Part One

For Want
a rewrite of an older tale by Dot


Part One: Status Quo


Goten, with his mother’s lecture still ringing in his ears and his mother’s elbow planted at his side ready to jab him at any moment, put on his best mask to face the newest prospective date sitting across from him. “Hi, I’m Goten. Nice to meet you.”

“My name is Paris,” the girl chirped, giving him a smile that could launch a thousand toothaches, then bowing so low that her nose almost went into her tea. “I am very pleased to make your acquaintance as well.”

Goten avoided looking into Paris’ eyes. “Well, uh, Miss Paris, do you have any hobbies?”

“Hobbies?” Paris repeated, blinking.

The Elbow reminded him to refrain from making any impolite gestures. “Um, yeah, hobbies. You know, stuff you like to do in your spare time.”

“Oh!” Paris covered her mouth with her hand and made a sound that might have been a giggle. “I’m having so much fun with all the things I’m doing that I’ve never thought about spare time!”

“I see,” he began as his numb mind groped for something to say. “As for me, I practice martial arts with my dad.”

Paris’ eyes glittered. “You mean like in the movies?”

“Sort of.” Further elaboration being pointless, Goten decided to change the topic. “So you said you’re busy with a lot of stuff. What do you do, anyway?”

“Let me see,” Paris began counting off her porcelain fingers. “There’s school, of course,” and here she let out a bull-in-a-china-shop titter, “then I get tutored in the classes where I’m not doing so well. Next is ballet, and following that etiquette. Before dinner is flower arranging, and afterwards—”

“Excuse me,” Goten stood up, feeling ill. “I need to use the restroom.”

“Goten,” his mother glared at him.

“That’s all right; I won’t keep him if he really has to go.” Paris, the very model of an ideal young lady, interrupted with a wan smile.

Goten was never happier to leave a room.

< - >

Goten turned on the faucet and placed his hands under the running tap. He looked out the open window and released a plaintive sigh.

“Goten!” Chi-Chi’s impatient voice invaded the temporary reprieve. “What’s taking you so long?”

Something in Goten snapped. Despite everything he had been taught and the common sense he possessed, all he wanted to do was run away screaming. Taking a deep breath and squeezing his eyes shut, Goten tried to dredge the last reserves of his courage.

“Goten!”

He fled out the open window, leaving the water on behind him.

< - >

Goten kicked up a pile of leaves in his path and sighed, already regretting his rash decision to flee. I’ll bet Mom’s having a fit right now. He hoped, not without some malice, that she would become so consumed with worry by the time he went home that she wouldn’t care about anything other than his well being. Then again, she’d probably just be more pissed off that I’m somewhere without her permission.  Or that I didn’t tell her where I’m going.  Hell, I’m breaking curfew, too. He sighed again. Serves me right for not thinking this through.  I’m gonna get so grounded, and I don’t even know where I’m going.

Taking a quick survey of his surroundings, Goten was not too surprised to find the Capsule Corporation’s main building looming in the horizon. He had been over at Trunks’ house so often that he could walk—or perhaps even fly—there in his sleep. Trunks was the sole friend who had the means to install a specialized phone line that could be programmed to call the Son house every fifteen minutes on an automatic basis to reassure Chi-Chi that Goten was indeed still there and not somewhere else “causing all sorts of mischief”, as she put it in a tirade not long ago. It seemed that the last time Goten was somewhere without Chi-Chi’s knowledge was when he first met Trunks at the World Championship Martial Arts Tournament nine years ago.

Remembering that Trunks might be out having the kind of social life that for Goten was restricted to the realm of fantasy, he glanced at his watch. A bit early for Trunks to be home, but it can’t hurt to try, I guess.

For a moment, he considered hastening to the trip by taking to the air, but decided against it. Of all the ways he could make his mother angry, he did not feel like adding “flying in public” to the list yet. Besides, it wasn’t too difficult to finish the trip on foot if he had already traversed most of the way.

He began heading for this destination, taking one step in front of the other.

< - >

Trunks checked his watch and boggled at the time. Yup, it’s definitely official, he thought, downing the rest of his drink in one gulp. I’ve been stood up.

There was no other plausible explanation. He was sure that they agreed on when and where they would meet; even if this was not the case, she had his phone number and he never went without his cellular clipped to his waist.

