It appears that I am back from my little 'vacation.' The main reason for this is that I've had an epiphany, and I really need to write this story before it eats a hole in my brain. It's been gnawing for about a week now, and I've finally decided to let it loose.

One of the main reasons I'm writing this story is that I'm sick of all the poorly written, Usagi-based betrayal/romance fics on this site. Don't get me wrong, I'm a mush-freak and I love romance to death. However, there is a down side to romance. There are only so many ways it can go, and no one has found a new one yet. A lot of you authors are too worried about who Usagi should be paired with to care if you write an original, or even well planned story. Therefore, I'm going to attempt to add to the non-sucky, non-romance fics of this section. This should make about three in the section, total...

I'm also just sick of Usagi. Don't get me wrong, she's a good, deep character, but I can only take so much of her. So, don't expect her at all in this little ficlet. The only characters that are going to be making appearances are Mirai Trunks, Mirai Bulma and Sailor Pluto. Don't whine about any of that or I'll kick your ass.

Obligatory disclaimer: I don't own them.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO REVIEWERS: Critique, don't say 'That was cool.' I want CRITICISM. Give me something well thought out that gives me reason to think you actually read the story, instead of copying the same review for every story in the section. Let me know what you liked, and what you think the story is lacking. Make the review long and informative, or I will flame your ass. I have done it before, and I will do it again.

Now, on to the story.


Rain pattered softly against the window as what was left of the Briefs family finished dinner, a gentle reminder of the storm that had raged not half an hour ago. The room was dark, lit only by candles and flashlights. The earlier storm had knocked out the power, and the generator was broken. Bulma hadn't gotten around to fixing it yet, as there were so many things in the rest of the world in need of fixing that were more important. Shadows jumped about the room as the candles flickered, and Trunks shook off a sense of dread.

There was nothing to worry about anymore, now that the threat of the androids had been taken care of. There was no threat to him or his mother anymore, and he told himself that he was being paranoid. No one on Earth had the time or the energy to come out this far from anywhere to get him or his mother. They all had homes to repair, mouths to feed. Any crime evident anymore was petty thieving, the last chance some men had to feed their children.

But things would get better. They could rebuild now without fear of the androids destroying their cities again. They could go out in public without fear of being killed. They could live like normal people, and act like things were as they used to be. Happy. Carefree.

Trunks stood and removed his plate from the table. He scraped the few remnants of mashed potatoes into the trashcan and rinsed the plate off in the sink. He then turned to the window and stared out at the drizzle. He heard his mother rise and clean off her plate as well. She then came to stand next to him, frail, afraid, broken.

"It's been raining all day," she said. "The river was already nearly over-flowing. It's probably flooded that new little settlement."

She let out a sigh and loaded the used plates, cups and cutlery into the dishwasher. They hadn't used enough to warrant turning on the machine, however, so she just let them sit.

"As soon as the rain stops, I'll go check. Maybe I can help," he said.

She smiled at him and gave him a hug. He'd always been such a good son, always loving and obedient. He hugged her back and then went to sit back down at the table. Without saying more, he laid his head down on the table. He suddenly felt old, tired.

Before now, he'd been energetic and excited about the defeat of the androids. He'd eagerly gone to towns to help them rebuild after the devastation, and had grinned happily for the first time since Gohan had died. But now, with the wet weather and the dying excitement, he felt his energy leave him. He felt the strain of years of harsh training and battling. In a way, he was glad that it was over, but in another, he knew that it was just beginning. The battle with the androids was over, but the battle to rebuild would take years, and would be far more painful, far more strenuous. He didn't think he could take it.

* * *

He hadn't even realized that he'd fallen asleep. He had simply wanted to rest his head for a moment before he made his way back out to help the world. Now, he could tell he was dreaming, because he knew it wasn't possible to find a place like this on the earth. Black mist swirled about his ankles and obscured his view after only a few feet. Every direction looked the same, and he felt a sudden fear strike him. Despite his obscured vision, he could tell that this place went on forever, and it was giving him an inferiority complex.

Things were eased with the woman appeared. Knowing that there was another human in this strange, misty universe gave him hope that there was a way out. Still, the woman was odd, silent and cold. She wore strange clothing, as well: a short black skirt, maroon bow on her chest, tight, white bodysuit. Her long, green-black hair was half pulled back into a bun, the rest falling freely to her waist. Her dark, mahogany eyes flashed angrily. Her gloved hands held a staff.

"Do you know where you are, Saiya-jin prince?" she asked, icily.

He shook his head, no. Though, he would have liked to know where he was. That, and why he was there. And who the woman was. And what had happened to his house, to his mother. He found himself unable to speak, however, and just sat there, staring dumbly at the woman.

"You are at the Gate of Time. This is my realm, and I would advise you to heed my advice. I have brought you here that you may see the consequences of your insolence," the woman said.

"Insolence?" Trunks growled. How dare this strange woman take him away from his home and his mother to insult him. He took a step toward her, glaring.

"Stop this foolishness. You are in my realm, and while normally I could never compete with the power of a Saiya-jin, here I control your very surroundings. I control the very fabric of time, and if you wish to fight time, I can very well show you the results."

He stayed in one place, but continued to glower. Over the years, he'd learned not to underestimate an enemy when they claimed that they could do something. Someone controlling time seemed farfetched, but he wouldn't risk his life to find out, driven only by one relatively mild insult.

"Why don't you explain yourself," he said.

