Chapter 7: Sweet Dreams

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"Ne, Trunks-kun…you okay in there?"

Quickly giving his head a little shake to bring himself back to the real world, Trunks looked at his friend's curious wide eyes.

"Oh, sorry Goten. I guess I was spacing out."

"Oh, I see."

"Goten-chan! We're going to get going now, honey. You can see Trunks again really soon, though, okay?" Chichi called out to him.

"Aw, but mom!"

"I mean it, young man!" Chichi flared up on a dime, something not unusual to anyone at this gathering.

"Fine…" Goten pouted a little more before slowly moving off towards his mother. He smiled as strong arms lifted him up and propped him on his shoulders.


"Haha, you sure cheer up quickly, Goten." He smiled at his little brother and rustled his hair. "Come on, bud. When we get home, I'll tell you that story we started the other night."

"Really? The one about the detective who is your age, but who gets turned into like he's my age and he battles a magician thief and solves mysteries? [note: nor do I own Detective Conan] That one's cool! Thanks niichan, I can't wait!"

As Trunks watched the little scene, he felt the return of a slight, dull ache in his chest. Something he hadn't felt for a while, now…I wonder why my thoughts have been so blocked off to niisan for the last hour? I didn't even notice he was freaking out at Android 18 until after Gohan did, and I still don't quite get the reason. And then he went off with dad, and everything's been blank. It's like we aren't connected right now…

He smacked himself for voicing his worries, even if only to himself. No, Trunks, you're being ridiculous. Oniisan just got back, and so of course there are lots of people he wants to see…not just…me…

He suddenly felt an odd warm sensation running down his spine, as if massaging the worries out of him. Looking to his left, he saw Mirai standing at the edge of the forest, sunlight beating down on him.

Oniisan! He tried calling to him, half-expecting him not to respond, but barely had he expressed his thoughts that the older man turned his head to face him and smiled.

In an instant, Mirai was crouching beside Trunks. "Hey there, kiddo."

"Oh, ummm hi." The boy was a little embarrassed…had he heard his jealous thoughts from a few minutes before? There he was, acting like a spoiled brat again!"

"Thank you, Trunks." Trunks looked up, surprised, to meet Mirai's eyes.

"For what, Oniisan?"

Mirai just smiled and pulled him in for a little hug. He then cocked his head and lightly slapped him on the arm. "You dummy. You weren't actually thinking that my relationships with dad, or with Gohan, will affect ours, were you?"

How does he know? How does he always know what's wrong with me? Man, I am SUCH an open book!

Mirai laughed, and pulled him close with one arm. "I don't know much about these Saiyan techniques, Trunks, but it seems like the telepathy works in two ways: If you have a connection with someone, you can purposefully speak with them, like we've been doing…but the other way, you can let someone in if your emotional state matches theirs, or…if your thoughts are somehow aligned."

"So earlier, when you went to talk with dad…"

Mirai nodded. "Dad and I found we have some…tendencies to think a certain way…in common. If you couldn't listen in at all, it means that you, I'm very glad to say, don't have these same tendencies."

Trunks pressed his lips together. Somehow, he didn't like hearing that. Why didn't he have something that could let him talk to his dad? He wanted to be close to both of them…he didn't want there to be anything separating them.

Mirai frowned. "Trunks, I need you to understand. Father and I found common ground first in that we both had difficult pasts. Sometimes it's difficult to get over that, and it was for him, and has been for me. Your past, Trunks, was different from father's and mine, and I am very grateful for that. Don't you dare wish for anything different. You are great as you are. You don't need an imperfect past to relate to me or to father."

Trunks looked up at him. Why was it that everything made so much sense when Mirai said it?

"Do you want to know what dad told me at the end? What the most important thing he said to me was?

Trunks nodded.

"That I needed to stop living in the past. In a dead world with bad memories. I need to be able to live a new life, and strengthen new relationships. In short, he told me to live for the future. You, Trunks, are the future. Will you help me? This world isn't familiar to me, yet. I need you to show me how I can live here."

Trunks let the words settle onto his heart. He looked up at Mirai and nodded. His heart was once again filling with a warm, comforting glow. As if he'd downed hot chocolate on a snowy day…

How could he have been so stupid? How could he have doubted Mirai?

