seems…I don't know how to explain it.…"

"At peace?" I offered as I softly smiled.

Chichi was right. Vegeta had calmed since our mating. I think it had more to do with him feeling centered again. My mate now had me to place his need to protect on and he finally understood why I had the strength level that I did. I was born to be his protector as well and he had accepted this fully without questioning or fussing about any equality differences. I had realized from the beginning of our mating why the royal line needed to protect. For Vegeta and his ancestors, this was their form of love.

Speaking of protecting my instincts were screaming at me again. I looked up to see that Vegeta had fallen asleep on one of those lounge chair thingies. My mate still got tired easily. I had warned Bulma that we should have waited on the party since it would be a week or two before the effects of Vegeta's illness would be completely gone.

"Excuse me," I muttered to Chichi as I hurried over and adjusted an umbrella so that Vegeta wouldn't get the full rays of the sun and get overheated.

My mate merely rolled over as his tail curled behind him on the lounge. I tucked a light towel over him in case he got chilled from the breeze that blew occasionally. When I turned around many were staring at me with varying looks on their face. I smiled and rubbed the back of my head as I pulled up a chair close to Vegeta. Even with our friends staring I didn't want to leave my Prince's back unprotected while he slept.

"Goku, I think it's time to tell everyone how you were key in Vegeta's recovery," Bulma called out softly so not to wake my mate.

"Don't you think Vegeta should be awake for this?" I asked as I looked with concern at the slumbering Saiyan and frowning at the thought that he would be angry at me for talking about our mating without his input.

"I think Dad would be highly uncomfortable with all eyes on him," Trunks offered as he took a seat between my two sons, "I think the anxiety of this story telling has been weighing on Dad's mind this whole time and that's why he's so worn out."

I took a deep breath and nodded my head. Trunks knew his father well. I had been sensing my mate's anxiety levels as well. I motioned for everyone to gather and get comfortable. I settled in and began the edited tale of my trip to Hell and how I had came to the realization that Vegeta was my other half. Nobody interrupted me as I spoke and I was unable to read the looks on most of my friends' faces by the time my tale had ended.

"So you and Chichi aren't together anymore?" Krillin asked while 18 looked impassive as ever with just a hint of interest showing in her eyes.

"No," Chichi answered for me, "Goku and I had long since stopped really being a husband and wife. I still love Goku, but he and I had drifted apart over the years. Our divorce will be official in a couple of weeks. I'm happy for Vegeta and Goku."

"And you aren't upset by this?" Master Roshi addressed Chichi, "You didn't go all 'bang-bang-pow-pow-I'll kill you' crazy?"

"No she didn't," I answered, hiding a grin behind a hand, while Gohan and Goten held their mother back from going all "bang-bang-pow-pow-I'll kill you" crazy on the old hermit, "Bulma has also given the two of us her blessing and have annulled her marriage to my mate. She and Vegeta have not really been together for years as well."

"Tell me about it," Yamcha agreed before he flinched when Bulma turned on him and kicked him into the pool.

Light chuckles from behind me let me know that Vegeta had woken from his cat nap.

"Serves you right, Lamb-Chop," my mate called out to a dripping, scowling Yamcha as the smaller Saiyan sat up and stretched before turning baleful eyes on me, "Couldn't wait for me to be awake for this, Idiot? You didn't have to do this alone."

"Hush, you," I teased as I swatted at him with my tail, "I think you planned it this way, didn't you?"

"Hn," Vegeta snorted as he passed me and smacked his tail playfully in my face without answering as he pulled a chair up to sit beside me before turning a death glare on the rest of the group, "Anybody have a problem with me and my honorable mate? I will accept all challenges to the right to my mate in a fight to the death. Bring it!"

"Leave it to Vegeta to turn a marriage announcement into a death threat," Tien called out making everyone burst into laughter, "Congratulations are in order. Both for Vegeta's health and for Goku's and Vegeta's bonding."

