Beautiful Like Me
by Moonslayzer     More by this Writer
Vegeta's thoughts on Goku. Followed by Goku's thoughts on the prince of all saiyans.

Art Source :

https://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?id=45433



Chapter 02
Proud. That was what Vegeta was. Proud and fearless. His shoulders held so high and haughty, his muscled back so royally, rigidly straight. Even his jaw was set with precise, firm finality, his chin the highest, most jutting feature in all the land. Disdainfully, the prince scowled down at everything beneath him, as if there was nothing above. Perhaps, for him, there wasn't.

~If I was beautiful like you~
~Oh the things I would do~

Despite his diminutive stature, the royal Saiyan had always stood so tall, eyes of deep obsidian sweeping over the world as if the whole planet was nothing but a place to hunt his prey. His expression was that of a predator, his stance threatening, his voice deep and invasive. Vegeta was the midnight's lone, prideful son, needless of the light, hateful of the day. How he made the bright ones suffer.

~Those not so blessed would be crying out murder~
~And I'd just laugh and get away with it too~
~Like you do~

He claimed it was the Saiyan way. He claimed Goku was Saiyan too, yet the younger Saiyan doubted he could ever get away with the things Vegeta did. It was expected, even accepted for the prince to act callously. If Goku did the same, people would turn away from him as if he had become some hateful stranger. The same would never happen with Vegeta.

For all the pain the prince caused, no one ever even considered convicting him of his crimes. None stood high enough to put the prince on trial, and the royal one certainly would never reprimand himself. From him, acts of heartlessness were considered natural, his sins not a betrayal of good, but an enactment of the captivating selfishness of pride. He was so haughty and so strong, and no one accused.

~If I was beautiful like you~
~I would never be at fault~
~I'd walk in the rain between the rain drops~
~Bringing traffic to a halt~

One shard of his icy anger, one glare from those forbidding eyes, and his sins were forgotten in the face of his overwhelming self-assurance. All he had to do was raise his haughty head, and accusations fell away from him away like feeble raindrops ran from the oily black slick of night. That was the power of pride. That was the weapon Vegeta wielded.

He could be anything he wished because he was not afraid of what others thought. He was not too cowardly to trample on them and then face whatever retaliation they might make, but they, seeing that he would not be moved by their actions, bowed down and meekly followed him because he was strong and cold and unmovable. Everyone secretly wanted to follow someone truly great. If his attitude was any indication, then Vegeta was indeed their haughty savior.

Goku sometimes wanted to be like that, fearless and undominated, free to act however he pleased and capable of forcing others to accept it. He wanted to be able to lose his temper, to admit that he did bad things, to sometimes, just sometimes, not have to play the patient, caring, ever-ready hero. He wanted, just once, not to have to smile in the face of all the world's injustices and insults, not to have to endlessly volunteer his efforts to help the people who never helped him. Why did he always have to be so cheerful for them? Tightening his jaw, Goku drew power to himself, his hair blazing brightly with the awesomeness of his strength. Like this, he almost felt invulnerable. Like this, he was almost unafraid. Almost like Vegeta...

~But that will never be~
~That would never never be~
~'Cause I'm not beautiful like you~

Yet even as Goku's long, bright hair settled on his back, the prince's piercing glare wrung a nervous little laugh from him. Blood flooded his cheeks. Vegeta's gaze always reminded him of a vivisection. The younger Saiyan reinforced his shielding smile against the endless hostility. It was not his way to stand atop a fortress of ice. Where Vegeta wielded his hatefulness and pride, Goku extended his friendship and kindness. He knew it was the right way. Beatifically, he smiled.

~I'm beautiful like me~

Vegeta screamed his rage to the heavens, summoning all his own energy. The transformation always looked so much more impressive when it changed the prince's dark top to molten gold. Everything about him always seemed more impressive. His hair swayed at his back like an angry wasp about to sting.

Still, Goku kept his lips curled upward. He was not the type to return a scowl. He was not the type to be angry and condescending. He was the type who stayed welcoming and friendly even as his adversary came at him with the intent to kill. Goku would never let go of his smile.

