No Leaf Clover
by Shella-chan     More by this Writer
Life in the future with Gohan, Trunks, and the Androids.

*text* = thought “text” = speech ::text:: = telepathy
Abusive

Mirai Trunks’s P.O.V

I hissed through clenched teeth as Gohan removed the strips of cloth. The makeshift bandages had held closed a nasty gash on my side and Gohan’s brow furrowed with concern. The cut was not shallow, beginning on the ribs under my right arm and tracing a steadily shallower line down and around, until it ended near my navel. It stung something terrible but I tried not to flinch. Gohan was trying to help.

My mother, waiting at the kitchen table, had fallen asleep before we returned, worn out with anxiety. Gohan and I were in the lounge room – I was sitting on the table as he tended my injuries. Luckily, he had not been severely hurt in the battle, for which I thanked whatever gods there were. The androids had already destroyed most of Planet Earth, but my world would be nothing if I lost Gohan.

The black-haired half-saiyan treating my wounds was my best friend in the whole world. He meant everything to me: he was like the big brother I never had. Gohan had started training me at the age of fourteen, and now, three years later, I was almost as strong as he was – that is, when he wasn't a Super Saiyan.

Gohan, his dad Goku, and my father Vegeta had been the first Super Saiyans in over 1000 years. It was a legendary transformation – extremely hard to achieve but incredibly powerful. For the three years Gohan had been training me, that had been our goal – for me to transform into a Super Saiyan. I tried my hardest, doing everything Gohan told me but so far I had failed. Nevertheless, I didn’t give up, I was determined to become a Super Saiyan, to make Gohan proud and to rid the earth of those damned androids.

"Trunks, relax," said Gohan suddenly. I looked down, surprised, and realized that I had clenched my fists on the tabletop and was splintering the wood.

‘Oh, sorry,’ I said, ‘I was just thinking about those … those pieces of trash, 17 and 18.’

Gohan nodded knowingly and dabbed the wound with disinfectant. I winced but he held my still with a hand on my shoulder. "It’s okay, it’ll only hurt for a minute," he said soothingly.

A little annoyed at his patronizing attitude, however well intended, I said shortly, "I’m not a kid, Gohan."

He looked up at me, surprised at the irritation in my voice, then a serious look came over his face. ‘No, you’re not, are you," he murmured thoughtfully, more to himself than to me. Suddenly, he grinned. "But, if you’re clumsy enough to fall on a fence, then by rights I can treat you however I want."

"18 hit me down there", I said hotly, angered by the taunting in his beautiful black eyes. He … hang on a second, did I just think ‘beautiful’? That wasn't right, was it? I shook my head to clear it.

"Then you should learn how to fall gracefully," he teased. This time there was no mistaking it – Gohan’s eyes, twinkling mischievously, were beautiful. The thought troubled me and I tried to push it out of my head but it stayed, growing stronger as Gohan chuckled, his laugh was adorable – no, shut up! Shut up!, and returned to dressing my hurt in silence. I didn’t feel pain any more; instead, my attention was occupied solely with Gohan.

That single thought – that his eyes were beautiful – had turned into the sole focus of my mind. Everything about him suddenly seemed to fascinate me; the touch of his fingers against my skin, the worried crease in his brow, the intensity in those endless dark orbs he called eyes. I guess I’d realized long ago that Gohan must be attractive by girl standards – it was just a ‘yeah, I guess so’ thing at the time. But now I found myself noticing it more clearly. I thought Gohan was attractive. I, a 17-year-old guy who previously had been straight as a ruler, thought my 26-year-old, also-straight master, was attractive.

I tried to convince myself it was just hormones. I was a teenager, a virgin, whose situation, ie killer androids demolishing the world, didn’t leave a lot of opportunities for meeting girls. Maybe it was normal to start feeling this was in the absence of normal outlets? But at the same time I started getting the sneaking suspicion I was wrong – there was something behind this that ran deeper than simple lust. It was in the way I was content to sit on the table without my top on with Gohan caring for me in a purely platonic way. Oh sure, I would have been over the moon if he’d jumped me then and there, but I valued, no, cherished out friendship for its own sake.

