Series: DBZ
Title: Quixotic
Rating: PG-13
Pairing/ Characters: None; Mirai Trunks, Gohan, Bulma
Word Count: 534
Warning/s: You shouldn't read this until after the Cell Saga.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

The earliest memory Trunks had was of himself running, fighting to keep up with Gohan as they scurried like rats in the ruins of a once prosperous city.

They had been searching for survivors then, at their own risk. They spent hours digging in the rubble, only to unearth corpse after corpse, while all too aware that the androids had just been there moments before. That they could return just as quickly, and that Gohan and he were not fast enough to run away, should the androids wish to pursue them.

They had returned to the underground base, their efforts wasted. It had been foolish to hope that the androids would be careless enough to leave people alive.

It was not a happy memory.

Later, he remembered his mom, working hard while taking apart an old car. Bulma had been tired, but then again, he always remembered her as exhausted. But she was one of the few people in the underground camp that had yet to give up hope, as she scavenged every piece of machinery she could get her hands on.

Scrap by scrap, she had started to build the time machine.

Late at night, when Bulma was simply too tired to keep working and more than a little delusional from sleep-deprivation, she would mutter things about the past. About his father, about the dragon balls, about Son Goku: the strongest man in the world.

Early in the morning, Trunks and Gohan would go dig graves for the lives lost in the latest attack.

It had become a routine – the androids ruthlessly attacking, and the humans holding feverishly on to life.

And then the horror had been broken with a fury Trunks did not know he possessed. Gohan had been killed, leaving him alone in his fight against the androids. There had never been an emotion as consuming as the red-tinged hatred he had felt at that moment, and only a spark of sanity kept him from recklessly charging the androids.

That spark of sanity was the only reason he was still alive.

Bulma had finally stopped working on the machine for a moment, when the news of Gohan's death reached her. She simply put down her tools, and given Trunks the first maternal hug in his life.

Trunks had never seen such a heart-wrenching sorrow on someone's face as he did hers when she patted his cheek lovingly and called him their 'only hope'.

The first time he returned to the past, he saw a world still vibrantly alive and thriving. He knew instinctively that this was a world not yet plagued by the destruction the androids would one day bring. He had saved Son Goku: the strongest man in the world.

The second time he returned to the past, his mother had already been killed – annihilated with everyone else in the camp.

It was then that he vowed that he wouldn't let this reality – the living reality – waste away as well. He knew that his intervention was the only thing that would save an already floundering planet.

If only he knew.

In a parallel universe, Cell had already killed him, and taken the time machine. Three worlds were about to collide.