~I'm beautiful like me~

It was so hard sometimes, though, to stand against Vegeta. No one else ever did. They all tried so hard to be passive and ingratiating. None wanted the terrible blade of pride turned toward their throats. Around the prince, they all walked on sharpened knives. His mere presence was the source of that extra little bit of tension that made heads unconsciously turn, that terrible, indefinably exhilarating charge in the atmosphere that made everything stand still for just a moment as Vegeta came into view. No one would ever defy him.

~If I was beautiful like you~
~I'd be quick to assume~
~They'd do anything to please me; why not?~
~I see their reaction, when you walk into the room~

It was frightening, the hold he had. Terrifying, how he could cow other warriors with just a glance. It wasn't just his strength that made them shiver, but his unbending, irrepressible hubris. It was hypnotizing in its constancy, captivating in its extreme. Like all power, it clasped a powerful hold around men's hearts. How Goku wished he could wrap a similar hand around the prince's own haughty soul. If all it would take was a simple mirroring of Vegeta's unshakable pride...

~But that will never be~
~That would never never be~
~'Cause I'm not beautiful like you~
~I'm beautiful like me~
~I'm beautiful like me~

But even as Goku went into a dizzying sequence of attacks, the sweet, self-depreciating smile remained on his face. He had never learned to scowl. Not as Vegeta had.

The prince's lips drew into a haughty, mocking sneer as he ripped a savage wound in Goku's side.

~Beautiful~

Goku could never do that, could never take such satisfied, unholy glee in another's pain. Even as he felt blood soaking through his gi, he returned the heartless mocking of the prince's expression with warmth and gentleness in his own. That was the way he had always lived. The way he had been taught to live. The path he knew his life should follow. He could never hold himself above others. His charm was simple and sincere.

~Beautiful like me~

And yet, as Vegeta's attacks grew more and more vicious, damaging wildlife and property along with muscle and bone, Goku felt even his patience beginning to tear. His very skin might be soaked in kindness, but his soul was forged for strength. Vegeta sent him crashing through several mountains. It was time to draw the line.

Rising slowly, he gathered a powerful ball of energy. He had often been told that there was something admirable in his protectiveness. Now, his body was sure to endorse the thought that he should be protecting himself. He released the blast.

The air churned, only heat and ozone remaining in the wake of the attack. No scream, no grown, no growl of pain came from Vegeta. Silently, the scent of burnt flesh and charred clothing reached Goku's nose, the only assurance that the attack had landed, but the prince was too high and mighty to simply give in. Forcefully, the older Saiyan shoved the hindrance of pain and blackened cloth away and went on the attack again. For a time, they mirrored each other blow for blow, block for block, identical determination in twin of sets of eyes. Vegeta matched him perfectly.

~Like me~

When they fought like this, Goku could almost compare himself to the prince. They were both untouchable in the heat of battle, both full of power beyond what most of the world could imagine, strength beyond what any mortal should ever possess. They were so naturally confident in the fight, both terribly determined to go on. So strong. Goku never doubted himself in battle, never felt beneath anyone when he showed his true strength, and part of him gloried in the freedom, in the fierce, wild nature of the fight. Part of him truly understood Vegeta.

~Like me~

And part of him did not. When the battle was over, he never felt any of the prince's haughtiness. When he sent Vegeta crashing down with one final, brutal blow, he did not feel pride in sending him to the cruelty of the unyielding ground. When the long gold of Vegeta's hair faded to a short black, he did not feel any surge of snobbishness for putting out that light. He did not have Vegeta's icy blessing.

Lightly, he set down next to his fallen prince.

"You okay, Vegeta?" He spoke the words knowing that his friendly gesture would be rejected. It always was. Such things meant little to the prince. He was too inured. People unfailingly gave him the little passive, calming sort of obeisances that they hoped would keep him from wielding the sharp edge of his pride against them. They always treated him with such politeness, with such respect, so helpful and ingratiating.

