Raditz bounced impatiently on the balls of his feet. “I’m bored! I wanna fight!”
The shuttle was cramped and the three saiyans were impatient. They all agreed that this was the worse part of purging planets: the waiting before they were given the order. Frieza was wringing all the resources he could before getting rid of the population, which meant they were on standby until they got the signal. Which meant boredom.
Vegeta laughed. “Why? You’re useless in a fight. You might as well hide behind me if you don't want to die.”
“Hiding behind you would be like hiding behind nothing.” Raditz stuck his tongue out. “‘Cause you're puny.”
Nappa sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Not this again. He swore they had been getting more immature. Sixteen and seventeen years old and they still acted like children.
Vegeta punched the taller boy’s arm. “Yeah, I got that. Real clever insult.”
“Cleverer than you.” Raditz punched him back, but he was grinning widely.
“You wish.” Vegeta said, rolling his eyes. “There are single celled organisms smarter than you.”
“Oh yeah?” Raditz never knew when to give up. “There are single celled organisms bigger than you.” He ruffled Vegeta's hair and the shorter boy yanked his tail. Raditz yelped. “Hey! That's not fair.”
“You must be stupid if you think there is such a thing as ‘fair’.” Vegeta mocked. He laughed as Raditz pulled his tail away and wrapped it defensively around his waist.
“Stop your bickering, you little shits.” Nappa said, his back turned to them. He was trying to ignore the two teens, but he knew that tone and he was tired of that tone. That tone was the reason for his migraines.
“Vegeta started it.” Raditz said, pushing him.
“I didn't ask who fucking started it!” Nappa retorted. “Act your age, both of you. You are saiyans. Have some pride.” He leaned back and closed his eyes.
“Raditz doesn't have any of that.” Vegeta said, pushing him back. “That's why he's almost naked all the time.”
Raditz blushed. “I fight better like this. You know that. Pants are too restricting.”
“You do need all the help you can get.” Vegeta sneered, but he could feel a blush creeping up his face as well.
“You're just jealous because your scrawny ass could never pull it off!” Raditz looked away, making a rare retreat from their verbal sparring.
Before Vegeta could retort, his scouted beeped. “That's the signal.” He told the team. “We're moving forward with the purge.”
Adrenaline pulsed through Raditz's veins as he shot another energy blast. He had been tense all week and this was a real battle. The population of this planet was actually putting up a fight for once. It felt good to fight other warriors instead if just slaughtering noncombatants.
He heard familiar maniacal laughter, and against his instinct to keep his eyes on the battle, he turned wards the source of the laughter. And his tension.
Vegeta was engaged in unnecessary hand to hand combat with one of the locals. Raditz could feel his stomach clench as he watched his prince. He was skill and power in a tiny package.
Raditz hadn't been able to take his eyes off Vegeta for weeks now. It was like a switch had been flipped and Vegeta had gone from seeming like a scrawny kid to to him to . . . Not that. He had always been powerful but now he looked it too. He still hadn't put words to the feeling in his gut but it danced at the edge of his perception. Like the deadly precise dance Vegeta was engaged in across the battlefield.
Raditz had been watching Vegeta fight since he was a small child and it had always been impressive. But being impressed didn’t explain why his chest felt tight and he was filled with a strange sense of longing.
A pain in his arm brought him back to himself. One of the pesky would be resistance fighters had taken advantage of his distraction and gotten a shot in.
He tore his attention away from Vegeta and focused on the task at hand.
Raditz saw the blast and moved without thinking. He threw himself at Vegeta and slammed him into the mud with the force of his weight.
“What the f--” Vegeta was cut off by the heat of the blast as it rushed over them. They stayed like that as the deafening roar of the blast faded away, breathing heavily, the sounds of the battle seemed quieter and farther away.
The immediate danger passed and Raditz suddenly became hyper aware of how close they were. He was pressing the smaller boy against the ground, straddling him. His face was pressed against the crook of Vegeta's neck and he couldn't help but breath in the smell of him. He smelled like sweat and blood and crackling energy, but somehow it smelled good to him. The places where their bodies touched burned with a fire he didn't understand and his heart felt like it was going to explode out of his chest.
He didn't understand what was happening. They had trained together most of their lives and had ended up in similar positions countless times.
But this time was different
He could tell Vegeta could feel it too.
“Raditz.” Vegeta’s voice was soft, but he could hear him clearly. His breath was warm against his cheek.
Raditz leaned back to look at Vegeta and felt his breath caught in his throat.
Vegeta was looking at him, his eyes wide in confusion. His lips were parted, like he wanted to ask a question. His eyebrows were freed from his permanent scowl and he looked . . . Cute . He was covered in mud and blood but that was the only descriptor Raditz could think of.
Raditz wasn't sure he could think of very much at all at that moment, except the shape of Vegeta's lips and his desire to be closer.
He definitely wasn't thinking about anything else as he leaned in.
“Vegeta! Raditz! You boys injured?” Nappa's gruff voice broke the strange spell they were under and suddenly they were back on the battlefield, in the mud.
“We’re okay!” Raditz winced as he heard his voice come out significantly higher than normal.
“I'll be fine if Raditz would get the fuck off me!” Vegeta pushed him and Raditz scrambled off of him, failing at his attempt not to blush.
Nappa sighed, running a blood covered hand through his thinning hair. “Please focus on fighting the enemy not each other.”
They jumped back into action but Raditz could feel Vegeta watching him even as they fought.
Vegeta was tired and frustrated as he sat in the shuttle on the way back to base. He just wanted to take a shower and go the fuck to sleep.
He would not let Raditz distract him like this.
He was a weak, third class warrior and if he hadn't been one of three saiyans left he would never even have acknowledged his existence.
More importantly, he was Raditz . He was the one who he had been fighting and training with for 10 years. He was the one who he antagonized Nappa with. Who made him laugh even when things were hopeless. Who was the only living being to see him cry. He wasn't anything special.
He needed to clear his head. He wasn't sure what happened on the battlefield. It was just battle madness. He didn't think about Raditz that way . That would be ridiculous.
Sure, he could acknowledge that Raditz wasn't unattractive . He was tall and had nice thick hair and when he smiled it made his chest feel weird. But that didn't mean he wanted to do anything except punch him in the face.
"You idiot," Nappa smacked Raditz on the back of the head. "Getting shot like that. What's wrong with you today?"
Raditz glared up at Nappa from where he sat, bandaging his arm. "It just grazed me."
"It still hit you. You weren't paying attention." Nappa sighed. "If you don't keep your head, you're gonna end up dead."
"I'm fine." Raditz waved Nappa off. "I was just a little distracted." His face went pink as he glanced quickly over at Vegeta.
Vegeta grunted and quickly broke eye contact, trying to hide his blush. He turned away from his companions, so he didn't have to look at Raditz's stupid face. Stupid, definitely not handsome face.
Raditz and Nappa continued to argue and Vegeta tried, and failed, to focus on his mission report.
When the shuttle finally docked he had a half written report and was no closer to figuring out what the hell was wrong with him.