A Song-fic. Confusing and not lemony (for once). (10/10/2002)

The same events from Vegeta’s POV, his thoughts are bordered by tilde’s ~

 

 

Something Foolish (4/7)

 

 

His world was reduced to just him and an imaginary opponent. The trees towering over the clearing in the backyard bled into a blur of greens and browns, yet he could see clearly each individual blade of grass that lay within his immediate field of vision. Time seem to speed up, and then stand still at odd moments; the blade he held in his hand was a flash of quicksilver that twirled in and out of his sight as he kept his gaze focused in front of him, yet as he brought it slicing forward, it was as if the sword slowed down and he could make out every small nick, every scratch on the worn practice blade.

 

Concentrating on keeping his breathing even and deep, he relished in the burn of the muscles in his arms and upper back as he swung the weapon, the strain in his legs as he leapt about nimbly, flexing and relaxing countless times within a second. The heavy heft of the blade of the blade, the cool draft of the air as it wicked away the moisture on his sweat-slicked skin, the rushing sound of the wind in his ears and his heartbeat thudding loudly in his ears, the fresh, green scent that wafted from the trampled grass beneath his feet; these sensations were real, tangible…definitive. Unlike the roiling turmoil of emotions within him. Resolutely, he focused on the physical awareness of the moment now, blanking out anything else that might eat away at his attention.

 

His vision blurred, and then refocused. The scene changed; in his mind’s eye, he could see his old weapons master, agate eyes narrowed in cold concentration as he put a pre-adolescent prince through his paces. A harsh task-master, who had the even harsher responsibility of making sure his young charge learned quickly and well enough to stay alive, and that included teaching him not only barehanded fighting but also weaponry.

 

As the young prince became older and stronger, swordplay took a backseat to the other martial arts, as his own ki-wrappped fists became stronger than any metallic alloy, the edge of his palm serving well as the keen edge of a blade. Now, as he came full-circle and picked up the blade again, weaponry training was simply appreciated as another fine art-form, where one learnt and practiced just for the sake of doing so.

 

As the kata drew to a close, memories receded and he gradually became aware of the present again. Along with his problems. Heaving a silent sigh, he stepped towards the scabbard on the grass and picked up the soft cloth lying beside it. As he cleaned the blade, Vegeta felt the younger Saiyan approach.

 

Well-built arms wrapped around his waist as the larger warrior embraced him, rubbing his nose lightly against his hair. Vegeta kept his attention on his sword; he could tell that the other was tensed. And he knew what Kakarrot would say. He was not blind, nor was he stupid. He had seen the growing tension in the younger lately; he had heard the whispered words at night.

 

~ Don’t say it… ~ He winced inwardly.

 

“Koi…Aishiteru.”

 

~ Shimatta… ~ His hand stilled as he gritted his jaw. Slowly, he resumed the menial task.

 

~ Say something, do anything! ~ But he couldn’t. He could feel the oppressive weight of the other’s expectation pressing heavily on him, and it frustrated and angered him. 

 

Kakarrot kept quiet as he picked up the scabbard and slid the blade in, his eyes fixed on his sword, his mind numb. The ouji was intensely aware of the other’s apprehension and presence, yet he couldn’t bring himself to face the younger Saiyan. His lover.

 

~ Coward. ~ He sneered at himself.

 

Vegeta’s only desire was to escape out of the uncomfortable situation; he knew he was being ignobly craven about it all, but he just couldn’t seem to face the brawny male at that moment. He just wasn’t’ …ready. He had stared at death in the face countless times but he couldn’t face his own lover.

 

He was about to turn back towards the house when a light touch on his arm stopped him. Vegeta couldn’t help it; his tail bristled and curled about his waist in a defensive action.

 

“Vegeta… Do you…?”

 

He winced again at hearing the slight quiver in the other’s voice. Shimatta…why was that baka affecting him so? He didn’t love him…didn’t he?

