[ Contents | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 11

Nezumi checked in for her shift early; she felt extraordinarily good since leaving the hospital. Lina was, as expected, flabbergasted.

"I can't believe they let you out of the hospital! I can't believe you're back to work so soon! Are they crazy? Are you crazy?" Lina punctuated each question with a wave of her hands.

"Well, they couldn't very well keep me; I'm perfectly fine, there's nothing wrong with me!" Nezumi said, smiling pertly. Her eyes danced, revealing her delight. "It's a hospital, not a prison," she pointed out to Lina.

"B-but people just don't get better that fast from broken bones and-- 'Zumi, you were torn up something awful! We were afraid you would die--I thought you were dead when I first saw you, Raditz was just covered with your blood and--"

"Speaking of Raditz," Nezumi said, looking around, "where is the big lug? He's usually in by now."

"Oh, well, um," Lina stared at the tile floor. "He's probably with Naranja," she said in a very small voice.

"With Naranja? What's that supposed to mean?" Nezumi whirled to face Lina, both hands on her hips. "Out with it, Lina! You know I'll find out what's going on anyway."

The dark-haired woman twisted her fingers together. "The way I hear it, Vegeta ordered Raditz to marry this Lady Naranja, and he gave in. I saw him--on the security cameras--he went to that mansion of hers last night." Lina dropped her hands to her side and looked gloomily at Nezumi. "He's been there all night."

Nezumi felt her knees buckle and she grabbed a nearby file cabinet to keep from falling down. Raditz was... Naranja was.. with her?? A low roar filled her ears, and the floor swayed beneath her feet.

Lina's startled expression and sudden grab for another nearby cabinet alerted Nezumi that the sound and shaking were coming from outside; she wasn't fainting or having a stroke after all.

The roar and shaking climbed to a thunder like a rocket blasting off just outside the window, and blazing white light filled the room. The plaster cracked and dust sifted down from the ceiling--

Lina peeked out the window. "It's Vegeta! He's golden--but I've never seen him like this--he's like a nuclear bomb frozen in mid-blast!" she shouted over the thunder.

"What the--?" Nezumi staggered over to the window; waves of energy and sound buffeted the building as they spread from their center in the broken wreckage of Naranja's mansion. Vegeta stood there, arms clenched, screaming with fury, terrible to behold at the height of his power.

Naranja huddled on the ground, face down with her arms over her head, her fingers dug into the earth, holding her against the backwash of Vegeta's fury. It was all she could do to keep from being blown away like a leaf in that howling wind of power and rage.

* * *

Far behind him, Raditz felt the very life force of the world shudder as Vegeta's awful, incalculable power flared to its full, ascended Super-Saiyan strength. He was in that bedroom, Raditz had no doubt, and even if Vegeta had not seen the carefully staged scene that Lady Naranja had intended him to see, he had still seen and smelled enough.

Raditz dropped like a stone; he knew from experience that Vegeta could sense nothing during the vast power uptake, and his perceptions would remain insensitive to Raditz's weaker ki for a few seconds as the Saiyan prince adjusted to his new power level. The long-haired Saiyan shifted his comatose employer to his shoulder and landed with a quiet 'thip' on the forest floor.

A quick check of his scouter confirmed his estimate; he was nowhere near the Son house, and far from anywhere else populated. Where to go now? He didn't dare go near Goku's house--that was the first place Vegeta would look--and most other places he could think of were too public. There was one place Vegeta would never look, because Raditz would never go there--no. That was a last resort.

"Uhnnnn." A shallow groan alerted Raditz that Bulma was regaining consciousness. Quickly he laid her on the ground, still loosely wrapped in the sheet.

Fingers twitched and lifted to Bulma's head; she groaned more loudly. "Oh, my head is killing me! What did that bitch do?" Blue eyes fluttered open.

Bulma stared at the pine trees over her head. "What in the world?" She turned her head--and saw Raditz standing beside her, looking worried... and completely naked.

"RADITZ!" Bulma shrieked and leaped to her feet--then realized that she, too, was naked. "AAAAAHHHH!" Bulma snatched up the sheet and held it over the front of her body. "YOU PERVERT!" She backed up against a tree trunk and screamed again.

