Each guard grabbed a hold of a door handle, both of which were adorned with a swirling combination of gold and clear crystal, and they pulled the great golden doors open simultaneously, revealing the interior of Vegeta’s luxurious bedchambers. Vegeta’s chambers were smaller and more compact than the King and Queen’s, but still very extravagant. The spacious bedroom was draped with gold-colored cloths, around his enormous much-larger-than-king-sized bed and the curtains leading his personal veranda were gold drapes as well. The bed, like the one in the King and Queen’s room, was circular, rather than rectangular like earth beds. It was hoisted about four feet above the ground, taller than the beds Goku was accustomed to. The thick golden comforter was also circular and it fit perfectly on top of the soft, cozy mattresses beneath. Goku wondered why the Pellucian design for beds differed so much from that of earth.
Vegeta led Goku into the room, past a small crystal-clear statue of himself wearing a cape and looking very princely in the center of the room, past a painting of him, his father, and a few other Saiyans that looked like they could be family, and then they were out on the spacious veranda with a large, round, golden table and a few comfortable gilded chairs.
The two guards promptly took their places at each side of the entrance to Vegeta’s veranda. Vegeta pulled out one of the chairs. “Sit, Kakarott.” It was more of an order than an offer.
Goku obeyed and settled himself down in the chair, finding it to be luxuriously soft and supportive.
Vegeta sat down across from him. “Alright, Kakarott, what is it?” Vegeta asked, interested.
Goku cleared his throat and sat straight up in his seat. “Well, you see, it turns out that certain people are even more upset than I thought they would be about…you know, me not bringing back Bulma’s baby. And, um, I was just kind of hoping that maybe I could…you know…mend the situation…”
Vegeta cocked an eyebrow skeptically.
“Without doing anything that would upset you, of course.” Goku quickly added.
“I thought I told you already—you can’t please everyone.” Vegeta reiterated, rather annoyed that Goku had brought this up again. He clearly recalled the end of their battle.
“And I said it’s worth a try, didn’t I?” Goku reminded him. “Besides, I don’t really feel like I have a choice.” He whispered to himself, lowering his head.
Vegeta sat back with his arms crossed over his chest, ready to get this over with.
Goku continued. “So, if it’s okay with you, there are a few questions I’d like to ask you… if you don’t mind. If they’re too personal just tell me to shut up, okay. But I need to ask…just so I can, you know, come up with a… a solution…to the problem. Is that okay with you, Vegeta? You won’t be offended will you?” Goku requested cautiously, being careful not to offend or anger the other man.
Vegeta cleared his throat, and then spoke. “I can’t guarantee an answer, but you are free to ask.”
“Okay, thanks, Vegeta!” Goku replied, perking up and putting his hand behind his head in the regular fashion.
Vegeta hated that gesture, but he suppressed his urge to sneer at the other Saiyan. Instead, he asserted, “I have just one question, Kakarott.”
“Why, again, are you so intent on solving other people’s problems? I don’t see why you are even bothering to worry about it, period. It’s not your issue. Please, don’t tell me that it’s just because you ‘feel bad’ for your blue-haired friend.” Vegeta chided.
“Well, you see, certain people are intentionally turning it into my problem.” Replied Goku honestly.
“Like my wife Chi Chi.” Goku replied with a nervous laugh.
Vegeta looked surprised. “How is your mate turning it into your problem?”
“Well,” Goku replied, laughing again, “She made me sleep on the couch for one…” All Goku got for that was a puzzled look. “You know…” he explained nervously, “for failing to bring back baby Trunks…”
“Baby Vegeta.” Corrected the Prince.
“Right. Whatever.” Goku replied. “So she made me sleep on the couch, and she almost kicked me out of the house, but Gohan protested so she decided not to do that. So you see…when I have to sleep on the couch, that’s my problem. Because I didn’t sleep well at all because of it. And my back is sore. And…well, you can see how that’s my problem, can’t you, Vegeta?” He almost over-explained.
“What the fuck do you mean she made you sleep on the couch?!” Vegeta spat angrily, waving a fist in the air.
“I mean, because I couldn’t defeat you and bring home the baby, she didn’t let me….you know…sleep on the bed. She said I had to sleep on the couch instead. And our couch is really smallish and cheapish and very much lacking in comfort.” He admitted.
