Bulma and Vegeta--switched?! Vegeta is a human on Chikuyuu and Bulma is a Saiyan Princess. The plot--as expected, gets a llittle twisted. Can Bulma and Vegeta fight off enemies and get to know one ...
"...That's how it goes
A day in my life...
...Call me nuts but I like it frantic...
"Vegeta, I think we're done." Dr. Briefs laid the cloth he had used to wipe his brow down beside the completed project.
Vegeta finished tightening the last bolt and stood up, brushing the dirt off his pants. "No, now we're done." he grumbled.
Dr. Briefs smiled slightly. Vegeta was always loath to work after midnight. Dr. Briefs would have said he got cranky because he was tired but Vegeta usually didn't go to bed until the sun rose, and then, only for an hour or two. Dr. Briefs would have questioned Vegeta, but the boy didn't seem adversely affected by the lack of sleep. In fact, he seemed to thrive on it. Besides, Dr. Briefs trusted that whatever the boy got himself into he could get himself out of just fine.
Vegeta started to tap a foot on the ground, and Dr Briefs nodded at him. "Sorry. Beginning the test run. Cross your fingers."
Vegeta rolled his eyes and stood back. The last 'test run' had resulted in a billowing cloud of smoke that had forced them both to evacuate the lab for an hour while the ventilation system drew the smoke out.
Dr. Briefs pushed the button, but instead of backing up as Vegeta had done he leaned in towards the machine.
'One of these days he's going to get his head blown off.'
The machine whirred to life, lights blinking. Dr. Briefs straightened and clapped his hands with glee. "Well that's-"
He was cut off as with a loud bang the machine shut down, smoke again billowing out and filling the room.
Dr. Briefs blinked as he found himself outside of the room already. Obviously Vegeta had gotten them out of the room, but Dr. Briefs hadn't even seen him move.
"Yes. Well. Back to the old drawing board-" A disgusted huff beside him reminded him of Vegeta's obvious frustration at the late...or was it early...hour. "-for me. You can go do whatever it is you do at this late hour."
Vegeta gave the doctor an appraising glance before grunting in acquiescence. He knew that Dr. Briefs suspected he did something at night. He was secretly grateful that the doctor had never asked what. It was one of the reasons he'd stayed. There were no questions. "Don't blow yourself up, old man."
Dr. Briefs chuckled lightly, taking it as a command to not run any tests without him in the room as Vegeta turned on his heel and strode to his room.
Once in his room, Vegeta moved quickly to the plain, wooden chest underneath the one window in his Spartan-like room and picked up a capsule that contained a navy blue jumpsuit and some other items he used in his 'job', pocketing it.
Soon he had skittered down the roof and to the ground, landing silently with his knees bent to absorb the shock.
He took the circuitous route to the KouKon in case someone happened to be following him. No one ever did. No one in their right mind would be out at this time of morning, much less following a person who looked as dangerous as Vegeta did.
He entered the same alley that Autolycus had first approached him in, knocking on the door in a recognized pattern. A small square slid open from the other side, revealing a pair of eyes that glittered at Vegeta as they appraised him.
It wasn't until the man recognized him, and who couldn't recognize him with that hair, that he was allowed entrance.
He walked by the man without a word and continued down the narrow passage, slipping into the room from behind a tapestry that concealed the passageway.
The room was lavishly decorated, as befitted the owner of one of the most profitable inns in Orange Star City. Thick, brocaded curtains hung over the windows, creating a closed-in effect that was far from true. There were numerous niches and passageways behind the tapestries, all of which were also thick and brocaded. Vegeta had even heard of secret doors that opened if an object on the wall were turned in such a way.
A desk sat just in front and to Vegeta's left and this is where he now turned his direction.
The man sitting behind the desk leaned forward into the lamplight and flashed a smile. "You're late, Prince," Autolycus stated, his tone belying his grin. The fact that he'd used Vegeta's alias, something Autolycus gave all the members of the KouKon, meant that there was more to discuss than just a job.
