Disclaimer: Dragonball Z is owned by Akira Toriyama, Bird Studios, and TOEI.
Happily ever after never happened for Future Trunks.
Timeframe: Mirai Trunks' timeline. Two years after Mirai Trunks defeats Cell.
Rating: PG-13 - language, violence, blood, darkish, the whole deal.
Focus: Mirai Trunks, Mirai Bulma
Category: Gen, angst-ish, character study
In Retrospect: "Five" and "nine" in Japanese are "go" and "ku," which is why Gokuu sometimes wore a jacket with "59"on the sleeve. "Gojuuku" translates into fifty-nine; and "jaa ne" translates to "goodbye." Sorry about the misleading title; this isn't a song fic.
January 15, 2004 - February 6, 2004
by Silver Galaxy
Today he had stared failure in the eye and refused to back down. Blood dripped from a horrific amount of wounds, most of them superficial, the other few too deep for comfort. Visible scars, he knew, would be few; as such, the ones that would never completely fade would be large and eye-catching--the perfect reminder of the battle he nearly lost.
He stepped into the shower, numb to the pain the near-scolding water ushered as it stormed against his battered body. The cuts, burns, and gashes needed the dust and dirt washed out; he knew of no easier way to do it. His eyes dragged shut as he leaned against the wall; he allowed the steady stream of water pound into the worst of his injuries, pressuring out grime and blood alike. The smell of diluted blood besieged his olfactory perception: he stifled the urge to dry heave.
His head swam, although he knew not the particular reason why. Hunger pained his stomach, although the thought of food was less than appetizing at the moment; too much blood had fled his veins--still was fleeing--or so his lowered body temperature indicated; the very smell of blood presently nauseated him; exhaustion and the tail end of an adrenaline rush weighed his body down; and, finally, he was fresh out of ki. Trunks chose to blame the one cause that wasn't on the list: the utterly consuming fear of failure and the overwhelming relief that came with victory.
With no one to fall back on, no one to fix his mistakes, living to fight another day was what should have mattered. Even in this era of peace he had supposedly ushered for his world, living to fight another day was all that mattered. With peace came the misconception of finality--a misconception that had ultimately instigated the end of what had once been an implicitly invincible team. He would not make the same mistake: he would not allow himself to become lazy, nor would he allow his guard down. All it would take to destroy his world was one mistake--one bad day, one sloppy punch, one ill-conceived strategy. Such was the pressure of being the sole hope for a devastated world at its most vulnerable.
His mother both understood and disagreed. She thought he deserved a reprieve, a break after a lifetime spent fighting. What she held silent but was evident to Trunks was how he frightened her. Oh, how he frightened her. She saw what he was becoming; she had beheld what he could become. She had watched his eyes become black as he'd pushed himself as far as could go, witnessed just how much muscle could be packed onto his five-foot-seven frame. In the moment that he had reached Super Saiyajin Two, he had felt her panic, her uncertainty. What had her son become? A Saiyajin warrior for his late father to take the utmost pride in, but nowhere near the type of human being his mother could be proud to call her own. She wanted him to stop becoming.
She had sent her seventeen-year-old son to change the future and had been returned a twenty-one year old battle-hardened Saiyajin. As much as Trunks thought it impossible, he had left his world with an air of innocence and had failed to return with that innocence intact. He had lost virtues that mothers never failed to notice the absence of, had arrived at haunting realizations that reflected in his eyes, and had begun to substitute emotion for power. It was the only way.
His mother still did not know of his death, of how easy it had been for Cell to kill him dead, of how close this world came to having no one other than the Androids and Cell. She hadn't been there to witness his growth from a teenager who had openly shown emotion to a young adult who could no longer weep. She could no longer relate to him as she could no longer understand him. The fault belonged to no one.
Today, however, the fault solely belonged to his mother. Perhaps a bit of blame could be nudged upon his shoulders; he had misjudged the weight his words, mistakenly believed that his instincts and warnings carried legitimacy in the eyes of his mother. They did not. If they had, Bulma would never have stepped foot into the recently discovered laboratory of a very late one Doctor Gero. Bulma would never have released the depraved android that had sapped him of his ki, ripped into his body, and nearly killed him.
