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Agent Oblivion

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Six months after the final fight against Kid Buu, Vegeta exiles himself from Earth.

He tells no one, but  makes the necessary arrangements beforehand.

He first makes things right by Bulma. This dying thing between them since he turned Majin, he puts to rest. She has given him nothing but good when he had nothing except the clothes on his back, and he has repaid her cruelly, by breaking her heart, trying to throw her and Trunks away, firing at the stands when he knew she would be exactly an inch away from his blast. She deserves better than him, he says. He has wronged her grievously, betrayed her affections in a way worse than Yamcha ever has.

Things will never again be the same between them after his betrayal. Could never be the same again. His own wrongs had sealed that fact. Vegeta had just enough of the tattered remnants of his pride to promise himself that he would not disgrace her honour by trying to return to something romantic. She deserves so much better, the kind of love he would never be able to give. 

Bulma initially shouts and throws things and even begs him to give them one more try, but Vegeta is firm. He will not dishonour her trust and affections by allowing her to forgive him. He does not deserve her. She eventually calms down enough to look at him sadly, and Vegeta understands then how deeply he must have hurt her with his actions as Majin, even as she tries her best to insist he is forgiven.

Even as she obstinately insists that it is in the past and that this will not be an issue for their future, Vegeta knows some things can not be mended. Eventually they come to the agreement that yes, they work better together without romance. 

Vegeta is not good at showing anything of his heart (how could he be? He has never been shown how) but he tries to care for Bulma in his own way still. She is the mother of his child, and thus deserves all the respect, honour and protection it demands.

He spends some good few hours everyday with Trunks. Vegeta is not good with words and never desired to be, but he tries to make up for it with action. He makes sure the boy knows he is a source of pride and is deeply loved, not in so many words, but in every spar, in every ruffle. A son fit for any father, a prince fit to be any King. 

He spends the final day before his departure sparring with Kakarot. As he has done almost everyday since they reunited with their families after Kid Buu was destroyed.

The perceptive idiot that is his rival seems to sense something is off, and tries multiple ploys from needling, teasing, taunting, and outright asking, to get Vegeta to talk. Vegeta deflects continuously, trading barbs and banter with the younger saiyan. Kakarot is good at needling him and bright enough to catch him off guard, but his stubbornness is more than matched by Vegeta’s.

They continue to banter as they spar. Finally Kakarot shakes his head and laughs. Vegeta knows Kakarot above all people would understand that some things just cannot be spoken about. With a playful tilt of head to the side, the younger saiyan lets Vegeta off with a quiet sincere smile that makes something in Vegeta’s chest go tight, and an offer of being there to “talk”, should Vegeta ever want to, or “punch each other purple until we forget about everything else- that works too!” 

And that particular moment, with the sunset sky highlighting the raven spikes of Kakarot’s hair and setting his lighter skin alight in shades of gold and fire, Vegeta fully realises the emotion that is in his heart. And he backs away.

Vegeta had known even before that point in time that he will miss this kind dumb idiot that is his rival. But it is something he had actively avoided admitting, until that exact second. When he realises that he will miss Kakarot more than platonic feelings made appropriate. That is a thought too dangerous and one he cannot afford to have on the eve of his leaving. So he takes one moment to memorise Kakarot’s features (as if he could ever forget...) then he turns away without a word to Kakarot and flies off, before he can no longer convince himself to do so.

It is a long time coming, acknowledging his feelings for the other saiyan. There has been no specific moment or action, only less resistance on Vegeta’s part and more presence on Kakarot’s, over the last three months as opposed to the last seven years. The fight against Buu had drawn their forever circulating orbit crashing resoundingly into each other's gravity, and it was no longer possible to escape. 

Slowly over three months Vegeta had gotten to know Kakarot better, Kakarot with his smart mouth and kind eyes and dragon heart of courage and compassion. The way he looks at every new challenge as an adventure rather than a death sentence. The mischievous innocence he embodies, the fundamental good that he is. 

The naive idiocy, too. He couldn’t give Kakarot too much credit.

