Author`s Note: Sorry if you`re disappointed by the lack of a Linkin Park song given the history of the Hybrid Theory fanfic series but... Well... There weren`t enough Linkin Park songs, so I`ve decided to move on to songs from other bands.


Hybrid Theory
Next Year

I'm in the sky tonight
There I can keep by your side
Watching the wide world riot and hiding out
I'll be coming home next year

"It`ll be nice to go home,"
Trunks thought as the group began filing into the airbus. He paused though, setting his foot on the ramp and gazing over his shoulder at the still-smoking arena with passing amusement. While it had all seemed so very dramatic, action filled and otherwise brutal at the time, it was almost funny in a macabre sort of way. On the downside, it reminded him of the scorched out city his timeline`s Gohan had died in. That spoiled the humor of it somewhat, but it didn`t ruin it all. The look that was probably on the announcer`s face made up for that much without a doubt. Trunks couldn`t help but feel a little sorry for the fellow, who no doubt would be a little annoyed to say the least that half of his arena facilities were blasted out of existence.

"Trunks, come on!" Bulma called out to the future incarnation of the cackling baby being held by her own ex-boyfriend, the latter of which wasn`t paying much attention to things at large. "Shouldn`t father be coming with us?" Trunks asked, turning back to his mother while beginning to walk up the short ramp into the airbus. "Vegeta`s being pissy right now so he can fly home on his own!" Bulma replied harshly. Trunks cowered back a bit and finished walking into the airbus, only to find Yamcha handing him the child version of himself before darting out of the airbus. "Don`t even think it Yamcha!"

He was gone by the time she finished. "Damnit, not him too," Bulma grumbled as Roshi, Umi, Puar and Oolong all climbed into the airbus and immediately gathered at the rear of the vehicle, intent on avoiding being within arms` reach of Bulma.

Trunks on the other hand seemed to court death, sitting in the front passenger`s seat. "I think I`ll be heading home soon," he stated, changing the subject rather quickly and causing Bulma to look slightly paler.

"When?" She asked. Trunks shrugged. "Whenever the machine is ready, I guess," he replied. Bulma frowned slightly and flipped the key in the ignition, causing the airbus to immediately hover a few inches from the ground before roaring off into the air with an engine growl loud enough to put some Harleys to shame, but at the same time, essentially silent within the confines of the craft.

Into the sun we climb
Climbing our wings will burn white
Everyone strapped in tight
We'll ride it out

Yamcha streaked through the skies, following a silver trail of vapor more with his senses than with his eyes. He had retired from fighting by now, he had wanted to back when he first began his career in baseball, trained only infrequently to keep himself ready for the worst case scenarios, if he survived them to begin with. His heart had never really been in fighting after he`d conquered his fear of women, probably why he had been the first to fall in the battle with Nappa, Vegeta and the Cyba Men. He hadn`t been fighting at his fullest anyway, he never did after the fight he`d lost to Tien at the 22nd Tenkaichi Budoukai, which was a bittersweet memory in and of itself.

He shook his head at the memories of the hopeless fights he`d seen and gone through, especially Cell. For the semi-pacifistic, sometimes cowardly(and rightfully so, mind you) Yamcha, Cell had been a nightmare. Facing off with those miniature demons of his hadn`t been much more fun, but Yamcha didn`t focus on it. Just a few more scars to deal with, nothing new. "Vegeta!" He called out once he got into range of the other, uncertain if the Prince could hear him.

"What is it now?!" The voice echoed back. Yamcha took a deep breath and sped up until he was matched up with the other, looking at him with one of those chastising expressions that only a human could give. Vegeta was unamused, to say the least. "What do you want, human?" He barked over at the other, who was calm despite the mismatch in power. He didn`t really fear Vegeta anymore, not when people like Gohan could slap the Prince down with one arm and not even break a sweat if they had to.

"What the hell were you thinking back there Vegeta?" Yamcha asked as bluntly as he could manage with a straight face. Vegeta snorted. "What the hell do you think? The brat needed a reality check and I gave it to him," he answered harshly. "Reality check? Vegeta, I hate to say it but of everyone I know, you are the least-qualified to give anyone a reality check!" Yamcha responded with an unusual wit. Vegeta narrowed his eyes.

"Still bitter over losing your woman?" He asked. Yamcha just gave a shrug. "I told you the last time you went ballistic over nothing and left Capsule Corp when your old partner came back*, I got over it. We weren`t meant for each other anyway and I`m fine with being friends with her," Yamcha replied as casually as if giving the weather. "Or are you bitter you got stuck with her? Or are you bitter that no matter how hard you try, there`ll always be someone stronger than you?"