 

~ So just say it, why are you hesitating? He asked and you’ve never shielded away from the truth before. Why do you care? Weakling. ~ He sneered at himself, at the male in front of him, but it was half-hearted.

 

Vegeta opened his mouth, only to shut it again. ~ I..I can’t. ~ He couldn’t explain it; it had torn at him to see the anguished, desperate expression Kakarrot’s face, yet he couldn’t bring himself to say those words he knew what the other wanted to hear. He couldn’t lie, yet he couldn’t tell the truth either.

 

Yet… Was it the truth? He was caught up in a maelstrom of confused emotions. He almost wished he loved the younger Saiyan, just so he would not have to see the hurt on the other’s normally happy countenance… But he wasn’t. Was he? Wouldn’t he know if he was? His gaze locked with the other’s, hope painfully evident in those shining eyes.

 

~ I just can’t… ~

 

Vegeta’s mind spun and finally, he took the easiest way out. He feigned ignorance, hoping that the other would just leave him be. “Do I what?” He was surprised; his voice actually came out collected and calm.

 

He felt Kakarrot recoil, cheeks reddening, then blanching before dropping his hand and gaze. And the Saiyan no Ouji felt like the dirt under his boots. “Nothing… Nothing at all.” The taller male quickly turned and walked back into the house.

 

~ Kuso! Okubyoumono! ~ Vegeta swore at himself. Yet he couldn’t bring himself to say anything or step towards the younger. Spinning about on the balls of his feet, he flared his ki and fled.

 

What kind of fool am I, who never fell in love?

It seems that I’m the only one that I have been thinkin’ of!

 

Vegeta cursed blisteringly as he ran away. Yes, that was what he was doing. Running away like a craven knave…he, who was a warrior prince. Rather than face the one he had always called a baka.

 

~ I’m not running… I just need time away from that baka. I am the Saiyan no Ouji! I do not need to explain my actions! ~

 

He snorted derisively. Pathetic. He was pathetic.

 

He didn’t love the other; he didn’t believe in it, he didn’t believe he could even if that so-called emotion exists. He knew himself; he was hardly the mushy, loving type. Yet… If that were the case, why was he so affected? Two years ago, he wouldn’t have bothered; he wouldn’t have cared. His mood swung from guilt to anger and Vegeta scowled angrily.

 

~ Shimatta… How dared he expect that from me?! And why should I care?! ~ A scream of frustration tore from his throat as he sped on.

 

Caught up in his thoughts, he was suddenly aware of the direction his flight path had been unconsciously taking – towards Capsule Corps; a familiar reflex. And he was suddenly, extremely aware of the fact that he was still sticky and sweaty. He took a few deep breaths and relaxed; his sudden burst of exertion had helped calmed him somewhat. Touching down in the balcony of a familiar room, he slid open the glass doors and strode in. Glancing around, he noticed that nobody had touched their bedroom since he moved out. Bulma’s stuff had mostly been packed away after her passing but small reminders still lay around. Her brush. A small glass bottle of her favorite perfume. Vegeta laughed softly as he picked up the delicate glass, remembering how he used to insult her over that, saying that she needed to cover up her own body odor. In truth, it was just because his keener nose could not stand the overwhelming artificial scents that the Ningens like to pile upon themselves. Her natural scent was nice, if a little weak. Though Kakarrot’s natural musk was far stronger and more appealing.

 

Kakarrot…

 

He placed the small bottle back down at that reminder of his current problem, his sudden humor gone. Shaking his head, he checked the wardrobe. Yes, some of his old clothes were still hanging inside. He eyed the torn and extremely worn jeans on the hanger. Well, that faded gray-indigo jeans was better than the awful yellow pants beside it. Turning around, he stripped as he walked towards the bathroom.

 

Vegeta emerged from the steaming bathroom feeling refreshed but no clearer-headed than before he entered. Not bothering to look for a towel, he dried himself with a flare of his ki and pulling on the ripped jeans. Rummaging further, he found a decent navy sweater as well. His stomach growled and raking his fingers through his mussed and slightly damp hair, he made his way to the kitchen.