Vegeta knows that the younger saiyan is drawn to him as well, perhaps has known for a while. It is in every lingering gaze, every teasing word, every anticipation of their next spar. Their recent fusion has only compounded their natural chemistry. So it is not without some regret that Vegeta leaves, but also with a firm conviction that he is right in cutting this precious, fragile thing before he ends up destroying it in his proud, tainted, wicked hands.

It is not just his interactions with Kakarot that Vegeta will miss. Kakarot may have had an absent nature when it comes to family, the way only a saiyan could be, but he is also capable of deep love. In the three months since Buu, Vegeta has seen Kakarot attempt his best to make up for all the lost time with his youngest son. Even Vegeta’s cold, decrepit little heart is warmed watching some of their antics. 

Kakarot has also broken away from his wife on good terms and mutual agreement. Apparently, being dead for seven years can do things like this to a human marriage. Vegeta doesn’t understand it, as saiyans mate for life and death, but he does not pry. His planet’s culture is nothing but stardust now. Yet despite the separation, Kakarot is more present than ever in parenting and family gatherings. True to what can be expected from the kind-hearted saiyan, he does not ever exclude Trunks and treats him almost as a third son, to the point Vegeta is assured that he is leaving his family in good hands. 

It kills Vegeta a little inside that as a direct outcome of his exile, he will no longer be able to witness more of their family bonding.

But he himself threw away that right.

Vegeta tells no one his plans. He quietly takes flight in the dead of the night with Kibito Kai’s assistance. He bargains with King Kai (who has now earned the dubious honour of the nickname Insect Face) for help, and just… leaves. Leaves Earth, the place he’d tried to blow up, come to love and tried to save, in some attempt at atonement.

 

“If you can tell me a good joke, I will help you,” King Kai says. 

Vegeta doesn’t even miss a beat. “My life.”

There was a beat of silence. “What?” King Kai says eventually.

“My life is a cosmic joke. Plenty of comedic material to keep you entertained,” Vegeta tells him seriously, deadpan expression and tone.

King Kai Insect-face is silent for a moment longer, then he begins to crack up.

At least, Vegeta thinks, the twin forces of sarcasm and pride will always be in his arsenal of weapons.

He demands for any and all of the things and people related to the Kais to maintain their silence- KibitoKai, the lecherous thing that was the Old Kai, Yemma, whatever. He puts on his most arrogant , royal mask and challenges them. It is the least they owe to him for all the crap he had to put up with in fighting Buu, despite being dead and technically at peace at the time.

 

And with that, Vegeta leaves the (second) home he has come to love, almost destroyed in his selfishness, and almost gave his third life to save.

King Kai gifts him with a crimson coloured pendant (what is it with the Kais and jewellery, anyway?) which originally had served the function to manipulate the flow of energy between realms. King Kai waxes lyrical about how important the item is due to its link to the factions of Godly establishment and how it is not an honour bestowed upon just anyone , but Vegeta isn’t just anyone ; he is the prince of all saiyans, and moreso, he doesn’t particularly give a shit. About godly status, sanctified jewellery or whatever drivel they have going on- he cares for none of it. In Vegeta’s gloved hands, it is now a tool to help obfuscate his Ki.

It makes it impossible to trace Vegeta’s whereabouts, so he doesn’t have to worry about any annoying Kakarots popping out of thin air to drag him back.


Three months of aimless wandering from planet to planet yielded nothing, no sense of purpose, only a quiet desperation to find a way to pay for his sins.

Then one day, by random chance, the truly backwater, dying mudball of a vermin planet he’d stopped at for stocks is attacked by space pirates, former PTO soldiers. Vegeta rises to fight,not out of any affection for the locals, but out of a sense of duty and dejavu. He had been on the other side previously, after all. He knew exactly how their modus operandi played out.

It is a laughably quick victory, but the twist comes at the end. The Galactic Patrol, apparently an intergalactic federation formed to uphold justice and peace (and Vegeta rolls his eyes, because how many times has he heard a variation of that particular phrase?) descends upon them to clean up the mess the ex-soldiers left behind.

Vegeta is brought in for questioning re his potential involvement with the planet’s siege. He is not there to seek trouble, so he decides to play nice and acts agreeable. Barely. As agreeable as a Vegeta could be.