Vegeta grimaced and looked away. "Figures," Yamcha replied. "Get over it Vegeta, nobody keeps up with the Sons, not when they`re on a kick like they have been lately," he stated. Vegeta looked back at him and grimaced, looking half-ready to kill Yamcha on the spot. "Can`t handle the facts?" He asked. Vegeta snorted. "Get over it," Yamcha replied to the glare the Prince gave him. "I lived my life in bondage to a fucking albino dictator and then I had what was left of my life turned upside down, not once, not twice, but three times!" He replied angrily.

"Which were?" Yamcha asked while turning on his side. He hadn`t ever realized it, but he didn`t much like flying this way anymore. "First, that idiot Kakarot surpasses me, repeatedly no less!" Vegeta growled. "And then, then the woman has to go and get pregnant after what should have been a damned one night stand," he added. Yamcha was smug at that one, for him it was like a karmic revenge when Bulma cheated on him that night and got pregnant because of it, though he still thought of her as a friend, to the extent that she named him as Trunks` godfather.

"And then, then Kakarot`s brat surpasses me as well, not just by a leap and a bound as Kakarot himself did, oh no, but rather, by every fucking measuring tool one can have! A child, Yamcha, a fucking half-breed whelp that doesn`t even love to fight!" Yamcha shook his head. "For one, Goku surpasses everyone like that, it`s a fact of life. For another, you`ve got a son that`s going to do you proud someday," he added a few seconds later, concealing the tinge of envy in his voice quite well. He was over Bulma, but the old possibilities still got to him at times.

"And for a third, Gohan`s always been abnormally powerful, and since he is a hybrid of a Saiyan and a human, he`s got the best of both worlds. He has a human heart and soul, but he`s got Saiyan power and a body to back it up," Yamcha explained. "It`s not really a surprise for anyone who`s actually gotten to know him, he`s surpassed Goku by now just as much as he`s surpassed you," he added. Vegeta flinched.


Into the sun we climb
Climbing our wings will burn white
Everyone strapped in tight
We'll ride it out

"Move on Vegeta. Your life is waiting on you and you`re too caught up in honor fueds which can never, and never will be resolved to enjoy it."

For the first time, Vegeta allowed himself a shred of respect for a human. He looked over to Yamcha and shook his head. "I can`t move on, not yet," he replied. "Then stick it on the back burner, you have a family now and you need to take care of them," Yamcha stated. "The woman is smart enough to take care of herself, and if the future Trunks is any indication, so will the boy."

"And that makes a difference, how?"

Vegeta began to slow, and Yamcha slowed down with him, until the two were at a complete stop several miles in the sky. "Good point," the Prince finally conceded, turning around and blazing away from Yamcha, who finally allowed himself to wipe a bit of sweat from his brow. He hadn`t realized that simply flying could be so stressful.

"I guess I could just rest for a while," he thought to himself, hovering down slowly towards the ground.

I'll be coming home next year
Come on get on get on
Take it till life runs out
No one can find us now

Trunks smiled, sensing Vegeta turning around and heading towards the Capsule Corporation building. "Then we`re going to have to throw a going away party," Bulma finally broke the near silence. Trunks looked towards her with a raised eyebrow. "What?" She asked. "Nothing," Trunks replied, looking back out the window to his side.

"Something`s on your mind," Bulma finally said. Trunks raised an eyebrow and looked over at her. She remained quiet for a moment before leering sideways to him and speaking. "I know my son, even if I wasn`t the one that raised you."

"... Do all mothers have some sort of sixth sense?" Trunks asked himself, looking back out of the window to his side. "Something`s on your mind, so spill it," Bulma stated flatly. "Thinking about home," Trunks replied somberly. "Meaning?" Bulma asked. "Meaning I`m wondering how things will be once I defeat the androids..."

"It`ll be hard," Bulma replied. "How many years did those two run rampant?" She asked. Trunks took a moment to think. "Fifteen or sixteen years, I think. Not sure," he answered. "Like I said, it`ll be hard. I`m sure you, my future self and the other survivors will be able to handle the rebuilding though." Trunks frowned. "It`s not the rebuilding I`m worried about. For one thing, I`m worried about Gohan`s mom in that timeline, she might have commited suicide after he died. For another," he took a moment to pause. "In fifteen years, the two of them killed more than half of the Earth`s entire population. I`m not even sure if there`s enough people left to rebuild for."

Bulma became quiet, but this time, it was Roshi that broke the silence. "Shaddap boy, act like that an` you`ll never rebuild. Hope lives even if it`s main sources die out, remember that," the old master chastised Trunks. For a moment it seemed utterly out of character, but then the old man quieted down while Bulma guided the airbus into a quick ascent to avoid the mountains they would soon be flying over.