What was ironic--or perhaps pathetic was a better choice of wording--was that he lived for the desperate fights, the adrenaline, the pain. He'd dedicated his entire life to the cause left behind by the team; and just like his father, he was unable to turn the warrior inside himself off. He would purposely make his mother feel guilty, politely chew her out for what she had done, and he would deny that the battle was what he lived for.
The protective blanket of numbness was wearing off; the scolding water, while not nearly hot enough to damage his Saiyajin-enhanced skin, was beginning to light his raw nerve endings afire. Hardly considering his actions and not remembering performing the act afterwards, Trunks turned the water off. He dazedly watched as the blood forming on the shower's floor gradually changed from a diluted, dull red into a rich, dark shade of crimson. Philosophical melodramatics filled his thoughts.
Of all the six residents currently residing at Capsule Corporation, Chichi was the only one still unable to get the English word--his name--out of her mouth without half-translating it. Although still owning her Paozu home, she lived at Capsule Corporation for the sole reason of her self-renounced fear of being alone. As long as she left him alone, though, Trunks did not mind her continued presence. But even that was too much to ask for: while she rarely spoke to him, he could feel her eyes on him at every possible opportunity.
There was an deranged jealousy within her, one on the same level as his own maniacal incentive to protect. Perhaps she blamed him for Gohan's death, or perhance she thought that he should have died simply because Gohan had died. Possibly, she stared at him because he was her last outside tie to her only son, a son she lost to the Androids long before his death. More than that, perhaps--and this most likely extended to Muten Roshii, Oolong, Puar, and his mother as well--he was the final glimpse of the team she--and they--had so cherished. Even then, he wasn't much to look at, at least not for them.
He was second generation, lacking the spirit and the light-heartedness that had made the team special, or so said his mother. Roshii personally believed that a true warrior fought not for the world but for the fight; for Trunks, the world took precedence over everything else, including the fight. He knew not if Roshii still believed in his definition of a true warrior; Trunks cared even less. He wasn't their team, their Gokuu version two point oh. He was Vejita's legacy; try as they might to forget, they damned well knew it.
Trunks swiped a lone fluffy blue towel from the curtain rail, wrapped it around his waist, and hoped it would curtail the blood streaming from the deep slashes on his back. Very much aware and uncaring of the bloody footprints left in his wake, he painfully made his way to his bedroom.
His mother had set several bottles of vicodin and antibiotics on his bed. She did not know anymore than he did what the safe usage would be for a half-Saiyajin, half-human hybrid with as much power as he; however, he was familiar with his limits and the decision rest upon his shoulders. Ritual, however, dictated that she would treat his wounds; Trunks suspected that this would never change. Trunks also suspected that he would forget to take any of it.
Trunks' thoughts did not consist of the same politeness that, fortunately for Chichi, he so graciously outwardly displayed.
His reply was intended to carry down a floor. Trunks doubted Chichi could have heard his broken rasp if she had been standing outside his bedroom door.
Half-tempted to fall atop his bed and allow his heavy eyelids to close, yet very much aware of the consequences of such a moronic idea, Trunks sluggishly gathered a pair of briefs, socks, and baggy dark sweatpants and dawned each article of clothing. With more speed than he realized he possessed at the moment, he had the towel off the ground and haphazardly bunched around his naked abdomen.
With all the warning of one of his own emotional outbursts--which never warranted much warning, even Trunks would admit--a wave of vertigo slammed into him, darkening his vision with fuzzy spots and agitating his balance. He stumbled backwards, realizing only a moment before it happened that his back was going to very painfully clash with the wall. Fortunately for Bulma, Trunks had long since ceased kissing her; as such, she had no need to concern herself with the filthy words that tore from her son's throat at that particular moment.
Trembling, Trunks closed his eyes and calmed himself. For years, raw determination had been his one constant, the one thing that drove him to beat the odds and survive time and time again. It had won him today's battle, and it would not dispel into hiatus until he fell into an all-out Saiyajin slumber.
Unadulterated annoyance flushed through Trunks; why couldn't she just leave him be? Didn't she realize... It wasn't any of her business to begin with... Not that it mattered.
She would not have been able to hear his words had she been standing two feet away.