There were several catcalls and cheers for my mate and myself. I smiled widely as I watched Vegeta blink in confusion. My poor mate had thought that we would have a battle on our hands. My Llazzine was even more confused when one person after another came over to congratulate us on our bonding.

"Has an alien race taken over the minds of your friends?" Vegeta discreetly whispered as he looked at the gathering with suspicion.

"No, Baby," I laughed out, "Our friends are happy for us. I do see a few that are a little unsure and confused by the thought of us together, but they will come around and I could really care less if they don't."

"Don't call me 'Baby,'" Vegeta hissed as he flushed irritably and turned away from me with a snapping tail.

I merely wrapped my tail around his waist and dragged him protesting over to the catered food. Vegeta's anger dissipated at the assortment of his favorite foods, courtesy of Bulma, and he began loading a table full of his selections. I beamed when he sat and dug in with a vengeance. Oh, yeah. My mate's appetite was completely back to normal. I gathered my own selections of food and began to keep up with Vegeta in the eating department. I was fully at peace with everything at the moment. That went to Hell and a hand basket when I looked up and saw Oolong reaching out to touch the mark on Vegeta's neck.

"Mine!" I growled as I pulled my startled mate against my side and bared my sharp teeth at the shape shifting pig who stepped back fearfully.

People shouted and the Z fighters rose from their seats anxiously. I didn't care at the moment as I growled deep and low in the back of my throat.

"Kakarot? What the Hell?" Vegeta snapped before he twisted his neck and glared down at Oolong, "What did you do?"

"I…I was just reaching out to touch you," Oolong stammered out as he backed up.

"Just touching me wouldn't have made Kakarot react like this, Stupid," Vegeta snarled as he tried to internally soothe my rage before something seemed to dawn in his mind and twisted to stare back down at the shape shifter, "Where were you planning on touching me, Pig?"

"I was reaching out to touch that bite mark," Oolong admitted as he pointed at my mate's neck which made me pull him closer against me as my mate grunted in protest, "I was going to ask you what happened. It looks like a pretty nasty scar. I've never noticed it before."

Vegeta cursed loudly in Saiyanese before shoving me back into my chair with a surge of strength. He obligingly allowed me to wrap my arms around his waist as I continued to breathe hard and glare at the shape shifter.

"Dumb Ass, you never touch a Saiyan's claim mark," Vegeta snorted as he rested a soothing hand on my head and stroked gently, "That is one of the highest forms of disrespect in the Saiyan culture. It shows that you have no respect for Kakarot's claim on his mate. I have seen people lose arms for doing less than that to another's mate."

"Mr. Vegeta, we all need to understand more about being around a bonded couple," Gohan suggested as he watched us with wide eyes, "Father has never reacted like that before in the past. I think it would be best if we knew what not to do around the two of you since you are full blooded Saiyan."

"Hn," Vegeta snorted out as he forced me to look into his eyes, "Calm down. Everything is fine. I want more ribs. Go get them!"

I snapped up quickly as I headed towards the food. I shot a warning glare at Oolong as I passed him. I felt bad about my reaction, but the thoughts rolling through my head was that he better never try to touch my mate in such a private way ever again.

"Touching me or Kakarot won't be that big of a deal unless you are touching areas that a Saiyan finds to be too personal," Vegeta began as I got his requested food and wandered back feeling more like myself again, "Stop giggling, Pervert. Don't be crude, Pig. I'm not talking about our private parts since that is a given. You must remember to never touch my claim mark or either one of our tails."

"No claim mark. No tails," Oolong repeated before turning to me, "Sorry, Goku. No harm meant."

"Sorry that I overreacted," I sheepishly offered.

"Not your fault. You will revert to your Saiyan instincts if you feel that I am being compromised in any way. I would have done the same," Vegeta stated as he shook his head before turning back to everyone else, "No sparring with either of us for a few months. It will take some time for our more primitive instincts to realize that our mate is not being attacked. Do not tease using pretend hitting or kicking at either of us. Your throat will be ripped out before you can turn around."