 

“Niiiice rip, dad…” A deep voice chuckled behind him as Vegeta was bent over, digging in the large fridge. An arm reached around him to snag a can of iced tea. The ouji grunted and finally emerged, his arms full of cold leftovers. The two sat in easy silence, the son occasionally stealing his father’s sandwiches.

 

“Ok, dad. What’s up?” Trunks finally spoke up. His normally observant father would not have let the theft of his food go unpunished. He had emerged from his lab to take a break and to his surprise, felt his father’s ki in the kitchen. Vegeta hardly ever dropped by ‘just for fun’, so something must be wrong.

 

“Nothing, boy.” Vegeta grunted.

 

The grown demi-Saiyan eyed his dour parent doubtfully. “Did you have a fight with Goku?” He knew that the two older males had been keeping company and he thought it was rather sweet.

 

Vegeta paused in mid-chew. “No.” But the twitching in his eye and strained tone gave him away. Trunks also noted the lashing of the auburn bristling tail behind his father and wisely decided to not press the issue further. Rolling his eyes, he drained the remainder of his drink, tossed the can across the room to land neatly in the bin and was about to stand up when his father suddenly spoke up.

 

“How do you know that you love that older spawn of Kakarrot?”

 

The lavender haired prince sat back down with an awkward thump at the unexpected question. “Uhh…well…” Blinking rapidly, he gathered his thoughts and cast his mind back. “I guess it started after I broke up with Pan. I was depressed and so I immersed myself in a new research project. I ran into some calculation problems, so I approached Gohan for help, and somehow we ended up spending a lot of time together. When that project was completed, I suddenly realized that we worked well together and so we came up with another research collaboration. Actually, I didn’t realize it then, but now I know I suggested it just so I could have an excuse to be near him. One thing led to another, and we found ourselves spending a lot of time together and not on the excuse of work either.”

 

“But is it that love; that everyone talks about? You spend a lot of time with Goten as well, heck, you two were inseparable as kids. Do you …love Goten?” Normally straightforward and frank, Vegeta found it uncomfortable to talk about that elusive emotion though.

 

“Oh no.” Trunks threw back his head with a laugh. “Kami… You won’t believe how many people think that we must be lovers because of the amount of time we spend together, and because we grew up from young together, and how perfect we are together. But I’ve always viewed Goten as a brother, never a lover. What I feel for Goten and what I feel for Gohan are totally different… I mean, I love Goten as a brother greatly, but it’s not the same. I..I can’t explain it.”

 

Vegeta leaned back, crossing his arms as he watched his son get all dreamy-eyed. “I just wanted to be around Gohan all the time, I couldn’t stop thinking about him when we are apart. I had never felt anything so intense, not even with Pan. Small things he do can make me so deliriously happy.” Vegeta choked, suddenly reminded of the little stuff Kakarrot was always doing for him, little gestures that gave him a warm, fuzzy feeling and made him feel …nice. Cared for. Loved. He swallowed guilty, remembering the look on his lover’s face that morning.

 

“Sounds like those sappy songs Kakarrot likes to listen to on the radio.” The still skeptical ouji remarked gruffly.

 

Trunks gave a barking laugh. “It isn’t all sugar and spice, dad. There were times when we would get so mad at each other…” He eyed the faint scorch mark on the ceiling ruefully; a reminder of their last blow-up. Literally. A few coats of paint hadn’t managed to cover the aftermath completely. “It’s like, somehow he just manages to trigger all of my buttons. If it was anybody else, I would have simply told the baka to fuck off or I would have walked away, but with Gohan… I just can’t. I would get so mad at him, then I would feel bad for getting mad at him, then I would feel mad at myself for allowing myself to feel guilty, and at the time I would feel mad at him for putting me on this guilt trip even though it’s not actually his fault…”

 

Vegeta widened his eyes in shock. Kami… It sounded too eerily like what he was going through. Kakarrot could always do that to him. Only Kakarrot…

 

“Yet, somehow, even after the worst fights, I just can’t leave him. Oh, I may even actually leave, but after a few days, after I cool down…” His lips twitched in a quirky smile. Trunks wondered if that was what was happening between his father and Goku. It would certainly explain his father’s sudden appearance at the CC and his odd behavior. “Why do you ask, dad?”

