Published: 12th January 2004
Pairings: Vegeta/Goku, Vegeta/Radditz
Disclaimers: DBZ is not mine… But this story is, even if it’s not intended for profit.
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Vegeta ran nimbly through the darkened forest, a silent siren’s song pulling him. The thin, silvery moon above provided hardly any light and the terrain was unfamiliar, yet something was guiding him unerringly. He looked around him as he ran, his mind hazy and bemused. Something was off, something important…
What was it?
A vague yet pressing feeling of loss gnawed at him like spiders on his brain. Yes, he was missing something. Perhaps that was it; he was out looking for what he had lost.
Now, if only he could remember what it was…
He let his mind wander as he ran on silently, the soil cool and damp beneath his bare feet. It was something important. Faint memories tugged him down the byways of his mind; elusive touches of silken ebony and honeyed skin and he gasped, stumbling slightly as he slowed down.
It was …someone. He had lost someone very important. Someone very familiar, someone whom he knew … all his life…
Someone he trusted. Vegeta slowed to a stop, brows furrowing in concentration as he strove to remember. The faint murmurings in his brain became more insistent and he could almost feel the questions around him, lisping against his skin and raising the goose bumps the chilly night air failed to. Fists clenched in frustrated fury as he scrabbled at the mental blocks.
If it was somebody he knew and trusted, why couldn’t he remember who it was? Did that person do something unforgivable to him, so much so that he wanted to forget? Somehow, he knew that the answer was not that. So, who was it?
Someone whom he knew intimately.
The prince reeled as a slew of private memories abruptly broke through, first a trickle, then faster and faster. Long, tanned legs, a simple circlet of gold around a muscled thigh. He remembered a roughened baritone, sometimes teasing, sometimes crude, but always respectful with the faint undercurrent of loyal affection.
Brawny arms with a matching band around the left arm and broad shoulders that somehow bespoke of …security? The rush of memories became a deluge. Unrestrained laughter, sometimes carefree, sometimes cruel. Shared experiences, partnered missions, compounded joy and divided pain…
He remembered smirking proudly at his companion, a tall male, as he stood up from his first kill, young hands smeared with blood. He remembered feeling reassured by the same presence at his side when he had to present himself to the bastard that mocked his race, his face almost cracking under the dead smile. He remembered complaining on purging missions to the same ruggedly handsome male about the smoke and whiny screams. He complained constantly, but the older Saiyan was always tolerant, even slightly amused as he nodded, “Hai hai”, and then handed him a bottle of water to wet his smoke-dried throat.
He recalled the husky chuckles and velvety kisses, clandestine affections stolen between a royal and commoner. He could almost feel the waterfall of black silk and warm arms wrapping around him, a sharp and sweet musk wending yet further within him and holding him safe. Low voices murmuring in the dark, thick tails and bared limbs entwined in comfort and desire, outlined only by the faint shimmer of starlight through the thick ship windows, cocooned only by a thin shimmering blanket of cerulean ki. Stars and planets always shone so much more brightly in space without the interference of the atmosphere, so much more silvery, surreal even…
Vegeta fell to his knees, shaking; the heel of his hand pressed to his forehead as his mind blossomed red. Cold sweat beaded on his upper lip and his tongue flicked out nervously to taste the salty fluid. He could remember everything: the gentle touches and fierce lovemaking, the soft licks and primal bites, the metallic tang of blood and sated purrs, the spicy musk that was not his own and sharp scent of arousal. Everything came back and his world jolted inside out.
He remembered the utter ecstasy of his first bonding, the raw anguish when he felt the spicy presence in his mind and soul slip away, the cold rage when he finally saw his mate’s killer… He remembered just why he forgot.
It was too painful to remember.
Sharp shards of grief twisted within him. His eyes brimmed with moisture, but he refused to let the tears fall, trying desperately to push the memories back. No! Radditz was dead. He couldn’t bring him back; he had been dead too long for the Earth dragonballs to work and Vegeta hadn’t dared voice his real wish in front of the Z idiots when he was on Namek. Instead, he had focused wholly on revenge against Frieza and against Kakarrot, and somewhere deep inside lay the thought that once it was all over, he would revive his mate. But along the way, he had buried the memories so deep that they grew fainter and fainter.