Humor was not entirely lost on him. He found many things humorous--some because they were intended to be as such; others, simply because he was bitter, jaded, and most likely in need of therapy. Oft times, the mere fact that something was intended to be humorous and was found to be humorous was not enough reason for him to crack a smile or to laugh.
He had seen too much in his lifetime--a lifetime which was not even the span of a lifetime. Twenty-three years, to be exact, was his definition of a lifetime thus far, although he was technically twenty-five years old due to his time spent in the mystical Room of Spirit and Time. Genocide; mutilation; the death of, for all intents and purposes, his brother; his own death... He had seen everything there was to be seen in the world, both horribly bad and overwhelmingly good. Was there a reason to be openly happy?
Optimistically, he should have already taken what remained of his life and begun to really, truly live it. Live it for himself, not for revenge or for the victims of a world gone unimaginably wrong, which was much more easier said than actually done. For starters, he had no one to pick up his slack. Quite literally, when he fought it was all or nothing, a sudden death game for the fate of the earth. Try as he might, he couldn't consciously relax and enjoy his life when he knew that the earth may one day need his unique Saiyajin power and stamina again. It just wasn't something that he knew how to do. Smiling and laughing on a regular basis, unfortunately, fell into the same category.
While the aged movie on the Comedy Network was funny, and he knew it was funny, his breakfast had little to no chance of being spewed back out in favor of an overbearing laugh. Which was a shame. Really.
The faces of Chirisuju Tofueruge and Michankusu Shaeri, two brand spanking new movie stars, filled a commercial for a new comedy movie opening on Friday. A hint of pride swelled within Trunks. The world was free to do whatever the people residing on it so chose. The people... Trunks was proud of the people, for they had taken charge of their lives and futures: rebuilding day and night, repopulating to their hearts' content, reforming businesses and industries, bringing the world back from the brink of desolation. He was proud of them for taking the reigns out of his hands and doing it for themselves. And, of course, his mother was quite proud that Capsule Corporation was still the powerhouse of industry in the world, although her company's resources were now solely focused upon reconstruction instead of profit.
Speaking of his mother... When he had returned home from taking the weight of Doctor Gero's recently uncovered underground laboratory number two--the bastard--off the local police force's shoulders, his mother hadn't been home. Breakfast had been left to remain warm in the oven and an oddly unconvincing note had been stuck to the oven's door to explain that she had gone out for groceries.
Her excuse was reasonable enough. They were nearly out of food in a house of five humans and one half-Saiyajin. Yes, food was surely needed. Cut and dry, right? Sure, if something just didn't feel...wrong. His instincts were telling him that something was up, or would be up, and his instincts had seldom failed him over the years. His instincts said "run," he ran, and it ended up being a good thing that he had ran. That was cut and dry for Trunks.
Static and white noise horizontally slid over the television screen, the picture twisting and blurring out of focus. Outside he could hear the wind unnaturally pick up, the leaves on the trees rustle. He felt a ki, strong but not strong enough, definitely dark and originating in a place only nightmares sprang from.
Cut and dry.
In one second flat he blinked out of the living room and into his bedroom, shoving shoes onto his feet and acquiring his sword purely out of habit. And then he was out the window, long gone before the shattered glass reached the ground.
Had he been even partly coherent, or had he had the slightest amount of energy left, Trunks would have been concerned. His mother refused to meet his eyes, all but ignored him until she was ready to attempt to treat his injuries. Not only was her evasion a cause for undue stress, but he could easily tell that she was having difficulties.
This was a stupid ritual. Years earlier, his mother would have had a reason to treat battle wounds: no one else would do it. West Capital--Capsule Corporation included--had been devastated by the Androids. As such, there had been an overall lack of medical doctors left in the area. But, now, West Capital, although nowhere near its previous size, was rebuilt and bustling with life. Doctors, despite their lack of knowledge of and experience with Saiyajin, were well on hand.
"Trunks, can you feel that?"
His mind lagged behind the events occurring around him. In truth, Trunks had absolutely no idea what his mother was talking about. Could he feel what? He hadn't the faintest clue, nor did he have the faintest predilection to respond.
"Trunks? Okay, Trunks, I want you to tell me when it hurts. If it hurts. Okay?"
He felt cold, which was strange in and of itself. He could feel the coolness of his mother's stainless steal lab table, but feeling the temperature of an object and being cold because of it were two entirely different concepts. Saiyajin did not become cold due to contact with moderately cool objects.
