Authors Note: I'm alive! Sorry about the extremely late update, guys, but I've been sick with the stomach flu for the past few days…I even had to go to the hospital for a few hours, so I couldn't work on this for awhile. It's a great finale though, at least in my opinion, so it should be worth your wait.
Trunks woke to sickeningly bright fluorescent lighting, and a splitting headache. Slowly, he blinked, reaching up to rub the sleep out of his eyes and ease the pain of the light shining in his eyes. He'd only been aware of where he was for about a day, and he was already losing his mind. Why was everything so damn white? It made him feel like the walls were closing in.
Licking his lips, he attempted to wet them, but Trunks found that his tongue was as dry as his lips were, and he grimaced in discomfort. Looking around, he spotted a pitcher of water on a small nightstand a few feet away from him. You'd think the morons would have put that next to my bed, instead of all this stupid equipment, he thought, rolling his eyes, then flinching in pain when he realized that it made his head pound even more. Guess I have no choice.
Placing his hands firmly on the mattress, Trunks slowly pushed himself up in bed, careful not to go too fast and risk passing out. After he had maneuvered himself into a sitting position, he peeled the covers off and swung his legs to the floor, hoping they would be strong enough to hold his weight. Pushing off from the bed, he tested himself by putting some of his weight onto his legs, quickly finding that he would need the support of the wall to get over there. How he was going to carry the water and support himself on the wall, he didn't know, but he was already up anyway. He'd figure it out. He'd just stepped over a few cords from the equipment, when he heard the door swing open, and he turned his head to watch Vegeta stride in, who stopped dead in his tracks when he saw his young son creeping along the wall. Anger flared in his granite eyes, softening ever so slightly when he saw what Trunks was trying to do.
"I'll get it. Get back into bed," said Vegeta, walking towards the nightstand. Trunks hesitated for a moment, not use to such thoughtfulness from his father, but he nodded, slowly heading back towards his bed. At the last second, he remembered the cords he'd just stepped over, however it was too late to stop his shuffling feet from tripping on them. Just when he was sure he was going to fall flat on his face, Vegeta was beside him in a flash, taking his elbow and guiding him back to the bed. After Trunks had climbed into bed, and was seated comfortably, Vegeta abruptly turned away and strode over to the nightstand, grabbing the pitcher and pouring a glassful of water. Walking back to Trunks' bedside, he handed him the glass, setting the pitcher on the floor beside his bed.
"Thanks, dad," Trunks said to Vegeta, who gave a choppy nod, and headed toward the door.
"You're skin and bones, boy. You're eating something whether you like it or not," said Vegeta, and with that he strode out the door, apparently headed for the cafeteria, judging by his last statement.
"Umm…Ok," Trunks mumbled to no one. His dad sure was acting weird. Almost nervous, actually, though Trunks really couldn't be sure since he'd never seen his father nervous before. At least, not that he'd ever been able to tell. Maybe he's thinking about what to do about my lost memory? Trunks wondered what Vegeta would decide. He hoped his father would make the right decision. He wasn't sure what he was going to do if Vegeta decided to lie to him.
Trunks guzzled down the glass of water in his hand, pouring himself another one to guzzle it down just as fast. The icy cold water felt so good sliding down his parched throat, he almost didn't care if he choked.
After ten minutes of staring at the ceiling tiles and counting backwards from one thousand, he gave in and sighed with boredom. What the hell was he suppose to do all day? He was tired of sleeping, and no way was he about to read one of those stupid chick magazines he'd found under the bed. Reading the front of one of them had been more than enough, because Trunks most certainly did not want to know ten new ways to please your man in bed. Ugh…I can't believe people read that crap! He cringed whenever he saw the latest copy of it on his mother's coffee table. Trunks sighed again, and rested his chin on his hand. Kami, what he would give for his i-pod right about now…The music might make his headache worse, but he didn't care. It was better than just sitting here twiddling his thumbs.
