I re-uploaded this to take out erroneous information at the top. now that I'm reading it... wow, this was a while ago. I cringe to look at all those adverbs.

Disclaimer: My first real story ever posted for Dragon Ball Z…. I can't even claim to own the characters…

Summary: Future Trunks has grown up on a destruction-torn Earth knowing nothing more about his dead father than his name. When he asks Gohan to teach him how to fight, his mom finally tells him who his father was, and how Vegita and the others died. TAKES PLACE ONE YEAR BEFORE "THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS" BEGINS.

Note: I'm a little sketchy on the early episodes of Dragonball Z. SO if I got some of the timeline mixed up, well please ignore it and focus on the quality of the story as a whole. Mostly I wasn't sure if Bulma actually met Vegitta the first time he landed on Earth with Nappa, or if she didn't meet him until later, on Namek. I settled for Namek, and if that's wrong, oh well. I also had to edit Freeza's return to account for the lack of Mirai Trunks's presence in events.

If the sequence of events described by Bulma is inaccurate or makes mistakes with canon, please ignore it and chalk it up to my ignorance.

A Piece Of Future Past

"Damn it you're just like your father! Too damn STUBBORN!"

Bulma stumbled to a stop, her chest heaving from the yell, and looked at her son. He was staring at her with blue eyes wide.

Trunks opened his mouth to say something, but no sound came out. Bulma bent her head and let herself slide down the wall to the floor. Tears streamed rivers down her cheeks, and she brought a hand up to cover her face.

He took a small step forward. "…Mom…?" Trunks said quietly, afraid.

"Just like your father…And I'll lose you too, just like I lost him…" The words tumbled out, words she'd never said to her son before, and her hands were covered in salty tears.

Trunks bit his lip in nervousness. He'd heard his mother cry, sometimes, late at night when she'd thought he was asleep—but she'd never broken down in front of him like this before. Did the idea of him fighting scare her so much? Was that how his father had died?

Trunks's eyes watered as he watched his mother weep, her head in her knees, her sobs loud and painful. Trunks watched, fidgeting. He was powerful, Gohan had told him as much, but he was just a twelve-year-old kid, and his only living parent was on the floor, crying for no reason that he could understand or she would explain.

He'd just said he asked Gohan to show him how to punch. It wasn't anything dangerous. Why was she just sitting there, crying? Why wouldn't she look at him?

"Mom?" He said again, but she didn't look up and her hair hid her face.

"You sound so much like him…" He heard through the sobs as her voice softened into almost nothing. "Sometimes when I hear your voice I'm so sure I'll turn around and see his eyes... But he's never there, and he'll never be there again…"

Trunks looked at his crying mother, and he wanted her to stand up and give him a hug and tell him it was all okay. He wanted her to smile and tell him a story about her childhood adventures searching for the Dragonballs. But she didn't move. And eventually, when no comfort came, something inside him spoke up. You're thirteen now, it said. She's been strong for you your whole life. You be the strong one today. Trunks nodded to himself silently. Yes, he'd be strong for his mother, until she was okay again, and she could be strong enough for both of them.

He moved forward and carefully sat next to her, leaning his back against the wall and bringing his knees up as well. He scooted next to her and put his head on her shoulder. Bulma sighed deeply and put an arm around him, pulling her son closer. He looked up at her through clear blue eyes and she blinked down at him through watery vision.

"Mom… Why won't you talk about my dad? This is the first time you've ever said anything besides his name, and the fact that he wasn't human, like Gohan's dad Goku…"

Bulma sniffled and ran a hand over her eyes, trying to wipe her tears away. "I'm sorry, Trunks. I should have told you more, but it's so hard…" She pulled him against her side and rocked slightly, resting her chin in his lavender hair. Trunks bore this quietly, knowing for some reason that it was important she had someone to cry on.

"Why are you so upset that I want to learn how to fight?" Trunks asked quietly.

"You mean Gohan hasn't told you?" she said quietly, her voice thick.

Trunks shook his head slightly. "No. He won't tell me anything. And neither will master Roshi. They all say I have to ask you. I don't even know what he did for a living."

