Trunks gave the metal one final swipe with the soft cloth he carried in his sheath and examined his sword minutely. Perfect. Tossing the cloth to one side, on top of his jacket, he stood, gripping the hilt loosely as he slowly twirled it in small circles. He breathed deeply, smelling the fresh air so easily come by in this time - he'd almost forgotten what nature was like when it wasn't on fire. He then turned and headed for his target.
The gravity room was preset to a normal level; today was more for practise then actual training. Trunks desperately needed to find his focus again. The longer he stayed in this time, the harder it was to be around the people he'd considered his family. Taking another deep breath, Trunks settled into his stance and began. He started out slowly, the fluidness of his motions making him look almost like he was participating in some deadly dance, his sword flashing in the light. He closed his eyes, seeking his inner peace with his mind, trying to resettle himself the best way he knew how.
It helped clear his mind, his sword katas. When he'd first begun his training with the weapon, neither he nor Gohan had too much knowledge about it. It wasn't until an elderly man had joined their camp with a group of refugees and introduced himself as a former weapons instructor at a dojo until it had been destroyed by the androids, that Trunks had begun to recieve formal training. The hiss of the wickedly sharp blade cutting through the air was a familiar sound, one in which he revelled, and he began to move more quickly, dodging and swiping at invisible opponents. His entire consciousness dwindled down to a point where there was only him and the sword, tamer and the tamed. The sword's song began to hum within him as he moved, and as he did so, his mind began to wander.
His father never spoke of it, but Trunks had the vague feeling that Vegeta didn't approve of his weapon. The only weapon a true Saiyajin needed was himself.
Trunks picked up the pace, keeping his eyes closed, letting his senses guide him through an intricate set of swirls that made the blade sing sharply. Spinning, the sword twirled in sunch with his motion.
His father. As hard as Trunks tried, he knew he'd never gain his father's approval, or his acceptance. An old, familiar anger began to burn through him and once again his movements sped up, his power level increasing with the rising ki.
He wasn't interested in power levels really - at least, not to the extent that Goku and his father were. Or even Piccolo and Gohan for that matter. Increasing his power was important so that he could save the people of his future - but not more important then other things life had to offer. His mother, all the countless people he had befriended and helped in the aftermath of destruction. Helping his mother deliver a baby days after a nearby village was destroyed had made Trunks sit up and appreciate what he had. To come back to this time period, where for all the rough times, they still had hope and relative peace....why was it he, who should be the most dedicated of them all - why was it that he was the only one that was able to look outside the training room?
Images of decimated buildings with tendrils of thick black smoke still drifting over the rubble-strewn landscape brushed by the fringes of his mind. The sickly-sweet stench of decaying bodies warred with the coppery tang of blood, assaulting his senses and he fought back his automatic gag reflex. As much as he loved these people for who they were and what they represented, he couldn't help but harbour resentment towards them for being so blind. Coldness washed over Trunks like a tidal wave as his mood took an abrupt 360, leeching away the thin shreds of warmth and security he'd allowed himself since returning to this time for good.
' I have to keep going.' He pivoted, snapping his legs out to the sides in a beautiful spread-eagle kick, the sword dancing above his head before landing in a crouch. From there he began executing a series of dizzying spirals that seemed to have the blade rotating around his head and shoulders. The danger of cutting his throat was very real but not one he worried about - the old man had been very thorough in his training.
' Why do I bother to train? It's not like it ever makes a difference. My future is still gone, destroyed because of me and those androids blowing it up, my father will never acknowledge me - what's the point? What am I trying to prove?'
That question was one he had no answer for. Trunks snarled in anger as he slammed the sword in a downwards arc, leaping away as shockwaves seemed to issue forth from the impact. The cold he'd felt earlier came forth with renewed vigor, swallowing him whole, his anger at his own weakness, his inability rising with every twist. Power surged through muscled forearms, crackling with barely suppressed energy. He didn't even notice that his hair had turned golden-yellow, light pouring out of him like water through a sieve, so lost was he in his reverie. He had never allowed himself to become so detached from his surroundings before but here in the past, where it was safe, he shed all of his inhibitions, no longer caring what was happening around him. His entire being was focused on the dance of death and life playing out in his mind.