Trunks could sense his mother's apprehension, her nervousness, her guilt. But he was unable to sense where the first two emotions were coming from and why she was feeling them.
"You've lost a lot of blood. Even for a Saiyajin."
It was a bit comforting (or maybe it was disconcerting; he couldn't be sure) to know that his Saiyajin heritage couldn't account for everything. He already knew that Saiyajin could drown, and, apparently, they could bleed to death. What he didn't know was why he was still thinking of the Saiyajin race as if he weren't the only one still drawing breath.
Laying on his mother's lab table, he felt as though he were one of her mechanical playthings. Melodramatically more than philosophically, simply because that's where his overtired mind was taking him, he was a machine. A killing machine, but not an Android. He was type that killed that which needed to be killed. It was his purpose, had been since his birth. He had done a lot of killing in his time; when he wasn't killing, he was training to kill. A shame, it really was, that his hair and eyes ruined the otherwise perfect Saiyajin persona he had going on.
Buzzing around the very edge of his consciousness were the sounds of water running and of an object being thrown away. There was warmth around his chest and abdomen, although he knew not what it could be. Again, however, if he could have been bothered with concern, he would have been worried over the complete lack of warmth in the rest of his body.
Gnawing at his mind was a presence and the repetition of motions that surely he couldn't have missed before now. There was a soft feminine voice, barely audible even to his enhanced Saiyajin hearing. Concentrating, forcing himself to care about what was happening, he mentally put the puzzle together. His mom was stroking his hair and talking. She was apologizing. Over and over again, she was apologizing. He could smell her tears over the suffocating stench of his dried blood.
Trunks was drawn back to a time when he was still his mother's baby boy, when being loved and loving was simple. To a time when there was an unbreakable trust, an understanding between them. He remembered when she didn't fear his inherent nature, when she didn't fear the day when he lost control and used his power against the world he'd dedicated his life to safeguarding. He remembered when his mother would never have mistaken him for Vejita and when she wholly trusted him. He remembered when he trusted her to never take advantage of his sedated state and go behind his back to the laboratory, when her promises meant sincerity.
That time was regrettably over.
It had been a sure win for him. This android, Gojuukugou, designed and named after Son Gokuu, had been built with just enough power to have been able to defeat Gokuu just after he returned from Namek, Super Saiyajin abilities not included. Trunks was steadily working his way towards Super Saiyajin Three, if there was such a level. On paper, Gojuukugou hadn't a chance whatsoever of even landing a lucky punch on Trunks.
Trunks hadn't begun the fight with the customary "warm up," which translated into "testing the waters." He had gone straight in, taken Gojuukugou head on, and had proved to be absolutely relentless. As for the android, it was mute--either by choice or by design, Trunks didn't know nor did he particularly care. It showed no sign of having a capacity for higher independent thinking. It fought back the best it could against a Super Saiyajin Two, which, unfortunately for it, just wasn't good enough. As far as Trunks was concerned, the piece of trash had no right to look like Gokuu, much less have such a man as a namesake.
Ten minutes into the "fight," if it could be called such a thing, and the android appeared as if it were floored. It laid on the ground on its back, unmoving. Craters littered the once level ground, and shallow trenches had been dug into the ground by the android's body. The land looked just as it should when a Saiyajin was playing.
A part of Trunks was sorely disappointed by the lack of challenge. A fight was invigorating and a welcome change in his mundane life. That, and he had looked forward to the chance to give Super Saiyajin Two a run. Another part of Trunks was joyous that this opponent had turned out to be nothing more than a bad joke. Afterall, a bad joke had not the ability to kill.
Honestly, the part of him that wanted an impossible challenge to impossibly beat disgusted Trunks. He had seen what the Saiyajin need for a fight lead to: dumbass decisions and an impossibly impossible challenge that got so many people needlessly killed. An adrenaline rush wasn't worth lives.
Trunks narrowed his eyes and raised his right hand, fully prepared to blow the android's head off at point blank range. He nearly felt guilty: the android never stood a chance. But that hadn't stopped Juuhachigou and Juunanagou, it wouldn't stop Gojuukugou, and it sure as hell wasn't going to stop Trunks.