Wait, wait, wait – did I just think about Gohan jumping me? Oh no, I did. Oh no – I did it again! Where am I getting these thoughts from? He’s my friend, for Christ sake! You do not think stuff like that about your friend! Although that does look like it would be nice … and I’d definitely have fun doing that … ooh, that one would be…

"Trunks? Trunks! Earth to Trunks!"

"Aah!" I jumped. There was Gohan, looking straight at me. Coming hard on the heels of what I had just been thinking about him, this prompted any number of colorful mental images but I pushed them firmly back into some dark corner of my brain. "Sorry about that," I said quickly. "I sort of got lost in my thoughts."

"They looked like very interesting thoughts from the expression on your face," smirked Gohan. "So, who is she?"

I forced a laugh but my heart was hammering in my throat. Had it been that obvious? And what if Gohan found out that it was him I had been thinking about like that? I felt like groaning and burying my face in my hands.

"Look, I’ve finished fixing your cut now, if you’d bother to see," he said normally.

"Yeah, thanks, Gohan," I said, trying to sound as though I was just grateful for his help.

"You’re pretty stylish, Trunks," said Gohan, grinning. I looked at him questioningly. "Most people don’t usually carve themselves up quite that well just by falling on a fence. That’s real talent, that is. …You’re going to have one beauty of a scar," he added, running his hand over the now- closed wound. The feel of Gohan’s hand gliding over my bare skin made me give a shiver of combined excitement and delight.

I had no control over what happened next. The combination of his touch and the thoughts I had been having earlier were enough to make me lose my head completely. Without even intending to, and barely even aware I was doing it, I leaned down and pressed my mouth to Gohan’s.

Gohan’s P.OV

Trunks took me completely by surprise. Maybe I was being thick headed but I honestly hadn’t seen it coming a mile away. All I knew of it was, I had just touched his injury and told him it would scar when, seemingly out of the blue, he kissed me. I knew Trunks looked up to me but either I was just dense or he had hidden his feelings really well. I thought I knew him as well as anybody, when now I realised there were things I hadn’t even suspected in the kid.

*No, he told you not to call him kid* I corrected myself automatically, then immediately wondered if this was what he meant when he’d said he wasn’t a child.

Whatever Trunks thought he was doing by kissing me, I found the whole thing just too weird. This was Trunks – the boy I’d seen grow from a baby to a teen in the middle of war-torn Planet Earth. This was not right. Even as I broke the kiss and jerked away from him, I realized that all my thinking had taken the time of a heartbeat. By the time I stared at Trunks, shocked and appalled, seemed to be decades. I could hear my own pulse hammering in my ears as my eyes held his, then I got to my feet and left the room.

How to justify what had just happened? Surely the kiss was nothing more than a teenager’s urges – in the absence of girls, I had somehow taken the place of venting system. Yes, that sounded right. He would have been grateful to me for dressing his wound, of course. I had also saved his skin when Android 18 had enabled him to get up close and painful with a chain link fence. I had immediately scooped him up and headed for home, ignoring the androids’s merciless laughter in concern over Trunks. Naturally he’d be thankful.

Could my worry over his injury been interpreted as something more than just friendship? Trunks was my best friend, without a doubt – he had been for all of his life. When had his feelings changed? And why hadn't I known about it? The fact that I could have been ignorant of such a momentous event disturbed me almost as much as the fact that it had occurred at all. I paused outside my room for a moment and leaned against the doorjamb, my head pressed against the wood. The pressure I was exerting would have bruised a normal human, but being part-saiyan I hardly felt a thing. My mind was so full I doubt I would have anyway.

I heard a voice downstairs and realized that Bulma must be awake and talking to her son. Knowing that Trunks would tell her all she needed to know about the battle with the androids, I opened my bedroom door and walked in.

