(27/10/2002)

Hallow Moon

 

Chapter 3

 

 

Vegeta scowled, arms crossed, as he waited impatiently outside the large doors of the castle’s largest chamber that was normally reserved for public events. He was neatly dressed in a loose silk maroon shirt so dark it was almost black, fitting black slacks and soft black boots. The night was cool, but he still felt slightly flushed from the intense competition that afternoon and decided against a tailored jacket.

 

The lithe prince could see the admiring glances from the people that passed him on their way into the ballroom and smirked. He knew he looked drop-dead sexy; the dark clothing set off his bronzed skin perfectly and the maroon shirt went well with the auburn tints in his upswept hair.

 

The smirk turned down slightly. Kakarrot was laaaate. His eyes flickered down to the timepiece on his left wrist – 6:10pm. Very late. His eyes narrowed. Nobody kept the prince waiting.

 

“Good evening, Vegeta-sama.” A high-pitched voice piped up from somewhere in the vicinity of his waist and he yelped in surprise, jumping to the side.

 

Vegeta stifled a growl and instead nodded stiffly to the midget Seer. Chao-tzu was wearing some passé silk robes in emerald and gold. He snickered mentally. ‘Probably because regular clothes don’t fit him…’

 

“Are you waiting for somebody, Vegeta-sama?”

 

The teen gave a curt nod, keeping his gaze fixed on the people who were walking in. ‘Leave me alone, go away go away go away….Where are you, you baka?!’

 

There was a short period of blessed silence and Vegeta actually thought for a moment that the clown had got the hint and left him alone, but his luck seemed to be abysmal that night. “It is a beautiful night. Do you know, Vegeta-sama, that tonight’s Hallow Moon is supposed to be special…”

 

Chao-tzu did not get a chance to finish what he was about to say when Vegeta suddenly blurted out. “Ah, there’s Tien! Well, see you!” Vegeta fought the urge to bolt away, but instead walked calmly, if a little stiffly and quickly, over to the bald-headed teen, his jaw clenched tightly. Any port in a storm…

 

-----

 

Kakarrot touched down on the stone courtyard hard and without missing a beat, continued sprinting towards the Ballroom. Shit! He was almost half an hour late, and he knew how much Vegeta hated to be kept waiting.

 

He slowed down as he rounded a corner, and the grand doors of the Ballroom came into view. The tall teen looked around worriedly as he straightened his blue shirt and ran a nervous hand through his wind-tousled hair. Where was Vegeta? He hoped the prince had not left in a rage…

 

Kakarrot narrowed his eyes in sudden anger when he caught sight of his lover talking to a certain bald figure in a dark green tunic. Quickly, he walked over, approaching Vegeta from behind, knowing that the two would have registered his ki. Tien looked up first, a flash of irritation on his face before a calm mask dropped back over his face.

 

“Kakarrot!” Vegeta spun around, not bothering to hide his pissed expression. He crossed his arms and gave his taller mate an angry stare.

 

“I’m really sorry Vegeta! Somebody stole my clothes and I had to rush home to change…” He gave his lover a pleading look, his face flushed from his flight and sweating. After a few seconds, the prince relented with a grumble. “Ay, come on baka. Let’s go in. I’m starving.”

 

“Oh, and since Tien is a stranger to this part of the country, I’ve invited him to sit with us for the Dinner.” Kakarrot flashed a hard glare at the green-clad teen who was walking on Vegeta’s other side, and looped a possessive arm around the oblivious prince’s waist. Tien stared back equally coldly, his lips curving up in a slight smile. Kakarrot seethed, but there was nothing he could do.

 

Inside, the grand chamber was gaily decorated. Long troughs that ran round the perimeter of the room groaned under an impressive spread of food and round tables for eating occupied the space in the middle. The general atmosphere was cheerful and upbeat, even boisterous as the night wore on. There was no alcohol served though; the combination of alcohol and a full moon would have been too much.