The agent who brings him in for questioning, Merus, is clearly amused by his thinly held back aggression and short, one-word answers. Vegeta is mistrustful of this Merus and wary of his intentions, as he is unable to sense the agent’s ki, which never bodes well. Also, something about the light pastel coloring of Merus' skin, albino hair and purple-silver eyes makes him uneasy. The aura is not necessarily ominous, but it is similar to what he had felt in the vicinity of the Kaio-Shin before they revealed their actual selves, and thus puts him on guard. 

Merus could be suppressing his ki, but Vegeta’s instincts strongly tell him that this is not the case. It doesn’t help that the Kai’s crimson pendant he wears seems to glow at the agent’s proximity, as if in recognition. Merus’ eyes alight on the pendant several times over the interrogation, but he never actually queries after it, which makes Vegeta even more suspicious.

At the end Vegeta requests that they keep the incident quiet, or at least his involvement in it. This is not altruism. He is fairly confident that such a backwater place would have not recognized him, even given his big past reputation in PTO circles. Enough time has  passed that the terror of Vegeta, the Prince of Destruction, is a faded memory, maybe only 10 years on Earth but 34 solar flares in the InterGalactic Standard equivalent. 

However, he would not take the chance that someone from the Galactic Patrol would leak the news and inevitably cause the message to reach Earth. Especially given that when he last left things, Bulma had just begun to establish contact with some klutzy alien from the Galactic Patrol named Jaco.

Merus looks at him then, with silver-purple eyes that are too wise and seeing for a mortal, more befitting of an omniscient celestial being. And Vegeta realises with chilling certainty that Merus knows. Knows what Vegeta is. Knows the weight of his mistakes and what he runs from.

The prince tries to leave. But Merus stops him. Things get violent, and after valiant struggle, Merus manages to paralyse him. Vegeta does not go down without a fight, and feels vindictively pleased that Merus will be feeling that arm for the next two weeks, probably experiencing significant difficulty in walking too. 

(Un)Surprisingly, Merus is less unhappy and more impressed. He plays his bargains. Join the Galactic Patrol, he coaxes, as Vegeta glares from the floor and tries to pulverise him with his eyes. No such luck - it never worked on the anyone formidable on the Dragon Team, it wouldn’t work on one like this. We could use someone like you. 

I’m not looking to be used,  Vegeta spits.

Merus is unbothered, but his eyes are sympathetic, and see way too much, like a certain Earth-raised saiyan. It is unbearable and Vegeta has to turn away.

I can see you drowning in your mistakes and regrets, the agent says softly, kindly, for a moment too much like Kakarot. Vegeta feels the breath go out of him. You’re looking for redemption. A place to do some good. There’s a lot worse places than here.

Vegeta puts up some token struggle after that, but there isn’t much point to it when he doesn’t know what he is fighting for or against.

The Galactic Patrol fits his agenda perfectly. It isn’t Earth, but that is his fault. Earth tried to accept and welcome him, tried to change him and show him what it meant to have roots and love. But Vegeta threw it all away in one moment of lust for power. 

And the warrior’s honour he had demanded he pay retribution for it, before he even dreams to set foot on Earth again.

The wicked get no rest, so Vegeta will work himself to the bone and then some.


In an attempt to gain Vegeta’s trust, perhaps, Merus reveals his background to Vegeta as they travel in the ship back to the Galactic Patrol HQ. Vegeta comes to learn that his earlier wariness is correct: Merus is an actual angel, currently under training by the Grand Minister and sent to the Galactic Patrol in order to learn about the lives of mortals. It explains a lot: his lack of ki, his recognition of the godly-revered pendant around Vegeta’s neck, his lack of need for food and sleep for survival, his almost chilling calm.

“What are you looking for, warrior?” Merus asks him seriously as he takes him through their orientation.

Vegeta doesn’t like the prod, but he appreciates Merus’ tact in not using his real name or title in the public space of the Galactic Patrol’s corridors.

Vegeta gazes steadily back. He doesn’t bother with mind games. “I know you know.” Now that he fully knows that there is more to Merus than meets the eye, not just physical power, he is certain Merus knows more than he lets on. Like the Kaio Shin who could read minds. Vegeta may have stripped away his identity, but he has not lost his shrewdness.

