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Bulma sat upward abruptly, sweat dripping down her temple. Wh.. As her heart calmed down, she ran her fingers through her hair. It was just a dream. She didn’t remember what she’d dreamt about, but it was a dream. The vague remnants of it nagged at her; green slivers swaying in the breeze, lots of water? Something bad happened. Yamcha—Something with Yamcha? Her brows furrowed, and she looked to her side on the cramped bed where he laid, still asleep. It was hard to see, in the dim apartment, but her eyes focused in on his left arm.

She reached out and over Yamcha to hold onto his hand, bringing it closer to her to observe and run her soft fingers over. A feeling of nausea grew in her stomach as the gentle push to his coarse skin led to it sloughing off, revealing grey-green scales underneath. His nails were growing, as well, and turning a deep grey. She heard him stir and let go of his hand, focusing in on his face.

“It’s getting worse,” she told him, turning around and getting off of the bed. “It’s only been a few days, what am I supposed to do? Eventually they’re going to tell me no.” She looked over her shoulder as she picked her clothes off the ground, watching as he pulled himself up on his good arm to look at her.

“Don’t worry about it. We’re not sticking around much longer, anyway. Listen, Bulma. We’re going to get out of here.”

“Don’t be stupid. What do you mean, we’re going to—”

“Haven’t you realized it’s been getting hotter?” Bulma’s face contorted; she squinted, her brows furrowing tight as she threw on a tight, sleeveless shirt and stared at Yamcha. Warmer… It had been getting warmer, hadn’t it? He had such resolve in his eyes when discussing the topic, though she didn’t really understand. Sometimes it got hotter, that was true. But it always got cool again, and this was a different kind of heat. Suffocating. The sweat she’d produced thanks to the panic of the nightmare just clung to her skin. She hadn’t really paid it any mind until now that he’d mentioned it. She looked up, toward the pipes and air vents connected to one another on the ceiling of the apartment. They used to give off cool condensation. They didn’t even do that anymore. Instead, there was more steam that readily poured from their gaps.

“Yes… Now that I think about it, yes. It has been getting hotter. What about it?” She turned back to Yamcha and pulled her shorts on, buttoning them and fixing them to fit snuggly. He sat up, nude and sweating, and leaned forward. She worried about him, in times like this. The sweat wasn’t good. It’d only accelerate the rot. His skin was going to slough off faster. “Does this have anything to do with your friends you talk about sometimes? Look, I told you. My dad—He’s going to make it fine. We’re fine here. He’s powerful, he says he’s going to pull some strings and get us out of this shitty apartment. We just have to lie low, and you just have to keep taking the medicine he sends. It’ll be fi—”

“Do you honestly believe that, Bulma?” She stopped speaking as his gaze met hers. He’d been more seriously lately. He had a more sullen expression than he used to. Some part of her just assumed it was the rot getting to him. But he’d been saying more confusing things lately. “They’re never going to let us closer to the center of the city, you know. It’s getting hotter there, too. Things aren’t going to last much longer. The next time it starts to cool down again, it’s going to keep getting colder.”

“That doesn’t even make any sense—”

“Forget it. But we’re leaving soon, I can promise you that. Somewhere we’ll be safe.” He stood up and walked closer to her, clearly sensing her annoyance. Didn’t he say once, that they were a team? They did things together. She understood things were dangerous, but—But that didn’t mean he didn’t have to keep entirely silent about things, did he? Though it seemed whenever she brought up the names of Roshi or the others, he’d go silent. The people he would only mention on occasion. Was that who they were going to meet? He never did say where he lived, and when he’d visit him, he’d be gone for weeks. Bulma played with her hair again, watching him put his clothes on. This was one of the rare times where she didn’t have much to say. Instead, Yamcha continued to speak.

“Just go get some food. We still have enough money for that, right? You said you got another letter from your dad with some cash. Go get food, enough to last for a while. Don’t be too long. We’re going to leave.”

“This soon?!”

