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22 Years, 5 Months, 20 Days

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“I don’t need a sparring partner,” Vegeta petulantly repeated for the umpteenth time that day. The King looked ready to blast his own son away. “I have Nappa for that!”

“Don’t see him as a sparring partner,” the King explained, rolling his eyes. “You’re 6, Vegeta. It’s time you stop acting as a cub.”

Vegeta crossed his arms and stared at the doors of the throne room. His father’s friend and his brat would come in any second now. He didn’t understand why they were welcoming them so warmly. They were third class.

“He’s weak,” he hissed, his upper lip curled in disgust. From Vegeta’s point of view, nothing was worse than weakness. Nothing. And now they were saddling him with a crying toddler who was born with a power level of 2?

“He’s had ki fluctuations,” the King patiently repeated, “Bardock believes his son might turn out to be a lot more powerful than he appears. Besides, you need Saiyans your age around you. It’s the best way to cultivate your own power.”

“How, by changing his diapers?”

The King’s lips pressed into a thin line, his tail tightly curled around his waist. He probably didn’t want his guests to come in and see his son throwing a tantrum. It was bad for their image. Not that Vegeta admitted he was throwing a tantrum, of course.

“Vegeta, listen well, because this is the last time I am going to say this. Kakarot is 4 years old, he hardly needs to have his diapers changed. His father is going to be one of my guards, so they’re coming to live here. His other son, Raditz, is already training under Nappa. As a family, they have shown uncontested power and potential. Since Kakarot is close to your age, I expect you to spend time with him, and yes, even share a training instructor. Bardock is a friend, so try not to maim or kill his son, but other than that, you don’t need to be friends with him.”

Sensing the battle was lost, Vegeta scoffed and looked away. He mimicked his father and curled his tail around his slim waist. He wanted to look as unfriendly as possible. The King side-eyed him, but said nothing.

The doors banged open, and Bardock strode in, going straight for the King.

“My King,” he said, bowing deeply.

A cub that looked remarkably like his father poked his head in. Bardock turned his head, and motioned for him to come in.

Pathetic, Vegeta thought as the ridiculous creature stumbled inside the throne room. He looked terrified and uncharacteristically shy for a Saiyan. He stood at his father’s side and, after a little nudge, performed the most inelegant bow Vegeta had ever seen.

He scoffed out loud. The King sent him a warning glance.  

“Bardock, my old friend. Rise, please.”

The third-class warrior slowly got up and nudged his son again. The boy squeaked and rose as well, standing as straight as a pencil, but with his tail flailing wildly behind him.

“So, this is your youngest?”

“Yes, this is…” Bardock turned to look at his son and frowned. Vegeta approved: at least Bardock was aware of how much of a disaster Kakarot was. “This is Kakarot, and he’s usually not so shy.”

Vegeta discreetly turned on his scouter. Bardock’s power was a little below 8000, which surprised him. He had been classified as a third class at birth, but his power was in the same range as his father, and fairly higher than Nappa’s. The King wasn’t kidding when he said this family showed talent. But the son…

Kakarot had a power level of 22. Which meant that he couldn’t even fly or produce a ki blast. Not just pathetic… disgusting.

Probably sensing his distaste, Kakarot looked at Vegeta with wide, terrified eyes. Vegeta had to refrain himself from snarling at him just for the simple pleasure of seeing him pee his pants.

“Hello, Kakarot,” King Vegeta greeted him, sharply bringing his fist to his heart in their official salute. “I am King Vegeta, and this is my son, Prince Vegeta. You two are going to train together.”

“Yes, my King!” Kakarot squeaked again, looking between the King and the Prince with a serious look. “I look forward to training with you, my Prince, and I swear to you my uncandytional loyalty!”

“Unconditional,” Bardock hissed, correcting his moron of a son.

“Sorry,” Kakarot excused himself, bowing again. “Unconditional.”

Vegeta rolled his eyes, but the King had the audacity to smile at the little idiot.

“Very well. Bardock, I trust you find your lodgings suitable.”

“Please,” Bardock smirked, letting the polite façade fall through. “I’ve lived in the barracks most of my life. The rooms you gave us are too cosy for my taste.”

“Well, I’m sure you’ll find a way to get used to a higher standard of life,” the King bantered, smirking as well.

“Perhaps that’s why I’ve almost reached your level. Your ass must be getting flat from sitting on all those cushions.”

Vegeta watched his father laugh, throwing his head back, with something akin to shock. How dare this low life speak to his father that way?! And why was the King not disciplining the unruly subject? He clearly needed to be reminded of his place!

“We’ll see about that later, in the sparring court. Now, come. I’m sure Nappa has brought you up to speed with the details of the latest Frieza issues, but I’d rather you hear it from me as well.”

“Very well,” Bardock said, his face serious of all a sudden. He bowed down to look at his son. “Kakarot, I need to speak with the King in private. Do you know the way back to your room or shall I ask someone to accompany…”

“Oh, it’s no trouble, Vegeta will show him around,” the King interrupted, sending a meaningful glance his son’s way.

“No, I won’t,” Vegeta replied immediately, scandalised. Kakarot flinched. Maybe he would get to see him pee his pants after all.

“Yes, you will.” Vegeta registered a hint of a growl and a slight flash of teeth. He really didn’t want his father to nip his neck like a cub. He understood this particular battle was lost.

The adults went towards the balcony, as the King snapped his fingers at a servant for two glasses of liquor, and Vegeta and Kakarot remained there, frozen, staring at each other.

“Where are your rooms?” Vegeta finally decided to ask. His nose was wrinkled.

“My rooms? I… I don’t know.”

Great, Vegeta thought. He didn't even know where he lived. He was the stupidest cub he’d ever met. There went his plan to just dump him there and go bug Nappa…

“Come on. I’ll ask the guards.”

Vegeta strode towards the big doors, the moron hot on his heels. He couldn’t wait to get rid of him.

“You!” he shouted in a commanding tone, pointing at a guard standing beside the doors. The man stood at attention. “What rooms have been assigned to Bardock and Kakarot?”

The warrior repeated the question into his scouter, clicking on a button near the ear. After a moment’s pause, he replied, “The Royal Guard Sector, my prince. Rooms 34 and 35 of the east corridor, near the fighting dome.”

“Let’s go.”

“Thank you so much!” Kakarot said to the guard. Vegeta rolled his eyes. No Saiyan needed to be thanked for doing their job.

They walked past corridors and training halls, Kakarot infuriatingly slow and unfocused, staring at everything with wide eyes and stumbling into guards and servants.

“Try to pay attention,” Vegeta growled at him. “I have no intention of showing you the way again. I’m too busy to look after a toddler.”

“I’m not a toddler,” Kakarot protested, frowning. “I’m four.”

“Then act your age. You’ve been in the palace for hours, and you can’t find your own room?”

“This place is huge!” he defended himself. “Anyone would get lost in here.”

Vegeta elected to ignore him. They were almost there.

The moment they were in front of the door of room 35, Vegeta sharply turned to look at him.

“If my father asks, I’ve given you the full tour. Understood?”

“But you haven’t.” Kakarot looked confused.

“Just tell him that. And please, be aware: you might be my assigned ‘playmate’, but I don’t intend to spend any more time with you than what’s absolutely necessary to keep my father quiet. I don’t want to be saddled with a weakling who can’t even bow properly…”

“I am not a weakling!”

Vegeta rose his eyebrows. Finally, some sort of intelligent, Saiyan-like reaction from the silly cub.

“You are,” Vegeta challenged him. “Your power level is abysmal.”

Now the boy was getting angry. Smirking, Vegeta ignored the beep from his scouter.

“I don’t know what that word means, but I am not a weakling,” Kakarot repeated, his voice low in an amusing attempt to sound menacing. At the second beep from his scouter, Vegeta finally decided to check it. Kakarot’s power level was… rising? He stared at the number, incredulous. His ki was over 100 now.

“What are you doing?” he asked. Was his father right? Could this insignificant idiot raise his power level?

“I’m not doing anything. But take back what you said about me being a weakling.”

Kakarot’s tail lashed out behind him. He looked furious.

Vegeta opted for a scoff and changed the topic.

“I’m not taking anything back. Now, go into your room and try to rest. Tomorrow at 7AM you’ll have to train with me and Nappa, my instructor, and he won’t go easy on you. And neither will I.”

At that, Kakarot seemed to brighten up. Why would such a weak cub be excited about fighting? He probably got beaten down a lot.

“You know, you're not very nice, Vegeta.”

Vegeta’s eyes went as wide as saucers. “How dare you address me by my first name, and insult me? Do you think we’re friends?!”

“Well, technically we are. You said so yourself. I’ve been assigned to you.”

Vegeta opened his mouth several times, and then gave up. Any reply he could think of would be too childish, and he didn’t want to give the brat the satisfaction of seeing him flustered.

“I don’t care,” he snarled at last. “Just… just go.”

He turned and left. Just one meeting with him, and he could already tell that he would absolutely hate Kakarot.

 

 

4 years later

 

 

Vegeta entered his father’s office, trying to locate the King in the giant, richly furnished room. He saw some movement from behind a curtain and went to investigate.

The King and Bardock were standing in front of a window. They looked deeply engrossed in conversation. From his standpoint, Vegeta couldn’t hear what they were talking about, but their body language alarmed him. Bardock’s shoulders were slumped forward, his arms crossed at his chest in a grip that looked as tight as a vice. He looked… defeated, and a bit sad. The King had a hand on his shoulder, and was speaking in a low, soothing tone, trying to get Bardock to look him in the eye. All in all, it looked like a profoundly uncomfortable conversation. Vegeta felt awkward just standing there, so he tapped his tail on the floor to alert them to his presence.

They both snapped their heads towards him.

“Ah, Vegeta, yes. Bardock…”

“I’ll go,” Bardock cut him off, waving a hand. He straightened up, like he was getting ready for a mission. “Don’t worry about this. It had to be done.”

“Please let me know as soon as you have news,” the King replied. They saluted each other and, after a respectful nod towards the prince, Bardock left. Vegeta was more confused than ever.

“That looked like bad news,” he said to his father, taking a seat on one of the luxuriously carved chairs.

“Ah, yes,” the King murmured. He still looked very serious. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. We’re sending Kakarot away.”

Vegeta barely refrained himself from shouting “What?!”

Sure, Kakarot was a disaster. He could never follow orders, and while he experienced sudden and brief outbursts of power, his baseline remained pathetically low. But he had become something of a mascot around the castle - why were they getting rid of him now?

At his shocked silence, his father sighed and continued, “It’s the law. Any Saiyan under ten who hasn’t yet acquired a power level of 100 gets shipped off-world and sent to either conquer other planets or die trying.”

“But in training he’s gone well above that,” Vegeta pointed out, remembering that time he had managed to provoke him into a full 800 of raw power. The reason for such anger? He had taken away his food.

“It’s the baseline that matters, I’m afraid. Nappa had no choice but to recommend relocating him. I’m mostly sorry for Bardock, though. He’s very protective of him, has been ever since the boy’s mother died.”

Vegeta couldn’t believe it. After years wanting to get rid of the moron, and then finally getting used to him, Kakarot would be sent away, on a journey he had practically no chance of surviving. Even to him, that didn’t seem fair. He did have some potential, if he managed to get his ki fluctuations under control, and really, what were the odds of learning to control his ki in a strange planet, with no trainers and no one to guide him?

“This is absurd,” he finally managed to say. He couldn’t help feeling angry, though he wasn’t sure why.

“I know,” his father replied. He dropped on one of the chairs as well. “I’m sorry, Vegeta. You may not like to show it, but I know you’ve grown fond of him.”

“Fond! Pfft!” Vegeta looked away. Fond? Him? Of Kakarot? Just because he tolerated his presence…

Still, he couldn’t deny that he would miss the strokes to his ego, since the boy idolised him. Kakarot lit up every time he entered a room, and always asked for more time with him, more sparring, more attention.