The agent pauses, then nods once, confirming his statement. “I have senses and my ways of knowing, but it is better to hear it from the person themselves in their own words,” Merus says. “It builds trust, and avoids misalignment of expectations.” 

Frankly, Vegeta is uninterested in the first part, but understands and appreciates the need for the need for the second. So when Merus asks again, respectfully: “Why are you here, and not back where you belong? Atonement, redemption, hope?” he does not shoot the question down immediately.

Vegeta is silent. Atonement is a cleansing, beautiful word in concept, but not in practice. It requires one to burn all of their life away to become something else, something cleaner and newer. No one ever speaks about this aspect but Vegeta knows it. He is not afraid of the flames, but atonement is a word that is stuck on his tongue. It does not feel right for him.

Redemption means there is a chance for forgiveness. For wiping the slate clean. Vegeta is not looking for forgiveness, because forgiveness isn’t something he deserves, and his slate is blackened char of ash - there is nothing left to wipe.

Hope is Mirai Trunks’ word and quest, and the very least of what his noble future son deserves. Not Vegeta. 

Merus’ question triggers something Vegeta has been trying to avoid all this time. The prince searches himself. Why was he in exile? 

His honour as a warrior would not allow him to stay on earth and enjoy life as though he has done nothing wrong, not tried to desecrate all the good that has been given to him, not nearly caused its destruction. 

Suicide is not a way out, as all it would do is absolve him of his crimes. 

Vegeta honestly thinks there is no going back on what he has done, there is no long term personal benefit to being a better person. He believes he will go to hell, whether he is good now or not. He doesn’t think there’s any getting out of his crimes and he isn’t even going to try to plead or beg anywhere. He doesn’t deserve it, anyway.

The obvious question is then, why even bother being good? Old Vegeta would definitely have taken this thought and ran away with it. But Old Vegeta was a creature of darkness and destruction, twisted by the ideals of a warrior race subjugated  to the whims of a lizard tyrant. A race made servant to said tyrant’s ideals, that they no longer could tell which were their own ideas and which has been drilled into them through fear. Old Vegeta acted like a (proud, free) prince, but was no more than a (proud, child) slave.

Current Vegeta… is broken, but has grown. Does things he feels are right, because it is right, because he no longer wants to be the person he used to be. Not for a personal gain, not for the hope of maybe balancing out the scales to go into heaven. 

Vegeta will never admit it aloud, is still too prideful to, but he feels the guilt of what he has done that he does not even ask for happiness or want it for himself, he just wants it to set it right and be forgotten.

Was he then looking to do some tiny amount of correcting some of the impact of his wrongs before he burns away, fade into oblivion? Perhaps. 

The prince is not looking to leave a mark. Not looking to correct his damnation. Just to do a little bit of good and be worthy of some of the good things he received, before he threw it away in a silly bid for more power.

(Vegeta also knows he hasn’t found the right answer, that his answer has holes in its logic. but it does not matter. He feels too empty for it to matter. Some things he will never know and never attain closure for, and that is how life works. He should know.)

Merus is still waiting for a reply. What are you looking for, warrior? Why are you here?

Vegeta doesn’t owe him a damn thing, but he owes himself a response, a commitment. “Oblivion,” Vegeta answers instead, in lieu of an actual explanation. Merus frowns at the ridiculously cryptic answer, but where Kakarot or even Bulma might have pushed, Merus lets him off. 

“In that case, I take it you would want anonymity,” Merus says, moving smoothly to the practical bit. Vegeta approves. “We have several agents under our protection program who also require anonymity for their own safety, or that of their families, so this is not unprecedented. We have the technology, equipment and armour to keep your identity secret. But you will have to select a new name.”

And so Vegeta takes on a new name, if it could be called that. Oblivion? Some variation of his own name? He is christened ‘Agent V’ in the end, and it is as good a moniker as any.

Merus looks almost sad at his utter apathy, and Vegeta allows himself to wonder why the universe insists on sticking him with idiots too compassionate for their own power, i.e. Kakarot.

He discards the thought, even as he is aware that they will keep returning.  

It feels a little bit like death and rebirth: Prince Vegeta is dying (again), and a brittle hollow shell takes his place (again.)

