I heard it. I knew I did.
I'd been about to sleep, and there it was, hissing dully in my ear: heavy breathing.
It wouldn't go away, and it was so real, as real as the touch of icy fingertips grazing my skin. I sat up, gasping, fear clamping my heart, my body sweating and shivering on the oversized bed. The room was dark, lights from the driveway outside glowing a muted orange behind the window blinds, blinds that rattled in the breeze blown by the air conditioning vents. "Bejiita..." I whispered. I flipped the light switch on and got dressed; I guess I had drunk too much at the party, and Bulma made me stay. Bejiita hadn't come, holed up in the small house on property that Bulma let him use. I don't think he had given an excuse, just simply hadn't shown up. But that dream--or whatever it was--gave me the feeling that he wasn't alright. I left the guest room by the balcony and, after turning out the light and closing the glass doors, I floated down to the ground below, and walked the short distance to Bejiita's house.
No lights on inside, but there was no mistaking what I felt. He was awake by now, I was sure. I knocked on the door and waited. He didn't come right away, so I knocked again. This time, the door opened. He stood in the doorway of the dark house, the light from the streetlamps shining only on his body, his face hidden by shadows. He wore just a pair of sweatpants from what I could tell. "Kakarrott?" he said hoarsely.
I scratched the back of my head. "Uh, yeah, it's me, Bejiita," I said. "Can I come in?" I didn't really like him all that much, to be honest. But saiyans had a way of sensing eachother's feelings, especially if there was an emotional connection there. And there was definately an emotional connection between us; Bejiita hated me, thinking that I had wronged him somehow, just by existing, mostly. And as I said, I wasn't all that crazy about him either, but being the last two saiyans in the universe, he still seemed to need me somehow. And I wasn't going to make life any harder for him than it already was.
He stepped back a bit and, after clearing his throat, said, "Come in."
I stepped past him and he shut the door behind me, then turned on a dim lamp beside the sofa, and we squinted in the new light for a moment. He was so small--girlish really, with a slender waist and delicate hands and feet--and although his muscles were well developed, he had the overall look of being slender and fragile, not stocky. This made me feel protective of him in a way that I couldn't explain; physically, he was attractive, even though I didn't care for his pride. His hair, a thick tangle of black flame, clearly showed his saiyanness, and that wolfish gaze left me clueless as to his thoughts. Was I wrong about what I had felt? Oh, no...that "dream" was much too real. "You weren't at the party, so I thought I'd come over, see how you were." He continued to watch me, his eyes wide but his expression unclear. "You know," I added, "see if everything was alright."
He folded his arms over his bare chest, hiding a few deep, white scars. "Unn, I was sleeping," he said, "but…you…you knocked and woke me."
"Oh, sorry." He had a strange pausing sound he made when he was thinking; not um or eh even but a short "uln" sound, which was kind of annoying. Thankfully, he didn't do it much. I guess it had to do with the saiyan language, if that was the language he thought in.
"No, it's alright," he said. "Is the party over then?"
I was about to say that it had been over for awhile, but he interrupted me without knowing it: "Well, you can stay here with me."
He turned away, went to the small kitchen and opened the refrigerator, pulling out a beer and opening it. Surprised, I watched him wide-eyed; I hadn't expected him to take me in. "Uh, thanks Bejiita. Thank you."
"You want one?" he asked over his shoulder after taking a long drink.
"Oh, no thanks," I said. He shut the door and drank some more. I walked into the kitchen and sat down at the small table there. "I've had too much already."
He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and sat down beside me. I noticed a few other empty beer cans in the sink, but I didn't say anything. We both got really quiet suddenly, and after a long while, I realized that if I didn't say anything, no conversation would take place. I was beat, though, so I was about to excuse myself and go lay down when he suddenly said, "Do you…unn…do you…want anything to eat?"
I wondered why on earth it took him that long to ask me if I was hungry. "Well, I shouldn't eat just before I go to bed," I said. "But don't worry, in the morning you can feed me."