 

Vegeta grunted, not wishing to speak about something. Scowling, he avoided his son’s searching look and stared instead at the white and silver cabinets that lined the kitchen walls in stony silence. He cannot believe that he was actually seated in his son’s kitchen, asking his son for advice on love.

 

~ What the hell? I just came here to get away from Kakarrot and to bathe… ~

 

“Ano…dad…don’t worry too much. I’m sure whatever is the problem between you and Goku, it can’t be that bad.”

 

Vegeta eyed his son balefully. What does that brat know? Trunks smirked and crossed his arms, settling back in his chair and looking just like his father’s son. “I mean; I can see that the two of you really love each other…”

 

“Nani?!” The ouji’s outraged question interrupted the younger man. “What do you mean by that?”

 

“C’mon dad… I know your personality. You wouldn’t have stayed with Goku and put up with him for so long if you didn’t love him. Don’t you?” Trunks’ expression became challenging. Damn, that boy was developing balls.

 

“No. We’re just together for the sex.” Vegeta grinned wolfishly. “The sex’s great.”

 

“No way.” Trunks snorted. “I can believe if you can fuck a person; a complete stranger or even someone you hate, for a night or few, but to live with somebody intimately for so long…”

 

Vegeta had no snappy retort to that and he narrowed his eyes. What his son said made sense, yet … wouldn’t he know if he were in love? Finally he rasped out. “I don’t believe I could love. Not in the way he expects from me.”

 

Trunks shook his head. “Then he has no right to expect that from you.”

 

What kind of man is this, an empty shell?

A lonely cell in which an empty heart must dwell!

 

Vegeta touched down outside their cabin softly, deep in thought. Turning over what his son said. Wondering what to do next. Feeling lost. Stepping through the front door, he paused. The late afternoon sun glided an oblong on the worn wooden floor and his breath caught as he took in the scene; his brawny handsome lover was curled up on the couch with an opened magazine, the warm amber light highlighting the deep indigo glints in his wild hair. Kakarrot looked up at his entrance, a flash of question and hurt in his eyes before he turned back to his magazine.

 

Vegeta felt a sudden yearning to run his hands through those mussed spikes, to wrap his arms around his dark-eyed lover and apologize. Soothe away that hurt look. But pride and something else held him back. Uncertainty?  Doubt?  He swallowed nervously, the words getting stuck in his throat. Instead, he decided to apologize the only way he knew and padded softly towards the younger.

 

“Kakarrot.”

 

~ Look at me… ~

 

Vegeta sat down on the couch and leaned in against the larger warrior, hugging him and he bent forward to whisper into the other’s ear. “Kakarrot…”

 

~ I’m sorry… ~

 

What kind of lips are these, that lied with every kiss?

That whispered empty words of love that left me alone like this?

 

Vegeta purred contentedly as he lay entwined with his burly lover. The earlier awkwardness of the morn seemed to have disappeared, leaving a tranquil calmness. All was well.

 

“Hey…Geta?”

 

Vegeta yawned and stretched languidly, his purr increasing in volume. “Nani?”

 

“Where did you go today?”

 

Ohhh…that felt good. “Uhhh…” He twisted his body yet some more, feeling stiff joints crack and pop with a satisfaction. “Nowhere…”

 

“Koi…about this morning…”

 

Vegeta turned over to face his lover, wondering amusedly why Kakarrot just couldn’t keep quiet after sex. Mmmm…he closed his eyes with a smile, feeling a craving for the other’s sweet taste again. Sliding his hand around the back of the other’s head to sink into the mussed ebon spikes, he slanted his head over the other’s swollen, inviting lips.

