"How's your arm?" Vegeta asked gruffly.

Marron shrugged.

"Better." There was an awkward pause before she continued: "I got my cast off last week."

He grunted in affirmation, and then added, "That's good."

"How's your—" Marron gestured to his face, where a brilliant black eye still bloomed, courtesy of her mother. He looked away and scowled, cheeks red, and she dropped her hand to her lap.

"It's fine," he rumbled when she wasn't looking at him, and she murmured wordlessly in response.

More silence, in which was clearly audible the slight shift of fabric as Marron adjusted her position in her chair and the scuff of Vegeta's boots on the floor. Eventually Bulma came back in the room, and both occupants snapped their gaze to her, grateful for something else to pay attention to.

"Here it is, Marron!" the blue-haired woman announced triumphantly, holding up a round device. "The dragon radar."

Marron stood up, unable to keep the grin from her face, and accepted the radar, running her fingers over its smooth surface reverentially. She had never actually gotten to hold it, and she couldn't help pressing the button on top experimentally.

Nothing happened.

"Oh, damn," Bulma swore from her vantage point over her shoulder. "I could have sworn that one was working. Here—"

She snatched it out of Marron's hands, whipping out a small screwdriver-like device from somewhere on her person and prying off the back. Marron's posture slumped, and she sat down again.

"Say, Bulma, are you sure you're willing to part with all of this?" Her uncle's voice preceded him through the doorway. He was juggling a large handful of capsules, and was followed by Trunks, who was holding another handful. Bulma glanced up.

"Oh, for heaven's sake, Trunks, get the man a case, would you?"

"Sure, mom," the boy said, dumping his load onto a work table.

"Because there's a lot of stuff here," Seventeen continued, carefully spilling his burden next to the pile Trunks had made and rooting around in it. "I don't mean to sound ungrateful or anything; I'm sure it will all come in handy, even the… toaster…"

"Here," Trunks said, handing him a small box. Her turned to his mother. "Now can I go to Goten's?"

"No, Trunks," Bulma said absently, still fiddling with the dragon radar.

"…and the jet skis…" Seventeen continued.

"Seventeen, if there's one thing I've learned searching for the dragon balls, it's that you have to be prepared. I can't tell you how many capsules I've gone through out there. They get blown up, shot at, fall down ravines…"

"But mom, I'm supposed to help him with his math homework."

"We're not going to get shot at, are we?" Marron squeaked, and then cleared her throat. "I mean, not too much?"

Seventeen laughed.

"Don't worry, bug, I'll have my whole gun collection with us. Even if we do get shot at, we'll be on even ground with whoever's stupid enough to mess with us."

"If Goten is that desperate for help with his math homework, he has Gohan. You are still on probation, young man, and right now that means helping Marron and Seventeen get ready. Now, hand me that box over there, would you, the one with the solder in it."

Trunks complied, grumbling. As he passed Marron he gave a half-hearted tousle at her hair, which she answered with a squeal, hands flying to her head.

"Trunks! You messed up my hair!"

"Trunks, don't be childish," his father reprimanded, and the boy cringed.

"Sorry, Marron," he said, somewhat sincerely. She hmphed and set about fixing the damage.

There was silence then, filled only with the buzz of a soldering iron and the click of capsules being fitted into a case. After a few minutes Bulma snapped the casing back on the radar and turned it on.

"A-ha!" she exclaimed triumphantly. "Good as new!"

Marron, hair back in place, took the device and pressed the button experimentally. She had to click it a few times before it zoomed out enough to see anything, but there, on the edge of the screen, to the west, was the two star ball. She felt the corners of her mouth lift up in a wide smile, and she looked up into her uncle's eyes to find an answering expression.

This was going to be fun.


There is an 80% chance that there will be a sequel to this. Until then, thank you so much for your reviews and your warm reception into the Dragon Ball Z fandom. See you over in Conversations in the Gravity Room!