If anyone from his real life could see him now, they would double over in laughter. Not simply because the sheathed sword at his back now dangled a rather conspicuous red tassel, or even because of the strange golden horns sprouting from either side of his head. It also didn't have anything to do with how he was suddenly flying around on his father's ship, a fact he could not mention aloud seeing as to how his father was a rather vicious bastard with a firm understanding that Trunks was only ten or so years younger than himself. Not to mention Vegeta had no knowledge of having borne a heir since, technically, he hadn't. Though the lavender haired boy suspected he might prefer to go ahead and acknowledge him so as to not bother going about the process in the first place.
Not that Trunks understood the inner workings of Vegeta's mind in order to gage how his father felt about breeding or sons or, well, anything that could be considered personal. Had he known his father in his own timeline he'd more than likely still not have had a conversation breaching intimate matters.
No, the reason his friends and family would laugh was because for the first time in his sixteen years, Trunks had absolutely no clue as to what to do. He'd survived the slaughter of his people, the murders of the last of his friends, and watched the death of his mentor, but had always managed to stay serious and confident and sure. But the fact of the matter was Trunks had absolutely no idea what he was doing here. Or how he'd gotten there. Well, he had a general idea of how, but no notion of how it was possible. Or why, for that matter, he'd somehow skipped from 'alternate timeline' to 'alternate dimension' and nothing was as it was supposed to be.
His mother had smiled that sad, weathered smile of a woman who had outlived everyone she loved and bid him good luck and farewell. The plan was simple: Go back in time, warn his father and friends about Dr. Gero's androids so they could escape their fate and return in three years to help fight the brother-sister duo that made his life a living hell.
Instead, he'd turned the dial on the time machine, been knocked out, and had woken up on a planet he'd never heard of to a people he'd never seen before. Apparently they'd flagged Captain Vegeta since the mysterious boy had horns and, hey, why not.
Trunks frowned and touched the new features, shaking his head. Weird.
He'd waited patiently, baffled by circumstance, until a man looking just as the pictures of his father approached. Except this Vegeta had horns, an eye patch, and possession of a wardrobe far more ridiculous than he suspected anyone his mother could have fallen for.
Apparently his horns made him trustworthy and his ki ensured he'd be a formidable ally. Vegeta had taken him onboard and the rest was history.
At first he'd chalked it up to a bad dream. Except dreams didn't last this long, and it certainly didn't hurt this much to get kicked in the stomach during training sessions.
And he still didn't understand how he'd gotten there. Trunks pulled the capsule from his belt and fingered the cool metal with a thoughtful frown. It was broken from the crash, but perhaps he could have Usoop take a look at it, if only the man wasn't so flighty. The ship was broken, but with a little repair he knew he could return to his own world. He just didn't know how to find someone who could fix it for him without being labeled certifiably insane. Which he was ninety-eight percent sure he wasn't.
"Whatever you do, don't look down."
At her partner in crime's words, Bulma's blue eyes darted downward and she immediately skidded to a stop.
"Bulma," the redhead shouted, casting a brief look back as she continued to sprint ahead, "I said don't."
"Well you shouldn't have said anything," she shot back, but she did lift her gaze from two hundred foot drop elapsing beneath their feet between the metal slats of the walkway they were bustling across. Once Bulma was confident her stomach was still situated somewhere inside of her belly, she took a deep, calming breath and picked up her pace.
Nami continued a few paces ahead, the duffle bag slung over her thin shoulder bouncing against her hip as she sprinted towards their ship. It was pleasantly full, and she wanted to live long enough to count out the exact amount. She was usually in favor of stealing more ornate treasures, but she was never one to pass on cold, hard cash.
Once the vessel came into view, Bulma sighed in relief as the other girl opened the hatch and tossed her bag inside. Nami held open the door with one hand until the blue haired woman flung herself inside, and as she was slamming the door closed and locking it securely, Bulma fired up the ship for takeoff.
The launch was relatively smooth, and both women watched the welcoming sight of the blackness of space as it encompassed the windshield. Their breathing returned to normal and their heartbeats slowed to a somewhat standard pace.
It was calming, the stillness of their surroundings rather serene. And then, Nami broke the silence. "Dammit Bulma!"
The other girl flinched slightly, biting down on her tongue and loosening her iron-grip. The spaceship gave slightly as a result of her release on the controls. She'd been waiting for the freak-out that was to come, however, and fully ready to shrug off the blame.
"You said no one would be guarding the safe during lunch!"
"Well, I tapped into the security feed every day last week, and the guard left each day at the same time without bothering a replacement." Bulma let out a frustrated sigh. "It happened six days straight. No mistake, just our shitty luck he wasn't hungry this afternoon."
Nami's arms crossed against her chest. "Shitty luck that could have gotten us killed."
"But it didn't." Bulma winked. "We're alive and, hey, look at that, we got the money so it's all good."
"All good?" Nami blinked in disbelief, though the other woman's calm demeanor never faltered. "He saw us Bulma!"
"Just for a second," she shrugged, "and then I knocked him over the head with the fire extinguisher. It wasn't murder, just a loss of a few thousand dini. If he's smart, he won't blab that he got knocked out by a couple chicks. Trust me Nami, the only thing we've got to worry about is how we're going to spend this money."
"Alright Krillin," Chopper chirped. At the sound of his name, the bald man in turned to watch as the small reindeer tipped his pink hat. "I'll go sound the horn and round up the passengers!" he sang before scampering off, leaving Krillin alone in the engine car with his thoughts.
He quite liked he and Chopper's train tour business. It wasn't mind-numbingly dull, he got to set his own hours, and though the route was rather repetitive, he enjoyed having a never-ending supply of tourists to laugh at his recycled jokes. Though sometimes he wished his friends weren't worlds away doing Kami-knows what while he did the same thing each day. Krillin was lonely, and truth be told, more than a little starved of female company.
He wasn't even looking for sex necessarily. Though that would be nice. No, it was simply a lack of social life, and a shortage of women in general. He watched through one of the small, round windows as his bubbly friend gathered the slew of camera toting, fanny pack-donning tourists. He wondered what part of 'vacation' implied dressing like a toddler and wearing a constant doe-eyed expression.
Shaking his head, the bald man turned back around and frowned. The upbeat song that had been blaring through the cabin to greet the strew of visitors ready for a tour of Capitol City cut off and there was a bit of static before the booming voice of a newscaster began the daily police reports.
It was never all that interesting, but with a sense of morbid fascination Krillin leaned back and listened to the torrent of petty vandalisms and vague accounts of pickpockets until one tale made him grin.
"And be on the lookout for a pair of women, attractive and possibly armed, who have recently cleaned out the Federal Army's Capitol City safe." At this, Krillin shook his head. "These are dangerous females," the voice continued, before proceeding to give their approximate weights and heights in the universal standard. Krillin scratched his head as the newscaster went on to call the space thieves 'buxom', and he wondered who was in charge of writing these mid-day reports.
Before he could contemplate anything further, the door slid open and Chopper took a seat behind the train's controls. He listened to the brief account of a West Market vegetable thief, and asked, "Anything interesting?"
"Well, I think Bulma and Nami came to Capitol City and didn't even bother to say 'hello'."
Chopper laughed, unsurprised, and informed him the guests were all on board. Getting to his feet, Krillin entered the passenger car for the start of his tour, but found himself blushing as he caught sight of one passenger in particular. She had a folded map in her hand and the wide-eyed tourist expression, but he didn't care. She was tall, beautiful, blue haired, and, speaking of buxom… He cleared his throat and continued, but not without the reminder of how deprived of female company he'd really become.
"Shit," Nami breathed, blinking down at the radio before turning to the sleeping blue-haired woman at her right. "Bulma," she said, louder than her curses had been, and roughly shook the other woman's shoulder.
"What?" Bulma finally growled, her eyes still closed and her peaceful expression of slumber shifting to a frown.
"Listen," Nami snapped, and as the accounts of their pinch at the capitol continued, Bulma's eyes opened and she cast the radio an irritated expression. While Nami panicked in the navigator's seat, Bulma sighed as though this was simply a nuisance she didn't feel up to dealing with at the moment.
Then, her impatience melted to exasperation. "Did he just call us buxom?"
Nami didn't seem to find any humor or affront in this accusation, and simply paled as she thought about their newly acquired treasure being traded in for pinstriped prison uniforms.
"We're going to get caught!" She finally shouted, and Bulma shot her an impassive stare. "They'll know it was us!"
"Nah," Bulma shrugged, leaning back in her chair with a yawn. "We'll be fine."
"Yeah, just… give me a minute." Taking her lower lips between her teeth, she bit down and sawed the flesh gently with her incisors. "Set our coordinates to Planet Wayne in the F-quadrant."
"Uh," Nami blinked, her fingers flying over the controls, "Okay. What for?"
"For our alibi, of course."
Sighing, the redhead finished imputing their new coordinates and nodded. "Good." She was glad that Bulma was so exceptional at thinking on her feet. It was just like when they'd approached the vault where the Federal Army kept their pending payments to the capitol and the guard who wasn't supposed to be there most certainly was; Bulma had grabbed the closest makeshift weapon, a fire extinguisher, and knocked him over the back of the head.
"No," Bulma groaned. "Not good. Dammit Nami, I knew we should have shot him…"
There were few things that Goku enjoyed more than racing Luffy from their island house to Lunch's Diner. Very few things, in fact. He mentioned this aloud as they sprinted towards the diner, and Luffy rolled his eyes.
"Goku, I'm not sure there isn't anything you don't like."
The taller man scratched his head as Luffy pulled ahead in the race. That was most certainly not true. There were plenty of things he disliked. Needles, having to sit still for long periods of time, Bad Guys, and being hungry, just to name a few. He shook his head, and as he tried to catch up to inform Luffy of how very wrong such a statement was, he realized while lost in his thoughts he had gotten lost for real.
The dense forest opened to a clearing where a large cottage sat at its edge, smoke from a wood-burning fire drifting from it's impressive brick chimney. At the foot of the cottage was a small pond and to its left stretched a field of radishes.
All thoughts of his race gave way to the few things that could in fact top racing Luffy on his list of favorite things.
Fishing, for one, was a particular beloved pastime. And eating radishes, or eating anything really, was another.
He could not tell if the pond was stocked with fish, but it was clear that the garden's radishes were ripe. Picking one, he tossed it into his mouth, and when he bent down to swipe a second he caught sight of a girl glaring at him from across the pasture.
"Oh, hello," he grinned, greeting the girl with a wave and helping himself to a second crop. "Are these your radishes?"
The petite girl started towards him, her legs closing the distance between them quicker than expected. Goku finished chewing the radish as she crossed her arms over her chest, one foot tapping rapidly against the solid earth.
"Yes," she finally managed through her clinched teeth. Goku thought she would be rather pretty, if it didn't look like her head would explode at any moment. Her cheeks flushed as he maintained eye contact and bent for a third radish. Before he could take a bite, the woman had swiped it and was clenching it in her fist.
"Oh wow," Goku laughed. "You're quick! Good job."
This only served to infuriate her further. He thought the radish might burst in her grip.
"What are you doing here?"
"Well, I was racing my friend, but I seemed to have gotten off course." His eyes trailed from the glaring, dark haired woman to the water in the distance. "Are there fish in that pond?"
"Wha-?" She blinked a few times, and then tossed the radish at his head. He wasn't looking or anticipating things being thrown at his skull, so there was no time to dodge. Instead, it smacked him squarely and bounced off his forehead before falling to the ground with a hollow thud.
"Hey!" Goku groaned, his eyes darting from the pond to the radish to the still piqued girl. "What did you do that for?"
"Go away." She sniffed. Her dark eyes narrowing as Goku rubbed his head and gave a one-shouldered shrug.
"Fine." He answered, turning and walking away from the pond, the radishes, and the strange woman. Before he'd made it off her property, he turned slightly. "I'm Goku, by the way."
Her expression hardened as she watched him, unmoving, from the center of the radish patch. She didn't answer, but her foot had stopped tapping which Goku took as a good sign.
"Well," he grinned, shooting her another wave, "Nice to meet you, then."
She didn't offer a reply and so he sprinted in the other direction, hoping to catch up with Luffy. The detour would put him at a severe disadvantage, but he was a master at winning while he was behind and so didn't give it much thought.
Nami had never visited this particular planet before, but she had seen enough Western films to find the irony in her surroundings. Tumbleweed crossed before their ship, and as they approached town she noted the wooden structures flanking the dirt road were labeled 'Saloon' and 'General Store'.
"You have the strangest friends, Bulma," she mumbled as her companion encapsulated their ship.
"It's not going to be pretty," Bulma sighed. "But it's all I could think of at the time."