Living with our heads underground
Into the night we shine
Lighting the way we glide by
Catch me if I get too high
If I come down

It was night time by the time things had calmed down. Gohan had arrived here roughly two hours earlier, that same grassy field, the same crater. Even the mountain was the same as it had been years earlier. The grass had grown by now, the farmer who tended the area having died the day of the fighting that had taken place here. Gohan could vaguely recollect seeing a skeleton a few dozen yards away, laying against the hood of a dusty, tarnished old truck, shotgun in hand, a bullet hole running from one side of the skull to the other.

Funny how little the growth had done to change the fact that parts of the grass, now roughly knee high to him when he stood, remained a faded shade of red. There was even still an empty set of armor a few feet behind him, an old, now faded blue shirt a few yards to his right and a fairly large crater with a pile of debris, all of it fairly rusted, laying in the center. What was left of the Space Pod after Bulma`s people had gotten it.

The moon had an eerie glow to this place, shining through the large, crescent-like hole in the mountain that set to the east.

Strangely enough, he found the place where his father and uncle had both died for the first time to be uniquely calming. Almost relaxing if not for the way it seemed to remain the way it was out of sheer sorrow for the life that had been lost that day.

Piccolo sat a few inches behind him, indian style with his arms crossed over his chest, a tensed expression on his face. Gohan leaned back and used the Namek as if he was the back of a chair. "Thanks," Gohan mumbled. Piccolo shrugged.

"Your mother`s going to have a fit," the Namek stated. It was now Gohan`s turn to shrug, which he did less than a moment later. "That`s fine by me... She`ll quiet down the moment I tell her about the money I won." Piccolo snorted. "That woman disturbs me," the Namek grumbled. "Welcome to the club," Gohan replied with a snicker. Piccolo rolled his eyes and changed the subject, wanting to avoid the frying pan jokes before they could even be said.

"Why are we here again?"

Gohan paused. Only for a second though. "It`s calming. The last time I was here was right after we left the Look Out after Cell. Before that, I stumbled on it during the days when my dad let me relax before fighting Cell. Before that..." Gohan trailed off. "I get the picture. How is this place calming though?" Piccolo asked bluntly, looking over his shoulder at the youth which had become so comfortable resting against his back. It vaguely annoyed Piccolo, but he wouldn`t do anything to stop it.

"Just is..." Gohan mumbled before falling asleep. Piccolo smirked briefly and returned to that statuesque pose he had assumed a few moments earlier. A few minutes later, Piccolo slowly got to his feet, making sure not to disturb the boy too much before scooping him up and lifting off of the ground, taking flight and heading for the Son Home a few seconds later.

It was hard to not be able to see why Gohan thought of the Namek as a second father.

I'll be coming home next year
I'm in the sky tonight
There I can keep by your side
Watching the whole world wind around and round

Time rolled on. The party was a few days later. Capsule Corp was filled with people, the warriors of the Earth and those that had come to know them as friends and in some cases as more than just that. It was a busy sort of party, but one that left nothing to be desired. A send-off to a friend and a son from the future, a good-bye of sorts and a celebration of things that had been achieved. Presently, Gohan sat outside talking to Krillin in front of the small dome house the party was taking place in. An unusual cynicism had filled the air between the two.

"There`s something I never thought I`d see," Krillin muttered with a smirk. Gohan tilted his head towards the other, who pointed into the house with a grin. Gohan nodded at the sight of Tien and Lunch kissing one another, out of sight of most of the crowd. It wasn`t a major kiss mind you, just a quick peck on the lips, but given Tien`s history with relationships it cracked a smile on Krillin`s face. Chaozu was nearby with a smirk of his own.

Zangya and Eighteen, now undergoing the process of trying to get everyone to call her Juuhachigou(it sounded more like an actual name to her, even if it was essentially the same name she`d had since waking up the first time in Gero`s lab), stood a few feet away, chatting as idly as possible to one another. Piccolo and Vegeta stood off to the side, in another of those mutual staredowns they often had with each other.

It was both fitting and unexpected that the four of them were all wearing decent clothing. Zangya and Eighteen wore outfits that were somewhat better than their usual get-ups, Vegeta had actually commited to wearing something other than a Battle Jacket by putting on a pair of loose legged khaki pants and a long sleeved, dark blue shirt. Even Piccolo wore something different for a change, the Namek was garbed in a pair of plain jeans, a pair of black-and-white sneakers and a black, long sleeved shirt, all of it obviously swiped from Goku`s closet with the aid of ChiChi, who was inside with the others.