“She could have at least told me she wasn’t coming,” he muttered to himself, staring into his glass. With a sympathetic look, the bartender moved forward to offer a refill, but Trunks waved him off. The time—or, rather, lack thereof—that he had invested in this latest attempt at conquest did not warrant enough disappointment to get roaring drunk. Besides, the amount of alcohol required to give just a satisfactory buzz was high enough to raise eyebrows in even the most liberal establishments. And despite his mother’s own “youthful excesses”, Trunks was sure that she would not approve of the things he were up to should she ever care to find out.

Getting up, Trunks paid his bill and left a generous tip, all in cash: being the son of the richest woman in the world meant that credit cards were pointless, and he distrusted electronic methods of payment in general anyway. Taking out his phone, Trunks went over his address book in his head and soon realized that at this time of day, pretty much all of his so-called friends would be otherwise occupied.

Even Goten’s meeting some girl today, he remembered, the sense of pity that he would otherwise feel for his friend somewhat marred by his own troubles with the opposite sex. Walking outside, Trunks attached his phone back to his belt and squinted into the cloudless sky. It’s going to be another one of those days.

< - >

Vegeta turned to avoid the ki blast that Kakarot aimed at him. He succeeded by the narrowest of margins, churning up a trail of dust as he skidded. The blast left a trail of its own, one of scorched grass, as it arched around and headed for Vegeta again. This time, Vegeta stood his ground and blocked the ki blast; when he saw the sizable crater the impact had made, it was too late to have any regrets.

“Whatever happened to holding back, Kakarot?” he shouted, shooting back up towards his sparring partner. “Don’t you know how much that woman will carry on about ruining her lawn?”

“Sorry, Vegeta, but I keep forgetting,” Kakarot laughed, looking sheepish. He ducked under Vegeta’s half-hearted punch and returned it with a flurry of fists. “Besides, she fixes it up every time, doesn’t she?”

Pushing against Kakarot’s arms, Vegeta flipped over him and tried to deliver a sharp kick as he came back down, striking nothing but air. “That’s easy for you to say! You’re not the one that has to sleep on the couch for a week!”

Kakarot reappeared high above him sporting a confused look. “Is that bad?”

Vegeta felt his eye twitch. “Forget it!” He roared, allowing the thrill of combat overtake him. “So you want to go all out, huh? I’ll give you the fight of your life!”

“Now that’s more like it!” Kakarot grinned, his aura blazing as well.

< - >

Goten slowed to a stop as he sensed the fight raging above him.

Dad and Vegeta are still at it? He never ceased to marvel at the intensity at which they competed with each other. It was, not by any stretch of the imagination, a benign rivalry—as was the case between him and Trunks—but more a matter of life and death, each pushing the other beyond their current limit. I guess it makes sense, though, since both of them grew up fighting practically all the time and they were pretty much at each others’ throats for at least that long, Goten thought. But still, sometimes it seems so pointless.

He jumped as a stray beam of energy vaporized a large chunk of earth not too far from him. Yikes! I forgot how dangerous it is to be a spectator when Dad’s sparring.

(Even after Bulma had the entire Capsule Corporation insulated with heaviest, strongest materials she could find, the waves of energy those two men generated could still produce obvious interference with every electronic device around. Once, a large-scale brownout resulted when they got too carried away with trying to one-up the other in showing off.)

Goten rolled to avoid a second explosion that would have decapitated him, landing on his back.

“Owowow,” he groaned, trying to shake the stars from his vision.

And then he realized that the blinding light was not due to his fall, but from the shower of projectiles that Goku and Vegeta were lobbing at each other.

Shit! Acting on pure instinct, Goten leaped to his feet—and regretted it as waves of dizziness almost sent him to the ground again. Before he had much time to find his bearings, though, more spheres of fire rained down on him, showering him with shards of rock.

“Dammit!” The edges of Goten’s skin began to tingle as anger welled up within him. Everything around him—the deafening explosions, the burning bits of plasma, the blinding flashes—were all lost to his senses as he was enveloped in a golden haze.

The ground buckled and gave way as he released his fury.

Goten staggered forward, having expended much more than he expected. He blinked as his father appeared next to him and steadied him by placing a large, firm hand on his shoulder.

“If you wanted to join us, why didn’t you just say so?” Goku asked, smiling.

Vegeta, on the other hand, did not seem too pleased about the interruption. “The invitation stands only as long as you can keep up,” he warned, opting to stay airborne.

Goten gulped and wished that he had taken up on his brother’s suggestion to practice together more often.

