10/29/2023 Publication Status: ACTIVE*
*As of October 10th 2023, this story is being rewritten under the title Legend & Legacy, which is currently exclusively hosted at Archive Of Our Own. I encourage you to just google "Legend & Legacy LauraNeatO" keywords, and you'll find it (since links don't work here anymore).
To promote the rewrite, I've posted the first chapter of Legend & Legacy here as Chapter 1. You'll see it's a much different introspective deep-dive, yet it covers the same overall story.
Story Summary: Goku's Humored started in 2004 and is in the process of being rewritten and updated to be to Legend & Legacy by the end of 2024.
The story is an elevated and epic retelling of Dragonball GT, mainly told through Trunks' and Pan's perspectives, in which Pan must grow and mature before her time to become the strongest Z fighter and to free her family and loved ones from evil possession.
It all stems from a twist early on in the Grand Tour, after Trunks and Pan acquire a dragonball after being forced to perform an unintentional marriage ceremony. While Goku and the team look back on it with humor, the acquisition of their mysterious rings has serious butterfly effects on events after they return to Earth and discover everyone has fallen under the mind control of Baby, the Lord of Tuffles.
Training under an unlikely mentor, Pan must rise and awaken a power within her to champion the Kais, and to avenge her family. However, doing so comes at a tremendous cost. Will this power be enough for Pan to save her friends, family, and Trunks? Or perhaps... it may also take love.
• Black Star Dragonball Saga: 1 - 34 (This will increase as Legend & Legacy's rewrite updates the chapters)
• Baby Saga - Exposition: 35 - 55
• Baby Saga - Rising: 57 - 64
• Baby Saga - Conflict & Climax: 65 - Current
Characters & perspectives you will see within this story: Goku, Trunks, Pan, Piccolo, Gohan, Goten, Vegeta, Bulma, Kibitoshin Kai, Ancient Kai, Hercule, Buu, Uub, Baby, Master Roshi, Oolong, Puar, Krillin, Dende... you name it, they're in it! The story encapsulates the DBZ/GT world with twists and turns along the way.
Story Title & Origin: The title "Goku's Humored" is a working title, destined to change to "Legend & Legacy" and its chapters will be updated with the rewrite, once the Black Star Dragon Ball saga has been rewritten.
In the meantime, or the sake of its branding and popularity, the title will remain "Goku's Humored" on Fanfiction until I update the chapters with the rewrite. The origin of this title and story dates back to a dozen-chapter vignette I had originally intended to publish which showcased the marital predicament as its main story (which is currently the status for L&L), but after the ball started rolling, I continued to develop the story out into this epic-length tale. The original publication was from 2004 - 2006, and after a 17.5 year hiatus, GH is back in action as of August 2023.
It will be updated in early 2024 with the new content. I highly suggest you *START* this story on Archive of Our Own, and just treat this story as prophesy for what is to come. To aid you, I've posted Chapter 1 of Legend & Legacy below.
One final note - Reviews are like senzu beans after a long time fighting to write. I appreciate your thoughts! Especially since I'm doing a rewrite, I am actually incorporating feedback into my updated rewrite version.
With that... enjoy CHAPTER 1 OF LEGEND & LEGACY:
A Story Worth Telling
Today was the day. Or, it would have been, back on Earth: August 15th of Age 794.
It had officially been six months since Friday, February 15th, the day then Pan pressed the stupid auto-launch button of the spaceship that hurled Trunks, Goku and Pan, into space on their quest to find the Black Star Dragon Balls…
Six months since Pan hid the spaceship's manual override key inside her bra.
Six months since Goku had refused to wrestle Pan to retrieve the override key so that they could turn the ship around.
Six months since Goku said they were already "too far from Earth" for his now-young body to instantly transmit back to Earth and just swap Pan out with Goten.
For six months, Trunks faced a daily struggle to suppress his overwhelming frustration and bitterness about Pan.
Although Trunks would certainly admit that there were a few positive feelings mixed in, he predominantly viewed Pan as a liability aboard the spaceship. Mostly, however, he viewed her as a living embodiment of the biggest opportunity cost of this trip - Goten. Goten was the reason Trunks even agreed to the trip in the first place.
This trip around the galaxy, which his mother called the "Grand Tour," was supposed to have an A-Team of at least somewhat experienced Z fighters. After all, they were on a race against time to gather and return the Dragon Balls, which had spread around the galaxy, to prevent the explosion of the Planet Earth.
Although they only had one week to rush building the spacecraft and assembling the "Grand Tour" team, the final team selection at least made sense. They decided on three roles - a dedicated fighter, a dedicated pilot, and a dedicated support. Of course at the time it seemed ideal to choose Goku as the fighting team member on board, despite his youthful appearance now, because… well… he was Goku, and there was a sense that he held some accountability since the whole reason the Dragon Balls were scattered in the first place was because of a wish that involved him.
And when it came down to choosing a pilot, it came down to three people - the first option was his mother, Bulma, who flat-out vetoed the idea, for good reason. The second option was Gohan, who had assisted Bulma with programming and installing sensors that could automatically adapt their calculus to real-time physics and astronomical readings. Gohan rejected the offer because he was still in the middle of a semester, and he was contractually obligated to finish a particular research project. He probably could have been roped into going anyway, if Trunks, the third option, had put up a fight. In fact, Gohan would have been roped into it if Trunks knew that Pan was coming… but instead, Trunks was promised that Goten would be coming if he chose to pilot the ship.
And the timing just happened to work out for Trunks to feel comfortable stepping down from his relatively-new role as president of Capsule Corporation for what he told the press would be a "one-year sabbatical."
It almost seemed like the stars had aligned for Trunks. His mom Bulma had stepped back into full leadership at Capsule Corp since she was supervising a company-wide audit. The company was in the process of taking its stock public with an IPO under the stock symbol CCORP. The initial public offering was projected to make the company over fifty trillion zeni. It was his mom's full-time dedication to try to control everything that made Trunks feel comfortable volunteering for the trip. And that's how Trunks got recruited to the team as the pilot.
The third team member - the support, was supposed to be Goten. Not just for the mental health of having his friend and both of them bonding with Goku, but also to enable the inclusion of another Saiyan on the trip who could go Super Saiyan 3 - Gotenks. Damn the Kais, Goten should have been on board!
This trip was supposed to be fun - it was supposed to be Trunks' space odyssey with Goten, the one they always would daydream about as kids.
This trip was supposed to be reconciliatory - it was supposed to be the time when Goten was finally going to bond with his father, Goku, who had been absent for most of his life. It was also supposed to be a time when Trunks was going to reconnect with Goten, whose friendship he almost lost ever since the family drama from several years back.
This trip was supposed to be about self-discovery and new direction. Goten, who despite being twenty-six years old, was still a drifter and failure to launch, and he needed something to motivate him. He lacked direction and still lived with his parents, and Trunks was hoping he could have spent some quality time with him to help Goten sort out his thoughts and feelings… And Lord of Lords, Trunks also needed that time to sort out his own issues.
This trip was supposed to help Trunks gain clarity in his life, during a crucial point. Trunks was hoping that spending much-needed time with Goten would help him sort through some important and deep thoughts.