Raditz clapped his hands over his ears. "Bulma, I can explain--" and realized she couldn't, or wouldn't hear him. He leaped to her side in a single, tigerish bound and grabbed Bulma around the waist, clamping one hand over her mouth. Head down, slung over Raditz's hip, she beat futilely on Raditz's leg with her fists.

"BULMA, SHUT UP!" he roared. That proved to be a mistake. Bulma's eyes widened and one small hand reached down, grabbed a handful of tail, and squeezed--

"AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!" Raditz howled and abruptly dumped Bulma on the ground, then fell to the ground beside her, tears of pain leaking from his eyes.

"Oww!" Bulma yelped and glared at Raditz; she'd landed hard on her butt. She rubbed the bruised muscles and glared at the prostrate Saiyan. "Don't move, and DON'T YOU DARE LOOK AT ME!" Bulma yelled.

Raditz kept his face down, turned away from Bulma. "Just don't do that again. Please!" He could hear the sound of the sheet tearing.

A few minutes later, a strip of sheet fell in front of Raditz's face. "Stand up, facing away from me, and cover yourself, Raditz!" came Bulma's voice.

Raditz picked up the chunk of sheet, carefully keeping his face averted--

"I meant to turn your whole body away from me, Raditz!" Bulma shrieked.

The long-maned Saiyan smirked and couldn't resist a quip as he turned away. "I know it's hard to resist such a temptation, Bulma--"

CRACK! The tree limb breaking over his head didn't hurt Raditz, but it got the point across. He hurriedly wrapped the remnant of sheet around his waist in an impromptu kilt and tied it securely. "It's not what it looks like--"

"You mean we're not out in the woods naked? Gee, you really fooled me then!" Bulma snapped. "I hope you have a really good explanation for this!"

Raditz opened his mouth to reply, and realized that he did not, in fact, have a 'good' explanation. He began to sweat. "Uh, yeah, we're both naked, and, yeah, this is the woods, but you're safer out here until Vegeta realizes you're innocent--"

"INNOCENT?? Innocent of what, you pervert?!?" Bulma glared at Raditz. "And what's Vegeta got to do with it?"

Sweat beaded on his brow. "You know his temper, and if he'd found you naked in bed with me--I grabbed you and ran for it before he could--"

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'NAKED IN BED WITH YOU'??" Bulma's shriek startled a nearby clutch of pheasants, who burst out of the bushes and zoomed through the forest under the treetops.

Raditz clamped his hands over his sensitive ears. "Bulma, don't--"

"Why am I naked, Raditz?" Bulma's voice was low, angry, deadly.

"I think Naranja did it. I was in bed with her, but--"

"WHAT?? YOU'RE SLEEPING WITH THAT MURDEROUS BITCH?" Bulma's voice rose to a shriek again.

Raditz covered his ears again. "It's not what you think!" he said desperately. "Vegeta ordered me to--"

"A likely story," Bulma snorted, crossing her arms and nearly dislodging the precariously wrapped sheet around her breasts. Raditz's scouter beeped quietly. "You traitor! After I told you to get rid of the--"

"No more time to explain, he's coming this way!" Raditz said as he suddenly scooped Bulma up and tossed her over his shoulder. Without hesitation he ran up and over the mountain, moving with tremendous speed. His bare feet made the lightest of thuds in the drifts of dead pine needles.

Bulma was not nearly so quiet. "YOU PERVERT! TRAITOR! YOU'RE FIRED, YOU HEAR THAT! FIRED!"

* * *

Bulma had calmed down by the time Raditz crossed over the mountain range and started zig-zagging down a steep valley on the other side. Somewhere down here was the cabin with the anomalous power source that he'd spotted months ago. If it was who Raditz thought it was, Bulma would be safe from Vegeta and Naranja both....

"Raditz." Bulma's voice was hard; no trace of hysteria remained. "Raditz," she repeated when he did not answer. "Put me down before I throw up."

Raditz stopped abruptly and rolled Bulma off his shoulder, catching her in his strong arms and lowering her gently to the ground. Bulma sat down, panting hard.

"You know, it's not exactly comfortable being carried like a sack of grain for hours on end!" Bulma rubbed her legs; dark circles shadowed her eyes.

"I'm sorry." Raditz shrugged. "I had no choice."

Bulma stared at the tall, long-haired Saiyan, her mouth pursed in a skeptical frown. "Why don't you try explaining that again--starting with how I ended up naked in your bed?"