 

Suddenly, hands shoved him roughly back with a snarl. Vegeta caught himself and snapped his eyes open with a low growl of anger. ~ What the fuck…? ~

 

His sudden rage faltered into surprise at the normally placid Saiyan’s expression. “Shit, Vegeta! Listen to me!” Blinking in stunned shock, he did just that.

 

“Is that all I am to you? A good fuck?” Kakarrot stood up, his face livid. “Is this what this relationship is all about? Only sex?” He spread his arms wide as he paced. “Why don’t you ever take me seriously? Did you just think you can kiss me and I would shut up? That I would just forget what I was going to say?”

 

Vegeta’s initial hot flash of anger settled into a cold rage. Met with angry accusations, his instinctive reaction was to set up his own defensive barriers and counter with his own mental arguments. ~ No, you’re not only a good fuck to me. Why do you think I had stayed with you, all these time? But dammit you low-class baka, I have lowered myself to come back to you and apologized. How dare you presume? Do I have to explain every second I spend away from you? You are not my keeper! ~ His mind spun with numerous furious retorts but what finally came out was an icy statement. He felt a sudden urge to punch the other and crossed his arms. 

 

“We have agreed that it is only sex, baka!”

 

The younger flinched at his harsh tone and whispered. “Then when you asked me to stay with you…”

 

~ Kisama! Why am I explaining myself to you? I say what I want, I do what I wish. ~ The prince pursed his lips in an angry, thin line. He hardened his feelings further behind a façade of icy indifference and threw discretion to the winds. “It is simply more convenient.”

 

He regretted his cold words as soon as they left his mouth. His defensive anger died at the anguished look on Kakarrot’s face. The tall fighter appeared to crumple as he rubbed his eyes and stumbled back. “Call me a third-class idiot, call me a royal fool… Baka no Kakarrot… All that I am and more, for I’ve fallen…fallen for you. You will probably laugh if you knew how long I’ve …loved you.”

 

~ No… I won’t. I never did. I..I ~ Vegeta bit his lip painfully as he stood in tensed silence, his arms crossed tightly. The other’s raw emotions assailed him and he didn’t know what to do, what to say.

 

“I thought I could hide it, I thought maybe I could be satisfied with the way things were, how we stood, but I can’t. I even hoped, that just maybe, we had something more… I know you don’t want it…some sappy messy feelings, I know that you’ve made it clear from the start, but kami-dammit, I’m the more sorry one, don’t you think?!”

 

~ Shit, Kakarrot… I never knew you felt that strongly, that bad… ~

 

“And…dammit, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t just be your casual fuck, not when you are so much more to me.” Vegeta watched in alarm as the younger Saiyan pulled on his jeans, stumbling back all the while. His sudden paralysis broken, he stepped forward and reached out a hand tentatively, only to be halted again by the raw, anguished sound from the other’s throat. “Kakarrot…”

 

“Forget it, Vegeta. Just forget it. I..I need to leave.”

 

“Kakarrot!” He lunged forward but the younger male was gone.

 

“SHIIIIIT!” Vegeta fell to his knees, his fist pounding on the floor in helpless rage, an impressive litany of curses running through his head. ~ What the hell just happened?? ~

 

Rage at himself, at his careless words. ~ How could I have said that, when it wasn’t true?! ~

 

Rage at Kakarrot for over-reacting. ~ That baka! Didn’t he know I didn’t mean it? Didn’t he know what I was trying to say when I came back today? ~

 

Vegeta pulled himself from his kneeling position and sank back against a wall; his eyes sliding close as his thoughts whirled and his stomach twisted painfully. He felt confused, lost. He had somehow hoped that maybe if he ignored the problem, it would go away. Instead, it festered and now burst like a fetid wound in his face. A bitter laugh slipped out. When had he been so blind? When had he become such a coward?

