Is Kakarot coming onto me?
One year. One year with Kakarot on Beerus's planet was all it took for such an unfathomable thought to become credible in Vegeta's mind. He sat on his wife's workroom couch next to a man who, for all intents and purposes, had his arm wrapped around him.
Grade school girls had a better grasp on the art of flirting than Vegeta did. But Kakarot sat slightly turned toward him, trademark Son grin plastered over his stupid face, his big stupid knee almost brushing against his own, and his long arm draped around Vegeta's shoulders. Well, almost draped. Technically Kakarot wasn't touching him. But Vegeta was willing to bet Dende's hypothetical left nut that the hesitant drumming of his rival's fingers on the back of the couch was out of anxiety rather than boredom.
Vegeta had seen Kakarot when he was bored. All of his cheeky grinning, laughing, and sidelong glances throughout the past few days had nothing to do with waning interest.
The asshole was flirting. Maybe.
Bulma noticed it too. Her husband was sitting beside a man he'd spent the past year with instead of her, after all. Earlier she'd made a big show over Jaco being tardy meeting her so they could collect the Super Dragon Balls. But now she'd fallen into an uncharacteristic quiet. In her corner of the room she sipped on a cup of coffee and occasionally glanced at him and Kakarot.
Piccolo also knew something wasn't right. For the past five minutes straight he'd tumbled the new Dragon Ball radar between his hands like he actually gave a shit about the thing past a cursory glance. The glistening sheen of sweat on his forehead betrayed any sense of serenity he may have left. "So this is the Super Dragon Ball Radar?" he asked to no one in particular.
Bulma would have been best suited to answer his query. In fact, it worried Vegeta that his wife hadn't launched into a long explanation of how the device worked. The woman took pride in everything she made. So why did she just peck her nails against her desk and sigh in agitation? Was Jaco's absence that much of a nuisance?
Kakarot laughed again—a breathy chuckle that sent a shock of adrenaline through Vegeta's veins. "Hey, Vegeta."
He clenched his eyes shut. He hated this. He hated how they'd grown to know each other so well that they could predict what the other was about to say. Kakarot was happy about something. Vegeta didn't want to assume it had anything to do with him. "Don't tell me. You're going to train in the Room of Spirit and Time?"
He laughed. Again. What was so damn funny all of the time, especially around Vegeta? "Yup! I heard Dende's fixing it."
Piccolo grunted, happy he had an opportunity to pierce the silence with a useful comment. "It won't be ready until tomorrow."
Kakarot leaned closer toward Vegeta. This time, his hand did brush against the back of his shoulder. "You wanna come with us, Piccolo?"
Say no, Piccolo. Oh my god, please say no. Vegeta didn't want to question why his gut reaction to Kakarot inviting the Namekian along to train with them filled him with absolute dread. He also didn't want to question why he was perfectly fine with Kakarot assuming he'd tag along as well.
"No. I can't keep up with you two Saiyans." Piccolo smirked, eyes still glued to the radar. "I'd get more training done my own way."
Vegeta hoped the loud dispelling of air from his lungs wouldn't become a group discussion seconds later. Instead, Kakarot leaned even closer to him and asked, "Then Vegeta, will you come?"
The words fell from his mouth before his mind could process them. "I don't want to go with you." No. No. Absolutely not. He had to say no at first. It was always like this between them: Kakarot would try to convince him to do something, he would say no, Kakarot would give a dumb reason why his idea was great, and then, Vegeta always acquiesced.
"Aw, come on. Don't be like that." Kakarot held up three fingers. "With three days we'll be able to get three years of training done."
Three years. The weight of those words forced his wife to glance at him from across the room again. Shit.
"You don't want me to get stronger than you. Riiight?" Kakarot moved so close to Vegeta's face he could feel the warm breath brush against his cheek.
Vegeta kept his eyes closed and focused on willing away the anxiety building inside of his chest. "You just had to go there, didn't you?"
Why did this man have to be so close to him? His breath was tickling Vegeta's ear; the sensation ignited a coil of pleasure in his stomach that welled and shot up his spine to warm the tips of his ears. Finally, he opened his eyes and was met with Kakarot's lips only inches away from his face. "We're already near the limits of our strength," Vegeta said. "There won't be much benefit to training more."
"What are you talking about?" And thus came Kakarot's spiel. About how they needed to be stronger than the mysterious Monaka who would later join their team in the tournament to save planet Earth. It was all a load of bullshit—but did Kakarot know that? Did he know what he was doing to Vegeta, gently rubbing his shoulder as he excitedly went on about the importance of growing stronger even though they'd only gain a fraction of the power they'd attained in the past year?
It was all an excuse to goad Vegeta. But for what purpose? Why did Kakarot want him around so badly? The third class's next words struck a chord with him. "If you don't want to come with me, that's okay. I'll just train for three years and get stronger on my own."
You crafty fuck. The bastard had set up the perfect scenario for Vegeta, and right in front of his wife. Bulma knew that Vegeta couldn't give up the opportunity to keep up with Kakarot in strength.
Not that this conversation had anything to do with getting stronger. Vegeta sighed. "Three years, huh? I guess there's no other choice. I'll go with you."
Kakarot leapt from the couch and screamed in victory. "Alright!"
Piccolo's smarmy comment about Vegeta predictably wanting to keep up with Kakarot was drowned away by the groan Bulma shot in Vegeta's direction.