< - >

Keeping one hand on the wheel, Trunks plugged in his speaker-earpiece set into his vibrating cellular phone and pressed the “on” button. “Trunks here. What’s happening?” He winced as his mother let loose one of her signature wails. “Let me guess, Dad’s outside tearing up the lawn again?” He winced again as a second wail blasted through the small earpiece. “Okay, okay, I’m heading home already and I’ll be there as soon as I can.” He sighed, tuning out his mother’s usual string of insults. “Yes, yes, I know.” He raised an eyebrow as she used language not even he was familiar with. “Uh, Mom—” He waited out another short rant. “Mom. You can yell at Dad in person all you want when I get him inside. Right now, I’m in the aircar, and I need to concentrate. I’m hanging up, okay?” He rolled his eyes as his mother’s parental instincts kicked in. “Of course I’m being very careful. Aren’t I always?” A giggle from the other side of the line indicated that most of the storm had past, and he chuckled as well. “Right, love you too. Bye.” Hanging up, Trunks turned his full attention back to flying.

Once again, I have to wipe Dad’s ass for him, he thought with a mixture of amusement and contempt. Guess that makes me the one that really wears the pants in this family.

It wasn’t too difficult finding his father; all he had to do was follow the trail of craters and burnt grass to where most people thought some sort of impressive sound-and-light show was going on.

He sure is enjoying himself today, he observed, popping top and exiting, encapsulating the car before it could veer away on its own.

“Oi, pops,” he called, trying to sort out the melee. His father was there, that much was for sure, but Vegeta was such an exhibitionist that his ki overwhelmed anybody else he happened to be waylaying on. The “unfortunate” victim had to include Goku, Vegeta’s usual target of choice, but there was something odd about the overall composition of auras that made it difficult for Trunks to determine who else was present. Of course, the fact that he was being ignored didn’t help much either. Trunks cleared his throat and tried again in a much louder voice. “YO, OLD GEEZER!”

Almost faster than he could react, Vegeta’s gloved hand shot out towards him, but Trunks turned Super Saiyan at the last possible moment and blocked the jab. “You are going to regret your words, boy,” Vegeta informed him, going for his throat with the other hand.

Trunks sidestepped and batted the hand way. “You can beat up on me all you want later.” He deflected a hard right hook and grimaced at how much arm stung from the impact. “Right now I suggest that you go inside and make nice with Mom before she gets even more ticked off at you and decides to send you to the doghouse.  Again.”

“She knows the gravity room is much too small,” Vegeta growled—not so much as a question as a complaint—while driving his fist towards Trunks’ diaphragm. “Can’t she wait to yell at me until after the tournament?”

Trunks twisted and managed a glancing blow to Vegeta’s chin. “At the moment, she doesn’t give a shit if it’s the apocalypse. You still have a whole year to practice, but only a few minutes to placate her wrath.” He jumped back, taking a neutral defensive position as he nursed his sore arm. “Doesn’t take much to figure out which is the better choice, don’t you think?”

Making a noise that sounded like the cross between a groan and a grunt, Vegeta powered down. “We’ll have to continue this another day, Kakarot,” he called towards the rest of the glowing mass which had been pulsating throughout the entire conversation. “And next time, ditch the brat.”

“But Goten kept up, didn’t he?” Goku asked, dropping aura as well.

“Barely,” a tattered Goten gasped, the glow around him fizzling out.

“Hmph.” Vegeta descended, and in the blink of an eye had disappeared into the house.

Trunks blinked at the unexpected presence of his friend. “What are you doing here? I thought you had that arranged, uh—” he cocked his head, seeking the correct description for what he considered a torture session, and settled for a compromise. “Date. Thing.”

Goten scratched his head and tried to smile. “I, um, sort of skipped out on it.”

“Wow.” Trunks was not sure whether he should be impressed or worried. “I bet your mom went ballistic.”

“Eheh, well,” Goten’s forced cheerfulness became even more strained. “I wouldn’t know. I haven’t gone home yet.”

“That’s okay, I’ll let Chi-Chi know you’re here with Trunks,” Goku, who as usual had no idea what was going on, patted Goten on the head. “I’m sure she’ll understand. But she’ll worry, so don’t stay out too late!”

“Too late,” Goten muttered under his breath just loud enough for Trunks to hear as Goku put two fingers to his forehead and disappeared.