Vegeta merely shrugged. "I'm here now."
Autolycus let a frown mar his chiseled, tanned features. "Far be it from me to dictate how a member should spend his time when not working. However, there are whispers that you've become-'domesticated'."
Vegeta growled low in his throat. "And who, pray tell, are the whisperers?"
Autolycus chuckled. "Now you know that we have a strict code of confidentiality. If you should find out on your own though..." he finished the sentence with a shrug. If an assassin couldn't protect themselves against their own, they didn't stay on as members.
Vegeta's grin, an evil one, grew at what was left unsaid. He gave a slight nod of his head to the man whom he highly respected as leader.
He had a feeling these 'whisperers' were the assassins who had managed to accumulate enough wealth to buy their way into high positions in the city. It was as if they were trying to put themselves above Autolycus with merely a title. Vegeta knew Autolycus didn't worry about them. He was leader for a reason.
"Unfortunately, because of these whispers, the envious ones are growing bolder. I thought if I gave you an especially hard task, it would stall their appetite for blood."
Vegeta's eyebrow rose. The 'fend for yourself' maxim of the KouKon was supposed to extend even to Autolycus, but obviously he was making an exception. Vegeta didn't once believe it to be a kindness. He simply liked to see his assassins squabble for the title of successor. It was because Vegeta didn't seem to care about the title that Autolycus found him so intriguing.
Vegeta had learned the basics of assassination quickly for one so young. He seemed to be a natural with his aptitude in demonstrating techniques right after they were shown to him. Soon he had risen up in the ranks of the assassins, getting the harder and better paying jobs. Some of the assassins saw fit to test this child in their ranks. He passed with flying colors. Well, at least the color red or any other color the blood happened to be.
Autolycus leaned back in his chair and crisscrossed his fingers together. "You've heard, I'm sure, the rumor of the child with a tail who demolished Pilaf's palace?"
Vegeta nodded, smirking.
"Well, it was true."
Vegeta's eyebrows rose up to meet his widow's peak. "A child destroyed a palace? Did he use a bomb?"
Autolycus shook his head. "This is no ordinary child. The rumors told by those closest to Pilaf were of a giant ape destroying it. They turned later to that of a child with a tail. However, that self-same child now has no tail. So the rumor was dismissed as untrue. As the second rumor was dismissed so was the first."
"And which one was true?"
"Both of them."
Vegeta looked at his employer disbelievingly.
"The child with the tail turned into a giant ape and demolished Pilaf's palace. His tail was cut off and he turned back into a child."
"So the kid's a shapeshifter?"
Again Autolycus shook his head. "If he is, there's no evidence of it. His name wasn't on the roster of any shapeshifting school."
Vegeta was interested. "So, this child-"
"-is on the List. For how much?"
Vegeta let a low whistle escape. The highest offer he'd ever heard for an assassination was 90 yen, and he didn't get jobs that expensive.
Vegeta was awed. "500? For destroying that blue midget's house? Surely he did something else."
Autolycus gave Vegeta a grim look. "He destroyed the Red Ribbon Army."
Vegeta could have been blown over by a light breeze. "The whole thing? But that's not possible! Even we don't touch the Army."
Autolycus grimly smiled. "Like I said, no ordinary child."
Vegeta's eye narrowed. "And I'm getting this expensive job."
Autolycus sighed. "Prince, you know me. If I wanted you gone, you'd be gone."
Vegeta nodded after an intense look at Autolycus, relaxing slightly as it was true. He grinned at his boss. "Consider the job done."
As he turned to leave, Autolycus spoke up behind him. "Prince."
Vegeta turned around. Autolycus was again shrouded in shadow.
Vegeta nodded and continued on his way. That one word told him exactly how Autolycus recommended he do the job. Deceiver was used for those on the List who were especially gullible or naÃ¯ve. All he had to do was pose as the child's friend, getting close enough so that he could make the kill without the kid or anyone else ever realizing who had done him in.