Besides, Kakarot’s unpredictability made for a fine sparring partner. Vegeta never knew what he was walking into whenever they fought together, and the boy had managed to surprise him more times than Nappa and all the other elites combined. What he lacked in power, he made up for in strategy.

But he wasn’t fond of him. That was preposterous.

“Where are you sending him?” he asked, just to distract his father from the previous topic.

“Oh, a little far-off planet called… Earth, I think? The population’s average power level is ridiculous, but their technology is interesting. He has five years to annihilate the population and bring back their treasures. That is, if Frieza doesn’t interfere.”

Vegeta nodded. Five years. Two more than it was usually granted. Being friends with the King did mean something, apparently.

And Frieza… Frieza was a problem. What with the cold war the Saiyans and the Ice Demons were conducting, Vegeta wouldn’t be too surprised if Frieza obliterated this planet Earth and everyone in it just to kill a single Saiyan. He hoped they managed to keep Kakarot’s presence a secret, at least.

“Well, pity. Now, father. I’ll need a new sparring partner.”

 

 

5 years later

 

 

Vegeta got dressed in a hurry. While he was fucking Auber – a servant girl always very happy to spend some time with him – he had heard a commotion outside of his door, and he was curious to see what was happening.

“Get dressed and leave,” he ordered. She sighed and reluctantly got off his bed. Vegeta threw his cape on and followed the noise, which led him to the throne room. He found his father, Bardock and other elite guards standing around a table.

“Father,” he greeted, saluting the King.

“Vegeta,” his father distractedly answered, motioning for him to come closer. “Take a look at this.”

Vegeta looked at the table: its surface was covered with strange objects, probably tech of some kind, and they all seemed amazed by it.

“Kakarot has annihilated Earth,” Bardock announced. He looked damn proud of his son. “This is Earthian technology, he sent it to us before destroying the planet. He also sent this…” and he pointed at a golden crown encrusted with emeralds. “The crown of the King of Earth.”

Vegeta rose his eyebrows. So, Kakarot had managed to destroy a planet after all. He honestly hadn’t thought it possible, what with his low ki level and his strange distaste towards violence and genocide.

“I see,” he shrugged, feigning disinterest. Did that mean Kakarot was coming home?

“Also, Kakarot’s power level is much higher. He sent us his scouting readers. We are assigning him to another planet.”

Vegeta turned to look at his father in shock. Another one? Vegeta himself had only conquered two planets so far. Was the third-class going to surpass him? What a ridiculous notion.

“So, is this tech as good as we had hoped?” he growled, trying to think of something else.

“Look at this,” a Saiyan of the Council said. He took a corked vial, clicked on it and threw it on the floor. With a booming noise and a cloud of smoke, the thing turned into a… Vegeta wasn’t sure. A vehicle of some sort?

“What the hell is that?”

“It’s just a primitive vehicle. But it’s the storage solution we’re interested in.”

Vegeta had to admit, that could come in handy. They could put healing tanks in those containers. They could even keep emergency ships. Damn, Kakarot had sent some interesting stuff.

“His next planet is Yardrat. They are rumoured to possess amazing technology and vast amounts of platinum. I can’t wait to see what he brings from there,” Bardock beamed. Vegeta hated them all.

Especially Kakarot.

 

 

10 years later

 

 

Vegeta was inspecting the ships. Of all his princely duties, this was his least favourite. When he had said so to his father, he had answered “Get yourself a son who can do them for you.”

A son. His father has been pestering more than usual about that. In five years, he would have to mate with a daughter of one of the richest, strongest Saiyans on the planet. The prospect was fucking terrible. Vegeta wanted nothing to do with that nonsense. If he had to pick a mate, he would prefer someone strong, not as strong as him, but strong enough to make him work for it. Too bad the traditional consort for members of the Royal Family was female, and females were generally weaker than males.

Until then, he had the honour and privilege of inspecting the space ships, making sure they were in tip-top shape and that the staff wasn’t slacking. How fun for me.

“Bardock?” he said. His guards turned abruptly towards the man he had called, immediately falling into a defensive stance. He waved at them, signalling that there was no threat. They relaxed, recognising their comrade. “What are you doing here?” he asked, walking towards him.

“Oh, well, I…” Bardock was with his firstborn, standing in Dock Bay 23. That area was usually reserved for long-trip ships returning to the planet. “Today…”

He never managed to finish. One of their biggest ships – Vegeta recognised it as an Intergalactic Longship, 500 series – suddenly breached the atmosphere and started to approach the dock. After a few minutes of careful manoeuvring by the pilot, the ship landed, and the main doors opened.

Vegeta stopped breathing.

“Father! Raditz!”

Kakarot had turned into a carbon copy of his father. Except the eyes, Vegeta noticed distractedly, the eyes were completely different. Bardock's face didn’t seem to know any expression other than a scowl. His son’s eyes – well, they were different: open, and trusting. Other than that, Kakarot had turned into a fine piece of ass, if Vegeta said so himself. As tall as his father, broad-shouldered, narrow-waisted. Vegeta mentally ran a quick calculation: Kakarot was 23, so he was due for one last growth spurt. Vegeta had waited for his own with bated breath, but his height had stubbornly remained the same. He didn’t love that.

But what was he doing here? It had been 15 years since Kakarot had set foot on Planet Vegeta, so he had definitely earned some leave days. That, or…

“Kakarot has earned his way back,” Bardock explained proudly, hugging his son with one arm. Kakarot held him tightly, and then turned to his brother. Only after that did he seem to notice Vegeta’s presence.

“My Prince!” he said, his eyes wide. He saluted him formally. Vegeta grunted and acknowledged him with a sharp nod. “It’s been so long. I’m honoured you would be part of my welcoming party.”

“What?! I didn’t…” Vegeta was pretty sure the scum was mocking him. He had a glint of something in his brown eyes – a very rare colour for a Saiyan. Rare, and fetching. “I’m not,” he scoffed. “I was just inspecting the ships.”

“Kakarot has reached a power level of 8000,” Bardock explained, slapping his son hard on his back. “In fighting, that is. He still has power fluctuations.”

“I see,” Vegeta replied, feigning interest. Truth was, he couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Kakarot was looking at him with an intensity that reminded him of when they were cubs – plus something that had never been there before, that glint. It made him feel teased. Mocked, almost.

“Well, I’ll never be as powerful as you, my Prince, but I do hope your father grants me my old position back,” the idiot explained, and again, Vegeta felt that, somehow, he was being made a fool of.

“Your old position?” he grunted.

“He has been granted an audience with the King this afternoon,” the idiot’s brother, Raditz, confirmed. He, too, looked pretty damn proud. “That’s definitely a good sign.”

“Uh-huh,” Vegeta shrugged. Gods, was he to be saddled with the moron yet again? He needed to get to his father before Kakarot did. “Well, excuse me, but I have a very busy day.”

They all bowed to him as he walked away. In his mind, there was only one thought. He couldn’t have Kakarot around him at all times. He needed to do something.

 

6 months later

 

 

Vegeta had been right. Oh, had he been right.

Kakarot was a nightmare. And he had been made his personal bodyguard. His personal bodyguard.

Vegeta had no privacy anymore. None whatsoever. He was forced to eat with him. Spar with him. Bring him to Council meetings. He had to see him in the mornings, when he still had his morning boner. He was forced to see him spar shirtless, his chest heaving, his skin glistening with sweat. He would often have to shower in the stall next to his.

And Kakarot – hot as the bastard may be, Kakarot was a moron.

He had no sense of propriety. He just said whatever stupid thing he was thinking. He not only forgot the proper terms of address; he made up a nickname for him, the prince. He called him Geta. And no matter how much Vegeta hit him, made him bleed, and yelled at him, he wouldn’t stop. On the contrary, Kakarot seemed to find being beaten up exciting.

He laughed at the stupidest things; he made inappropriate comments; and most importantly, he was always worried about Vegeta, always asking if he was alright, and happy, and “Oh, Geta, you look sad today, have you slept well?”

It was Vegeta’s worst nightmare. It was getting under his skin. He was starting to notice things about him, too. Things he never noticed in anyone else. How much he ate. If he hadn’t had enough sleep. If he was worried about something.

More to the point, he couldn’t shake off the idea that Kakarot was hiding something, something big.

He had revealed plenty: the techniques he had learnt on Earth, this Instant Transmission thing he had learnt on Yardrat – which had immediately made him the object of everyone’s envy.

Yet he was hiding something, Vegeta could tell. Every now and then he would catch him daydreaming, only to look away with guilt written all over his face whenever Vegeta snapped him out of it.

At first Vegeta had assumed that he was lovesick or some shit like that. That would also explain why Kakarot had taken no lovers since returning to planet Vegeta. Maybe he had an alien lover. Vegeta hated them on principle. It wasn’t like Kakarot hadn’t received any offers, either. He was extremely attractive, and the fact that he didn’t know it made him even more enticing. Servants would constantly pretend to have to work in the fighting halls just to see him train and giggle among themselves. But Kakarot had refused them all. He also denied having any lovers in other planets.

He didn’t talk much about his time on Earth. He did say over and over that the Earthlings were not bad, they weren’t particularly strong, but they didn’t deserve to be annihilated.

Kakarot was an unusual Saiyan. He cared. He loved. Vegeta hated him.

It didn’t help that since Kakarot had entirely deprived him of his privacy, Vegeta wasn’t getting any sex. All of his usual lovers suddenly seemed unappealing to him. He had tried to fuck Kini, a scientist from the lab downstairs, only once. After an agonising half-hour of trying to get hard, he had sent him away. Kini was hot. He was lean, with long hair, but he wasn’t strong. He had no bulk. He was no fighter.

And the way Kakarot looked at him, Vegeta was pretty sure the attraction was mutual. Kakarot had always been a bit star-struck around him, ever since they were cubs, but now admiration had turned into something else. Vegeta often caught him staring at various parts of him (mostly his ass), he stood unnecessarily close to him, his eyes grew dark every time Vegeta showed some skin or threw a pitcher of water on himself to cool down during his training.

Fuck, he was so frustrated.

 

 

2 months later

 

 

“That is enough,” Vegeta snarled, advancing on Kakarot. The moron had just single-handedly announced that the whole fighting system that Saiyans employed was wrong, that they needed to learn how to feel ki, that that was the only way they would get strong enough to defeat Frieza. He was supposed to take away the remnants of his dinner, not impart wisdom. “You know nothing. You are nothing. You think you’ve cracked the code on how to defeat that bastard? You think you know more than me, your Prince, or my father, your King?”

The idiot said nothing, but if the pinch between his eyes was anything to go by, he wasn’t pleased by the turn in the conversation.

“You are an imbecile. A couple of fancy techniques, a bit of power and you think you know everything.” Vegeta took another step towards him. Despite the inches Kakarot had on him, he felt like he was towering over him. But Kakarot didn’t look intimidated. He was just staring at him, eyes dark, chest rising and falling rapidly. “You are a third-class. You managed to find yourself in this position by chance, and if you think I’m going to listen to you…”

“Shut up,” Kakarot snarled. Vegeta chuckled, darkly amused.

“Oh, I see you’ve found your voice again. So, tell me.” He grabbed the front of Kakarot's armour. They were now nose to nose. “What exactly makes you think you can tell me what to d… gh!”

It took a moment for Vegeta to realise what was happening, mostly because he was still reeling from anger. He didn’t kiss back immediately, either. He was torn. He wanted to yell at him a bit more, because it felt good to finally tell him to shut the fuck up, but kissing him was also shutting him the fuck up, and he was already hard.

So, he kissed him, and poured his frustration into it. Kakarot felt amazing, tasted even better and the skin in his arms opened easily under Vegeta’s claws. He was about to start undressing him, his brain in overload, when he experienced a strange moment of clear-headedness.

“Wait. Wait.”