Instead of getting Goten, though, Trunks was stuck with little Gohan's teenage daughter, whose moniker, according to his father when he spoke about her behind her back, was "Pipsqueak Pan."
Despite the fact that she turned fifteen in May, she was immature and had the same snarky and stubborn persona that she had always had since she was eight years old. She was unrestrained, unwavering, and unhinged - completely unchained - a wild child with big dreams of proving herself without actually educating herself.
Despite all her katas and power-ups from years' worth of gravity room visits, she was untrained for real battle and was unable to control her emotions while fighting. As a consequence, she was reckless; she always rushed into every single battle. She never consulted her team. She never developed strategies, and she never listened to Trunks' advice. Never, not even once!
And Goku was no help!
Goku was supposed to be the chaperone! Despite Goku's body being that of a twelve-year-old, thanks to a reckless wish on the Black Star Dragon Balls by Emperor Pilaf and his cronies, Goku's mind should have been… how old now? If he was close to his own mother's age, that would put him at what - his mid-fifties?!
So, with both Pan and adult-turned-child Goku on board, Trunks had been roped into a bait-and-switch. Instead of having his space adventure and reconnection with Goten, Trunks instead fell into the role of being a parent to two overly-energetic kids… for an entire year.
Both Goku and Pan lacked a higher education. Both of them also never formulated strategies before jumping fist-forward into challenges. And on top of everything, both of them were attention-deficit and needed help keeping their hands busy. Sometimes Trunks thought they resembled over-energetic puppies, constantly in need of a slew of balls tossed to them just to keep them out of trouble. It was frankly exhausting.
While Trunks acknowledged that he had shared some of Pan's exuberance during his own youth, his activities were always driven by a sense of humor and fun rather than recklessness. He had never endangered Goten. But both Pan and Goku lacked a sense of where to draw the line. And both of them tended to rope Trunks into doing things that he didn't want to do. And no matter how much Trunks dragged his heels, those two were not going to change.
Now, six months into the trip, Trunks had no choice but to accept the team as-is.
And Trunks was getting sick of not having any choices in his life.
Back home on Earth, everyone considered Trunks to be a respectable and enviable twenty-seven year old adult. He was publicized as a futurist tech mogul and president of Capsule Corporation. Armed with two master's degrees, in business administration and engineering, Trunks positioned himself for a smooth transition into the role at the age of twenty-six, after his grandfather passed. Not that he wanted to work at Capsule Corp, but it was his legacy and everyone else in his life had planned for him to take it over one day, ever since he was a kid.
If Trunks had had his way, Trunks would have gone back to school to receive his doctorate in software engineering and to publish research papers, similar to the direction that Gohan had decided to pursue. But, like always, Trunks never had a say in his own life.
Trunks was the pride of his family, and had to live up to a tremendous amount of… expectations. As the heir of the Saiyan Prince's legacy, his father expected him to live up to being a calculative and ruthless leader; as the heir of Capsule Corporation's legacy, his mother expected him to smoothly vertically integrate and diversify his company's portfolio to scale and provide high returns on its investments, including large dividends for its preferred shareholders while boosting the net present value of financial projections. Blah-fucking-blah-business-talk. Gods, just thinking back on it made Trunks realize all over how much he hated his job.
Despite however much Trunks had kicked and screamed at the idea of being pinned down under a mountain of paperwork and responsibility that weighed and crushed his soul every day for the rest of his life, he was cursed to live out that destiny. Could it have been worse? Yes, of course. But at least Trunks would have appreciated having a choice like his mother did. Trunks never had the ability to make his own choices. Never. Fucking. Once.
Trunks had always faced external forces that controlled his life. His job was forced upon him. This space trip was forced upon him. And these two kids that he was traveling with were forced upon him… for the past six months.
And this was the team that was going to save the Earth from blowing up in another six months…. destined for its destruction on February 7th, Age 794, which was the anniversary of Emperor-of-Nothing Pilaf's irresponsible wish upon the Black Star Dragon Balls that Trunks' ragtag team had to retrieve and return to the Earth before the deadline.
Trunks sighed, and pulled his mind back from his thoughts. He frowned at the travel coordinates that he had mapped while tapping his pencil on a notepad that made tick-tick-tick sounds as it rested on the control panel. Despite how much he wanted to actually focus on work right now, though, his thoughts ran wild and continued to spiral.
He recognized that he was brooding. He tried to do a mental exercise to pull him back from his despair, and try to think of something positive about his team, because admittedly, despite their immaturity, Trunks had to admit that they both had some good qualities too.
The first and foremost good quality about both Goku and Pan was that Trunks was never bored. Their innocence made them fairly funny. However, it might be because, true to his father Vegeta's word, Goku was also a clown, and Pan resonated with his sense of humor.
Their second good quality was that they both had a way to pull Trunks back from his dark emotions, despite how deeply he tended to brood. Trunks had always known that he had a hard time processing too many feelings at once. This was a trait that he shared with Goten, and over the course of his life, and to the anguish of many a girlfriend, Trunks connected the dots that his difficulty sorting through emotions was related to his Saiyan side. As a result of his own personality, without being able to express or vent himself, Trunks tended to build up emotions internally until he eventually exploded in a temper.
Yet, despite all of Trunks' frustrations on this trip with Goku and Pan, Trunks only lost his temper a handful of times. Regardless of his own nature, it was just impossible to stay angry at them for long. Their positive and optimistic personalities always helped to clear the turbulence in Trunks' mind. In their own way, they helped Trunks navigate and sort out his feelings, even if just giving him his space for a while. And, Gods, Trunks needed his alone time.
It was only during his alone time that Trunks could also process his learnings from their trip so far.
Since the start of their journey six months prior, Trunks, Goku and Pan had their fair share of capers and close calls. They also had had their fair share of embarrassing moments of mischief to retrieve the Dragon Balls, such as dressing as bees, coordinated dancing, and even Trunks having to pass as a female bride to seduce an enemy (and if ANYONE found out about that, Trunks would kill Pan or Goku - and he made that very clear at the time).
Among their most critically dangerous moments, the most dangerous was just three days ago - when they encountered Dr. Myuu - an evil scientific researcher who had been researching artificial intelligence on the planet M2 - the planet from which they barely escaped with their lives. It involved harrowing piloting of the spacecraft as they had to dodge a planet-sized Death Weapon - M2.
M2 had not started out as a hostile planet. It was known as a research planet, where the most advanced artificial intelligence in the universe was being developed. The entire planet of M2 was one, big computer. Every inch of it was man-made. And all of it was dedicated to scientific research.
M2 was a marvel of a planet; built by generations of androids and robots that drew upon A.I. research from all known races of the galaxy. The data and the research spanned beyond the lives of entire star systems.
And it was on this planet that Dr. Myuu researched and developed a new life form that came to be - a sentient artificial intelligent being that resembled the metal mercury. It was the birth of consciousness among artificial intelligence - a new life form; the beginning of a new species that could adapts its quicksilver form to control both minds of organic beings and also integrate into computer technology.
Its name... was Baby.
While the parasite's name was funny, the threat that Baby posed was quite serious.