' Death, disease, destruction, famine - every night I'm haunted by past nightmares, every day I wake up to confront brand new ones. When can I stop fighting?'
The boy from the future screamed out his rage as he unleashed the raw fury of a traumatized mind, striking out in multiple blows. The wind pressure generated from the jabs struck the walls of the gravity room, denting them outwards but Trunks paid them no heed. The room was built to withstand Vegeta's powerful outbursts but the Prince of the Saiyajins temper tantrums were no match for the unbridled fury of the teen warrior.
Unbidden tears streamed down Trunks' face as the speed of his movements blurred until he seemed to be nothing more then a twisting gold shimmer popping in and out of existence.
' Why did I fail? Why am I so weak? Why can't my father say I'm his son?'
" WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?!?!?" he howled, as his power crackled, reaching the breaking point and exploding like a super nova. Golden energy shot out of him, striking the walls and exploding them outwards, sending the tumbling sheets of titanium tumbling like they were mere tumbleweeds on the wind. Wave after wave of power battered the immediate landscape, shattering the windows of Capsule Corp, the spray of glass raining down on cement, a cresendo of sound culminating with one final blast that left the young warrior spent and exhausted. The magnitude of what he was doing slammed into Trunks with all the subtlety of a frieght train and he reigned in the last bit of power with his rapidly dwindling reserves.
He collapsed to his knees, folding in on himself as he took in the damage he'd caused, seeing the future in his mind's eye. His sword fell from nerveles fingers, striking the ground with a metallic ring.
Gasping for air, he squeezed his eyes shut, reminding himself that what he was seeing was NOT his future, and that he was back in the past. He pressed his fists into his eyes, scrubbing his cheeks almost violently to erase any traces left of his weakness.
Trunks eyes snapped open to see his father standing a few feet away, hovering over the debris with a neutral expression and his ki suppressed. The time travellor swallowed the whimper that threatened to escape and he stood up shakily, avoiding looking his father in the eyes.
" Otousan," he mumbled y way of greeting, reaching for his sword.
" What was that?"
" Huh?" Trunks looked at his father who was returning the gaze levelly.
" That kata you were performing, brat," he said coldly. " Did you know you were infusing your sword with your ki?"
Trunks blinked. He had known - but how had Vegeta?
" How long were you watching?" he countered swiftly. Vegeta smirked.
" Long enough."
Trunks sighed and squinted at the Capsule Corp building, ignoring his father for the moment. " Shit. Mom's gonna freak."
" Who taught you to do that?"
If there was one thing in this world you couldn't do, it was get away with ignoring Vegeta. Trunks shrugged half-heartedly. " A lot of it was self-taught until an old man offered to train me for as long as he could." His throat tightened but he went on. " He was very old and died soon after teaching me the basic fundamentals and a few advanced tricks. After that I was on my own."
Trunks waited a moment to see if Vegeta would respond. When he heard nothing, he gave a mental shrug and picked up his sword. Examining it for any imperfections, he was pleased to note it was still in perfect condition and he slid it back into its sheath.
' Better start repairing the damage before mom comes home.'
About to start walking away, his departure was halted by his father's voice.
" Not bad, for being self-taught."
Trunks turned around slowly. " What?"
" You heard me boy." Vegeta motioned to the destruction he'd caused. " Leave that to those annoying robots you're mother likes to build to fix. We will spar. Away from the building." One lip curled in a very faint smile, so small it was almost undetectable but to Trunks, who savored every scrap of affection doled out to him, it was like a beacon that warmed him from the inside out. He stared at his father in disbelief.
" H-Hai," he managed to get out. He watched his father power up, blasting off into the sky, no doubt already having a destination in mind. Trunks straightened slowly watching the trail of spent ki left in his father's wake and powered up, levitating slightly. This was more then he'd expected.
He took one last look at the destruction he'd caused and then looked at the rapidly disappearing figure of his father. Maybe he had been wrong. Maybe his father did accept him. Confusion had set in but there was one way of finding out an answer. And maybe, just maybe - he'd find an answer he liked.
Kicking it into high gear, Trunks sped after his father.
After all - this was his time now.