Then Bulma offered him a place and Trunks came along, and one thing led to another and finally he realized that he was happy with his little family…
Kakarrot! Vegeta drew a shuddering breath, forcing himself to his feet. Yes, he had another mate now, one he loved and was devoted to. Radditz was dead. He should forget about Radditz again, he should.
“So there is something you do want very badly after all.” A cool voice floated over the night air.
Vegeta tensed, knowing he should be on his guard, but his mind felt strangely sluggish, his body slower and heavier. Something was off, something was wrong and he knew he should be angry and alarmed, but he felt only a slight, dulled twinge of worry.
“What have you done to me? What do you mean by that?” Even his voice sounded off somehow, more dead sounding and slurred. Clenching his fists tightly, the ex-mercenary forced himself to focus, hard-earned experience coming into play. “You drugged me, bitch!”
Icenia glided out of the shadows, pale skin gleaming almost painfully in the moonlight. She was still wearing the formal dress she had worn to the Ball earlier and a thick cloak with the hood pushed back. “I’m impressed; most people wouldn’t be coherent enough to recognize me.” Her teeth flashed white in a quicksilver smile, tone almost pleasant as she raised her hand. “And no, I didn’t drug you.”
Vegeta took a step back, tail bristling and hackles rising. Any earlier resolve to maintain some civility was gone. “You’re lying.”
“I don’t lie. I don’t need to.” She shook her head, and before the Saiyan prince could react, her hand darted forward like a striking snake and tapped his shoulder.
“What the fuck do you think you are doing?” Vegeta screeched as he scrambled back. Already, he could feel his movements and mind slipping back into that muddy, semi-alert state, the flash of adrenaline at the sight of the Ice-jin fading.
“I told you it wasn’t a drug.” She didn’t bother to step closer. “It was ..hm… well, let’s just call it a Suggestion.”
“What?” He held his arms ahead of him in a battle-ready stance, scowling darkly.
The Ice-jin waved a hand airily. “What it is isn’t so important. What’s important is –“ her smile widened predatorily “—that you do have something, or should I say someone, that you want very badly.”
“Stay out of my head!” Vegeta cursed inwardly; he had meant the warning in anger but it came out sounding flat and confused. What the hell was wrong with him? How did she manage to administer a drug by just touching him on the shoulder? A shudder ran down his spine all the way to the tip of his tail.
“And what if I say,” Icenia went on as if she didn’t hear him, “that I can bring him back for you?”
He inhaled in shock, painful memories flooding him again. Struggling to cover his slip with feigned ignorance and indifference. “Who.. what the fuck are you talking about?”
“Your old lover of course. Your dead lover.” A knowing smirk. “The depth of your emotion and the unfinished business between the two of you is so palpable I can just taste it, and it’s fueling the Suggestion so powerfully.”
“I have absolutely no idea what you are rambling on about,” Vegeta replied stiffly.
She rolled her eyes, the derisive action seeming to scream stop pretending and digging your head further up your ass you idiot.
‘How did she know? Why is she even here?’ His mouth felt dry as he stiffened. The female saurian was behind this all, he knew. “You’re bluffing.”
Icenia sighed, pursing her lips as she considered. Finally, she crossed her arms and huffed out in annoyance. “Hn. I usually don’t have to explain, but you seem to retain a bit of coherency despite the Suggestion. And you’re being stubborn.”
“I can do what I claim and more.” Her expression became serious. “Have you heard of magic?”
“I don’t believe in magic,” Vegeta snorted in disbelief and crossed his arms as well. It didn’t appear as if they would be fighting. He wanted to walk away, head back to his room, though the urge to just kill her was tempting indeed. It was puerile, barbaric, and yet, it was often the most satisfying method. Direct and efficient. Perhaps he should.
Then images of seven glowing balls and a gargantuan creature that could grant impossible wishes floated to mind. If magic didn’t exist…
Icenia smirked as she saw his hesitation. “I’m sure one as cosmopolitan and learned as you, Prince Vegeta, would have noticed incidences of magic in your travels.”