The base code of the entire artificial system was originally developed by a species called the Tuffles. And the Tuffles were the enemies of the Saiyans. King Vegeta, Trunks' grandfather, had put an end to the Tuffle race when he conquered the Planet Tuffle and renamed it to Planet Vegeta. There were no more Tuffles alive, yet... Baby carried a spite and the lust for revenge. And it quickly escalated into Baby's A.I. escaping its containment and usurping the entire Planet of M2.
All of Planet M2 fell at once to Baby's possession. And Baby took over all of the weaponry controls. And all of the planet's offensive systems targeted the Saiyans - Trunks, Goku, and Pan.
The escape at the time felt like such a blur, that Trunks couldn't even remember the details. But he remembered he needed to use tricky tactics, like how he had to fake his own death at one point, and he needed to do a lot of clever coordination and some reckless spacecraft-piloting skills to escape alive and unscathed.
But he somehow was able to pilot the ship out from danger. They were safe. And it was now three days later, and they were alive.
However, regardless of feeling fairly safe now, Trunks' heartbeat had not settled yet. He knew that Baby was still out there. As a Tuffle parasite, Baby had a personal vendetta against all Saiyans, and wherever Baby traveled, its directive would continue to be driven by the thought of revenge.
Thankfully, Baby was a safe distance away from Planet Earth - about 71,000 or so light years away, give or take a star system or two. Trunks could only hope that Baby would decide to remain content staying on his own planet or his own quadrant of the galaxy.
It had only been three days since their escape from M2, and the emotional rush of their escape still felt very fresh in his memory. Goku, on the other hand, was over it as if it had never happened. That man-boy had an inexplicable ability to brush off the psychological turmoil that followed danger and trauma. Pan, likewise, was able to move on from the experience with a positive mindset; it was as if she could re-channel her emotional memory into either some kind of learning experience, or it would somehow invigorate her resolve. And, of course, being the black sheep among the group, Trunks was one to wallow in his feelings and hold grudges. At least somebody had to.
Feeling overwhelmed with a renewed sense of doom, Trunk busied himself with an attempt to observe the spaceship's trajectory readings on the main monitors of the cockpit.
Trunks sensed Goku wander in after a few moments. He could always tell it was Goku by the way he shuffled his feet as he walked. The chair to the back-right side of Trunks creaked a bit as Goku plopped onto the tan leather.
Trunks was used to this routine, now six months into the trip. There was one of two reasons why Goku was in here right now. First, he was probably hungry. Second, he was probably bored. Or third - he was both.
As if on cue, Goku's voice chimed in a small whine, "Hey Trunks, do you think we could stop by a place to eat?" Trunks could hear Goku kicking his legs against the chair, and the sound of creaking and squirming. "I'm so hungry …"
A moment passed, in which Trunks tried to shut Goku out and collect his emotions. Trunks could feel his frustration build as he sighed, "Could you give me a moment, Goku, I'm a little preoccupied."
"Okay, I'll wait." Goku leaned back and continued to kick the chair. Little finger tap-tap-taps against the armrest indicated just how patient Goku could be.
Trunks sighed as he read and noted the coordinates before pressing a button to load the next data set.
Despite Goku being utterly predictable now that Trunks had been stuck in a small confinement with him for exactly half a year, Goku was still a bit of an enigma. No matter how much Trunks thought he was getting to know Goku, there was always a bit of surprise, such as some technique he didn't realize Goku knew, or some kind of mind-blowing thought that Trunks never thought Goku could conceive. Or even that time Trunks remembered - the day Goku just showed up on Earth as a spirit form and somehow defeated Majin Buu, the most dangerous villain of all time, which even involved the Supreme Kais to help defeat. At least it kept Goku interesting.
As Trunks heard Goku rustling around in the seat behind him, his expression softened and he smiled a bit while continuing to write on his notepad.
Trunks grew up with all kinds of stories about Goku, as told from his mother and Gohan, especially. Trunks knew the same stories as Goten, and since they both admittedly had absent fathers, Trunks had always projected a fantastical view of Goku as a bit of his alternate father - or at least, the daydream of a much more ideal father than Vegeta had been to Trunks growing up.
Goku, or the fairytale thought of Goku, embodied the kinds of bedtime-story adventures Trunks wished he had growing up, like his mother Bulma before him. It was from his mother's own adventures with Goku that she had decided on her own to choose a career within Capsule Corp.
Ah, there it was… Trunks was thinking back to his job again. He always caught himself before he'd allow himself to deep-dive into those thoughts. Memories of home burdened Trunks with a mountain of emotions that almost always made him spiral. He dreaded returning home.
Trunks, unlike his mother, never had any kind of specific revelation to make him want to pursue a particular profession. He never chose his current career path, and he didn't want the job that he had. When it came to what he did for work, it all was just darkness to him, as if he were swallowed by the corporate machine. With 12-18 hour days trapped behind a desk and over 400 emails plus texts to reply to after work was over each day, all while just supervising and not actually creating anything himself - Trunks felt like he was treading water, at the risk of drowning.
There was no balance for Trunks anymore at home. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, he was making a fuck ton of money and he did not care one bit. He lacked fulfillment, and he lost his connection to the things that he did want to do. But he had been in the darkness for two years, and already he had lost his sense of wonder. In fact, he didn't even know anymore what he wanted to do.
Trunks had been primed for his Capsule Corp career journey for so long, that he lost a part of himself somewhere along the way. He didn't necessarily know what he had lost, but whatever it was, it was definitely gone. There was a void inside him that he could not describe, though it gave Trunks a new interpretation of what it meant to "feel dead inside."
Whatever was missing from Trunks' life was gone now because Trunks had never fought for it. Whatever it was, Trunks never pushed back against the current that drove him down everyone else's determined path for him. As far back as Trunks could remember, he never stood up for anything he truly wanted. He had convinced himself that he did what his mom expected of him because he wanted to make her happy. In fact, he spent all of his life trying to make other people happy.
Even within his family and closest friends, Trunks wondered what his own true feelings were. Goten was a breath of fresh air in Trunks' life because his giddy and innocent personality made Trunks feel genuinely happy inside. It was with Goten that Trunks was able to come up with plans to get them into all kinds of mischief. Goten made Trunks feel seen and appreciated for who he was, versus what he did. And, growing up, Trunks truly felt that Goten was going to be his closest friend forever.
But nowadays they weren't close anymore. Sure, life got in the way, but the true catalyst was the family drama from six years ago. Every time Trunks thought back to it, he felt a surge of anger that made the hairs on his neck stand on end.
He tried not to think about it, but now that he was thinking about it, he reflected on the memory… of when Goten had been kicked out of his final year of Orange Star University because he was caught cheating on his papers using artificial intelligence.
Trunks, who had graduated a year before Goten, had been the one to design the software from his days as a student. Trunks had originally coded it with the intention to shave time off his own student projects before he graduated. When he gifted it to Goten, Trunks had never intended for Goten to simply hand in papers with the generated text without actually touching them up first. Trunks never told him to cheat... at least... Trunks never confessed to Goten that he did.
Despite his own choices, Trunks, to this day, believed he was not guilty for Goten failing out. But that didn't stop Gohan from sitting Trunks down for three embarrassing hours of his life while he was yelled at, as if it were all his fault for "enabling" Goten, and that Trunks should have owned responsibility for watching out for his best friend. It all left a very sour taste in everyone's mouths for years, even though Goten managed to finish his credits at a different local school.