“So she MADE you sleep on the couch…” Vegeta puzzled over the notion.
“As some type of…of PUNISHMENT?!!” Vegeta conceived, looking horrified and hoping to Kami he was wrong.
“How old are you?”
“Um, I’m 29.” Replied Goku, scratching his head.
“So you don’t fit the definition of ‘child,’ do you?”
“N-no…” Goku looked confused.
“You’re an adult—in other words—a fully-grown man. Right?”
“Y-yeah…” Goku wasn’t sure where this interrogation was heading.
“If you’re an adult, AND a Saiyan, then WHY is some weak, pathetic human female trying to punish you like you’re an unruly five-year-old? And furthermore, why are you ALLOWING her to punish you like you’re an unruly five-year-old?”
“You were right in saying that you have a problem to fix, but that problem has nothing to do with me or my brat. Do you understand me? Your problem involves no one other than yourself and your bitch of a mate.” He stated bluntly, praying for the message to get through to Goku.
“Well…” Goku hesitated, “Look, Vegeta. I honestly do feel bad for Bulma too. I want to help fix the problems between you two. It’s not just for my sake, really.”
“Perhaps, but we have a greater problem at hand.” Announced Vegeta.
“Okay,” replied Goku, exasperated with that subject, “but that’s my problem. Please, don’t worry about it, Vegeta. I’ll handle Chi Chi.”
“No, it is not JUST your problem. The fact that you are allowing a weak, disgusting human FEMALE to punish you as if you are an unruly five-year-old is degrading to the entire Saiyan race as a whole. This is just as much my problem as it is yours.” Vegeta pointed out, clearly married to his beliefs.
“Okay, but can we address that later?” Goku whined, far from being in the mood to discuss his problems with Chi Chi.
“Why not now?” Vegeta asked in an almost demanding tone.
“Because, to be honest, I care more about Bulma’s problem than my own. Look, I promise we’ll go back to the Chi Chi problem before the day is out. Okay? You have my word.” Goku swore, making a cross over his heart with his pointer finger.
Vegeta hesitated, and then relented. “Fine, Kakarott. You desperately need to straighten out your priorities, but whatever. Have it your way.” Vegeta abruptly turned and spat an order in Pellucianish at the guard Penuct, who promptly bowed to the Prince and left to do his bidding.
“Thanks, Vegeta.” Goku replied once the guard was gone.
“So what do you want to know?” Asked Vegeta, helping the discussion move along at a timely pace.
“Well,” Goku leaned back in his seat and lowered his eyes, trying to remember where he was planning to start from. His attention was suddenly diverted when he noticed Vegeta’s tail wriggling under the table.
“How did you get your tail back?” Goku inquired with interest, pointing at it.
Vegeta scoffed. “Please, fool. Like I’d honestly tell you so that you’ll know how to control one of my greatest sources of power. Do I look like I was born yesterday?”
“No, it’s not that, Vegeta. I just…” Goku sighed. “I just kind of want mine back too.” He whined, looking a bit depressed.
This was news to Vegeta, so he cocked an eyebrow skeptically. “What? YOU want your tail back? Then why in the hell did you get it removed in the first place?!” He inquired with a faint tone of outrage.
“I didn’t.” Goku conceded. “Kami permanently removed it when I was just a kid so he could restore the moon.”
“What?!” Vegeta hissed. “Did…Did he even bother to ASK your permission?!”
“Of course not. I would’ve said no. Obviously.” Goku replied.
“That’s fucked up! What the hell is it with earthlings removing body parts of unwilling individuals? Kami damnit! They’re obsessive about it.” Vegeta snarled, clenching his fists.
“I don’t know.” Goku admitted, lamenting.
“Don’t tell me you’re not even pissed about it!” Derided Vegeta, feeling and looking as wrathful as ever.
“I don’t know.” Goku repeated sheepishly, twiddling his thumbs.
“What do you mean ‘I don’t know’??!!” Spat the enraged Prince.
Goku shrugged in response to Vegeta’s outrage.