Raditz sighed. "I don't know--I really don't!" He raised his hands in a warding gesture and backed up a step at Bulma's thunderous glare. "I woke up and there you were!"

Bulma frowned and crossed her arms, again almost dislodging the sari-like wrap she'd made of the sheet. "Hmmm... Naranja did grab me and knock me out--but why on earth did she put me in your bed? Do Saiyans like embarassing pranks?"

Sweat beaded on Raditz's brow. Why couldn't Bulma see the obvious? "It was no prank! That was not my bed, it was Naranja's, and she-- and I-- well, we--"

Bulma looked at Raditz like he'd grown two heads. "That makes even less sense--why the hell would she dump me in bed with the two of you?" Her eyes narrowed angrily and her voice rose. "Just how perverted is this woman??"

Raditz hid his face in his hands and shook his head. "That's not it," he said, his voice muffled. His shoulders shook oddly, and two dark, gleaming eye peeked out from between his fingers. "Might have been fun, though." He smirked.

"OOOOOHHH!" Bulma hit him with another convenient branch. "YOU PERVERT! YOU'RE STILL FIRED!" After hitting him again, she dropped the branch and put her hands on her hips. "Well, out with it! What's the real reason?"

Raditz folded his arms and avoided Bulma's eyes. "She smelled like you, somehow, and Vegeta was supposed to think--does think--that you and I--"

He stopped, expecting another outburst from Bulma, but she simply glared at him. Her face was hard and her voice dangerous as she asked, "Why would Vegeta think that, Raditz?"

"Because he knows I want you," Raditz answered. There, it was finally out.

Bulma's hands were on her hips. "Why did you run, Raditz? WHY DID YOU KIDNAP ME AND RUN AWAY?"

"Because he would have killed you and me both!" Raditz shouted. "Do you know what Saiyans do to an adulterous mate? Only traitors die worse!" His hair bristled, and his powerful fists were clenched.

"YOU IDIOT!" Bulma shrieked. "Vegeta knows I wouldn't betray him! He would have figured it out, you moron! You're as stupid as Naranja is, if you think Vegeta would be taken in by something so crude!"

"You don't understand," Raditz said, surprised to find himself pleading with Bulma for understanding. "She smelled like you! The bed, everything, smelled as if you and I had-- You've been around Goku since he was little, you know about Saiyan sense of smell--we trust it above even our eyes!"

Bulma folded her arms and scowled. "I'm the mother of his son, Raditz. I went through hell to get him back when that demon killed him--don't you think I know my own husband by now?? Vegeta isn't stupid. He loves to fight like all you Saiyans do, and his pride will be the death of him yet, but he's not stupid! He would not have believed it--not of me! I wouldn't believe it of him, either." Her chin was high and her eyes blazed with determination and anger.

Raditz's heart ached; determination made Bulma all the more beautiful and desireable--but she belonged to another, and always would. If only--

Bulma interrupted Raditz's brooding. "But you! Thanks a lot for kidnapping me--you've probably just convinced Vegeta that you ravished me or something, and ran away before he could catch you! Now that Vegeta thinks you kidnapped and raped and probably murdered me, he'll hunt you down if it takes until the end of the time--and he won't stop to listen to explanations! God, Raditz, you are such an idiot!"

"Bulma, I thought--" Raditz started to say.

"No, you didn't think! Your guilty conscience bit you on the tail and you ran. Raditz, if Vegeta thinks I'm dead, he might just decide to destroy the Earth to be sure of getting you!" Bulma's voice was taut with anger and fear.

Raditz flushed; Bulma was right about his guilty conscience. He had panicked, because he, Raditz, knew how much he had wanted to do what it looked like they'd done in that bed--how could Vegeta not believe that he had? The scent of it had been overwhelming....

The sense of Bulma's words finally penetrated. "No, Goku would stop him--and I don't think he'd hurt Trunks. Not if he thinks I forced you."

Bulma paled. "You mean, if he thought that I'd willingly--"

Raditz stared down at Bulma. "Yes. It is traditional to kill the children of a tainted mate. It is rare enough that when one spouse secretly betrays another, the bloodline is believed to be corrupt."

He bristled slightly at Bulma's horrified expression. "It is not so barbaric as you might think--there were ways for couples to separate legitimately, and a man could challenge another man over a woman they both wanted, if she was willing to accept his suit--even if already mated. Only cowards committed adultery in secret--and no one wants children of a coward's blood."

