Hi hi! Boy, it's been a long time since I posted anything new at FFNet - I changed over to mailing lists. ^_^ But I've decided to get back in the swing of things here, and to celebrate, I have a brand new fic for ya! Anyone will tell you I'm a huge fan of cross overs and this one is no different - DBZ meets Ranma 1/2, but no worries! There won't be any Saiyajin Ranma's and Ryoga's roof-hopping their way through Satan City, or anything like that. I just needed the springs. ^_^

Enjoy!




Prologue


********



" Thanks for coming with me!" Trunks shouted. He had to shout because the wind rushing past his ears at several hundred miles per hour created a loud roar that made normal conversational tones near impossible. The recipient of his shouted appreciation waved off-handed.

" Not a problem Trunks!" Goten grinned. " Someone has to come play babysitter for the CEO of Capsule Corp!"

" Nani? Hardly 'Ten - I just need someone to keep me from being bored out of my skull." Trunks growled and folded his arms in a sulky pout as the sliced through a small gathering of fluffy cirrus clouds that dispersed almost immediately. " These meetings are so boring."

" What's this one about anyway?"

" Mining opportunities. Mom's satellites picked up what could be the largest gold deposit ever found. The deeper ground scans showed the vein extending through an entire Chinese mountain range, and tunnelling under the villages that lay within." Trunks swerved a little closer to his best friend so he didn't have to shout quite so loud. " Mom arranged for us to meet with the village elders tomorrow to discuss a mutually beneficial plan to extract the gold at a very fair price for them. It will also help provide them with jobs as we'd be using local labour."

" Wow." Goten absorbed the information. " Gold huh? Like your mother needs more money."

" Goten!" Trunks swatted the dark-haired boy playfully. " That's not what this is about!"

" I know, I know - jeez Trunks!" Goten clutched his scalp in mock-agony. " Oh the pain inflicted on me by my best friend! Oh the pain of it all!"

Trunks shook his head. " You, my friend, are a doof."

" Hey!"

Trunks waved him off as he checked his wristwatch. A small beeping light showed up on the circular graph and Trunks nodded with satisfaction. " We're almost there!"

" Good. I'm hungry."

Trunks snorted. " When are you not?"

" Hey!" Goten blinked as he thought of something. " Are we staying in the village then?"

" Hmmm? Oh - no, mom made reservations at a nearby hotel. It has some awesome hot springs - and right next to it, is reputed to be the best training grounds for martial artists." He grinned. " Mom thought it would appease dad if we stayed there on the pretence of training."

Goten snickered. " Did he buy it?"

Trunks shot him a look that clearly read, 'what-do-YOU-think?'

" Just asking."

" C'mon - it's right down there." Trunks abruptly took a dive, tucking his arms in straight and doing a free-falling spiral towards the ground.

" Show-off!" Goten shouted as he immediately followed in a similar fashion. He soon matched Trunks's speed and the two of them levelled off near the ground, skimming the surface and kicking up a huge cloud of dust and debris behind them. As they neared the spot Trunks said they'd be staying at, Goten took in the surrounding landscape and let out a whistle.

" Kinda barren, aint' it?"

Trunks chuckled. " This is an old-fashioned country, Goten. While the cities are very modern, the villages, especially in remote areas like this, are a bit behind the times. Many of the villages can't afford the new technology, but then again, they don't really need it." He grinned, taking in the same view. " It's kinda cool how their way of life manages to flourish so well despite all the changes and advances around them."

" You sound like a teacher."

" Baka!" Trunks swatted him again and sped up. Goten choked on the dust trail and spluttered before giving chase. He allowed himself to admire the view he had of Trunks flying full-speed ahead of him and smiled to himself. The lavender-haired demi-saiyajin had been in an unusually good mood ever since he'd called the other day to invite Goten on his business trip. He knew Trunks was a history buff - a secret he kept from almost everyone else - and that to come to a historic area like this put him in his glory. Goten liked seeing Trunks happy - it was very rare that Trunks allowed his inner emotions to shine through. But now he was completely relaxed and carefree, and Goten couldn't be happier.

Well, there was one way, but he wasn't ready to even test that idea out yet, and so he upped his power a little until he was even with Trunks.

" So where is it?" he asked again, scanning the horizon.