Thankfully, time had a way of healing wounds, and the Briefs and Son families had regrown their ties… mainly due to Pan, of all people.
It was Pan who made it her mission to come visit Capsule Corp every single Friday after school, without fail, for the last six years. And there was no way to prevent her from just landing in the courtyard each time.
Her parents, Gohan and Videl, made numerous attempts to engage Pan in different Friday plans. But still without fail, she remained unyielding, and would just fly over each time like it was nothing - like she had no care that anyone could look up and see a pre-teen flying through the sky. She thought an orange bandana would be enough to distract from her identity.
Trunks grinned as he worked, shaking his head.
Trunks couldn't help but acknowledge that Pan had always had chutzpah. She truly embodied a Saiyan at heart. That may have been a big reason why Vegeta let her join him in the gravity room each week. Despite the fact that Vegeta did not take her seriously and often made fun of Pan behind her back, Trunks always knew his father secretly appreciated the company. Trunks had been slacking off in recent years, and Bra preferred to go to the local gym for appearances, so Vegeta was often alone in a confined space not much bigger than the current spaceship.
Funnily enough, Pan may also have been a driving force to keep his dad accountable for working out. His dad had changed a lot in recent years, since the day Trunks' sister, Bra was born.
Bra's birth had been complicated. She was a breech baby, and her tail had strangled her during delivery. His mom had to have emergency cesarean surgery, and there were a few scary minutes when everyone thought they were going to lose the baby. That was the day Trunks witnessed his dad crying for the first time.
Since that time, his dad Vegeta had grown softer, and Trunks had seen him express his emotions more often… well, at least in his own way. And Pan going out of her way to practice with him probably made him feel seen and respected. Whatever Vegeta's reasons, he never kicked Pan out, even when she started as a punky eight-year-old.
Pan started coming over weekly right around the time of the family drama. Despite tensions between Gohan and Trunks, Gohan still fully supported Pan's desire to train with Vegeta every Friday. He supported giving Pan a healthy channel through which she could release her pent-up physical energy. He also appreciated rounding out her education, and had requested Vegeta to teach her a bit about their Saiyan heritage while she was in the room. There was a third benefit too - it provided Pan with a social outlet, since she had a hard time making friends her age.
After each training session, Pan, who was eight, would run upstairs to try to find Bra, who was seven, to practice some of her new moves. For the first few years, up until Bra was around eleven, Bra was receptive and enjoyed playing with Pan. Afterward, they'd go back to Bra's room and play with dolls and whatever else they did - Trunks had no idea, and he honestly didn't care. All Trunks knew is that when Bra was eleven or twelve, she stopped being as interested in the gravity room, and instead became more interested in exploring beauty products. Pan must have been around twelve or thirteen; that was around the time they started to grow apart. That was only a couple of years ago, really, but two years made a big difference, and in that time their paths greatly diverged.
Bra was only fourteen these days, but she had already displayed prowess in online influencing with beauty and fashion products, often recording and posting reaction videos of herself unboxing or revealing products. Trunks, who was greatly aware of Bra's Saiyan heritage and potential for even greater influence, personally thought her career choice to be somewhat pedestrian, but even he had to admit - she was making a LOT of money. Not nearly what Trunks made, but the kind of brand deals she made were only getting bigger and more influential. She was turning into a starlet.
On top of everything, Bra was also keeping up her good grades in school (though, now that Trunks thought about it, she'd have failed a few classes without Trunks' software). She was also the most popular girl in her class. So, whatever Bra wanted to do, she got her way. And she did a lot. And she had a lot of fans and followers. And her biggest fan, his dad, was wrapped around her little pinky finger.
While Trunks did not fully understand why Bra chose to become an influencer, especially considering the amount of energy it took to pretend to smile and project energy for the camera, he respected what she did. She chose her path. His parents accepted her. She made good money, and she was happy.
Pan, however, was in a completely different boat.
Pan's persona had always revolved around her strength, which these days seemed even more pronounced now that she was having her joyride space trip with Goku. Pan was so against the idea of gender stereotypes that she purposely chose to never wear makeup or anything feminine, and whenever she got nervous, she'd put on an air of bravado. She was also very animated when she spoke, often emphasizing her words with wild physical gestures.
It made no sense to Trunks how Pan did not connect the dots when she complained that boys viewed her as tomboyish. And from what Trunks had seen, her rough nature tended to intimidate kids her own age, especially those who were not used to her… enthusiastically high energy level.
As an only child, Pan was constantly around older family and friends and was comfortable gravitating to adults for conversation. Other than her short stint with Bra, Pan had never really built any solid friendships with kids her own age. In fact, she often complained about not having any friends at all. Yet, despite feeling lonely, Pan was always in good spirits and retained a huge sense of wonder. And she liked to talk. A lot.
Despite her loquacious propensity, Pan had found it hard to talk to Trunks in the first couple months, likely because of his temperament about her, and Goku could only provide so much deep conversation before he would start to daydream and start comparing everything to food. But in their third month on the trip, things changed.
That was when they encountered and befriended their latest team member on board, GIRU (Generative Intelligence Robotics Unit), whom Pan decided to aptly name "Giru."
A smile returned to Trunks' lips as he scribbled. He tried to not pay attention to the kicking of Goku's feet which now began to drum on the back of his chair with a dmm-dmm-dmm-dmm.
Giru was a little, round white robot, powered by Dr. Myuu's artificial intelligence and uncorrupted by Baby. The little metal android had a singular eye, two arms and legs, three gray fingers on each hand, and a huge heart.
To Trunks, Giru was a huge consolation prize that made all of the last six months of Dragon Ball space drama worth it. Trunks never expected to meet Giru, and he never could have anticipated what kind of profound impact Giru would have on his life when they first came across the little floating robot on the Planet Imecka. Giru represented to Trunks the exact reason why he was so fascinated with artificial - no, generative - intelligence, and Dr. Myuu's design was riddled with secrets to unlocking immense knowledge and power within the potential of a digital consciousness.
Giru was not just any little robot. His body was powered by a strange form of ki, and he had a plucky little personality with a big heart and an innocent sense of humor. Giru even displayed a rebellious side when he betrayed Dr. Myuu on M2, and he enabled Trunks, Goku and Pan to escape becoming enslaved as Saiyan lab tests for the rest of their lives.
Giru was fascinating because the artificial intelligence that powered his digital mind ran on a foreign kind of pneumatic energy that enabled him to fly and reposition himself in space like a drone, but without the need for wings - similar to how a Kinto'un cloud could float.
Beyond everything, Giru was self-learning, which made him a marvel … at least, within his programmed parameters. But something else that Trunks discovered soon after he first opened up Giru to examine his motherboard - he was modular. There was still so much room for expansion and growth, and Trunks could already see all kinds of possibilities to incorporate capsule technology and intelligence within his frame to enable an even more complex digital brain.
And above everything else, and most importantly for the crew… Giru was the dragon radar.
From a rookie mistake that Trunks made early on, the team learned that Giru, very much like Goku, was also able to eat all kinds of things.