“Hmph,” reviled Vegeta, finding his attempts futile to bring the negative emotions he knew Goku must feel to the surface, “Well, maybe if you prove yourself trustworthy I’ll tell you how to get your tail back later.” He conceded, somewhat pleased at the new information that Goku was in fact not ashamed of his tail and had been rather fond of it in the past. At least he wasn’t in total revile of his Saiyan heritage. And that, to Vegeta, was a plus.
Goku perked up. “Really? Gosh…thanks, Vegeta!”
Vegeta waved him off as Penuct returned with a servant who was holding a tray with a large mug on top of it, filled with some steaming beverage. Vegeta took the mug, thanked the servant, who then bowed to the royal and left, and started sipping from it. Penuct retook his place at the side of the entrance, across from Luminos, the other guard.
“So, anyway,” Goku continued, “Onto the Bulma issue.”
“Indeed.” Agreed the smaller Saiyan.
“If I may ask, and with all due respect, why DID you take Trunks?”
Goku unintentionally groaned at Vegeta’s correcting him again. “Vegeta, how am I supposed to tell the difference between the two of you if you have the same name? Isn’t that going to get REALLY confusing?” Goku pointed out, trying not to sound like he was whining.
“You can call him ‘Junior’ if that helps.” Recommended Vegeta. “I had the same name as my father too and it wasn’t that confusing. What’s worse—my father and I are the spitting image of each other. MY brat, on the other hand, only resembles me a little bit. The names shouldn’t be that confusing. And it’s been a family tradition for many generations.”
Goku sighed. “Okay, so why did you take…um…Junior?” He reiterated, complying with the compromise.
“For starters, I want to live with my son so I can raise him to be my heir. But I don’t want to live on earth. So I took him with me. I can’t train him when we live on separate planets. Nothing personal but I would think that answer obvious.” Vegeta took another sip.
“Why don’t you want to live on earth?” Pried Goku.
“Is that a serious question?” Vegeta asked, rolling his eyes.
“Yes it is.” Goku freely admitted.
“I hate that planet.” Vegeta shot back.
“Why?” Goku asked, interested.
“Have you been totally oblivious the entire time you’ve been here to EVERYTHING going on? I’d have to be fucking insane to prefer earth to this place. I mean, just LOOK at the living arrangements around here and compare. Look at the way people treat me. They acknowledge my rightful title. All your friends, on the other hand, are rude and they think of themselves as equals—a very mistaken notion and a notion you too happen to possess. I mean, you’re a commoner, yet you dare address me by my first name. WHY would I want to live anywhere near a very self-righteous and extremely bad-mannered group of commoners? Just think on it for a minute, Kakarott. You’re one of them. And I think you know full well that I’m not exactly fond of you.” Vegeta pointed out.
“I’m not trying to be rude.” Goku alleged sheepishly, feeling somewhat shamed. “It’sjustthatI’veneverreallyaddressedroy
“I know you’re not trying to be rude, but you just are naturally. I mean, it’s just the way you were raised.” Stated Vegeta.
Goku looked discombobulated.
“Consider the way you eat,” Vegeta explained. “It’s disgusting. You’re obviously low-class, no matter what planet you’re on or how your friends treat you. Nothing personal, but you REALLY are.”
“Well…gee, nobody ever taught me table manners.” Goku said, seeking an excuse for his natural tendencies.
“So it’s not my fault.” Goku urged.
“I didn’t say it was. You’re unrefined because you were raised to be. However, you could make an ADULT effort to learn some etiquette.” Vegeta paused. “Hmm, maybe that’s why your woman treats you the way she does. Because you do kind of act like a child, so why shouldn’t you be treated by one? Somehow I don’t really blame her anymore. You know what, Kakarott?”
“I think it’s time for you to grow up. This is no Neverland.” Vegeta finished.
Goku frowned, feeling that Vegeta was trying to intentionally shame him with these criticisms. “Well, as part of ‘growing up’, do I HAVE to address you like royalty? That’d feel so awkward.”
“So will growing up.” Vegeta charged.
Goku lowered his head, not liking the sound of that.
“Look,” Vegeta spoke up after a pause, “To be honest, I don’t know if I really do want you to address me formally or not. I’ll think on it, and if I decide that you should and you then refuse, we will NOT get along. Understand? But I will reserve my negative judgments until after that comes to pass, if it ever does. Okay?”