< - >

Bulma glared at Vegeta as he come in through the porch door wishing that, just once, she could wipe the arrogant little smirk off his face. “You two done blowing up the yard yet?”

Vegeta crossed his arms. “I thought you said you wouldn’t care even if I got killed.” He strode past her towards the kitchen. “What’s with the sudden interest today?”

Bulma willed herself from raising her voice, feeling her teeth grind in her jaw as she forced out her words. “You could have at least waited until my clients finished the sixteenth hole. Do you have any idea how much your stupid macho antics have cost me?”

“Like you really need the money,” Vegeta shrugged as he checked the fridge for edibles.

Bulma stomped after him, hovering over his shoulder as she competed for his attention. “I do! With a company of this size, every little mistake could mean bankruptcy! And feeding the lot of you freaks doesn’t help me maintain a healthy budget, either! Is it the end of the world if you don’t try to kill each other for one day?”

Vegeta emerged with a heaping bowl of potato salad and, after locating a large wooden spoon, helped himself to a generous mouthful. “The point of sparring day after day,” he spoke in a slow, patronizing tone, as if to a small child. “Is so that there wouldn’t ever be an end of the world.”

“Ha! Some defenders of the Earth you are! Every time something happens, you managed to create more collateral damage than the bad guys!”

In a matter of moments, the bowl was scraped empty and Vegeta was rooting through the fridge again. “Whatever. You were the one that wanted me to be home for the kids more in the first place.”

Bulma felt her prepared insults die in her throat as her anger made a hasty exit (stage left) from her system and a good dose of guilt waltzed in to replace it. “I’m only asking for you to be a little more considerate,” she muttered, resisting the urge to stare at her shoes.

Vegeta patted her on the head. “There, there. If it’s really that important to you, I’ll find somewhere else to beat up on Kakarot on your golf days, okay?” Weaving past her arms to elude her hug, Vegeta grabbed the nearest available leftover and headed for the door. “Besides,” he continued, smirking in a way that made Bulma’s blood begin to boil again, “if things really get bad, there’s always prostitution.”

The wooden bowl that Bulma hurled at Vegeta bounced off the wall and left a significant dent.

< - >

Trunks pulled two sodas from the mini-fridge and tossed one to Goten. “So, what was so horrible about this girl that made you want to skip town?”

Goten popped the top and let the drink sit while he untangled the cords to Trunks’ latest and greatest video game acquisition. “I don’t know. She acted pretty much like every other girl in this sort of situation, I guess, but it all felt so—so wrong somehow.” He stared at the television and twirled the controller in his hands. “And then I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

Trunks clapped a hand on Goten’s shoulder and sat down next to him. “I feel your pain, man.”

Goten returned the gesture with a wilting glare. “Sure you do.”

“Never mind.” Trunks turned up the volume as the opening animation began to play, grateful that his house was large, with thick, soundproof walls. Pressing a few buttons, he advanced the game to the character selection screen. “Remember how you thought there was no way what I said was true? Check this out.”

< - >

Goku held his sobbing wife in his arms and wished he knew what to say to her. Somehow she had gotten into her head that Goten did not love her any more and it was all her fault. When he tried to tell her that she was being silly, she just cried even harder and became incoherent.

Goku sighed. He loved Chi-Chi and tried to do everything to make her happy, but she always seemed to find something new to be upset about. He could not understand how she could be so sad all the time, nor could he see any point in all of her constant worrying, but he did not know how to help her.

Maybe she would cheer up if she had a nice, big dinner. Yes, that must be it. He understood now; he did not like being hungry, either. He would go and hunt for her, maybe even roast it on an open spit. And then, when they both had their fill, she could sit next to him while he told her stories or sang her songs—that always seemed to help quiet Gohan when he was a baby.

And Gohan! Gohan would know what to do, being so much smarter and all. One phone call and Gohan would be on his way to lend a helping hand. And he could bring Videl and Pan, too; their granddaughter never failed to bring a smile to Chi-Chi’s face. Then Chi-Chi would no longer have a reason to cry, and everything would be all right again.

Having convinced himself he had found the perfect solution to the problem, Goku relaxed and pulled Chi-Chi closer to him. And Vegeta said being married was hard, he thought, smiling to himself.

< - >

Gohan, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, tried to come up with something helpful to say, but every time he looked into the shame-filled face of his brother, the words got stuck in his mouth. “Well,” he began, not yet ready to give up. “You’ve got to go home sooner or later.”
“You shouldn’t have gotten involved,” Goten mumbled, his tone somewhere halfway between apologetic and annoyed. “I didn’t mean for things to get so out of hand.”