~If I was beautiful like you, I'd have so many friends~

"Here, let me help you up." Of course, Vegeta wouldn't allow it. Goku could only wish that sometimes those little subservient gestures of friendship would work for him too. No one could ever tame the prince, but sometimes desperate, obsequious appeasements could pacify him for a time. A short time. Even his own children had to struggle for any prolonged positive attention. So often, he shoved them away...

~All fighting for my time to be next in line~
~So if I hurt one I wouldn't have to make amends~

Just as he shoved Goku away.

Angrily, Vegeta shouted, "Get away from me!" The hand that struck Goku's extended fingers drew fresh blood from already abused skin.

"But--"

"Just get away! I don't want your help!"

Sometimes, the prince could be so irrationally hostile. Goku sighed and backed off. There would never be an apology for the unnecessarily harsh outburst. Everyone bowed down in the face of Vegeta's haughty strength, so why should he bother to feel remorse over his heartless actions? Did he even regret the viciousness of the attack that had resulted in Goku's matching retaliation? Vegeta was bleeding so badly...

Hesitantly, Goku stepped forward to inspect some of those wounds. All the prince did was snarl at him, low and dark and threatening. The volume of his threat rose exponentially until the younger Saiyan wisely chose to step away.

Why did Vegeta make everything so hard?

Sighing, Goku fought the prince's dark scowl with a smile and tried so very hard to pump cheerful laity into his voice as he said, "Why don't you lighten up, Vegeta?" Casually, so that Vegeta would not know how much the next words meant to him, he added, "I wish we could just get along."

~That will never be~

"I can't believe you would even suggest such a ludicrous thing! You are a fool!"

Goku sighed tiredly. He already knew that. "So? That doesn't mean we can't be friends."

"Doesn't it? But I supposed you want a better reason, don't you?" Vegeta snarled. "The first obviously wasn't good enough. Well, get this through your sickeningly cheerful mind, Kakarrot: I hate you!"

That made the blood freeze in horrified shock on the way to Goku's cheeks. Anger he could handle, but hate? He'd never heard Vegeta hurl that particular dagger at anyone else before.

"That's not a very nice thing to say, Vegeta. You know, you shouldn't use words like that just because you're angry."

"I use words like that just because they're true!"

That really, really hurt.

"I hate you!" Vegeta spat again.

Did the prince just want to cause pain? That was exactly what he was doing. For a moment, it all completely shattered. The smile Goku tried so very hard to offer slipped. The warmth he worked so desperately to keep burning froze in his eyes for a bitter instant. The smooth calm that he nurtured across his face was eminently crushed as every muscle stretched hard and tense with the effort of keeping his pain and anger in. "Hate" was such a powerful word, such a terribly, terribly powerful word, a word that only the haughty anger of pride would ever be presumptuous enough to use.

For a moment, Goku wished that he could just scream it back, just scream something foul and angry to hurt the Vegeta as Vegeta had hurt him. Yet even in his anger, Goku could not take delight in causing pain. He could not say words that were the exact opposite of what he felt for the prince. So he let it go. Carefully, he pulled the patient, ever-present smile back on, hoping that it would someday work, that someday, they really would get along.

~That would never never be~

The prince only scowled harder at his rival.

"Vegeta...We'll just talk about this when you're less angry." The smile stayed firm, but there was something hopeless caught in his voice. Hate sounded so final.

"I'll never be less angry!"

Goku wanted to scream.

~'Cause I'm not beautiful like you~

Instead of retaliating with a harsh outburst, though, the younger Saiyan quietly said, "But you...you can't really stay mad forever, can you?" His voice raised with nervous laughter at the end. Surely, Vegeta couldn't? Even pride had to have some limit. It had to.

"Of course I can!"

How Goku would have loved to stop those words with some violent attack. But he could not.

~I'm not beautiful like you~

He would never be like Vegeta. He would never match the hot, haughty anger of the other Saiyan. No one ever could. Vegeta was just so singularly, incredibly hostile. His scowl was so firm.

Didn't Vegeta understand how much Goku cared, how hard he tried, how very selflessly he was willing to give? Didn't Vegeta understand...how much the other Saiyan loved him? Goku tried to put all of that affection and hope and good will into his smile. The scowl wasn't even dented.

