“A NEEDLE!!!!!” Shrieked the lower-class Saiyan in a panic.
Vegeta’s eyes went wide. ‘How did he know?’ Vegeta wondered, turning to see the mirror. “Damnit!” He hissed before turning back to Goku and thinking, ‘Oh, well, this is going to be fun either way.’
Goku was quick to turn on a heel and head straight for the exit, only to be cut off by Vegeta, who was quick to observe the taller man’s aghast blue face and all his hair standing on end as if he were a frightened cat. If he had had a tail, it probably would’ve been puffed out like a porcupine.
“Going somewhere, my dear peasant?” Vegeta taunted, “It’s not very polite to just leave without saying goodbye. You should know better.” Vegeta held the needle up in his right hand in full view and peered at it with a naughty smirk on his face. “Oh, perhaps it was THIS that caused you to want to leave so abruptly. Well, don’t worry, Kakarott. I promise it won’t hurt a bit, unless you don’t cooperate that is.”
“You…you’re evil!” Goku cried, pointing accusingly at Vegeta with a shaky finger and backing away.
“That’s right, Carrothead, I’m your worst nightmare, live in person and ready to rumble. Now if you’d be so kind as to offer me your ASS, I’ll be so kind as to plunge this nice, long, sharp needle into it.” He let out a wild burst of wicked laughter and squeezed the end of the syringe a bit so some of the green liquid would spray out the needle point.
“S-s-s-s-stay away f-f-f-f-f-from me with th-that thing!” Goku demanded helplessly, tripping over his own feet as he once again turned and fled for the nearest exit, which in this case happened to be Vegeta’s veranda, and before he knew it Vegeta was on top of him, reaching for the back rim of his unbuttoned jeans.
“GET THAT THING AWAY FROM MY BUTT!!” Goku slapped his hand away and pulled his jeans all the way back up. Finally Goku managed to turn onto his back so he could lock hands with Vegeta, trying to wrestle the smaller man off of him, which proved not to be overly difficult, as the Prince was a lightweight in comparison.
Once Vegeta was on his back on the floor, Goku stood up and backed away. “You little meanie!” He cried, pointing angrily at Vegeta, “Don’t even think about doing that ever again! You know I hate needles.”
Although Vegeta was frustrated that he’d been so easily defeated, all he did was stand up and cross his arms, sending a smug look the other Saiyan’s direction. “Duh, idiot,” he replied, amused, “Why do you think I was having so much fun? You’re such a scaredy little idiot.”
And their infantile argument went on like that for about ten lines until Vegeta got fed up and put a stop to it. “Shut up, Kakarott! This is stupid. If you want your tail back, then you have to take a needle with tail regeneration serum in the ass. Otherwise, you will be cursed to remain a tail-less Saiyan for the rest of your days.”
“Tail regeneration serum?”
“That’s what this is.” Vegeta explained, once again showing Goku the needle.
After a short silence, the message got through to Goku and the taller man hung his shoulders sadly, giving him a depressed appearance. “You…you mean…there’s no other way?” Goku sounded very disappointed.
“Not that I know of.” Vegeta admitted.
Goku groaned, crestfallen. “Damnit, I was really looking forward to getting my tail back and the one way to get it back just HAD to be the only thing I would never be willing to do to save my life!” He sighed. “It’s just not fair…” Goku plopped down on the floor and just sat there, whimpering sadly to himself.
After a moment’s pause he looked up again at Vegeta. “Are you sure there’s absolutely no other way? Can’t I take it by mouth?”
“No.” Vegeta quickly explained, “It has to be injected directly into your tailspot to work.”
Goku groaned again. “Now what do I do?”
“I think you should get over your silly aichmophobia. It makes you act like a sniveling little coward. If I were you, I’d be absolutely ashamed.” Vegeta admonished.
“Aichmo-WHAT???!!” Goku looked up, confused.
“Aichmophobia. You know what a phobia is, don’t you?”
Goku paused, “Um…a fear?”
“Exactly. Figure it out, stupid. It means fear of needles.”
“Why such a big word? Why can’t people just say ‘needlephobia’ or something like that?”
“I don’t know. And don’t try to change the subject. Can’t you try to get over your stupid fear?”