Kakarot didn’t look like he wanted to wait. His pupils were blown, his hair was a disaster, and his arms were covered in claw marks, blood dripping from his elbows. Vegeta wanted to throw him on the bed and ride him hard.

Wait, what? Vegeta was not the kind of Saiyan who got fucked, he was the kind that fucked; so, why was he so desperate to be filled, all of a sudden? Why did he want Kakarot inside him, and not the opposite?

He had no time to ponder that. He needed to make a decision. Kakarot was panting and looking at him like a piece of meat.

He wanted him.

So, he would have him. Once. And get that horrible frustration out of his system.

He attacked his mouth again.

Kakarot, as it turned out, fucked just as well as he fought. Vegeta’s cape got thrown on the floor on top of Kakarot’s armour. When Vegeta saw that Kakarot wasn’t wearing anything underneath, he went almost feral. The rest of their clothes, unfortunately, didn’t reach the armours and the cape. They got shredded. Vegeta let him tear apart his leggings with a shiver.

Kakarot picked him up by his hips and used his tail to prod at his entrance. Vegeta snarled, bit and scratched, trying to at least pretend he wasn’t going to give up the dominant role, but Kakarot dodged most of his attacks and coaxed him into submission. Coaxed being the key word: he was aggressive, yes, but he touched and licked Vegeta with a care that was driving the Prince up the fucking wall. It made him feel cared for, adored. He hated that.

But Kakarot wouldn’t give in to his animalistic instincts. He prepared Vegeta slowly and methodically, making him gag for it. Vegeta was a mess by the time Kakarot finally entered him, his legs folded on his abdomen, Kakarot on top of him. Inside him.

Vegeta was sure that if he had been watching from the outside he wouldn’t have recognised himself. He was panting and moaning like a whore, greedily taking every inch of Kakarot’s cock, leaving scratch marks and bites all over his body. He honestly couldn’t remember sex ever feeling this great.

Kakarot opted for a slow pace, but Vegeta urged him on with a desperation that he had never experienced before. He wanted – no, needed – this to be brutal. He needed to get it all out. His anger, his confusing feelings towards this infuriating, handsome third-class, his frustration. He wanted to feel it for days. He wanted to mark and be marked.

As Kakarot finally fucked him like his life depended on it, Vegeta found himself leaning towards the spot between Kakarot’s neck and his shoulder. Every instinct he had told him to bite down, hard, and leave his permanent mark. That was a terrible, terrible sign. He couldn’t bite Kakarot. He couldn’t mate him. He couldn’t even want this, damn it.

But Kakarot was looking at his neck with the same desire written all over his face, and that meant they were in deep trouble. If one’s inner Saiyan picked out its mate before the decision was even made consciously, it was very hard to convince it to change its mind.

Kakarot came inside him and Vegeta didn’t even try to stop him, because he was coming as well. He was coming so hard he couldn’t remember anything else existed.

He came back to the world with a sweaty, deliciously toned body on top of him, almost suffocating him. Kakarot smelled so fucking good after sex.

“Get off,” he mumbled. Confused, Kakarot sat up and stared at him. Gods, but he looked amazing.

Vegeta sighed and pushed him off. He opened the first drawer of the nightstand and grabbed a bottle of pills. He took one out and stared at it. Usually, Vegeta forced one of those down the throats of whomever he’d fucked that night. He couldn’t afford any bastards running around the palace. Now, it was his turn to take it. He felt humiliated.

He swallowed it down without water. It tasted as bitter as he felt inside.

 

 

 

Two weeks later

 

 

Kakarot stood in front of the door, his arms crossed at his chest. He was vibrating with anger, and Vegeta thought for a second that this might finally be the night Kakarot tried to hurt him. Apparently, he had taken enough abuse. 

“Stop,” Kakarot growled. He looked positively insane. “Just… just stop. You can’t avoid me forever. I need to talk to you.”

“You need to get away from that door, before I blast both you, and it, away,” Vegeta snarled. He needed to get out. He couldn’t have this conversation, and that’s why he had avoided Kakarot for two weeks. He couldn’t, because he had no idea what to say.

“No! I don’t care if you hurt me, I don’t care if you insult me, I don’t care if you thrash the place. Please, talk to me, Vegeta. Please.”

Damn. He was almost crying. Vegeta preferred him when he was just angry as fuck. It was easier to deal with.

“Stop acting like a damn cub and let me leave,” he tried again. He knew it would be to no avail. His resolve was already crumbling. His confusing feelings towards the moron made it impossible for him to ignore his teary eyes.

“No. If you won’t talk to me, then listen. It’s all I ask.”

“You have no right to ask that of me.”

“I don’t?”

That seemed to have broken some sort of dam, because after that it became impossible to shut Kakarot up.

“You treat me like shit. You’ve always treated me like shit. And I could take it, because that’s how you treat everyone, and I admire you so much, I let you get away with it. I was resigned to stare at you from a distance and never get what I wanted, so, okay. But sometimes, you look at me like I matter. You don’t even realise it, probably. Every now and then, you look at me like you want me, but also like you care about me, but I thought I was just imagining it. Seeing what I wanted to see. But you listened to me. Whenever I made a suggestion about a fighting technique or… or something, you would dismiss me and call me an idiot, but then we’d spar again the next day and… and I could see that you had taken my advice. You never say anything nice to me, but your actions are proof that you actually listen to me. And then we fucked.”

Vegeta couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t face this. There was no way he would get out of this conversation with his dignity intact. For the first time in his life, he allowed himself to be envious: envious of the moron's ability to use Instant Transmission, because, right there and then, he would have given his tail to be able to just disappear.

“And you can’t deny it anymore. We were staring at each other’s biting spots. You know what it means. You know it’s not just me, you know it, and yet you’ve avoided me, insulted me even more than usual, and now you say I have no right to be angry? I have no right to be absolutely furious at how you’ve treated me? You think I care about my rights? Fuck, Vegeta, I… I can’t stop thinking about you. I’ve never felt this shitty. Ever.”

Vegeta found his voice again.

“What do you want me to say?” he whispered. He couldn’t yell. He couldn’t be angry. He just didn’t have the strength. He couldn’t pretend to hate Kakarot anymore. “You know this can’t happen. You know what happened is dangerous. We can’t fuck again. It’s too risky. We could lose control and bite each other. I can’t mate you, Kakarot, I can’t ever mate you, do you understand? My father will choose my mate. In a few years, I’ll be mated to some female Saiyan. I’m spoken for. And even if that weren’t true, you’re male, and a third-class. So, what exactly do you suggest? As you said, this can’t be a casual thing. I can't fuck you like one of my servants, whenever I feel like it, and then throw you out and forget about it. We can’t… I don’t…”

Kakarot was staring at him with wide eyes. That was probably the longest Vegeta had ever talked to him without punching him.

“I need to know that you respect me,” Kakarot said. Vegeta scoffed. It was as if he hadn’t heard a word. “I need to know it wasn’t just sex.”

“And what good would that do?” Vegeta threw his hands in the air, frustrated. “Tell me, please: what good would that do, knowing that I actually like you, knowing that I think about you all the time, too, when I can’t ever have you? We can’t have this, Kakarot. We need to make our peace with it.”

Kakarot closed his eyes.

“I… I honestly don’t think I can.”

Vegeta’s breath hitched in his throat. To his horror, he felt moisture collecting in his eyes.

“You have to.”

“No.”

“Kakarot…”

“No. I spent most of my life thinking you hated me and loving you from afar.”

Fuck. Did he just say…?

“I’m not going to keep my distance now that I know you might one day feel the same.”

Vegeta laughed a bitter laugh.

“So, that’s your big plan? Keep fucking each other, go even deeper into whatever this is, and then what?”

Kakarot was standing so close to him, Vegeta could see his long lashes. Damn, he looked so good. He had no idea how handsome he was.

“My plan,” he murmured, one hand cupping Vegeta’s right cheek. Vegeta wanted to shake the hand off. He didn’t. “Is to stand by your side for the rest of my life. In what capacity, I don’t know. But I can’t ignore this. You can’t ignore this. I want you so much, it’s… it’s consuming me, Geta.”

Vegeta closed his eyes. He couldn’t stand that sincere, eager face. He had no more weapons against him.

“I want you, too,” was all he was able to say.

They didn’t talk for the rest of the afternoon. Vegeta looked at Kakarot while he slept. He understood that he didn’t have to make a decision. He had no choice but this. He couldn’t even imagine going back to not having him in his life.

 

 

Four months later

 

 

“She stares at you. So does everyone else. It’s infuriating.”

“Yeah, and what about you? I’m not the one with former lovers all over the palace!”

Vegeta had never experienced jealousy before Kakarot. He did not care for that particular feeling. He rose his head from where it was resting on Kakarot’s chest.

“Can’t I just kill her? Please? Or at least maim her?”

Her was one of the guards. She always flirted with Kakarot. Shamelessly.

Kakarot laughed and kissed him on the lips. Vegeta loved these moments. Naked in bed, nothing else seemed to matter. Not even Frieza, who was steadily becoming a bigger and bigger threat.

“No, she’s my friend,” Kakarot said with a smile. “Besides, you know you’ve nothing to fear. I love you.”

Vegeta sighed. He never could manage to say it back, despite how much he wanted to.

“My father said in a few months he’ll start lining up possible mates.”

It was Kakarot’s turn to sigh.

“You know, you can mate her and still be with me.”

“And spend the rest of our lives like that? With a silly daughter of a rich elite and an actual warrior as a fuck buddy?”

Kakarot fixed him with a serious look.

“If that’s the only way I can have you, I’ll take it,” he said slowly. “It’s better than the alternative.”

That angered Vegeta. He got up on his elbows and leaned forward. He needed Kakarot to understand this.

“Don’t do that. To keep you as a lover would be an insult to you. You’re a warrior. A fighter. You deserve a loving mate, someone who will proudly present you to the world, and never leave your side. You need a mate that can give you cubs. Not to mention the fact that we would always be at risk of discovery. If my father finds out what we’ve been doing, he’ll have your head before you can even think of running away.”

“Good, because I have no intention of running away.”

“Listen to me, you idiot!” Vegeta grabbed his face. “I can’t have you killed because of me. I can’t live with that. You need to understand this.”

Kakarot nodded, but Vegeta continued, “I’m probably never going to say this again, so hear me out. You deserve respect. You’re a skilled, talented warrior, and a brilliant strategist. You might not ever be my official mate, but to me, you’re a prince in everything but title. If I were free to choose… consider yourself chosen.”

He couldn’t believe he had just said that. He also couldn’t stand the sight of the warrior underneath him crying like a baby.

“Vegeta…”

“Stop that,” he said. He kissed him to get him to stop, and it worked.

In the future, Vegeta would always remember that day as the first time they had made love.

They were doomed.

 

 

2 months later

 

Vegeta stared at the vapid woman in front of him with ill-concealed revulsion. She hadn’t spoken a word ever since they had arrived at the palace. She seemed to be happy to let her father talk for her – and gods, did he enjoy the sound of his own voice. The King himself was starting to show signs of boredom.

Vegeta turned around to exchange a look with his bodyguard. Kakarot was barely keeping it together. Vegeta sent him a warning glance. It would not do to burst into laughter in front of a suitor and her father.

The woman was staring at Vegeta with fake shyness – she probably thought it was attractive – and as her father pompously declared her to have “the largest hips on the planet, perfect for bearing cubs, my King and Prince” – Vegeta found himself having trouble not laughing as well. These people were utterly ridiculous.

“Thank you, Lord Arley. We’ll keep you and you lovely… Mato? Under consideration.”

Vegeta breathed a sigh of relief. Normally, his father would invite them to dinner. If he hadn’t, it meant he had already excluded the possibility of Mato mating Vegeta. Thank fuck.

The two left and the King turned to his son.

“Don’t think this gets you out of your duty,” he reminded him with a stern expression. “We have at least a dozen more candidates to see.”

