Author:              Kiarene

Pairings:            Radditz/Vegeta

Warnings:            AU, more angst, guard abuse, non-consensual situations

Disclaimer:            Don’t own DBZ

Published:             4th October 2003

Archive?             Please ask first

 

Many thanks to Lully for her meticulous reading and helpful suggestions!

 

‘…thoughts...’

// …a (recently) past event… //

 

 

Love Potion 5

 

 

Slowly add thin strips of dried Yohimbe bark, one at a time, until the mixture turns a light mauve. Then remove from the flame and place it back in the water bath. Add two Quebracho leaves. Allow the mixture to simmer for an hour or two until the colour deepens to a deep purple.

 

 

When Radditz regained consciousness, he found himself lying facedown on his bed. Turning over and wiping absently at the thin trail of drool on his chin, he grimaced at the sharp rays of sun that peeked through his half-drawn curtains. Without looking, his left hand flopped down to the side of his bed and groped around for a thick cord and pulled. He had rigged that a long time back so that he need not get up from his bed to draw the curtains. 

 

Closing his eyes with a bitter sigh as memories came flooding back, he attempted to resume his comatose state.

 

For the rest of the day, he lay in his curtain-darkened room, sunk in a black depression. He couldn’t summon the appetite to eat, or the energy to stir even his big toe out of bed. All he could do was to stare sightlessly at the insipid ceiling and replay what Vegeta told him over and over in his mind, each word searing like a hot brand. The sight of Vegeta’s back as he walked away was burned into the back of his eyelids everytime he closed them. The final hiss of the door as it slid close…. He hated the sound now.

 

Still, he had to move eventually.

 

When he came back from the bathroom, he was intending to crawl onto his bed again until his gaze fell onto the floor. He remembered how he had knelt on the carpet, but the bruises on his knees were insignificant compared to the ones he felt, weighing heavy in his heart. Remorse flooded him, replacing the dead apathy and grief, and he changed his mind. Instead, he sank down on the hard floor and closed his eyes again, pressing the back of his hand over his forehead. He deserved it, not his bed. It made him feel better, somewhat.

 

He could not even find rest in unconsciousness. It was then that the desperate discipline of his mental walls broke down, and scattered memories and bone-deep yearning came out to play blood-sport with his mind. 

 

Yet, which was better? The harshness of reality, or the deluded trappings of his dreams?

 

Fragmented visions of Vegeta tore deep into him like jagged pieces of a broken mirror, and sometimes, he could see reflected in the silvered shards images of warm affection past.

 

Then the memories would dissolve like smoke on the wind, and he would slip gratefully into dreamless slumber. The respite didn’t last long, and he found himself plagued again; but by fantasies not memories.

 

A slender body moving and writhing against him, holding him, needing to be held. Soft moans and not cold words tripping from young lips. The prince’s tongue a foreign flame upon his skin, calling to his nerves to the point he could still feel those wet touches searing in their wake, his entire body singing and whimpering in turn.

 

~

 

Radditz woke the next day, thoughts and emotions awhirl. Unlike the self-pitying lethargy of the previous day, he was abruptly filled with a burning resolve. Dammit! If he truly wanted Vegeta, he would not simply give up! First, he needed a bath. Badly. Almost tumbling out of bed in his haste, he stumbled across to his bathroom, already planning the day in his mind.

 

He would plead shamelessly for forgiveness, apologize and beg. Anything. Grovel and debase himself if necessary. Radditz ran through carefully planned speeches as he washed his thick hair.

 

It was odd, though, that he had woken up in bed when he had fallen asleep on the floor the night before. But Radditz was too nervous to notice the significance of that passing observation and his mind once again turned to thoughts of Vegeta. He tossed outfit after outfit onto his rumpled bed, finally settling on simple black pants and dark green tank top that hugged his figure snugly.

 

He spent the day trailing Vegeta, waiting for the chance to speak to him alone. It wasn’t easy; it was obvious that the prince was trying to avoid him. The normally reclusive teenager sought out the company of his year-mates – children of Elites who were tutored together – and they were too happy with the crown prince’s sudden attention to wonder at his uncharacteristic friendliness. Vegeta even ate dinner with his parents: something he normally loathed to do.

