Vegeta woke up to the sounds of pots and pans moving in the kitchen. The smell of eggs and bacon wafted into the room, and although he would never admit it, he was hungry.
He got up in his undershirt and boxers and began to get changed.
Once out of the room, he found Bulma in the kitchen.
"Hi Vegeta," she greeted, turning to put a plate heaped with eggs, bacon, and toast on the table. "Made you breakfast; hope you're hungry."
Vegeta noticed that everything was to perfection this time, even his eggs were just barely cooked- just the way he liked them.
Something was not right.
"Oh, and I was wondering…"
Here it comes, he thought, sitting down to eat.
"Would you mind taking Jackie to the park this morning? I have some important tests to run on those DNA samples in the lab so my hands are tied."
Vegeta looked up, just now noticing his daughter seated in a highchair across from him. She had the same blue-eyed gaze her mother had.
"I'm training today, why can't somebody else take her?" Vegeta replied grumpily.
Bulma turned so fast papers flew from the counter. "I get up and make you breakfast EVERY morning, not to mention wash the clothes, make the income and pull the weight for this family; and you're telling me you can't even take your own child to the park for an hour?"
"Fine," Vegeta growled, agreeing after a few moments. "But only for an hour. Then we need to find someone to watch her."
Bulma relaxed to a smile, knowing she had won. "That's all I ask."
Baby Jackie laughed and clapped her hands, before she continued to eat her Cheerios.
Vegeta narrowed his eyes and went back to his eggs.
After breakfast, as promised, Vegeta loaded the car with all the things Jackie would need for an hour at the park. Of course, it took him longer than it usually did for Bulma since he hardly knew what to pack. Diapers…Blankets…Fruit Loops…Binky…Shoes? Vegeta couldn't find any, so he decided the kid must not know how to walk yet. He got into the car.
Vegeta hated driving.
It was SO much slower than flying, but carrying Jackies' stuff like that would prove a little difficult. Not to mention his wife had been trying to make them a 'normal family' during this time of peace.
Vegeta scoffed aloud. "I can't believe I'm doing this; I should be training."
He looked in the rearview window to see Jackie peering out the window. But as if sensing her father was looking back at her, she turned and stared right back.
Vegeta stopped the car in the gray parking lot. He and Bulma usually woke up early, since he insisted on using sunup to sundown training. She, he presumed, liked to do the same with her work.
The park was close to deserted.
As Vegeta neared the playground with his stroller, he became acutely aware of a familiar power level.
"Great," he growled under his breath, pushing on ahead.
And sure enough, a familiar chunk of black hair came into view. As if sensing him too, the figure turned, an uneasy look on his face.
"Oh hey, Vegeta," Gohan greeted.
Vegeta scoffed in reply and Gohan turned back. The 12 year-old was sitting on the edge of a sandbox, his eyes intent on his baby sister who was playing in the sand. Although Becca was not even a year old, she had a ton of hair on her head, as was customary of a Saiyan baby. But the hair looked identical to Goku's.
Vegeta noticed this as he set his stuff down on a picnic table nearby. Spotting Becca, Jackie began to make whimpering noises and struggled against the restraint in her stroller.
Gohan didn't look back again as Vegeta unbuckled his daughter and watched him stumble on her way over to the sandbox.
Gohan smiled as Baby Jackie came crawling in. "Hey Jackie. Want to play with Becca?"
Becca turned, giving her best glazed-over look. But it brightened immensely when she saw Jackie as she crawled from Gohan to meet her peer.
Gohan laughed watching them, though he soon noticed someone was missing.
He stood up, brushing the sand from his pants. "Do you want some coffee, Vegeta? I have some at the table over there," he gestured to another green, plastic picnic table not too far away.
Vegeta stood there stiff and unmoving, "I'm fine."
Gohan blinked. "Well, okay…I'm going to go get my cup. Mind watching these two for a second?"
Without waiting, Gohan turned and jogged over to the table. Vegeta noted how he didn't fly either. For a second he wondered if Gohan cared as much as he did about the ordeal.
Once he had come back with a steaming cup, Gohan attempted to ease the tension again. "So how long are you staying?"
"An hour." Vegeta replied, looking indifferent.
"I didn't think it would be long," Gohan commented, looking back at his sister and Jackie playing.
Vegeta took offense. "What? Why not?"
Gohan looked back at him. "Well Bulma can never stay long either. You guys must be awfully busy," he replied innocently.
Vegeta felt stupid for assuming the worst about him. He turned, arms crossed. "Well, I am."
"Yeah…" Gohan continued, looking down at his feet. "I know what you mean."
The way the pre-teen said it made Vegeta double-take; what did he have to be sad about?
But the boy immediately put up his happy front again. "But you'll get to train Jackie before you know it."
It was obvious that the boy was trying his hardest to relate to Vegeta. Vegeta gave in just a little when he came upon this realization himself.
"Yeah. When do you think that will be," he acted like he didn't care.
Gohan paused. "Well I started when I was four…and she is one, right?" He smiled, "That means she only has three more years to go."
Vegeta looked past Gohan for a moment, watching his daughter as she tottered around in the sand. It was hard to imagine her a warrior.
Gohan shuddered as a cold breeze swept across the barren playground. Vegeta found him looking back at the sandbox too. "Heh, she looks just like Dad."
Vegeta glanced at the other infant now, who seemed to be digging a hole with a blue plastic shovel bigger than her. But he wasn't watching her actions, but seizing up the baby instead.
Same hair. Same eyes. Same stupid facial expression.
Gohan was right; she did look like Kakarot. Vegeta felt a pang of jealousy, since his son didn't look like himself.
Gohan was walking away now, back to his own table, Vegeta realized.
Although the sky was pinking, the wind was still cold and Vegeta wondered if the boy was cold.
Gohan looked up from his seat to find Vegeta's shadow suddenly over him.
"I'll take that coffee now," Vegeta said.
Gohan blinked, and nodded. "Okay," he turned and poured a steaming cup out of his portable coffee maker.
Vegeta took the cup, though he continued to stand there awkwardly. "I didn't know you drank coffee."
"I started after Dad left," Gohan replied, holding his cup close to his chest.
Vegeta kept frowning as he usually did.
Gohan's tight shoulders relaxed under a heavy sigh. "I don't know what I'm going to do, Vegeta. School and training are hard enough; I'm not ready to be the man of the house. I can't take care of everyone like he can."
"Kakarot was something," Vegeta agreed, sitting down next to the youth.
Gohan glanced over, a little surprised. But he didn't say anything.
Vegeta looked up at the sky. "There's hardly a reason to train anymore."
Gohan was definitely surprised this time. "What? But you're Vegeta, you have to train."
Vegeta looked at him. "And you're Kakarot's son; you know how to take care of a family."
Gohan frowned a little, looking down into his black cup of coffee. But he soon smiled. "Everyone always said you were evil. But I never believed it. Even when you tried to kill me the first time we met; I thought Piccolo was trying to do the same when he left me out in the wilderness for six months."
"Yeah, trying to kill someone equates to friendship in this hellhole."
The way Vegeta said it made Gohan laugh aloud.
Vegeta looked annoyed at first, but then he smirked at Kakarot's eldest son.
Gohan calmed after a bit, "I hope Becca and Jackie become good friends."
Simultaneously, both looked back at the sandbox…and realized the two weren't there.