He bit the inside of his cheek in consternation. Yes, he had noticed many strange occurrences in his eventful life, but he had shrugged those off. He had never given much thought to them.
“I can bring back your dead lover,” Icenia stated baldly and then waited with a carefully blank look.
“Not even…” The words were blurted out. Not even the mighty Shenlong, a purely mythical, magical creature could. How could this Ice-jin?
“Almost anything can be done and the means to bring back a dead person is certainly well-known. Of course, knowing and actually being able to do it are two very different matters. One only needs to have the spell and be able to supply the power to fuel it. The longer a person has been dead, the more powerful or influential the person who died… All these factors determine how easy or difficult the procedure will be,” she explained easily. “Nothing is for free; something must be exchanged in return.”
“And you have this power?” There was the tiniest spark of subconscious hope in his voice.
“Actually no.” Before that miniscule hope could be squashed, she went on calmly. “But you do.”
“I can’t do magic,” Vegeta shook his head angrily, wondering why the hell he was even having this conversation with the female Ice-jin. ~ What does she want? ~
“I said you have the power. Think of magic as the vehicle that drives you from point A to point B. A magical creature would always have this vehicle. A magic-user would have the potential to acquire this engine, but he or she would have to build this vehicle from ground-up. The spells are the engine; more powerful spells enable you to do more. Different spells, different tasks accomplished. I –” she indicated herself “—am a magic-user. And finally, you need something to drive the engine. Usually, it is the magic-user’s own energy.”
So Ice-jins were not naturally magical creatures; he had been wondering. That would also explain why the dragonballs on Earth required a year to recharge before they could be used again. Vegeta narrowed his eyes as his mind rapidly filled in the gaps. “And Ra… my dead lover has been dead for too long a time. Which would require a lot of energy to feed the spell.”
~ Which was also why Shenlong had this one-year limit, and even then it could not bring back beings that were more powerful than him. ~
“Exactly. Your ki is tremendous. And it is your lover that is going to be brought back from the dead,” Icenia stated dryly.
“What’s in it for you?” He was still suspicious, but he could not deny the faint surge of excitement at the thought of seeing Radditz again.
She inclined her head slightly, a small, satisfied smile on her lips. “What I mentioned earlier this evening.”
Vegeta thought it over. He should have known. Logically, he knew it was somehow a trap. Yet…
“What do I have to…” The words, hovering at the tip of his tongue, just slipped out before he shut his mouth with an audible snap. Dammit, what was in the spell she cast on him? He normally wasn’t this careless or weak. Vitriol laced his voice. “So it comes back to this. You want… need my help in your little war.”
Icenia smirked smugly, ignoring the jibe. “All you have to do is stand there. I’ll cast the spell and key it to feed off from you instead of me.”
“Wait! I did not agree to anything!” Vegeta snapped peevishly. “What if it draws more energy than I can give?”
“It won’t,” she assured him complacently, already pulling out two small globes from a pocket in her cloak. “I’ve done this before with people who’ve less life force than you, and they didn’t die.”
Vegeta raised a brow. “Is this how you secured other leaders’ loyalty?”
“It was always a mutual agreement that benefited both parties. There was no need for coercion or force; it was perfectly civilized and it aided both parties.” The tiny female smiled sweetly. “It’s exactly like any trade contracts, is it not?”
“I…,” he trailed off, mind and heart at a loss. It all sounded very compelling and logical, and the offer was so very, very tempting. She waited patiently, the small shimmering globes in her hands. Stalling a bit, he pointed to the spheres that looked like contained balls of swirling energy. “What’s that?”
“The pre-prepared spells.” A casual toss and Vegeta tensed as the reddish ball bounced. “Very handy.”
His lips thinned, crossed arms tightening and brows creased low in thought. “Spell out the exact terms of our …agreement.”
“I bring your dead lover back to life,” Icenia stated formally, a strange look on her face. “In return, I will have your cooperation.”
A sharp rebuttal. “Define cooperation. We won’t be fighting your war for you. We won’t supply troops, but you may buy supplies from us. At the usual market rate.”
“Agreed.” There was no hesitation. “You or your troops will not attack me, any of my troops or any of my holdings.”