 

The few times he managed to corner Vegeta alone, the prince’s response was curt, vitriol dripping from his tone. “I don’t want to talk about it. Go. Away.”

 

Yet, the mere fact that the prince hadn’t beaten him up but simply walked away encouraged him.

 

Radditz persevered, broken apologies and feeble explanations tripping forth as he ran after Vegeta. He forgot what he had planned to say in his nervousness; he only knew that Vegeta must listen to him. He refused to give up even though more than one door had been closed insistently in his face.

 

At one point, he found himself leaning against the closed bathroom door as Vegeta showered, spilling thoughts that bubbled into his mind.

 

“…always liked you, subconsciously, probably… Ever since Dad brought me to the palace so I could see where he worked and I saw you walking with your father – you were just a kid, I think only ten, but already you carried yourself like an adult – I was instantly fascinated with you. At first, it was because you were the prince and, of course, I was curious to find out more. Then, not long after, I graduated with no real idea of what to do. Then I thought maybe I’ll try working in the military like Dad, and then I thought of you, and I thought maybe I’ll try…”

 

The door opened and he stumbled, face flushing as he realized belatedly that he had been rambling. Vegeta stood in the doorway frowning, steam billowing out. Radditz noticed that he was fully dressed, creamy skin damp and glistening slightly, wet hair sticking to his face and neck as he toweled his hair dry vigorously. Another sign that he had lost the prince’s confidence: Vegeta used to be comfortable in his presence, never thinking twice about walking around his private apartments with just his shorts on.

 

“What is the point of this …asinine conversation? No, I take that back. It isn’t even a conversation, just a brainless rambling on your part.” 

 

“Uhh…” Radditz swallowed in embarrassment, trying to recollect his jumbled thoughts as he followed Vegeta. “It wasn’t just a fling. Well, actually, I didn’t really expect anything more because I know I’m unworthy, but what I was trying to say was it just wasn’t some notch on my bedpost but something that started from way back...”

 

Vegeta turned around and he quailed under the incredulous glare. The part of him that was his Common Sense sat rocking in the back of his mind, moaning about digging deeper holes and burying its figurative hands as the rest of him ignored it and barreled on. “So what I mean to say is it wasn’t a meaningless thing. I truly care for you but I thought I would never have the chance because I’m not in your social standing, and it was driving me crazy, so I thought…”

 

“So you thought that you could just fuck me and get it out of your system?” Vegeta injected coldly.

 

Well, that had been his intention… Worded that way, Radditz realized that it did make him seem like an extremely heartless bastard. His stomach clenched in guilt.

 

“No! I…” 

 

“Did you trick me then?”

 

“No, I mean yes, I admit I did…” Radditz stuttered, eyes wide as he realized he was caught in his own lie. “But I…”

 

Vegeta pointed to his opened bedroom door. “Get out. Get the fuck out! I did not give you permission to enter my room.”

 

“But…”

 

“You admit that you lied to me? You were supposed to be my frie… my bodyguard, someone I’ve known for years and someone I should be able to trust! And I did, god damn you, I did trust you.”

 

“It was only once,” Radditz insisted uncomfortably, weakly.

 

“That’s what you say, and why should I trust your word anymore?” Vegeta was seething now, face flushed in his rage. “I hate you.”

 

“Please…” Radditz shook his head, not sure what he was pleading for now. “Vegeta, I…”

 

“Out!” The younger male yelled, his ki spiking dangerously, and Radditz back-pedaled out of the room in fear. “I don’t wish to talk to you anymore and I most certainly do not want you to talk to me anymore! I don’t want to be subjected to your annoying presence anymore than I absolutely have to so leave me alone!”

 

When the heavy door hissed shut, it was almost anti-climatic after Vegeta’s outburst. Radditz stared at the closed door for a long time, his hands clenching hard enough to leave red crescents in his palms. Finally, he closed his eyes tightly; head bowed in shame and hurt and abject despair. He had never felt so hopeless.

 

“Sh~it!”

 

~

 

Radditz stared at the sturdy box dully for a long time, before he flipped the lid and fastened it. It had been four days since Vegeta found out. Four days since Vegeta told him to leave. Four days of pure hell.