And when Giru ate the dragon radar, he became the new dragon radar. And, in effect, he also became a throughline for the team. Love or hate him, they were stuck with him. So it was great that they all loved Giru so much… especially, Pan.
In a strange way, Trunks thought of his own family's past with the Son family when he thought of Giru. Just like Pan was the bridge that held their families together after the fallout of Goten dropping out of college, Giru was the connective soul that helped Trunks better understand and adapt to Pan being on board. Because Lord of Lords, Trunks still needed reasons to want Pan on board.
Regardless of whatever value Pan proved herself at this point, Trunks would admit that if he had a time machine, he'd have still gone back and swapped her out for Goten. Trunks needed this time with Goten. And Goten, likewise, needed this time with Goku.
The same Goku that kept pounding the back of his chair with his feet right now.
It was precisely because Goku and Goten were originally going on the trip that Trunks had acquiesced to putting his life on hold for an entire year. Because, for once he decided to stand up and fight for something he wanted.
And Pan's choice to come on board took away the one choice that Trunks ever made. It was the one thing Trunks ever really fought for. And he lost it, to Pan.
Trunks wanted a friendship bond that could overcome hardships and even separation; Trunks wanted a reconnection with his best friend. Trunks wanted to feel thrill again in his life. He wanted to feel some kind of love for anything - even if for himself, because it had been a long time since he had felt any kind of self-love. He wanted fulfillment. He wanted meaning in his life.
Money meant nothing to Trunks, since he had so much of it that there was no way to spend it. Each Friday, he took home a paycheck of over 210 million zeni, and each week the number increased because royalties and new partnerships continued to accrue. The amount of money in his bank account often sickened him because it did not even matter. But, somehow it mattered to everyone else. Somehow that number is what made magazines flock to him, and women to second-glance him everywhere he went. He hated that money. He hated his job. He hated it all.
And there was nothing that could fulfill Trunks, since it had been a long time since he had allowed himself to want something for himself. And he did not even know what he wanted anymore.
Trunks felt maybe if he dated and found a girl he liked, perhaps that could fulfill him, but there never seemed to be a good time to start dating. And he had no interest in introducing a girl into his complicated life, heritage, and to his mom.
Trunks loved his mom, but she created all kinds of complications for Trunks' dating life primarily because she was very invasive and wanted to know all the details, and impulsively would go through girls' purses and phones whenever they'd come visit to "background check" them.
And that's how he learned about his mother's perverted thoughts and sense of humor.
She put on a good public face, but behind closed doors, she had a kinky side. She said she always had that nature, even during her days traveling with Goku, who was oblivious to it.
For example, when Trunks turned eighteen, his mother gifted him with a hundred pornographic magazines in a capsule, which sprang out along with party poppers and confetti. And, of course, it was in front of the whole family. At least his little sister, who was three at the time, thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever seen in her life. Thank the Kais it was before she was an online influencer and before she understood what the gift was.
Regardless, that's when Trunks started to have issues with his mother. Ever since his eighteenth birthday, she felt much more comfortable making perverted jokes around him. So if she learned any information at all about whoever he was dating, she would utilize it for the sake of her humor, either for jokes, or just to remind people that she could find out anything if she wanted. And armed with her perverted nature, Bulma was very curious when it came to his personal life once she found out there was any romance in it.
After Trunks lost his closeness with Goten at age twenty-two, Trunks felt a bit like he lost his moral compass.
For a couple of years, Trunks felt like a drifter. He became emotionally unavailable, and in his efforts to avoid his mother finding out about his trysts, he did not treat women well. Looking back on that time, Trunks was not proud of himself or who he used to be. Though, he wasn't sure he knew exactly who he was back then, either. The emptiness inside him had already taken hold.
And then during the last couple years, it was like a lightswitch went off, and suddenly there were no women. There was nothing. Trunks instead had been swamped with work and responsibilities, and started to spiral downward into what he could only self-diagnose as severe depression with no light at the end of the tunnel.
He desperately wanted to feel fulfillment again. He wanted to know what it could be like for him to gain some kind of sense of personal purpose - to feel proud of something, or someone that he personally believed in; to feel like he made a real difference because of who he was in addition to what he did.
Trunks felt deep down that this trip could have been the key. He could have reconnected with his best friend. Maybe in the process of reconciling through their space odyssey, Trunks could have found the thing that he had lost - whatever it was that made him lose his direction.
And maybe Goten could have found something he had lost, too. Goten could have made some foundational memories with his father, Goku, who had been largely absent from his life.
The original hope was that both Trunks and Goten would have benefitted from their trip with Goku. Or… at least, they would have benefitted from the Legend Goku that Trunks had grown up envisioning. The ironic reality that struck Trunks early on in their trip was that there was a stark dichotomy between the Real Goku and the Legend Goku as Trunks soon discovered after heading out on this trip.
"Legend Goku," or the concept of Goku - was the hero of many of his mom's Dragon Ball-related bedtime stories. From how Gohan and his mom had described him, when Trunks was growing up, Goku embodied adventure and self-discovery. He also represented overcoming one's own limits through brawn and willpower. Even his mom claimed she gained her own career inspiration through Goku, saying that his determination inspired her to ideate, and build, and overcome her own challenges as she excelled in her own engineering prowess.
And it was from Trunks' own eyes that Trunks had believed in the concept of Legend Goku. Trunks witnessed first-hand how many of his mother's inventions were indeed driven by thoughts of Goku.
One big example of an invention inspired by Goku was the time machine that his future-mother Bulma had invented - the same ship that sent his future-self back in time to when Trunks was only a few months old, just to cure Goku's viral heart disease… Well, that and a lot of other things. But the way Trunks romanticized it, Goku was worth traveling through time for. It made the concept of traveling through space with the legendary concept of "Goku" almost mystical, like a once-in-a-lifetime fairytale adventure. Legend Goku enabled happy endings, and Trunks might just get the happily-ever-after that Trunks so desperately needed.
Contrary to the myth and legend, however, Trunks got a stark reality check on their trip.
The real Goku was drastically different from what Trunks had anticipated. Or rather, maybe he was exactly the same. Goku was extroverted and needed to always be doing something physical, if he was not taking a break eating. The real Goku also had no depth. His thoughts were surface-level, driven by a somehow-innocent perspective of the world, and he lacked empathy. It wasn't that he lacked sympathy … but rather, he just didn't think about how his actions would impact other peoples' feelings.
If he did, he would have listened to Trunks earlier on, when he was literally pleading with Goku to swap Pan out with Goten. But Goku had been unconvinced about Goten's need for time with him because Pan had put on such a pity face. Goku never ever thought of Goten and making up for all the lost time that Goku had been an absent father. Pan had successfully usurped Goten's spot, became a runaway truant in space, and Trunks was stuck with the aftermath.
Manipulative little… Trunks stopped himself from once again feeling bitter about how Pan had hidden the manual override key in her bra. He should have just reached in and taken it. Gods, Trunks was sure that nobody would have judged him for grabbing it back, even if it took momentary indecency… but Trunks just couldn't bring himself to do it. His mother would have reached in and taken it back. But Trunks wasn't a pervert like that. And Goku, again, was no help.