“Once we leave, I can explain more. But until then, we can’t sit around and twiddle our thumbs. Look at my arm, Bulma. It’s almost hitting my elbow now.” She tsk’d and chewed the inside of her mouth, knowing she had no response for that. If he had some kind of plan, she had no reason to be waiting around for him to get worse. It isn’t as if she didn’t trust him…

“Fine. I’ll only take a few hours at most, okay? You better not leave. You know it’s dangerous, if someone catches you with that arm… …Bandage it up if you can. Use sheets if you have to, if there’s no more bandages.” She didn’t wait long. She pulled on her sneakers and grabbed the opened letter sitting on the coffee table, pulled the money out of it to put in her pocket, and left the apartment. As she pulled the heavy door open sideways—the damn thing didn’t work like it used to; it was no longer automatic—she was hit with a wave of heat, worse than what cramped the apartment. What little clothing she wore almost felt too much. She couldn’t recall it ever being this bad, even during previous heatcycles. She stared back at Yamcha as she turned to pull the door closed again. He stared back at her, maintaining eye contact until the last pull that forced the door closed.

She stood for a moment, counting the money. Enough for a week of food, if she had to guess, and more left over. What was up with that? Her dad was so well-known. He was supposed to be the richest man in the world, wasn’t he? He used to give her so much more than this… Her lips pressed firmly together. Yamcha knew something about it, didn’t he? Well, the sooner she was back, the sooner she’d know. She pushed the money into her back pocket and headed down the cracked, sweltering sidewalk, the light smog rich with the scent of decay and body odor. There used to be more people around. Maybe it was too hot. Though the homeless—There’s usually so many. She shook her head. Whatever; it wasn’t worth dwelling over. Though she could swear she saw the manhole cover a few feet ahead of her move.

She crossed her arms in discomfort, continuing on at a faster speed, making sure to walk around the manhole when she approached it. She thought she heard voices. But such a thing was impossible. Who would be living down in the sewers? Gn… Store, store… It would be easier to focus, if it weren’t for the fact that the same shades of gray and brown that the city was made up of caused her imagination to run rampant.


She kept herself focused as she walked, finding herself relieved when, within fifteen minutes of walking, she began to approach the market district, bustling with people. Two policemen smoked near the entrance, leaning against a pillar and sharing the same pack of cigarettes. One of the jobs that still paid well—Cigarettes were expensive. Of course a job like that would pay well. Who else would keep citizens in line? Coupled with corruption… And, just her luck, the thick, hairy arm of one of the policemen met her chest just as she tried passing them. She turned her head to glare at them, the red bow-like logo embedded on their uniforms standing out in the sea of grey. Not the usual police officers. The Red Ribbon militia.

“Look, I’m busy. I don’t have time to talk. I have my I.D.—”

“Do you?”

“Of course, I always keep it on me, I’m not an idiot,” she replied, digging in her shorts pocket and producing the I.D. She wanted to complain; didn’t they know who she was? But she knew better than to make a big issue out of this. “Now, just let me go—”

“I don’t see anything.” The leaner, more muscular man out of the two put his cigarette to his lips and took a drag. The smoke spewed out from his nose as she smiled at her, rolling his jaw. “Doesn’t seem like you have your I.D. to me.”

“Just so happens that the smog’s made us blind,” the tan-skinned one commented, crossing his arms. “’Course, if we can’t see you got an I.D., we can’t just let ‘cha pass. Now…” He put his cigarette to his lips and lifted his arm up against the pillar, stretching out his legs more. “You can walk on that merry way and we can just watch that ass you have jiggle as you leave, or…”

The more her eyes narrowed and her jaw hardened, the more entertained they seemed to be. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t done things before. Plenty of women were forced to. But she was in a hurry, she didn’t have time for this crap. Instead, she pulled out her money and began counting it.

“How much do yo—”

“Do you think we care about that?”

Her eyes turned up again and the lean one raised his brows a little and gave her a wink. Her eyes slowly slid over to look toward the market. There were plenty of people; it was crowded. If she could just get a little bit in, she could surely lose them. So in a single quick movement, she shoved her money back into her pocket and made a break for it, though she could only get a few quick steps forward before she was caught in the arms of the dark-skinned man. The cigarette he’d held had fallen to the ground, forgotten about. He brought her close to him with a firm grasp on her backside and leaned in for a kiss while he spoke.

“Now, did you really think we wouldn’t see that? You’re lucky I’m such a romantic.”

She slapped him.

As the noise of the slap echoed, the smug expressions left their faces. Sure, feistiness was enjoyable, but how much was she going to fight them? His expression turned hard as his hands shifted. He grabbed her by the front of the waistband of her shorts, giving it a hard tug and pressing his ashen fingertips to the skin just below her shirt.