" Right there." Trunks pointed out an area just ahead and to the left of them, and as they neared it, Goten could make out dozens of sparkling lights which he realized, as he drew closer, were miniature pools, varying to some degree in size, and sparkling in the light of the early afternoon sun. Elongated wooden poles stuck out of each pool of water and Goten wondered briefly what they were for.

Trunks veered off to the side. A small building sat a short distance away from the pools and Goten realized that must be the hotel where they would be staying. As they touched down, Goten noticed a severe lack of customers and wondered what he reason could be. It certainly was beautiful territory - one would think this place would be chock-full of tourists. He said as much to Trunks who was dusting himself off.

" Remind me next time not to wear black when we're travelling through this kind of terrain," Trunks commented lightly before addressing Goten's remark. " I don't know Goten - even mom was surprised though, when she was able to book us our rooms with out a problem." He shrugged.

Rooms. Plural. As in more then one. Goten stifled a sigh of regret and dusted himself off as well. The two were dressed casually in their training gear. In Trunks's case it was a pair of black loose pants, a black tank top, his boots and his Capsule Corp jacket. Goten on the other hand, wore a scruffy pair of jeans that were so ripped Chi Chi threatened to throw them out if she ever saw them again, and a blue and white hockey jersey he'd gotten while on vacation to Canada a few years back. He grinned at the memory - that had been another business trip he'd gone on with Trunks. They'd had fun at the hockey game, even if Trunks had gotten into a fight with one of the players in the penalty box. They'd nearly been kicked out until the manager realized Trunks was head of one of the largest shareholders the building had.

He was shook from his reverie when Trunks opened the hotel door and waited for him to go in. Goten skipped through, ducking lightly as he sensed Trunks' hand come up to swat him again and sauntered up to the counter, ignoring the muttered " baka," that came from behind.

" Hi!" he chirped. The counter girl looked at him, amused.

" Nihao!" she said with a smile. " Welcome to Jusenkyo Springs."

" Arigato," Trunks smiled briefly. " Watashi wa Trunks Briefs."

" Son Goten!" Goten waved cheerily. The girl chuckled.

" My name is Peach. My grandfather and I run this resort. If you have any questions or problems, please feel free to ask me."

Goten grinned. " I was hoping you'd say that. I was wondering - are we the only ones here?" He gestured to the beautiful landscape outside the door. " I can't believe this place isn't crowded beyond belief - you've got a awesome view here."

Peach laughed. " Our resort is kind of exclusive," she admitted. " We do not advertise, and we do not want or need large crowds. We prefer a small clientele."

" Aa." Trunks nodded. " Don't let my mother hear that - she'd be praying to the advertising Gods for the safety of your marketing souls."

" I will remember that," Peach agreed with a smile. " At any rate, we have been expecting you. May I show you to your rooms?"

" Please."

The rooms were actually separate from the main building in small, two-bedroom bungalows, Trunks noticed as they left the reservation area and entered an enclosed walkway. As they passed through the large-windowed hallway, Goten paused and pointed out the window to the springs in the distance. " I heard that's one of the best training grounds for martial artists. Is that true?"

It seemed to be the wrong thing to say. Peach froze in mid-step, and turned around quickly. " No. It is not. " A worried air clouded her previously clear aura and she glanced at the springs with a sort of despairing look. " Those springs are dangerous for swimming and are for viewing only. Please stay away from them." She smiled brightly at them suddenly. " If you desire to bathe in the springs, we have natural hot springs that are much safer on the other side of the compound. I will show you to them if you wish?"

Goten blinked. " I..guess. But why are those springs dangerous? And what's with the poles?"

Peach sighed. " The poles were once used for balancing exercises. They have been left there for old times sake but are no longer in use and haven't been so in a very long time. As for why the springs are dangerous...." she glanced at Goten with a serious expression. " They are cursed."

" Cursed?" Trunks scoffed with a snort. " Like haunted?"

" Some would say the effects of the Jusenkyo Springs are quite haunting," she agreed. " Please heed my warning and do not go into the pools. It is one of the rules of the resort that we have made to protect our customers."

