“Where on Chikyuu have you been?” Bulma demanded the minute her daughter was in sight.
 Bra sat down. “Getting engaged,” she said weakly.  Her voice trembled.
 Bulma’s mouth dropped. “Goten asked you?” she shrieked.
 “Not exactly.  He was introducing me to a friend and said, ‘She’s my fiancée.’  Like it was all settled.  But he apologized.”
 Bulma started laughing. “That is so like a Son.  I’m sorry, but it is.”
 “Oh, I know.” Bra rested her head in her hands. “We’re supposed to go shopping for a ring this afternoon.” She jumped up and began pacing. “I can’t believe this.  I can’t.  Me, mated?  Er, married, I mean.” It was too slow.
 Bulma’s eyes widened. “M—mated?” she repeated.
 “Not like that, Kaasan.  We haven’t done that…but Tousan says…”
 “She’s a Saiyajin,” Vegeta said, flying in. “What she feels towards Kakarott’s son will only happen once in her life.  And that’s it.  They are lifemates, now and forever.” He looked over at Bra. “Despite it being Goten, I’m glad you picked someone who will match your life span.”
 Bra smiled, went over, and hugged her father. “Tousan, thank you so much.  I love you.”

 She felt her father tense up.  She somehow knew he just couldn’t hug her back, but she kept on. “I mean it.  I love you, and thank you.” She kissed him on the cheek as he left and turned back to her mother. “Do you have a wedding dress I could wear?  I guess we can buy another one, but there’s really no need, if yours or Baasan’s is around somewhere.”
 Bulma nodded. “I think your grandmother’s is up in the attic somewhere.  Do you guys have a date yet?”

 “Uh, no.  Kaasan, we just got engaged today.”
 “That’s right.  Sorry.”
 “No biggie.  Um, could you guys not tell Trunks?  Goten wants to tell him himself.”
 Bulma nodded. “Now, let’s settle a date.  Let’s see…this is April?  What about a September wedding?”
 Bra’s eyes widened. “That long?” she asked.
 “That eager?” Bulma teased.
 Bra flushed. “No…no, not that.  But I don’t want this to be a huge thing.  I just want it to be a small affair…if we have a seven month engagement, everyone will be there.”
 Bulma nodded. “Okay.  Point taken.  May, then?”
 “That’d be better.”
 “Where do you want to get married at?”
 “What about the temple Trunks and Marron were married in?”
 Bulma thought that over. “I bet we could free it up with a big enough donation.  Okay, what kind of flowers?”
 Bra shrugged. “You decide,” she said.
 “Bra-chan, this is your wedding.”
 “It doesn’t matter.”

 She shrugged. “It’s just a formality.  I’m Goten’s, no matter what I do.  I could go fly to Namek, and I’d still feel incomplete, because he wouldn’t be there.  He’s got me, totally, heart and soul.  Not only does he not care, but he doesn’t even realize this wedding,” she spat the word out, “is just solidifying it.  So, no, I don’t really care if it’s decorated in roses or tulips or lilacs.” She turned and looked her mother straight in the eyes. “It just doesn’t matter.”
 “Oh, Bra-chan, don’t say that.  It does matter.  You may have…” Bulma groped for a word, “bonded with him, but that doesn’t mean that—”

 “Yes, it does, Kaasan.  You can’t feel this.  I’m not…me anymore.  Half of me is Goten’s, and I can feel Goten inside me, now.” Bra shook her head. “I’m not explaining this very well.  It’s more than loving him.  I can…feel him.  He’s in my heart.” Bra collapsed in a chair and looked at her mother with wide, scared eyes. “And it’s so scary, Kaasan.  I’ve lost control.  I’ve been thinking about this ever since I left the movies.  I was all excited at first, but now…” Bra looked away. “I’m not the same.  A part of me has been taken away, given to Goten, and I couldn’t even stop it.  And I don’t even want to!  He’s my mate…” Bra began crying. “He’s my mate,” she sobbed.