"Raditz, I really don't want to know anything more about Saiyan customs," Bulma said, a look of disgust plain on her face. "Besides," she said, suddenly worried, "I don't think Trunks is all that safe with Naranja around. She utterly despises me because I'm of a 'lesser race'--what would she think of Trunks?"

"I won't lie to make you feel better--she probably thinks he's an abomination that should be destroyed, the way a farmer would dispose of a two-headed piglet. However, she won't dare do anything that Vegeta could trace back to her. She may or may not be a coward, but she's not suicidal."

Bulma paled. "Raditz! I've got to get back! I can explain it all to Vegeta--"

Raditz folded his arms and shook his head. "Are you so sure Vegeta is safe? And if he's out looking for me, and you meet Lady Naranja first?"

Bulma grew even paler. "But... Okay, let me think this out. Ah! It's obvious--you get me someplace with a phone, and I'll call home. I can explain it to Vegeta over the phone without telling anyone where I am."

Raditz scowled, his tail uncoiling and switching from side to side as he thought. "And what will you tell Vegeta about me?"

Bulma stared blankly at Raditz. "That you didn't do anything but try and protect me, of course!"

Raditz shook his head. "He won't believe you. He'll believe what his nose tells him--and when you tell him different, he'll stop trusting you! If you try to defend me, Vegeta will think you betrayed him! Your only protection, Trunks' only protection right now is if Vegeta believes that I took you by force."

"I'm not going to lie about that!" Bulma snapped.

Raditz stared down at her from his full height. "Then you have to stay somewhere safe until I can convince Vegeta of the truth."

"Fine!" Bulma snarled. "Take me to the Son house!"

"No." Without a wasted move, Raditz scooped Bulma up and carried her downhill. "That's the first place Vegeta will look."

* * *

With the aid of his scouter, Raditz didn't take long to find the cabin with the anomalous power source. Perhaps his intense concentration on the scouter read-outs as well as the current where-abouts of both Vegeta and Lady Naranja explained why Raditz didn't notice until a second too late that Android Seventeen had guests.

Raditz's hair swirled forward as he skidded to a halt just past one corner of the small cottage. He'd come down the mountain behind the cabin and ran around front, still carrying Bulma--

Kulilin, Eighteen, and a tiny blonde toddler that had to be Marron clustered around a hibachi grill; Eighteen stared blankly at him, Kulilin's mouth hung open, and little Marron blinked. Seventeen straighted abruptly from where he'd bent over the ice chest, still holding three beer bottles by the necks. His eyes widened, then narrowed quickly.

Seventeen was the first to find his tongue. "Well, well, well. I certainly am the popular fellow today!" He twisted the cap off of one beer with his teeth, tossed his shoulder-length black hair back, and added, "Three years of blessed solitude, and now five guests at once! I even invited three of them," he finished pointedly.

Kulilin finally found his voice, while Eighteen simply raised one imperious blonde eyebrow. "Uh, hello Bulma! What brings you and... Raditz... out here... in a sheet?" He began to snicker.

Bulma glared at the diminutive former monk. "Shut up, Kulilin, just shut up!"

Raditz scowled and turned to Seventeen. "This wasn't exactly my idea-- but, um, could we borrow some clothes?" The big Saiyan's face blushed red with embarassment.

Seventeen's eyebrows nearly climbed into his hair. "Well," he drawled, "I think I have something that will fit Bulma, but you're going to find it a tight fit." He strolled over the Kulilin and handed him the other two beers before entering his small cabin, Bulma following. "Oh, yeah, beer's in the cooler. Talk to Kulilin about barbecue."

"I hope you're happy with just a snack," Kulilin told Raditz, "because we didn't bring enough for a hungry Saiyan."

Raditz frowned; his stomach rumbled at the scent of broiling meat. He hadn't eaten since yesterday. "I'll find something," he growled.

A few minutes later...

"Raditz!" Bulma called. "Your turn!" Seventeen's old, faded blue jeans fit her surprisingly well, as did a red plaid flannel shirt. An old pair of sneakers and socks completed the backwoods camping ensemble. "Thank you," Bulma said to Seventeen as she tied her hair back with one of his many red bandanas.

The android shrugged. "Sure. No big deal; it'd look bad if I let guests freeze to death on my doorstep, you know."