 

He couldn’t do anything. He knew he should be packing and looking for somewhere to stay. He should be looking for a new job; he shouldn’t have a problem with that, oddly enough. Vegeta hadn’t said anything to anyone, only that he was looking for a new guard. The prince even gave him a glowing reference.

 

//

 

“I may dislike you very strongly at the moment, but I can be logical and objective and put my current emotions aside and control myself.“ Radditz winced at the not-so-subtle barb and the frosty tones. “Your work was excellent and I do appreciate your years of service…”

 

“Then let me stay, please. I’m begging you.  It won’t ever happen again.”

 

“I can’t.” A pause. “It won’t work out. Don’t ask me again.”

 

Radditz didn’t know what else he could say or do. His fight, his hopes, just drained out of him and he could only stare blankly at the prince’s face.

 

Vegeta avoided his look as he placed a small data disc on the table. The prince appeared distant and apathetic. “My reference is inside. You should not have any problems finding a new employer. If you do, feel free to refer them to me.”

 

He kept his gaze on Vegeta as the prince walked out, abruptly calling out softly, “I do love you.”

 

Period to Comma..speech tag.

 

But there was no indication that Vegeta had heard him at all.

 

//

 

He didn’t want a good reference. He wanted…

 

He didn’t know what he wanted now. He wanted Vegeta, but that was not possible. Ever. For numerous reasons, even if he hadn’t screwed up. He wanted to stay on as Vegeta’s bodyguard, but given that he could never have Vegeta, that was an eminently stupid idea. It was torment to stay on like this, but it would destroy him to leave.

 

He just wanted this heartbreak to end.

 

Sighing bitterly, he stood up and brought down another box from the top of his cupboard. Pulling open another drawer, he proceeded to methodically transfer the contents to the box.

 

Perhaps it was better this way. Vegeta would never let him near again even if he retained his job, and really, it was more painful to stay on this way than to leave. To see the prince everyday, to know that he could never ever have even the smallest possibility of even regaining their previous easy relationship; it would be torture. He never suspected this masochistic streak in himself.

 

And sooner or later, the prince would be looking for a mate, and that would surely kill him. Better to leave now, go somewhere far away – the other end of the galaxy sounded good at this moment – and never think about Vegeta again.

 

Yeah, that sounded like an excellent idea. The best he apparently had in a long time. He remembered the exact point he crashed. The exact point when he realized that it was all hopeless, that Vegeta was never going to forgive him, much less allow him to stay on. He had entered the front room after a long session in the training room earlier that day, only to stop in the opened door at the sound of the voices.

 

“…I would prefer you to take your meals in the mess hall, but of course you are welcome to use my kitchen. I do not have live-in servants – security concerns – so you two will have to share clean up detail. Somebody will come in once a week to tidy up the place, and part of your duty – settle this between the two of you – will be to be here during that time to supervise.” Vegeta emerged from the kitchen, his eyes flickering up briefly to glance in his direction before turning back to the person who followed him.

 

A tall male, his face turned away. He was still dressed in the Guards’ Blue, but Radditz knew with a sinking feeling that it wouldn’t be for long. That …bastard must be his replacement. Then another male stepped out from the kitchen and he felt really sick.

 

“Rad…”

 

“Ditz!” 

 

“Kakarrot. Turles.” He murmured dully in acknowledgment, and not wishing to stay a second longer, he turned and strode back to his room. It was rude but he really couldn’t care less. Could his life get any worse? Getting replaced by his younger brothers!

 

He pulled off his sweat-soaked clothing, snarling as it caught on his hair. A hard yank tore his shirt and he threw the ripped fabric onto the floor. Dammit! He knew it was coming; he knew he was getting replaced. He just hadn’t expected it to be so …soon….

 

Four days.

 

That was when it hit him, full in the face and directly in his gut, and his sullen, angry expression crumbled. This was it. It was time to stop deluding himself. He had had his chance and he screwed up. Badly. Time to pull his head out of his ass and …move on.