"But--" Goku stuttered, as if to deny the hatred in that face of chiseled stone. Stupidly, impulsively, he stepped forward, reaching out a hand to halt the next round of angry words.

Vegeta's power flared, angry and prideful, hair falling with spiteful weight.

Goku didn't know how to respond.

~I'm not beautiful like you~

Anger had never been his way, so he just stood there, waiting passively with a sad, patient little smile.

~I'm beautiful like me~

Vegeta reached quickly toward his hand. Goku's smile widened.

~I'm beautiful like me~

The prince took his hand and squeezed. Goku was positively elated.

~Beautiful like me~

Vegeta squeezed harder. And harder. And bone started crunching. Sinew whined and crumpled. Cartilage gave one last, mournful creek before it was torn and stripped completely. Startled, Goku let the injured appendage hang still in the air as Vegeta withdrew his hand. Goku studied his own with shocked, far too trusting eyes. Vegeta had hurt him. Senselessly, Vegeta had hurt him.

Goku faced his prince with disbelief and betrayal. Was this how his kindness was to be repaid? With pain and hatred? He really almost did scream then. His throat burned. A muscle in his cheek spasmed. His pupils shrank down to tiny points. His entire body shook. Part of him just wanted to kill Vegeta.

But a stronger part of him just wanted to cry. Because he was not a hateful, angry sort of person. He had always been the foolishly gentle, emotionally needy sort that cared about other peoples' opinions and clutched at their support. Rather than trying to stand alone against the world, strong and entire without the slightest base of support save the steadfast, unshakable belief in self, Goku embraced the world and drew his power from it.

~I'm beautiful like me~

He was the type of person who could love so much and believe so strongly that even in the face of everything Vegeta had done, he could still have hope that maybe, just maybe, there would come a day when the only other Saiyan alive would accept him as more than just a living punching bag. That day, unfortunately, was not to be the date of their most recent battle, and frightened and confused by the terrible twisting pain in his hand and its companion anger, Goku turned tail and fled with all the swiftness his Saiyan speed would allow him, forgetting for a minute that he even knew the technique of Instant Transmission. Vegeta made no attempt to follow. Still, Goku didn't get very far away from him. Flying in swift, aimless patterns exhausted his already tired body but gained him little net distance. Goku soon discovered, to his frustration, that he really hadn't gone more than a few miles. He supposed that was the result of being too upset to concentrate on flying in a straight line while his subconscious anxiety pulled him back toward the prince. Goku landed tiredly.

The sun was still high in the sky, but it already felt like such a long day. Sighing miserably, he spotted a ragged river nearby that looked like it might be large enough to wash in. However, when he drew close, it was already running red with blood. Saiyan blood, from the smell. It could only be Vegeta's. Goku looked up nervously, as if he might be able to spot the source, but the river was winding, and he knew that although he hadn't actually traveled very far, there were still several miles of distance between them. That worried him. The river wasn't that wide, but still, the blood should not have looked so terribly thick, so horribly dark and apparent so far downstream.

How much was Vegeta bleeding? How much could he afford to be bleeding? Goku swallowed. He hadn't meant to hurt the prince so badly. No wonder the other Saiyan was so angry. Of course the problem lay in Goku's approach. He'd been way too rough. If he was just more careful, more gentle, then of course they would get along. He'd just remember to smile extra hard next time, to put that much more positive warmth into his eyes, to be even more careful not to bruise Vegeta's angry self-reliance. He could never think of getting angry himself, of being self-reliant himself. He could never give up or get fed up or decide to keep his back turned. His forte had never lain in that area.

His smile returned confidently, full of all of its previous hope and warmth. That was what he was good at, friendliness and good cheer. He would set things right next time, he was sure. Vegeta could not stay haughty by himself forever, and Goku certainly could not choose to walk Vegeta's path with him so, eventually, the prince would just have to come down to join his supposedly low level counterpart. Friendliness would work. It had to. Because for Goku, there was no other way. After all, his was never the proud, heartless sort of might. Goku's allure was his gentleness.

~I'm beautiful like me~



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