 

The mood at the tables near the front of the hall, where the royal family and friends sat, was a little more somber and strained though. Vegeta was still slightly miffed at Kakarrot for being late, and especially exasperated at what he considered unreasonable hostility towards Tien. He was also growing increasingly nervous; Chao-tzu, who was seated with Goten and Trunks on the opposite side of the large table, kept staring at him. Those round, shiny eyes gave him goose bumps every time he looked up and saw them fixated on him. He couldn’t wait for the dinner to be over and he could then escape from that eerie, unblinking gaze.

 

Kakarrot was feeling rather high-strung. He should be happy; he had just retained his championship title and tonight, he would consummate his mating with the love of his life. But, somehow, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that something bad was about to happen. Looking up, he glared daggers at the smooth-headed, smooth-talking teen who was seated on Vegeta’s left. And he knew why; some bastard was trying to move in on his mate! He stifled a low growl at that thought, forcing himself to stay calm. Tien stood no chance, especially after tonight. No chance at all. Yet, he couldn’t shake off the uneasy feeling. He couldn’t wait for the dinner to end.

 

Vegeta leaned over and whispered. “I’ve this …vague feeling… this presentiment that something bad’s going to happen…”

 

“Yeah, I know what you mean. I’ve been feeling agitated all evening!” Kakarrot nodded.

 

“Something about the way Chao-tzu keeps staring at me…”

 

Kakarrot blinked. “Chao-tzu? I thought you were talking about Tien.”

 

“What are you talking about? What about Tien?” Vegeta looked up at his mate in irritation. “Tien’s all right. I’m telling you, it’s Chao-tzu that’s creepy.”

 

Kakarrot shot a quick glance at the Seer. Chao-tzu was chatting with Goten. “Nah, he won’t bother you. He’s too busy talking to Goten.”

 

Vegeta seethed. Dammit! Why is it that nobody takes him seriously about that white-faced freak?

 

Trunks fidgeted nervously. Tonight… tonight, he would ask Goten. He glanced across the table at his older brother and Kakarrot with envy and sighed. He wished he had no relationship problems like them. The young prince poked listlessly at his food… There was something nagging at him. Something he forgot… Kuso! He forgot that he had left the gift in his room! He groaned; he’ll just have to rush up after dinner to get it. He hoped this is not an omen that the rest of the night would be as unlucky.

 

Goten divided his time between chatting with Trunks and with Chao-tzu. His best friend seemed unusually quiet tonight though, but he shrugged it off. Perhaps Trunks was still drained from the competitions earlier. They had done very well against the older teens; both making it to the semi-finals and Trunks came in third. Perhaps that was why he was quiet; Trunks was probably a little depressed over his showing. He smiled genially down at the small Saiyan next to him. Chao-tzu also seemed a little depressed, and from the frequent glances the Seer was giving a certain ebony-haired prince, he could guess why. Poor guy.  

 

“Aaauughh!” “Shit!” Heads at the table snapped up at the simultaneous exclamations.

 

Piccolo wrung his hands in agitation as he stared fretfully down at his desert… on an increasingly angry male. Not just any male; the Tournament Champion and the Royal Consort… He was too young to die! The tall, gangly boy was starting to look a little green as he moaned fearfully, his tail puffing out in fear behind him. “It was an accident! I’m so sorry! I don’t know what happened, I just tripped!”

 

Kakarrot stood up slowly, straining to hold in his temper and ki. Kuso! Could this evening get any worse? He looked down at his blue shirt in dismay, now stained with chocolate pudding, and then raised his head to glare balefully at the class klutz. Dammit. He knew he couldn’t really blame that clumsy idiot, but still…

 

“Saa...” Vegeta laid a calming hand on his fuming lover’s arm, smirking at the look on the quaking boy’s face. “I’ve some spare shirts in my room; why don’t you go up and change now?”

 

“All right.” Kakarrot took a few deep breaths and unclenched his fists. “Dinner’s almost over anyway. Tell you what, I’ll see you at the entrance to the Gardens at…” He glanced down at his watch. “…9 o’clock?”

