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A Golden Hope

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It had been a few months since the Cell games had come to a close, and life, for the most part had returned to normal. Well, as normal as life could be for Bulma, considering she was a relatively new mother and still dealing with the loss of her friend Goku. Never mind the fact that she was also attempting to navigate through the waters of an immensely rocky relationship, if you could even call it that, with Vegeta. He had returned to Capsule Corp a few days after, but instead of his usual proud prince demeanor, he wore something else on his sleeve, something more akin to confusion and frustration. He had withdrawn more than normal, and was barely seen other than grabbing food or disappearing into his room if he wasn't training in the gravity room.

Bulma knew that the loss of future Trunks likely had something to do with it, and she was eternally grateful that Shenron was able to work his magic to bring him back. They were able to send him back to his own timeline, where she knew the version of herself there would be so grateful that he had made it home safely. But in watching Vegeta's aloof demeanor, and yet his willingness to make sure he was there to send future Trunks back off to his timeline, she was sure that something in the prince's heart and mind had shifted. It was also clear that he was having trouble processing it. Because when Vegeta didn't understand something or didn't know how to cope, he trained. Relentlessly. And that's exactly what he'd spent the last few months doing.

Bulma was hoping for a breakthrough with him, or something, because it was like living with a shadow. Not because she missed him or anything, but, okay, maybe it was because she missed him. Despite his rough and tough attitude, there was something to be said about their nights in bed. He was a warm comfort to her, and she missed that feeling. She was still angry with him to some degree, though, for leaving her during her pregnancy with Trunks, resulting in her delivering the sweet periwinkle haired boy alone in the hospital. She had refused to allow anyone else in the room, even her mother, instead cursing Vegeta's very existence at the time.

However, since then she'd come around at least a little, especially after seeing the silent but apparent change in Vegeta after future Trunks had been revived. The anger was still there but the flames had been tamed to a dull roar instead of a fiery inferno. She wanted to talk to him, to ask him why, but she knew that would be a bridge they'd have to cross whenever he was ready, and cornering him on it would be like walking someone off the plank if she did it at the wrong time.

The blue haired heiress sighed, and ruffled her infant son's hair. They were sitting outside on a blanket, enjoying the expansive yard and gardens that her mother had taken so much time cultivating over the years. It was young Trunks' favorite place to sit and observe, and as he'd grown and just recently started to crawl, there were so many new things to see and explore. Bulma loved this uninhibited time with her son, that was undeniable, but it allowed her mind to wander so much and so often. As hard as she tried to focus her thoughts on projects she wanted to work on when she started working again, or thoughts of her friends, her thoughts always seemed to settle back into Vegeta. She would find herself staring toward the gravity room, hearing the low hum in her subconscious, knowing that he was in there training himself half to death like he always did.

Trunks himself reminded her so much of his father, too, his facial expressions. When he was frustrated or angry over something, he was almost a carbon copy of Vegeta. Bulma couldn't get away from the reminders, it seemed. In a way, it was almost as if he wasn't even around, like a breakup gone horribly wrong, and yet here she was, left to deal with her reeling emotions and thoughts. Except, he actually was around, and that's what made it so much more of a challenge. But, Bulma liked challenges, and she knew that a time would come where they would have to face each other. She wanted nothing more than Vegeta to have a relationship with his son, if nothing else came from it.

It was early evening, and a soft breeze was blowing through the trees and the grass. Trunks had gotten his little hands on a dandelion fluff, and he giggled with glee when the wind blew each little fluff off, like little fairies dancing away. Bulma smiled and laughed with him, picking another and showing him that if you blew on it, the same thing happened. His happy laughter was music to her ears, especially at the result of something so simple. Life was so easy when you are little.

"Trunks, promise mama you won't grow up too fast, okay? Stay little while you can, the world is a better place through a child's eyes." Bulma said softly, pulling him in for a hug. He smiled up at her as she held him close.

Trunks shifted in her hold, and looked toward the gravity room. Bulma hadn't noticed that the hum of the machine had come to a stop. She followed his glance, and noticed a worn Vegeta, standing in front of the doorway, looking at both of them. Her eyes landed on his, and as soon as they did, he turned his head away. Trunks squealed, wiggling out of her arms and back onto the blanket, where he sat up, still looking in the direction of his father. Vegeta had turned on his heels and was walking quickly toward the door, likely to disappear into his room for the night, or to get a snack and return right back into the gravity room to pummel himself with more training. Bulma let out a forlorn sigh, watching his back as he went.