Gohan snickered slightly as Videl emerged from the party wearing a worn-down expression. Krillin leered off to the side at Eighteen and Zangya, trying not to laugh. "Busy in there?" Gohan asked, head tilting to the side. Videl looked up at him and shook her head. "Remind me never to volunteer to help out your mom and Bulma with planning a party... Let alone helping to set things up," the girl grumbled before stumbling over to Gohan and jokingly popping him on the back of the head. The other feigned pain and watched the girl wander over to a tree and plop down, rested against it with that same tired-yet-proud expression.

Krillin elbowed Gohan in the side. Gohan raised up an eyebrow but didn`t respond. Krillin did it again. "Hey, Gohan," he whispered. "What?" Gohan whispered back. "Go hang out with your girlfriend, we won`t mind," the short monk finally whispered with a snicker, on the verge of falling over at Gohan`s annoyed expression when another figure stepped out of the house.

Trunks grinned and Krillin noted that the boy had cut his hair again back to the same style he`d had when he first arrived a few years earlier. "Headin` home, eh?" Krillin asked, stifling a laugh at Gohan, who just waved the other off and returned to his usual calm state. "Yeah," Trunks answered, noting the odd behavior of the other two. "Yeah, good thing we took the group picture when everyone first arrived," Trunks said with a sheepish smirk. "Yep," Krillin agreed. Gohan gave a nod, watching Trunks perform an odd, two fingered hand gesture over at his father before pressing his fist over his heart. He also noticed Vegeta return it with a nod.

Living with our heads underground
I'll be coming home next year
I'll be coming home next year
Everything's alright up here

A small number from inside the house filed out and into the opening behind Trunks, composed of Bulma, ChiChi, the baby version of himself, Yamcha and both of the two elder Briefs, who had managed to slip out unnoticed. Doctor Briefs` cat was still perched on the old man`s shoulder. It waved over at Gohan and Krillin before snuggling against Briefs` ear, that contented expression cats sometimes have etched onto the creature`s face.

"Well everybody," Trunks started as the group, including Videl, Piccolo, Zangya, Eighteen and Vegeta, gathered together in a row around him. "Time for me to go," he stated, tossing the capsule over his shoulder and shielding his eyes briefly as the time capsule named Hope materialized with a puff of smoke. Trunks quickly climbed inside while everyone, even Vegeta and Eighteen, gave a wave good-bye, though some didn`t voice it.

"Bye everyone, you have my love and thanks, see ya!" Trunks shouted back as the vehicle lifted up with a wave of dust. "Thanks Father... For everything," the young man from the future stated, focusing on the ever-scowling Vegeta even as the area faded into a rushing onslaught of color. Few objects littered the area, but Trunks could always make out an unfamiliar silhouette off in the distance, to the 'south' of the tunnel like path through time, one that seemed oddly feminine. He shrugged it off and let the capsule`s autopilot do the rest, passing a pair of golden streaks on the way home...

If I come down I'll be coming home next year
Say good-bye now
I'll be coming home next year
I'll be coming home next year

"I`m going home,"
Trunks thought, for the first time realizing he would never see those he`d spent the equivelent of the past three years of his life with. His eyes watered but he didn`t shed any tears, he knew they would all be just fine without him.

"So long guys..." Trunks muttered one last time as another streak of gold, a metallic streak, and a few other streaks of color, flared by him.

Everything's alright up here
If I come down
I'll be coming home next year

Gohan smiled a bit and looked over to his mother expectantly. ChiChi nodded to him and scratched her temple a moment before speaking. "We`ll go home soon, Gohan, we have to help everyone clean up you know," she reminded him. "Alright, I`ll be over there," he explained, motioning to the small wooded in forest that had been placed in where once had been a crater as the result of an embittered Saiyan warrior coming to visit his former Prince with a few issues that needed to be settled. The entire woodland spot had been placed in through transplanting of some of the trees in the forest that lay a few miles outside the city.

Gohan remained impressed by it a few months after the fact. He walked under the cover of the branches and eventually came to where he was sitting against the trunk of a tree, blissfully unaware that someone else had been there until he felt a figure pressed to his side. "Huh?" Gohan mumbled out, looking to his side and seeing Videl. Both of them blushed in near unison, but neither said a thing and both remained sitting like that, staring at one another, oblivious that someone else watched them from on-high during a break from the rigorous training imposed on those who fought in the Afterlife Tournaments.

Goku smiled.

I'll be coming home next year...

End Epilogue

Author`s Note: Hope you enjoyed this one... I know I liked writing it(was nice to do a story with no violence for once...). This is going to be the last appearance of Mirai Trunks in Hybrid Theory, at least as an actual character. He may or may not cameo in one of the later fics.

The Sh33p