Author's Note: Hi, it's me again. Some of you might recognise me as a newcomer who wrote Perfect Pranks. For those who haven't read it, I invite you to do so and hopefully you'll get a good laugh (believe it or not, when I read certain parts of it, I myself couldn't help giggling). For those who are currently following it, be assured that I'm not abandoning it. Hopefully I'm able to post the next chapter sometime later this week, because I'm currently juggling my engineering work and writing pastime.
How This Story Came into Being (feel free to skip this one, although I won't stop you from reading on): The idea for this story somehow came when I was having a breakfast. I don't know how it got into my head, but it just did. So, before it evaporated from my poor memory, I started taking notes on the details straightaway in my phone and developed the skeleton into a full-fledged chapter on my laptop computer. This story will consist of three chapters: prologue, main story, and epilogue. At this moment, the epilogue has been finished, but the main story still needs some development and refining. Compounded with the research I'm currently doing for Perfect Pranks, you may or may not have to wait for a while before the main story is published.
Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball / Dragonball Z / Dragonball GT.
Thanks for still being with me. Again, comments and reviews are most welcome. Now, on with the story. Happy reading!
He had seen everything.
The Great Saiyaman. He for the life of him would never understand the rationale of his late mentor's counterpart to don that dorky outfit and play superhero. He had to admit, though, that it was amusing to see the stupid side of Gohan, whom he had always seen as serious, calm, and no-nonsense. It was also heartwarming to see him having a chance to pursue his dream of becoming a scholar; knowing that this Gohan received a proper education by enrolling in a bona-fide academic institution, his heart brimmed with joy.
The World Martial Arts Tournament. He was about to jump into action when Gohan was attacked by those two freaks, but he knew better than to interfere. He didn't have the right to—it wasn't his timeline and his involvement would probably cause a drastic alteration along its course; he was simply an observer—so he swallowed his concerns and watched the event unfold as Gohan had his life, quite literally, drained. Besides, the Z-fighters had done nothing to prevent this, so he figured there had to be some kind of a plan. Minutes later he witnessed Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, and Krillin fly away, followed by the healed Gohan, his female friend, and a tall, red-skinned man named Kibito, so he secretly took off and covertly followed them.
Majin Buu. How the blubbery abomination refused to perish after all those attacks was just beyond his comprehension. He shuddered at the terrible thought that the Androids and Cell would have been swatted like flies by this roly-poly balloon of a monster. He was devastated when Vegeta sacrificed himself in vain, but he kept reminding himself that there was nothing he could do; in fact, there was nothing he could have done. Then it just happened: Majin Buu's killing spree, the murder of his master Babidi, his fission into evil and good halves, the birth of Super Buu, his deadly fireworks display which—thankfully, because of his Saiyan reflexes—he had been able to dodge safely, his epic battle with earth's last row of defence: the shrewd Piccolo, the wacky Gotenks, and the calculating Gohan, the arrival of Goku who had somehow managed to return to the land of the living and the then-dead Vegeta, the birth of Kid Buu, and finally the destruction of the planet itself.
The Other World. He had been dead before, so King Yemma's check-in station wasn't exactly an unfamiliar vista, save the extremely long queue. The king allowed him to keep his body because he was considered a warrior who fought for the good of mankind, which reminded him of the Cell times, and was sent to Grand Kai's planet along with the familiar faces of the Z-fighters sans the two last full-blooded Saiyans who might or might not still be fighting the monster somewhere else. Even here, he had to make his move very carefully, because the others hadn't been aware of his presence in their timeline. Then he caught a glimpse of something strangely familiar.
His counterpart. There was no mistaking it; the lilac hair gave it away. Standing beside him was that other kid who had never been too far away from him. Goten was his name, he recalled. Together, they were the two halves whom Gotenks was made of. Both had a halo just like everyone else on this planet.
"Trunks, lookie! Where are we?" asked the black-haired boy.
"I don't know, Goten. It looks like we're, um…" his friend hesitated a little before pointing at the white-yellow ring over his head, "dead." Kid Trunks was expecting an episode of panic strike, but it didn't come. Instead, he found himself face-to-face with a very gleeful Goten who was jumping and dancing around for joy. "Why are you so happy?"
"Because we're in the Other World!" he exclaimed cheerfully, then proceeded to elaborate his point, "That's where people go when they die, right? And since our moms and dads are dead, we can finally meet them!" Kid Trunks's frown became an excited smile as Goten turned around and took him by the hand, setting off to explore the new, unfamiliar grounds.
There was Trunks, the boy who was him, the boy whom he had been. He had seen him as a baby, and he had grown into a level-headed, yet spoiled, young boy due to his relatively peaceful upbringing. He could be rude sometimes, which might have been passed down from Vegeta, but his bravery and sense of control made up for it. He was the personification of pride.
And then there was Goten, the boy who never was, the boy who never would be. Goku's death prior to the Androids' arrival in his timeline had prevented his existence. He might seem clueless at first glance, but his pure heart and still-innocent thought never failed to drive him to do his best and believe that anything could happen if he tried hard enough. Both in personality and appearance, he was just like Goku: determination incarnate.
He had witnessed the little warriors' display of power at the World Tournament's youth division. Turning into a Super Saiyan at their age was nothing short of amazing, and that was an understatement. They fought extremely well as little kids. When not being pitted against each other, however, he could see the bond that had formed between them. The extent of their teamwork easily exceeded that of any interaction he had known and formed with various people before. When they fused into that whimsical entity called Gotenks—a clever portmanteau of their names, he ought to say—although they ultimately succumbed to Majin Buu, they had put up a marvellously excellent fight, one that he was sure no one else had ever seen and would never see.
