Trunks scurried across the compound as quickly as he could without alerting his mother or her guests. There was madness going on all around him, and he had to get away from it or surely he would lose his mind. Everyone in that room had been insane, positively and absolutely so. They made bizarre noises, engaged in obscure behavior, and the cheek pinching…oh, the cheek pinching…
So as soon as backs had been turned, the young prince had made good his escape and made a straight shot for the one place he assumed would be a surefire sanctuary from the mind boggling activities he had just escaped. None of those guests would dare attempt cross the threshold of the gravity room, and not just because of what the room was capable of. It was a safe haven for anyone who wanted to avoid everyone else. It was the single most unwelcoming place in the compound, and as such, the best place to hide.
Before he could reach his destination, though, Trunks found himself being brought to a very abrupt stop as he was grabbed. "Oh no you don't," his father growled. "You heard the same thing I did: we power it up today, we live off your mother's cooking for a month."
"I'm not powering it up," Trunks pointed out, "I'm just going to go in there and lock the door behind me. Which, by the way, was what I figured you would be doing right now."
Choosing to ignore that last part, Vegeta dropped his son. "Not an option today. We have work to do."
"We do?" Trunks shook out his limbs and rolled his head, stretching out slightly. "What work?"
Vegeta pointed down the hallway. "Recon. Now move it."
"Um, okay." Though he was still not entirely sure what, exactly, they had to check on, Trunks was not about to argue the point. Any excuse to stay away from the crazy people two floors beneath them was a good excuse. He was almost giddy at the idea of having direct parental orders that would keep him away from it. So when his father led him to the room that housed their impressive security system, he grinned and bounced in.
"Dial it down," his father commanded. "If you break something in here, we're screwed."
The boy stopped immediately. "Good point."
"And if we're screwed because of your actions," Vegeta went on, "then so help me, I will grab you by the scruff of the neck, march you right back down that staircase, and throw you back in that room while leaving them with the comment 'look how much he's grown'."
"No! Not that!" Trunks cried. "Anything but that! I'll be good! I'll be good!"
"You better." He pulled out a chair and sat at the main console and sat, indicating his son should do the same. "The results of this are going to determine the rest of our lives, so keep it together."
The preteen sat up straight. "Oh, crap, what are we doing?"
Vegeta pressed a few buttons and brought an image up on the monitor. "Your mother, in her infinite wisdom," he explained, "has decided that one aspect she wished to have at this damnable event was that the main event be the cutting of the cake."
Raising a lavender eyebrow, Trunks responded, "I'm lost. Help me out here."
"According to the woman," his father went on, manipulating the image as he did so, "it has become fairly commonplace that at this particular festivity, the color of the cake's interior be used to reveal vital information."
"Oh," Trunks said, finally figuring it out. "She got the ultrasound last week. If the cake is blue, it's a boy, and if it's pink, it's a girl."
One month earlier Bulma had claimed that they were having a daughter, and Vegeta had been so caught up in sensing the child's heartbeat that he had let the gender fly right by. It was not until an hour after that it had fully registered what having a girl meant, and that had not led to any measure of calmness on his part. He had confronted his wife, demanding how she could withhold such information from him if she had it, and claimed it was outrageous to keep such a thing from him. He knew nothing about raising girls, damn it, and he needed all the time to prepare he could get! Bulma had fought to keep from laughing at his reaction, but caved fairly quickly. She had no idea what the gender was, and had simply been trying to get a reaction from him. And while the reaction had been delayed, it was, to her, well worth it.
Boy, was she in trouble that night…
In the time since then, he had found himself worrying more and more that the new child might actually turn out to be a daughter. And having that time had not done anything but work him up more. Each day he found new things that stressed him out at the prospect of having a female child, and the only thing that had kept him from going off the deep end over it was the fact that there was still a fifty percent chance that the new child would be a son.
Bulma's most recent appointment had included the opportunity to find out the gender, but Bulma had opted to have the information revealed at the party. The doctor said nothing to her, and simply wrote it down and placed it in the provided envelope that Bulma dropped off with a baker. She was going to be just as surprised as everyone else when that cake opened up.
Trunks sighed. "Baby showers are so weird. Couldn't she have just looked at the picture herself, determined the gender, and then told people?"
"That is what I said," Vegeta snorted. "She informed me that it lacked the sense of communal bonding, and I told her that her method was absurd."
With a chuckle, Trunks added, "That explains your relocation to your old room last week."
"Shutting up, sir!"
Taking a brief moment to glare at his son, Vegeta finished adjusting the camera. "Remember what will happen to you if you do not handle being in here well."