“Vegeta, I can’t just ‘get over it.’ I wish I could.”
Vegeta rolled his eyes. “Have you even tried anything?”
Goku looked up. “Like what?”
Vegeta rolled his eyes. “I don’t know. Hypnosis, maybe?”
“Maybe we can try that later.”
“I don’t know about that, Vegeta.” Goku laughed nervously. “I guess as long as you promise not to hypnotize me into doing anything…err…bad.”
“It doesn’t work that way, genius.”
“What doesn’t work that way?”
“Hypnosis. I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. If I knew how to do that I would’ve used such mind-control on you years ago when I wanted to purge Earth with you as my partner, remember? Duh, idiot!”
“Okay, then,” said Goku, relenting, “But I don’t have time for that right now. I have to get back to Earth.”
“Maybe later, then.”
“When can I come back?”
“Whenever. I’ll just explain to Crystalis what happened last night. Although he’s pissed at you about earlier I think he’ll understand.”
Goku paused. “Uh…you’re not going to tell him what we did, are you?”
“Yes, I am.”
“WHAT?! B-BUT WHY?” Goku cried, panicking.
“Why what?” Asked Vegeta, confused as to Goku’s reaction.
“Why do you have to tell him that? It’s personal…and embarrassing…”
“I see nothing embarrassing about it. Except for the fact that you’re third-class. But that’s okay. I’ve told him embarrassing things about myself before. I don’t mind.”
“Well, I mind! Please no, Vegeta! Come on, I’m begging you.”
“Well I’m NOT going to lie to him.”
“Now stop whining and get your stupid, third-class self back to Earth. I have some morning training to do before breakfast.”
Goku quickly finished re-buttoning his jeans and disappeared before Vegeta was finished putting on his armor, so he called a couple of servants in to help him finish.
“Sleep well, Your Majesty?” Inquired Rubia, the short servant girl, as she buttoned his cape to his left shoulder.
“Yes, as always. How is my son?” Replied Vegeta, observing himself in the mirror.
“The Prince became a little fussy in the middle of the night, but he was nursed and put back in his crib and fortunately he slept peacefully for the rest of the night.”
“Good.” Vegeta paused for a few moments as Rubia buttoned the cape to his other shoulder. “Is Princess Sapphire awake yet?”
“Yes, Sir. I was just in her chambers a few minutes ago. I told her about Your Highness’s visit and she can’t wait to see you at breakfast.”
“Good. Make sure you bring my son to the dining room after he’s finished his morning breastfeed. I’m sure she’ll want to meet him.”
“I will abide, Sir.” She said, finishing. “Is there anything else I can do for you right now?”
“No. I’m off to the training grounds.”
“Goodbye, Your Highness.” She bowed politely and pushed open the door, allowing him exit, before going about her daily routine of cleaning the Prince’s bedchambers.
Rubia was surprised to find the remains of Goku’s polo shirt. ‘Orange cloth? What could this be doing in here? I’d better ask the Prince if he’d like this thrown away or not.’ She thought to herself before shrugging off her curiosity and continuing about her task.
Back on Earth…
Goku appeared outside his own home on Mount Paozu and sneakily peeked in his bedroom window, noticing a very pot-bellied Chi Chi sitting on their bed in her satin nightgown, combing her hair. Goku silently cursed her for being in the bedroom, as he was in need of a clean shirt and he didn’t want her to notice his back since he lacked an acceptable explanation for the welts. He ran around the house and peered into another window, where he saw Gohan working on his algebra homework at the kitchen table.
‘Eureka!’ Thought Goku, as a light bulb lit up in his brain. “The laundry! I’m bound to have some clean shirts in there!”
He noticed Gohan turn towards the window he was at, almost as if he’d heard something, so Goku ducked down below the window pane, praying his son hadn’t seen him. He cautiously crept along the ground and peeked through the second kitchen window, thankful that Gohan had turned his attention back to the task at hand.
Goku put two fingers to his forehead and materialized into the living room, which was fortunately right next to the laundry room. Goku browsed the basket of clothes for a shirt, noticing to his displeasure that this batch was all dirty. He picked out a blue T-shirt with his name on it.
