Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, nor do I lay any claim to the series and intellectual property they're a product of. No money is made off of this.

Author's note: This is Trunks/18 without the preamble. Just a meandering oneshot. Obviously AU. Feedback, like most things in life, is appreciated, but not completely necessary. All the same, feel free to give lots of it, good or bad. Rated for suggestive themes.


"What were you doing?"

"Nothing."

"That doesn't look like nothing," he joked, coming up behind her, "You were writing something, weren't you?" he asked quizzically.

The Jinzouningen seemed to pause for the slimmest of moments, although her expression – one of cool ease – never wavered; never deserted her in that span of time. It was weird to her companion for a few reasons, none of which he could definitively put his finger on, but if he were to guess – something he did not like doing – he would say that 1) she appeared almost... uncomfortable – almost red-faced for that fraction of a second – and 2) well there was something that was off, beside the obvious discomfort, the slightly faster than normal rhythm of her movements, and the almost forced air about her.

There was another. It was the unluckiest of them all because there was something about it he couldn't quite put his finger on. It raised the hairs on the back of his neck like blades of grass to an early sun, only this wasn't a refreshing feeling, it was pensive and coiled.

Something was wrong, Trunks concluded.

"What were you writing? Can I see?" he asked, curious eyes tried to peak over her shoulder, only to be rebuffed by a hard, crystal blue gaze.

"It was nothing."

He raised a brow, almost laughing, and she glared. But he couldn't help it, because the way she shifted, and appeared to stare at the sides of his eyes rather than at them in full, said something was off, and what's more, it just looked damned hilarious. Juuhachigou was embarrassed. He was sure.

"It's nothing, you wouldn't find it very interesting." she followed, unnecessarily – casually. "Shouldn't you," she asked, tilting her head with a sardonic air, "be off saving something. I'm sure there's at least a few hundred residents of Central City that need saving at this exact moment, what with all the destruction Juunanagou and myself caused."

Trunks opened his mouth to respond, because she was making light, and though they were once enemies, though she'd taken more than she could perhaps ever give back, and though she'd apologized by both word and act, despite the fact that they were... something, and she meant... something... to him, the comment had raised the hairs on the back of his neck a bit more; she'd seemed deliberately mocking and sarcastic.

He opened his mouth, and stopped.

"You're changing the subject, why?" he queried, eyes narrowing in an uncanny approximation of his father.

Again he looked to her lap – it all rested on whatever she had in her lap, which he couldn't quite see at the moment, from the angle that he had. What was she writing?

Her eyes followed just for a moment, taking the bait. He grinned. She was hiding something. But what?

And again, it all hinged on what she was hiding in her lap. What was she writing? Was it about him? Was it about her feelings? He frowned mentally, she was never very forthcoming about those, then again, neither was he. He had a mystery though, and it was nagging and prescient. It told him he was onto something, and like a bloodhound he wasn't going stop until he'd deduced what.

His arms tried to encircle her frame, small and lithe, curved and deadly, laying a kiss to just below her ear. He smirked against the warm skin, liking the feel of her against him, and asked again. She shrugged him off. Forcefully.

He frowned – fully. Something was definitely wrong. She seemed angry, but the aura of discomfort suggested an unease that made that conclusion dubious. Her eyes held a spark to them, arguing that it was just that, but she was also flushed; he could see it on her cheeks. The time traveler raised a confused brow, eyes narrowing slightly on an undefined query.

"What were you doing?"

Silence.

"Can I see what you were writing?"

The Jinzouningen glared. He tensed, every bad hunch and suspicion bubbling towards the surface. The implausible suddenly credible. He shrugged, eyes unreadable.

"Fine. Forget I asked." he said, moving to disentangle himself from her.

He wasn't angry, he really wasn't, obviously she needed space, for... whatever it was. Sometimes he needed space to, he could give her that. Besides, he had intended to catch up on his training, maybe work his way through a few hours of intense, lifespan shortening exercise. Yeah, that sounded just neat. He really didn't want to know anyway.

"You're really not going to give up, are you?"

He raised a brow, "I just did."

"No you didn't," she offered evenly, smiling humorlessly, "that's the 'I'm just going to wait until you don't expect it and ask again', kind of forget it."

When he didn't say anything, Juuhachigou frowned, let out a breath. "You're going to walk around like I killed your puppy unless I tell you, aren't you?"

"I'm not, if you don't want to tell me what you were wri-"

Waving her hand, Juuhachigou rolled her eyes, then asked, simply: "Why do you assume I was writing?"

The question was ominous.

"Reading, writing, whatever, it's not imp-"

Her expression was quickly becoming amused, and Trunks couldn't help but ask himself how he'd managed to end up on the defensive, she was the one keeping the secret, wasn't she? Not that it mattered, she was certainly entitled to her secrets. He was just curious, and it was just a question. He hadn't really expected an answer anyway. He'd asked it mostly for effect anyhow.

Right.

Icy blue, catlike eyes watched him, slow, deliberate, and with all due stealth.

"Tell you what, Trunks."

"What?" he probed, half irritated at himself for taking her bait so easily.

"I'll tell you..." she said, putting her hand over his.

"If?"

"If you promise to help."

Juuhachigou put her hand on her lap, lifting his with it. Trunks blinked, and again, frowning in incomprehension. Eyeing him, her head resting against his shoulder, she slipped his hand lower, and further still, until all suggestion was gone.

A thoroughly entertained – though, somehow vaguely unsatisfied – smirk crinkled one corner of her mouth.

"Help."