 

He had always set himself apart from the ‘softer’ emotions; he had been taught and he had learnt that they were weakness for a warrior. Rage fueled one’s battle lust but when one cares for somebody else, it becomes a weak link in one’s defenses. Having lost his family, his home, everything, at a young age, he had learnt to distance himself as a means of retaining his sanity. A warrior’s life was fast and harsh and possibly fleeting. At the same time, emotions can be irrational, trying, dangerous… They distract and detract, something likely to be fatal for a fighter. And so he had hid them behind a cold, thorny barrier, verbal jabs and sarcastic taunts, and an unapproachable, untouchable royal haughtiness.

 

But it was too late to blame and regret now. Only after he had lost something so very precious…

 

He wished he felt numb. He wished he felt as confident and sure of what he knew, what he wanted a day ago. No, that was not right; he didn’t know what he wanted since…since Kakarrot moved in and re-arranged more than the stuff in his cabin. He wished he had never allowed Kakarrot in, yet he knew he wouldn’t, he couldn’t word that wish even if the dragonballs were all assembled in front of him.

 

Hell… In his mind, all he could see was Kakarrot’s face, his hurt look…

 

He felt ill and he felt a headache to match the wrenching tightness in his gut coming on. Vegeta groaned and raised a hand to rub at the growing tension between his brows.

 

Was Kakarrot worth their differences? They were both of the Saiyan race but they were not alike. They will never be alike. There will always be this chasm between them. Yet without him, already he felt this void gaping within… What an irony.

 

Was Kakarrot worth his pride, his habits that made him? ~ I can’t give him what he wants… I’m me. I’m not just a Saiyan, I’m the Saiyan no Ouji. I’m Vegeta. I’m not going to crawl to him…and, kuso…why should I care? ~

 

Was Kakarrot the one? ~ Can he give me what I want? Hn. What do I want? ~

 

He recalled the great battles they had, the major events of their lives. His death. Kakarrot’s death. That was no surprise; what shocked him was also the way he could easily remember all the little, trivial facts about the younger, the way he always tied his blue sash left over right, the way he always pulled his right boot on first, how he always liked to sleep on the left hand side of their bed, his fondness for Chunky Monkey ice-cream…

 

His son’s words echoed in his mind. “You wouldn’t have stayed with Goku and put up with him for so long if you didn’t love him. Don’t you?”

 

~ Kakarrot. ~ He did not know if he truly loved the other male; emotions like these were alien and awkward for him, but…

 

~ You challenge me, fascinate me. You make me feel needed, strange, happy, angry…alive. You evoke emotions in me that no one else does. I was a fool not to acknowledge it. And I would be a greater fool not to do something about it. ~

 

He was a prince; he had always expected, he had always taken what he deemed was his by right. Yet he was also a prince with responsibilities. And the least he should do was to retract his hasty, harsh words.

 

The ouji opened his eyes, a determined conviction shining in them, his lips curling slightly as his heart lifted. ~ It’s very simple really. All my life, I’ve always gone for what I want, fought for what I want… And dammit, I want you. ~

 

Why can’t I fall in love like any other man?

And maybe then I’ll know what kind of fool I am!

                                                                                            

Vegeta touched down softly outside the simple cottage; Kakarrot’s old house, before he had moved in with the prince. He could feel the younger Saiyan’s familiar ki inside, and though he had already gone over what he would do, what he would say, he still felt a flicker of …apprehension?

                                                                                      

Steeling himself, Vegeta was about to enter; he never knocked, when the front door opened.

 

Why can’t I fall in love like any other man?

And maybe then I’ll know what kind of fool I am!

 

 

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A/N: This is probably the odd song out of the Jazz series. It is titled “What Kind of Fool Am I?” from the 1961 stage musical “Stop the World I Want to Get Off”. Music by Leslie Bricusse and lyrics by Anthony Newley.

 

Okubyoumono: coward

 

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