“Father…” Vegeta started, looking around. The throne room was relatively empty, with only a few guards and their two personal bodyguards. He had wanted to tackle this topic for a while now. He had hoped Kakarot wouldn’t be present, though. “Why are we even doing this? Just for the sake of tradition?”

“What do you mean, why are we doing this? You need heirs, Vegeta!”

“I don’t just need an heir. I need a strong heir.” Vegeta had been preparing for this conversation for a long time. He had thought it all out. “Statistically, females are weaker than males. That means that the cubs will probably be less strong than they would be if I mated a male.”

“That’s not necessarily true,” the King rebutted, a pinch forming between his eyebrows. “You can’t know that…”

“But why a woman? There is no legitimate reason other than the fact that it’s how it’s been done in the past. If I have to pick a mate, I think I should have the strongest Saiyan on the planet, not just a powerless weakling with a boot-licking father!”

“That is because you are narrow-minded, and selfish,” the King growled. He stood from his throne and towered over his son. “You think mating has anything to do with what you want? With your personal desires? No, Vegeta. Your mate should be someone that can bring new wealth to the crown. Someone whose connections are useful for us. You can’t just decide…”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realise we were going bankrupt,” Vegeta interrupted him with a snarl. He noticed Kakarot raising his ki – he had taught him how to feel it and control it – in warning. That was his way of telling him to keep it together, and he was right. His father wasn’t going to listen to him if he lost his temper. But he was so fucking angry. “As for connections, we are the rulers of the planet. We don’t need them to owe us favours, we demand their help if we need it. Maybe it’s because we’ve weakened the line with the blood of these powerless women who’ve never fought a single day in their life…”

“That’s enough!”

“…that we are not strong enough to defeat Frieza. My mother…”

“Your mother was a good woman,” the King growled. Vegeta could feel his own ki flaring all around him. He wanted to hurt the King.

“She died in childbirth! No Saiyan ever dies in childbirth! Had you picked a more powerful mate…”

“Enough!”

“…I would have siblings now, and you wouldn’t be so impossible all the time…”

“I said, enough!”

Vegeta wasn’t quite sure what had happened. One moment his father was as still as a statue, and the moment after he was attempting to strike him down. His own son. He hadn’t accounted for Kakarot coming out of nowhere and stopping his arm, though.

“My King,” Kakarot panted. He had terror in his eyes. Vegeta thought that only Kakarot would have the courage to physically stop the King from doing what he wanted. “Please, calm down. You don’t want to do this.”

The King stared at Kakarot. Just as Vegeta was starting to think he would either hit him or sentence him to death, the King lowered his arm, took a deep breath and regained his composure.

“Kakarot’s right,” he said. There was no trace of anger in his voice. “It is a great crime to attack a prince. Even if I’m King, and even if the Prince is a stubborn, ungrateful little cub who won’t see beyond his selfish desires.”

Kakarot took a step back, confident that the King wouldn’t lose his mind again. He stood unnecessarily close to Vegeta, though, and kept a semi-defensive stance.

“Let me make this easier to understand for you, Vegeta. You are mating a female Saiyan of my own choosing. You are getting her pregnant. She will bear your heirs. And you will get over this nonsensical, childish fantasy of yours. You will do your duty, just as I’ve done mine, because you’re a Prince. And you’re not just responsible for yourself. You’re responsible for everyone. Their needs come before your own. Are we clear?”

Vegeta stared at him in defiance. He would not give him this satisfaction.

“I will do what’s good for our race, father. We just disagree on what constitutes looking after our people. We are fighters. We need to put strength above everything else. I believe that’s our best bet if we want to survive.”

The King opened his mouth, then closed it.

“Then I guess you’ll just have to do your duty and not like it. Welcome to rulership.”

 

 

 

1 month later

 

 

Vegeta’s head was ringing. He was ki blasting Kakarot, yelling at the top of his lungs. He had never been this furious in his entire life. He knew he shouldn’t have let himself fall for the moron.

“You’re a traitor! A fucking traitor!”

“Vegeta, please!” Kakarot dodged most of the hits, but some made their way to him. He got kicked straight in the chest, but the blasts didn’t seem to do much to him. Vegeta realised that he was either pulling his punches or Kakarot had lied about his strength, too. He was a liar, he knew, now. It was entirely possible. “Please, listen to me!”

“Listen to what?! I don’t want to hear the details of how you’ve fooled everyone, me, my father… you’ve disgraced all of us!”

Vegeta had been given a solo mission on a desert planet nearby. He had been sent to test for potential new sources of water. Apparently, Kakarot – who was the only one who could accompany him on a solo mission – had decided it was finally time to let Vegeta in on a little secret he had been hiding for years. Vegeta had foolishly thought this mission would present the perfect occasion to spend some time together without fear of being seen. Sleep in together. Fight and fuck in the open.

Instead, he had to kill the idiot to restore his people’s honour.

“It’s not like that, please, ouch! Vegeta, stop. Stop!”

Vegeta couldn’t stop. He felt betrayed in every way. Kakarot had lured him into that false sense of love, of trust, only to shatter the illusion with the worst possible revelation – Earth was still standing. So was Yardrat. So were all the planets Kakarot had supposedly conquered. He was a liar and a cheat and a traitor.

The fight had quickly come to physical blows. As Vegeta suspected, Kakarot had been hiding his actual strength.

Because every time they sparred – and it was almost every day – Kakarot managed to hold his own. He never surpassed him directly, he wouldn’t dare, but it was as if he rose his power level just enough so that he could be the perfect sparring partner for the Prince. Except Vegeta had gotten a lot stronger in the last years, so Kakarot must have too. They were supposed to be at around 60.000. Vegeta suspected Kakarot was much stronger than that. Much stronger than him. That made him hit him with renewed gusto.

It did nothing to him. Kakarot managed to get Vegeta down and pin him on the ground. He couldn’t move. Seeing the dark look on Kakarot’s face, he assumed the worst for a second.

“Are you going to force yourself on me, you miserable piece of shit?”

Kakarot was so shocked he almost released Vegeta from his hold.

“No! Are you insane? I’m the same person I was this morning, Vegeta. I just need you to listen to me. Please, stop fighting and listen. Please.”

Vegeta couldn’t stop. He thrashed and thrashed, trying to bite him, doing everything he could to make Kakarot feel as hurt as he was feeling. He flailed his tail madly, trying to land a hit, but Kakarot's own entangled with it, effectively immobilising him completely. This, this was what happened when you let yourself feel. This happened because of Vegeta’s vulnerability.

“Fine, keep going, I’ll just talk. When they sent me to Earth, I was devastated. I was so far away from everything I loved. My family. My friends. You.”

Vegeta couldn’t hear this. He just couldn’t. He shut his eyes and tried to block him out.

“When I landed, my pod crashed in water. It malfunctioned. I had to break the door open, and swim my way up from under I don’t know how many feet of water. I was so weak back then, so I couldn’t. I lost consciousness before I could break the surface. I thought I was dead.”

“You should have died,” Vegeta growled.

“But I didn’t die. Turns out, my pod had crashed near the island of an old fighting master. One of Earth’s most powerful warriors. He dove in and rescued me. Not only did he save my life, he… he took me into his home. Taught me all the techniques I know today. He’s the reason why I unlocked my strength, and as time flew by… I realised I couldn’t carry out my mission.”

“Because you’re a coward, and a weakling!”

“No, because those people… they were my friends. I made a lot of friends. They didn’t care that I was an alien, they gave me a new name, they welcomed me with open arms, and it didn’t matter to them that I was so different. They didn’t deserve to die, Vegeta. They didn’t. You need to understand that.”

“Why, because they were as moronic as you?!”

Kakarot pursed his lips and continued. “One of my friends back there was this scientist woman, Bulma. She was brilliant. As my deadline approached, I had to level with them and confess what I had come there to do. They were horrified. And yet, they didn’t blame me. They understood me. They knew it wasn’t my idea to hurt them.”

Vegeta was crying, thrashing weakly and mostly for the sake of appearances. He hated Kakarot so much.

“So, on Earth there’s this thing called Dragon Balls. There are seven. You collect them all, and you get to call this dragon named Shenron, and he will grant you a wish. His powers are great, but limited. He couldn’t destroy Frieza – I asked – but he could hide Earth. To anyone but me. He created a device controlled by Bulma. Then she gave me a bunch of their technology to prove I had destroyed the planet, a fancy crown, and a way to communicate with her in case I need to warn them about something. And then Earth… disappeared.”

“Disappeared?” Vegeta couldn’t help but ask, bewildered. Could this dragon things truly exist?

“To anyone else but me, Planet Earth doesn’t exist anymore. It’s shielded from sight and radars. If a ship flies by that point in the universe, it finds nothing, and their radars and sonars tell them to change their course, or else they fly into a terrible solar storm.”

Vegeta was shocked. Kakarot had thought it all out. He’d rather use deceit and tricks just to avoid doing his duty.

“Then I sent the trophies back home… and went on to the next planet. The Dragon Balls can only be used once a year, so I had to stay on each planet at least a year. I would make the same deal with the planet rulers – they were all glad that alien invaders couldn’t reach them anymore – and then I would call Bulma, ask her to collect the Dragon Balls and make the wish to Shenron. And then… then I was finally able to come home.”

“So, you’re telling me,” Vegeta growled, “that all your merits, all your accomplishments… they’re all lies? You’ve never destroyed a single planet in your entire life?”

“Tell me,” Kakarot snarled back, now angered. “Why should I have? No, seriously, stop telling me it’s because what our people do. You always criticise your father because he’s a blind follower of traditions and never sees a new, better way of doing things. So, tell me: why?”

“Because…”

“No, there’s no good reason. Those planets were friendly. They hated Frieza as much as we did. They offered their goods to me, their technology, and they did so freely. I knew that the King wouldn’t care about that, he would have had me destroy them on principle, but there was no point. No point at all, Vegeta!”

“You don’t know that. You can’t know that.”

“Yes, I do. Because unlike other Saiyans, I actually took the time to get to know them and their culture, and they were peaceful people. They wanted to help us. They didn’t deserve to die.” He said the last words with a tinge of desperation. “Please, Vegeta, please. Please, I beg of you, don’t tell me that the man I’ve fallen madly in love with doesn’t have the tiniest flick of compassion and decency inside him. Please, tell me that you understand. You can’t be like the others. You’re different, no matter how much you hide it. Please.”

Well, now Vegeta felt manipulated. And exhausted.

“Get off me,” he murmured. Kakarot obliged him. Vegeta stood up, dusted himself off and looked at the man he loved.

He had no idea what to do with this. He was too distraught to make a decision.

“Let’s go back to planet Vegeta.”

As they travelled, he saw no way out. His plan was to turn Kakarot in the moment they landed.

As it turned out, he never managed to.

 

10 days later

 

 

Vegeta woke up to someone on his bed. He opened his eyes and found a pair of pleading brown ones staring back at him.

“Vegeta… please…”

Ten days. Ten days of not talking to the idiot, of sleeping in their own beds, of nothing, because he couldn’t find the courage to tell his father and see Kakarot die, and now just a bit of begging and he crumbled.

He was so, so fucked. He kissed him with a sigh.

 

 

A month later

 

 

Vegeta watched Kakarot spar with Nappa.

In theory, Nappa was their strongest commander. He couldn’t keep up with Kakarot, not by a long shot.

Of course, he had no idea. Kakarot was very good at hiding his strength and let his opponent land a punch every once in a while. To any random observer, it would look like Kakarot and Nappa were evenly matched. To Vegeta, however, it was obvious that Kakarot was suppressing his power. Problem was, now that he could recognise the signs, he was pretty sure Kakarot did the same when sparring with him.

The Vegetas were supposed to be the strongest Saiyans. The King accepted his son’s superiority over him because that was the natural order of things: Vegeta needed to be the strongest Saiyan, so no one would ever dare challenge them for the crown.