Now, however, Kid Trunks and Goten were pulling pranks on the inhabitants of this planet. They were hyper little imps, and not even Grand Kai himself was exempt from their crazy antics; in fact, he was their first victim. Just imagine how one wouldn't lose his sanity if his prized possession got vandalised; that was exactly what those two did to the unfortunate elder's convertible. Somehow they had gotten their hands on a huge roll of saran wrap and the next second the Chevrolet Impala was buried in countless layers of transparent wrapping. He felt embarrassed for what his kid self was capable of, but couldn't help cracking a smile when he saw them giggling evilly and exchanged a high-five.
But then a slight trace of envy sparked inside his heart. He began to grow jealous of Kid Trunks, who had gotten a best friend for his entire life. Sure, Gohan had been his best friend, but he was not with him anymore. Besides, there had been a nine-year gap between them, so sometimes they simply didn't click. He might have hidden it from his mom, but he had always yearned of a normal childhood where terror and pain were among the last things he had to worry about. But no, life had never been easy for him. He had always been dealt unplayable cards. It all started before his birth with Goku's death. Followed by his father's. Then his friends'. And finally, he was dealt the Joker: Gohan's. It wasn't exactly fair comparing his life with Kid Trunks's because the latter was probably more difficult since he had to lose his life at a tender age of eight, but at least he had a friend he could always talk to, have fun with, and fight together with. Not even death could tear them apart; they were both here in the Other World. The luxury of such camaraderie had been a total stranger to him.
The longer he kept his eyes on the troublemakers, the more intense this envious feeling burned inside him. Call him crazy, but if it wasn't for Kid Buu who suddenly appeared out of nowhere and caused a scene before leaving as quickly as he had come, he might have broken down. The entire ruckus and its aftermath were enough to keep the two busy helping out with cleaning up the training grounds and forget about their passionate pranking for a while. He owed the pink terror a thank you.
When they were busy with their work and he himself was desperately trying to hide from the nearby Gohan, Piccolo, and Krillin, something strange happened. Not only to him, but to Kid Trunks, Goten, and other Z-fighters as well. Their halos began to fade as they felt their life force returning spontaneously, and then came Grand Kai, who was visibly upset over something. The boombox-bearing hipster elder announced that the earth had been restored by Dragon Balls on planet Namek and its inhabitants wished back to life, and that it was time for the Earthlings to return home. They prepared themselves—he could have sworn he heard Grand Kai mention something about undoing the saran wrap around his car just before being engulfed in a flash of light—and sure enough, in less than a second they were back on earth. Moments after, a telepathic transmission echoed inside his mind. It was Vegeta, who so rudely asked for the Earthlings to give out energy to defeat Kid Buu once and for all. He did as he was told to, donated almost all of his energy, and after much persuasion from Goku and Hercule Satan, the alleged World Martial Arts champion, the defeat of Kid Buu was finally announced. He then stealthily proceeded to follow the newly revived Gohan, Piccolo, Kid Trunks, and Goten to the Lookout.
High up above the earth, from behind the bushes on Kami's garden, he saw the reunion of the Z-fighters with their loved ones. Goku, Vegeta, Hercule, this timeline's Guardian of the Earth Dende, the good Buu, and a little retriever puppy arrived soon after. He could feel the love and warmth being extended to him as they reunited with each other, but then it happened. The envy struck again. He had accidentally focused his attention to Kid Trunks and Goten who were happily having a good time with the puppy, and the sight of people smiling and laughing with their family and friends only made it worse. Before he broke down and got noticed by the others, he swiftly slipped out of the Lookout and flew back to the hotel he had been staying at for the last few days. His records were still there, thanks to the wish made to the Eternal Dragon of Namek to restore the earth to the state just before Majin Buu's rampage.
Then it dawned on him. That's right, the Namekian Dragon Balls! If only he could gather information on this planet Namek, he could wish everyone in his timeline back, and he might not have to be lonely anymore. He grinned in pure joy before a voice in his mind snapped him back to reality: who would he ask to get the information from? Again, he reminded himself that he was just an audience in this timeline, not even a crew. Interactions with the Z-fighters were forbidden since they were pretty much the main casts whose decisions played a big part in keeping the earth intact, and if he did interact with them and inadvertently cause the diversion of this world's natural flow of time, he could only imagine the countless repercussions, most of them unpleasant, that might take place in the future. As much as he wanted his family and friends back, he couldn't bring himself to once again derail the timeline he had messed up with before when he gave the heart pills to Goku.
He could barely contain his sadness and anger at his inability to do anything and was about to transform into a Super Saiyan when he remembered the Z-fighters' ridiculously keen ability to sense power levels. Just before the final straw, he managed to regain his composure and began to shed a tear, which was very much unlike him. For reasons still quite unclear to him, this trip across time had proven to be too much, both physically and emotionally, and he decided to cry himself silly to sleep. It might be a good idea to stay here for a little bit longer until his emotions had stabled and his defences recovered.
Trunks had no idea how much more it would cost him by staying longer in the future of the past he was in, but there would be no point in returning as a wreck. The last thing he wanted was for his mom to see him getting back home with swollen eyes and ravaged emotions. He needed to be strong for the people of his timeline as well as himself.