‘Oh well,’ He thought, ‘Better than coming home shirtless.’ So he put on the shirt, wrinkling his nose at the smell of his own body odor, and crossed the living room to where the front door was. He opened and closed it and quickly announced, “I’m home!”
“Dad!” Cried Gohan happily, running over and giving his father a hug.
“Hey, Gohan.” Goku greeted his son.
“Where have you been?” Gohan asked. “I was worried that Vegeta might’ve hurt you or something. I ended up telling everyone that you probably went to talk to Vegeta. I hope you don’t mind.”
“I don’t. Sorry I took so long. Kami, it’s almost bedtime and I’m not in the least bit tired.”
“Mom’s really mad. She thinks you chickened out. She was the one to explain to everyone what happened at the barbecue. They’re all concerned about Bulma and the baby.” Gohan admitted.
Goku laughed nervously in response to that. “Well, you can tell your mom I’m going to talk to Bulma right now and that I promise everything will be ok…”
Suddenly Goku was cut off by a shrill, angry voice yelling his name from another room, “GOKU!!”
“Chi Chi?” Goku called, “I’m in here, honey.”
“There you are, Son Goku! Boy, are you in trouble. I can’t believe you flaked out on us at the barbecue. Bulma practically had another heart attack in front of everyone. I don’t know how much more of this she can take. I…”
“Don’t worry, Chi Chi.” Goku cut her off, trying to calm her, “I’m going to talk to Bulma right now. I’ll set everything straight. I promise.”
“It’s late, Goku, and where on Earth have you been??” Chi Chi scolded, wagging a finger at Goku in warning.
“I was talking to Vegeta.” Goku laughed, trying to cover up the fact that ‘talking’ wasn’t all they’d done.
“For more than NINE HOURS??” Chi Chi’s eyes went wide in disbelief.
“Yeah,” Goku laughed nervously, putting a hand behind his head in the typical fashion, “I guess we got carried away. I’m sorry I totally lost track of time.”
“And you don’t even have the baby?? You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Goku.”
“Well, you see, Chi, Vegeta’s not going to give up the baby that easily. And it turns out things are a bit more complicated than everyone thought at first. I need to go talk to Bulma now, but I’ll be back as soon as possible. Promise.”
“Well, I’m coming with you.” Chi Chi announced, turning to the closet and pulling out a winter coat. “Just to make sure you don’t upset her again.” She warned. “And if you do…BOY will you be in for a long, hard talk. You just wait, Mister.”
“No, Chi Chi, what I have to say to her is private. I need to talk to Bulma alone. I promise I’ll do my very best to not upset her. Okay?”
She stared at him maliciously for a long moment.
“Please, Chi Chi, it’s very important that I talk to her alone.” Goku continued, trying to convince her.
“Fine, but I’m calling her first thing in the morning.”
“Okay.” Goku relented, and then turned to Gohan. “I’ll see you in the morning, Gohan.”
“Bye, Dad. I wanna hear all about what you and Vegeta talked about, ‘kay?”
“Sure thing, Son. See ya!” Then Goku put two fingers to his forehead and disappeared in a flash.
An instant later Goku found Bulma out on her balcony overlooking the city. Her head was tilted backwards and her eyes were open, reflecting the stars they were observing. She seemed to be in contemplation, likely wondering where out there in the night sky her missing infant was. The next thing Goku noticed was what she had in her hand…a lit cigarette, with the smoke fumes swirling upwards and disappearing into the night.
“Bulma!” He cried, causing her to jump in surprise and drop the cigarette off the balcony.
“G-Goku??” She gasped, trying to gather herself.
“You shouldn’t be smoking!” He admonished.
She stared at him for a second as if trying to register what he’d just said before her brows lowered angrily. “Well, Mr. Smarty-Pants, how would YOU cope with losing a child? Huh? If you’ve got a better answer then please lemme know about it!” She spat before turning back to the view of the city and pulling another cigarette out of the pack in the pocket on the front of her nightgown in defiance.
“How long have you been smoking?” Goku interrogated. “You better not have smoked during your pregnancy with Trunks.”
Bulma rolled her eyes at that before replying. “Do you honestly think Vegeta would let me get anywhere near anything that he even remotely suspected would harm the baby? No way! Not that I would’ve endangered the baby anyway, but he was way too much a control freak to let me have even the slightest amount of freedom during my pregnancy.”
