A Kodak Moment

Title: A Kodak Moment
Plot, or Lack Thereof: Bulma finally gets what she wants, in a fashion.
Reason for Banishment: Weak characterization.


“Do you, Vegeta, take Bulma as your lawfully wedded wife─”

“Yeah, yeah,” Vegeta interrupted, getting impatient.

“Vegeta!” Bulma clenched her teeth so that she wouldn’t shout.  “You’re supposed to wait until he finishes! And you’re supposed to say: ‘I do’!”

Vegeta sighed and rubbed his temples.  “Explain to me again why we’re doing this?”

Bulma twitched, as if she was attempting to suppress the urge to scream.  “Because it’s our 20th anniversary and we’ve never celebrated it before!”

“Aren’t we already married?” Vegeta crossed his arms.

Bulma rolled her eyes.  “All we did was go to the notary! We never had a real ceremony!”

“What’s so important about a ceremony?” (Vegeta had even considered the legalization of their relationship unnecessary.  According to him, Bulma had been his wife─no, ‘mate’ was the word he used─the moment that he told her so.)

“Oh, I don’t know! I just thought that since we’re spending the rest of our lives together, we might make that fact a bit more apparent, that’s all.”

(Bulma had always wanted a wedding with all the works ever since she was a teenager.  If it weren’t for that desire, she might not have began her quest for the Dragon Balls and thus never have met Vegeta.  Of course, if she told him any of this he would just insult her ‘sentimentality’.)

“I see.” Vegeta frowned.  “But I still don’t like it.”

“Please, Vegeta!For once do something for me!”

“I only said I didn’t like it, not that I won’t go through with it! If I wasn’t going to do this make-believe wedding of yours, I wouldn’t have even shown my face for months!”

That’s right, Bulma realized.  I couldn’t force him to do anything, not even if I tried. “Sorry.”

“Forget it.” Vegeta once again gave his attention to the minister.  “Continue.” The minister continued, and this time Vegeta waited for him to finish, then answered ‘I do’.

“Now, the rings.” The minister brought out the box of rings and opened it.  “Take this ring and put it on her left ring finger, then say: ‘with this ring, I thee wed’.” Vegeta complied, and though he fumbled it managed to not be too awkward.  The minister then handed the other ring to Bulma, who did the same.  “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I pronounce you man and wife.” The minister turned Bulma and Vegeta so that they were facing each other.  “You may kiss the bride.”

“On the lips?” Vegeta pretended to be horrified.

“Yes, the way that I taught you.” Bulma suppressed the urge to grab a candlestick and smash it on her husband’s head.  (It would only break it.)

“Fine,” Vegeta lifted Bulma’s veil and studied his target.  “Do I need to stand on tiptoe?” He asked, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

“Huh?” Then the minister noticed something.  “Oh.”

“All right, smartass.” Bulma sighed, leaning over.  “Have it your way.”

They kissed.

(Or rather, their lips brushed.)

“And that’s it?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” Vegeta took off his ring and returned it to the minister.  “I’m going home.”

“Oy.” Bulma sighed.  “Thank goodness that was only a rehearsal.”

***

“A WHAT?!?” Goten blinked in surprise.

“A rehearsal.” Trunks repeated.

“Dang!” Goten let out a whistle.  “Your mother is really taking this anniversary thing seriously!”

“Of course she is: Dad never gave her a gift; he never mentioned their anniversary; heck, they never even got married!”

“They didn’t?”

“Not the way Mom wanted it.”

“Uh.  Explain.”

Legally, Mom and Dad are married, but they never had a wedding.

“A wedding’s that important?”

“You were at Gohan and Videl’s wedding; which do you think has more meaning: a piece of paper or a ceremony like theirs?”

“Oh.”

“Any further questions?”

Goten broke into a wide grin.  “Am I invited?”

***

Vegeta fingered the guest list.

“Are you sure you want to invite Lunch?” He asked.

“We can risk a sneeze or two.” Bulma put a stamp on another envelope.

“And that pervert of an old martial arts teacher?”

“Master Roshi may be perverted, but deep down he has a kind heart.”

“Kind-hearted or not, if he even tries to touch you he will have a slow, painful death.”

“If he’s still alive after I beat the crap out of him.” Bulma sealed the last invitation.  “There.  I hope I got everyone’s addresses right.” (Tracking down Yamcha’s address had been a chore, and finding Tien and Chiaotzu was an adventure.)

“If not, then there will be fewer people watching me make an ass out of myself.” Vegeta wondered whether he could conveniently misplace the invitations to Kakarot’s family.

“Too late.” Bulma poked Vegeta, not caring that it wouldn’t even tickle.

***

“Do I really have to wear this?” Vegeta tried to put on his tie without much success.

“Yes.” Bulma took over and redid it in a proper bow, causing Vegeta to shift in discomfort.  “You’ve made it this far.  Don’t give up.”

“Hi, Mom!” Bra and Pan, followed by Trunks, Goten, and Videl, came in.  “Wow! You look really nice!”