Ever since 17 and 18 had killed my family, I had found a home with the Briefs at Capsule Corp. I had focused my whole life on striving to kill the two androids that had robbed me of almost everybody I loved. Trunks and I would regularly go and challenge them – for some reason they always let us live, even though they defeated us every time. I guess they liked a challenged – we saiyans were by far the strongest fighters on the planet after 17 and 18. Even on the rare occasion we put up a good fight they spared us, and I swear, sometimes 17 was positively merciful to Trunks. I didn’t understand those two at all.

I also didn’t understand what Trunks had done. The details of it were burned into my mind – his intake of breath as I touched his wound, as if he had been excited rather than in pain; the way he’d closed his eyes before kissing me, totally and completely trusting; even the feel of his lips on mine, the heat of his skin and the feel of his pulse against my mouth. But clearest I remembered the expression on his face when I’d pulled away. The pain and crushed hope in those cornflower-blue eyes made my heart ache. I had truly hurt him. I had hurt the person who I cared most about in the world. The shame and sorrow made my throat tighten. How could I have been so cruel? He had expressed his feelings, made himself totally vulnerable to me, and I had smashed him back down to earth thinking only of my own discomfort.

‘Trunks, Trunks, why did you do that?’ murmured to myself. I lay on my back on the bed, my mind still whirling. Poor Trunks. Whereas before I had been completely weirded out, now I also felt pity.

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

It was maybe a second after a kissed Gohan that I actually realised what I was doing. Like I’d lost consciousness, and when I woke up I found that my lips were on his. For the time it took for Gohan to inhale, shocked, I was in bliss. But then he recovered from his shock.

He jerked his head away so suddenly that I fell forward a little before out eyes locked. What I saw in his face caused a pain to go through me greater than the cut he’d been treating just a minute ago. Shock I read in his gaze, with appal quickly joining it along with a look that almost tore my heart into pieces. He was staring at me as though I was a freak. I thought the bottom had fallen out of the world.

Then he was gone, taking the stairs up to his room (I knew him so well – where else would he go?) and I was left feeling completely alone. I was sitting on the lounge room table with my mother in the next room, having probably just ruined an invaluable friendship. My master now thought I was a freak. Gohan would never want to talk to me as long as he lived.

I cursed under my breath as my cut started to sting again.

***

Bulma’s P.O.V

‘Mmph … muhh … wh – what?’

I lifted my head off the table, startled suddenly from sleep by I don’t know what. My first thought was that my neck was killing me. I reminded myself not to fall asleep at a table again … much too uncomfortable. I leaned back and stretched, then froze.

Killing … fighting … androids … ohh shit…

If it were possible to scream and whisper at the same time, I would have done. ‘Trunks…’ My voice was barely more than a breath, but it was an intense hiss as I began to panic. I shoved my chair back and stood up, almost hyperventilating. My boy had gone to fight those monsters and I had been –sleeping–? I was disgusted with myself. What if Trunks or Gohan had died while I was taking a nap? For that matter, where were they? Were they back? Were they hurt? Or worse? What if they had been hurt so badly they couldn’t –get– back?

The questions were answered almost immediately when Trunks appeared in the doorway leading from the lounge room. ‘Mum, you’re awake.’ I thought I would burst with relief. ‘Oh, honey,’ I whispered, tears starting at the corners of my eyes. Then I saw that first he had no shirt on, and second he was badly hurt. A terrible gash raked a line across his ribs and I flew across to him, intensely worried again.

‘Trunks, what happened?’ I demanded, running my hands over the wound and almost having a heart attack. ‘Oh, no, my poor darling…’

‘It’s okay, mum,’ he assured me, although he cringed at my touch. ‘Gohan treated it, see? He cleaned it and closed it and everything.’ If I hadn’t been so stressed out right then, I would have noticed the strange way Trunks said his master’s name. But I didn’t, and barged on talking.

‘Gohan’s safe? Oh, thank god. I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to either of you. Where is he?’ I looked around my son into the lounge room, expecting to see the older Saiyan.