"Great, Kami," Krillin breathed out in wonder, "Saiyan couples must have been something else to fight against if crossed."

"You have no idea," Vegeta agreed as he raised his head proudly, "Never stare too long at a bonded Saiyan's tail or claim mark. This is a sign that you are thinking of challenging for dominance. Either the Claimer or the Claimee will stand up for their right to their bonded. Saiyan mates are completely equal in their relationship to one another. Do not assume that either of us is submissive to the other."

"Seems like Goku snapped to attention when you ordered him to get you ribs," Yamcha laughed out before quieting at Vegeta's growl.

"My mate needed to feel like he was providing for me," Vegeta snarled, "It was the only way to calm his nerves. Never try to provide for another Saiyan's mate. It is different when you are simply handing either of us a plate of food that is already prepared, compared to specifically bringing food to one of us that you have made for them and them alone. A bonded will also see that as challenging his or her dominance. Keep all of that in mind and nobody will lose an arm or head."

"Sorry, Guys," I called out as I again rubbed the back of my head sheepishly, "I didn't mean to bring the party mood down."

"You didn't," Vegeta declared as he tore into the ribs that I had brought him much to my happiness, "Your brat was right. I should have realized that I needed to go over the proper etiquette in dealing with Saiyan mates. Nobody on Earth would know how to act around the two of us. Your outburst could have been avoided."

I grinned widely as I exchanged happy glances with my friends and family. Vegeta had truly mellowed. My Llazzine would never have been able to admit he had been wrong or give anyone, especially one of my sons, any credit for being right before. I wrinkled my forehead in confusion when Vegeta pushed half of his ribs at me. My grin widened when I realized that he was providing food for me as well. I dug in and laughed when he rolled his eyes at me with a whispered "Idiot." I was beginning to love that word. Who'd have ever thought, right?

"You were wonderful today," I complimented my mate as we got ready for bed that evening; "I can't get over how well you did with everyone."

"You act as if I have no social skills," Vegeta groused as he sat with his back facing me on the bed while he pulled off his shirt and swim trunks, "I know how to behave myself. I just chose not to in the past. There is a difference."

I didn't answer as I crawled up to lick at the exposed claim mark on his shoulder from behind him. My mate sighed and arched his neck to give me more access. Oolong's move earlier in the day had made it imperative to reassert my bond to my mate. I pulled Vegeta under me before kissing down his body to pleasure him with my mouth.

"Kakarot," my Prince moaned as I teased his length.

His soft cries and mews went on until finally I drove him over the edge of pleasure. Lifting his hips I slid deep within Vegeta as he looked up at me with needy eyes. I was thankful for the fact that Saiyan males did not need to be prepared like a human for intercourse.

"My mate," I whispered before I bit down to reclaim the smaller Saiyan in the same spot on his shoulder and again our bond flared, "You are my Love."

Vegeta cried out and then gasped as I began to rock into him. I licked my lips and again tasted my Llazzine's spicy blood which thrilled my tastes buds and flamed my passtion. We moved as one against one another until finally I spent myself within him after an intense ride.

"I'm yours," my mate panted out as I pulled out of him and covered us up in in the blankets of what was now our bed, "I love you, but Idiot, I am tired. No more."

I chuckled as I nipped playfully at his neck and nipples before settling him against me. Vegeta and I fell asleep to one another's deep purrs. The next morning, I woke up to an empty bed. I sniffed and realized that my mate's scent was hours old. I panicked before I felt his ki flicker at me to let me know that he was well and close.

I threw on my clothes and IT'd to where my mate was.

"Llazzine!" I gasped out as I saw my Prince stand from looking through what looked like some storage boxes, "Don't do that to me. I didn't know where you were. You scared me."

