Second Chances

Chapter One: New Students

Disclaimer: Characters are the property of Akira Toriyama, I'm just borrowing them for some non-profit fun.

Author's (way too long) Notes: "Anata" was always meant to be a one-shot, but more than one reviewer wanted to know what happened next and, well, plot-bunnies happened. Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

This story is set in the Mirai Time-line, roughly a eighty years after the androids were defeated.

Vegeta and Bulma are literally reincarnations of their former selves. In the Mirai timeline all the Z-Fighters are famous enough that it isn't strange for kids to be named after them, so their names come off as just a strange sort of coincidence to the characters (and it avoids reader confusion). Bulma and Vegeta look generally the same, or in Vegeta's case as close as he can get given that he's human. I couldn't make him Saiyan without having him be a decedent of either himself or of Goku. Since I can't really see Vegeta's personality developing without massively bad things happening to him so I wanted to keep his past distinct from the Son's and Briefs' past. Bulma's family background is not entirely dissimilar to her cannon background at 16, but her world is different, so she's got some new interests.

Goku jr. is not a reincarnation, just Goku's great, great grandson, he's not the character from the GT movie either, although he could be considered that character's Mirai counter-part. In my version of the Mirai Timeline after Trunks defeated the Androids Bulma rebuilt her spaceship, found New Namek, borrowed their Dragon Balls and found out there was a ten year limit on how long you could wait before wishing a person back to life. So they were able to save Gohan but none of the other Z-Fighters. After they started rebuilding Gohan met his version of Videl, they got married, had Pan, etc, etc. Goku jr. is more inspired by Goten than Goku, but he isn't really meant to be Goten either.

Vegeta Briefs is Trunk's youngest child. He doesn't have much in common with his namesake, outside of looks; nothing terribly traumatic has ever happened to him and his grandmother Bulma had more influence on his choices than his Saiyan blood.

Bunny Briefs is the daughter of one of Trunks' daughters. Both Pan and Trunks' daughters have passed on their family names rather than taken their husbands'. Gohan and Trunks, more than anyone else are this world's heroes, why would their descendants want to use any other family name?

This is my first attempt at anything approaching a 'high school fic', let me know if it's worth continuing.

Bulma squirmed on the uncomfortable chair outside the Principal's office at Orange Star High. Her transfer papers slid off her lap and scattered across the floor. A childish pout marred her pretty features as she scrambled after the papers. She knew getting a position in Capsule Corps' research division was a dream job for her dad but still having to transfer to a new school for her junior and senior years was just lame. She and her friends had so many things planned but instead here she was at a brand new school where she didn't know anyone.

The office door swung open, Bulma glanced up and froze. A surge of inexplicable, joyful recognition struck her dumb. "He was beautiful," she thought. His black hair was gelled into a series of stiff spikes and his eyes were almost as dark as his hair. He wasn't tall by any means, but he was well built and he carried himself with the grace of a top athlete. He glared out at the world with an expression of sullen anger on his face.

Bulma realized that she was staring and blushed. She grabbed the last of her paper and hopped to her feet. Self-consciously she tugged on a strand of long aqua-blue hair then tucked it behind her ear. She smoothed her skirt, sat back down and crossed her ankles in a lady-like manner. She tried to persuade herself to stop blushing.

"Itsuni-san?" The secretary asked as she took a second transfer file out of her basket. The boy nodded grudgingly. "Everything seems to be in order. If you'll just wait here the principal will see you shortly."

Bulma felt a giddy smile threatening to break out across her face as the boy took the seat next to hers. "New schools suck huh?" she said to break the ice. "I'm Bulma Okaeri, by the way."

"Vegeta Itsuni," the boy replied. After a momentary hesitation he offered her his hand.

"It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Okaeri-san?" a chastised looking girl asked as she left the Principal's office. "It's your turn."

"Thanks," Bulma said. She stood up then turned to Vegeta. "I hope we end up in the same home-room," she said.

The principal's office was a spartan room. "Okaeri-san, I'm Principal Mori, please take a seat."

Bulma handed the older woman her papers then sat down and fought the urge to fidget while Principal Mori looked the transfer papers over.

"You've been placed both in the accelerated science program and the advanced martial arts class, quite admirable."

"My dad's an engineer," Bulma said modestly. "He's spent a lot of time working with me. And... well... 'Never again' you know."

Principal Mori nodded. It hadn't been that many generations since the Android's reign of terror and the scars of two decades of oppression ran deep. When the Androids had finally been destroyed and they'd begun to rebuild humanity had found a driving ambition to never be caught helpless and unprepared again.

"Everything seems to be in order here. You'll be in Briefs-sensei's home-room, B-3. You're class representative should be here to show you around shortly."