“You’re not too bad looking yourselves.” Bulma traced her fingers over Bra’s silk dress.  “You two ready?”

“Definitely!” The girls answered together.

“Isn’t it bad luck for the groom to see the bride right now?” Videl teased.

Bulma grinned.  “I think we’ve already broken every other superstition anyway.”

“I hate this suit,” Goten pulled at his tie.  “The collar’s too tight.”

“Here.” Bulma undid the top button of Goten’s shirt and hid it behind his tie.  “You don’t need to suffocate.”

“Now why didn’t I think of that?” Trunks wondered aloud, doing the same.

“Sorry I’m late,” Dr. Briefs rushed in, out of breath.

“I thought you would never come.” Bulma hugged her father, beaming.

“I would never miss my daughter’s wedding.” Dr. Briefs replied, while Pan and Bra debated among themselves what the halo floating over his head was for..  “Not for anything.”

“Is everyone here?” The wedding coordinator stuck her head through the door.  “Great.  Let’s go over the order one more time: first, the flower girls go in,” Bra and Pan curtseyed and giggled.  “Then, the groom, accompanied by the best man─”

“Men.” Goten corrected.

“Sorry.  Men.” The coordinator smiled.  “Next, the bridesmaid enters.  Last, but certainly not least, the bridesmaid, escorted by—uh—” she looked at Dr. Briefs.  “I thought your father passed away.”

“Well—” Bulma didn’t know how to explain Uranai Baba.  “It’s—really complicated.”

“Okay.” The coordinator decided not to press the issue.  “When I call you, come out and line up in that order.” She looked at her watch.  “Until then, I’ll be outside helping the guests get seated.  See you later!”

At this, Vegeta began to pace.

“Hey, Dad,” Trunks teased.  “You’re not getting cold feet, are you?”

“Leave him alone,” Bulma scolded.

***

After what seemed like forever, the wedding coordinator came back.

“It’s time.  Let’s go.”

Everyone (except Vegeta) hurried out of the dressing room, chattering with excitement.  Even as they made their way through the halls they could hear the restless anticipation of the guests.  Just as they reached the door, Mendolsson’s ‘Wedding March’ began to play.

“Perfect timing.” The coordinator smiled in satisfaction.  “Okay.  You’re on.” She gave Pan and Bra a little push.  After they  made it to their respective positions, she turned to the men.  “Your turn.” Butterflies dancing in her stomach, Bulma watched Vegeta, Goten, and Trunks, and then Videl, walk to the end of the aisle.

Finally! The moment I’ve been waiting for!

“Hey, Bulma.  Don’t tell me you’re getting cold feet.” The coordinator put her hands on her hips.

“Huh?” Bulma was jerked out of her reverie.

“The groom is waiting,” The coordinator gestured towards the altar.

“Right.” Bulma took her father’s arm.  “Let’s go.”

***

The moment that Bulma stepped though the doors of the church her eyes met Vegeta’s, everything else seemed to disappear.  She didn’t even feel her father’s guiding arm beside her.  There was something more in Vegeta’s eyes, not his usual gamut of expressionless, cold, proud, or haughty, something that drew Bulma step by step towards him.  Dr. Briefs also sensed this force and thus let go of his daughter before he was supposed to; he had already ‘given’ her to Vegeta 20 years ago anyway.  Still looking at one another, Bulma and Vegeta joined hands and approached the minister, who smiled, opened his book, and began.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today—”

Bulma and Vegeta’s eyes were locked throughout the minister’s speech.  Trunks could almost see the emotions and memories that flowed between them.  It was as if Vegeta was making up for twenty years of arguments, heartbreaks, and forgotten anniversaries.

Not that Vegeta was always cold to Bulma of course: every once in a while there was a tender touch or some other show of affection, but Trunks had never seen his father so─well, for lack of a better word─’sentimental’.

Is this why Mom chose Dad? Trunks wondered.

“I do.” Bulma answered without turning her head.

“And do you, Vegeta, take Bulma as your lawfully wedded wife─to love and to honor; for richer, for poorer; in sickness, and in health; and forsaking all others─’til death do you part?”

“I do.”

The minister handed a ring to Vegeta, who put it on Bulma’s finger without taking his eyes off of her.

“With this ring, I thee wed.”

“With this ring, I thee wed.” Echoed Bulma.

“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I pronounce you man and wife.  You may kiss the bride.”

When the veil lifted, Bulma discovered that Vegeta was now taller than her.  She glanced down and saw that he had levitated several inches.

“Vegeta!” She whispered.

“Shh.” Vegeta commanded.  “Don’t you like it better this way?”

“Yes, but─” Vegeta stopped her with the longest, deepest kiss he had ever given her since they met.  Bulma tilted her head back and closed her eyes as they kissed.

Neither of them noticed Goku as he scrambled out of his seat and took a picture.

That was the only time Bulma was happy that Vegeta didn’t look at the camera.

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