Something in that struck Bulma as funny, and Trunks watched in confusion as his mother began to laugh and cry at the same time. His big cornflower blue eyes were wide. "What? What did I say?" he asked with a twelve-year-old's innocence, desperately needing to know the joke and why he missed it.

Bulma shook her head through her laughter-tears. "It's not you Trunks. It's just—what he did for a living. Your father never had a real job in his life. Unless you count trying to conquer the universe."

Trunks didn't know if he was supposed to say anything, so he just waited. Bulma leaned her head back and breathed in deeply. "I first met your father when I was on the planet Namek. We were going there for lots of reasons, which I'm sure Gohan can tell you all about. He was six or so I think. He had already landed on Earth, but he'd been forced to retreat after he was beaten and had his tail cut off. At the time your father, Vegita, was a warlord in the service of a creature named Freeza, who was known as the strongest fighter in the universe."

Trunks pulled his head back and eyeballed her. "My father was a warlord?" He'd been hoping that one day, when she told him about Vegita, he'd turn out to be something…well…lots of things…but warlord wasn't one Trunks had hoped to be on the list. It wasn't a heroic thing to be.

Bulma chuckled softly. "Yes, and he was really good at it too. They didn't exactly call it that, but that's what he was." Her face darkened a moment, but she continued. "Vegita was raised from his childhood by Freeza. After that monster killed Vegita's father and destroyed his planet— murdering his whole race— Freeza took him in. Vegita was the heir to the Saiyan throne, and Freeza thought it would be fitting if he used Vegita as an example, raising him to be the servant to his peoples' killer. Vegita was taught well by Freeza, and he became everything that Freeza wanted him to be: murderous, brilliantly cunning, powerful, and unstoppable…"

Trunks sensed his mother trail off and he briefly hugged her, wanting to hear more of the story. Bulma smiled down at him lovingly and nodded.

"I was on Namek with Gohan, Goku, Piccolo, and Krillin. I'm not sure what happened between your father and Freeza, but suddenly Vegita had risked everything by striking out on his own. Everyone was looking for the Namek versions of the Dragonballs to make a wish. The first time I saw him face to face Vegita used me as a hostage to get one of the Dragonballs from Krillin. I was terrified, but I was also young and stupid, and I couldn't keep my mouth shut to save my life. I'm really pretty lucky he didn't kill me right then just for the hell of it."

She looked down at Trunks and ruffled his hair affectionately. Her tears were starting to dry up now, but her cheeks were still red and her eyes were puffy. "Don't frown, Trunks. Just let me finish. This might take a while."

"I want to hear it all," he said, his face very serious. It was almost a comic expression on someone his age.

"Well," she said, "A lot of things happened all at once after that. Freeza came to Namek, furious at Vegita for disobeying him and eager to get a wish from the Namekian Dragonballs. Lots of his warriors came too. Vegita beat some of them; Goku and Piccolo beat others. Eventually Vegita and Freeza faced off. Vegita believed he had gotten powerful enough to defeat Freeza, but Freeza was stronger, and Vegita died."

Trunks started to say something, but Bulma held her finger up. "I'm not finished. Before Vegita died, he told Goku, whom he called by Goku's Saiyan name—Kakkarott, about what Freeza had done to their planet and to him as a child. Goku forgave him, and Vegita died smiling, sure that Goku would become a SuperSaiyan and Freeza would die at the hand of the "monkey-race" that he despised so much." She paused to smile slightly. "Your father was very proud of his heritage and never let anyone forget it."

"Piccolo, Krillin, and many Nameks died before Goku finally became a SuperSaiyan, and strong enough to destroy Freeza. Many of the Nameks, though, had already been killed by Vegita on Freeza's orders. While Goku distracted Freeza with battle, a young Namek named Dende used the seven Dragonballs and called the Dragon of Namek. Freeza tried to interfere, but Dende made his wishes. He wished first for everyone who was killed by Freeza to be brought back to life, then he wished for everyone to be sent to Earth. Your father was part of that group, as was I. Goku stayed behind and eventually defeated Freeza, just before the planet exploded."