Vegeta smiled. If any had seen that smile, a delighted sadistic grin, they would have quickly turned around and headed in the other direction, making a sign to ward off evil.
Vegeta would not go exactly by the recommendation. It sounded as if Autolycus expected this kid to present him with a challenge if he faced him directly. He highly doubted that.
There was a reason he was called Prince.
...I'm on my toes
From morning to night...
...Call me nuts but I like it frantic
Bulma yawned and stretched, feeling muscles pop in protest. She looked around her room with bleary eyes and a sour face, wondering what sadistic god had convinced her to wake up at this ungodly hour.
Then the sound of knocking, more like banging, reached her sleep-dulled ears. A loud voice shouting her name gave the god a face. I'm going to kill Nappa!
She laboriously climbed out of bed and shuffled to the door to open it before Nappa dented it any more.
Nappa started as the door jerked opened to reveal an extremely irate looking Bulma. He had to stifle a laugh at the sight she made with her grimace, blue hair sticking every which way, and tail lashing behind her.
"Well? You'd better say something before I decide that waking me up is punishable by death!" Bulma snapped.
Reminded of why he had come, Nappa no longer had to keep the smile off his face; it stayed off of its own volition. "Princess, Frieza is here and has called an audience to be held immediately. Your presence is requested."
Her anger at her bodyguard suddenly fled, leaving only a cold lump at the pit of her stomach. She nodded wordlessly, looking pallid, before closing the door to ready herself.
She had no idea what the lizard wanted, but by merely his timing she knew intuitively that it wasn't good. It couldn't be a coincidence that he would arrive the day before her brother's fifth birthday.
Once she was presentable, she met Nappa in the hallway and he escorted her to the audience chambers.
The king was already seated on the throne with a scowl on his face as he glared at Frieza, who knew he was glaring and was smiling as he watched the council enter. Four-year-old Saryl was sitting on the throne beside his father, fidgeting slightly. He had no idea who this lizard was who was making everyone scurry to and fro, but what he had heard was enough to make him dislike him.
When Saryl saw Bulma enter, he grinned from ear to ear and waved eagerly to her. His father cuffed him none to gently and the boy went back to sitting impatiently, although the smile had not left his face.
Bulma smiled back at her brother. Despite the huge age gap between them, Bulma and Saryl shared a bond that was rare in Saiyan siblings, who usually squabbled over everything and anything. Considering their opposite personalities; Bulma's quick-tempered and swinging moods, and Saryl's calm and complacent attitude, it should have been safe to assume that they too, followed their Saiyan heritage in sibling rivalry. But it seemed that no matter who the mother, the children of this king were determined to vex him with their un-Saiyan like traits.
The very things that should have had them acting cold and disdainful to one another had them closer than any two Saiyans had a right to be. When Bulma was irked by something, ready to explode violently, all Saryl had to do was run up to her and hug her and all her anger amazingly vanished. And when Saryl was pouting and whining in a way that would certainly earn their father's displeasure, Bulma would simply mock him with a taunting smile. Saryl's face would twist with anger and he would fight back, which earned his father's approval.
Frieza's eyes did not miss the look between brother and sister. He'd heard of their connection and seeing it made his cruel smile widen and a twinkle light up his eyes. And here I'd been worried there would be no fireworks.
Bulma glanced at Frieza out of the corner of her eye and couldn't help but shiver at the pure glee she saw in his expression. She took her seat nearest the two thrones, dreading whatever was coming out of that horrible lizard's mouth.
Frieza made his way to the dais and stood proudly before it. A thick black tongue came out and caressed his blacker lips slowly, making everyone in the room repulsed, which was obviously the tyrant's desired effect.
"I have called this little meeting because of a discussion that was held in this very room four years ago. Now, while some may remember the events prior to that discussion." here he looked at Bulma, who glared at him. "No one here has heard of the conversation, which the king will now reiterate."