Vegeta scowled at that. “Only if you do not attack us.”
“Of course. The agreement is revoked if any of the terms are not fulfilled.”
“You’ll have to register all of your troops and all your holdings with us.”
“Only if those troops will be passing through your space, and only if you need information about the holdings.”
He smirked nastily. “Well, it’s solely your own fault if we take down any unregistered ships in our space then.”
A nod. “In addition, free unobstructed access through your space at all times.”
“That access privilege is null if we are under attack and need to close up our defenses.” The shimmering image of his people’s new planet came to mind. “No access in some sectors. And this does not extend to any of your other allies.”
“Of course,” she replied easily. “Is that a fair trade?”
He racked his brain for any possible loophole. It felt like swimming in mud; his thoughts bobbing erratically and evading his desperate grasps at coherence. “The agreement is only valid for the duration of this war you have with Tundra. It does not hold once he is dead or if you’re under attack from another side.” ~ Because it could very well be our allies that are attacking or being attacked. ~
“I …can understand your reasoning. Conflict of interests and all that.” At this, the small female paused as her brow furrowed in thought, her tail flicking in agitation. Finally, she nodded. “I guess I can live with that proviso as well. Are the terms agreeable?”
Vegeta mulled it over. It sounded innocuous enough, but what worried him was that he was actually tempted. Very tempted. Shit. Was he so weak?
“Stop. This does not mean we have an agreement.”
“No. It simply means that if we had one, those would be the terms.”
Yes… If he were to be brutally frank with himself, yes.
“Hypothetically, if we had such an agreement….” He deliberated, and then firmed his lips and nodded, not wishing to display too much hesitance. Caution was all well and fine, but indecisiveness was unseemly in a leader. “I would agree to those terms.”
And if anybody objected, they could go screw themselves. He was the Saiyan no Ouji.
“Done and done.” There was a faint shimmer in the air, but it was gone instantly and Vegeta thought he might have imagined it. Icenia’s smug smirk was clear though and he felt uneasy again.
“What if I show you that I can do it,” she ventured quickly. “That I really can uphold my side of the bargain. A glimpse. This spell —“ she indicated the reddish ball,”— seeks the soul you want and opens a door keyed only to him. It brings him back. And the golden spell will give the soul a body. It will be the exact same body he had when he died; the soul would remember that.”
“No…I’ve not agreed to anything,” he tried one last time with a clear, but feeble effort. The cadence of her soft speech was lilting, hypnotic. ~ Leave! Just walk away now! ~
“You will have him back.” She waited, eyes boring steadily at him, slit rubies that seem to drawl last chance, do you really want to give it up?
He had tried… No, he hadn’t tried very hard to bring Radditz back, hadn’t he?
“…Just a glimpse first. I’ll need to reconsider.”
~ Just a glimpse. I’m not promising anything. ~
“Just a glimpse,” Icenia agreed, and she flung the crimson spell onto the ground between them, a look of concentration on her face.
The spell immediately shattered into a million tiny speckles that billowed upwards gently before coalescing into an oval shaped mist. The reddish mist flattened, smoothened and then shimmered into an opaque window. Vegeta leaned forward, eyes immediately zeroing in on a familiar figure within.
He appeared to be in the middle of a card game, seated around a small table with three other Saiyans, men Vegeta didn’t recognize nor did he care to. The room was dingy and the furniture battered. Cans and plates of half-eaten snacks littered the floor around them.
The tall guard hadn’t changed at all. Still the same brash, handsome face. Still the same roguish grin as he crowed and laid down his winning hand. Still the same infuriating and utterly irresistible smirk as he swept up his winnings.
Still the same.
~ Of course, you moron. He died; of course, he’s still the same. ~
Radditz was dead, sitting somewhere in Hell playing card games. Dead, irrevocably so, as he had been for the past three decades.
And he now had the chance to bring his friend, guard, lover… his mate back.
Vegeta closed his eyes and tried to remember to breathe.