Vegeta walked into the room with a tray full of food, including, to Trunks' delight, two gigantic cinnamon rolls with icing oozing off of them. Along with the cinnamon rolls, there were also donuts, several pieces of toast, an apple, orange juice, and milk. Trunks' mouth watered, and he realized he was hungrier than he'd thought. His father had barely set the tray down when he grabbed a cinnamon roll and ripped a huge chunk of it off with his teeth, cramming it into his mouth. Vegeta raised an eyebrow, looking slightly amused.
"Your mother says they're your favorite," he said, and Trunks nodded in confirmation. After Trunks had polished off the entire tray within a couple of minutes, Vegeta smirked and chuckled slightly. " Kakarott couldn't have done it better himself."
Trunks smiled and blushed. Vegeta stood and reached into his pocket, pulling something out and handing it to him. An i-pod? The prince must have seen his puzzlement, because he explained. "Yours was ruined in a storm. You dropped it as you were running, and it was destroyed. Goten said you'd probably want a black one," Vegeta explained, looking rather awkward, and almost embarrassed. Wow…I can't believe he did this for me…That's really…nice.
"He was right. Thanks dad!" Trunks said, smiling. Vegeta nodded, and for a moment just stood there, seemingly at a loss for words… Finally, he looked away and coughed, grabbing the tray and walking quickly towards the door. Mumbling something about being back in a few minutes, he left, leaving Trunks to smile in surprise and happiness. Maybe, just maybe, his dad would do the right thing.
Vegeta strode calmly down the hallway, headed back to Trunks' room at a pace that suggested he was in a hurry, but in fact, he almost wanted to slow down to delay the inevitable conversation. This was it. He only hoped he'd know what to say when he got there, because right now he was at a loss for words. How was one supposed to start such an awkward conversation? So, Trunks, guess what, I verbally and physically abused you at the training site, isn't that marvelous? Oh yeah, and by the way, I love you. Ha! He couldn't even picture himself saying those words!
There was no more time to think on it though, because the door to Trunks' room loomed ahead, and before he knew it, he was pushing it open and striding in with purpose in his step, so much so, Trunks stopped lip syncing the lyrics to a song and looked over at him. Pulling the buds out of his ears, he shut off the i-pod and gazed at his father, curiosity reflected in his face. "What is it dad? Is something wrong?"
"We must talk, my son," said Vegeta, walking over to sit on the edge of Trunks' bed. "Some of it may not be…easy…for you to hear."
"Whatever it is, you can tell me. I'm stronger than I look," Trunks replied with pride.
Vegeta didn't even bother to hide his smile. "Of course you are. The blood of the prince of all Saiyans flows through your veins!" He allowed himself a moment of pride, but sobered quickly after. "I know you don't remember this, but when we were at the training site, certain…events occurred."
Vegeta braced himself, and decided to just tell it exactly as it had happened. He'd never been one to mince words, and he wouldn't start now. "While we were training, you asked for a real fight, and I gave it to you, even though I had noticed how your focus was off the whole time we were there. After you transformed into a Super Saiyan, you were breathing heavily, and you looked like you were about to collapse in front of my eyes. I realized there must be something wrong with you, and when you noticed my hesitation, you became angry, and we exchanged quite a few insults back and forth. Finally, I was forced to end it quickly, and I…well… suppose I went to far in what I said to you. I just wanted to get you home and to a doctor. So I sent you home with …Oh, it doesn't matter what I said! The point is, I went too far and instead of staying at home, you ran away, despite the fact that you were ill," Vegeta finished, preparing himself. What would he see when he turned his head to look at his teenaged son? Would there be unshed tears shining in his eyes? Burning hatred smoldering in his heart? Thoughts of whatever he expected to see left him when he turned his head to look at the young prince, his young prince.
He was smiling. After the hour and hours Vegeta had spent agonizing over how to make this as painless as possible for both of them, the boy was bloody smiling. Obviously he didn't understand what had just been said, or he wouldn't be grinning like an idiot.
"Thank you dad…I'm so glad…" Trunks said, much to Vegeta's astonishment. Thank you? What the hell was he thanking him for?
"Are you sure there isn't any brain damage in that head of yours!?" Vegeta shouted, angry. "Did you hear a word I just said!? What is there to thank me for!?"