‘He’s in his room,’ Trunks told me, ‘he was … tired.’

‘Tired?’ I questioned, having caught the hesitation in Trunks’ voice. And now I picked up on my son’s discomfort. ‘Trunks, what’s going on?’

I could practically read his thought through the expression on the teenager’s face. *Do I tell her, or not?* After a moment of indecision, he brushed past me and sat at the table, elbows on the tabletop, shoulders slumped, and head bowed. I sat down opposite him, concerned but giving him the room and time I sensed he needed to organise his thought. When he spoke it was in a low voice, but I heard every word.

‘Mum, I just kissed Gohan.’

He didn’t even look up to see my reaction. For a full minute we sat in silence, and I digested what my son had just told me. It was obvious to me, from the deadened tone in his voice, that Trunks’ heart had just suffered a severe blow. He had reached out, and Gohan had rejected him. That much was plain to me. All at once, a feeling on love and pity for my son washed over me. I reached across the table and took his hands in my own. ‘Trunks, sweetie, I’m so sorry.’

He seemed to withdraw into himself. ‘I know…’ he muttered. I was startled by the self-disgust in his voice. ‘You don’t need to say it. There’s something wrong with me.’ He pulled his hands free of mine.

‘Trunks!’ I reprimanded, shocked that he could be so hard on himself. The thought that it was a bad thing for me son to like his best friend hadn’t even occurred to me, and I told him do. ‘And,’ I added when I was finished, ‘even if Gohan doesn’t feel the same way you do, I’m always here for you, Trunks. You’re my son, and I love you.’

A smile crossed his face. ‘Yeah, I know. Thanks for understanding, mum.’

‘Of course, honey. It’s what I’m here for.’ I left my seat and went across to Trunks to give him a hug, trying to be careful of his injury. But I brushed it accidentally with my arm and he winced. ‘Oh, geez, I’m sorry, Trunks,’ I said immediately.

‘That’s okay,’ he replied, reassuringly.

‘How did you get that, anyway?’ I asked, trying to make my voice light.

‘Oh, well, you see, when we were fighting, I was taking on Android 18…’

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

My mother’s reaction had cheered me greatly. She, at least, didn’t think I was a freak. Even now, as I told her what I had been thinking and feeling, she was acting as though it was the most normal thing in the world for her son to like a man nine years older than him. Talking with Bulma helped me work out a lot of stuff, and I came to a decision.

Gohan obviously wanted no part of me. So, I would tell him what he had most likely guessed – that it was nothing more than teen urges. I would act like it never happened. Okay, so it would hurt, but it was better than damaging my friendship with Gohan even further. I liked him too much – as a friend – to throw that away.

‘I think you’d better go to bed, Trunks,’ said my mum. ‘If you yawn any more you’re going to split at the ears.’

‘Yeah, I guess I am a little tired,’ I admitted reluctantly. I stood up, careful of the wound on my right side, and walked back into the lounge room. My discarded top lay over the back of a chair, dark with my blood where the fence had torn through it and bitten me, and I picked it up and brought it to my mother. ‘Mum, could you fix this for me?’

‘Sure thing, Trunks. You’d better put it in the laundry first though.’ She looked at the top and shuddered with distaste. ‘God, I hate those two!’ she exploded suddenly. ‘Damn them both! Damn them to the deepest pits of hell!’ Tears formed in her eyes and she brushed them angrily away with the back of her hand. Alarmed, I hugged her, seeing her distress and sensing a need to comfort my mother like she had me.

‘It’s okay, mum,’ I said soothingly. ‘We’ll get them one day, I promise.

***

Later that night in my room, I was dozing fitfully. My mother had been right – I was tired – and yet I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, unable to find a comfortable position for more than five minutes. Images of Gohan kept appearing before my eyes – the mischievous grin when he teased me, the intense concentration when he tended my wound, the fury as the androids taunted him … All the expressions I had seen on his gorgeous face. But over all swam the picture of his look after I kissed him. I squeezed my eyes shut and buried my head under the pillow.

