Goku is not around and Vegeta is going mad with grief. Warnings: Madness, angst, lime-flavored yaoi, Goku/Vegeta
Summary: Goku is not around and Vegeta is going mad with grief.
Warnings: Madness, angst, lime-flavored yaoi, Goku/Vegeta - Rating - R? (maybe a bit lower)
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't make money - the usual.
I stare into the mirror, hardly recognizing the face staring back at me. Thinner than before; younger than I remembered. Dark eyes under brows that challenge anyone who dares come near... although no one does any more.
I lean closer, trying to read the eyes in the reflection but there is nothing there. Black. Empty.
I close the door and turn away from the stranger I have become. There is nothing in the mirror worth seeing - nothing I don't already know.
I don't understand why I am not dead. It's like some cruel joke of the universe and I have been the brunt of so many.
I haven't always been this tired... resigned to this meaningless life. I remember being different. I remember raging. And destroying. And finally - weeping. Now? Nothing.
I should be dead. Why don't I die? Why don't I care? I'm not sure why I hang on - there is no hope - nothing left. This life is pointless.
I drag myself into the gravity room and stare unseeing at the controls. Why bother? There hasn't been a purpose to this training for a long, long time. I drop my gloves on the panel and walk away. Not today.
One of the small droids roll up to me - a last gift from Bulma, meant to care for me when she no longer could. Her designs have held up through the years; even though she is gone I still sense her presence through these machines.
I used to wish it had her voice - now I am glad it does not. My grasp on sanity is slight - hearing her daily and not being able to feel her would surely drive me mad.
"Master Vegeta, do you require anything for your journey?" She programmed them well - they've learned my patterns and make themselves fit them as unobtrusively as possible, trying to get me to eat and rest more as well as train less. The last has happened, although not through any of their doing.
"No," I shake my head, walking away "Not today."
I walk and I walk, no longer surprised how far I can go without seeing another living being. Sometimes I can believe I am truly the last on this world as well. I used to search for others, trying to reassure myself, but finding them was no comfort. This tiny house at the edge of nowhere is my only sanctuary now.
I sit on the ground when I finally stop, no longer interested in walking. I try to sense any nearby kis, imagining what I would do if I actually located one I could identify.
It's not possible though - I know that. There is no one left to recognize - Bulma, Trunks, Bra... Even Kakarott's sons - all gone through age or accident. Only Kakarott's eldest died in battle as a Saiyan deserves.
Apparently the gods have decided I do not deserve that boon. No - I'm a creature of war and I have been sentenced to peace - alone - with no one to fight with or for.
Even Kakarott recognized the futility of this life, leaving years. - a lifetime - ago. He left to accept some challenge from the Kais. I tracked his ki at first, wondering after the first year why this challenge was taking so long. If it was so difficult, why didn't Kakarott ask for my help?
Was it because of what we'd done?
One time was all it took to imprint his scent and touch on my brain.
"We can't do this again Vegeta. As much as we both might want to, we can't."
I remember staring - the disbelief at his rejection - the betrayal. We had-
"We can't - not while our wives are alive. I know you love Bulma, Vegeta. It wouldn't be fair to them - they need us."
I remember his fingertips on my lips, silencing me.
"Wait, Vegeta. We'll be together again, I promise. Just wait."
So I waited.
Lived my life, loved my family, tried not to think about Kakarott and his vow.
Whenever our families and friends had gathered, I must have imagined the meaningful glances and the whispered command to 'Wait.'
Then Bulma died, the years having finally taken their toll. I had lost the only human who had cared about me - who ever bothered to treat me like a prince.
At first I was too grief-stricken to think much about Kakarott. But after some time I began to wonder why he hadn't returned yet. Didn't he know?
As the months became years I became angry at Kakarott. How could he show so much respect to these Kais and none to me - his prince? Were their wishes more important than mine? Would he have even noticed if I had told him to stay? It wasn't right - just one more joke by the gods at my expense.