And so now, six months into the trip, this was life. Trunks was staring absentmindedly at a computer screen while twelve-year-old Goku kicked and drummed on his the chair behind him, bouncing as a living bundle of energy. It was energy that Trunks did not have.
It was eye-opening to see the real Goku as a kid acting like a kid, as if he had never actually grown up. From this trip, Trunks came to the realization that even when Goku had been an adult, Goku was still a little boy inside who got excited about challenges, food, and proving his worth. Goku was the type that would fight alongside both pirates and ninjas, regardless of whatever values they held, just for fun, and because he was driven to fight someone and test their mettle.
In fact, Goku was just as guilty as Pan for escalating all of the battles. They resonated with each other.
And yet, despite Goku's propensity to fight and use his fists, he was dreadfully inadequate at ship maintenance. This was something Trunks also quickly discovered early in the trip.
Trunks had heard somewhere - probably Gohan or Goten - that Goku had built his house with Chi Chi, and after this trip Trunks wondered just how long that process would have taken. Trunks had originally assumed that Goku's age and experience would have made him a helping hand on board. However, Trunks found that whenever he handed Goku a screwdriver, Goku was lighthearted and couldn't focus on one task - he never took anything too seriously. In Trunks' perspective, it made Goku inefficient, and Trunks spent more time double-checking Goku's work than if he just did it himself.
So, Trunks stopped handing Goku the tools. And when Pan started asking for the tools, Trunks always said no. He wasn't about to trust the spaceship to her.
But Giru … now there was a thought…
Trunks felt his heart pound a little faster at the thought of the little robot, and he began to consider how he may be able to program Giru to do some ship maintenance functions. Trunks did not yet trust Giru's piloting functions, but there might be some potential within the kitchen - perhaps heating up some dinners. Maybe even some food prep… and of course, the potential for much, much more.
As Trunks wrote down more coordinates, he realized the ink on his pen had run out. Swirling it a few times on the page, he set it aside and reached for a pen that was in his pocket. At that moment, Trunks snapped out of his thoughts and fully realized that Goku had increased the magnitude and frequency of his kicks and finger-drumming. The man-kid was finally at his limit.
"Oh gosh, Trunks… I'm starving …"
Great Gods, once Goku started complaining about food, he did not stop. The requests never went away until he was fed. If Trunks did not address this immediately, this was just going to be the beginning of an entire hour of Goku whining.
Trunks sighed and put down his pen as he turned his head to face the boy. The truth was that Trunks was tired of always being the one to make the dinners. When Trunks tried to get Pan to cook, her lack of interest in making a well-seasoned meal could be tasted within her cooking. If she had at least cooked… well, maybe there could have been a good use for her. But no, Pan refused to either cook or clean.
Well, no, that was not entirely accurate. Pan did cook a couple times per week. But her food was bland and unseasoned, and basic quick-prep from packaging. When it was Pan's turn to cook, they ended up with some kind of chemical-packed macaroni and cheese, dry stale sandwich, or a basic rice bowl.
Goku liked her cooking. Though… he'd eat just about anything, really. It helped, especially in the beginning, when they had first started out their trip realizing that nobody on board knew how to cook. Due to the rushed nature of building and launching the ship within one week of the Black Dragon Balls scattering, they only had a limited number of capsuled family meals to last them for the entire year, especially with Goku's eating habits, and so Trunks and Pan had been the ones to try to improvise with ingredients.
Trunks, of course, with the more refined palate, ended up becoming admittedly the better cook. But he also took his cooking time more seriously and took longer in the kitchen. It was a huge tax on his time, but at least he gained some pleasure that they had the chance to eat decently seasoned food on board, unlike the quick meals that Pan prepared.
"Listen, Goku, go ask Pan to make you something. This is really important," Trunks acknowledged that he was not in the best of moods, and when he brooded, he preferred to be left alone.
After a slight groan, Goku leaned forward and put his elbows on his knees, "What are you doing?"
Trunks tapped his pen on the paper he had been working on, and sighed. Goku wasn't going to go away.
Despite knowing that Goku was not about to understand anything that he was about to say, Trunks still described his current work task. It felt good to speak a bit, since he had been so caught up in his own head.
"I'm trying to calculate the parsecs to the next planet." Trunks pointed to the paper pad, "According to these readings, the Dragon Ball is supposedly located in the 495 stellar field, but if that were the case, our course would take us through a black hole."
The twelve year old scrunched his nose, "Is that a bad thing?"
Feeling slightly irked that Goku did not already know this, Trunks looked back to his pen and picked it up as he began to tap it against his wrist, "Yeah, Goku. We don't want to get caught in the gravitational pull of one of those things, so…" Trunks looked up to Goku and then back to the paper, "I have to modify our flight angle in a way so that we don't end up getting lost in space while trying to divert something that has the power to… Goku are you even listening to me?"
As Trunks predicted, Goku smiled and nodded as his eyes glazed over.
Despite Trunks' frustration, when he looked at Goku, he found the confused and lost expression on Goku's face was actually pretty funny. Trunks grinned and shook his head, turning back to his notes, acknowledging Goku had an attention span even shorter than Pan's and Goten's.
Goku blinked and then forced a grin. "Well then!" He swung his feet for a moment, and then hopped to the ground. When he spoke, his tone had a slight tone of deviousness, "You know what Trunks, I think I'll leave you to that then…"
Trunks looked up, sensing the strange shift in Goku's voice. He immediately became suspicious, remembering the last few times Goku took that tone. "Where are you going?"
"Oh… around… " Goku flicked his wrist as his eyes glinted, "Maybe the kitchen …"
It was as Trunks feared. Goku was going to start getting creative again if Trunks or Pan did not make something for him first. The first time he ever got creative, he concocted a pink slime out of mayonnaise, ketchup, and what surely must have been super glue, because all of the food became hard as a rock when it cooled, and sticky when reheated.
At the time, Pan had even thrown one of the rock-hard broccolis at Goku in disgust and accidentally impaled the dishwasher. In fact, the broccoli had been jammed in so tightly that it formed a perfect seal. So, to this day, they lived with a somewhat hilarious reminder of what would happen when Goku took over in the kitchen. At least it looked like a magnet.
Despite feeling mildly alleviated by the funny memory, Trunks turned to Goku and pointed his pen at Goku with feigned menace, "You aren't allowed in the kitchen by yourself, you know that, Goku."
"I know, I know…" Goku forced another grin, his eyebrows frowning in desperation, "But I'm so hungry …" Goku looked down, "I don't know if I've ever been this hungry before…"
"Fine," Trunks sighed as he resigned himself to his usual fate. "I'll finish up soon," Trunks nodded absently to Goku as he kept his eyes on the monitor. "Just get a snack or something, and I'll be there soon."
"Sure thing!" Goku grinned innocently and sped down the hall.
Then there was a glorious moment of silence. Trunks could finally go back to reviewing the flight path, without all the kicking, and try to chart an alternate course to the next Dragon Ball.
The silence was short-lived. It was broken by the sound of computerized bleeps that came from the other side of the cockpit door. There was a soft whoosh of the door's pneumatic system as it opened, and then a similar sound of wind as it closed.