Bulma caught a faint tightening in her new principal's expression and guessed that the class rep should have already been there.

They both heard the outer door of the office slam loudly. "Am I late? I'm not late yet, right?"a boisterous voice exclaimed.

"That would be Son-kun," the principal sighed. "He'll show you around the school and see that you know where your classes are."

"Thank you ma'am," Bulma said.

The principal nodded. "I hope you enjoy your time with us. Now if you could send Itsuni-san in?"

Bulma smiled and headed out to meet her new classmate.

A tall boy with an impossibly wild bird's nest of hair was gesturing emphatically as he spoke with the secretary. "There was a kitten you see," he explained.

"Vegeta-kun?" Bulma asked hoping that he wouldn't think she was being overly familiar. "It's your turn."

"Hn," the boy nodded in acknowledgment and slipped past her into the Principal's office. He shut the door behind him.

Principal Mori took his folder and sat it on the desk in front of her. "Please sit," she said quietly. "Itsuni-san, I know there were problems at your old school," she hesitated, a hint of pity crept into her voice. "And in your living arrangements. I hope Orange Star High will be a fresh start for you."

At the mention of his old school Vegeta's posture had begun to shift toward a defiant slouch but when Principal Mori mentioned his home problems Vegeta closed down completely, his face became a blank mask, his eyes focused on some point behind the principal's shoulder.

Principal Mori glanced down at the papers on her desk. "You placement scores were excellent. In light of that, I intend to ignore your previous academic record and place you in the accelerated science program. I believe you have the potential to do very well here, don't let your past hold you back."

Vegeta didn't respond.

"B-3 will be your home-room, with Briefs-sensei." Principal Mori sighed as Vegeta continued staring past her. "You're excused. Son-kun is waiting to show you and Okaeri-san around."

Vegeta turned sharply and marched out of the office.

"... And it was just a little kitten," Son was still explaining. "I was sure his mother was worried about him, so I had to find her and see them reunited before I could continue on to school. So you see, I didn't have any choice but to be late!"

The secretary sighed. "Fine, Son-kun. You had a good excuse. I'll be sure to mention that to your mother when I call her."

The tall boy gulped nervously. "You're still calling Mom?"

"I could call your grandmother if you prefer..." the secretary threatened.

The boy paled. "No, no, Mom's fine," he said.

He turned to Bulma and Vegeta. "Hi! I'm Son Goku, you class rep, pleased to meet you!" he said enthusiastically.

Bulma grinned. "Bulma Okaeri," she said. When Vegeta failed to follow suit she added. "And this is Vegeta Itsuni."

"Vegeta?" Goku asked. "Wow, what a coincidence. Our teacher's named Vegeta too. I guess it's not so unusual, there are two Kuririns in the school and half a dozen Gohans. But Vegeta-otooji, I mean Briefs-sensei, is actually THE Vegeta's grandson. Isn't that neat?"

"Son-kun, you wouldn't be related to THE Son Goku?" Bulma asked with a faintly ironic smile. It was impossible not to see the family resemblance.

The tall boy flushed. "Yeah, er, well, he was my great, great granddad," he muttered quickly. "Anyway, we've got a lot to see before class starts so we better get moving."

What came next was a whirlwind of activity. The gym, the vending machines, the lab facilities, the cafeteria, the library (where food wasn't allowed), an ice cream shop across the road from campus that was good for after-school snacks... And everywhere they went Goku was always racing off to drag someone over to introduce them.

Bulma found herself thinking of the boy as a puppy. A Saint Bernard puppy, big, friendly and amazingly energetic. Bulma imagined that he would be exhausting to be around for too long, but at the same time she couldn't help but like him.

As the tour went on Vegeta relaxed. Before long he was rolling his eyes at Goku's enthusiastic manner and eventually throwing in sardonic comments. Goku alternately ignored the comments or took them for sincere questions and answered them with due diligence, much to Vegeta's irritation.

A bell began tolling. Goku glanced down at his watch with a look of stunned disbelief. "Oh my gosh! We're going to be late for class!" he exclaimed and took off at a dead sprint.

Vegeta matched his speed and Bulma struggled not to be left behind. The three of them piled through the class doors just as the last echo of the bell faded.

"Son-kun, class begins at the same time every day," their instructor, a surprisingly youthful looking man with an odd, flame-like shock of black hair reprimanded mildly.

Goku pulled up and bowed formally. "Sorry, Uncle... I mean Briefs-sensei."

"Sit," Briefs-sensei ordered. "Class, we have two new students who will be joining us this year." He glanced at Bulma and Vegeta. Bulma was bent over, leaning her weight on her knees and gasping for breath. He turned to Vegeta. "Could you introduce yourself to the class?"