No, he really shouldn’t. It was wrong. Radditz was dead and things as they stood now were fine. He had a new mate – Kakarotto, he gasped to himself – and things were different. This, this offer, this agreement sounds like a pact with the devil…
Irresistible. His memories of the Radditz came rushing back, blurring into one another. They were languid and heart achingly poignant, searing and breathtakingly exciting, and all too evanescent. They’d had only a few short months together after they were mated before Radditz was killed. There was so much he wanted to show Radditz…
A life where they were no longer under Frieza, where his people were once again free.
A whole new world, beautiful and exotic. He knew Radditz would love it.
His Ascension. Radditz never doubted him. Radditz would be so proud of him.
His son, his daughter. He wondered what Radditz would think of his heirs.
A new beginning, an entire universe to explore.
His eyes shot open again and were immediately drawn back to the guard. Radditz was getting up, stretching. The muscles under his thin tank top flexed deliciously as he drawled something. And he forgot everything but Radditz.
His hand reached of its own accord out to hover near the surface of the window, almost as if he could touch Radditz…
Immediately, crimson smoky tendrils curled around his wrist, tugging him closer. Vegeta gasped as he felt his energy drop steadily, greedily sucked in by the spell. His first instinct was to pull back, but then he realized he was much closer, the window seemed to have enlarged. He was so close he could almost grab Radditz…
He could see Radditz’ eyes widening almost comically in shock as he was pulled. When he felt his ki ebb dangerously lower while the spell was still obviously incomplete, Vegeta growled and dipped into that reservoir deep within. Golden energy welled up and spilled over as he ascended. The red mist-spell gave a jerk and then swelled at the sudden influx of energy.
He could feel Radditz now, a nebulous presence that tickled in the corner of Vegeta’s mind and soul that was his, a corner that was always reserved for him. He had never realized how a small part of him was missing until it was filled again. And he was shocked when he suddenly realized he would do anything, anything, just to ensure that it would never be empty again.
Radditz stumbled back from his chair in panic, upsetting the card table to the annoyance of the other players. His soul-body visibly thinned, wavering translucently like a ghost. The guard yelled, eyes wide with fear. Giving one last hard yank, Vegeta finally caught on to him and stumbled back.
There was another burst of mist and bronze-gold flecks swirled around the silvery soul he held in his hands. Right before his eyes, a familiar body began to take shape and encouraged, Vegeta raised his energy as high as he could while in the first legendary form. When the mist finally settled and the last ruddy-gold flecks of the spells dispersed, he was crouched on the ground, cradling a warm body in his arms.
“Rad~ditz…” A low breathy whisper as he dropped out of his Super Saiyan form. He felt exhausted.
Dark lashes fluttered open and confused eyes blinked before clarifying and focusing in wonder on his face. Disbelief, wonder, and hope laced the guard’s voice as he struggled to sit up. “Vegeta, is that you?”
“Yes,” he replied simply before enfolding the other in a loose, firm hug. He nuzzled in the wealth of hair that tumbled around them and inhaled the sweet musk. He missed this. Burly arms came up to wrap around his waist with a glad sound, one forearm crossing his back diagonally to pull him closer.
He knew he was going to have to deal with a multitude of problems when the others – when Kakarotto – found out, but for now, everything else was moot but the immutable body he held in his arms. He was content to relax and give into the warm, slow sensations that spiraled through him. Something clicked within him, his heart cartwheeled, and it felt …right.
Pulling back finally, he looked at Radditz again; a million things to say and all stuck in his throat that had become too tight.
Moonlight limed the grass, painting its surface with the illusion of a washed out world around him in black and blanched silver and every shade in between. The only color was in the bronzed figure in his arms, the pale peach of parted lips, and the glistening pink of a tongue as it darted out nervously to moisten the dry lips.
Instead, Vegeta dipped his head and kissed those lips. A rough and wholly possessive kiss that was eagerly reciprocated, a simple touch that ignited a heat all the way down to his toes, a taste that took him back three decades. An innocuous action that recalled a forgotten soul-bond as it flared to life again.
And then he jerked with a pained cry as raw agony burned through another link. Stumbling upwards, Vegeta whirled around to face the person standing behind in the shadows, ignoring Radditz’ worried exclamation.
Goku flew over the forest, trying to pinpoint his mate’s location. Vegeta’s ki felt different, not fluctuating dangerously but just oddly muted and he felt a frisson of worry.