 

While it was galling to be replaced by his younger twin brothers, he had to admit that there were no others better. Kakarrot and Turles were good, but what made them really stand out was their uncanny ability to coordinate with each other. As a team, they were unstoppable. Vegeta had made an excellent choice and he knew he could trust the prince’s safety to them.

 

Blinking back a suspicious hot prickling behind his eyelids, he forced his mind back to his task at hand and continued packing.  

 

~

 

His dreams that night were the same, yet different.

 

For the past three nights, he had been haunted by dreams of Vegeta. Warm, fuzzy memories of happier times; shared gaffs on diplomatic missions, grueling training, familiar domestic habits. Sharp, yearning images of the prince; his hair rippling like a black flame when he tossed his head back, lean muscles flexing on the lithe body, lips curling up in that confident, sensual smirk.

 

Wet – dripping perverted – and sizzling fantasies. Those were the worst. Sometimes they were smoky dreams as nebulous as the other fragmented dreams that plagued him. But sometimes they felt so real; he could almost taste Vegeta as he laved that sensitive spot just below the prince’s jaw line, he could practically smell the stormy musk that sang of virility and readiness and sex.

 

Yet, there was something different tonight. His previous dream shifted as he registered the quiet hiss of his bedroom door, and he found himself lying on his side, back to the door. Immediately, his senses sharpened as he abruptly became more aware of the younger male’s presence. He had spent so much time obsessing and observing Vegeta that he knew the light tread of the other’s footfalls and distinctive low thrum of the prince’s aura.

 

Vegeta came to him as he had for the previous nights, but his movements were slower, seemingly more pensive. Circling the foot of the bed, he hesitated for a moment before sitting down at the edge of the mattress. Vegeta remained unmoving and silent for an indeterminate time until Radditz finally turned slightly to face Vegeta, puzzled. “Vegeta?”

 

Radditz couldn’t make out his expression at all; Vegeta was shrouded in shadow with a silvery backlit silhouette from the window and a heavy, brooding air hung around him. Finally, Vegeta shook his head and crawled across the bed. Immediately, Radditz opened his arms and they settled and curled around each other with the familiarity of long-time lovers.

 

As he tilted his head to kiss Vegeta though, the younger shook his head again and murmured, “No… Just hold me.”

 

“All right.”  Radditz wrapped his arms more tightly around the lithe body in his arms and buried his face in the thick hair. He did not understand what was happening – weren’t wet dreams supposed to involve some movement and moaning? – but he did not care. Just Vegeta’s mere presence was enough for him.

 

“I’m sorry.” Radditz knew that it was useless, that he was apologizing to the wrong person. Well, not really a person, he was apologizing to a fragment of his perverted imagination – or was it his conscience – but it felt cathartic. When Vegeta remained silent, he went on, his voice cracking.

 

“I was such an idiot. A selfish asshole, lecher scum, a stupid idiot! Now, I don’t know why I did it… I mean, I do know, but I don’t know how I could have done it. And I was stupid enough to think that it was some foolish lust-driven infatuation that I could get out of my system. I love you.” Radditz gave a strangled, awful-sounding laugh.  “I love you, I love you… So how could I have deceived you?”

 

Vegeta turned in his arms, and a hand came up to wipe at his wet cheeks. Radditz’ breath hitched – when did he start crying? – and he pushed Vegeta’s hand away gently, knowing that the tender gesture was close to pushing him over his breaking point.

 

“I’ve been obsessing over you for so long, seeing you and living with you… living so close to you. It was an excruciating, sweet torture, so subtle and so insidious that it must have warped my mind and driven me insane. But that’s just a stupid reason. There can be no excuse for what I did. You have every right to dismiss me; heck, you had every right to order my execution… You have every right to hate me.”

 

Another wave of dark guilt swamped him again and he purposely turned his mind to less depressing thoughts. “Do you know how often I watched you? I know all your little adorable habits, your favorite foods, what you eat, how you eat… Others think you’re cold and arrogant, but I see a mature young male who’s fiercely proud.”

 

Vegeta opened his mouth as if to say something, but then he closed it and looked down, an embarrassed expression on his face. Radditz gave a lopsided smile as he continued in the same quiet, sibilant whisper that people used in darkened rooms.