Vegeta stepped forward, everyone in the class stared at him curiously. "I'm Vegeta Itsuni," he announced.

The class waited expectantly for him to continue. The silence gained an uncomfortable edge.

"Isn't there anything else you'd like to add?" Briefs-sensei prompted.

"No," Vegeta stated.

"Your hobbies for example. Where you come from," Brief-sensei suggested.

"It's none of their business," Vegeta replied.

"Please?" Bulma wheezed.

"Hn," Vegeta sighed. The pleading look in the girl's eyes exerted a pull on him. It really wasn't so much that she was asking, just time to catch her breath.

"I'm trained to fight in the Demon style," Vegeta stated.

That started the class whispering amongst themselves. Demon style, the fighting style of Piccolo who had taught Son Gohan to fight who had taught Trunks Briefs, the hero who had been the one to defeat the Androids and free the planet. True Trunks' style had changed mysteriously shortly before his final victory over the androids, but Trunks had never taught that style to anyone outside of his family.

The Turtle style was the most widely practiced. During the Rebuilding it had been Master Muten Roshi, his old pupil the Ox King and the Ox King's daughter Son Chichi who had stepped forward when the people of Earth had begged for someone to prepare them, to give them a fighting chance if anything like the Androids happened again.

The style Son Gohan practiced had no beginning level. Gohan had been taught to fight sink or swim. The Demon style could only be taught to those who spent years building their strength through other styles or to those with immense natural talent. A junior in high school who had been trained in the Demon style almost certainly fell into the later category.

"How long have you trained in the Demon style?"

"Who was your Martial Arts sensei?"

"Have you fought in any tournaments?"

"Forget tournaments, have you fought in any Incidents?"

Vegeta glared to cover how uncomfortable he was as the class bombarded him with questions. No one would have questioned him at his pervious school, they were all too afraid of him. There'd been a few morons who'd followed him around and called themselves his gang. Disabusing them of their delusions would have granted them more importance than they deserved so he allowed them to do as they liked. He'd forgotten how to cope with people who weren't afraid of him.

Having caught her breath, it was Bulma's turn to come to Vegeta's rescue. She put her hand on his wrist to get his attention. Vegeta flushed at the contact, it occurred to him that it hadn't been particularly necessary for Bulma to touch him. Bulma smiled and he noticed just how blue her eyes were. Ever since he'd caught her staring at him in the office he'd felt a connection to her.

"Thanks for stalling for me," Bulma said.

"All right, Okaeri-san, it's your turn," Briefs-sensei said. He nodded toward an empty seat, giving Vegeta permission to retreat from the stage.

Bulma set aside her new school jitters and her regret at losing her old friends. She smiled brightly at the class. "Hi! I'm Bulma Okaeri. I'm from South City. We moved here 'cause my dad got a job with the Orange Star City division of Capsule Corp, he's an engineer. At my old school I was active with the Girl's League, the Martial Arts team and the Ultra-Light, Surface-to-Moon race craft design team. I hope to be just as active at Orange Star High and I look forward to getting to know you all."

A slight girl with curly black hair waved her hand excitedly. "Hi! I'm Bunny Briefs, OSHS's Girl's League president. We'd be happy to have you. You already had the misfortune of meeting Goku, he's the captain of the martial arts team. And Uncle Vegeta-sensei is the faculty advisor for the Surface-to-Moon club."

"Thanks," Bulma said. After a hesitant glance at Vegeta she took a seat by Bunny. She couldn't spend all her time chasing after a boy, no matter how dreamy he was, she needed to make friends too.

"Okay class, that's it for the day's excitement," Briefs-sensei said. He held up a sheaf of papers. "Now, lets see how much you've forgotten over break."

A chorus of groans greeted his announcement but soon the class was silent except for the scratching of pencil on paper.

Bulma remembered her dad raving about OSHS's science program, now she knew why. If not for all the extracurricular projects she'd worked on with her dad the test would have been a real killer.

Out of the corner of her eye Bulma saw a blur of motion. "Owie!!" Goku exclaimed as a white board pen bounced off the side of his head.

"This is a test Son-kun, no whispering," Brief-sensei stated.

"But I wasn't cheating!" Goku protested. "It wasn't even about the test!"

A second pen took flight, this one struck Goku squarely between the eyes. "Goku?" Briefs-sensei asked in a deceptively mild tone. "How many times have we discussed not distracting your classmates while they're working?"

"But it was important!" Goku whined.

"Answer the question Goku Jr."

Goku looked thoughtful for a moment. Then he shrugged cheerfully. "I forget. I didn't know I was supposed to be keeping count."