She smirked at him but did not say anything. He struggled to keep his anger in check. In doing so, he almost missed what happened next. A large, mirror-like object appeared in the mist, shimmering despite the lack of a noticeable light source. The woman raised the staff and said something softly that he could not hear. A flash replaced the shimmering and a scene appeared before him.

* * *

The Tanaka family was considered rich by their neighbors. This being said, they were not well liked. They were nice enough, and never went out of their way to do something bad. But the fact that they had a three-room house and could afford to eat every day drove the neighbors insane with jealousy.

They had stumbled upon this 'fortune' by pure and simple good luck. Tanaka Hiroshi, the head of the family, had known one of the higher-ups in the government at one time, and was gifted a minor job at court. It wasn't a glamorous job, by any means, but he could afford to feed his immediate family. Unfortunately, his wages didn't extend far enough to help his recently married daughter or her new family.

Kyoko, his daughter, had recently married an orphaned young man by the name of Matsui Akako. He had a job as a gardener at court, but didn't truly make enough to scrape by with a wife. Things were complicated when Kyoko had a baby, ten months after they were married.

The home they lived in could hardly be called a home. It was a one- room shack with a homemade table and two chairs, and a dingy fireplace that more often than not leaked smoke into the house. They slept on a thin mat that was rolled up each day to allow room to walk about. The walls were thin, and during the winter they could hardly keep from getting frostbite.

They were normal, compared to the girl's rich family. Now that they had a baby, they had to feed it, and keep it warm. Kyoko could no longer try to scrape up money by working odd jobs. She had to take care of the child every day. Akako started working longer hours to pay for the child's necessities. He came home tired and grumpy. He often snapped at Kyoko, blamed her for things that weren't her fault. He loved her, true, but times were so hard.

It didn't help that he spent all that time at the palace. There he saw the splendor, the waste of the royal family. There were a hundred other gardeners just like him, hired and paid so little only because the nobles knew they had no choice. So, they tended to the beautiful flowers, cleaned the marble statues and fountains. They bowed to the nobles, avoided eye contact, all the while envying the silks and finery worn by those who oppressed them. They saw constantly the hugeness of the palace, it's golden spires and lovely architecture.

It had been like this since before either could remember. The Takeshi family had taken a firm hold of the government years before they were born and had led the country down the path of destruction. The nobles enjoyed their finery, their luxuries, while the common people, the Tanakas, worked hard to eat, and while those like Akako and Kyoko couldn't even afford to feed their newborn child.

* * *

"What the hell was that all about?" Trunks demanded.

The woman glared at him, apparently displeased at the fact that he wasn't psychic. He didn't see how he was supposed to know what he had just seen. They were people, but it seemed like a movie. The poverty was far more extreme than even the results of the android attacks. And, there was no ruling tyrant Takeshi family.

"What you have seen is a direct result of your tampering with things you know nothing about," she said, calmly. She seemed to be like him, holding back extreme anger.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," he growled.

"You should never have tampered with time. When you came back more powerful, you defeated the androids too quickly. They were supposed to continue their rampage for a few more years. During that time, they were to kill a man by the name of Takeshi Mika. They didn't, because of your meddling."

"Why is that so bad?" Trunks demanded. He didn't understand why it would have been better to let the androids continue killing people.

"If you hadn't messed with times, the androids would have eventually malfunctioned. They would have become useless piles of metal in about twenty years. Then, the world would have begun rebuilding itself, and would have slowly recovered. In a thousand years, it would have become just as splendid as it was before the androids were created.

"Because of you, Takeshi Mika survived. A few generations down the line, his offspring will come into power. The family will keep control of the world and will become a tyrannical power far worse than the androids. The androids merely killed people. The Takeshi torture them, keep them half starved and savage. And it's your fault."

Trunks stared blankly at the woman. This was ridiculous! He was supposed to believe this crazy woman that she could not only see the future and control time, but that he had basically ruined human existence? He decided that he wasn't going to put up with this any longer.

"You're insane. I don't know where this place is or how you brought me here, but to imply that I ruined life as humans know it? You've got a lot of nerve..."

"You know it's true, Trunks," she said. "You knew from the beginning that messing with time wasn't something meant for mere mortals. You knew in your heart of hearts that what you were doing was wrong. Things happen for a reason. But you don't seem to believe me. Let me demonstrate."

* * *

He was feeling the same feeling he'd felt when using his time machine. Time didn't like people going the wrong way, or going to fast. They were set on their course, and weren't supposed to vary it. When they did, Time complained, though it didn't quite have the power needed to stop people and send them back. The most clever and powerful could escape Time's wrath.

He soon found himself facing a rather familiar one-room shack. Light shone through the cracks in the door, and a muted voice could be heard singing through it. Above, the stars shone brightly in the night sky, a few wispy clouds streaking the heavens. Uninvited, Trunks entered the house.

Apparently, he possessed a certain ghost-like quality, because the woman didn't notice him. He immediately recognized her as Kyoko, though. She was singing softly to a bundle in her arms. She turned to face him after a moment, though she looked right through him at the door. He turned away in horror.

Tears were running down her gaunt, hungry face. The bundle in her arms, so small, so frail was wrapped in a blanket. The small head poking out of it looked like a baby monster more than a baby human. Babies were supposed to be plump and happy. This baby, most likely dead, was somewhat misshapen, too small and skinny to be healthy. They both looked starved.

* * *

Trunks woke up at the kitchen table in a cold sweat. He looked around quickly, checking the shadowed corners. His mother had left the room, and for that he was glad. He didn't want to worry her with his silly nightmares.


Read the author's note above and pay attention to the part about reviewing.