Immediately post-Cell. It was going to way more angsty than it turned out, but I don't mind.

Also, I don't think Yamcha is an idiot, despite the narration.

Vegeta had gone home after Cell's defeat, not caring to see them wish a few dead people back to life, particularly since Kakarot apparently wasn't one of them. He was an utter failure, and his desire to best Kakarot had been the only thing keeping him on Earth.

Well, until now.

He landed on the lawn of Capsule Corporation and didn't immediately go inside, not wanting to get assaulted by Mrs. Briefs' unending cheerfulness or see Bulma at all, ever again, ever.

Maybe that was an exaggeration.

But how do you face a woman after watching her son die? Particularly after his father (he was a useless guy, Trunks' father) had failed to do anything about it. He was sure she didn't know about Trunks' death yet, and she wouldn't blame him for it, because she never seemed to blame anyone for anything.

But he was halfway around his third loop around the property when he saw Yamcha and Trunks land. He glared at the jagged hole in Trunks' armor as if his gaze might make it disappear. It reminded him of the hole Frieza had left in his own armor on Namek.

Trunks had killed Frieza, the creature who had killed him days prior to the boy's first appearance. And yet he hadn't killed Cell after actually watching that same boy die. The son avenged the father and yet the father...

What a failure.

Bulma was outside now, talking to the two men. He saw her point to the hole in the armor she had labored over, and he assumed that Yamcha and Trunks relayed the story of what happened, because she immediately threw her arms around Trunks and squeezed him down to her level.

How any son of theirs had gotten so tall was beyond him.

She then turned and hugged Yamcha and Vegeta had seen quite enough at this point. Turning around, he went inside through the back door and stomped up the stairs, feeling ill-tempered and unsettled.

Stopping abruptly in front of the present-day Trunks' room, he went inside. This version of Trunks had not died, and had not spent seventeen years suffering. His future-self had prevented this infant from…becoming the man that his future-self was.

Time-travel was confusing.

But he didn't want his son to grow up weak. Even though Trunks had grown up plenty strong without him, he could help present Trunks grow up strong, even though there were no androids or Cell to fight.

Leaning onto the infant's crib, he peered down at the snoozing child. He wished his hair was darker.

Trunks opened his eyes and stared at him for a moment. Vegeta tensed, expecting the usual flood of tears that the child unleashed every time Vegeta looked at him.

The baby blinked, and reached a chubby arm up at him, making a grabbing motion with his hand. "Pa…" he gurgled.

Vegeta almost smiled, but two people were coming down the hall, so he straightened up and took a step away from the crib. Bulma had screeched at him enough to know that she didn't really appreciate him getting near the baby (he didn't blame her).

Bulma and Trunks walked by, but stopped just past the door.

"You go on to your room," he heard Bulma say, and he turned to watch her enter the room. Her face was splotchy and red, she had obviously been crying over the death of the soft idiot.

He was expecting to be berated or threatened, or at the least asked 'what are you doing here?', because he hadn't been a particularly consistent house-guest for the past few months. Instead, Bulma launched herself at him, hugging him tightly and resting her face against his neck.

"I'm glad you came back," she said, sniffling.

Slowly, he put his arms around the obviously distraught blue-haired woman.

"Yamcha told me what you did," she said.

He twitched slightly. "What did he tell you?" He was sure that the scar-faced idiot had said horrible things about him, he had stolen the man's woman. If it were him relaying a story about Yamcha, he would say awful things.

"In short, you care about our son," she said quietly, and he sighed.

Of course the man couldn't even bad-mouth him. He would have preferred that to him announcing the truth willy-nilly. "Don't get any big ideas," he said. Just because he had finally come around to the idea of having a child didn't mean he was going to start getting soft, it didn't mean anything about their relationship. That had been terminated months and months ago, and Bulma had seemed fine with it.

Bulma finally let go of him and took a step back, smiling somewhat. "You don't have to be with me to be there for your kid, mister," she said. "You can even still stay here," she added.

"You're not running back to that weakling?" he asked. He had suspected from the first moment of their, well, relationship that he was designed to piss off Yamcha, and he had been fine with that. Suddenly, though, he realized that he wasn't fine with the idea of Yamcha gallivanting around Capsule Corporation, exposing his son to his weakness. He was sure it was contagious.

She actually laughed at him. "Don't be stupid." Turning to Trunks, who had been watching the conversation with an intense curiosity, she leaned down and picked him up. "Well, good morning cutie, I see your daddy didn't make your cry today!" she chirped happily. "Want to hold him?" she asked Vegeta.

His eyes widened. He had never held a baby before, and certainly not his own baby, who would probably withstand being dropped… not that Vegeta would survive long enough to know that, since Bulma would murder him.

But he took a deep breath, nodded and held out his arms. He held the infant at arm's length, and Trunks stared back at him. Why did he have to get the Briefs' coloring?

"He's not a piece of dirty laundry, Vegeta," Bulma said, sounding grumpy. He pulled the child in and Trunks immediately slumped over his shoulder.

Trunks gurgled another syllable that might have been his attempt to say 'Papa', and Bulma smiled at the two of them.

It didn't last, because the second the baby drooled onto Vegeta's shoulder, he was shoved back into his mother's arms. Blood, entrails, tears, all of those he could handle. But not drool.

"You should get some rest, Trunks is leaving early tomorrow. You have to come out and see him off," Bulma said as she put infant Trunks back in his crib. Her tone made it clear that refusing to say goodbye to Trunks tomorrow morning would end very painfully for him, so he nodded as he walked past her. She grabbed his hand.

"Thank you for doing this, Vegeta, it means a lot," she said quietly. He nodded, and left the room.

He ran into Future Trunks in the hall.

"Hey, dad," was all the boy said.

"Hey, son," was all he said back, but Trunks smiled as he went into the room Bulma had set up for him during his stay.