“Well,” Goku replied, “You shouldn’t be smoking now either. YOUR health matters just as much as the baby’s.”
Bulma ignored him, simply putting the next cigarette between her lips and lighting up.
Goku sighed. “Come on, Bulma. There are better ways to cope.”
Bulma let a moment of silence reign before she replied, exasperated, “I don’t care.”
Goku sighed once again and plopped down on one of Bulma’s balcony chairs. “Fine, Bulma. Listen…”
“So where have you been?” She asked casually without looking at him, as if his earlier whereabouts didn’t really matter to her. But he knew perfectly well she was faking her indifference.
He leaned down with his elbows resting on his thighs and covered his face in his hands before quickly looking up again. “I’m sorry I missed the barbecue. I must’ve gotten carried away talking to Vegeta. I can see I was there all day.”
“Ah-ha, so you were talking to Vegeta. That’s what Gohan thought.”
“Well, how’d it go?” She asked, turning to face him.
“It depends how you look at it. From my point of view, it went fine, considering we didn’t get into any violent fights or anything.”
“I see.” Bulma said, looking at him skeptically.
“The reason I’m here is because,” Goku paused, “I need to talk to you.”
“I got Vegeta’s side of the story. Now it’s your turn.”
“You got Vegeta’s side of what story?”
Goku peered around as if it should be obvious. “The story of why he took the baby.” Goku paused and then continued, “So why do you think he took the baby?”
Bulma shrugged. “I dunno. To spite me, I guess. He hasn’t hardly exchanged a word with me since before…” she quickly halted her speech, as if carefully picking out the words she wanted to use, and then continued, “…well, since a long time. Let’s just say his demeanor totally changed during my pregnancy.”
“And you have no idea why?” Goku inquired, wondering how much she knew.
“Because he’s Vegeta. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Vegeta doesn’t exactly have an award-winning personality.”
“But you said his personality totally changed.”
“Not his personality, his demeanor.” She laughed a little, “It’s kind of hard to explain.”
“Well, here’s what Vegeta told me.” Goku asserted, getting ready for what he knew would be a difficult discussion.
“Do tell.” Bulma replied with a look of interest.
“He believes that you’re out to get Trunks.”
Bulma paused for a minute as if Goku’s words hadn’t registered, then shot him a look of confusion. “Um…” she replied, “I’m out to get Trunks BACK from him, if that’s what you mean…”
“No, no! That’s not what I mean at all. Vegeta thinks you want to kill Trunks. That’s the main reason he took him away right after he was born. It’s because he cares about him. It’s not because Vegeta’s trying to spite you.”
“Wh-wh-WHAT????” Bulma cried, wide-eyed and shocked.
“And he thinks that because he claims that you tried to kill him before he was even born.” Goku added, giving extra emphasis to the last two words.
Bulma stared at Goku for a long moment as if trying to register what he had just said. Then suddenly, a moment later, she began rolling her eyes at him. “Oh, wait a minute, Goku.” She taunted with a tinge of sarcasm. “Don’t tell me, let me guess—this is about the abortion, isn’t it?” She inquired, crossing her arms and peering at him as if he were an ignorant child with some crazy idea whom she needed to educate.
Goku scratched his head. “Um, yeah, I think that’s what he said it was called. A-bor-tion.” Goku paused, and then his eyes went wide. “Wait a sec, Bulma… Are you telling me you actually DID try to kill Trunks??”
Once again, Bulma rolled her eyes. “Listen, Goku, you’ve got it all wrong, and that’s probably because you’ve been listening to Vegeta.” She said, adding a tone of disgust to the Prince’s name.
Goku’s eyebrows lowered and he stood up, eyeing her in warning. “Bulma, did you try to kill Trunks before he was born or not?”
“I tried to terminate the pregnancy because I didn’t think I wanted a child at the time. And doing so would’ve been my RIGHT, Goku. Have you ever heard of Roe v. Wade?”
Goku stared at her jaw-dropped before replying with a simple “No.”
“Well, I’ll tell you what Roe v. Wade is.” She explained, tapping her cigarette butt on the railing to make some of the ash fall off the end. “It was a 1973 Supreme Court decision which ruled that all women have the right to make private medical decisions with their doctors ONLY and without interference from outside sources. That includes the abortion decision.”