If Bulma had been able to sense ki, she would have noticed Vegeta watching her more often than she thought. Trunks, as he was growing, was just beginning to understand and use his own innate abilities, the first being the ability to sense his own father's ki. He had become accustomed to the consistent fluctuations of Vegeta's ki while he was training, and now that he was getting a little older, he could sense when his father drew near to him. So when Vegeta had exited the gravity room this particular evening, Trunks had sensed him, turning his vision to where he stood. If either Trunks or Bulma had a better grasp of ki sensing, they would know that Vegeta watched them frequently in the evenings. From across the yard, or from the doorway of whatever room they were in. Every so often, he'd peek in through their balcony window, just to observe.

It was late summer, so the sun began to set earlier now, and the daylight was beginning to wane as the sun began its descent in the western sky. Trunks yawned, his chubby little arms stretching out over his head.

"Come on, little man, let's get you supper, and then a bath before bedtime," Bulma said, smiling as she picked him up to go inside.

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After Bulma had given Trunks a bath and tucked him into his crib for the night, she found herself sitting in the soft moonlight on her balcony. The evening had grown chilly, so she'd pulled on her favorite Capsule Corp hoody and had curled up under a blanket on her favorite chair, listening to music through her headphones and flipping through a magazine.

A shift in the light caught her eye, and she looked up just as a darkened form landed on her balcony. She momentarily tensed, but then saw the silhouette of flame shaped hair in the shadow on the wall, and she let out the breath she didn't know she was holding. Vegeta stood in front of her, not moving. He was facing outward, looking at the yard below. He wore a pair of loose fitting shorts and a tank top, and his feet were bare. Bulma cleared her throat, and he turned toward her. For a moment, they regarded each other in the moonlight.

"Vegeta…" Bulma finally spoke, her eyes catching his.

"Woman." His response was short, but held no anger. It was simply a word spoken as if in a normal conversation.

"I thought you'd never come talk to me." She said, her glance moving past him, up to the stars.

A pause. "I...I needed time to think." Vegeta replied, crossing his arms and leaning against the railing.

"Two months is a long time to think, but, I get it. What the hell happened, Vegeta? You abandoned me while I was pregnant, you jerk!" Well, there it was. She hadn't quite intended for it to come out exactly like that, but it was out and the ball was in his court. She half expected him to take off and not even discuss anything with her.

"I needed to train, woman. I was not progressing here. You were too much of a distraction, and I could not achieve what I needed to in your presence. It was necessary." Vegeta grated out, his voice low.

"I delivered OUR son alone, and it hurt. It fucking hurt, Vegeta, and you weren't there for me," Bulma choked out, trying to fight off a flood of tears that suddenly threatened to spill out.

"Woman, I…" Vegeta said, but was cut off.

"Vegeta, I get it, ok. I get it. You had to do whatever it was you needed to do. Fine. But why are you avoiding your son and I now that you're back? I don't understand!" She hissed, glaring at him. "I'm trying to figure out what we did wrong!"

Silence fell over them again, as Bulma pushed back the tears. She had stood up, and had come up next to Vegeta. She watched as his head fell.

Suddenly, she heard him take a deep breath. He lifted his head, his eyes finding hers. They were glistening in the moonlight, his dark eyes full of his own tears trying to escape. Bulma knew Vegeta didn't take well to pity, or anything like that, so instead of words, she just closed the distance between them, taking him into a hug. He shuddered, and sighed deeply, entwining his arms around her in return.

"Bulma, watching future Trunks die...it did something to me. I couldn't handle it. I was embarrassed when I couldn't even avenge my own son's life…" he choked out, and she could feel the heat of his tears against her cheek. "I realized that I was wrong when I said nothing matters to me. You and my son matter. And when I couldn't defeat Cell and Kakarot's brat did it instead, I felt inadequate."

He paused, burying his face in her shoulder in a rare display of trust.

"Vegeta, is that why you've been pushing yourself so hard?" Bulma asked, quietly.

He lifted his head, "Yes, I have to do better. For you. For Trunks. I need to be able to control the Super Saiyan transformation better and become stronger."

"Oh Vegeta, you are wonderful the way you are." Bulma murmured.

"But you know what I am, Bulma, I am a bad person. It is who I am, there is nothing good here. I don't know how you can think I am wonderful…" he trailed off, his hollow eyes making contact with hers.

"Because the fact that you WANT to try for us. That everything you have done was to protect us. You aren't truly a bad person, Vegeta. You have done bad things, but I think you have a good heart." She lifted his chin, and he dropped his eyes. Bulma had never seen Vegeta so reserved and forlorn, and it broke her heart.