Vegeta wonders if this will happen until he has finished balancing his ledger.

But the ledger will never be balanced , his mind whispers. Even if Vegeta goes about saving the same number of lives he’s taken, or more, a life taken doesn’t equal a life saved. One destroys, the other only helps sustain what is already there. 


Two years pass.

Vegeta gets lost in the rhythm of missions, cleanup, sleep, eat, train, study diplomacy stuff, avoid breaking someone’s neck or two, repeat. He feverishly throws himself into them, the way he did with his training, working to the bone until he is far too exhausted to think, that deep thoughts elude him.

Some patterns repeat. He quickly rises through the Galactic Patrol’s silly little ranking system, building a reputation as an elite and one of the most efficient, level- headed and powerful officers on the force. 

Vegeta receives a bulky, crimson-lined, off-white armour that he constantly wears. A full covering of a head mask made of similar material slide into place, hiding his true identity.

King Kai’s pendant is always around his neck, in case some third class idiot with a too big heart is still looking for his ki, even after all this time.

Some things remain the same. True to form, Vegeta never joins in stupid team-building activities, using the need to stay anonymous under the protection program as a convenient excuse. On the rare occasions he is dragged into non-mission related bonding shit, he is careful to exhibit a different personality: cool and detached, but cooperative when required.

It is hell, frankly. But, having gotten used to some of the Dragon Team’s antics over the years, he can begrudgingly admit that it isn’t the worst kind of hell there is. Almost amusing. Nothing the other officers on this team does can compare to the cringeworthy things Kakarot has said or done, anyway.

It is a lonely existence, but Vegeta is used to that from Frieza’s ship. Yes, he has had 7 years of reprieve from the loneliness on Earth, forming bonds with Bulma and Trunks, and even Kakarot’s sons and the Namekian. 10 if he counts the years before Kakarot died. It is still not enough to erase how familiar the silence is for him, like slipping on an old glove.

The mornings are the worst and the most disorienting. He dreams often of young laughter and a hopeful, inquisitive gaze; of blue locks and machine oil streaks, of spiky hair and eyes almost too kind and punch-worthy to exist. And he wakes up with an ache in his chest, but Vegeta is nothing if not good at self denial and self punishment.

Agent Merus is every bit the detached, professional Galactic Patrol officer in day to day operations. He is strong in combat, reliable on the battlefield, authoritative on the deck and strict with protocol, but he is soft with Vegeta.

Perhaps Merus sees something in the broken, brittle way Vegeta carries himself. Perhaps Merus feels it too, that search for something elusive he cannot name, to erase what he has done and the person he has become. Vegeta wonders how much of his history Merus knows and sees. He doesn’t really care, as long as Merus keeps his silence.

For all Merus’ decency, Vegeta cannot bring himself to trust the agent. Bulma and Trunks are family and thus should earn his trust by default, but even then there are things he would not confide or leave them with. Truth be told there is only one warrior who has fought, beggared, wrestled and wormed his way into earning Vegeta’s trust, and Kami knew how hard Vegeta fought from allowing it to happen in the first place.

Only a cheeky, thrill-seeking, challenge-loving naive, innocent idiot too caring and forgiving for his own good would have been able to scale the thorned walls, and to peek through the crack in the armour that is Vegeta’s trust and its host of issues.

Luckily Vegeta has taken said idiot out of the equation with his exile. Now his trust is safe in its cold, lonely, impervious little cage, and the armor is built back up to be stronger than ever, and twice as dead.

Two years is both an achingly long and disconcertingly short time. Vegeta does not feel any better or more worthy than when he started. 

Of course Vegeta misses things. He misses Bulma, with her unique blue locks and beautiful demanding eyes. Misses how she is never afraid to call him out on his bullshit. 

He misses Trunks. His son’s shrewd gaze, offset by youthful innocence. The playful mischief untainted by blood-spilling , his pride unmarred by tragedy. A boy any father would be proud to have, befitting of the royal lineage of the saiyan race. To think that something so guileless could come from Vegeta’s blood-tainted existence.

