A Future Spin-Off to Twice Upon a Time
Summary- It all fell apart and Bulma had to manage the pieces. Alone, she raised her son in a desolate apocalyptic world. Strong-willed and brave, she accepted this fate, moving on despite hope only coming to another timeline and not her own. Then he came back. . . and they had a new task- fixing something that was never whole to begin with.
Disclaimer- Dragon Ball Z is owned by Akira Toriyama and Toei Animation
AN- I meant to write this later on when Trunks returned home in Twice Upon a Time, but inspiration struck, so here you go.
You can read this alone without Twice Upon a Time. The only thing you need to know is that Future Trunks met a more mature and open Vegeta who time travelled as well (after he'd become more of a family-man). This Vegeta promised to wish upon the Namekian dragon balls for Future Trunks' father (and other Z-fighters besides Goku) to be resurrected.
The world at first twisted and turned, and Bulma held on tight. She never expected it to break and fall. One by one, crack by crack, everything she knew began to crumble. Goku. Piccolo. Vegeta. Yamcha. Tien. Krillin. Gone.
When she was young and innocent death was just a temporary state. A passing period that would eventually end. It was something that could be rectified by seven magic balls with stars. Now it was a harsh, dark reality, which she had no other choice but to face. Without Piccolo and Kami, and thus the guardian of Earth, death was final.
Lost. All lost. Everything that gave her hope. Even Vegeta. Her strong prince, who swore to become the best warrior in the universe, had fallen so easily. He'd been rude, cold, and distant. Never had he promised to stay. His presence moved in and out of her life, coming and going, venturing into space. . . but always coming back at some point. For sex. Still, the contact, any contact, gave her hope.
The news crushed that hope from the inside out. She'd fallen to her knees at Gohan's confession. She prayed to a guardian that was long gone. Her body shook, retched, and heaved. It battled against truth, throwing up in the corner of the dark room at Capsule Corp with sticky yellow goop devoid of substance. When she came to, she dismantled the Gravity Chamber. More like destroyed it in a rage.
The time rich with attachment and connection was over. There was nothing left.
And then a baby cried in the background. He hollered and begged, with desperation. Come back. Don't forget about me, I am here, the call said. She followed it up the stairs and scooped him up, latching on. He was all she had. The only thing.
A new Bulma was born that night as she lay in the blackness, Trunks pulled in tight against her chest. She did not sleep, but stared into the shadows, the void. A decision was made. Without hope there was only the present. Without anyone to grab onto for strength, she must be the strong one. She wrapped the blanket around herself and her son, determined to block out the cold for as long as possible.
So, life continued, one day at a time. When it became too dangerous and the androids invaded West City, Bulma took Trunks and left WST 3338926. It wasn't that hard. She'd said her goodbyes and Capsule Corp was only a structure. The essence had tumbled years ago.
They made their home in a small house away from people. It was modest compared to the lavish corporation she left. The thought struck her, how shallow and concerned over petty objects she'd been. What was really important was the lavender-haired boy who ran around and played with toys made out of scrap.
Bulma filled her days with simple tasks. She cooked and cleaned, and set aside outlandish ideas of inventions and advancement. It was hard to create when everything broke.
The unbearable fate of Gohan tipped her balance. His death was unlike the others. It wasn't only full of loss and sadness, but anger and guilt. She just couldn't accept loss anymore. If they stood back and watched, the entire planet would be destroyed. She reawakened her mind, activating it, calling forth ideas she'd buried. First, she thought of a space ship. She ventured off to hunt for materials, but ended up disappointed. There weren't enough. The androids decimated the planet in explosions and chaos. Little remained.
She walked amongst the ruin and plan B formed in her mind. Something similar to a space ship, but not. Something constructed differently. Something just as useful, but in another way. Something that created hope. Any hope was better than none, even if it was for someone else.
The air was hot, the sun low in the sky, casting distant colors across the horizon. She took in a deep breath, feeling better than in a long time. The strength that she'd created had been an outward shell, something she could hide in, but now she finally began to sense the strength of mind return.
She rummaged through buildings and piles of debris. Old factories were her best bet. She filled her hover car with everything that would fit. She'd need to make several trips, and visit other cities to get everything she required. She turned and rubbed her hands together, dirt sliding off. She wiped the back of her right palm over her tired, sweaty forehead. She was about to get into the car when she stopped and shivered, obviously not from the temperature. It was like something brushed against her, but not only physically- mentally as well.
It was familiar, a soft echo from the past. Something not forgotten, but distant. She leaned against the white car and tried to clear her head. She'd been out in the heat too long. After a few moments, she climbed into the car and took off.
The experience wouldn't leave her. She ended up returning with longing, desire for it to return. And it did.
The certainty came over her that this was where he'd died. It was something deep down, an intuition. A knowing. It washed over her and she remembered something he'd said once about Saiyan bonding. A Saiyan bond can reach beyond space. I'm not telling you this to get all sentimental, just saying we may have to deal with the consequences of our . . . coupling.
He was never one for fancy words. And he didn't use any now.
"Vegeta?" she whispered.
The energy swam around her, through her. She shrank down and cried, digging her nails into the dirt. Her heart ached and she wondered if that too might shatter. She wanted to wrap herself up in this presence, ghost (dare she use that term?), but also wished for him to move on. There was nothing here for him. She couldn't offer anything, and he couldn't give her anything in return.
She feared he'd follow her home, haunt her. Part of her craved it. No, no, it wasn't right. This wasn't where he belonged. It would be too painful, for both of them.
"You have to leave, go on. I need to move on. Y-You're dead, Vegeta. You died a long time ago. Please, leave. I love you. So, leave before I break even more."
Like an exhale, the presence fell away. It left her in stillness. Silent, unspoken emotions consumed her. She wept in defeat, wondering why she remained in a forgotten and empty realm while everyone else left, and why she'd let this last tie that remained go. Because she loved him and it wasn't right. His place wasn't here, it was to the Otherworld, a place she didn't belong.
Hers was here. In the middle of nowhere.
Timeless, Vegeta roamed. He wandered, confused, unsure, and unconscious. The remnants of unrequited vengeance surrounded him. He floated on the outskirts of Earth and the Otherworld, passing, translucent. He hadn't known he'd died. All he knew was that day, and the fact that he never got to play out the end, where he won.
But then she'd shown up. Her presence tugged at him, her soul larger than the unfulfilled vengeance and depleted pride. He hugged her as best he could. Not good enough. More. He needed her, inside and out.
The truth hit him sharp and cutting. "You have to leave, go on. I need to move on. Y-You're dead, Vegeta. You died a long time ago. Please, leave. I love you. So, leave before I break even more."
Dead. The information seeped in and he understood. He'd been seeking something he could never obtain. The fight was over. He'd never win. And Bulma. . . she was far away, in a place he couldn't reach. His presence would only leave her unsatisfied and lonely.
With that, he made a decision. To go. He knew what awaited him. He'd always been hell-bound. But any torture or terror was worse than staying here and seeing her, un-touching, unable to cross the veil.
He loved her, but she'd never know.
He left without any ability to say goodbye.
AN- I hadn't planned on having Vegeta admit loving Bulma, but I felt compelled to have him say it- just to himself. I think I was getting at that he is a spirit, and all walls fall away when you don't have a body. He has no reason to lie or hide things as a ghost. Hope you enjoyed.