Yet Kakarot was more powerful than him. That was unprecedented. He didn’t even know how his father would react. How could he sentence someone stronger than them to death? Theoretically, nothing would stop Kakarot from killing the King and taking the throne for himself. Vegeta knew Kakarot would never, ever do something like that: he was fiercely loyal and respectful of his rulers. Also, he had zero interest in being King.

Yet another secret to keep, Vegeta mused.

Just how strong was Kakarot, really?

 

 

4 months later

 

 

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Kakarot was pounding into him from behind. Vegeta’s tail was curled possessively over one of his wrists, as he urged him on with snarls and moans. Kakarot grabbed him by the hair and brought him up, his back flush against his chest. As usual, he nuzzled the spot where the biting mark would be. Vegeta would have given anything to just let him bite down, but they had to make do with licks and nips. Vegeta reached around to grab the base of Kakarot’s tail and squeezed. His efforts were received with a low moan that was almost enough to send them both over the edge.

And then the doors to Vegeta’s room burst open.

“What the hell…”

Kakarot grabbed the sheets to cover them, his erection instantly killed. Vegeta looked up in bewilderment. His father.

“I see the servant girl wasn’t lying,” the King said in a deadly flat voice. Behind him, Auber was quivering. Vegeta growled. That bitch. That jealous bitch. “How long has this been going on?”

“Father…”

“I want an answer, Vegeta.”

Vegeta and Kakarot looked at each other. It wasn’t strictly illegal for anyone to sleep with the Prince, even though technically personal bodyguards were supposed to be celibate. Their main focus needed to be the protection of the Royal Family. If a bodyguard wanted to have a family, they would need to relinquish the position. However, it was illegal to court a Prince without permission. They couldn’t let the King know how close they had grown.

“A few days. We’ll end it. It’s of no consequence,” Vegeta swiftly lied, but his second of hesitation was enough to make the King turn towards the servant girl.

“It’s… it’s been more than a year, my King… I’ve heard them saying ‘I love you’ to each other. Several times.”

Well, that decided it. The girl needed to die.

“Lies!” Vegeta accused her. “Father, you would trust the word of a servant girl over that of your son?”

The King stared at him in open disgust. His upper lip was curled.

“Get dressed. Then come to the throne room. Immediately.” He turned to the guards. “Make sure they don’t try to escape. And ki cuff them.” Vegeta opened his mouth to protest. “Both of them.”

 

 

One hour later

 

 

Vegeta stared at the doors of the throne room with panic seizing his throat. Bardock kept looking at him, begging for an explanation to why he had been summoned in the middle of the night. The Council was probably wondering the same. Why hold a trial at night?

Vegeta had been dragged away before he could even begin to make up the details of a fake story with Kakarot. He had been forced to leave as Nappa reluctantly cuffed and punched Kakarot. Several times. His father sat on his throne, stone-faced, patiently waiting for the doors to open. Vegeta’s mind was desperately trying to find a way out of this, something to give to his father, anything, but there was nothing they could do. He should have prepared for this moment, instead of indulging in Kakarot’s foolish optimism that no one would ever find out.

Finally, after what felt like hours, the doors opened. Vegeta had to watch as they dragged – literally – the love of his life across the room, leaving a small but visible trail of blood behind. Kakarot’s left eye was swollen shut. His lips were cracked in multiple points. Every inch of his body seemed to be a painting in yellow, blue and purple.

Vegeta felt like his heart was constricted in a vice. He couldn’t take it. He couldn’t see Kakarot – so strong, so beautiful – like this, because of him. Because he had lacked the willpower to keep away from him.

Bardock stared at his son with a mix of anger and shock.

“Kakarot, you stand accused of courting a member of the Royal Family without permission, of disregarding your vows of celibacy, of negligence and of treason. Do you deny these accusations?”

Kakarot scoffed. Vegeta was leaning towards him, ignoring the warning looks his father kept giving him. He had to do something. He had to speak up.

But then Kakarot turned to look at him. He smiled – one of his teeth was missing – a very sad smile.

“I’m tired of lying,” he apologised. Vegeta’s eyes filled with tears. He shook his head, but it was too late.

“I will not lie,” he said, speaking to the King and the Council now. “I don’t think I’ve been negligent. I have guarded the Prince diligently, and I never let anything interfere with that. I did break my vow of celibacy, but in all fairness, personal bodyguards have always had relationships. It’s just mating that’s usually considered forbidden. I don’t believe I’ve committed treason. My crime, if you see it as such, is that I’ve loved your son ever since I was a cub. By some miracle, he loved me back. It never felt like a choice, not on my end, at least. I breathe. I eat. I sleep. I love Vegeta.”

Vegeta shut his eyes tight. Those words weren’t new to him. Kakarot told him almost every day how much he loved him. But hearing it in front of everyone… in front of his father. He would have given anything to either stop feeling or go and take Kakarot away forever. Away from their judgement and their disgust.

“I am deeply sorry that I’ve broken laws. I’m deeply sorry that Vegeta is already promised to some woman he will never love. I’m sorry that we’ve put you in this position. I’m sorry that my father has to see me like this…”

Bardock clenched his fists. Vegeta was sorry for that, too. Bardock was a fine warrior and a personal friend of the King. He didn’t deserve to see his son publicly disgraced.

“I’m sorry about many things, but I cannot apologise for loving Vegeta. I will accept whatever punishment you see fit. I won’t fight back. But I will say this, my King: with all due respect, you’re losing your son. If you force him to mate someone he doesn’t respect, he will never forgive you. You’ll condemn both of you to unhappiness. I don’t presume to think that you would ever let him mate me, but still, I beg you to reconsider: Vegeta’s reasons for refusing the bite are solid. Please, listen to him.”

The room fell into a deep, shocked silence. The King seemed amazed – that this lowly third-class would dare to speak to him in such a fashion – and furious. Bardock was breathing hard, but if Vegeta knew him, he had already forgiven Kakarot for all his stupidity.

Vegeta saw no way out. They couldn’t deny it anymore. Might as well go all in.

“He’s right,” he said. Everyone’s eyes turned on him. “If I have to mate, I want someone I can respect. Someone whose strength poses an actual challenge to me, a warrior. Kakarot is…” He looked at him. Gods, he loved him. “Kakarot is an amazing warrior. Everyone can vouch for that. He has a good strategic mind, and I carry the gene that allows me to bear cubs. We are a perfect match. Most importantly, though…” Vegeta raised his voice. He wanted everyone to hear him loud and clear. “I love him. I’ve loved him for a long time. I will refuse anyone who’s not him, father. I’m sorry. As Kakarot said, there is no choice but this.”

“You,” the King hissed. Vegeta braced himself. “You dare defy me. You dare defend this scum who speaks to me like I’m his equal. You dare, time and again, challenge me about your future mate. You are a disgrace, Prince Vegeta. Let everyone here hear this: Prince Vegeta is a disgrace to his people, to his King and to the gods.”

Bardock decided to intervene: “My King, if I could just talk to my son…”

“No!” the King interrupted him, standing up. “No, Bardock. Your son’s treason is yours as well. You should have known, you should have steered him towards the correct path. You have no right to ask anything, and I mean anything, of me.”

“You can’t kill him,” Vegeta shouted. One last desperate attempt. “He’s stronger than anyone in this room.”

“Vegeta, no!” Kakarot yelled. A guard punched him.

“What is this nonsense?” the King yelled back.

Vegeta smirked at his father, panting. He wanted to hurt him so badly. He wanted him to know just how badly the ‘scum’ had surpassed him.

“Kakarot’s the strongest Saiyan on the planet. Stronger than me, and definitely stronger than you. He’s been hiding it, because he knew it would get him unwanted attention. But you can’t execute him by means of ki blast, as your beloved tradition demands. You can only kill him if he has those cuffs on, but what kind of cowardice would that be?”

His father was seething. Vegeta enjoyed every second of it.

“He’s not the strongest Saiyan,” the King snarled. “He’s a lowly third-class…”

“He is. Want to find out?”

Again, the room fell silent. Of course, Vegeta knew he had put them in an impossible position. Everyone already suspected Kakarot was a lot stronger than he pretended to be, because how can you trust someone with the ability to suppress his ki? If they got the cuffs off, and Vegeta’s words turned out to be true, then Kakarot could annihilate them all and escape with Vegeta. If they didn’t, and they executed him with his cuffs on, they would lose the people’s respect. No one would bow to a cowardly King.

“Very well,” the King said. His head bowed, he repeated “Very well” for a few seconds. The tension in the room was staggering.

“You leave me with no choice, Vegeta. Here’s my decision: in a year, you will mate with someone of my own choosing.”

Vegeta didn’t see the point in protesting. It didn’t matter anymore. Not as long as Kakarot…

“As for your lover…”

Bardock stared at the King with pleading eyes, but he was ignored.

“Exile.”

 

 

3 months later

 

 

Vegeta had expected the pain. He had expected to feel the overwhelming rage and sense of powerlessness, the first few days after Kakarot had been dragged away and unceremoniously dumped on a space pod. He had been forced to watch as Kakarot was denied a last goodbye with Vegeta, his father and his brother, and then told to leave and never come back. One misstep, and the sentence would turn capital.

Vegeta had been forced to yell his goodbye in public, at the top of his lungs, because he couldn’t let Kakarot go without knowing.

“I love you,” he had screamed. Kakarot turned desperately towards him, trying to slow down the guards that were taking him away. “You are my mate, no matter what anyone says. You’ll always be my mate. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…”

“I’m not!” Kakarot had shouted back. “I’m not sorry. I love you. Father…”

Bardock had stared at his son. “You will always be my son,” he had said in a choked, hoarse voice.

“Vegeta! Vegeta!” But there had been nothing to do. With no money, none of his possessions and a severely injured body, Kakarot had been cast away.

The first days afterwards, predictably, Vegeta had thrashed everyone and everything that came too close to him. He had tried to escape, get himself in a pod and go after Kakarot – but his father had threatened him and restrained him. He had taken away his authority to launch space pods, his freedom to walk the planet freely.

It had taken Vegeta almost a week to give up and realise there was nothing to do. And then… silence. Apathy.

His father could force him to do many things, but he couldn’t force him out of his catatonic state. Vegeta ate to survive. He trained only when absolutely necessary, and never sparred with anyone. He slept 12 hours a day. He didn’t participate in council meetings, he just sat there with a distant look in his eyes.

He never protested anymore. He never smiled. His fire was out.

His father forced him to meet two potential mates, and Vegeta just stood there, lifeless, as his father desperately tried to engage him in any way.

Every spare second he had, he spent either sleeping or staring at a fixed point outside his bedroom window. 

He was numb. The only thing he could think about was Kakarot, alone on some planet, probably hurt, probably starving. It hurt so much that, eventually, he stopped thinking about that, too.

For the first time in months, he smirked. Of all the things his father could force him to do, he couldn’t force happiness unto him.

Well, Kakarot had warned him.

 

3 months later

 

 

Vegeta took a deep breath. His first mission in months.

Eventually, his father had seen that keeping his son segregated in the palace wasn’t going to do him much good. He had assigned him to a mission off-world, with Nappa there to keep an eye on him and make sure he wouldn’t run away.

The mission itself was little more than a ruse to get him out of bed. The planet was a tiny mudball in a solar system a few lightyears away. It was a scrap planet. People dumped their rubbish there, and then the workers would go through all of it, looking for recyclable materials and metals.

The King suspected that their employees had been slacking off. So, he sent Vegeta.

Vegeta and Nappa inspected the planet and accepted a tour of one of the factories in which the materials were turned into something useful. As it turned out, no one was slacking. It was just a mind-numbingly dull and awful job. Half their personnel had lost a limb or two trying to take apart partially-sentient robots or drones, and they worked 10 to 12 hours a day for a miserable wage. Vegeta couldn’t wait to go back home and yell at his father.

They were visiting one of the dumps when Vegeta heard a voice.