"We are not attached at the hip," Vegeta grumbled as he leaned against me to settle my heart rate back down and his tail wrapped around my own in comfort, "Calm down. I've just been looking through some of my old belongings."

"For what?" I asked as I looked curiously at the things that I saw strewn about.

"For a wooden box about as big as your hand," Vegeta explained as he bent back down giving me a nice view of his backside through his standard training suit, "Stop admiring my ass and help me look!"

Blushing beet-red, I bent down and began looking through some of the unopened boxes. Eyes on me made me look back to see Vegeta licking his lips as he stared at my backside.

"Pervert," I squealed as I sat down heavily before grinning as Vegeta let out a peal of laughter while he began to look through the box he had opened in front of him.

We worked in companionable silence before I found a wooden box and held it up for Vegeta to see. The Prince crawled over and tenderly took the box from me and settled beside me.

"Ah!" my mate sighed as he stroked a finger over the carved top and opened the box.

I looked and saw what looked like two necklaces inside of the box. The necklaces were thick-looking, navy roping with an ornate, four-inch bead that fit over the roping like a glove in the middle. They were beautiful.

"These are Saiyan bonding necklaces," Vegeta explained with a wistful look on his face, "My father had these special made for me when I was born. Most Saiyan necklaces are just the cord, but the metal-tube bead represents a royal bonding. You and I would have exchanged these on our bonding day."

"They are beautiful, Llazzine," I admitted as I looked at the necklaces in awe.

Vegeta smirked up at me before selecting one of the necklaces and reaching up and fastening it around my neck. It fell just at the beginning of my chest bone so it was neither too long or too tight. Warmth rushed through our bond and I quickly picked up the second necklace and reverently fastened it around my mate's neck.

"You are so beautiful," I purred as I admired my strong mate with my claim mark and the necklace that represented our bonding.

"Hn," Vegeta grunted in a good humor before hauling me up on my feet, "Food and then training, but let's put this all away first. This is all I have left of Vegetasei."

"What is all of this?" I asked as I bent down and pulled out what looked like a wall hanging.

"Some stuff Napa grabbed," my mate admitted as he ran a hand over the soft fabric, "Fool thought he would decorate our cabins on Frieza's ship so I wouldn't feel homesick. He never even got to hang up anything. Frieza wanted it all burned, but I was able to hide some of the items away on a small planet. Grabbed the stuff years later to bring here since it was all I had left after you killed Frieza."

Vegeta gasped when I pulled him into a sudden hug. Nobody should ever have to go through losing not only their family, but their whole way of life.

"I'm fine, Idiot," the smaller Saiyan grunted as he pushed against my hold.

"I'm not," I admitted as I cradled my mate closer and he relaxed when he felt how upset I really was.

"Who's the Baby?" Vegeta asked as he swayed me gently side to side and then sighed at my sniffles, "I survived, Kakarot. Let it go."

I nodded and slowly released my mate and scrubbed at my face.

"Let's decorate our bedroom with this," I suggested as I looked at Vegeta's belongings, "I want you to teach me more about Vegetasei."

"Teach you? Fine, but are you sure about using all of this?" Vegeta laughed out as he looked around at the boxes, "Some of what Nappa grabbed is butt-ugly."

I gasped in embarrassment when I lifted a framed picture up of a couple of Saiyans being very friendly with one another. My face again turned a dark shade of red.

"Oh," Vegeta groaned as he snatched the picture from me with a blush, "That is a representation of a fertility ritual. I have no idea why Nappa would have taken this with us. There was no way in Hell that he and I…ugh!"

"'Ugh' is the right word," I snapped out angrily at the thought of Nappa touching my mate intimately before settling down when Vegeta thumped his tail in my face, "He probably just grabbed things at random. I'm guessing you got little warning that Frieza was taking you from your home."

"Correct," Vegeta agreed as he pulled out some of the wall hangings and a few knick knacks and dumped them in my arms, "Here. These are acceptable. Do with them what you want. Feed me."