He looked at his beer can for a moment as if he was trying to bore a hole through it with his eyes. "Kakarrott, do you remember Radiitzu?"
I blinked. "Radiitzu?"
"I—I know who you mean, Bejiita. I remember what little I saw of him, yes."
He grunted and finished the can, then got up and placed it quietly in the sink with the others. "I dream about him often," he said. Then he came back to the table and sat beside me again.
"Did you tonight?" I asked. I knew the answer; I wanted to see how honest he would be about it.
He paled, his eyes taking on a glassy look. "No, Kakarrott. Tonight I did not. Tonight, the other things I cannot forget visited me before you did." Then he turned to me and smiled a crooked smile. It was a look without disdain, genuine and honest, a look I couldn't ever remember seeing on his face before. It was as if he was so unfamiliar with these pleasant emotions that he couldn't bend them to his will; either he showed them or he hid them. "But saiyans do not forget each other, eh, Kakarrott?" His slender hand reached out and, touching my shoulder with soft fingertips, stroked it awkwardly, like a man petting an unfamiliar dog. "You came, you answered…my call." He drew his hand back slowly, and the smile faded; I guessed that the liquor had loosed his tongue and lowered his defenses, and this startled him.
I had to admit that I was not disturbed, but was actually touched by this display of affection. So, Bejiita could be vulnerable, sensitive. Lonely. And if I didn't know better, he was coming on to me. I didn't want him to be embarrassed, that would make him close himself up to me entirely. So I took his hand as he withdrew it and placed my other hand on top of his, holding him firmly. "Bejiita," I said, "I could never leave you here alone knowing…knowing that you were so…well, haunted."
We looked into eachother's eyes; his were dark and strangely innocent, child-like. "Are you tired?" he asked. I nodded weakly. "Then we should sleep." He got up and padded on bare feet to the hall. I stood and stretched, thinking of the couch. He stopped at the mouth of the hall for a moment, then turned to look at me, his face showing a bit of the one emotion it could show clearly: confusion. "The bedroom's this way," he said.
I finished stretching and looked at him; he obviously expected me to join him. I thought about the vision I'd had and didn't blame him for not wanting to be alone, and for not wanting to sleep alone. I wondered vaguely if that was what Radiitzu had done, and if that was why he missed him so much. "Right," I said, and followed him. He looked greatly relieved that I followed him without arguing, and his bedroom was just as large and pleasant as Bulma's guest room had been. Wordlessly, Bejiita pulled on a white t-shirt and climbed into bed while I took off my clothes, undressing down to my own white t-shirt and boxers. Once in bed, I instinctively wrapped myself around him where he lay, curled up on his side. He sighed as I nestled against him, and I fell asleep moments later.
I felt soft hands on my body. Dark hair rustled against me where I lay, draping across my chest, pooling like water on the sheets beside me. I looked up to see a face very much like my own, rich brown eyes wide and admiring, loving. "It will only hurt a little, my prince," a deep and soft voice said, and I felt no pain at all, but I did feel the pleasure of entrance, the deeply erotic sensation of my own erection rubbing against a firm body, and a soft tail twining around my own. I began to purr.
Static. I heard static. I was in a simple but alien room and I heard the sounds of a battle as through an electronic device--but now, only moments later, all I heard was static. "Radiitzu! Radiitzu!!" Bejiita's voice came from my throat. I felt a strange and sudden loss, my heart throbbed with a horrible ache, and I fell to my knees, stunned by the emotion. The static stopped, my trembling hands were on my face, and I felt bile rise in my throat, unable to hold back the urge to vomit.
I woke up, and I was alone in the bed. It was still dark outside, the dimly glowing alarm clock showing that only a couple of hours had passed. Where was Bejiita? Turning on lights, I checked the bedroom, the bathroom, then wandered out into the dim hall and scanned the living room when I noticed the door outside was slightly ajar and easing open, so I went to it. Outside on the porch, Bejiita sat, perched on the low steps and gazing up at the sky. I said his name softly and he did not respond. I moved to sit beside him but did not say anything more.