He held his ki just high enough to keep him aloft and then dropped down to the forest floor to make the remaining short distance on foot. He was curious as to the reason why Vegeta had sneaked out and damped his ki as far down as he could. Somebody else was with him, ki muted as well, and it was one that he had encountered before, but where?
Suddenly, Vegeta’s energy dipped steadily and then abruptly flared up past Super Saiyan. Alarmed, he took off at a run and arrived in the clearing within seconds. Pulling back at the last second to remain in the shadows of the trees, his eyes widened at the scene in front of him.
The prince was kneeling on the ground, dressed only a pair of loose linen pants as he cradled a figure in his arms. Vegeta’s back was facing him so he couldn’t see who it was, but there was no mistaking his next action.
There was no mistaking the surfeit of happiness that overflowed from his mate’s mind into his mind as Vegeta kissed the other, and for a moment, he felt like a voyeur into something very private.
It wasn’t the kiss that broke him; he trusted his mate more than that and there could be a perfectly innocent explanation. It was the warm affection and very real love that turned his heart to ashes.
~ Who… ~
Vegeta bolted upright as a distressed noise echoed in the quiet clearing, and then he leapt up to face him, eyes wide in horror and apology. “Kakarotto!”
Goku stood there, discombobulated by the scene in front of him. “How cou…” He closed his mouth, pursed his lips and tried again flatly. “Explain. Tell me I didn’t see what I thought I just saw. Or felt.” His eyes scanned the clearing coldly as he spoke, skimming over the male on the ground that seemed vaguely familiar for some reason and alighting on a small, pale figure standing by the side.
“You!” Dark eyes narrowed in suspicion and anger. Perhaps Vegeta’s paranoia of Ice-jins had been valid after all. “Are you involved in this as well?”
“Yes.” Icenia glided out of the shadows. She inclined her head slightly, smirking. “I had an agreement with…”
So it was her fault! He knew Vegeta would not have betrayed him. Goku saw red and rage obscured his common sense as he lunged at her with a snarl, decidedly murderous, on his lips. He felt none of his usual restraints, only the strong instincts that howled at him to tear into anyone who dared interfere with the bond with his mate.
To his shock, hands caught his wrists in a steely grip as Vegeta planted himself in front of him. “Stop, Kakarotto!”
“Get out of my way!” Goku was more than convinced now that his mate wasn’t in his right mind. The two Saiyans wrestled ineffectually, twisting and pushing, but neither gaining any leverage. Finally, he wrenched his wrists back, though he kept his eyes on the devious female behind the prince. Perhaps if he feinted to the side, he might be able to get around Vegeta…
She must have read his intention for she suddenly scowled, her earlier placid expression gone. There was a startling explosion and a yawning green portal opened to one side. Before he could react, she leapt in, pulling Vegeta in behind her.
Goku lunged towards the rapidly shrinking portal, only to collide with another hard body. As the two fell to the ground in a tangle, he watched in horror as the green window winked out.
“Idiot!” Goku rounded on the other person -- and stiffened. “Ra…dditz?”
His brother, his tall and very buff and very dead – Goku vowed to ensure that fact again – brother crossed his arms as he raged. “You imbecile! What are you doing here? Because of your stupidity, she got away!”
Goku scowled darkly and crossed his arms as well, unaware of the unnerving familial resemblance as he faced his sibling. His tail had bushed out and was lashing. “I should be asking you that. And I would have saved Vegeta but you collided into me.”
“You save Vegeta?” Radditz sneered, his tail lashing angrily as well. “What the fuck are you babbling about? You’re lucky I’ve more important things to do now than to play with you so run along before I change my mind and kill you, little brother. This does not concern you.”
“Of course it concerns me when it’s my mate who was abducted!” Goku blew up. “And speaking of which, why were you touching… kissing –-” the word was spat distastefully “—him?”
“Your mate?” Radditz howled in fury, hands fisting as his ki spiked. “He’s MY mate!”
Goku was never a very articulate Saiyan. He was a simple guy and usually preferred honest actions to speak for him instead. And in some cases, words just aren’t eloquent enough.
He slugged his brother across the jaw.
Onto Chapter 8
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