I grinned down at my mate and wrapped my tail around Vegeta before I IT'd us to the kitchen. Trunks jumped in surprise before groaning.

"Please tell me that you two are not going to just appear randomly all over the place?" the boy demanded, "My heart can't take it."

"Grow a set, Brat," Vegeta smirked before going and sitting by his son while I looked through the refrigerator to feed my mate after I had carefully set all of the Saiyan decorations on the counter.

I hummed happily when I found a bunch of leftovers from the party and quickly set about heating everything and placing it on the table for our breakfast. The two of us dug in contentedly.

"Dad, what is that around your neck?" Trunks suddenly asked as he looked at the necklace around Vegeta's neck in curiosity, "You never wear jewelry."

"A Saiyan bonding necklace," Vegeta grunted out before leveling a look at his son, "Never told you about them, huh? There is a lot you need to learn about your other half, Brat. Be prepared to start having lessons on your true culture when you are home from college."

Trunks blinked in surprise before looking like he had just won the lottery.

"Yes, Sir," Trunks agreed as he looked at me ecstatically since his father was voluntarily going to spend time with him, "Thanks, Dad. Can Goten come too if he wants to learn about our culture?"

Vegeta grunted and went back to his food as Trunks and I exchanged happy looks over his head. It seemed that my mate was starting to settle into a life where he was a participant again instead of just a spectator. Trunks took his leave with a skip in his step while Vegeta and I went up to our bedroom to drop off the Saiyan artifacts.

"What the Hell?" Vegeta growled as he saw that our bedroom was now a construction site, "Woman!"

"Don't 'Woman' me," Bulma snarled back at her former lover, "Let me tell you how great it was to wake up to the sound of you and Goku having sex last night! I am putting up soundproof walls in your bedroom, thank you very much!"

Vegeta had frozen in place, but snapped to attention when I squeaked in mortification.

"You crude Woman!" the Prince hissed, "Watch your tongue around my mate! Our sex life is none of your business!"

"That is why you are getting soundproof walls!" Bulma shrieked as she glared at Vegeta.

"Fine!" my mate snapped.

"Great!" Bulma gritted out, "Nice necklace! Is that one of the bonding necklaces you spoke to me about last year?"

"Yes," Vegeta spat out as I looked on in confusion at their antics.

"Suits you two," Bulma continued before turning around with a sniff.

I had a hard time keeping a straight face as I placed everything that I was holding into my chest of drawers out in the hallway while my mate and Bulma continued to snipe at one another. It seems that this was their regular form of conversation. I easily could translate the whole conversation between the two as: "Here is a bonding present for you" "Thank you very much" "You two suit one another" "I know" "I hope you are happy" "I hope the same for you."

"Ready to train?" I interrupted as the two stared one another down.

"Gladly," Vegeta snorted out as he turned and flicked his tail at Bulma, "Have this done before nightfall, Woman."

"Bite me," Bulma snapped before backing up when Vegeta whirled and snapped his teeth at her, "Fine, Grouch!"

Bulma smiled at me good naturedly before turning back to soundproofing the walls. It seems that this was one of the best things she could have done because the next few months my mate and I got to know one another very intimately. We were also very loud. Saiyan love making was intense and passionate. Vegeta and I found a balance with one another and soon we were able to beginning sparring with our friends and family again. All traces of my mate's illness were completely erased as if nothing had ever happened.

Vegeta had made good on his promise to teach Trunks and I about Vegetasei. Even Goten and Gohan had joined in occasionally on the lessons. I marveled at the rich culture that the Saiyans had created. I especially loved the language and enjoyed being able to speak our native tongue to my Prince. Nearly a year of peace went by for Vegeta and I before something arrived to interrupt our bliss. A ship landed on Earth. A ship that Vegeta recognized and blasted off without a word to intercept.

To be continued…