Gohan kept his thoughts to himself, but his grip on the wheel tightened.

“I still don’t know why I did it,” Goten continued as he stared into nowhere. “I’ll bet mom’s mad as hell.”

“No, not really.” Gohan sneaked another look at the boy-man sitting next to him, chewing his lip so that he would not be tempted to comment further. “She’s just worried about you. She loves you a lot, you know.”

“I’ll probably still get grounded no matter what, right?” Goten wondered.

“I don’t know,” Gohan lied; he was certain that both of them could predict very well what sort of punishment Goten was in for.

< - >

“I take it the apology didn’t go too well,” Trunks observed as he watched his father stalk through the living room.

“As if it’s my fault she can’t take a joke,” Vegeta all but growled.

“It’s always your fault, Dad,” Trunks grinned. “That’s the way it is with girls.”

“Whatever,” Vegeta grunted. He yanked open the miniature refrigerator and frowned. “Don’t you have anything other than gaseous sugar water in here?”

“Can’t you wait until dinner?” Trunks countered.

“That,” Vegeta paused, “mother of yours has locked herself in her laboratory again, and I doubt she’s coming out.”

Trunks blinked at Vegeta’s uncharacteristic choice of words. Neither of his parents ever seemed to run out of colorful insults for each other; to hear “that mother of yours” coming out of Vegeta’s mouth could almost be considered a phrase of endearment. Or Vegeta’s insatiable Saiyan hunger was just getting to his head. “I guess that means I’ll be eating out, too.” He stood and stretched. “Say, I know this great barbecue joint that won’t mind the extra business. My treat.”

Vegeta seemed to consider the proposition for a moment. “Eh, why not?” he shrugged. “Cooked is better than raw anyway.”

Trunks blinked again. Now his father was agreeing to spend an evening with him?

It’s for the food. Definitely the food.

< - >

“Faster! Faster!” Pan shrieked, clapping her hands together while jumping up and down like some small savage. “I’m hungry!” Videl, who was bringing out a heaping bowl of salad, smiled and whispered something to Gohan, who chuckled as well. Goten watched all of this in silence as his palms grew another layer of blisters.

Goku looked up from tending the fire and grinned at his son. “Hey, Goten, Pan’s right, you know. If you don’t turn it faster, it’ll burn.”

“Don’t bother,” Chi-Chi announced, the first thing she said all night, “it’s done.”

“Great!” Getting to his feet, Goku patted his rumbling stomach. “I can’t wait to see how your sauce turned out! Come on, Goten, help your mother with the carving!”

Goten obeyed, praying that his trembling hands would be able to hold the knife straight.

< - >

Trunks let out a burp that echoed over the buildings of the Capsule Corporation. “Yeah! Nothing like a good meal to invigorate those gastric juices!”

Vegeta gave his son an amused glance. “Oh, really?” A moment later, he produced his own, far louder belch. “Well, what do you know? My compliments to the chef.”

Trunks’s mouth twitched, as if he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or groan. “Do you have to turn everything into a competition?”

“Of course,” Vegeta pounded his chest in a mocking manner. “That’s the Saiyan way.”

“You and your Saiyan way,” Trunks chuckled, lying back onto the roof. “I’ll bet your dad gave you plenty of lectures on that.”

Vegeta followed suit, using his arms as a pillow. “Barely even saw my father outside of official ceremonies. It was my teachers that did most of the lecturing.”

“Oh? This is the first time I’ve heard you talk about yourself. How come you’ve never said anything before?”

“You never asked. What’s with the interest now? Don’t tell me you actually want to ‘reconnect with your heritage’ all of a sudden.”

Trunks sighed. “It’s called making idle conversation, pops. Humor me here.”

“You won’t shut up until I do, will you?” Vegeta wondered aloud, already half-guessing the answer.

Trunks smirked. “Nope.”

For a moment, Vegeta considered beating his son into submission. That would solve the problem for the time being, but he had a feeling the threat of violence would not dissuade his son from nagging him. That, and the excellent meal had put him into good spirits. “That’s what I get for marrying a chatterbox like your mother, I suppose,” Vegeta groused, pretending to be grumpy. “Very well. I shall ‘humor you’ as you request.”

The smirk was now a full-fledged grin. “You have my humblest gratitude forever, Your Royal Majesty.”