Vegeta is even able to admit that he misses Kakarot. Just a little. Maybe a lot. He misses their spars, brief though the window of time might have been for them to familiarise with each other’s style, and yet. It is like there had never been a Before Kakarot, the way his heart yearns and twists when it got too deep. That is the extent of their special connection, Vegeta supposes.

He misses the idiot's humorous smile and challenging eyes. The lionheart, both in the ferocity of its courage and kindness. Even the innocent simplicity. The fond way he had sometimes looked at Vegeta, though the prince is still unsure if he has imagined the whole thing.

The irony is that it isn’t a truth Vegeta would have examined, much less admitted to himself, had the younger saiyan not been absent from his life now. 

However, Vegeta had spent 7 years prior to the Majin events quietly missing Kakarot, stubbornly telling himself it was something else in self denial. He could live with it. He did live with it.

Bulma and Trunks are terrible aches he isn’t used to missing. Because they have always been right there within reach, not that he has ever appreciated them for it. Until he lost them. Until he chose to lose them.

But Vegeta had lost the right to their affections the moment he chose to throw away their images in his heart and become Majin.

Whether he succeeded or not is not the issue, the point is, he had lost that right.

He certainly didn’t deserve anything better. Hell, as punishments go, this self-imposed was a mild form of it. Even if his heart suffered and died a little bit more each day from just how much he yearns to see them again.


One particularly exhausting retrieval mission, Vegeta meets a village warrior who is too familiar. Too familiar in that he is silly and playful in times of peace, but absolutely a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. The jarring contradiction reminds him too much of certain saiyan, and Vegeta stays the hell away, only interacting when absolutely necessary.

Vegeta ends up watching the man blow himself up to save his pesky little village. Vegeta stays just long enough to deal with the fallout and chaos, then stumbles back to deck in complete disorientation. Perhaps it is the bone-deep exhaustion, or the familiar way the man’s teal eyes had looked so peaceful as his innards exploded, but Vegeta is close to a breakdown. 

He contemplates going back.

Back where? There was no home for him, just like in the PTO. Only this time, he’d made that choice himself.

“Agent V, prepare to report to deck.” The robotic voice chirped away at him. 

Kakarot would have not. Kakarot would have discarded any and all protocol and gotten away with it. Kakarot would have not even been aware of a protocol, he would probably have fallen asleep.

Kakarot had died with a peaceful, accepting smile, similar to that village warrior, in the battle against Cell. They were both nothing but selfless saviours.

Vegeta had died with the same peaceful smile against Majin Buu. But he was the perpetrator of that tragedy, and a villain. He deserves no such peace.

Vegeta goes to report.


Very dangerous missions, designated as Code Red, are rare in the Galactic Patrol, given the fleet employed a pool of officers of varied abilities and useful skills, but they did exist. In a hypothetical Dragon team/Earth dictionary, Vegeta would equate Code Red missions to Cell level threat: (D)angerous and destructive to all, but (S)elective in its destruction.

Vegeta gets the brunt of the Code Reds, being one of the most powerful and versatile agents on the ship with the experience to match. And, more importantly, possessing a lack of self preservation that could be slightly alarming to the other officers.

Vegeta really doesn’t care if the others secretly whisper that he is suicidal or masochistic. When push comes to shove, they utilise him anyway, more concerned about the end result than the officer they lose in the process. And it suits Vegeta just fine: the former prince always does his best to survive, uncaring of the actual outcome. 

It truly feels like he is back in the PTO some days, but that is fine too. 

Missions with near certain chance of fatality are designated Code Black. In Earth terms, that equates to ‘we’re fucked: this is Kid Buu level rampant destruction, (D)angerous and (U)nselective, run like hell and pray very hard.’

Vegeta has miraculously had exactly none of these. Perhaps he does have some lucky stars after all, even if they seem to be quite negligent in their job.

He is suiting up for one Code Red mission, when behind him, someone clears their throat. “Agent V, this may not be within my scope,” Merus says quietly, “but I believe you have family on Earth.” 

Vegeta ignores the stab of pain in his heart, and focuses on what Merus is saying. Stab, what stab? “Do you not want to see them at least once before this mission begins its initialization phase?” Because you may not survive, Merus doesn’t say, but the implication is in the words.