Trunks gulped. The idea of being tossed into that room of pastel colored streamers, duckling patterned wrapping paper, and a half dozen women oohing and aahing as they shared stories of what their children were like as newborns seemed horrible. Even worse, some of them had begun to tell tales of what they had gone through during the birthing process, and more than anything else he did not want to hear about an event that seemed horrible and terrible and downright unnatural. Nothing was worth having to hear about how he was brought into the world.
"I'll be good."
His father simply nodded, and the two sat silently as they watched the cake, waiting to see what fate had in store for them. After what felt like an eternity, the women gathered around it, and Bulma picked up the knife.
Father and son leaned forward, and while Trunks was the only one verbalizing it, they were both thinking the same thing: "Please be blue, please be blue, please be blue, please be blue…"
Suddenly their view was blocked as the women closed around the cutting entirely. "Oh crap," Trunks cried, wildly gesturing to people who could not see him. "MOVE!"
But they stayed in their positions, completely blocking the cake as Bulma finished slicing and began to remove the freshly cut piece. The group let out a collective gasp, immediately followed by squeaking and hugs. With a triumphant look on her face, Bulma put the piece on a plate, turned, and held it up in the direction of the camera she knew damn well her husband and son were using to spy on the event.
With great pride, she showed off the pink cake.
Trunks' eyes bugged out. "It's pink."
Vegeta sat silently, trying to keep himself in solid control.
"It's pink," the boy said again.
His father still offered no visible reaction.
"Holy crap, Dad, the cake is pink!" Trunks hollered. "We're screwed! We are beyond screwed! There is no way for us to not be screwed!"
"No, not boy, girl!" Trunks interrupted. "She's having a girl! She can't have a girl! We don't do girls!"
As the thought of the possible double entendre of his son's words rocked his mind, Vegeta felt like his brain was going to start bleeding out through his ears. He was going to have a daughter. The daughter would grow to a young woman. The young woman would be pursued romantically…
Through grit teeth, Vegeta ground out, "Stop. Talking. Now."
Despite still feeling the urge to bounce off the walls and vent every ounce of frustration he had on the topic, Trunks was familiar enough with the tone in his father's voice to know that once again it was time to sit down, shut up, and pray that he did not get fed to the wolves.
From the security equipment, father and son were able to hear the conversations that continued on in the party.
"Oh, sweetie, I am so happy for you!" Bunni squealed, giving her daughter an enormous hug.
"A girl!" Chi-Chi cheered. "Oh, I am so glad that you are having a girl!"
Cool as ever, Eighteen chimed in, "It's about damn time one of you got smart enough to realize that daughters are the way to go."
"Hey!" Chi-Chi shot back. "I will have you know that my sons are nothing shy of wonderful, and I wouldn't trade them for anything!"
As Eighteen opened her mouth to respond, Bulma laughed and waived her arms between the two of them. "Okay, okay, we all love Eighteen's daughter and Chi-Chi's sons, but I believe this moment is about my little girl!"
Taking a sip of her sparkling cider, Videl smiled. "Just promise that you're not going to force pink dresses and dramatic bows on her, okay?"
"Hoping for another tomboy in the group?" the heiress laughed.
"Maybe a little."
"Well, no promises on how she'll turn out," Bulma pointed out, once again looking up at the camera, "but I think there is only so much girly-girl stuff that will be going on in this house with the other two occupants here?"
The women laughed. "Oh god, can you picture Vegeta the first time your daughter brings a boy home?" Videl laughed.
"Are you kidding?" Chi-Chi chimed in. "There are a lot of firsts I think we should see his face for: first ballet recital, first bra, first period, first racy undergarment, first date, first time she stays out all night…"
As the brunette continued to rattle off her list, Trunks looked over at his father. It was obvious to the young man that his father was just barely keeping himself from exploding. The cheeks were red, the fists were clenched, and the vein in his forehead was going to rupture violently if Vegeta's blood pressure went any higher. Desperate to keep that from happening, Trunks whipped out his phone and quickly started on a message.
Downstairs, Bulma opened up her own phone and laughed as she read the message: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP! DAD'S GOING TO STROKE OUT IF YOU DON'T! "Okay, ladies, let's change the topic. If we don't, I think I'll be widowed by nightfall."
They complied, at least for the moment, and Trunks took advantage of the opportunity and turned the screen off. As badly as he had taken it personally, Trunks was actually getting afraid that his father was going to keel over. "Okay," he softly said, "we can work through this."