“Shut up and listen, brat.” Vegeta waited until Trunks had settled into a more comfortable position before continuing. “For as far back as I can remember, I was in training to one day succeed my father as King, but the only lessons I had any interest in was those of combat, and even that was terribly boring.” Vegeta allowed a small smile creep onto his face as he remembered. “I brought no end of grief to my caretakers with the trouble I caused. Eventually they decided that I was too much to handle and sent me to fight under Frieza.”

“And the rest, as they say, is history,” Trunks intoned. “So you didn’t like palace life much, huh?”

Vegeta scoffed. “Brilliant deductive work.”

Trunks pouted. “Okay, okay, I get the idea. I’ll shut up now.”

“Good.”

< - >

As Goten stood facing his parents, he wondered why he didn’t feel anything. There wasn’t any of the usual panic, defiance, or even outrage that accompanied the usual Parental-Unit/Child Unit confrontation. Just a big lot of nothing, an empty void that would have put a black hole to shame. The world could end at that very moment—complete boiling seas, bloody moons, or people turning into orange Tang—and he would not have cared one way or the other. What little he recalled of being vaporized into happy oblivion by Buu (a fact he’d garnered by being an adept eavesdropper), he did not recall death as all that unpleasant. He was certain that whatever afterlife he ended up spending an eternity in would be preferable to yet another one of his mother’s lectures.

Correction, his father’s. Chi-Chi seemed to be at a loss of words for once, so it would be up to Goku to implement some sort of responsible adult discipline. What resulted was a rambling, awkward cascade of words and phrases that took quite a bit of effort to maintain. It didn’t take long for Chi-Chi to realize that Goku did not grasp the seriousness of Goten’s actions, and decided to take matters back into her own hands.

“I’ve already apologized to Paris for you, but even if she was gracious about it, you are to make amends to her in person. Her next available appointment time is at the end of the school year.” Chi-Chi left it at that, but Goten understood the unspoken command.

“Yes’m.” The word came out in a single, garbled syllable.

“Go to your room. You are not to leave except to go to class.”

“Yes’m.”

“Goten.”

“What is it?”

Mother and son gazed upon each other, volumes of words passing between them unspoken.

Goten was the first to break contact. “Good night, mom.”

< - >

“Vegeta, you still up there?”

Vegeta smiled. The call of civilization, versus the call of the wild. “I’m not sleepy. You go ahead.”

“Well, don’t be long. I’d like to pretend I’m a married woman every once in a while.”

Vegeta almost laughed. That woman and her appearances! But then, he was living under her roof, eating her food—

He grinned. “Don’t worry, you know I can’t stay away from your sexy body,” he called as he shot off into the night. He was going to get an earful for that comment, sooner or later, but for now he was safe.

A moment later he arrived at the small bit of land he had more or less annexed for himself, perhaps the last bit of Earth otherwise untouched by the relentless march of progress. In a few more generations, this spot would be gone as well, replaced by artificial environments.

The same thing had happened on Planet Vegeta during his predecessors’ reigns, so that the trees Vegeta ever remembered seeing were the ones growing from the Royal Garden, trophies of the King’s conquests. As impressive the display may have been, it was nothing compared to the worlds Vegeta saw through the windows of Freeza’s ships. Even the most barren wasteland seemed to call to him, pulling at some ancient instinct or another.

Or maybe the Saiyan still remained barbarians despite wearing the veneer of a kingdom so small it wouldn’t have been worthy of being called an “Empire” by anyone, but none dared to start a dispute with a Saiyan over semantics. Old habits die hard, after all, and the Saiyan clung to their traditions with as much ferocity as they did as their temper. It didn’t take long before one took a perverse sort of pride in being bloodthirsty, merciless, and unwashed.

(Well, all right, maybe not unwashed. Vegeta enjoyed a good, hot bath as much as the next person, and he didn’t care to put up with Bulma’s creative descriptions of his body odor.)

Vegeta kicked at the dark water. Only a few minutes alone, and he was already thinking of the woman who may or may not be waiting for him in the bickering mess he called “home”. Not that he minded this too much, of course. Domestic life did have its advantages.

But every once in a while, he had to wonder if things could have turned out another way.


Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
Paris is the girl that Goten dates in Dragon Ball GT, but their interaction in this story is 100% non-canon because I’m spiteful and intensely disliked how DBGT characterized everyone.

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