A beat of silence for effect, but Vegeta doesn’t truly consider it. He knows that if he ever sees Bulma, Trunks or Kakarot again, it would be too hard to walk away.

“I have more important things to attend to.” Vegeta’s tone is clipped, he tries for uncaring and brusque, and really feels he deserves an award for acting.

But Merus sighs, so maybe no awards are coming. Oh well.

Vegeta knows Merus sees right through him. Of course. Merus’ heart is big, his empathy rivals even Kakarot’s. Vegeta infers this, because he now knows Merus has willingly chosen to become a Galactic patrol agent despite his birthright as a being or nobler status: a literal angel. Kakarot, despite appearances, was only a mortal one.

But both Merus and Kakarot are similar in that their hearts are much too kind for the apathy slash cruelty their respective birthrights demand.

Perhaps Merus’ likeness to Kakarot is why Vegeta naturally gravitates to him.

Vegeta shakes off the unwelcome thought. He has been thinking of Kakarot too much recently. There is no point in such things. 

As if he can read who Vegeta’s mind is revolving around, Merus says, “How about the one named Goku? Do you not wish to speak to him at least once, as your true person?”

His face flames, but Vegeta stays silent. Merus probably knows of Vegeta’s quiet affections for the other saiyan, then. Or at least suspects it. Vegeta would be embarrassed, but what was the point? The ones who it would matter to are people he will never see again, if he has his way. 

Vegeta closes his eyes. Remembers the press of Kakarot’s cheek and temple against his as they attacked Buu together in Buu’s body. Remembers the feel of his back against Kakarot’s chest. The warmth of Kakarot’s frame around his smaller one as they shouted out their battle cry, their energy seamlessly combining together in a beautiful burst of destruction. How, even as Vegeta had immediately squirmed away from the contact, it had felt more reassuring rather than invasive, as it should have been. 

How their fusion felt like some raw broken thing inside him was healing. Even as they supposedly ceased to be separate individuals and became one entity, as much anguish as he had felt, it was also a… relief.

How it was like breathing fully and deeply again after being choked off and gasping shallow for so long.

Like stabbing pains, but healing ones. How it felt like forgiveness and moving forward.

Forgiveness he did not deserve.

Vegeta opens his eyes. “No.” He says simply, resolutely. There was no explanation, no apology. Vegeta does not deserve the space to give any. Merus looks at him with sad angel eyes, but ultimately turns back to the dashboard.


Spoiler: he survives that Code Red mission. Barely. With the skin of his teeth. Vegeta is still seeing the highlights of his life flashing before his eyes even as he lies in the medbay, gasping for breath, gritting through the pain of his natural saiyan healing. He should probably be alarmed that he was too used to such things to be properly alarmed.

Highlights of life was a funny Earthling turn of phrase, actually, Vegeta muses almost lucidly. He ponders exercising some creative license to rephrase  the term ‘highlights.” Perhaps to ‘lowdark’ of his life instead. Lowshades? His life is a tragic dark cosmic joke, after all, something which King Kai seems to agree with.

The former prince’s morbid and nonsensical turn of thoughts is interrupted by the crack of the infirmary door. He grabs for his crimson mask, fearful of someone recognising him, but it turns out to be just Merus poking his head in. 

“Agent V,” Merus says formally. “You are alright?”

“Fine,” Vegeta replies in the same formal vein. Merus’ silver-purple orbs look at him assessingly. The trainee angel is skeptical, perhaps due to having seen Vegeta brush off near fatal wounds like they were papercuts and end up face planting into the floor multiple times. However, he nods and accepts what Vegeta says. 

Vegeta’s heart abruptly aches. Kakarot would have pushed and prodded and whined and needled him. Kakarot would not have stopped until Vegeta would concede to being further examined out of sheer annoyance and wanting to get the caring idiot off his (non-existent) tail (ha.) 

Merus has too much heart for an angel or a patrol officer, and sometimes shows more concern than is appropriate for their career. But he still largely plays by the professional, detached agent rulebook. Tries to, at least. 

Kakarot would have tossed that sense of propriety straight out of the window, probably without even being aware of it existing in the first place.