Vegeta himself was trying to go through the same mantra, but was not doing a great job of convincing himself. The panic he had felt the first time he was led to believe that his second child would be a girl paled in comparison to what he was feeling at that exact moment. He had not exactly handled it well when he had found out about Trunks, but at least he knew how to handle a boy. A boy could be trained to be a warrior. A boy would fight, and do so even if wounded and bloodied. A boy enjoyed tales of battle and admired the warrior's way of life. A girl, though?
"It'll be okay," Trunks mentioned, as much for himself as it was for his father. "She's a girl, but that doesn't mean we're totally hosed. I mean, she's still going to be part Saiyan, so we'll be able to spar with her. I think…girls spar, right? Eighteen fights, and Goten's mom was a fighter, so the new girl should be able to fight. We can handle that. So it'll be fine. It'll be fine."
When Vegeta remained silent with his eyes straight ahead, Trunks quietly slipped out of the room. If his dad was that tense over it, the best thing to do was just get out of the way. The boy was well versed enough in his father's moods to know when to get out. Vegeta would deal with it in his own way and in his own time, but clearly staying with him was not going to do anyone any good.
Three hours later, Bulma quietly knocked on the door. "Vegeta?" she said with a smile, entering completely. "Are you still alive in here?"
"That depends," he answered, not looking at his wife. "Was the cake another joke you were playing on me?"
Sighing overly dramatically, Bulma occupied the chair her son had been in hours earlier. "Alas, my dear, no. You are going to be the proud father of a baby girl. I take it you're not thrilled with that news?" When he did not respond immediately, she simply smirked at him. "Okay, Vegeta, as much fun as I'm having watching you try to keep from exploding at this knowledge, you and I both know that this is something we need to address sooner rather than later. What part of having a daughter bothers you the most?"
Still he did not answer. Trying to form a reasonable response was still quite difficult for him.
Again, Bulma sighed. "Since you seem to be in conversation refusal mode," she went on, "I suppose I'll just have to have the conversation myself and watch your face for subtle facial cues. First on the agenda is the issue of bonding. With Trunks, even though you had no experience with children, you were able to find common ground in training. After all, you had been a boy yourself once upon a time, so you at least had a vague idea of how he could handle it. Now I don't know how female Saiyans were as fighters…"
"…but you've already tried training her, before you knew she was a she, and she seemed fairly receptive. The same bonding activity should work just fine. Second on the agenda is the emotional levels females have." She saw his jaw twitch slightly, and she knew she had struck gold. "You hold concern that your blunt, brash mannerisms, which you refuse to compromise on, and that's okay, will offend a little girl. All I can offer you on that one is the notion that she will be around you her entire life, and as you will be a dominating force from the beginning, she will likely not be too bothered by you mannerisms, as to her they will seem the norm.
"Next up, and the one I'm sure you're freaking out about internally, is what will happen to her as she matures into a young woman." Ah, that got the vein to bulge out quite nicely. "While I could sit here and lie to you about how your daughter, unlike any other in the history of the universe, will remain both alive and a child forever, we both know that's not true. Someday, years down the road, we will have to deal with the issues that billions of parents have through the ages and try to survive having a teenaged daughter. But we've got over a decade until then, and I for one like to think that in that time, between the two of us, we will have at least a couple ideas on how to handle that. Remember, just like you were a young boy, I was once a teenaged girl."
Vegeta's teeth ground together. "You really should have stopped before that last sentence."
Bulma grimaced. "Yeah, I should have. But, on the plus side, me being a rebellious teenager who ran away from home to go adventuring alone and in a tube top gave me the experience to know exactly how bad an idea that is."
"Still not helping."
Biting down on her lower lip, Bulma agreed. "You know, you really should have told me to shut up by now."
Her husband glared at her. "Since when has me telling you to shut up actually assisted in the goal of shutting you up?"
"Oh, it never shuts me up," she admitted. "However, it usually gets me off topic, and that would have worked very well for both of us in this situation." She made a popping sound with her lips and leaned back in the chair. "Look, I know you've been hoping for a boy since the day the pregnancy test turned positive," she gently said, "but I promise you, having a girl is going to be just as good."
He seriously doubted her. There were too many factors that came with having a girl, too many things that he could not control but would feel the need to. Her clothes, her social life, her activities…regardless of what others might say, having a girl was not the same as having a boy. There was no possible way that he was going to do well with a daughter.
Bulma leaned over, hugged his shoulders, and kissed him on the cheek. "I know you still don't believe me," she said, nuzzling up against him, "but I promise you, you are going to love having a daughter."
Slowly he brought a hand up, and he rested it on her arms that remained around his body. He wished to reassure her, to tell her that she was right, everything was going to be fine. But he honestly did not believe it. He would not be able to relate to a daughter. He would not be able to help a daughter.
And as far as he believed, he would not be loved by a daughter.