Bulma's father snarled at the way in which Frieza had immediately put himself into the king's position in a Saiyan meeting. However, there was little he could do now. If he protested Frieza would just twist his words into something he hadn't meant. The king couldn't play the game of wits that Frieza seemed to live and breathe.
"Lord Frieza and I have reached an agreement. After Crown Prince Saryl's fifth birthing day, he will be taken into Lord Frieza's care, to be instructed in the ways of the court and leadership until his twelfth birthing day at which time he will be returned to us for his coronation as heir of the throne of Vegeta-sei." If the king hoped this last statement would help his people with this announcement, he was sorely disappointed.
The silence that descended on the room was thick enough to grasp, yet it clearly underlay the great wail of loss that every Saiyan in the room felt yet could not utter.
That is, all but one.
Princess Bulma's chair hit the ground with a crash as she rose, breaking the silence and turning all eyes towards her. Her face was absolutely livid. She was glaring at her father, knowing that looking at Frieza's taunting face would only cause her to launch herself bodily at him.
"Father, how can you even consider such a thing, much less do it! Saryl is not going with that-that-," fortunately the proper-or improper-words failed to describe the gloating lizard in front of her.
The king also rose up from his chair, although his anger seemed only half-hearted. "Brat! How dare you question my edicts! Saryl is going where his Saiyan abilities can be best utilized for not only all the Saiyans but for Lord Frieza as well. You will show respect!"
Bulma stomped a foot on the ground. "I will not show respect to a race that continues to snivel and cower in front of a lizard-"
The king was suddenly in her face. "YOU WILL SHOW RESPECT OR I WILL TAKE IT FROM YOU!!!"
Daughter, you have no reason to love me, but if you never listen to me again, please, stop this!
Bulma's eyebrows would have risen at this sudden contact. Her father had never used telepathy on her. She found the sensation quite disconcerting. But the words her father uttered; tired, pleading words, were more so.
The whole room was crackling with an energy that begged to be released as father and daughter stared at each other.
A frown marred Frieza's pale visage. He'd expected blows, but this staring was unnerving him. Something was going on he didn't know about, and Frieza, lord of the universe, didn't like not knowing something. Yet another reason he was carrying through with his plans despite his seconds' opinion.
Bulma broke off the contact first. She turned, her blue hair almost slapping her father's face, and fled the room.
Hours later saw her in the training room, going through the motions of a kata so furiously it seemed she was hardly moving at all. She just couldn't get the look on Frieza's face when he had called her 'pretty' out of her mind. He'd looked so-lecherous. She hated to think of her brother, the one who knew her best, in the hands of that-. She paused her kata to make a face. She couldn't even think of a word that wouldn't be desecrated in describing him.
A beep sounded that announced that another person was entering the training room. She turned; ready to take out all of her frustrations on the unfortunate person who had dared to interrupt her.
The small form that barreled into her left her dazed and stumbling before she was able to get her balance. She instinctively held Saryl back as he clung to her as he would to a lifeline.
She finally held him back from her and crouched down in front of him. He gave her a tentative smile, blue eyes moist and glistening with unshed tears.
Bulma smiled back and he stepped back from her. She rose and he looked up at her. "Bulma, why am I going to that lizard?"
Bulma looked away from his piercing gaze. "Because the king has ordered it so."
"But he didn't want to, did he?"
Bulma looked back at him with wide eyes. When did he become so perceptive?
"What happened after I left?"
Saryl missed the change in topic and his face screwed up into a grimace. "The lizard talked to father about you. Father didn't look happy. They talked more about me then father said I could go get lunch. I came here instead. Wanna go eat?"
Bulma looked startled. She hadn't realized she'd been in the training room for that long. Now that her brother mentioned it, she was hungry. Hungry meaning starved to a Saiyan.
"Sure. I was just going for some food myself."