“V-Vegeta?”

He turned around in shock. Six months. Six months since he’d heard that voice.

And there he was. His Kakarot. The man he had chosen as mate and consort.

Covered in rubbish.

“Kakarot?” he whispered.

Kakarot abandoned the jet engine he was working on and stood. He smiled like he’d just seen the sun.

“Do you know him, my Prince?” Fulla, the leader of that section, asked. Nappa looked bewildered.

“Leave us,” Vegeta breathlessly ordered. The woman turned to Nappa for confirmation, and then left. Leaving Nappa and Vegeta with Kakarot.

“They told me someone important was coming,” Kakarot started, scratching the back of his head awkwardly. The gesture was so familiar, Vegeta almost whined.

“I didn’t know… nobody knew. My father sent me,” he stuttered, trying to explain. Kakarot nodded. It was a pretty safe bet to assume that if the King had known Kakarot worked there, he never would have sent Vegeta. “You work here?” he asked. He had to keep talking. Had to. Before he did something unbelievably stupid, like killing Nappa and run away with Kakarot.

“I do!” Kakarot answered, feigning enthusiasm. It didn’t fool Vegeta for one second. “It’s a living, you know. And no one else would hire me, after… well. After.”

Vegeta nodded and took a look at his right wrist, where his skin was marred by the Saiyan mark of disgrace. A black, round sign that signalled one’s status. An exile. No one who deemed themselves respectable would give Kakarot a job, not with that mark.

Since he was already looking…

Gone was the Saiyan armour, Kakarot was dressed like a common labourer. He wore tattered, loose grey pants and a filthy sleeveless coat, torn in several spots. He was covered in dirt, his hair matted, and Vegeta could count at least five new scars on his arms alone, plus a gash on his left cheek that still looked fresh.

“Nappa…” he murmured. He had to at least try.

“I’ll leave you alone. You have fifteen minutes.”

They both looked at him with shock written all over their faces. Nappa shrugged.

“My mate, Ore… when we met, it didn’t feel like much of a choice. She’s dead now.”

The moment he was out of sight, Vegeta threw himself at Kakarot.

He couldn’t stop touching: he needed to reassure himself that he was alive, to assess the damage, to hear his heartbeat…

“Geta, no… I’m filthy.”

“You think I care?!” With a growl, Vegeta grabbed him by the front of the disgusting coat and crashed their mouths together. He almost wept in relief. It was him. He was there.

“Gods, Geta… I miss you so much…” A tear escaped Kakarot’s eye. Vegeta licked it away, making them both freeze. Grooming. Only mates groomed each other. After the initial shock had dissipated, Vegeta decided he didn’t care. He started to lick Kakarot’s face, his wounds, his scars. Kakarot shuddered.

“This is… this is fucking terrible. This is not your place. Your place is by my side, not covered in dirt and scars…”

“It is what it is,” Kakarot replied, kissing the point of Vegeta’s nose. “I meant what I said. I regret nothing. This job sucks, but I hope to save enough to buy some form of transportation and go to Earth. I can hide there and wait for you.”

“Wait for me?” Vegeta was confused. “But you can’t go to Earth, it’s hidden away!”

“I know. But I have a way of communicating with them.”

“But your things were destroyed!”

Kakarot bowed his head. He stroked Vegeta’s hair.

“I thought they might have given to them to my father… it doesn’t matter, anyway. I don’t need my stuff to talk to Bulma.”

Vegeta didn’t understand anything that was happening. And they were running out of time, because they couldn’t stop kissing and scenting each other. Their tails were intertwined so tightly it almost hurt.

“What do you mean, wait for me?”

“I don’t know. I’ll always wait for you.”

Vegeta breathed sharply through his nose. He made an impulsive decision, one he had unconsciously made a long time ago.

“I will mate a woman. I will put a couple of cubs in her. And then I’ll run away. To you.”

Kakarot’s eyes widened. “You can’t give up your birthright!”

“I can. And I will. Either that, or I become King and pass a few new laws,” Vegeta smiled. Gods, it felt so good to smile. It was dizzying, after all this time.

Kakarot embraced him tightly. Vegeta was alarmed by how much weight he’d lost.

“Are you in fighting shape?” he asked, worried.

“Stronger than ever. This is hard work. Good training,” Kakarot reassured him. “Don’t eat as much as I’d like, though.”

“I bet,” Vegeta chuckled. Kakarot didn’t even eat as much as he’d have liked to on Planet Vegeta.

“I thought you might have forgotten me,” Kakarot admitted, smiling sadly. “In a way, I hoped so.”

“Like that could ever happen. Here, take this…” Had Vegeta even suspected, he would have brought so much more. But he only had a few gems in his pouch.

“Vegeta, no…” Kakarot protested, trying to get him to take the gems back.

“Shut up. I just wish I had more,” he growled, kissing him and forcing his palm to close around the stones.

Their time was up. Nappa was back.

“I’ll always love you,” Vegeta promised.

“I’ll always wait for you,” Kakarot promised back.

Vegeta went back to his home planet feeling strangely energised.

They just needed to wait.

 

 

6 months later

 

 

This was a mess.

Vegeta couldn’t make sense of his thoughts. They were all jumbled together. Frieza is coming, Frieza is coming, Frieza is coming…

After years and years of cold war, Frieza had finally decided he was fed up with the Saiyans. An anonymous message had come through their channels, warning them that in a few days, Frieza and his entire army would attack planet Vegeta.

The King had sent out some drones to investigate. Frieza’s army was indeed on the move, directed towards them. The mothership was escorting the army.

Everywhere Vegeta went, he heard panicked shouts and saw frantic preparations. The Saiyans were readying for war – the only one that mattered.

Vegeta had been given command of a platoon of elite warriors. They had been assigned the grounds near the castle and the city.

His father kept yelling orders and overseeing preparations. Vegeta could tell that despite the frantic attempts at keeping Frieza either away or contained, the planet was overcome with a terrible sense of hopelessness. Frieza’s army, although immense, was not much of a threat to them. Frieza, though… he was unbeatable. They were all doomed.

In those moments, Vegeta wanted nothing more than to see Kakarot again. One last time. He needed his cockiness and optimism. They all needed it. They also needed his power.

“Bardock?” he asked, surprised, accepting the incoming call from his scouter. Bardock hadn’t been at work in months, ever since his son had been exiled. He had asked for a one-year leave, and the King had granted it to him.

“Prince Vegeta,” Bardock said. His voice sounded… hesitant? “I need to ask you… could you come by my unit tonight? After everyone’s asleep?”

What the hell?

“Bardock, in case you haven’t noticed, we are preparing for war.”

“I know. Trust me. This is important.”

Vegeta raised his eyebrows. He was free to go wherever he wanted, now that his father was convinced he wouldn’t try to leave. Still, there was a war going on! He needed his sleep. Anyway, what the hell did Bardock want from him?

“Why can’t you come see me here?” he asked.

“Please, Vegeta. Do as I say. It won’t take much of your time.”

Vegeta thought about it for a second.

“Fine.”

 

 

Several hours later

 

 

Vegeta had a hard time escaping his guards, but he managed to sneak out of the castle right after midnight.

The Saiyans weren’t sleeping that night. As he walked through the streets of the main city, in the less-than-respectable neighbourhood in which Bardock lived, it became apparent that anyone who wasn’t drinking was fucking. Every corner he turned, he saw Saiyans mating in the open, and shouts and moans coming from open windows. It didn’t surprise, him, though. Had Kakarot been with him, that’s exactly what they would have been doing.

Hidden under his cloak, he knocked on Bardock’s door. He had a little unit just outside city limits. It looked more like a shack, these days. Bardock had really let it go. With an unexpected jolt of excitement, Vegeta realised Kakarot had been born and raised in that little unit. It was his family home.

“Come in,” Bardock said, opening the door just a fraction. Vegeta snuck in.

“What is this about, Bardock?”

The Saiyan looked worried, and tired as fuck. “I am risking a lot,” he began, making Vegeta wonder what the hell was going on.

“Why?” he demanded to know.

Bardock sighed. In lieu of an explanation, he pointed to a spot behind Vegeta.

“Hello.”

Vegeta couldn’t fucking believe his eyes.

“No!” he shouted at Kakarot, looking between him and his father with a shocked look. Bardock seemed pretty resigned to his exiled son being there. “You can’t be here! Frieza is coming, and if anyone sees you, anyone, you’ll be sentenced to death! You need to leave right now…”

Kakarot shut him up with a kiss. Vegeta whined.

“Nobody saw me,” Kakarot explained the moment they stopped kissing – to Bardock’s relief. “I swear, I’ve been careful. And did you really think I would stay away as Frieza threatened my planet, my family, you?”

Bardock cleared his throat. “I’ll sleep at the palace tonight,” he announced. “I have to be there early in the morning, anyway. Last reports say Frieza should be here by tomorrow night.”

“Good night, Father,” Kakarot said, “and thank you.”

Bardock nodded to both of them and closed the door behind him. Kakarot locked it.

“How did you even know?” Vegeta demanded to know.

Kakarot grabbed him by the waist. “I was the one who alerted you. The rumour mill was abuzz with news of Frieza being on the move, so I went to see for myself. Then, I sent an anonymous message to the palace.”

“You are insane!” Vegeta hissed.

“Maybe, but I’ve just bought us a night together. Alone.”

Vegeta couldn’t believe his ears. “How can you be thinking about that, when tomorrow we will all die?”

“How can you not?” Kakarot grinned. Vegeta laughed out loud. The fight left him. Oh, well.

He grabbed him by his coat. It looked like the same one as last time, but it was clean. Kakarot himself looked clean. Had he washed himself for him? He kissed him so roughly that their teeth clashed. He couldn’t care less.

“Vegeta…” Kakarot moaned, already tugging at the clasp of his cloak. Vegeta let it fall to the floor.

“Wait,” he ordered. “I need to do this first.”

He undressed Kakarot slowly, piece by piece. Gods, but it was glorious to gaze at his naked form again. He had lost a few pounds, but his chiselled muscles had lost none of their tone. Vegeta laid him down on the bed, refusing to take off his own clothes. He was right, Kakarot had scrubbed himself clean. The large expanse of skin in front of him made his mouth water. But he needed to see for himself, first.

Silently, patiently, Vegeta traced with his tongue – grooming him again – every new scar. Every new mark. Finally, he took his wrist to his lips. He looked at the offending mark and licked a long stripe. Kakarot closed his eyes, panting heavily.

“Don’t…” he pleaded.

“Yes,” Vegeta growled in response. He swiftly removed his armour, throwing it away carelessly. He let Kakarot peel the undershirt and the leggings off of him. His boots had long been abandoned.

Naked. Together. Vegeta felt dizzy from happiness and excitement.

For a few minutes they did nothing but kiss and touch each other, exploring, getting to know one another again. Vegeta bit and sucked and licked everything he could, sucking two of Kakarot’s fingers into his mouth and getting them wet. He needed to feel him inside him. He had craved nothing else for months.

Kakarot breached him delicately, making Vegeta moan out loud. They had waited long enough.

When Kakarot switched their positions, getting Vegeta under him and hoisting his legs on his shoulders, Vegeta wasted no time in grabbing Kakarot’s cock and guiding it to his entrance.

And then he really, really let himself go. Because finally.

 Kakarot looked like a madman and Vegeta loved every second of it. He thrust in and out of him with wild abandon, feasting on him like a starving man. They only broke eye contact when they kissed. Their lips were a mess, bloody and swollen, because they couldn’t stop biting. Vegeta turned feral. He snarled and slammed his hips upwards, clenching every time Kakarot drove back in, and using his tail to tease his lover's. It didn’t last as long as they wanted, but Vegeta didn’t care. He needed to come and feel Kakarot come.

Desperate for something to bite, Kakarot sunk his teeth into one of the pillows. Vegeta put his own fist in his mouth. They came, spasming around each other, leaving bruises and growling like animals.