We sat together that way for quite awhile. Finally, he said, "Do you remember, Kakarrott, how when we first met, you pounded me silly, and I have been following you around like a love-struck whelp ever since."
I was about to argue that he had not been the only one pounded silly that day when the rest of his sentence caught me completely off guard. "Bejiita?" was all I could manage.
"I have been debating ever since that day whether or not you understood what you did to me," he said. I blinked at him, wondering vaguely if I had wounded him in some way when he continued, "For saiyans, only mating pairs complete a challenge like that: beating the prospective mate in a fight—a true, honorable fight—and letting him live. True, there were others involved in the fight, but still, no matter how I think about it, the fact remains. So, all this time, I have been wondering if you actually knew what you did to me after my poor Radiitzu died by the hand of that Namek, or if it was just coincidence. And it took me until tonight to decide that for myself."
Bejiita sighed, his face looked pained. "You can sense my dreams, you can see into my heart, like a true mate, and yet you still reject me, reject my body. So I can only assume that you do not know, and that you had no intention of ever fulfilling your promise to me. You were just…it was all just…pretend."
"Pretend?" I blurted out. Everything Bejiita said made absolutely no sense to me. "I promised myself to you by beating you in battle and letting you live?" I asked, disbelieving. "And you're saying that all this time, you've been following me around not because you want to kill me but because you're my mate?" I wanted to laugh; this was some kind of joke. But Bejiita's single tear that shone in the starlight was horribly real. And the eerie thought came to me of how, on that fateful day, for no apparent reason that I could see, Bejiita killed Naapa, his own soldier and fellow saiyan, himself. I wondered if, for a time, Naapa had taken Radiitzu's place…
Bejiita wiped his face. "Not kill you just to kill you, stupid Kakarrott! Kill you to break this stupid promise you made to me that you won't fulfill. This promise that binds us spiritually—the one that you made!"
"But, Bejiita," I said quietly, forced to believe him in light of the evidence, "I already am married."
He sniffled. "Whatever promise you made to your woman, she is not a saiyan. So she wouldn't have a bond like ours; it's impossible."
"I see." I said. And that also explained to me why he and Bulma did not marry. "So…basically, you're saying I need to fulfill my promise to you, or take a hike, huh? Put up or shut up."
"No, not just take a hike, Kakarrott. I have to beat you. And I have to kill you. It's the saiyan way."
"Or I kill you, huh?" He gave me the most horrible look then, a look of shock and dread. "Oh, Bejiita…" I said, and put my arm around him. "Come on, I don't mean it! I could never do that. Okay, so it was stupid to joke like that. Hey, don't…don't cry."
"How could I have ever let myself get such a stupid mate as you?! While Radiitzu…my poor Radiitzu…" His words fell away to sobbing.
I held him close. He seemed so small and delicate; I knew better, but he felt fragile, as if he would break should I hug him too tight. He was so attractive to me that way—vulnerable--and at that moment, I wanted to hold him forever. "Bejiita, I'm sorry about the…the misunderstanding, but you know, it's not as if I don't like you. I just…I just didn't understand about it. That's all."
"Wh-what do you mean?"
"I mean that if you had explained this to me sooner, I might have done something about it."
"Something…like what?" he asked nervously.
"Like this," I said, and leaned down to kiss his lips gently. Crickets and cicadas chirped, and some night bird called out among the stars, but I hardly noticed them, I only noticed them as they enhanced the beauty of the night, his shining, dark eyes, lit by the dim lamposts of the early morning, opened softly, silently pleading me for more. I lifted him easily off the porch steps and carried him over the threshold and into the house, then brought him to the bedroom and turned out the light.
We had some unfinished business, after all.