Goku blinked a few times. “I’m confused.”
Bulma sighed inwardly. “About what?”
“What does this ‘Roe v. Wade’ have to do with killing people before they’re even born?”
Finally Bulma blew up at him. “YOU CAN’T ‘KILL SOMEONE BEFORE THEY’RE EVEN BORN’ BECAUSE BEFORE BIRTH THERE IS NO HUMAN BEING!” She paused for a moment, forcing herself to calm down, and then continued, “Catch my drift, Goku?”
“A fetus is not a person.”
“Yes, a fetus is an entity that exists in the body of every pregnant woman that eventually becomes a child if allowed to grow.”
Bulma sighed. “Sorry, Goku. I’ll try to keep this nice and simple for you. A fetus is like a seed and you and I are like plants.” She explained, slowing down her speech as to allow him to register it all. “Every plant used to be a seed, but seeds themselves do not qualify as plants. Understand?”
“In other words, a fetus is what becomes a person, but it itself is not a person.”
“Because it’s not born yet.”
“How does that make it not a person?”
“Because it’s attached to the body of a real, actual person.”
“Aaaand…” replied Goku, blinking a few times and peering around in confusion, “…how does that make it not a person again?”
Bulma groaned in frustration. “One person cannot live inside the body of another. That concept is beyond ridiculous.”
“Why? That’s what I’ve always thought of pregnancy as—one person living inside another.” Goku replied, still looking confused.
“Well, you thought wrong, Goku.”
“Wait, wait—are you saying that when Trunks was inside of you, he wasn’t a person, and therefore it would’ve been okay to kill him then?”
Bulma paused. “You put it rather harshly. But yeah, in the same sense that swatting a mosquito on your arm is killing, so is abortion. Not exactly a crime, if you ask me.”
Goku’s eyes went wide. “Your son has the same worth to you as a MOSQUITO???” Cried the bewildered Saiyan, horrified.
Bulma panicked, “NO, GOKU, NO!!” She walked right up to where Goku was standing and took him by the hand, bringing both it and her other fist to her chest. “I love Trunks with ALL my heart.” She almost whispered, tears welling up in her eyes.
Goku took his hand away and shook his head. “Bulma, I’m really confused now. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to divert my attention from the main issue with all these silly arguments.”
“Oh, really?” Replied Bulma, rolling her eyes. “And what’s the main issue, Goku, if you don’t mind telling me?”
“That you tried to KILL Trunks. How could you do such a thing, Bulma? I thought you loved children? Why, Bulma, why???” Goku started backing away, a look of betrayal in his eyes.
“A FETUS IS NOT A CHILD, SON GOKU! How many times do I have to say that??” Bulma shouted.
“Don’t lie to me. I hate it when you lie to me! Do you think I’m too stupid or something to handle the truth? I know full well my second child is a child AND a person right at this very moment. He doesn’t need to be born first.” Cried Goku, staring with a look of anger at his lifelong friend. “Just because I was a bit naïve when we first met doesn’t mean I haven’t come a long way since then.”
Bulma looked surprised and a bit doubtful. “When have I ever lied to you, Goku?”
“Plenty of times. You never told me why my tail had to be removed. Both you and Krillin and Yamcha. None of you ever told me that I was the one who transformed into a giant ape and killed my grandpa. I had to figure that out myself when the Saiyans arrived. You just thought I couldn’t handle the truth about myself. Well, some friends you guys have turned out to be!”
“Goku, hold on now…” She replied cautiously, approaching him.
Goku floated up into the air, as if about to leave. “Now I know how Vegeta must’ve felt. He said you lied to him too countless times. Not only that but you did, in fact, try to kill his first and only child. I think you owe them both a sincere apology or you won’t be receiving my help any time soon in getting your kid back. I’m sorry to say this, Bulma, but what goes around comes around. Goodbye, Bulma.”
“Wait!” Bulma cried.
“Let me know when you’re ready to apologize.” Goku shouted back before quickly disappearing into the night sky.
With her eyes to the heavens, Bulma collapsed to her knees before throwing her head into her hands as sobs of hopelessness began to pour out of her.