It took Vegeta a long time to come down from the high. When he did, it was to Kakarot looking at him like he was some sort of treasure.

“I love you,” he said. He was smiling like he couldn’t believe his luck. Vegeta knew, right there and then, that he couldn’t let him go again.

After the war, if they survived, he would go with him. This time, not even the gods could stop him.

 

 

A few hours later

 

 

Vegeta reluctantly left Kakarot’s warm embrace and started to get dressed. He needed to be at the palace before sunrise, or his absence would be noticed. He didn’t need his father to be aware of Kakarot’s presence on the planet.

“Stay,” Kakarot begged, stretching on the bed. That made for an inviting sight, but Vegeta had no time to waste.

“Don’t beg, it’s beneath you,” he bantered, smirking at him. Kakarot rolled his eyes. It felt like they’d never been separated. “I have to go. What exactly are you planning to do, by the way?”

Kakarot shrugged. Cocky idiot. “I have no plan. I suppose I’ll just go where the fight’s the thickest.”

Vegeta scoffed. “Idiot. Try to stay away from the King, at least.”

He bent down to kiss him goodbye. “I will see you either in the Afterworld or when it’s all over, okay?”

“Oh, Geta, you say the most romantic things.”

Vegeta smirked. Only Kakarot could joke in a moment like that.

 

 

That evening

 

 

Vegeta smashed his fist through the goon’s ribcage. The purple fuck hit the ground seconds later, dead.

One immediately replaced him, but Nappa didn’t even let him get near the Prince.

Vegeta panted and ran a hand through his sweaty hair. They had been fighting for hours. Frieza had sent down his army, which had quickly overrun the city, trying to get to the palace and kill the King. The bastard didn’t even think he needed to join the fight himself.

The hardest ones to take out had been Burter and Jeice, while Nappa had easily taken care of Guldo. The presence of the Ginyu force meant Frienza had taken the fight seriously, at least.

Burter had left Vegeta a present, though. His tail was broken in two places. The pain was almost unbearable, but Vegeta had to soldier on. Now, he just needed to find Ginyu and Recoome, and the Ginyu force would become a distant memory. Without them, Frieza had no hope to win without intervening.

“This is Prince Vegeta, I need to know if Recoome and Ginyu have been spotted on the battlefield,” he said into his scouter. Nappa nodded to him, ready to accompany him if necessary. Vegeta knew Nappa had no chance, though. Other than Kakarot, he was the only one strong enough to take them.

“Prince Vegeta, this is Oni from the fifth elite Platoon. Recoome and Ginyu are dead. Do you copy?”

Vegeta blinked. That wasn’t possible.

“Who?”

“We have no idea. We found their corpses when we took back the east side of the city. Clean shots. Right through the head.”

Now, who would be so merciful as to kill without inflicting pain and strong enough to take out the captain of the Ginyu force? Vegeta snorted.

“Copy that. We are almost done here. These goons are weaklings. Any news of the mothership?”

“None, my Prince. Frieza doesn’t seem interested in joining the fight.”

“Well, then,” Vegeta said, closing the communication. “Let’s send him an invitation. Position 7!” he roared. All the Saiyans around him abruptly got down on their stomachs. Vegeta let the power within him build for a few seconds, his arms forming a cross on his chest. With a feral yell, he uncrossed his arms and let his energy flare around him.

Within seconds, about thirty soldiers from Frieza’s army dropped dead, burnt to a crisp.

“That’s a neat trick, your Highness,” Nappa said, getting back up and dusting himself off.

“Let’s go find someone else to fry.”

“Vegeta?”

“Yes?” Someone had spoken into his scouter.

“This is the King. You need to get back to the castle. Now.”

His father?

“The King wants us in the castle,” he announced to his squad. “Let’s go.”

His platoon followed him as he made his way back. The roads were littered with corpses, but Vegeta was glad to see that most of them were enemies. His heart clenched at every dead Saiyan. Their sacrifice would not be forgotten.

Then, out of the blue, his stomach convulsed. “Ah!” he said, grabbing Nappa for balance. The commander turned a curious eye on him.

“My Prince? Are you injured?”

Vegeta panted. He had taken no hits to his stomach. What the hell was going on? 

And then he felt it. It was so small, a scouter would never be able to pick it up. But Kakarot had taught him how to feel ki, how to find life.

There was a  miniscule ki inside him. He could feel it. But that was impossible, right?

He hadn’t taken his pill, true. He had completely forgotten about until this moment.

But it had only been a few hours. It didn’t make any sense. How could he already be feeling a ki?

“My Prince?” Nappa sounded concerned now. Vegeta must have been a sight, pale and sweaty. How could he be pregnant

“It’s nothing,” he told Nappa. “Just a cramp.”

He needed to get that out of his mind. He couldn’t afford to think of anything but the battle right now. But how could he forget that he was pregnant? With Kakarot’s cub?

Losing the war was no longer an option.

 

 

3 hours later

 

 

Vegeta dropped to the floor, holding his injured side.

The fucking lizard had finally decided to disembark his ship. Frieza had come directly to the palace, and that was why his father had called him back.

They were no match for him.

The King lay a few feet from Vegeta, still breathing, but too injured to even speak. Frieza was taking his sweet time with them. He was angry for the losses he had sustained. He was toying with the Prince and the King, delaying their deaths so that he could make them suffer as much as possible.

Vegeta was desperate. Not for himself, but for the ki growing inside of him. Had Kakarot died already? Had he tried to take on Frieza alone? He wanted to see him so badly. He wanted to tell him about the cub.

He couldn’t let Frieza win like this.

But protecting his stomach from the lizard’s hits had left his sides unprotected. He was too hurt to continue. His strength was spent.

Frieza smiled down at him. Vegeta had put up a fierce fight, forcing him to assume his final form before he could finally hold his own against the Prince. Frieza raised his foot and pressed it against Vegeta’s stomach, smirking at the sounds of pain that gained him.

Vegeta clawed at him, trying desperately to get him off. Not the stomach, not the stomach…

Frieza’s other foot came down on his face, hard. Keeping him down.

“Look at that,” Frieza smirked. “Nothing as sweet as the sight of a Saiyan finally put back in his place. Writhe for me, monkey. Let me feel your pain.”

Vegeta screamed his throat hoarse. It couldn’t end like his, not like this, his cub—

“STOP!”

Frieza turned abruptly. Vegeta exhaled a sigh of relief as the foot lifted from his stomach.

“Get your filthy paws off my Vegeta,” Kakarot growled in a voice Vegeta had never heard before. Frieza seemed equally surprised, intrigued and annoyed.

“And who’s this?” he asked the King, who had strenuously gotten to his feet.

“This is Kakarot,” Vegeta answered for him, standing back up as well. Kakarot pushed Frieza out of the way – the lizard was too stunned to even protest – and went to help him.

“Kakarot, listen…” He couldn’t say it. So, he grabbed Kakarot’s hand and put it on his stomach. Kakarot’s breath hitched.

“Vegeta…” he smiled, embracing him tightly.

“It’s almost as if I’m not here!” Frieza sarcastically clapped. “Congratulations, you two. Now, would you mind if I annihilated you and your entire species?”

The King was frozen to the spot. Bardock and a handful of other Saiyans walked through what remained of the palace’s main doors. They immediately went to help the King.

“Listen to me,” Vegeta said. “You need to beat him. You need to…”

“No, this time you listen, Vegeta,” Kakarot interrupted him. There was an aura of sheer power around him. He looked breathtaking, and terrifying. “You take your father, my father and the rest of the Saiyans, and you get them off-world. First thing you do once you’re safe, you get yourself into a tank. You need to look after both of you,” he insisted, caressing his stomach. “I will stay here, and take care of this filth.”

“Oh, really?” Frieza intervened.

Kakarot turned to him. Anybody else would have run away just seeing that look.

“You made a mistake, you know,” he quietly explained. It was inexplicable how calm he was. He was emanating fury and calm at the same time, like it never even crossed his mind that he could lose. His power was flaring around him like a storm. He was literally giving off static. “First, you send Ginyu. He was pretty tough, but I took him out. He injured me badly; I almost died. But my father got me into a tank in time, and that zenkai boost pushed me over the edge. Now, I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I do know one thing. You shouldn’t have hurt my mate and my cub!” Kakarot roared the last part, and then he exploded.

Vegeta didn’t know how to describe it: with a savage yell, Kakarot released all his power. Vegeta felt it, he felt it all, it was impossibly high, and it kept growing. There was no way Kakarot could have this much power, he would burn out.

And just as he thought Kakarot would collapse, his eyes turned teal. His hair and tail glowed golden. His aura engulfed him.

Kakarot had ascended.

He had become the legendary Super Saiyan.

“Vegeta, go to the ships,” Kakarot said, even calmer than before. But everyone was rooted to their spots, staring at the amazing sight. Even regular Saiyans could probably feel the terrible, immense power he was emanating. Vegeta had never seen anything as beautiful. “Now.”

And he had to leave him.

“Come back to us,” he ordered. He didn’t even dare to kiss him. Kakarot had something important to do. Nothing could distract him. “Let’s go.”

He motioned for the others to follow him.

“And what makes you think I’ll just let you leave, monkey?” Apparently Frieza had remembered he was supposed to fight them, and not just stare in terror at the mighty Super Saiyan. He moved towards Vegeta, fast as lightning, ready to kick him in the guts. Vegeta knew what would happen before it did.

One millisecond later, Kakarot was crouched defensively in front of Vegeta, snarling, and Frieza was on the other side of the room, covered in rubble.

“You filthy…” he started, looking in shock at the purple blood coming out of his nose.

“Vegeta. Go.”

Kakarot hadn’t moved an inch from his protective stance. Vegeta took the Saiyans away. In under an hour, they had loaded every remaining Saiyan on their ships, trying their best to ignore the resounding explosions coming from the palace. The whole planet was shaking. Vegeta gave the order to leave – his father had immediately been placed inside a tank – with a heavy heart. He knew Kakarot could defeat Frieza, some instinct deeply seated within him told him so. He just wished he could have been at his side while he did it.

They exited the planet’s orbit just in time to see it explode.

 

 

20 minutes later

 

Vegeta stood in front of the ship’s windows, stroking his stomach. The only thing he had left.  

Around him, Saiyans quietly wept for their losses. Their planet. Some, their families. Vegeta’s mind was a blank. He couldn’t think of a single thing to do to console his people. Their ships were all flying in random patterns, without a destination, just consuming fuel for the sake of doing something. He should intervene. His father was still healing. He should take charge and do something, anything, but what could he do?

“Prince Vegeta?”

Vegeta jumped. He turned around, but no one was paying him any mind. His scouter was turned off. Where the hell had the voice come from?

“Prince Vegeta, this is King Kai. I’m talking to you via telepathic link. Can you hear me? Just think your answer and I’ll hear it.”

Vegeta blinked. “I can hear you,” he hesitantly thought back.

“Good. I have some instructions for you. Left by Goku.”

“Who the hell is Goku?”

“Ah, that… that is Kakarot’s Earth name, I think. I know him as Goku.”

“You know Kakarot?” Vegeta mentally yelled.

“I do. Please, lower your inner voice. And I know what you have to do. You need to go to Earth.”

“Earth? Why?”

“You’ll see when you get there. With Frieza dead, you shouldn’t run into trouble.”

“But we can’t go to Earth,” Vegeta protested. “It’s shielded.”

“I’ve already spoken to Bulma, if you can tell me how long the trip will take, she’ll let down the shield just in time for you to enter the planet. I trust you can guarantee that your people won’t level the planet or harm any of the inhabitants.”

Vegeta thought of Kakarot, and how much he had loved that planet. There was no question. Vegeta would protect it at all costs.

“My scouter says we’ll be there in ten days, two hours and thirty minutes,” he said. “How do I know this isn’t a trick? A ruse to kill us all?”

