Ignorance is Bliss
Disclaimer: Premise and characters are the property of Akira Toriyama, I'm just borrowing them for some non-profit fun.
Author's Note: This chapter was originally posted as part of my "Hero's Welcome" story, but I don't feel like it really fits in with the theme of that series, so I'm reposting this story as a stand alone (the second chapter is new).
The meadow seemed like a nice, if boring place but Trunks felt overwhelmed with a sense of dread. He told himself it was just because the last thing he remembered he and Goten had been getting ready to fight Boo as Gotenks and everything had gone wrong. But obviously it was okay now; no Boo for as far as the eye could see.
"Trunks-kun, where are we?" Goten asked.
"I think we're dead," Trunks said.
"Hmmm," Goten said, apparently undisturbed by the news. "Then Mommy should be here."
And sure enough there she was, along with Trunks' own mom and everyone else they knew... except for-
Aunt Chichi was hugging Goten and he was babbling on about Boo turning her into an egg and breaking her and how much he'd missed her.
"Where's Dad?" Trunks asked his mother.
"Well Trunks, he's in Hell."
Trunks woke up, heart pounding and drenched in sweat. "That's not what happened," he stammered to himself, trying to find comfort in that.
What had actually happened after he and Goten had died was they popped up in the meadow practically on top of his mom, Goten's mom, Gohan's girlfriend and some ugly demon guy.
The mothers had fussed over them a bit then Gohan's girlfriend asked if they could sense ki and told them that they'd been looking for Gohan.
They'd reported that Gohan had still been alive the last time they saw him and everyone had been relieved.
And then Trunks had asked about his dad. No one had actually told him that they all expected Vegeta to be in Hell but that hadn't made it any better. His mom had looked like he'd just punched her in the gut as hard as he could while Aunt Chichi wouldn't meet his eyes at all and Trunks had known.
Before his mom or Aunt Chichi could come up with anything comforting to say the North Kai had appeared and told the he was collecting up the fighters for a last ditch shot at Boo, he'd missed Trunks and Goten because they hadn't gone through the Check-in Station; they were young enough that they'd just gone straight to Heaven when they died.
After Trunks and Goten joined the other fighters on the Grand Kai's planet they'd learned that Vegeta had been given his body back as soon as he got to the Check-in Station and had already been sent back to fight with Goku.
Vegeta had never gotten as far as Hell before being revived. Trunks should have been relieved but he couldn't forget that everyone thought his dad would go to Hell when he died.
'Not if I have any say in the matter,' Trunks thought determinedly.
Six months after Boo's rampage was stopped the Z-fighters gathered the Dragonballs once again so that the good Boo could find acceptance among the people of Earth.
Shenlong hovered majestically over the group. "What is your second wish?" he intoned.
Before anyone could stop him Trunks shouted, "Shenlong! I wish my dad couldn't die, not ever!"
"Dragon, do not grant that wish," Vegeta ordered as he picked his son up by the scruff of the neck.
The assembled Z-fighters breathed a deep sigh of relief.
"Brat, what the hell were you thinking?" Vegeta demanded.
Trunks squirmed around in Vegeta's grasp until he was clinging to his father. Before Boo Vegeta never would have tolerated such a display. Now he just sighed and stalked inside carrying his son with him. When Bulma went to follow them Vegeta firmly shut the door in her face.
"I don't know if I should be annoyed at being shut out of my own house or delighted that Vegeta has finally stopped looking to me to act as a mediator between him and Trunks," Bulma muttered.
"Ahem," Shenlong cleared his throat meaningfully.
Inside Vegeta set Trunks down. "Why did you make that wish?" he asked.
"Because I don't want you to die!" Trunks exclaimed almost angrily.
"Why me?" Vegeta pressed. "Your mother, your grandparents, yourself, Goten and the rest of them all died. Why just wish me immortal?"
"Because you weren't there when I died!"
"I had already returned to Earth by the time you perished," Vegeta said.
Trunks scowled at his father, irritated that Vegeta though he could be diverted that easily. "We all thought you were dead but Goten and I were the only ones who thought you'd be with us. They were looking for Gohan but when I asked about you Mom looked like she was hurt," he accused.
Vegeta turned away to stare blankly out the window. He'd always felt that the boy should be told about his past, it was Bulma who objected to the idea of telling their son what that his father was infamous throughout most of the populated galaxy, but now Vegeta found that he didn't know how Trunks would react and further, he didn't want to find out. But he had too much pride to ever try to hide who he'd been.
"Everyone thought you'd go to Hell!" Trunks accused.
"I'm not a good person Trunks," Vegeta said flatly.
"So you're not a goody-two-shoes like Gohan?" Trunks exclaimed. "Who cares? You're my dad!"
"I've killed a lot of people."
"Bad people?" Trunks asked fearfully
"I wouldn't know. There were only a handful I interacted with enough to say."
"H-how many?" Trunks asked, his voice shaky. "Ten? Twenty? A- a hundred?"
"Do you know how many people are on this planet?" Vegeta asked.
Trunks nodded, he took a few steps back, away from his father without thinking about it.
"I've killed more than a thousand times that many."
Trunks' face went pale then he clapped his hand over his mouth and ran out of the room. Vegeta heard the boy throwing up a few seconds later.
Vegeta waited until the sound of retching stopped, when Trunks showed no inclination to leave the bathroom Vegeta left the house. He walked past the group gathered outside without a glance then paused under a tree at the edge of the property. After a short time Bulma joined him.
"He asked about my past," Vegeta said. "I'm leaving to train for a few weeks."
Bulma winced. "I'll be waiting for you two weeks from today then," she said. "It'll be okay," she added after a moment.
Vegeta nodded shortly and took to the air. Bulma shooed her guest off then went to deal with her son.
As soon as he saw his mother Trunks exclaimed, "He's no different from Boo or any of those other people you tell stories about fighting against!"
"You're right, he's not different from Boo or 18 or 17 or Piccolo or Tien Shinhan or even Yamcha and Oolong," Bulma said quietly. "They were all bad guys when I first met them. But he is different from Majin Bobbidi, Cell and Frieza; they never changed, your dad did."
The shocked, betrayed look in Trunks' eyes faded slightly.
"People change," Bulma continued. "I think Vegeta had already started changing by the second time I saw him. I know he only allied himself with us because defeating Frieza meant everything to him but he kept Gohan and Kuririn alive, the person he'd been when he first came to Earth wouldn't have done that. And that was only the first and smallest of changes in him. Vegeta changed. I know what he did before, but he's a good person now. His past doesn't matter anymore."
"Yes it does!" Trunks exclaimed. "He's going to go to Hell and it's all his fault!"
"And that's why you tried to wish him immortal," Bulma realized.
Trunks bit his lip and nodded.
Bulma's eyes sharpened. "Would you still make that wish?"
"Dad stopped me," Trunks said.
"Knowing what you know now, would you still try to protect him?" Bulma demanded.
"I-I... He deserves it! But I don't care. Yes, I'd wish it!" Trunks exclaimed in a confused torrent.
Bulma sighed in relief. Trunks knew the worst and he still loved his father. She knew it might take some time, but she trusted that everything would work out in the end.