The anger faded as time went on, but over the years it became more and more difficult to sense him. I began to believe he was dead. Even when I did feel his ki I began to doubt it was real. I was so tired of being alone - was I imagining Kakarott?
"You didn't keep your promise Kakarott. We're not together. You're dead, your corpse rotting somewhere, your ghost haunting me constantly."
"I'm here Vegeta."
Not now. Not again. I've been thinking of him too much. His ghost haunts me, sometimes a voice, sometimes a touch, a brush of ki or a breath against my skin.
"Why do you torment me like this Kakarott? Why won't you leave me alone?" I feel his ki again, a delicate touch that threatens to reach out and surround me. Why? Let me die knowing that you broke your promise - that I could not hold you.
I don't even remember when I started feeling him like this during waking hours. For years I only heard him - felt him - in my dreams. The first time I believed I sensed his ki when I was awake... It's difficult to admit I got my hopes up - truly believing he had returned to me.
I was wrong of course.
Sometimes I wish I couldn't feel him because I know it's not real. He's gone. He's been gone for so long. Why can't I let him go?
"Vegeta - look at me," he pleads, touching the back of my hand. I can't bear to draw my hand away - I want him to be real - I want this to be real.
I shake my head in refusal. I can't. Doesn't he realize it is hard enough to believe I am feeling this touch - to see him...? I can't. He touches my cheek, gentle as I remember, tipping my face up to see him. I close my eyes, not wanting to see the evidence of my madness. He feels too real.
Is insanity so bad if it gives me Kakarott, even like this?
"Stop," I breathe as gentle fingertips brush over my face, "You're not real." I have to remind myself he is dead. I can smell his musk, the scent filling my head, making me dizzy with the fantasy of his touch.
A soft chuckle and I can't hold back a painful moan at the familiarity of the sound. Has he ever seemed so solid, felt so real?
"Does this feel real?" His other hand glides down my arm and takes my hand, his fingers lacing with mine. "You aren't wearing your gloves."
Gloves. I pull my hand away and draw back. I have to fight this madness - I'm not ready to give in completely. "No," I mutter, climbing to my feet, escaping from the dream.
"Where are you going?" he asks and I can imagine his disappointment.
I turn away and begin the long walk back. "I have to go train."
He follows, of course. Even in my mind, Kakarott would never give up that easily. I want to ask when he died - how he died - but I'm not sure I want to know. He must have died as a Saiyan - broken and bloody in battle, fighting until the very end. I should have known that he was more of a Saiyan than I will ever be - at least his death would have been worthy of our race.
He's close to me - I feel his heat behind me, the memory of his scent coiling up and surrounding me, making me ache for what I want and cannot have. We should never have had sex that one time. I should never have given in to my desire. I should have known that wanting him would end up being less painful than having him.
He's thankfully silent on the long walk back - I don't know what I would have done if he had continued to speak. As it is I am fighting with myself, part of me berating myself for this weakness that threatens my sanity; the other wishes to ignore that this is a fantasy and touch him in the way I have wanted to for years.
"Vegeta - what's wrong? Why are you angry with me? Why won't you talk to me?"
"You left me." I've had this conversation before, changing over the years from anger to resignation. I'm too tired to spend my energy on battling - Kakarott has defeated me in ways I didn't even know it was possible to lose.
"They needed me."
"And I didn't?" I ask bitterly. "You could have taken me with you. I could have helped you." I could have saved you.
I can feel his touch on my shoulder - I want it so badly. I waited for him for so long and now there is nothing left to wait for.
"I'm sorry," he whispers.
"So am I."
I reach the gravity room and stand, staring at it. So much of my life has been lived in that sphere, shielding me from the pain of being one of few, and finally, the last. Not today - there is nothing in the universe powerful enough to protect me from this pain. I turn away and head into the house, suddenly exhausted.
"Vegeta? I thought you were going to train."