Goten could see Trunks was about to argue that they didn't require protection and latched onto Peach's arm, escorting her up the hallway and effectively ending an argument before it could start. " Of course, Miss Peach. Now tell me - are you single?" He batted his eyes flirtatiously at the blushing brunette.

Trunks blinked and sighed before following quietly.



*~*~*~*~*~*

" Ka-knock, ka-knock!" Goten rapped on the door sharply before taking the initiative and letting himself into Trunks's room. He swept the room with his eyes, noting that it was almost exactly the same as his. A large wooden dresser lay against one wall, with an attached unit that housed a large-screen TV and VCR. Under the window at the end of the room, a small marble table was pushed up against the external vent, with two comfortable looking chairs on either side. The door to the bathroom where Trunks apparently was currently lay just beyond the dining set-up, and little wisps of steam could be seen billowing up from the crack between the doorway and the floor. 'Must be taking a shower.' There was a hanging closet just down from the bathroom door and as Goten's eyes completed the circuit around the room, he finished with the large, king-sized bed with what looked like the comfiest pillows he'd ever seen. With a wicked gleam, Goten pounced on the bed, snuggling into the thick comforter and burrowing his head in the pillows.

'My bed's not this comfortable,' he mentally pouted. He toyed briefly with the idea of asking Trunks to share - certainly the beating he'd receive would be worth the expression on his face right? He chuckled and closed his eyes. It was so warm, he might as well wait right here until Trunks was done in the shower...


*~*~*~*~*


Trunks opened the bathroom door with a wave of steam rushing past his ears, making his toes curl as he met the contrasting and refreshing coolness of the room. Padding quickly over to the dresser, he pulled out a change of clothes that looked remarkably similar to the ones he had arrived in and dressed quickly. He turned then and suddenly understood why he had felt Goten's aura when he had been under the hot shower.

The raven-haired demi-saiyajin was curled up on his bed, snoozing away. The thick black spikes of hair that normally seemed to defy gravity had given in to the laws of physics and fell across his face. They seemed to tickle his nose; Trunks watched in amusement as Goten's nose twitched and he raised one hand up to clumsily swipe the offending strands out of the way, only to have them fall exactly back into place a minute later.

'Kawaii....' The thought appeared out of the blue and Trunks instantly flushed bright red to the roots of his purple hair and he instantly shut that thought out of his mind. What would Goten say if he head heard that?

One would wonder about the state of Trunks's mind if they could catch that line of thought, seeing as how he didn't actually voice it out loud. But somewhere along the way, their years of close friendship had formed a bond that rivalled that of siblings and was only reinforced by their fusion attack which made them of one mind and body, susceptible to the thoughts and emotions of the other. If he were going to be thinking thoughts like that, he'd better raise his walls damn quick.

'And if,' Trunks moaned mentally,' I raise those walls like that, Goten will sense it and instantly wonder what's wrong and then we get into a whole realm of trouble and...'

He smacked his forehead sharply and turned away from the sight on the bed before he woke Goten with his mental meandering.

Grabbing a brush, he pulled it through his still-damp hair and then debated about how to wake the sleeping Saiyajin. A smile spread across his face as he remembered how Goku used to wake the two of them when they were on one of their sleepovers. He crept to the side of the bed.


*~*~*~*~*


Goten was having a wonderful dream where he was reclining on a bed of silk sheets and sumptuous pillows, straight out of Arabian Nights, being hand-fed chocolate-covered strawberries and banana slices from scantily clad handmaidens. The maidens were giggling and he was enjoying the delicious food when all of a sudden the girls morphed into a single person with lavender hair and piercing blue eyes that leaned in close to him and whispered-

" WAKE UP GOTEN!! WE'RE UNDER ATTACK!!!"

" YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!" Goten shrieked and literally jumped up to the ceiling, clinging to the underside of the wooden crossbeam like a scared cat, eyes wide as he whipped his head around searching for a threat. " WHERE?"

Trunks hit the spot on the bed that Goten had just vacated with a howl of laughter. He rolled on to his back so he could peer up at the frazzled Son, tears of mirth streaming from his eyes. Goten's heart rate slowly calmed down to its original speed as he realized what had just happened, and a grin threatened to form as he watched Trunks acting playful.

" You jerk!" he shouted down at his chuckling best friend. " You nearly gave me a heart attack!"