 Bulma couldn’t think of anything to say. “Oh, Bra-chan,” she whispered. “It’s going to be okay.”
 “Of course it will.  He’s my mate,” Bra whispered bitterly.  She suddenly jerked up. “And he’s coming.”
 Bra rubbed furiously at her eyes. “He knows something’s wrong.  He’s coming.  Quick, Kaasan, get me an onion.”
 Bulma stared at her daughter. “What?” she repeated.
 “Oh, never mind!” Bra cried, grabbing an onion and a knife.  She ran over to the sink and began hacking at it.
 “Hey, Bulma-san, can I talk to Bra?” she heard Goten ask.
 “Go ahead.  She’s a little…emotional right now.”
 “Yeah, I know.  Thanks.” He stepped behind Bra. “What are you doing?”
 “Cutting up an onion.”
 “And you’re crying because…?”
 “I’m cutting an onion.”
 “It must be hard for you to cook, then.”
 “I rather thought so.  Now, you want to tell me what’s really wrong?” He turned her around and looked down at her.
 She ducked her head. “No, there’s nothing wrong,” she mumbled.
 “See, you’re a pretty good liar, but that just sucked.” He tilted her head up and forced her to look him in the eyes. “Please, Bra, I can’t stand you hurting.  And, believe me, I felt it.”
 That just reminded her of how trapped she felt. “Goten…”
 He could see a flicker of something—was it fear?—in her eyes.  But what could she be frightened of? Not him, she couldn’t be afraid of him…could she? “Bra, what’s wrong?” he whispered.
 “I’m so scared,” she whispered.
 His heart stopped. “Scared?  Of what?”
 She buried her face in his chest.  She was so small, at least compared to him. “Everything,” she mumbled.
 “Wh—what do you mean?”  Was she scared of him?
 She didn’t answer.
 He racked his brain, searching for something to say. Then, suddenly, as if it was branded right into his brain, he saw the reason she was scared. “Bra-chan, no, I will never hurt you.”
 “No.  But nothing.  I love you, Bra.  I can’t do anything to hurt you…it will hurt me more.” He pulled her closer to him. “I promise you, Bra-chan.”
 Bra let out her breath and felt her fear vanish.  She had felt so vulnerable…she was still vulnerable, but at least he knew her great fear.  And she knew he wouldn’t ever hurt her purposely.
 “Do you still want to go get that ring?” Goten asked.
 Bra sighed. “I guess.”
 “What’s wrong now?”
 “Well, to go shopping, you’ll have to remove your arms from their present position.  But I guess it’s a worthwhile sacrifice.”
 Goten grinned at her. “It will be, I promise.  Come on.”


 “What do you think of this one?” Goten asked, holding up a gold band with a tangle of small diamonds balanced on it.
 Bra gasped. “It’s beautiful!” she gasped before she could stop herself.  She recovered, too late. “But—”
 Goten looked at the salesman. “Okay, this is the one we want,” he said. “What size is your finger again?” he asked Bra.
 She told the salesman, who bustled off. “But it’s so expensive,” Bra whispered to Goten.
 “No, no, no.  If you want this ring, you get it.  And I know you want it, so…” He shrugged. “That’s how it has to be.”
 “I’m sorry, sir, but the only ring we have in that size is the one in the display case, and I’m afraid we can’t part with that one.  It’ll be about three weeks before we get another.”
 Goten’s eyes got flinty. “Did I mention that my fiancée is Miss Bra Briefs?” he asked.
 The man paled. “O—oh.  Well, maybe we can make an exception, then.  In fact, I’m almost positive we can.  L—let me go get the ring.”
 “You do that,” Goten said.
 “You throw my name around awfully freely,” Bra complained.
 “Hey, it gets us service.  If I said, ‘I’m Son Goten,’ everyone would look at me like I’m crazy.  But should I say, ‘Hey, this is Bra Briefs,’ and people start coming over asking to help.”
 “What are you going to do when you have to introduce me as Son Bra?” she teased.
 “Oh, well, I’ll just say, ‘The former Miss Briefs.’ ”
 “So you’ve got this all worked out, have you?”
 He thought about it. “Well, yeah.”
 “Just so I know.  Oh, how did your family take our news?”
 “Well…” He stopped.
 “Goten,” she said warningly.
 “Ididn’ttellthem,” he muttered.
 “I didn’t tell them,” he repeated, slower.
 “Well, I couldn’t think how.  Subtle, blunt, what?  So I figured we could just walk over and show them the ring.”
 She stared at him. “I can’t believe you.”
 “Do you have any better ideas?”
 “Yes!  Just tell them!”
 “Okay, okay…but will you be there?”
 “Oh, like that wouldn’t be awkward.”
 “Don’t give the puppy-dog look!” she groaned. “Ohh, all right.”
 “Yes!  Thank you Bra!  Thank you!”
 “Yeah, yeah, I’m a regular saint,” she grumbled.
 The salesman came over with the ring in a little box. “Okay, there you go.  Um, have a nice wedding.  Th—thank you for choosing us for your jeweler.”
 Bra smiled at him. “Well, thank your for such wonderful service,” she said as they left.
 “You didn’t mean that, did you?” Goten asked. “About the service?”
 “Well, no, but it made him happy.  Oh, and I want you to know, that you are telling your parents.  Not me.  I’ll hide my hand if I have to.”
 “That reminds me.” Goten took the box out of his pocket and looked at the ring. “Do you want to wear this?”
 “Oh, let’s see, I’ve had a crush on you since I was about, oh, five years old…hmm…do I want to wear that ring…I’ve just got to think this over, Goten.”
 “Ha, ha, and ha,” Goten said and slid it on.
 She looked at it. “Okay.  Let’s go inform your parents that they’re about to get another daughter.”