"Oh, THERE you are Trunks! I mean both of you! But um, Mirai! People are leaving, so come over to say bye, okay?"

"Got it, mom, I'll be there in a sec!" Mirai called out.

He looked back at Trunks. "I guess we'll have to finish this a little later."

"One question, oniisan. Do you promise to tell me about yourself? Whatever I ask? You won't hold anything back from me? Even if you think it's to protect me?"

Mirai looked at the ferocity dancing in the boy's deep blue eyes, considering him for a minute. "Okay, then. I can't promise everything at once, but I'll answer as well as I can. I know that you'll see right through me if I'm holding back, anyway. And I want you to know me as well as possible. Is that acceptable?"

"Yeah, it'll do." Trunks grinned up at him.

"Yabe! Mom's probably getting all worked up by now…" Mirai and Trunks quickly scurried over to an annoyed looking Bulma, tapping her foot, and arms crossed.

"Well, look who decided to show up after all!" After holding Mirai in a steady glare for a good 5 seconds, her face softened and she winked.

Turning to face the group, all lined up, Mirai felt a sense of immense joy. The group was just so...big. So different from his own time, it was astounding. And yet, it was okay for him to be here. It felt right for him to be here. The z-fighters all looked at him affectionately (with the exception of 18, but Mirai was consciously avoiding where he'd glimpsed her, leaning against the wall of the building.

After saying their goodbyes, the z-fighters blasted off, finally leaving only the Briefs and the Sons (and Videl).

"Well, Trunks, we'll be seeing you soon!" Goku said cheerfully, before shooting a challenging smirk off at Vegeta, who was standing a ways back.

"Yeah, see you!" After this, Goten leapt into his arms-which he was prepared for this time, and tossed him into the air before flying up to catch the laughing 10-year old as he flipped back down. Hmm. Goten's such a kid. I doubt Trunks would let me do THIS with him, Mirai thought, looking at his counterpart. Not that he wanted him to be more kid-like. He loved his little brother's quick mind and complex feelings. It just might be easier on him if he had some of the care-free spirit which Goku and Goten were so obviously overflowing with.

Setting the youngest son on the ground, he hugged Videl and Chichi, promising to visit soon, and gave Gohan a peace sign.

"Don't forget about our lessons," Mirai warned.

Slapping his forehead, Gohan groaned. "Oh, and here I was hoping you'd forgotten, what with everything else going on!"

Mirai chuckled. "Sorry, but no such luck. I'll make sure to stop by to do something less serious, though. Maybe Videl could show us what humans do for fun?" He joked.

"Sounds great. Take care, Trunks, and I'll be seeing you soon." Gohan put his hand on Mirai's shoulder, and held his gaze before crouching down to ruffle Trunks' hair.

"Ja na!" With a flash, Goku Instant Transmission-ed the group away.

"Oh, man, what a day, huh? Mirai, honey? Why don't you go get settled in your room, okay?"

Vegeta had vanished shortly after (or perhaps before) the Sons left to go train. Based on the location of his ki signature, Mirai would have to guess he'd resigned to the GR, which, he had the feeling, was more the Saiyan Prince's room than his bedroom was to him.

He, Trunks and Bulma had sat at the kitchen table for a while, drinking tea and just enjoying each other's company in silence after the busy events of the day.

Registering his mother's question, Mirai answered "Oh sure. Uh, which one is it?"

"The same room you used last time, hon." Bulma smiled at him.

"I'll get it ready for him!" A suddenly hyper Trunks yelled.

"Okay, Trunks" Bulma responded with a slightly suspicious tone, but the little boy had already flown up the stairs to do whatever "preparations" he thought needed doing.

This left Bulma alone with her future son for the first time since he'd returned. Her eyes roamed around his face before settling on his eyes, and Bulma suddenly moved close to him, putting a hand on each of his arms. "I'm so glad you're here, Trunks. You've really become an amazing man, you know. I mean, you already were, but looking at you now, I'm just so, so proud of you." Her voice got a little softer as she continued. "I know I'm not the mother you grew up with, Trunks, but I hope I can do something-anything to help you the way she did. I love you, and please know that I am so glad to have you in our family."