"I think you're wrong, Bulma. But I'm going to try my best for you and Trunks. I promise. I will only say that once, so remember it well."

She leaned forward and kissed him, and he melted into her touch. He pressed his lips into her own, not realizing how much he had missed that feeling. Her hand snaked it's way up into his hair, and he pulled her tighter against his body. It was amazing how quickly her touch made him feel a thousand times better than he had been feeling for so long. It was such a simple fix, but it had been so hard to convince himself he could face her to talk.

When they broke the kiss a few moments later, Bulma smiled at him. "Thank you, Vegeta. I know you're not perfect, and I don't expect you to be. I'd like to think I am, but I know I'm not either. Will you stop avoiding me now? You're welcome back in my room anytime, you know."

"You're, you're not angry anymore?" He asked.

"No, I let it go. I want to start over, Vegeta. For Trunks, for us." Bulma replied, looking up at him, hopeful.

"OK. I will try, woman."

"Will you spend more time with your son?"

"Tch, I don't know know anything about being a father. But, he's about old enough to start training, so, I will do my best." Vegeta bit out.

"That's all I can ask for, Vegeta, that you'll try." Bulma ruffled his hair.

"Woman, stop that!"

She giggled, and smiled at him. "You know, I think you're the cutest when you're mad."

"Tch!" He crossed his arms and shot her a classic Vegeta glare.

"So...does that mean I can have the bots move your stuff back into my room?" Bulma asked, the hopeful tone obvious in her voice, and a grin on her face.

"Tch, fine, woman. I guess it wouldn't hurt." A lopsided smirk played on his face.

Bulma loved these moments, moments where they could connect and Vegeta could be himself, the person he struggled to be when he was around other people. In the short time they had spent together before Trunks, he had just started coming out of his shell ever so little, and she was hoping with all her might that this would be the beginning of that process once again. The first time she had ever heard Vegeta truly laugh, it was like music to her ears, and she hoped for nothing more than to hear it again someday. They'd never been a perfect couple at any point, but she knew she wanted to do better for both of them, and for their son.

Bulma grinned, as she thought of something. "Hey, Vegeta...you know, you haven't shown me your Super Saiyan transformation yet. I've only seen it from a distance while you were fighting. Can you show me, please?"

He balked, and looked at her, his eyes wide.
"Why?!"

"Because I think you're fucking handsome with blonde hair, that's why." She crossed her own arms. "Well?"

"Tch. You vulgar woman." He turned away from her, and took a few steps towards the other direction.

All of a sudden, there was a flash as he brought his ki forth, the power flowing around him. His aura glowed yellow, and his hair changed from black to golden. His eyes had been closed, but when he opened them, his eyes were a bright teal, and he turned to look back at her.

Bulma gasped, her hands flying up to cover her mouth in shock. It had been one thing to see him far away, but it was another having him right in front of her.

"Can I...can I come closer?" She asked.

Vegeta closed his eyes once more, and the pulsating aura around him diminished, leaving him standing there in his transformed state.

"It has taken a lot of work to be able to maintain the transformation like this, but yes, you can. Without the aura, you won't be hurt." He replied, reopening his eyes and watching as she timidly crossed the distance between them.

"It was one thing to see Goku as a super saiyan, but damn, Vegeta, you look like a God like this." She breathed, standing in front of him. "Your eyes…"

Bulma reached up and put a hand into his hair, taking the golden strands between her fingers.

"I'm glad you like it, Bulma." He said, his voice husky.

"Vegeta...fuck...I am so proud of you," she said, her face beaming as she looked him over.

His eyes widened, and he looked at her curiously.

"My father told me once when I was little that he was proud of me. I barely remember it. No one has ever said anything like that since…" he said, his voice barely above a whisper.

"Oh Vegeta, I truly am. You have worked so hard for this, you deserve it and I am so fucking proud of you."

A single tear fell from his eyes, landing on her hand that had been resting on his chest. He let his head fall, his forehead resting on hers.

"Vegeta, I love you."

He pulled her in close, her body flush with his, and caught her lips with his once again. He kissed her deeply, trying to convey with feeling what he couldn't say with words. Bulma understood, she knew that he couldn't say it right now, and maybe he never would, but she knew he cared, and perhaps did even love her. For now, she was content with having him back in her arms, hopefully for good this time.

Once their kiss broke, she grabbed his hand and guided him into her room.

"Lay with me, Vegeta. I just want to be close to you."

And so he did, and it wasn't long before they had both drifted off to sleep, in each other's arms.