 

The black-haired fighter stomped off, gritting his teeth in frustration. He just couldn’t believe his sheer bad luck; first his clothes got stolen, and now this! He flashed a quick glance over his shoulder as he exited the room. And the worst thing was, he had to leave his mate alone with that bastard!

 

-----

 

“Vegeta-sama!” Vegeta looked down in irritation. That pesky clown again!

 

“Vegeta-sama, there is something I need to show you, it is very important!” There was a hint of desperation in the royal Seer’s voice.

 

“Why?” Vegeta backed away. “What is it about?”

 

“It’s about tonight’s Hallow Moon…”

 

“I’m not interested.” Vegeta scowled, cutting him off rudely and turned away, striding rapidly out of the hall, ignoring the midget’s call behind him.

 

“Hey, Goten!” Trunks looked slightly flustered as the two boys stood up to leave. “I’ve to get something from my room; could I see you at the Gardens later, at 9:20? Near the fountain?”

 

“Sure!” Goten watched the lavender-haired prince hurry off, wondering what he was going to do till then.

 

“Goten-san?” He looked down at the diminutive Saiyan. “Would you like to see my observatory?”

Goten blinked in surprise. Why not? He grinned and nodded. Chao-tzu had told him a bit about his work and his curiosity was piqued. Also, he had seen Chao-tzu approach Vegeta and Chao-tzu looked quite miserable now. Though he didn’t know what the prince told the Seer, he guessed that it wasn’t something nice. ‘I guess the little guy’s just lonely.’

 

“Vegeta!” The ebon-haired prince looked back to see Tien hurrying up to him.

 

“Would you like me to wait with you?”

 

Vegeta blinked in irritated surprise. Why is it that everyone wants to talk to him tonight? Bah, and he had been looking forward to a hot night with Kakarrot. Alone. He shook his head curtly. “It was nice meeting you, Tien, but no thanks.” He glanced down at his watch. “It’s 10 to 9 now. Kakarrot should be there by the time I reached the Gardens.”

 

“I..I’m sorry.” A slight flush covered the tall fighter’s cheeks, as he turned to leave, his voice disappointed and low. “I had not meant to impose on you. It’s just that… I’ve no where else to go after the Dinner…”

 

Immediately, Vegeta felt like a heel. Of course! Tien was a stranger to the area. “Uh… You can walk me there if you like.”

 

The prince did not see the cold smirk on the green-clad fighter’s face as they turned to leave.

 

-----

 

Chao-tzu led the tall boy through a maze of corridors, finally reaching a stout wooden door. Peering out at a window near the door, Goten realized that they were at the base of one of the towers at the back of the castle. “It is quiet and away from the main residential area of the castle.” Chao-tzu explained as they climbed the winding stairway. “Otherwise, the lights from the other occupied rooms will interfere with my astronomy studies.”

 

“Wow.” Goten looked around him as they reached the first level. Chao-tzu’s living quarters occupied an entire floor of the tower. Papers and half-finished small projects lay scattered over the large table that stood in the middle of the room.

 

“Would you like to see my telescope? My observatory is on the top level.” Chao-tzu continued walking up the spiral staircase and Goten quickly put down the small glass box he had been examining. ‘Wow, Chao-tzu has so many interesting gadgets.’

 

-----

 

Kakarrot stepped into Vegeta’s room, sliding the key back into his pocket as he walked over to the prince’s bedroom. The tall teen had left the main door to Vegeta’s suite of rooms open as he walked in. The large metal door with the royal crest engraved on it opened to a sitting room and beyond that, the teenage prince’s bedroom.

 

The brawny teen stood in front of the large wardrobe and wondered what to wear. Most of the prince’s clothes were too tight for him… He rifled through the hanging shirts, his tail swishing slowly. Finally, he managed to find a smoky gray shirt that would just fit him, even though it was a little tight across his shoulders. Kakarrot grinned. Well then, he would just leave the top few buttons off.