“Okay.” Goku relented, pausing. “Gee, we keep going off on tangents. I need to be back to earth at noon, so we’d better stick to the subject from now on.”
“Sure.” Vegeta replied, taking another sip from his mug.
“So, we’re clear on why you left the planet with Trunks….err…I mean….um… ‘Junior.’ We’re clear on why you left with ‘Junior.’ Well, maybe there’s some way we can make this separate planet thing work.” Goku conceived.
Vegeta cocked an eyebrow, unsure of what the other man had in mind.
“How do you feel about giving Bulma visitation rights?” Goku asked.
“What’s that?” Vegeta had clearly never heard the term ‘visitation rights’ before.
“It means that she gets to see…um… ‘Junior’ on occasion. For visits.”
“ABSOLUTELY NOT! THAT DISGUSTING WOMAN GETS NOWHERE NEAR MY BRAT!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME, KAKAROTT?! IF SHE GETS WITHIN A LIGHTYEAR OF HIM I’LL BLAST HER INTO THE NEXT DIMENSION!!” Vegeta barked ruthlessly, startling Goku.
“Why not?” Replied Goku, puzzed at Vegeta’s rage in response to the seemingly innocent suggestion.
“That woman is UNFIT. Do you know what that means, Kakarott?” Vegeta hissed, staring him in the eye.
“No.” Replied Goku.
Vegeta groaned. “I tried to explain this to you during the battle, but you were too stupid to understand then. And I highly doubt you’ve grown anymore brain cells since.”
“I can understand, Vegeta! I’ll listen carefully this time, just explain. Please, I need to understand what the problem is if I’m to fix it.” Goku begged in hopes of changing Vegeta’s attitude.
Vegeta sighed in annoyance.
“Please…” Goku pleaded again.
“Fine.” Replied Vegeta angrily.
Goku perked up at this. “Thanks, Vegeta! Now, what’s the problem with Bulma? Why do you think she’s unfit?”
“This is going to take a long explanation. It goes back to when we were mates.”
“Uh, huh. Go on.” Goku encouraged.
Vegeta stood up and rubbed his eyes, looking exasperated. “Follow me into my chambers, Kakarott.” He said, then turning to the guards and ordering them to leave, which they did.
Goku obeyed and followed Vegeta into his room once the guards were gone.
“Sit.” Vegeta ordered, indicating a very cozy-looking reclining golden-threaded chair.
Goku, once again, obeyed and plopped down in the recliner.
“What I’m most worried about is that you won’t believe a word of what I have to say, Kakarott.”
“Try me.” It almost sounded like a challenge.
Vegeta paused. “How long have you known this woman?” Asked the Prince, pacing back and forth in front of Goku.
“Since I was about 12.” Goku recalled.
“Kami,” Vegeta whispered, almost to himself, “that’s a long time.” He rubbed his face with both hands.
“Yup,” replied Goku, “We’re childhood friends.”
“Do you feel you know her well?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“What would you say if I were to tell you that this woman is the height the shameful hypocrisy on Planet Earth?” Vegeta put his hands on his hips and stared Goku down, waiting for an answer.
After a long pause, Goku finally responded. “I’d probably…um…ask why you thought that.”
“You know what? I do think that. I think exactly that for a number of reasons. For one, when the woman discovered her pregnancy, she didn’t want the brat. Now she claims to be desperate for it.” Vegeta snarled.
“So what? She changed her mind.” That was a bit of new information for Goku, but he wasn’t overly surprised or by any means outraged at Bulma’s change of heart.
“Second of all, all of your earthling friends, that blue-haired wench included, have called me a murderer and a psycho, but…” Vegeta halted in mid-speech. He appeared to be unable to get the rest out, lowering his eyes and concentrating.
Goku could tell something was wrong. “Vegeta? What is it? But WHAT?”
Vegeta whispered something unintelligible.
“Huh?” Goku asked, putting a hand to his ear.
“She tried to have the brat KILLED.” He voiced again, speaking up even louder than necessary for Goku to hear.
Goku paused before a look of horror overtook his entire face. “WHAT??!!”