 

“Yet, you’re so much more than the haughty royal façade you wear outside. I like to watch you sleep – do you know you curl up and hold your tail sometimes when you sleep? I always thought the way you liked to cut your meat into little pieces first before eating was cute. The books you read, the type of music you like to listen to, what shirt you’re most likely to wear if it’s cold or sunny or cloudy… Shit, I sound like a psychotic stalker.”

 

“No, no you don’t. Sounds to me like you’re really observant,”  Vegeta said softly, his head pillowed on Radditz’ shoulder. “Devoted.”

 

“That’s putting it mildly. I’m really crazy for you.” Radditz’ lips twisted in a forced, sardonic grin as he ran a hand over the hardened planes and gentle curves of his dream-lover, relishing the feel of the smooth cloth under his open hand. Vegeta tilted his head up and their eyes, glittering onyx darker than the shadows in the moonlit-drenched room and simmering with the fire of rampant emotions, caught.

 

“I think I am too.”

 

And their lips met. A full, open kiss with none of the timid chastity of fumbling first-time lovers, but like the way they folded into each other’s arms, it was with the easy and passionate intensity of long-time mates.

 

“Why?” Vegeta asked when they finally broke apart.

 

Radditz knew what he meant. “Because I didn’t think you would want me.”

 

“Why would you think that?”

 

“Because you’re the crown prince, I’m just a guard. You’re more powerful than everyone else on the planet, save your father; you could have your pick of any lover. And one day, you will have to carry on the royal line, you have no choice.”

 

“But why didn’t you try?” Vegeta asked in confusion.

 

Radditz was silent for a while before he finally replied, face reddening lightly. “It’s silly really. I didn’t want your rejection.” Placing a finger on Vegeta’s half-parted lips to forestall a denial, he went on. “Yeah, you might have taken me as a lover but for how long? How long could I hold your interest? I know it would be best if I left and never look back, but something just keeps drawing me back and I’m too weak to resist. And one day you will mate with someone of your rank and I don’t think I can bear that.”

 

His arms tightened around the slim figure fiercely. “I love you; you’re mine.”  

 

“Radditz…”

 

The tall guard gave a mocking bark of laughter. “Like I said, it was stupid. My mind says one thing, my heart says another and I’m torn and confused. You could never be mine, and it would be too painful if you were to leave me after we had spent time together as lovers. So I’m not even going to try, to get started on this road to heartbreak. But you know what the supreme irony is? I’m already on it. I’m already yours.”

 

Vegeta’s eyes widened at his simple, fervent proclamation. Then the prince sat up and pulled his top over his head in a quick, fluid motion. Something clattered to the floor along with the fabric, and then that lean body covered his. Radditz’ lips were caught in another burning kiss and he was drowning, his senses swimming.

 

If this was a dream, he never wanted to wake up. 

 

Groaning, Radditz shifted without breaking the kiss until his legs were bracketing the prince’s slim hips. His hands were busy running down Vegeta’s bare back, stroking over the heated, satin skin and along the luxuriant fur of a lashing tail. Gods, it all felt so surreal and yet so real. The slide of skin on skin, the impossibly soft, moist lips that were crushed to his, the heady musk that wove around him…

 

Suddenly, he remembered the clatter of something falling to the floor, and his eyes shot open with a gasp. Vegeta paused, hands clutching his long hair. “Radditz?”

 

Shakily, Radditz pushed himself to sit up and Vegeta pulled away to a kneeling position, a baffled look on his face.

 

“This…” His voice was slightly frantic with twinned disbelief and desperate hope. “It feels too real. You can’t really hear and smell and taste and feel in dreams…”

 

Radditz lifted one hand to stroke the side of Vegeta’s face. “This is not a dream, is it?”

 

Vegeta stared back at him, a horrified look on his face.

 

 

Tbc…

 

 

Onto Chapter 6

 

Back to Chapter 4

 

Back to DBZ Yaoi Series

 

 

A/N: Yohimbe comes from the bark of an African tree and Quebracho (Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco) is a South American herb. Both have been traditionally used as a stimulant and aphrodisiac in West Africa and South America, respectively The active compound found in both plants is the same; an alkaloid (stimulant similar to caffeine and ephedra) called yohimbine.





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