I shrug and keep walking. "Not today." I no longer know what to do with myself... I go into the first room I come to and sit on a couch. I should be doing something, but it doesn't seem worth the effort. Kakarott stands by the door, watching me. I remember that look - intent, studying...analyzing. I wonder what Kakarott would see if he returned. Would he see my madness?
He finally crosses the room and sits beside me on the couch. I glance to the side, not willing to look at him directly for fear he will seem too real. Already I can feel his warmth, smell his scent... memories of his taste fill me and I moan in agony. Why is his ghost haunting me like this?
"Why are you punishing me? Haven't I paid enough for my crimes?"
"Punishing you? Vegeta, there is no reason for me to punish you."
I laugh bitterly. "Doesn't one of this planet's religions forbid coveting another's? Isn't that what I have done with you? Maybe their gods have gained control over me. Maybe my gods are dead. My gods would have let me die long before this."
"Then I have committed the same crime," Kakarott says softly. I remember that gentle voice of his, so soft yet captivating, meant to be heard by only one. Have I really memorized him so much to know all of his sounds, all of his touches, all of his scents? His hand is on my cheek, drawing me to look at him.
"Kakarott..." I still want him - need him - even if I know this is not real. If he were alive he would not refuse me now - he could not - dare not. I have kept my promise - he should keep his.
I lean closer and tip my head up, meeting lips that my brain is screaming cannot be there. His hand pulls me closer, fingertips brushing over my face as I slide my tongue over his, tasting the apple I remember from our first kiss. He is warmth and comfort and I want to accept this rescue from loneliness, but I am not ready to embrace this madness.
"No," I insist, pulling away, struggling to free myself from his embrace. I push myself to my feet and stare at my ghost in fear.
He's not real. He's been dead so long there are no bones left. I'm kissing a memory.
I shake my head, ignoring his plea, and enter the bathroom. A shower. I'll take a shower. That's always worked before to clear my mind. The heat will distract me, pushing Kakarott's ghost to the back of my mind.
I stand under the pounding water, wishing the scalding heat were enough to burn the memory of Kakarott's touch out of my mind. I'm insane. I've been talking to a ghost. Felt his touch. Breathed his scent. I've been alone for too long. I need Kakarott so much I have gone mad with grief.
I can't do this any longer.
I'm tired of fighting this crushing loneliness. I need Kakarott. I want him to keep his promise.
I turn off the shower, only now realizing those are my own tears making my cheeks wet.
I've fought this for so long - recognized the growing madness - and finally lost.
I put on a robe and go into the bedroom, not surprised to see Kakarott sitting on the side of the bed. He realizes I am there and looks up, concern filling his eyes.
"Are you alright?"
No. I'm not. It doesn't matter anymore. If a memory of Kakarott is all I can have, I will take it. I'm too tired to fight this. I don't care anymore. He haunts me waking and sleeping. I need him.
I stand before him, so close I can feel the heat of his skin, and let my robe fall open.
"Vegeta?" His voice is soft...gentle. I can't tear my eyes away from his. I remember how he looked at me - needed me...
"Need me," I whisper back, hoping he understands because I know I cannot explain.
He rises slowly to his feet and gently slides the robe from my shoulders, letting it fall in a pool at my feet.
"I always have," he says, guiding me to the bed.
His touch is what I remember... what I want. He is tender, cherishing - hands and mouth giving me only pleasure, never teasing, never holding back. He soothes with his purrs, comforts with his touches.
His mouth makes me arch and writhe, crying out his name, pleading with him never to stop. His fingers are careful, stroking and stretching, showing more care than I was able to for him.
Just as he was mine so many years ago, I am now his. He fills the emptiness that has devoured me over the years, surrounding me with his warmth. Arms surround me, holding me close, ignoring the tears I feel again. I've needed him for so long - wanted to be this close - I can't hide my relief at having him now.
I cling to him, kissing him, tasting any of his flesh I can reach. I finally cannot hold back any longer and cry out his name, shuddering in blissful relief.
He holds me close, keeping me tight against him, keeping his promise to stay with me.
I embrace my madness.
I have Kakarott back.