" Are you alive?"

" I think so," Goten growled. He looked down and judged his approximate landing. He let the grin loose.

" BONZAI!"

Trunks's laugh turned into a yelp as Goten fell from the ceiling directly on top of him, squishing him into the mattress before rolling off and landing with a thump on the floor. Goten smirked smugly at him as he pretended to brush imaginary lint off him. Trunks clawed his way up from under the comforter and scowled at him.

" Well, that was amusing," Goten drawled. " What's next?"

Trunks was about to make a sarcastic comment when twin roars echoed throughout the room. As the din faded away, the two looked at their stomachs and then back up at each other, nodding in agreement.

" Food."


*~*~*~*~*

On their way back from the delicious dinner provided by Peach, supplemented by capsules of stored food from Bulma who had no desire to send the little resort into bankruptcy trying to keep two half-Saiyajins fed, Goten's attention once again settled on the grouping of pools in the distance.

" Neh Trunks?"

" No Goten."

" Hidoi!" he protested. " You don't even know what I was going to say!"

" Does it have anything to do with those springs Peach told us about?"

" Uh...."

" No Goten."

" You're no fun," he pouted. " Beside's, I would have thought you'd want to go and see them close up - you were the one arguing with her after all."

Trunks glared at him. " I was not arguing with her. I just don't like being told I need protection." He growled, looking away. " It's bad enough dad keeps calling me a wimp - I don't need strangers thinking I need help."

Goten paused, and raked a hand through his hair, eyeing his friend. " You okay Trunks?"

" Hai. Just tired I guess."

Goten snapped his fingers. " I know just what you need."

Trunks blinked at him. " Sleep?"

" A good spar!" Goten slapped him on the back, knocking him forward a step. " It'll clear your mind, help ya sleep better. What do you say?"

" I say you're trying to find any excuse to go see the training springs." Trunks arched an eyebrow. " Right?"

" You betcha!" Goten nodded. " C'mon Trunks - it won't hurt anything! And beside's, your mom told Vegeta that we'd be training there anyway - we don't want to make a liar out of her, right?"

" Little manipulative - I though I was the corporate schmuck here?"

" I learn very quickly, oh wise one. Can we? Please?" Goten batted his eyes. " Pretty please?"

Trunks sighed and glanced over at the springs. For some reason, the springs didn't appeal to him. They almost made him uneasy, even though he couldn't really sense a threat, per se - just a vague sense of foreboding. 'Still', he thought, glancing from the springs to Goten and then back again. 'They are pretty. And Goten really wants to go...'

Goten knew he had won as soon as Trunks' shoulders slumped in resignation and he grinned wildly, thumping Trunks on the back once more before taking off in the direction of the cursed springs.

" Yatta! C'mon Trunks - let's go!"

" You little - wait up!"

Trunks launched himself into the air, putting on a quick burst of speed, enough to overtake his friend. Within minutes they were nearing the pools and as soon as they came into view Goten let out a cry. Seconds later Trunks watched, stunned, as Goten dropped out of the sky like a stone. About to go after him, Trunks suddenly felt his own power fluctuating, flickering in and out. Then his aura dropped completely and he followed Goten snoot-first into the ground, ploughing a trail of dirt a meter long.

Across from him, Goten raised his head and spit out a mouthful of dirt.

" Itai," he moaned. " Trunks, what happened? Did you see what hit us?"

Trunks coughed and hacked up a dirt farm of his own before answering. " Nothing hit us Goten. One minute we're flying, next minute we're falling."

" Well, you're the genius boy here," Goten muttered, pushing himself up. " Fix it!"

" Oh yeah. Easy." Trunks sat up and shook his head. Then he froze. " Goten - I can barely sense your ki."

" Huh?" Goten's eyes narrowed. " Yours too Trunks - it's lower then a.."

"--then a humans ki," Trunks finished for him, nodding. He looked up and around, searching for a possible explanation. His eyes lit on a weatherworn sign a few meters away, hand painted with Chinese characters. Goten followed his gaze and squinted at the sign.

" Can you read that?"

" Give me a second," Trunks muttered, converting the Chinese characters to Japanese words in his mind. While not his specialty, he could still read Mandarin. He briefly thanked his mother mentally for her insistence that he learn other languages. " It says Cursed Jusenkyo Springs - Do Not Enter."