In typical Kakarot fashion, the idiot smiled down at him as if he hadn't just played Vegeta like a violin. "We'll be able to spar, too, while we're in there!"
"Hmph." No shit, Kakarot. That's the whole reason we're going to spend three years with each other. So we have the benefit of having a sparring partner. Supposedly.
"I'm going to ring up my sister again." Bulma rose from her chair with her cell phone in hand. "Come speak with me in a few minutes, Vegeta."
What? He didn't like the sound of that. "Fine."
Piccolo's long ears twitched at the silence swelling once more inside of the room. "Good luck you two. I'll see you once you get out." He too left the room as quickly as Bulma had.
"Vegeta, I'm so excited!" Kakarot fell backwards onto the couch, arm once more draped behind Vegeta's shoulders. "Can you imagine what we'll accomplish in three years?"
Kakarot's eyes darted around the room. A much more hesitant grin spread across his face as he grabbed Vegeta's knee. "I'm excited to be alone with you too."
The offensive appendage made Vegeta's skin tingle. He was definitely blushing at this point. Ohmygod is he squeezing my knee now? What the fuck am I supposed to do in response to that? Vegeta didn't even have unbridled rage to fall back on that'd give him the strength necessary to slap the idiot's warm hand off of his body. He tried to swallow, but his mouth was parched. "What's there to be excited about?"
"'Cause we don't have to worry about Beerus or Whis watching over us!" Kakarot wiggled his eyebrows. "We can train however we want."
I am going to die right this second. "Oh? Do you have something special planned for our spars?" Shit, I hope that didn't sound like I wanted to fuck him.
Kakarot chuckled. "Yeah. Sleeping in past six sounds good. Right?"
Vegeta's shoulders slumped. The innocuous statement calmed his nerves, but he wasn't out of the woods yet. "We haven't even started and you're already thinking of slacking off."
"Sleep is important too, you know!" Kakarot gave his knee another squeeze. "The beds in the time chamber are comfier than the ones over at Beerus's place."
Nope. Nu-uh. I'm not going there. Vegeta cleared his throat and stood, Kakarot's possibly-flirty-but-maybe-not hand flopping down onto the couch. "I'm going to speak with Bulma. You should head home and prepare yourself for tomorrow."
Vegeta looked down at him. The pout on his rival's face made him look so young. "What? Not excited to go spend time with your wife and kid?"
He didn't want it to be true. It was just a joke. His stomach dropped once Kakarot lifted his arm and his hand scratched the back of his head. "Chi-Chi hasn't been happy with me lately."
"Then talk to her."
"That usually doesn't work out so well for me." Kakarot laughed, all nervous this time. "She's going to be pissed I lied to her about the tournament being a picnic."
It wasn't Vegeta's responsibility to pick up his rival from being down in the dumps, but over the past year he'd somehow become adept at consoling him. "Alright. Pretend I'm her."
"Pretend I'm Chi-Chi." Vegeta planted his hands on his hips. The stance was accurate enough to the real woman's usual posture. Too bad he didn't have a large stick in one hand to intimidate Kakarot with.
"Oookay. Um." Goku stood up before Vegeta. He was close again. Too close. "Chi-Chi, I gotta tell you something. In five days there's going to be this tournament and I gotta do it because—"
Goku whined. "Aw, c'mon Chi-Chi!"
Kakarot's ease sliding into the roleplay made Vegeta chuckle. "You always say fighting is important. What's so different about this time?"
"Everyone is going this time! And, uh—" Kakarot stepped closer, pressing his chest against Vegeta's. "We'll get to see each other every day. It'll be like we never left home at all."
Vegeta studied Kakarot's Adam's apple bob up and down as he swallowed away his worry. "That sounds fine to me."
"Really? Awesome!" Kakarot laughed. The warm eyes staring straight through Vegeta pinned him in place.
"Do you normally stand this close to your wife when you're arguing?"
"Yeah. When I'm about to kiss her."
Vegeta stepped backwards. "You should head home now."
For the briefest second Kakarot's face twisted in confusion; his eyebrows knitted together and his pout returned. "Oh. Right. Thanks, Vegeta." He twiddled his thumbs together. "What are you doing for dinner?"
Vegeta raised a brow. "I'm going to eat here."
"Are you asking—never mind." Vegeta crossed his arms and tilted his head toward the exit so Kakarot could leave first. "See you tomorrow."
"No—um, I already told Chi-Chi I would be out late with you 'cause I wanted to avoid an argument."
"We solved that problem. You're just going to tell her the truth about the tournament."
Obviously flustered, Goku scratched the back of his head again and bit his bottom lip. "I know."
Why was Vegeta always expected to fill in the blanks for him? Was Kakarot asking him out to dinner? They'd had an innumerable amount of shared dinners over the past year. Why another one? "Fine. If you like my presence so much, then let's have dinner tonight."
Instantly Kakarot's face brightened again. "Thanks, Vegeta!"
"Swing by here later tonight." Vegeta walked out of the room without another word. A happy, nervous chattering was all he heard before Kakarot's ki vanished from the vicinity.
Of course Kakarot wasn't coming onto him. And their dinner plans together definitely didn't qualify as a date.
Hopefully his wife felt the same. The little chat he was about to have with her couldn't mean anything good.