 

‘Mmm…’ He purred as he admired his defined pectorals in the mirror, nicely shown off by the half-opened shirt. ‘Looking good, Kakarrot. That baldie doesn’t stand a chance…’

 

The muscular teen preened and flexed in front of the full-length mirror for a while, combing his tousled spikes and posing, when he suddenly caught sight of a movement behind him reflected in the mirror.

 

Kakarrot spun around but he was too late. The heavy metal door slammed closed with a muffled thud.

 

-----

 

Vegeta crossed his arms and fumed. Kakarrot was late, again! He glanced down at his watch… 9:05. He knew it does not take all that long to walk about to his room, what the hell could Kakarrot be doing? Kakarrot was never late, and yet twice tonight, of all nights, he had been tardy. The prince rubbed his upper arms with his palms as he cursed. Tien had walked him there, and waited with him until 9 before taking his leave, saying that Kakarrot would not like to see him around.

 

For some strange, inexplicable reason, the feeling of unease that sat heavily in the pit of his stomach since dinner was growing. He could not shake off the sensation that somebody was nearby. Yet, when he stretched out his senses, he could not detect any ki nearby. Most of the other people had either gone on home or for some night rendezvous with their lovers, and the castle seemed extremely empty. He fidgeted and looked around him, trying to reassure himself that it was just his imagination. 

 

To take his mind off his irritation and nervousness, he looked down towards the Gardens. He was standing at the top of the stone steps that led down to the mini-forest. They may be called the Gardens but the term ‘contained jungle’ would probably be a more accurate description. The grounds were not manicured, but left to grow lush and untamed. A few paved paths wound through the verdant foliage and majestic trees, leading to specific landmarks like the sundial or the fountains.

 

It was a popular spot for young lovers; he and Kakarrot had planned to consummate their Mating Ritual that night down in the Gardens. As always, his lips curved up in a slight smile and there was a warm fuzzy feeling in his chest when he thought about his brawny lover. Tonight, the lamps lighting the path were not lit, as the full moon above was more than bright enough for keen Saiyan vision. In fact, many of the lights around the castle were turned down low as Hallow Moon was considered a romantic occasion.

 

Suddenly, the hair on the back of his neck prickled, almost as if somebody was nearby, watching him. Vegeta jerked his head around but the foyer he was standing in was empty. He shook his head as his eyes scanned the shadows keenly. ‘Where’s Kakarrot?’ Changing his mind, he decided to head back up to his room. Perhaps he would meet Kakarrot on the way down.

 

-----

 

Kakarrot rattled the knob on the door in anger, but the lock appeared to have been fused shut with ki. ‘Shit! This was no childish prank! This was deliberate!’ Bracing himself, he rammed his shoulder against the stout door repeatedly but the door refused to budge. For once, he cursed the fact that Vegeta was a prince; the high-security door to his room was thick and made of a hard metal alloy, capable of withstanding ki attacks. Briefly, he considered powering up and seeing if he could blast the door down, but he knew that Vegeta would be furious over the mess to his room.

 

‘Ach, the window!’ He slapped himself in the forehead in consternation.

 

Turning around, he was about to fly out of the window instead when he stopped in his tracks and gaped in shock. A translucent green barrier covered the opened window. ‘What the hell?’ He rushed forward and slammed a fist into the barrier, but his fist just sank in harmlessly. Snarling, he held out a hand and loosed a ball of ki at it.

 

The barrier thinned slightly at the point where the ki had struck it, but other than that, it appeared to have suffered no significant damage. Kakarrot realized with a sinking heart that it was made of some absorbent material. Some very absorbent material.

 

‘Ok, ok… Keep calm.’ The teen forced himself to take deep breaths as he paced the room, his puffed tail lashing wildly behind him. ‘Just focus on getting out first, then figure out who did this.’ In the back of his mind, he had a very strong suspicion that it was Tien. He had no concrete evidence, but this was all too coincidental… Another thought struck him.  ‘My stolen clothes!’