After a lot more rummaging around in the cabin, Raditz emerged wearing a rather tight pair of fatigue pants, an unbuttoned vest, and another one of Seventeen's ubiquitous red bandanas around his neck.

"Sorry," Seventeen said to Bulma, "but there's no way any of my shirts will fit him. As it was, those pants were leftovers from the last guy to live here--they're way too big for me."

"Why is it," Bulma muttered, "that I wind up losing my clothes in any adventure with Raditz?"

"Uh, yeah, Bulma, why is that?" Kulilin asked, smirking. "What did happen to your clothes--oww!"

"Sorry," Eighteen said as she pulled back her foot. Her husband hopped up and down on one foot, while massaging the bruised toes of the other.

"Mommy," Marron asked while peeking out from behind her mother, "why was the lion-man wearing a skirt?"

"Because he would look very silly running around naked, dear." Eighteen answered her daughter.

Raditz turned red again. "It's not what it looks like!" he growled.

Bulma groaned and slapped her hand to her forehead. "Thanks, idiot! Now I'm never going to hear the end of this," she muttered.

Kulilin blinked; he couldn't resist smirking again. "You mean it's not an innocent little adventure that you have a perfectly reasonable explanation for?"

"Uh...." said Raditz.

"I'm going to kill both of them," Bulma continued to mutter.

Another thought occurred to Kulilin. "Does this have something to do with whatever Vegeta got excited about yesterday and this morning?" The little man frowned; the implications were starting to sink in.

Raditz started. "What do you know about Vegeta? Have you seen him?" he snarled, hair bristling.

Kulilin took a step back. "No! But I'd have to be dead to miss his Super-Saiyan ki powering up like that!" He gave Raditz a hard look, and turned to Bulma. "Bulma, just what is going on?"

"I don't know," she said. "Something bad. It involves the other Saiyan--"

"Other Saiyan?? What other Saiyan?" Kulilin stepped forward, a determined, worried look on his face.

"Her name is Naranja," Raditz said, and in short, terse sentences gave Kulilin the bare facts of recent events.

"Crud! Another Saiyan!" Kulilin looked worriedly at his wife and daughter. "No offense, Raditz, but you guys bring trouble every time you show up. 'cept Goku, of course."

"It's not her you have to worry about, not directly. She's not even as strong as Nappa was," Raditz replied, not knowing how horribly wrong he was. "It's Vegeta--"

"I don't get that part," Kulilin said. "How can she turn Vegeta against Bulma and you? As I understand it, Vegeta was the prince, so why does he care what this Naranja says? I mean, I don't like him much, but he's not stupid, and he never cared much about other people's opinions that I noticed."

"It's not a matter of opinion," Raditz answered. "It's a case of carefully manufactured evidence and a nasty frame-up." The big Saiyan looked at the sky. "We can't stay here--"

"A pity. I was starting to enjoy the company," Seventeen said, though whether sarcastically or sincerely meant no one else could tell.

"No. I meant to hide Bulma here--if Seventeen permitted--but not now. You're all too vulnerable; you could tell either of them where she is." Raditz growled, still watching the sky.

"Hey! I wouldn't say anything to put Bulma in danger!" Kulilin protested.

"Wouldn't you? Not even if your daughter's life was at stake?" Raditz turned to face Kulilin, eyes narrowed, face hard and very, very Saiyan. "She's your weakness, your vulnerability--and I can't trust Bulma's life to that. And," his voice softened ever so slightly, "I won't let you have to make that decision, just like I won't let Goku have to make that decision. No, Bulma and I go elsewhere."

"Uh, yeah. I guess you can't tell me where you're going for the same reason." Kulilin looked downcast. "I wish I could do something to help."

"If you see him, tell Vegeta I'm okay," Bulma said. "And I'll be fine when this mess gets straightened out."

"No! Oh, if you must--but I brought Bulma here against her will, she had nothing to do with this--that part of what you will hear later is true. Don't believe anything they say about Bulma--" Raditz growled.

"Kulilin, don't believe anything you hear from Naranja, or Vegeta, while she's still around!" Bulma added. She shouted over her shoulder as Raditz abruptly picked her up and took off, flying low over the mountain. "If they say anything bad about Raditz, IT'S A LIE!"

* * *


[ Contents | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 ]

Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic