Disclaimer: I don't own Dragonball Z.
A/N: The prompt for this chapter was 'embrace'- the final prompt left from the Intimacy Challenge. Thank you to all the wonderful reviewers!
It hurt to say goodbye.
Bulma took a deep breath as she set down her pair of hairdressing scissors, and ran her hand once more through Trunks' hair. "I think that should do it," she told him, doing her best to smile as she looked into his eyes through the reflection of the bathroom mirror.
"Mom –" he sighed worriedly, and she felt her cheerful mask begin to crumble, her vision blurring as she turned her face away. The sound of the chair scraping across the floor echoed in the large bathroom as Trunks got to his feet, and she found herself wrapped in his arms, his strong grasp almost crushing her.
"I'm really going to miss you," she whispered, pressing her forehead to his shoulder. It didn't seem right, this deep sense of loss- she'd known him for only a few weeks- but then again, it had taken her only seconds to fall in love with her baby. Why should it have been any different with this version of her child?
"I'll miss you too," he was saying, his voice sounding thicker than usual. "You and Dad."
She nodded, stepping back and wiping her eyes. "Thank you, for everything," she told him, and on impulse stretched up on her toes to kiss him on the cheek. He laughed, startled, and she grinned. "Now go beat the shit out of those Androids!" she told him, placing her hands on her hips.
She followed Trunks out of the bathroom, watching as he strolled ahead of her, memorising the wide shoulders and graceful movements that he had inherited from his father, missing him already.
. . .
She stood amongst her mother's roses, watching as her son joked with Yamcha, Gohan and Krillin, emptiness curling in her gut. The shadow of the time machine fell across the lawn, covering her, and she dug her cold fingers into the pockets of her dress. It was different, with Goku's death. Her knowledge of the Otherworld reassured her- she'd see Goku again, someday. But Trunks…
He was from a different timeline; a different universe. Unless he risked another trip back- and time travel was a risky business- she'd never see him again. Ever.
The sound of familiar footsteps- light, yet powerful- drew her out of her reverie with a shock that made her heart quicken, and she turned, disbelieving, to find Vegeta standing beside her.
"I thought you were gone," she whispered, not bothering to hide her surprise as her heartbeat drummed loudly in her ears.
Something flickered in his eyes, disappearing in an instant. "No," he replied, his voice laced with something- irony?- before he gave her a small, infinitesimal nod of acknowledgement, and stepped past her to examine the time machine up close.
She watched Vegeta as he walked around the machine, his eyes betraying his curiosity, though his posture was the same as always- uptight and aloof. He wore a blue shirt and jeans, and she realised that this was the first time she'd ever really seen him look comfortable in Human clothing. He looks like he belongs here, she thought suddenly, and her heart seemed to swell in her chest.
She looked up at the time machine, her gaze catching on the single word, written in her handwriting, that adorned the machine's side.
She wondered, suddenly, if the future Bulma was trying to tell her something.
. . .
She waved up at the machine until it disappeared into thin air. There were tears in her eyes, but she was grinning, happy to see Trunks so at peace with himself, happy, knowing that her son would save his world.
The others filed inside, following her mother, who had declared that lunch was ready. She lingered outside, though, not yet ready to get back into any daily routines. After three years of waiting anxiously for the Android invasion, Trunks' departure marked the end of it all. It felt… odd.
Perhaps Vegeta felt the same. She glanced over at him, where he stood leaning casually against the trunk of an old tree. The question- Are you going to stay here with me?- burned on the tip of her tongue.
"Bulma, Vegeta dear!" her mother interrupted, and Bulma turned to see the woman standing in the doorway, one hand placed firmly on her hip, the other brandishing a massive ladle. "The food is going cold!"
Bulma rolled her eyes. "Coming!" she shouted, but her mother's form had already disappeared back inside. With a sigh, and a final, secretive glance at Vegeta, she headed for the door.
She paused, half-turning to look back at the man who hardly ever used her name, and found that he was staring at her, the answer to her unspoken question burning in his eyes. Her breath caught in her throat.
She stepped forward, feeling weightless as her feet carried her across the lawn towards him. He lifted a hand towards her, palm up in invitation, and she smiled. It was such a small gesture, but from him it meant so much.
She took his hand, feeling the blazing warmth of his alien skin, so different from her own. And under the privacy of an old apple tree, she kissed him.
His lips were as soft as she remembered them to be, his smell just as sweet. She buried her hands in his thick hair, her fingers burning as she clutched at him, revelling in his embrace.
"You're home," she whispered fiercely against his mouth, eyes closed, her lips smiling. He kissed her once more in reply, hard and desperate in question- Are you sure?- and she replied in kind.
The Androids were gone, and the future lay unwritten.
But she had hope. And Vegeta.
A/N: Thank you for letting me share this story with you :) I'll be working on some of my other B/Vs from now on. Although I'm not doing a direct sequel, my collection of B/V drabbles and one-shots (365 Days with You) will be written in the same 'universe' as this story, so I might make reference to the events in this fic at some point.