 

Kakarrot forced his mind back to his problem at hand with a growl. ‘Ok, I could power up and try to blast the barrier…or door… Or maybe if I should try to just push the lock out first. Hopefully I can get out with minimal damage to Vegeta’s room or he’ll kill me…’

 

-----

 

Goten fidgeted slightly in agitation as Chao-tzu continued talking about the movement of Noago to Lipea would affect the normal elliptical orbit of Lenar. He cast a surreptitious look down at his watch. 9:15. Kuso… He would have to find some way of leaving very soon. He hoped he could remember the way down to the Gardens.

 

The two Saiyan-jins were standing in a circular room at the top of Chao-tzu’s tower, and large windows that ran around the perimeter of the observatory gave panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and an unobstructed view of the night sky. A large telescope stood to one side, and models and charts littered the tables and small bookcases that lined the room. The lights were not turned on, but there was no need. The silvery light from the full moon was more than sufficient to see by.

 

Turning to Chao-tzu, Goten opened his mouth tentatively. “Uhh, Chao-tzu? It’s been really nice talking to you, but I must leave… Trunks is …” His sentence trailed off as the small Saiyan turned an anguished face towards him.

 

“You also do not want to be around me.” A loud sniff. “Why? Why??”

 

“Uhh…Chao-tzu…” Goten was starting to get really nervous.

 

“Nobody likes me.” To the teen’s horror, the short Seer crumbled into a ball on the floor, hugging his knees as he rocked back and forth and bawled. “Vegeta-sama….”

 

-----

 

Trunks held the gift-wrapped box under his left arm as he made his way down to the Gardens, a small smile on his face. He hoped fervently that Goten would like the gift; it was a small and beautifully crafted dagger. But more importantly, he hoped Goten would like him.

 

The lavender-haired prince chewed his lower lip in worry as he continued to worry. He wasn’t sure at all if Goten would return his affections…

 

‘I’m sure he will… You’re handsome and smart… A fantastic body, rich and a prince to boot! Already he’s your best friend!’

 

‘Yeah, but that doesn’t mean he will like me as a mate…’

 

‘What’s there not to like? Many others back in the Academy are swooning over you. You’re charming and witty…’

 

‘You’re also prone to talking to yourself like a schizo… Auuuggh!’

 

Trunks slapped himself lightly as he continued walking, glad that the castle was relatively empty now. ‘Get a hold of yourself!’

 

-----

 

Vegeta strode down the empty corridor in long, rapid steps and fought down the urge to run. ‘This is ridiculous! There’s nobody around!’ But he could have sworn he heard some scuffling sounds behind him a couple of times…

 

He whipped his head around again when he thought he heard yet another rustling sound. This was too spooky. The fine hairs on his arms literally stood on end as goose bumps ran up his skin. Forcing himself to remain calm, he walked faster. A lot faster.

 

His heart skipped a step as his keen hearing picked out a very faint, muffled sneeze, and he forgot about his pride as he panicked and started running, his heart hammering madly in fear.

 

Whoever that was behind him appeared to have thrown caution to the wind too. Vegeta could hear the footfalls thudding behind him. Now that the ruse was up, his mysterious stalker was not bothering to hide his ki.

 

His mind whirled as his breath came out in loud pants. ‘That ki seems vaguely familiar… Where have I encountered it before?’ Now he cursed the too-dim illumination as he sprinted down the maze of corridors. He knew the castle like the back of his hand, but in the low lighting, he wasn’t sure if he had taken a wrong turning somewhere… He should be near his room by now…

 

-----

 

‘Finally!’ Kakarrot gave a hard punch and the lock with a neatly cut circle of metal around fell outside with a loud clatter. It had taken him forever to focus his ki hot enough to cut through the tough metal.

 

He glanced down at his watch. ‘Shit! 9:20! Vegeta’s gonna kill me!’ He kicked the sturdy door open and ran out. Sprinting down the corridor, he did not notice a ki ahead as he rounded a corner and barreled right into a figure.

 

Chi Chi screamed as she was flung backwards and hit the wall hard with a crunch. Kakarrot skidded to a stop guiltily and rushed over to the fallen girl. ‘Arrgh! What else can go wrong now??’