She led them to a building bearing the name 'Sheriff's Office', and Nami self-consciously patted the laser pistol at her thigh. Being in the vicinity of the law made her nervous, and though Bulma assured her they were safe, she felt better knowing it was there.
Pushing through the slated swinging doors, they met a pair of sleeping men, their faces skewed by tipped, wide-brimmed hats. Bulma cleared her throat and one of the men behind the desk jumped to his feet. At the sight of the pair of scantly clad women, his wrinkled mouth shifted into a smile. And then he laughed.
"Bulma, ah," his brows wiggled suggestively, "and what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I need a favor," she sighed at the confession, crossing her arms to convey her feelings on the matter. "I see you have a new deputy, Roshi."
"Yep," the old man nodded. "Sanji!"
At the sound of his name at that decibel, the other man shot to his feet and did a quick sweep of the room. While Nami's face fell in horror, Bulma rolled her eyes at the stack of magazines that littered the desk. He was tall and slender, with long blond hair. While two men's appearances were vastly different, Bulma had no difficulty spotting the resemblance as soon as Sanji's eyes met her partner's.
"Nami," he sighed, "it's been too long."
"This is your plan?" Nami demanded, turning her glare on Bulma, who shrugged.
"A friend of yours?"
"We go back," Nami muttered. Bulma knew Nami's life before becoming her partner in thievery was as a navigator on a small boat on one of the border planets. The universe was small, but it always struck Bulma just how small it was at times like these.
"So," the blue haired woman nodded towards Roshi, who was staring intently at Nami's chest. "You're going to say we've been in prison here, got it?"
"What?" Roshi asked, clearly confused by the woman's sudden arrival and her strange demand. "Why would you want that?"
Quickly, she explained that they had run into some trouble and needed an alibi. "And you're going to enter a record that shows Nami and I were being held in a cell here two nights ago, got it?"
Roshi scratched his chin, and beneath his contemplative expression Bulma caught the shadow of a lewd smile. "It would take a bit of effort to fabricate records…"
Bulma's eyes rolled. "Name your price."
She'd been expecting something similar, so even though her face puckered, she sighed and reached a hand beneath her skirt, tugging off her underwear. Extending them towards the old sheriff, whose eyes were now gleaming brighter than his five-pointed badge, she mumbled, "Letch."
He snatched them quickly, and though his nose bled and mouth foamed contemptuously, Bulma knew it was a much more agreeable fate than was to met for being caught stealing from the Federal Army.
"Now," Sanji grinned. Sometime during the exchange he'd pulled out a carton of cigarettes. Flicking a bit of ash from the tip of one before taking a long draw, his eyes focused on Nami. "What about me?"
Through clenched teeth, she muttered; "What do you want?"
"I'd rather be locked up."
"On the cheek."
Her glare hardened.
"Nami," Bulma laughed. "At least the perv with a crush on you isn't a geezer. Just give him what he wants; it's just a kiss."
"Can't I just give the old pervert my panties?" She frowned, her eyes darting from the elderly sheriff to the grinning blond man who had once been the chef in her old crew. Though her fists clinched at her sides, Nami sighed and leaned in, giving the blond man a quick peck on his left cheek. He gave a dreamy sigh and she promptly stomped on one of his feet.
While Sanji cursed, Roshi set the panties aside and nodded in Bulma's direction. "While you're here, can I get you to take a look at my com device? It's been fuzzy lately."
Bulma rarely, if ever, fixed things when there wasn't profit involved or if it weren't for her own benefit. However, she was trying to persuade Roshi to lie to the law for her, so she took out a capsule of tools and set to work on his communicator without audible complaint.
The only interruption was the old man trying to look up her skirt, which resulted in his being conked in the head with a wrench, and occasional exchange of words between Nami and Sanji. When she was done she stepped away from the newly restored device.
Roshi turned the dial a few times and nodded in approval while Sanji rubbed her shoulder affectionately.
"Wow Bulma," he smiled, his eyes dancing as she blinked at his sudden proximity. "You're beautiful and smart. A gem, really."
"Hey, I think I like this guy Nami," she giggled, while her partner turned from the three of them and rolled her eyes.
She wished she'd just shot the guard in the capitol herself and avoided this whole mess. Or she'd gone to prison. Either way it meant she wouldn't be here, and at that moment either sounded better than their alibi.
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Fluctuating Chapter Lengths. –sigh-
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