Saryl grinned up at him and Bulma felt a pang in her chest. The king had tried to beat the tendency Saryl had toward kindness and compassion out of him, but it was Saryl's nature to be this way and no amount of outside pressure had changed him-yet.
As Bulma followed Saryl to the kitchens to spend her last hours with her brother, she wondered what exactly it would take to change Saryl. She saw Frieza's leering face in her mind and shuddered. She tried to force away the helplessness that weighed her down. She wanted to enjoy these next few precious moments; they would be the last she had with her brother.
Later that night, Bulma tossed and turned in her bed, caught in the grasp of some nameless nightmare. Then, as dreams are wont to do, the scenery changed.
She couldn't see anything. Upon looking down, she noticed the same was true of herself. She seemed to no longer have a body. She felt one moment of panic before mentally shrugging. It was all the same anyways. She wondered if she was dead.
That was when she realized that she was not alone in this lightless place. She could sense another presence. Despite what others thought, she was a Saiyan, and Saiyans were direct.
"I know you're here. Who are you? Show yourself."
There was no answer from whoever was out there, watching her. She had another moment of panic as Frieza's lips formed the word 'pretty' in her mind's eye.
Something calmed her though. It was not Frieza looking at her. The gaze was curious, secretive. Frieza was neither.
She stayed in the silence and the blackness.... She stayed in the silence and the blackness.... She stayed in the silence and....
Bulma sat bolt upright in bed her hand instinctively grabbing the other hand that had been reaching down for her.
She brought her other arm back and had slammed the unsuspecting person to the ground before they could so much as squeak.
Lunging out of the bed towards her assailant, she barely had time to dodge aside as she recognized the voice of the man.
"Nappa! What do you me-"
"Please, Princess Bulma, quiet. Your life is in peril! We must leave immediately!" he whispered harshly, standing and wincing at the movement.
"What are you talking about, Nappa?" she unconsciously hissed back at him.
"Frieza didn't like your little scene this morning so he's taking extra care to make sure you don't get in his way, Princess."
Bulma looked shocked. Saryl had mentioned Frieza talking to the king about her. Looking back, she realized that what she'd said would have incensed Frieza.
She looked wide-eyed at Nappa. "How did you find out?"
"Little birdie told me." he grunted. "Hurry up. Grab what you can. We leave now!"
Bulma nodded and did as Nappa instructed. He helped, since she looked as if the information hadn't absorbed yet. They were soon finished and Nappa led her out of the room by the way of the secret passageway that he had used to get in.
Bulma followed Nappa silently, though a million questions were bubbling up impatiently, all requiring her immediate attention. Chiefly was the question of where they were going.
After what seemed like hours but was only minutes, Nappa pushed open the wall and they both exited the passage into the hangar where the Saiyan pods were kept.
Nappa quickly ushered her into one of the pods that would handle two Saiyans and climbed in after her. He punched in some coordinates and the pod lifted off the rubber-like landing pad.
Something clicked in her mind, and she turned to Nappa, panic-stricken. "Nappa! We have to get Saryl! We can't leave him here for Frieza."
Nappa did not look back at her as he replied in clipped tones. "I have my orders. I am to see you off the planet. Saryl must stay here and do his duties as Crown Prince."
"Duties? His duty is to be a slave for that lizard?"
Nappa growled. "Princess Bulma, you have a duty. And that is to stay alive. If you would like to go back to your rooms and die and hope that Saryl can escape his duties also, you are free to do so. However, if you'd like to live to see our people liberated, you must come with me."
Bulma was shocked speechless. Has Nappa only been pretending to be stupid this entire time?
She hung her head, seeing sense in what he said. "I will go with you, Nappa."
Nappa grunted an acknowledgment and the ship took off into space.
Bulma looked out the window at the receding planet, Just wait Frieza. You hold a live snake in your hands, and you've let the fangs get away. Just wait for the strike.