 

“Chi Chi! Are you all right?”

 

-----

 

Goten was feeling more and more uncomfortable as he shifted his weight uneasily from one foot to the other. He hoped that Trunks would wait a while for him because it looked like he’s going to be late. The loud sniffles had thankfully stopped and Chao-tzu was now murmuring quietly to himself.

 

“Hey, man…” Goten bent down and patted the small shoulder reassuringly. “It’s not that I don’t like you…”

 

“Really?” Chao-tzu turned his tear-streaked face up at the teen.

 

“Uh huh.” Goten nodded, smiling genially.

 

Chao-tzu got to his feet slowly and stood for a while with his gaze downcast. Goten watched the small guy carefully, wary of triggering off another depression or whatever attack.

 

Chao-tzu stared at the rug beneath his feet as he struggled to keep the need within him in control. It was almost time; it had to be done tonight. And soon. His breath came out in harsh, deeply drawn pants… His blood was pounding in his ears. He could hear the other’s blood as well… A loud thumping beat that called enticingly to him.

 

He swayed slightly, his eyes glazing over.

 

-----

 

Trunks fidgeted nervously as he waited, his eyes darting to his watch every once in a while. The soft trickling sounds of the fountain behind him and cool night breeze, bringing with it the sweet fragrance of the forest did nothing to soothe his unease.

 

Goten was late. He hoped nothing was wrong…

 

-----

 

Vegeta’s breath came out in ragged gasps as he ran blindly. At the back of his mind, he was wondering if he should stop and fight instead, but quickly discarded that thought as he realized he would be at a severe disadvantage as that section of the castle near his room was very dark; there were no windows and no sources of illumination. Also, he wasn’t sure if his pursuer had a weapon.

 

As he rounded yet another corner, his speed slowed down fractionally and that was all his unknown assailant needed to close the gap. A lunging tackle floor threw the prince hard against the floor. The two rolled about in the darkened corridor and limbs lashed out wildly. Vegeta cursed as a hard fist clocked him in the jaw and sent his head reeling back.

 

Whoever his attacker was, he was very strong and a seasoned fighter. While the slim prince could normally hold his own in a fight, his attacker had not only the advantage of surprise but size as well, as they wrestled blindly in the dark.

 

Vegeta tried to scramble up, knowing he couldn’t win in such close-quarters combat but a hand hauled him forward and out of balance, and a foot planted in his chest assisted his trajectory towards a wall. The slight royal had the breath knocked out of him as he was flung hard against a wall, stunning him momentarily. Before he could recover, his arms were twisted viciously behind his back and his face was shoved into the cold stone floor. A hand pulled cruelly at his sensitive tail and Vegeta arched back with a pained cry.

 

tbc...

 

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A/N: The plot thickens! *cackles* A classic whodunit, with everyone running around like headless chickens… Who trapped Kakarrot in Vegeta’s room? Who was Vegeta’s assailant? (At least we all hope it’s a who and not what….) And, just what is up with Chao-tzu?

 

And, in case anyone was wondering again, not that it’s important to the story at all, but Piccolo’s a Saiyan too. Just a tall, skinny gawky Saiyan teen…  *nods* Some readers have wondered about Goku and Kakarrot in the previous chapter as well. They are different people. This is an AU and I’m just playing around with the characters. Don’t think about the canon too much. So everyone is a Saiyan; no Ningens, no Nameks here. *grins* Kakarrot is mated to Vegeta, Goku is mated to Chi Chi and (Queen) Bulma is mated to (King) Vegeta… Just a little joke on my part. ^^;; Hope that clears up the confusion over the cast…

 

Kakarrot, Goku and Goten are not related. They look similar; as similar as three tall and muscular teens with black spiky hair but I guess they look different enough to be easily recognizable. Don’t think too much about it… ^_^

 

Hope everybody’s confused now but not too confused…*grins*

 

Onto Chapter 4

 

Back to Chapter 2

 

Back to DBZ Yaoi Series





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