Part 9

'Are you sure you want to do this?'

"Yes, I'm sure. There's nothing for me here now, anyway. Well, except you, but . . ."

'But I'm your mother and can't give you everything you need, I know. I just don't know if this is such a good idea, Trunks.'

"I know, but I have to do this. I see no other way . . ." Trunks sat down on the large box he'd just carried outside, wiping the sweat off his brow. "Do you really think this is a mistake?"

'A mistake? Not necessarily, but I don't think things will turn out the way you think they will.'

"Hope, Mother. How I hope things will turn out." Trunks paused. "I know I'm taking a big risk, I don't dispute that, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. You know that."

'I know, Baby, I just don't want you to get hurt.'

Trunks smiled. She hadn't called him Baby since he was little. "I know you don't, Mama. That hasn't stopped me yet from getting hurt, has it?"

'No, I guess not, but that's never stopped me from trying, either.'

Trunks chuckled. Sitting there in the yard amidst so many boxes, with the sun beating down on him, he couldn't remember a time when he'd been happier. Sure, he was happy when Gohan-sensei was alive, but the android threat made it nearly impossible to relax and be truly happy. After the androids' destruction, life was still difficult. Gohan-sensei had been dead for quite some time, and he'd since been to the past, making friends and meeting long lost family, only to leave them all behind. No, he'd never been truly happy, but that day he was closer than he'd ever been before. Why? Because he was going back, never to return to this dismal future again.

He'd be cutting it close, only going back a couple of years, but he didn't want to go back too far. He wasn't sure if going back to a point in time that had not been long past would send him to that alternate time-line he so craved, or not, but he was taking that chance regardless.

A sudden breeze caressed his sweaty skin and lifting his long, lavender tresses. Trunks sighed happily, enjoying the moment. With his eyes closed, it almost felt like someone touching his face . . .

'Trunks . . .'

"Yes, Mom?"

'Are you going to cut your hair before you leave?'

"No, Mom, I already told you. When I go back, the other me and I will be identical, so having long hair will help the others tell us apart."

'What if he has long hair?'

"Then I'll cut mine." She must have been satisfied with his answer for she said no more. Trunks opened his eyes and stood up. The moment was gone and the mood ruined, so he got back to work. He'd already packed up his own belongings, as few as they were, and stored them in a capsule that was in his capsule case, right beside the time machine. The boxes he was moving now were filled with things that the 'past' Bulma may be interested in. Inventions, research notes, blueprints, tools . . . he fairly cleaned out his mother's lab. These were to go into another capsule. He had to move everything outside, for there wasn't enough room inside to open the capsule and fill it.

'Trunks . . .'

"Just a moment, Mom, I'm almost done."

'Trunks, don't forget.'

He paused, a box resting on his shoulder. "I . . . I won't forget. I'll . . . visit before I leave."

'That's all I ask, son.'

Trunks resumed his task, but with trepidation in his movements. Every box seemed ten times heavier, every distance twice as long. Yet, it seemed all too soon that he was done, the last capsule packed and safely nestled inside the capsule case inside his jacket pocket.

'Are you ready?'

"As ready as I'll ever be. Let's go." Trunks slipped on his Capsule Corp jacket, got on his motorcycle, and headed for the one place he dreaded the most. The graveyard.

The trip was quick, taking no time at all. He maneuvered through the headstones on numb legs, knowing the way almost instinctively. The rows of markers stood more as reminders to who had lived before, rather than marking where certain bodies lay. Many who had suffered the "fun" of the androids had been nothing more than ashes in the wind, and some less than that. What bodies there were in the cemetery usually ended up with markers over them from lack of sufficient space. Many believed markers were a futile effort when the androids could strike anywhere at any time, but since their demise, more and more markers have been put up to remember lost loved ones, and not always in graveyards.

Trunks was soon at his destination, a small enclosed lot, the Briefs family burial ground. Trunks walked past the ancient markers of family he'd never knew and those he only heard of, instead heading for the ones he knew, even if only from fond memories retold. Yamcha, Puar, Tien, Chaotzu, Oolong, Roshi, Launch, Yajarobi, Piccolo, Krillin, Goku . . . Chichi, Ox King, Gohan . . . Trunks fell to his knees, tears filling his eyes. He touched the worn headstone, tracing the chiseled letters with shaky fingers.

"Gohan . . ." Wiping the tears from his eyes, he steeled his nerves. It had been years since they buried him, but the pain still remained. He got back up and continued his last tour of the past. Grandma . . . Grandpa . . . Vegeta . . . Reaching the last of the markers, he stopped and looked back, taking a deep breath.

'You know I can't go with you . . .'

"I know."

'I love you, Trunks. I always will.'

"I know, Mom. I'll always love you, too." Trunks pulled an envelope from out of his pocket, "I also know that you will always be in my heart," inside was a dried pressed tiger lily, "but your place is here." his mother's favorite. He placed the flower on the nearest headstone. "Goodbye, Mother. I'll miss you."

'I'll miss you, too.'

Before the tears could fall, Trunks flew out of the cemetery. The wind of his departure blew the tiger lily off the headstone, landing on the recently turned soil. Rain began to fall, gently splashing against the freshly chiseled words




. . .

A/N: Anou . . . I don't know what came over me. ^^;; Yes, Trunks was talking to Bulma, who is very much dead. The boy has problems. ^^;; A leap into the future seemed kinda appropriate after a flashback, but I think I may have over shot it a bit! XD Mm, anyway, this is the return to the 'present' of the story line, even if it is the future of an alternate time line. Damn, that's confusing! ^^;; Eh, sorry for the morbid turn of events, especially after what happened in the flashback. ^^;; I'll try to make things a little more light hearted in the next part. ^_~ (whenever that will be! ^^;;)

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