With that, she embraced her grown-up son in what may have been a bone-crushing hug had he not had his saiyan power. The gentle pressure felt very comforting, and he gently hugged her back.

"So, dad mentioned it?"

"Yes, he did. I can't believe you didn't mention it before, Trunks! Of course we want you to live with us!" She reprimanded him.

"Oh, sorry mom."

She just squeezed his hand in response.

"Well Trunks, you had better get upstairs to make sure your brother hasn't demolished your room!"

"Haha, will do mom. Yeah, knowing him, that IS a real possibility."

"Well, let's just hope he was already too tired from his spar with Goten to manage too much. Sleep well, Trunks."

"You too, mom."

Turning away, he was again surprised by how comfortable he felt in this different time. As he walked through the familiar labyrinth-like halls of his family's home complex, he had the odd feeling that he'd been here for years, sliding down banisters with little Trunks, training with his father, eating the delicious meals his grandmother always prepared, mediating his mother and father's fights. Odd to feel nostalgic about a life he hadn't yet experienced. Perhaps it was because it was his counterpart's life, but he couldn't help feeling that it felt…right for him to live it too.

As he approached his bedroom, he realized that it was the same room he had used in his own time. Odd that little Trunks hadn't chosen the same one, but then again, they were different people... As he pushed through the door, he quickly suppressed a laugh. There was his large full-size bed, made up meticulously (probably by his grandmother). Or it HAD been. There was now a largish lump under the covers on one side.

Smirking, Mirai hovered over the bed, looking down at the giggling lump, before letting himself drop straight down.

"Ow! Hahaha!" "I"ve got you!" The two wrestled for a while, totally messing up the covers before flipping off onto the floor where they began to roll around...before starting a tickle war.

"No fair! You know all my …haha…most..heh…ticklish…ahh..spots! No!" The little Saiyan ascended, blasting a surprised Mirai back a few feet.

"Whoops, sorry…did I overdo it?" Mirai asked the younger boy, who powered down and flopped down, laughing.

"Well, maybe…but I have an idea for how you can make it up to me!"

"Oh?" Mirai raised an eyebrow, taking note of the little scheming look on the boy's face.

"Uh-huh!" And the boy quickly jumped back onto the bed and burrowed under the covers, beginning to fake snore.

Mirai tried (badly) to make his voice sound annoyed at the boy's antics. "Oh, I see…what happened to us getting some sleep tonight?"

"I'll go to sleep! I promise! Come on, oniisan, just this one night! I've never slept with a brother, and Goten always tells me…"

With a slight pang, Mirai remembered a similar situation, years ago, when he'd begged Gohan to let him sleep with him. It had been during a particularly rough bout of nightmares, and the security the older saiyan gave him, simply by being close, was amazing. That was one of the few nights (when he wasn't drugged) that he could remember not having a nightmare.

Smiling down at the little boy, Mirai shook his head. "You win. Now sit tight, I have to fix this bed you messed up."

"I messed up? Come on, niisan, you know that you were just as responsible as I was!"

"Well, I didn't plan the ambush, though," Mirai pointed out as he grabbed a corner of the bottom sheets and pulled them straight, continuing on to fix the other corners before plopping into bed next to the little boy.

Joining him under the covers, he felt the little boy wrap his arms around his chest. "I'm so glad you're here, niisan," the little boy mumbled. Mirai smiled, running a hand through Trunks' hair, and just held him, breathing him in. Odd how they even smelled different.

"This way you won't have nightmares, right oniisan?" Trunks' anxious little eyes looked up into Mirai's.

Having forgotten, momentarily, the odd telepathic abilities they shared, Mirai was surprised, but he quickly recovered, and nodded.

"That's right, Trunks. You'll keep the nightmares away."

The ending might have been a tad on the cheesy side, but hey- Nothing wrong with that, sometimes. Anyway, I'm not as thrilled with this as some of my others, but I hope you enjoyed it, anyway! I'll try to keep up/gain back inertia for the next chapters!

As always, thanks for reading!

Till next time! Mata ne~