The smile on Trunks' face went from glad to sheepish, and he looked his father dead in the face, cerulean eyes gleaming with intensity, despite his embarrassment. "I have a confession to make…I lied to you about my memory. I do remember what happened at the training site. But I had to see…I had to know if I could trust you…"
Vegeta felt his mouth drop open in shock. I've been had! By my own son! This was all a trap! If he'd chosen not to tell Trunks the truth, his son never would've trusted him again. He just couldn't believe he'd been fooled so easily!
"You were testing me!" Vegeta exclaimed, incredulous.
Trunks nodded in what seemed to Vegeta, grim anticipation. No doubt the boy though he was going to beat the hell out of him. Instead, Vegeta reached up to shut his mouth with his hand, and after many long second, molded his lips into a soft smile. "When did you become so cleaver, son?"
Hesitantly, the demi Saiyan looked up, and, apparently after deciding his father wasn't going to hit him, smiled slowly back. "What can I say? It's a gift."
"Why Trunks?! Why did you do it?! There must be another reason why you ran away! I know you wouldn't throw a hissy fit just from that one argument. We've had arguments before, and you just forgot about them. Tell me why!" Vegeta's change of subject was so abrupt, he saw Trunks visibly flinch at the words. He knew the answer to these questions already, but he wanted to hear it from him. He had to.
Trunks looked down at the sheets he was nervously twisting in his hand, and mumbled something that barely qualified as an answer. "I…I just…"
"You, what!? Spit it out!"
"I…I just wanted you to love me…" Trunks choked, fighting back the tears that rimmed his eyes, and threatened to spill down his face. Vegeta could scarcely bare to watch. His neglect of the boy was even worse then he'd though…In order for him to utter those words, it had to be…
The corridors of King Vegeta's spaceship echoed with the footfalls of many warriors, adult and child alike. Five year old Prince Vegeta walked beside them all, among the best of the best, and perhaps the worst of the worst, but they were of no consequence to him. He could wipe the floor with any of these fools, elite or not, Vegeta knew that well. Only one person refused to see it. Only one person mattered.
Father always ignored him, except if it was to give him some order, or scold him for, un-Saiyan like behavior. Damn him! Even Frieza has seen my worth! Why can't father?! The young prince's fists clenched at his sides so tightly it was painful. He had to show his father how powerful a King he would be one day! Only then would he be proud of him.
"Well, hello there, my prince. I see you're back from your mission. You should go see your father. He has been expecting you," said the Saiyan elite called Aiden, taking Vegeta's arm and leading him in the right direction.
Vegeta jerked out of the man's grip, and shouted in anger. "Don't touch me, fool! You have no right! I'll go see him whenever I please!"
"But my lord, he needs your report right away!" Aiden said, agitated. This was it! Vegeta knew exactly how he would make his father proud. What better way then to pound this elite's face in?! No child could defeat an elite so easily, but Vegeta could do it, he knew he could. My power is far above that of this fool's!
"Die, fool! You should know better than to mess with me!" Vegeta said, shooting multiple ki blasts at Aiden, who tried to dodge them, but with the cramped space of the corridors, and his considerably lower speed, almost every one hit him head on. The other warriors stood around, not sure whether they should make a move against their prince or not. Before any further action could be taken, a bellowing voice spoke out among the crowd.
"That is quite enough!!" King Vegeta screamed in outrage, coming up behind his son and grabbing him roughly by the scruff of the neck. His face held so much rage, Vegeta had to force himself not to look away.
"You there!" King Vegeta said, pointing to a medic. "Take Aiden to the infirmary and mend his wounds. The rest of you, go about your business. Stop gaping like idiots!" Everyone looked away, and went about their business, just as they were told. They feared their King, especially when he was as angry as this. No sane Saiyan wanted to face his wrath. And then there's me…Thought Vegeta, with a bit of cynicism.
"You're coming with me, you insolent fool!" shouted King Vegeta, much to the puzzlement of the young prince. Why wasn't his father pleased? Aiden was constantly screwing something up, and angering his father, and, instead of the king having to waste his own time punishing the man, Vegeta had done it for him. What was it going to take to please him!?