Trunks made a worried face. "So he just started being nice after that?" he said half-believing it.

Bulma raised her eyebrows. "No, it's not THAT easy. He and I didn't become close for another four years. Vegita lost a lot while he was on Namek, his previous way of life was forfeited. His eagerness to kill outright gradually lessened, but his desire to become the greatest fighter in the universe only got stronger. He was rude, mean, ambitious, arrogant, proud to a fault, and completely inconsiderate of other people. He hated Goku's strength and wanted more than anything to become a SuperSaiyan warrior and beat him. It was almost year after Namek before we were able to wish back everyone else, like Yamcha and Tien and Chou Tsu. Vegita hung around during most of that time, because he didn't have anywhere to go I suppose, and he wanted to be there when Goku came back so he could find out how Goku became so strong. We tried wishing Goku back as well, but he hadn't died like we thought. After that, Vegita disappeared for a long time."

Bulma bent her head and smiled slightly. "I next saw Vegita when we found out that Freeza was alive and coming to Earth. I happened to be dating Yamcha—but he broke up with me not long after. All of us, the Z-team as Gohan liked to say—- arrived where we knew Freeza was going to land. Vegita, for the first time, was among them, though he certainly wasn't in it for the well being of Earth. I had stupidly decided to tag along with Yamcha to watch." She glanced down at her violet-haired son. "Believe me, I did lots of stupid things when I was younger."

"Anyway, we were all resigned to getting plowed over and having the Earth completely demolished, when Goku showed up. He arrived just when Freeza did and smashed him to smithereens. Goku was great at stuff like that. If there ever was a real hero in the universe, Trunks, it was Son Goku. There was nothing that man couldn't do when he needed to. Vegita was furious of course— because Goku was so much stronger than the 'Mighty Prince of All Saiyans'."

Trunks put his chin in his hand. "So Dad wasn't as great a warrior as he thought he deserved to be?"

Bulma looked at Trunks sharply. "Don't mistake me, son,—your father was a great fighter, and compared to him even Piccolo was weak. The reason I don't want you doing anything like that is not because I don't think you'll live up to being strong." Her aqua gaze, the same shade as Trunks's, held him like a vice. "In fact, you being as strong as your father is exactly what I am afraid of."


His mother's blue eyes looked away across the room. "Not now. The thing you should know most about your father was that Vegita was very, very stubborn. If he wanted something he pushed endlessly until he got it. Yet he could never surpass Goku. So he spent every moment of his time trying. But, on with the story, right? Once the threat of Freeza and his father King Cold was over, Goku went home with Gohan. The others split off. It was a little less than two years later that your father, Vegita, showed up on the doorstep of Capsule Corps."

"Why did he come, Mom? Did he want to see you?"

Bulma chuckled. "No, Trunks. He came because he wanted to use the gravity room my father made for Goku. Dad set it up for him just so that he would get on with it and leave him alone without damaging our lab. Vegita's good at bullying people. Anyway, Vegita trained in that for a long time. And he continually got stronger. Any battle that a Saiyan survives makes his power level rise even higher, even if he lost. Vegita and Goku were the best examples of that anywhere."

"Anyway, it was when Vegita was with us training that he and I had a relationship. We weren't together very long, and I never knew what he really felt about me."

Trunks frowned. "But Mom, if you didn't know what he felt about you, why did you get together?"

Bulma blushed bright red, then tried to hide it. "That's none of your business, Trunks."

"But—" he began.

"The point here is that we broke up some time before I realized I had become pregnant, and when I did I decided I wanted to keep you even though it made me a single mother. Vegita didn't want any part in raising you and I was totally fine with that. Who'd want such an egotistical bastard to raise their child anyway? He came by to see you sometimes and that was it. Although… Vegita never did date anyone else after me. I don't know if that means something or not."

"Mom" Trunks said solemnly, "Did you love my father?" Trunks wasn't quite sure why, but he knew the answer was very important to him.