Trunks released the equivalent of a small nuclear bomb out of the palm of his hand, completely engulfing the android. He had planned to wait until the smoke cleared to leave, just to be sure. The only problem was that there was no smoke. Trunks watched, his expression transforming from smugly disgusted to emotionlessly blank. His blast had been absorbed and a great aid to the smirking android.
The only warning given to Trunks was the slight shift of air, and that warning came just as the android shot forward, seizing Trunks' wrist in a vice-like hold. Trunks scowled, tried for a bone-crushing punch, but found that his target was suddenly behind him. Trunks was given no time to turn, to retaliate before the android's hidden blades popped out from his knuckles, became alit with ki, and deeply embedded in and dragged across the right side of Trunks' back.
If Vejita had taught him one lesson, it was pride. As such, the android would never have the satisfaction of hearing him scream. Not even when the piece of trash had him locked in a full nelson and was leisurely sapping his ki from his body would he scream. He wouldn't scream even when he felt that he was becoming less and less capable of saving himself as the seconds flickered by. Super Saiyajin Two became impossible to maintain, with his grasp on Super Saiyajin One slipping away seconds later.
It clicked in his mind: this was it. This was the day he was going to die. Years of training, years of struggling, years of defending this world rendered insignificant in as little as sixty seconds. He had single-handedly desecrated every battle fought for the sake of the world. In Trunks' eyes, it was bitterly, laugh out loud funny. He never would have guessed that Gokuu, or a crappy rendition thereof, would kill him.
And then he was alone, falling to the ground and in no capacity to pad his collision with either ki or an arm. He sensed his own power signature lackadaisically flying towards West Capital; the bastard was in no hurry. Trunks' only coherent thoughts were that of "big shit" and an oh so polite "holy fuck."
How had this happened?
Now, he supposed, was the time when the ghost of the real Gokuu, Gohan, or perhaps even his father came for the pep talk. If so, he would tell whichever one of them to shut up. Giving up wasn't giving up when there was nothing left to give. End of story. He'd made a good run, survived twenty-three years of hell, and even managed to make at least one world a better place. He gave countless individuals futures, gave Gokuu's second son a chance at life, and saved his past self a world of pain. Somehow, it didn't seem like it was enough. But it would have to do.
An explosion rang in the distance. Birds flocked overhead.
There was one thing that Trunks hated about himself: his conscience and determination. Somehow, someway, he had subconsciously adopted the mantra of, "Where there isn't a will, there's gonna be a way." That said, as long as he was alive, Trunks wouldn't allow himself the luxury of defeat.
Life was ki. As long as he had life, he had strength and he had power. And he had the pride, enough of it to never allow himself to be defeated by a being substantially weaker than himself. He also had a world to protect, just because he'd said that he would. Death had to wait just a while longer. This was the day he couldn't die.
Trunks stood, ignoring the pain and fatigue, taking himself to a state of mind that allowed for him to completely disregard his personal well-being and concentrate fully on the task at hand. Anger fueled his tenacity, gave him the resolve he needed to see this through. He floated into the air, locking onto the figure in the far distance.
Dead. It was dead. It was going to be dead. If he didn't have a reason to kill it before, he had one now: people were dead. What scared him was that he wanted to kill it, he needed to kill it.
An aura of red engulfed him; his ki flared, it burned, it whipped around him in red flames as he flew. Vaguely, he was aware that his ki was no longer that of a non-killer, for murder was all that he had in mind.
Trunks didn't hear himself screaming, and he never felt his hair growing or his muscles bulging. Later, he would faintly recall an exponential increase in speed, strength, and agility. Perhaps or perhaps not he would realize that, against all reason and logic, he had attained Super Saiyajin Three. And not because he needed to even ascend past Super Saiyajin to defeat this android, but because his desperation, his fear of failure, and his anger stemming from the knowledge that a weak android had attacked his city gave him a seldom-achieved drive to reach such a level. Basically, why the hell not? This was the day he wasn't going to die--might as well make it that much better.
Within a matter of minutes, duskiness had settled about his eyes, and his naturally tan skin was sallow and cool to the touch. He slept on his left side, with his shallow but rhythmic breathing indicating that he was completely dead to the world and in need of more medical attention than stitches, sedatives, and bandages. Touching, noises, and the presence of another being in his personal space neglected to provoke even a remote reaction from him. And that is what effectuated heart-stopping concern in Bulma.