Then Vegeta reminds himself to be thankful. Thankful for the impersonal, almost cold environment of the Galactic Patrol, so similar to his life in the PTO. You understand you were there as an asset for a greater cause, a number and nothing more. Thus you look out only for yourself. 

Like the PTO. Like Frieza.

The Galactic Patrol is cold and ruthless, just as the PTO had been. This is familiar to Vegeta, and thus reassuring in a bittersweet way. It makes things like boundaries of care and concern clear cut to him, as opposed to between the Dragon Team back on Earth where boundaries had really blurred, criss-crossed sideways and danced its merry way to hell.

It also makes it easier for him to conceal his true identity. Only Merus and the one special doctor assigned to their unit knows Vegeta as who he truly is.

And so Galactic Patrol life goes on, in this living death rendition of his.


Since leaving Earth, Vegeta has found himself playing more and more with Earthling phrases. He has come to realise that some of them are quite creative. ‘Lucky stars’, for instance. Or ‘no rest for the wicked’. It has become a bit of a game with himself, to see how many situations he can match with an idiom or a phrase. 

It is a way to kill time and not think too deeply about certain things. Almost as if he is observing life from the outside, as a detached, humorous viewer. The numbness is welcome.

Vegeta wonders briefly if Planet Vegeta had turns of phrases and literature as varied as earth, and decides there is no point in exploring those thoughts. He has never done that with the saiyan tongue  because it and everything that was Planet Vegeta is less than stardust now.The language will die with him.

But Earth lived on, only he left it behind. And thus it was safe to remember it, to pay tribute to it, to let just a little bit of attachment remain. 


Another year passes. Vegeta gets tangled in a lot of menial bureaucracy, ridiculous missions, tasks that bore him to near tears, and nearly dies twice more. His life has always been more about regret management than active prevention; tolerance and survival rather than enjoyment and living, anyway. All was fine.

Until one day, Vegeta gets wind of an emergency mission from his colleague that sets his heart racing abnormally quickly for a saiyan heartbeat. 

“We have received a request for help from Agent Jaco.  It is a Code Black, and the planet is 4032-877, known locally as Earth.”

Vegeta’s blood runs cold. The armour maintains a certain homeostasis range for his body temperature, so the contrast is even more jarring.

His first instinct is to run to Earth and make sure he is there to protect it from any threat. But that would bring more trouble than he is prepared to deal with- even with armour and the pendant obfuscating his identity, he is not completely certain he can keep up the charade. 

They didn’t need him there. Right?

What if they did, though. 

That was ridiculous. Earth has Kakarot, Gohan, and the rest to protect it. Vegeta has never been needed to throw the final winning shot for anything (indeed, he has never been able to, he thinks bitterly.) They would be fine without him, right?

Code Black, though.

“Agent V is our best,” Merus is saying, “but he is recuperating from the last mission. We will send Agent Skada-“

“No, that won’t be necessary.” Vegeta’s tone is brusque. He can already tell this decision will be his downfall, probably the stupidest decision he has made among his many stupid decisions. But merely standing by waiting for news of the planet inhabited by people he loved enough to leave behind - it will literally kill him, in a way worse than death. So he decides. “I will go to Earth.”

Merus looks at him in mild surprise. His eyes turn into assessing mode. Vegeta humours him by letting him believe Vegeta was waiting for his approval. Then Merus smiles, almost warmly. “Let us see what we can do about your armour and mask,” the trainee angel says. “I will help you in your guise.”

Well, at least Vegeta has one person on his side.

 

 

Vegeta closes his eyes. Remembers the press of Kakarot’s cheek and temple against his as they attacked Buu together in Buu’s body. Remembers the feel of his back against Kakarot’s chest. The warmth of Kakarot’s frame around his smaller one as they shouted out their battle cry, their energy seamlessly combining together in a beautiful burst of destruction. How, even as Vegeta had immediately squirmed away from the contact, it had felt more reassuring rather than invasive, as it should have been.

 

*image credits to unknown, but please know I take no credit and fully credit you I WANT TO FIND YOU AND DECLARE YOU TO THE WORLD FOR THIS SWEET PICTURE bcos MY HEART

They made this scene funny in DBZ/Kai but I found it both so endearing and hot somehow *fans self*