Trunks knew it could only be one person.
Trunks turned his head to see Pan settle into her seat to the back left of him. Giru floated gleefully around her, emitting contented bleeps and buzzes as she played with him in the air. Pan cooed to Giru, gesturing for him to come sit on her lap. The little generative robot blooped, bibbled and beeped quietly as he wiggled on her lap, counting Pan's fingers as she counted his.
It was actually quite heartwarming to see Pan bonding so closely with Giru. However, as Trunks looked at her, another wave of frustration welled up in his mind.
For this mostly-silent moment, Trunks turned back to his notes and just focused on his trajectory map. Trunks knew that Pan, just like Goku, was in here because she was also either hungry or bored. And knowing how Pan just let Goku run off to the kitchen, Trunks made an educated guess it was the latter reason.
"So…" Pan started. Trunks heard Pan shift in her seat, and could feel her eyes on him as he tried to shut her out from his mind, "What ya workin' on?"
Trunks sighed and stopped his pen as he tried to keep his eyebrow from twitching.
Breaking the silence again, Pan musically teased, "Was it just me, or did I see Grandpa go into the kitchen?"
It really was more a statement than a question. It was an obvious trigger for a conversation. But Trunks was not sure he was in a good enough mental state yet to deal with Pan.
There was more awkward pause as Trunks glared at his pen, trying to think of home, and how he'd much rather have to endure a day of training than sit next to Pan and have to deal with her right now.
"Are you still mad at me?"
Holding back all of his emotions, Trunks looked to her and once again relived his angst and flashbacks from their harrowing escape from M2. He said as flatly as he could manage, "Yes."
Pan sighed and knocked her knees together as she looked down at her hands, "I'm sorry."
Trunks huffed in response, as if to emphasize his words. "Sorry doesn't cut it, Pan." Trunks was pointed and curt, "You almost got us killed back there."
More like us killed, and then the rest of Earth killed… Trunks greatly wanted to scold her further, but he held in his negative thoughts. Pan did not react well to being lectured.
"I said I'm sorry! What more can I do?"
Trunks looked at her for a moment, and then took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. He could feel his right hand squeeze his pen as he observed her face. He could feel all the rage swimming inside him, crashing like strong waves he often had to surf.
But then he saw her face. And he saw her eyes. Oh Gods, it was the pleading eyes. Fuckkk.
They were the same eyes that convinced Goku to decide to not send her home. And… she was good. She was really good at using them to tear at Trunks' heartstrings and confuse his feelings about her presence on the ship. And the worst part is that she barely even had to try.
Pan's soft and vulnerable expression exhumed the innocence and sweetness from Goku and Gohan's Son side of the family for sure… but in those same devilish eyes, Trunks also saw a little bit of her Satan side too.
This expression of hers raised a few alarm bells in the back of Trunks' mind, and his thoughts traveled to another recent realization of his - Trunks had recently been experiencing a mysterious emotion that had been nagging at him, and growing stronger lately.
The feeling started several months ago, around the time Pan turned fifteen years old in what would have been late May on Earth. At the time, it was more of a gut feeling inside him, and he couldn't place it, or understand what it was. But whatever he was feeling… when Pan looked at him like this, Trunks could feel a heightened thump of his heartbeat, and no matter how much anguish he was drowning in, his frustration would slowly ebb and drain at her expression and demeanor.
It was almost as if she had some kind of hidden superpower to sway hearts and feelings. Or at least, Pan had been having that effect on Trunks lately.
Before, when Pan first came on the trip, it was easier to hold a grudge against the girl because she never wanted any kind of forgiveness and refused to apologize for her behavior. It had been almost beneath her to apologize, so she refuted accountability as if she had never, ever, done anything wrong. She also tried to take more credit than was due, likely due to her insecurity issues about being a pipsqueak... (Trunks and his dad still used her moniker as an inside joke, to this day).
But as she got more comfortable with fighting in the first few months of the trip, and as it finally dawned on her that she actually was responsible for some of the follies that she got Trunks and Goku into, it was as if the new word "sorry" had suddenly entered her vernacular and body language. And then suddenly, it was harder for Trunks to maintain spite against her.
It meant that Trunks couldn't wallow in his mental tempests for long.
It also meant that Trunks was adapting to her, finally. In a strange way, she started to grow on him.
Trunks realized he had been staring at her while his mind had wandered, and the entire time, Pan had emphasized her puppy eyes even more, to the point where it was very exaggerated, and very clear that she was putting on a show to try to get back into Trunks' good graces. So much for an authentic apology. Trunks was able to read her by now.
He looked to his right hand and then back to her. "Yeah, it's alright."
Pan's face brightened a bit as she leaned forward, "So I don't owe you any favors?"
Pfft, favors. Trunks smirked as he tried to imagine anything that Pan could do as a favor. He turned back to the monitor and then looked out to space as he clicked his pen twice. "Just don't beg us to go to any more planets with anything like Baby, and I'll be fine."
There was a moment of peace and quiet that passed between them as they both looked up to the stars through the round windshield.
Trunks felt a hand suddenly touch his arm, and he looked down in more surprise than shock. It was unusual for Pan to touch him, and he felt a slight wave of uneasiness pass through him as he instinctively wanted to draw his arm away. He never let anyone touch him, less likely Pan.
The frustrations threatened to swell within him again. She'd better have a good reason for this.
"I just wanted to let you know…" Pan looked to him with a slight smile, "That… well…" Her hand shook his arm confidently for a moment before she brought it back, "That it was also your fault, and that you owe me an apology too."
Oh Gods, here it was. The teenage drama. She always did this shit! As Trunks suspected, the whole "sorry" apology thing was just a ploy, as usual.
Trunks glowered as all amiable feelings were suddenly sucked from his mood, "Ex-cuse me! Me?! Owe you an apology? "
Pan frowned and knotted her eyebrows, "What did you think you were pulling, trying to fake that you were in that carbonite block!"
Pan was referring to a diversion tactic that Trunks had used to trick their enemies into believing Trunks was dead, so that he could strategize a tactical attack on M2. Trunks had already explained his reasons behind his actions… but Pan kept bringing it up over the past few days; she was having a hard time getting over it.
Trunks' frustrations flared again.
"I told you before, I was trying to discover Dr. Myuu's plans. I was working undercover, Pan." Trunks gestured to her with his pen, "And what did you do?"
"I was trying to save you!" Pan stood up and crossed her arms, "But you tricked me. I still don't like that you faked being captured the whole time! It wasn't fair!"
"We went over this before, Pan. The enemy had to believe that I was their captive." Trunks' eyebrows lowered as he glared into her eyes, "Would you rather I had been actually captured? Would you rather have had me splinter into a thousand pieces like that?"
"You! You..! " Pan's eyes went wide as she recalled her memory. There was a moment - a serious moment when she had actually believed Trunks had died. And then there was a noticeable shift in her countenance as her expression shifted from irritation to a more reflective and troubled demeanor.
Pan slumped back into her chair as she began to sniffle, "No…"
And now the waterworks started. More teenage drama.
Trunks sighed and frowned, as he felt an involuntary pang in his gut. He wondered how such a moment of weakness for Pan could also somehow rub off on him. Whenever she cried, she weakened his resolve.