The slightest, most every day incidents--a creak as the building shifted in its foundation, the heating system kicking in, the kitchen tap being turned on--would rouse him from slumber. Trunks refused to give into his inherent Saiyajin inclination when it came to sleep; the fact that he wasn't becoming agitated simply by her presence was nothing less than disturbing. Perhaps, even, it was a shade frightening that he was currently impaired--and that Earth was just as unprotected.
Fully prepared to arrive on the wrong end of a half-angered, half-frantic gaze--one that perfectly communicated his willingness and readiness to kill, and one that Bulma had seen on her son's face too many times for comfort--Bulma slid a hypodermic needle into the crook of Trunks' right arm. Surprise washed over her and worry formed a pit deep in her stomach when his reaction consisted of a blink-and-miss-it annoyed wince. Trunks remained asleep, seemingly oblivious to everything but his dreams and in no way prepared to kill for the greater good.
"Damn it, Trunks."
Bulma shut her eyes, damning herself. But she only saw Gokuu floating in a tank, his panicked eyes opened wide--pleading with her--and his hand desperately pressing against the glass. Her heart clenched at the memory, at the hope she had felt that maybe...just maybe Gokuu hadn't really died, that Gero had somehow staged Gokuu's death. She had been stupid, stupid beyond all justification, and that stupidity had nearly gotten her only son killed and may yet still do it.
Bulma's hand wrapped around the medical tape, squeezing it until she felt the cheap cardboard crumple. Letting out a deep breath, she opened her eyes and was reminded of why she had medical tape to begin with: Trunks, blood transfusion, sooner better than later.
She began her work, first and foremost ripping off tape and securing the needle in his arm, intent on dedicating herself to him before all else. She would have plenty of time to dwell on the biggest mistake of her life, after she gave Trunks' body the boost it needed to pull him through. The coolness of his skin was enough to send shivers through her and make her want to pull away; instead, her eyes darted to his chest and didn't so much as blink until she saw concrete signs of his breathing.
"Good boy, Trunks."
She taped the IV tubing to his arm in multiple places, layering the transparent tape sometimes five times; she did so in order to ensure that Trunks had time to rethink any assault he might initiate against the line, tape, and needle. Bulma detoured the tubing onto the top of his hand, instead of in his palm, again as a preemptive measure to make certain that Trunks had a harder time causing any damage.
Beneath his maturity, and beneath the almost cold exterior he put forth for all to see, he was a rebellious troublemaker. Hints of his inherent mischievous personality had been revealed over the recent months, most likely without his realizing it. But she had taken notice, and it pleased her greatly. She gave him rules to break, because she knew that he would break them. She gave him opportunities to mouth off, because he had inherited her smart mouth and razor sharp mind. She loved the occasional glint in his eyes, the smirks he thought no one saw. That said, she wouldn't put it past him to unconsciously undo the IV just to do it--and also because he had a major dislike of that which he did not know.
Bulma's breath caught in her throat, startled by the suddenness of his voice, even as weak as it was. She met her son's placid eyes, instantly noticing the drug-induced glaze. He was barely lucid, evidently only awake to investigate the new additions to his arm. It was a breath of fresh air to see him so emotionally open--as readable as children's book in a college library--and tranquil, even if it was a direct byproduct of his being besotted on enough drugs to kill a regular human twenty times over. That her son could only be so unguardedly content when he was high saddened her.
"Yes, it's that bad, in case you managed to miss all the blood you leaked all over my house."
Bulma smiled, hoping that he would return her sarcasm. The rapport they shared was one of near-constant sarcastic banter. She needed a return to normalcy, even a short-lived one.
Trunks cracked a return smile and muttered a sarcastic "so sorry."
Bulma's smile widened, all the while observing that he was gradually drifting into slumber. "Trunks, remember to not pull any of this out, okay? This is your own blood, and, believe me, we don't have much of it. You waste it, you're on your own."
"Thought it was all over the house."
She opened her mouth to reply, but her words would have been cast upon closed ears. He was long gone, blissfully buzzed with painkillers and dead to the world once more.
(c) Silver Galaxy, 2004