King Vegeta stormed into an empty room, throwing him up against the wall and running up to slap him hard across the face. Vegeta watched him with unconcealed shock, staring wide-eyed. "Father…?"
"You little fool! Do you realize what you've done!? Lord Frieza has been watching your progress as it is, and when he hears about this, he'll want you for himself for sure! Especially if that moron Aiden dies. You idiot! After all I've done to divert his attention from you, you go and ruin everything I've worked for! I though you were smarter than that. Why did you do that!?"
"Father I…I just… I wanted you to love me…" Vegeta said, trying desperately not to cry. King Vegeta sighed and rubbed his face with his hands, and when he dropped them he looked wearier than Vegeta had ever seen him look. For a second, he thought the King looked regretful, but then it was gone, leaving him unsure if it was ever there at all. All Vegeta saw now was a placid mask.
"We are Saiyans, Vegeta. Saiyans do not love." And with that, he walked away, stalking out the door without looking back. So time moved on as it always had, people came and went, as life dictates, but no one ever noticed the young Saiyan prince, sobbing in the dark corner until he fell asleep.
As he gazed at his young son, who fought back tears and turned his head away, it all came rushing back to Vegeta clearer than he' d ever thought possible. How had this happened? He'd become his father without even knowing it. But did that mean that his father had cared about him too…? Impossible! He had to be reading too much into this. That wasn't the issue right now, though the King had tried to protect him from Frieza…Damn it, just drop it! His son had to know how he really felt about him, before it was too late to reverse the damage he'd done…
Trunks glanced shyly at Vegeta, then jerked his head away. He knew his father loved him, grandmother had shown him that, but that didn't stop the tears from coming, nor did it ease his doubt, no matter how foolish he knew it was. Then a thought occurred to him, and he wondered why he hadn't thought of it before. "I-If I was a full blood…would you love me then?"
Vegeta leaned forward and gently grabbed his chin, pulling his head around and forcing Trunks to look at him. Tears shined in his cerulean eyes, and when one escaped and slid down his cheek, he started to reach up and brush it off, only to be stopped by Vegeta's gentle hand, reaching up to brush the glimmering droplet off with tenderness he no longer tried to hide.
"With all my heart. As I already do," said Vegeta. Wrapping his arms around his son, he held him as he never had before, held him tight, as if his life depended on it. Trunks rested his head on his father's strong shoulder and sank into his embrace, crying so hard his wracking sobs shook his thin frame. Vegeta just held him, stroking his hair and mentally kicking himself for putting his son through so much. Trunks had wanted this moment so much, he cried when he got it.
For many long minutes, they stayed like that, Trunks sobbing, Vegeta holding him all the while, comforting him, as he never had. Finally, he slowly pulled away, wiping the tears streaks off his young son's face with gentle hands.
"You shouldn't be afraid to cry, you know. I was, and look how I turned out," said Vegeta, a small bitter smile on his face.
"Okay…Thanks dad. I'll remember that," said Trunks, smiling through the remaining tears.
"No, thank you. For helping me see the truth," Vegeta replied. "And I meant what I said about training. We will go again. I'll still win that fight, but at least it'll be a challenge," he finished, smirking.
"Once mom finds out I lied about my memory, I'll be grounded for the rest of my life…. She'll never let me go," Trunks moaned in sorrow.
"Who says she's going to find out? I was just filling you in on some of the things that happened, and you remembered everything on your own," said Vegeta, amused mischief in his eyes.
Trunks laughed, and smiled in delight. "I love you dad."
There it is! The chapter you've all been waiting for! I can't believe it's over…(tear) I want to thank every single person who read this story, readers and reviewers alike, you're all awesome!
Special thanks to Mikila2 and hippiechic, who were never afraid to speak their minds and provide some constructive criticism, though it wasn't really criticism…You know what I mean. Thanks!
Another special thanks to Afiong Bassey and hennahito-ckbc, who have been reading and reviewing since the very beginning. Thanks a lot for sticking with it!
Well, I guess that's it…I'm off to work on several more projects. Watch out for my fics in the future!