" Cool. At least we made it all the way here before our little swan dive." Goten stood up and brushed himself off. " You coming?"

" Goten!" Trunks stared at him. " Don't you want to know why our powers failed first? "

" It's because of the curse, silly!" Goten grinned. " Peach said it was haunted."

" Please don't tell me you believe in that junk."

" Well, what other reason is there? Beside's," Goten added. " After all the weird things we've seen in our lives, what's a little curse? And don't tell me you don't believe in magic - what about Babbidi, huh? Remember him?"

" I try not to." Trunks' voice was cold. Goten flinched - wrong subject.

" Sorry."

" No prob."

" So let's go!" Goten started walking towards the springs. A light mist covered the springs, refracting the fading light of the setting sun into a myriad of colors that painted the landscape in front of him. The result was really quite breathtaking and Goten wondered again why such a natural treasure wasn't on display as some kind of park or something. Trunks followed behind him, warily eyeing the pools of water as though expecting someone or something to attack them at any moment. Goten stopped at another sign.

This one was even older then the first, moss-covered around the edges, faded from years of exposure to the sun, rain, heat and cold. The ancient characters were scratched and hard to see. Goten squatted in front of it and brushed off some of the moss and clinging vines, blowing the dirt away. There seemed to be some diagrams of stick figures balancing on top of the sticks.

" Trunks? What does this sign say?"

Trunks walked over and knelt down to take a closer look. " Lemme see...it says that the object of the training is to improve mid-air combat techniques by using the poles as platforms. This emphasizes natural agility, balance, skill and speed." His brow creased. " The word natural is underlined twice. I wonder..."

Trunks abruptly stood and walked a short distance away. Goten blinked, watching. " Trunks?"

" Shhh...." Trunks closed his eyes and extended his aura. That same sense of foreboding he had earlier came back full force. That was another thing - he could sense his ki, and Goten's. They just seemed...suppressed. He opened his eyes and walked back to the sign, studying it intently.

" What's up Trunks?"

" I think I know what happened to our ki," Trunks said slowly. " This place has its own kind of aura...almost mystical compared to ours. It's suppressing our ki so that we have no choice but to use our natural abilities when training here."

" Really?" Goten closed his eyes, trying to sense whatever it was that Trunks had. " I don't get it."

" To be honest, neither do I," shrugged Trunks. " Wanna call it quits Chibi?" The idea of sparring without the use of their ki was slightly unnerving.

Goten growled good-naturedly at the nickname and shook his head. " Nu-uh! Let's do it!"

With that, he leapt onto the pole closest to him. He wobbled slightly as he automatically reached for his ki to level him out, forgetting that he couldn't. " Whoa.." He finally righted himself, balancing on one foot and the toe of the other. Trunks watched, amused.

" Having fun?"

" It's harder then it looks," Goten admitted. " But what the heck - a challenge is a challenge, right? " His voice took on a wheedling tone. " C'mon Trunks! This is cool!"

Trunks sighed. He still had a bad feeling about this, like they would regret being here later. But a part of him wanted to show Goten that he could do it too and he shrugged off his Capsule Corp jacket, dropping it to the ground. With one graceful leap, he landed neatly on an opposing pole from Goten, arms spread in a ready position. Goten scowled.

" Show off."

Trunks grinned, baring his teeth. " Let's do it!"


*~*~*~*~*~*

It happened so suddenly. A dazzling mid-air kick met a strong block, followed by an uppercut that met another kick. Blow after blow hit, missed, landed and struck again. What happened next was inevitable.

A mutual blow connected sending both combatants flying backwards into the pools. Two heads lifted from the water gasping.

A minute later, horrified screams and yowls rent the air.


At the receptionist desk in the main building, Peach heard the distant wails and knew. She sighed, shaking her head, and picked up the phone.

" Grandpa? It happened again..."


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

End Prologue


Well? Whatcha think?? And while I write fics regardless of how many reviews I get (I don't stoop to that kind of literary blackmail which I personally find highly offensive), reviews remind that the fic exists, and encourages me to write faster! ^_^ So tell me - did this catch your interest?

And check out my home page for a lot more fics and pics and stuff!