Growing up, when Trunks had been an only child, tears were castigated in his household. His father held a stout position that tears symbolized weakness in the face of a challenge. If Trunks did allow himself to shed a tear, it was only in front of his mother, who then blew everything out of proportion as she'd try to step in and intervene with whatever upset Trunks. Quickly learning that his mother lived her life through him, Trunks stopped telling her the details that upset him. Instead, Trunks tried to save some of those details for his conversations with Goten.
Despite being able to talk to Goten about anything, Goten was actually a pretty inadequate outlet to whom Trunks could express his feelings. Similar to how Trunks often dealt with a tangle of emotions, Goten had his own tempest of feelings he similarly could not work through. And on top of that, very much like Goku, as Trunks learned, Goten lacked a sense of empathy.
Not to say Goten wasn't a good guy - he just never was good at understanding other peoples' feelings… which is probably why he became such a serial dater. He had no idea how many hearts he was breaking when he flirted with his gregarious personality and attractive nature. Girls who had seen many images of Goten associated with Trunks on social media, all targeted him, and he always gave them a great time out. But with so many pretty faces all pursuing him, and Chi Chi swatting them all away from visiting her house, where Goten still lived, Goten never thought to commit, and would ghost previous girls he had seen, right as the next ones would reach out to him. It ended up becoming a constant stream of dating. The impact of his actions, unfortunately, was that he became well-regarded as a philanderer, despite the fact that Trunks knew Goten's motivations should have disqualified him from that title. Trunks knew all of it was driven by Goten's innocence.
But he wasn't about to start defending Goten at this time of his life. Goten should have figured out empathy by now. Maybe if Goten had come on the trip instead of Pan, Trunks could have been a great resource for Goten. Trunks was old enough and experienced enough to at least try to word that kind of advice to Goten once his friend was ready to receive it.
But alas, Pan was on the trip, with her tears and puppy eyes and audacious personality. Trunks had long come to accept this fact.
Pan continued to cry, and Trunks had to do something about it.
Putting down his pen, he stood up and faced her. He kneeled into the seat of his chair, still facing her. He propped his elbows on the back of the chair and held his face up with his hands, observing her. He tried to project an encouraging tone. "Don't cry, Pan. I didn't mean to upset you like that."
"You… -sniff- you…" Pan tried to control her breathing as she looked down to her knees, "You could have died…"
Trunks sighed and hung his head, bringing his hands to forehead, quelling the frustration, "Pan! Why do you think I'm so angry with you?"
"You're… you're still angry…?"
"No! I mean, yes, I mean, I was …" Trunks sighed again and slumped his shoulders as he brought his hands down, "Pan…"
A sudden crash reverberated through the whole ship. The sound of plates clashing in the kitchen caused Trunks to jerk his head up to the sound.
"Oh no! GOKU!" Trunks stood up quickly and marched toward the door, "I knew he was going to do something like this."
Giru immediately reacted to Trunks' sudden movements, and started quietly chirping and repeating the word "danger" to Pan, as if he were trying to whisper a warning to her.
"Trunks, you don't even know what he did."
"Oh I know." Trunks rolled up his sleeve and shook his head in disappointment, "Trust me, I know what he did." He began to march out of the cockpit.
Pan sat up and twisted to frown, "Trunks, go easy on him!"
Trunks snorted and walked out to the hallway, hearing Pan get up to try to follow him before his steps echoed in the corridor. When he reached the kitchen, he stopped and took a deep breath, to prepare himself for the sight. There was no way it could be as bad as last time, right?
As he opened the door, he could feel a desperate groan leave him as his eyes took in the kitchen table. The formerly-white surface was covered in green-colored globs of something, and he didn't even want to know what it was.
"Oh noooooooo…" Trunks looked to the counter to see an equally large portion of the green gelatin substance. He hung his head and put his hand to his forehead, "Goku, I said to make a snack! What the hell have you been doing in here?!"
Goku turned around, wearing a green apron and a top hat. "Trunks! You're just in time to taste it!"
"Taste it!" Trunks' eyes widened, "Taste what?"
"It's greens!" Goku wandered over to him with a tray of the green globs, "I made it with all natural veggies... I have celery… and I have green beans and um… olives… and… mint sauce… and…"
Trunks' face turned purple as Goku started naming out the lists of "greens" he decided to put in the masterpiece.
"Goku…" Trunks tried to cut him off by waving his right hand, hoping his stomach wouldn't reel from the list of ingredients Goku named, "Were you seriously going to eat this!"
"Oh no!" Goku shook his head, "I already ate. This was for you."
"Oh god…" Trunks' eyes widened as his stomach threatened to gag.
"Here, try some." Goku held out the tray to Trunks, "I call it the Myuu Too."
Trunks backed away, "Goku… I'm not hungry…"
"Try some!" Goku took a few steps closer.
"I'm really not hungry…" Trunks backed up against the wall.
"I'm rea-MMmmrm!" Trunks' eyes shot as wide as they could get as Goku shot up and stuffed a spoon into his mouth.
Trunks could feel his eyes welling up with tears as he forced it down his throat, for humility's sake. He tried to think of happier places, even sitting in the cockpit with Pan…
For a moment, the world threatened to turn black on him as he tried to stabilize himself against the wall. He could feel himself choke out in a desperate voice, "I'm dying… I'm dying!"
"Oh stop acting like such a primadonna!" Pan put her hands on her hips and grinned at Trunks.
"Pan…" Trunks clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth as he tried to disregard the taste, "Pan… you didn't have to swallow that…"
"There's more from where that came from!" Goku dug the spoon into more of the green glob.
"NO!" Trunks pushed him away, "Goku, you need to clean up this kitchen right now." Once again, Trunks had to be the goddamned adult in the room.
"But you're not finished ye–"
"–I tried your invention. Now clean up," Trunks stomped his foot, "Now Goku."
"Aww, but Trunks…"
Trunks put a finger up to point at Goku, "And you are never allowed to invent food again. Got it?"
"But, you liked what I invented yesterday."
Trunks closed his eyes and felt his temple throb as he recalled what Goku had made the day prior. "Goku, that was a cheeseburger. You invented the pickles that went on it, and Pan was the one who actually cooked it."
Pan snorted from laughter in the corner.
Trunks spun on a dime and pointed to Pan, with a stern face and wild eyes. He barked, "I'm not talking to you! Unless you'd like to help him clean up? "
Pan coughed a bit and looked away, suddenly stricken with a serious face.
Trunks looked between the two of them for a moment, feeling a surge of anger suddenly kindle into a raging fire inside him. And, then, the thing happened again - the more he looked at Goku and Pan, he felt his anger subside, because it was impossible to stay angry with these goons.
Six months into the trip, and Trunks needed a break from it all.
He had genuinely hoped that this trip could have been a transformative learning experience for him, or at the very end he could have walked away from it with some kind of moral lesson to take away for himself.
Sadly, his life was not bound to become some kind of fairytale. If he actually were happy by the end of all of this - well… that'd be quite a story worth telling.
A/N: Chapter 2+ are original to Goku's Humored for the time being. To read Ch 2+ of Legend & Legacy, check it out on Archive of Our Own.