“What do you even expect, dressing like a slut like this? You’ve got your belly showing, your tits hanging out—Any man in his right mind would want a piece of this.”

“Fuck you, it’s hot outside!”

“Yeah, I don’t care what your excuse is. You can walk on back home, or you can do the both of us a favor. You said yourself that it’s fucking hot, right? Think of getting naked and having some fun as a little bit of relief. Then you can get off on your damn way.” He gave her another tug on her shorts to make a point, and she glared back at him. She looked toward the other man, who’d since stood straight and dropped his cigarette as well. Goddamn it… There was no other way to the market from her home. She’d have to suck up her pride again.

“Fine! Fine. Just—It’s got to be quick. I have things to do. And not here. Can’t we at least go around a corner or something? I’m not doing anything out in the open.”

“Yeah, yeah. We can’t go too far; we’ve got to keep watch.” The tan man all but shoved her in the little alley between the pillars that marked the entrance of the marketplace and the walls of the living sector. It was dark and tight, but it’d have to do. She let out a huff as she watched the leaner man close the entrance down with a rope before walking into the alleyway as well. The tan man squirmed behind her and began tugging down her shorts, which had stuck tightly to her skin from the sheer humidity. He managed to shove them down far enough, along with her panties, that they fell straight down to her ankles, and next he pulled her shirt up to her collarbone to show off her breasts. She heard him make some comment about her being too much of a slut to wear a bra, and she did nothing more than grimace as the man in front of her unzipped his pants.

She had to admit, the heat made it pleasant to be nude in public. Any ounce of clothing felt like too much; being nude made it all the more bearable. The light-skinned man was leaning out just enough, with his arm against the pillar to hold himself in place, to keep watch. She’d be safe, at least. There was that. They owned guns, after all. No one would be disturbing them. No one was stupid enough to disturb a man from the Red Ribbon militia. He looked back at her and pulled another cigarette out of the pack in his pocket. He lit it and put it to his mouth, giving her a smile.

“You got nice tits, you know?”

The man behind her put a coarse hand to her back and forced her to bend over. He didn’t put himself inside her right away. Instead, he rubbed himself against her, trying to get himself more hard by slicking himself between her legs. And while he did so, she reached for the penis of the man in front of her and began rubbing it, one hand fondling his balls. When the man behind her entered her, she began to suck on the leaner man’s cock, her mind elsewhere as either of their hips moved, jerking her back and forth.

This couldn’t take too long. Yamcha had said… What did he even have planned? Where were they supposed to go? The city limits were so far away, and it wasn’t as if they could just keep going. What was even out there? It wasn’t territory that people were allowed to go to. No one actually knew what was past the cities, or if—


She gripped the legs of the man in front of her to stay steady. Her eyes fluttered. The tanner man—The one behind her… He was picking up speed fast, and in the perfect imperfect rate. Some hard, fast thrusts, and a few forceful yet slow ones to even it out but make her hands sweat with how his balls hit her clit. It was stupid how much she could enjoy something so meaningless. There were more important things to think about, and yet…

“You’re having fun, aren’t you? Not that bad, right?” It was the man behind her again. His voice was more ragged before, and he was beginning to pant. His grip on her hips had tightened as he went a little faster. A little more desperate. Already? How many minutes had even passed? She could at least enjoy the moment, though only a second later was cum dripping down her throat. How pathetic. She swallowed it down and kept the cock in her mouth for a moment longer before leaning her head up and looking up at the man. He red down to his neck. As red as the stupid logo on his uniform. He looked down at her quizzically and she clung to his legs still, her eyes closing again as she shifted the focus to the feeling of the other man’s cock. Just as she was beginning to feel an orgasm begin, the man pulled himself out and cum splattered onto the ground between their legs.

Goddamn it.

He let go of her and she made quick work of putting her clothes back on. As she passed the lean man, he gave her a slap on the ass, and Bulma had to remind herself not to do anything that would cause them to hold her back again. Couldn’t they at least let her get something out of a deal like that? Her clit bothered her with every step she took, her body begging for more. …Maybe if she was quick, Yamcha wouldn’t mind a little longer of a wait to leave the city. That’d at least be something to look forward for. She walked a little faster, entering the bustling crowds of people that made up the market sector.