She turned to look at her young son, her hair falling in her eyes slightly. "Trunks, I did love him. I don't know why and I don't think that even if I did that I could explain it. But you weren't a mistake, son. You were the product of love. MY love. Don't you ever doubt that."

"Mom, what happened? He died because of the Androids, didn't he? They are why people always have to run. There's nothing else it could have been."

Bulma closed her eyes again, and blinked back new tears. She didn't answer his question, instead said, "You probably don't remember but Goku thought you were the cutest thing on the planet. He was so surprised when I told him that Vegita was your father. Goku thought it was hilarious, and I suppose he was right." Bulma's voice had a strange tone of regret, and her eyes glimmered with wetness. "It was about three months after you were born that Goku caught a terrible disease. The disease hurt many, many people. It attacked his heart, and, like all the others, he died from it. Chichi, Goku's wife, was heartbroken. Gohan was crushed. Ten years old is a terrible age to lose a parent, especially a person as full of life as Goku. When Goku died, so did our last hope for safety."

"When you were only one year old the androids made by Dr. Gero came. The rest of the Z fighters tried their hardest to stop them, but they all… they all died." For the second time that afternoon Bulma cried. This time though, Trunks could feel his own tears as well. This was why they never stayed in one place very long and why they kept away from the big cities. High populations attracted the Androids, and Trunks had been told all his life to fear them.

"Vegita was proud; and with Goku passed away he was the strongest. He challenged the Androids, and they—-they—" Bulma swallowed a sob. "He died. I was there, and I watched. The fight lasted nearly two days. It was terrible. I was watching the life just being crushed out of him, and something inside of me was dying too. Next it was Piccolo to go. Eventually, realizing it hopeless, we scattered. Gohan took his mother into hiding and I took you. But it wasn't that easy. The Androids got bored with random destruction, and they made a game out of finding them. Krillin, Yamcha, Tien, and Chou Tsu— the Androids killed them all one by one. The only one they couldn't find was Gohan."

Her eyes narrowed in hard and painful determination. "And the only reason we're alive now is because they didn't know that Vegita had a son."

The aqua haired woman suddenly jumped up from the wall, and pulled Trunks up with her. She stood in front of him and placed her hands tightly on his shoulders, bending down to look him in the eye. Outside the rain had started to splatter on the roof.

"You have to understand. They hunt for Gohan even as we speak. He will never be safe. He will never be okay. The Androids are destroying our world one piece at a time, and there is nothing we can do to stop them. Nothing." Bulma squeezed Trunks's shoulders and tried to make him see. It was a warning she'd given him many times before, but this time she had to know that he fully understood why. "We are still here because they don't know about you. If they heard that anyone with Vegita's blood was alive, they'd stop destroying cities and come after us in a moment. They know that the Saiyans were the only people who could put up even a losing fight, and nothing—NOTHING—would make them happier than knowing there was one more around to play with."

"But Mom!" Trunks began, "Gohan's a half-Saiyan too! Gohan's done alright for years and he—"

"No Trunks!" Bulma shrieked, her blue eyes piercing. "Gohan can hide; Gohan can flee when he needs to, far and fast. We can't!"

"But Gohan could teach me—"

"Which would only gain the Androids' attention! As long as you are no different from any other person we can survive. I won't allow you to give them a reason to find us! Your father died fighting them! My friends died fighting them! Gohan will die fighting them too someday. If you learn martial arts then it'll all start again. You'll think you're strong enough, and you'll challenge them. Well it won't work!"

Bulma took a step back, holding his shoulders at arm's length. Another tear spilled from one sky blue eye to slide down her cheek as she gazed at Trunks. "I won't allow you to grow up like your father and to die fighting them too. You are the only thing I have left."

Trunks ducked his head. "I'm sorry Mom. I won't ask Gohan again."

Yes you will, Bulma said in her mind even as she hugged her little boy. You will, because deep down you're Vegita's son and you'll keep on pressing until Gohan gives in. And then you'll learn everything he has to teach. She pulled him closer and rested her cheek on the top of his hair.

And, just like your father, it won't be enough to save you.