“My, you are cynical. Goku warned me about that.”

Vegeta growled.

“Fine, fine. Then how would I know about Earth? About Bulma?”

“I don’t know, you tell me.”

The mysterious creature on the other end sighed.

“Listen, Vegeta, I don’t have time to convince you. You just need to trust Gok-Kakarot on this. I’m doing this for him. He’s a good man.”

Well, Vegeta thought, sending out the command to move towards Earth. What other choice did they have, anyway?

 

 

Five hours later

 

 

“Destroyed?” the King repeated. Vegeta understood well the grief that passed over the King’s face. He had felt it just a few hours ago.

“Destroyed,” Vegeta confirmed. His eyes were downcast. “We’re moving towards Earth. There’s some explaining I need to do, but Kakarot had friends there, and they’re going to help us. He’s taking care of us even after death.”

The King looked at his son with something that Vegeta could only describe as regret. He didn’t dare question Vegeta’s plan, at least.

“Vegeta…” he started.

“No,” Vegeta cut him off. “You don’t get to apologise. You don’t get to make excuses for yourself. The only thing that matters is that the Saiyan you exiled and disgraced has saved our entire species from extinction, and even thought of a way to give us a new home. Our planet may be gone, but the Saiyans aren’t. The only thing that matters, right now, is them. We need to protect them.”

So that maybe I won’t go out of my mind with grief, Vegeta silently added.

 

 

Ten days, two hours and forty-five minutes later

 

 

Vegeta was the first to disembark. Earth’s sky was blue.

It was a relief, after being cooped up in a ship with a group of starving, furious, grieving Saiyans. To breathe oxygen… His cub seemed relieved, too. His ki sparked a tiny bit brighter.

His moment of peace didn’t last long, though. The canyon they had landed in was already occupied. Vegeta paid no mind to the strange-looking people – blue hair? A third eye? A Namekian? – because he felt a ki.

And then, out of some sort of flying spaceship with Capsule Corp. written on it, came Kakarot.

The Saiyans slowly coming out of the ships collectively held their breath.

Kakarot looked like his normal self. His hair was black. His eyes were brown. He wore strange clothes, orange and blue, but they were clean and intact. The best part was his smile, though. That sheepish smile that made Vegeta want to kill him, fuck him and hold him forever at the same time.

They walked towards each other slowly. Vegeta couldn’t believe his own eyes. Had he died? Was this the Afterlife? After so many surprises, how could he still be shocked?

He stood in front of Kakarot as still as a statue, just smiling.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

Kakarot scratched the back of his head. The bastard. “When Frieza got desperate and damaged the planet critically, I had to find a ki, so I could Instant Transmission out of there. I couldn’t get to you, though, so I went to King Kai. I was… I was pretty out of it.”

“Why couldn’t you come to me?” Vegeta frowned.

“Because I was feral. It took me days to snap out of it. I couldn’t be near you, or the cub, as I went through it.”

Vegeta nodded. He could almost see it, that raw, consuming power refusing to be suppressed. He could have taken it, but the cub came first.

Giving up, he collapsed on Kakarot’s chest and just cried. Kakarot held him tightly, purring loudly to calm him down.

“Hush, love, I know… you’ve been through so much. But it’s okay! Hey, look at me: it’s okay.”

“How is it okay?” Vegeta spat out. “We’ve lost our planet. We’ve lost so many Saiyans. Our home…”

“I think you’re forgetting why we’re here, Geta.”

Vegeta stared at him with wide eyes, tears still running down his cheeks.

“What do you mean?”

The King finally decided to make an appearance.

“Kakarot,” he saluted him with his fist. Kakarot saluted back, but Vegeta could feel the tension in his posture, the way his expression couldn’t quite mask his fear of being rejected again by his King. “There are no words to express my gratitude. You’ve saved us all. I’m afraid I have no excuse for how I’ve treated you. I just hope you can forgive me.”

“Kakarot?” Once again, they were interrupted. But Vegeta let this one slide. After all, Bardock and Raditz had a right to hug Kakarot.

“Father! Raditz!”

“I was just telling your son how grateful I am, Bardock,” the King smiled. “For everything, including not blowing up this planet.”

“We need food,” Bardock explained to Kakarot. Kakarot turned towards the strange people behind them, who had been looking at their interactions with curiosity written all over their faces. The woman with blue hair nodded to him, and then grabbed a strange object. She started speaking into it, giving what seemed to be instructions.

“My King…” Kakarot turned to the King. “You don’t have to apologise to me. I understand your reasons, as I always have. As for saving our people… I had two ulterior motives,” he smiled, stroking Vegeta’s stomach and purring. Vegeta’s hand flew over his. They smiled at each other.

“I am glad you think so, Kakarot. But I cannot ignore your actions.”

Vegeta felt the beginning of a growl forming in his throat. He wouldn’t dare…

“Let’s see. I think we can find a way to remove that mark, to begin with. Either with surgery or with a metal wrist piece. A silver one, maybe. With the royal crest on it.”

Kakarot’s eyes widened. Only consorts could wear that sort of jewellery.

“Mainly, though, I think you might appreciate my son’s biting mark, and the title of Prince Consort. There would be no bigger honour than to accept you and your family into mine.”

“Oh, of course,” Vegeta snarled, baring his teeth. “Now that you’re certain he could pose a threat, better to include him before he…”

“No,” the King shook his head. He looked sincere, Vegeta thought. He knew his father well enough to tell his machinations apart from truth. “It’s not like that. I’ve had doubts for a while, Vegeta, but I can no longer deny it. Kakarot is your mate. The state you’ve been in for the past months indicates that, bite or no bite, your body and mind already belonged to him. That’s why I sent you on that mission. I knew Kakarot was there.”

Kakarot and Vegeta exchanged an astonished look. Vegeta thought he should have known. Coincidences do happen, but the universe was a pretty big place.

“I’m done with traditions,” the King continued. “I’m done with rules. If the events of the last two weeks have taught us anything, it's that we need to face our threats together. With strength, not with customs and policies. Your cub will be King one day, Vegeta. I think it’s safe to assume that our species will be in good hands, if the way you’ve both defended us is anything to go by.”

Vegeta couldn’t help it: he smiled. He deserved it, damnit. They both did.

“Well, your Highness, I wouldn’t throw away all those traditions so fast,” Kakarot said with a coy smile. “I didn’t just bring you here because the planet is nice. Bulma?” he called. The woman with blue hair approached them with a cheeky smile.

“Your Highnesses,” she greeted them. They all stared at her. “The food is on the way, Goku. It’ll take a while, though… they’re putting everything in capsules. It’s quite a lot.”

“Great,” Kakarot smiled at her. “And…?”

“Here,” she said. She handed her purse to him. Kakarot took out seven orange balls with stars painted on them. Vegeta’s breath hitched in his throat.

“Are those…?” he asked. Now it finally made perfect sense. Kakarot had thought of everything.

The King, Bardock and Raditz were positively baffled. Vegeta couldn’t blame them.

 

 

One month later

 

 

Vegeta paced his rooms nervously. His ceremonial armour felt a bit too tight – that’s why he had insisted they hold the ceremony as soon as possible, he didn’t want to be so big that they had to make him new robes and armour – but as his mirror confirmed, his belly was still flat. He wasn’t showing yet.

He had no idea why he was nervous. He had waited for this moment, longed for it, for years.

Vegeta’s life had taught him that total, absolute happiness didn’t exist. All good things had to have an unhappy counterpart. But not today, he mentally steeled himself. Nothing would come between them, this time. They had their planet back. Frieza was no longer a threat. Their treaty with planet Earth brought them new wealth, technological progress and surprisingly good fighting masters. The Saiyans were all going back to basics, as the old Roshi had put it.

Also, his future mate was strong as fuck.

The casualties of the war had all been revived, and King Cold was said to be on the run once he heard news of his son’s demise at the hand of a legendary Super Saiyan.

They were free.

“Prince Vegeta? It’s time,” Bulma said with a smile. The woman, Vegeta had to admit, had become a friend. With the space-portal always open between their two planets, she had been visiting frequently. She said it was to smuggle Kakarot’s favourite food to him, but Vegeta was pretty sure she and Raditz had been giving each other certain looks.

He followed her down the corridors – well, led her: she didn’t know her way around the palace yet – until they finally came to a stop in front of the throne room.

“Nervous?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.

“Pfft,” Vegeta scoffed.

 

Half an hour later

 

 

His father was droning on and on and on. Saviour of the planet, mighty warrior, blah blah blah. Vegeta couldn’t care less. He was staring at the gorgeously dressed Saiyan in front of him, his mouth watering at the thought of biting that sweet, sweet spot between his neck and shoulder. Kakarot was looking back at him with dark eyes, and Vegeta was pretty sure he had the same exact thing on his mind.

And, then, finally, his father pronounced the words.

“You will now mark each other as mates, forever united in a sacred bond of love, trust and respect. No higher duty than to each other. Kakarot, you can now…”

Kakarot, apparently, couldn’t wait. He grabbed Vegeta’s waist and pulled him towards him. Everyone, including the King, chuckled a bit. Bardock just smiled.

Vegeta exposed his neck. The moment he felt Kakarot’s teeth closing on his flesh, he gasped.

He had no words to express how it felt. There was nothing left separating them. Absolutely nothing. Well, except for one thing…

He returned the bite, feeling Kakarot’s sharp intake of breath as he drew blood and then licked on the biting mark. He could already feel his own closing up. Though it would heal, it would never disappear, if Vegeta had anything to say about it.

And now, now they were mated. They could barely hear the King proclaiming them mates and giving Kakarot the official title of Prince Consort. They could barely hear the roaring applause that followed that statement, or the Saiyans officially saluting their new prince with the traditional war cry.

For the very first time in his life, nothing in Vegeta’s life was wrong.

By the way Kakarot held him, staring lovingly into his eyes, he suspected he was thinking just the same.

 

 

Seven and a half months later

 

 

Vegeta stared at the cub in his arms with wonder. Gods, he was exhausted, but so happy. The medical staff had tried to keep Kakarot away during his labour, loudly stating that it wasn’t good for the father to be in the birthing room. Fortunately, Bulma had scolded them all into silence. She had been wonderful to Vegeta. In the worst moments, only Kakarot’s hand holding his tightly and her encouragement had given him the strength he needed for the final pushes.

And then they had given them their cub. They held him together, Kakarot holding Vegeta and Vegeta holding the cub, both staring at him in reverent silence. They had made him. He was theirs.

“He looks like you,” Kakarot said after the staff and Bulma had gone, leaving them a bit of privacy. He touched the chubby cheek of the perfect little Saiyan, and smiled when a miniscule tail curled around his finger. Vegeta couldn’t believe how good his life was.

“No, he looks like you. He has bangs.”

“Yes, but his hair points upwards. And if you check under the bangs…” He delicately pushed the hair off of his son’s forehead. “He has a widow’s peak. See?”

Vegeta chuckled. It was true.

“It’s the perfect mix of both of us,” he proclaimed. “He’s perfect.”

“Yes, he is.”

They looked at the squirming cub for a few more minutes, just staring and marvelling at how beautiful he was.

“We should probably think of name,” Kakarot said after a while, stroking Vegeta’s hair.

“Well, his second name is Vegeta. Nothing we can do about that,” Vegeta reminded him. Kakarot laughed.

“I know. What about his first?”

Actually, Vegeta had had a name in his mind ever since he had been put in his arms. He couldn’t quite get it out of his head.

“Celek,” he murmured. Kakarot closed his eyes.

“That’s it. That’s his name,” he instantly agreed. Celek meant ‘strength’ in their ancient language. It was the one word of Ancient Saiyan absolutely everyone knew. Since their son had been born with a ki of almost 200, surpassing every single past reading by a long shot, it seemed fitting.

“Prince Celek Vegeta,” Vegeta said, testing it out. He loved it. “You’re going to be a great King.”