Briefs-sensei stalked toward Goku's seat. "Quite a few times, wouldn't you say?" he asked.

"Yeah, I guess," Goku admitted.

"But here you are, still talking in class," Briefs-sensei said. "Do you think a special detention sparring session might help the message sink in?"

Goku's eyes widened comically. "No?" he replied hopefully.

"I think it would," Briefs-sensei said. "Meet me above the school as soon as the lunch period begins. Oh, and Goku, I have a feeling that this will take the whole period."

"No lunch?" Goku whimpered.

"Is this normal?" Bulma scribbled on a piece of scratch paper. She tilted it toward Bunny.

While Bulma and Vegeta had been staring at the spectacle the rest of the class had been making a show of looking studious.

Bunny's eyes darted toward Briefs-sensei, seeing that he was totally focused on Goku she quickly scribbled. "With Goku? Yeah." Then she crumpled the note and turned back to her test. Bulma got the message and did like-wise.

For the remainder of the period Goku remained a model student, attentive, quiet, his eyes never strayed form the board. But when the next teacher came in Goku's natural exuberance reasserted itself.

He was constantly asking his neighbors for help, or offering help himself. He asked about what everyone had done over the break and about their plans for the weekend. His seat was too far from Bulma's for conversation but he still managed to pass her three different notes during the second period alone.

Bunny rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Just ignore him," she instructed. "Paying attention to Goku is like feeding a stray."

Bulma blinked in surprise, Bunny's attitude toward Goku showed a marked contrast with her general air of cheerful friendliness.

While Bulma sat half-way across the room from Goku, Vegeta's seat was just one row back and slightly to the left. Vegeta determinedly ignored the other boy's frequent overtures of friendship for almost two hours before exploding. "Don't you ever shut up?" he demanded furiously.

Goku looked moderately bewildered, "Why are you yelling?" he whispered. "You're gonna get us in trouble."

"Us, Son-san?" the teacher asked. "I believe Itsuni-san's efforts to remain on task are quite commendable."

Goku chuckled and scratched at the back of his head. "I'm sorry Priori-sensei. I guess I didn't hear you when you started lecturing."

"Buckets, hall, and stand where I can see that you aren't talking to anyone," the teacher instructed.

"Not talk to anyone? But what if someone talks to me?" Goku asked. "They'd think I was being rude if I didn't talk back."

"I'm sure this hypothetical person will survive Son-san."

After about ten minutes Bulma noticed that Goku had put a unique spin on the concept of holding buckets. He had flipped into a one-handed hand-stand, one brimming full bucket balanced on the soles of his feet while he held the other in his free hand. While she watched Goku bit his lip in concentration, he pushed off with his supporting hand then tried to trade the bucket over to that hand and catch himself. To Bulma's shock he managed to complete the maneuver, but not smoothly enough. The bucket balanced on his feet over-turned soaking both the boy and the surrounding hall.

Priori-sensei sighed but otherwise refused to acknowledge Goku's antics. Goku flipped back to his feet and shook the excess water out of his hair before running outside. A few seconds later he returned with a newly filled bucket. A few moments after that the secretary arrived with a mop and a stern expression, both for Goku.

Goku disappeared as soon as the lunch period began, presumably he was doing his detention with Briefs-sensei. Bulma took her lunch and went to sit by Vegeta. Once she was there she found herself at a loss for what to say to him. But the rest of the class had plenty of questions for both of them. Vegeta seemed grateful that Bulma was there to keep his classmates from focusing their curiosity fully on him.

By the time lunch ended Bulma had told their classmates how OSHS compared to her old high school thus far: The class-size was smaller, at OSHS the science and math programs were more rigorous, the English teacher droned more. The walk to school was a little longer, but she didn't mind, the exercise was good for her.

She explained that they seen her at the last District Martial Arts Tournament because she'd only managed to unseat her old school's second a few months ago, but she had been in the audience and she'd been very impressed by OSHS's team. She'd been surprised when Goku had been eliminated.

Several of the students snickered at that.

"Goku was slacking in his studies," Bunny explained. "His mom was going to pull him off the team if he didn't get at least a B-minus in geometry. He pulled an all nighter to get his studying done, he was half asleep at the tournament, at best."

Bulma's eyes widened, half-asleep and he'd taken third place.

She was also asked about her favorite color: teal, ice cream flavor: bubble-gum and her blood type: O-pos.

Vegeta admitted to having participated in a few local tournament when he'd been younger. He didn't say why he'd quit, where he was from or what his parents did. He said he liked silence and disliked busy-bodies. The rest of the class got his message and left him alone after that.