Abruptly I got up to get a glass of water, all too aware that this was the third time I had done so in the last ten minutes. Gohan just wouldn’t leave me alone! I had kissed him once, and now it was impossible to get him out of my head. My skin wouldn’t let me forget what his hands felt like, old marks and scars raking against the smoother skin of my bare chest. Gohan possessed incredible strength, yet his touch had been so gentle. Even the mere memory of it sent tingles through me. He had affected me so deeply in such a short space of time…

With a shock I realised that this wasn’t true. If I had only started liking Gohan today, then why did I go read last time we were in the gravity room, when he had taken his shirt off? He had been overheating, he said, and training was easier when he didn’t have his top on. Why had I then, without either of us even realising I was doing it, started checking him out? I groaned aloud and dropped onto my bed. This was getting out of hand. How was I supposed to act normally around him when I kept thinking of him like that?

So many questions, so few answers. The gravity room had not been an isolated incident. If I put my mind to it, I could recall half a dozen times when I’d subconsciously been attracted to Gohan. I guess the next step was dreaming about him, something I did –not– want to happen. How embarrassing would it be, asking my mother to change my sheets because I’d dreamt about Gohan? That was a progression I wasn’t exactly eager to make.

***

Gohan’s P.O.V

For the last hour, Trunks had had a death grip on my thoughts. It was impossible to get him off my mind. Not that I made any attempt to try and stop this – even though I thought I had a pretty good idea of what Trunks had been thinking, I had still to figure out what in the name of god was going on in my own head. If I had a choice between putting a label on my thoughts and taking on Android 18, I’d go a round with the blonde.

While I was lying on my bed, I felt sorry for Trunks. While I was in the shower, I was certain I disliked him. While I was drying off, I became convinced that Trunks had been hit on the head and it truly was nothing. But once I was in bed, getting ready to sleep…

I came to the conclusion that the whole reason I was thinking so much about the kiss he’d given me was because I was scared.

That’s right. I, Gohan, son of Goku, descendant of the Saiyan race, was scared. Androids I could deal with – you always knew where you stood with them. Bulma could be intimidating, but I’d long ago learned to deal with her bad moods and even see them coming sometimes. But Trunks’ kiss had been totally unexpected and could have meant so many different things. It was the unknown – uncharted territory – and it scared me.

//Trunks was fast asleep when I went into his room, lying on his on the bed with his arms buried under the pillow. His short purple hair was spread out in every direction around his head like a halo; his blue eyes were closed in slumber. His back rose and fell slightly as he breathed, but apart from that he lay completely still.

I walked over and stood beside his bed. For several long minutes I watched him sleep, my eyes roaming over his face and body. He was only wearing a pair of boxer shorts, and the blanket had slid down to expose most of his back. Neither of us moved a muscle. I could have stood there forever, just gazing at him, but after a long moment he sighed in his sleep. I moved.

Being careful to disturb him as little as possible, I crept onto the bed on all fours and lowered myself slowly onto Trunks. He stirred, and I cuddled up close to him like two spoons hitting together. My breath was on his ear, my chin over his shoulder, my legs pinning his to the bed. I wondered that the thudding of my heart hadn’t woken him up long ago. This position was so supremely comfortable that I wanted to stay there forever.

But Trunks was waking up. Making incoherent mumblings, he shifted beneath me, slowly becoming aware, as sleep released its hold on him, that there was a heavy weight on top of him. ‘What the…?’ he muttered, and I kissed him on the cheek.

His eyes snapped open. Those pools of deepest blue darted sideways to fix on mine as best they could, as I was preventing him from moving. ‘Gohan, what are you doing?’ whispered Trunks. I didn’t reply – instead I kissed him again before moving my lips along his jawline to his earlobe and nipping lightly. Trunks gave a quiet moan as my tongue traced a line up the edge of his ear and back down again. The sound made my desire more urgent and I felt my hardened length pressing against the top of his leg. I kissed him on the neck, my mouth pressing on his skin, and nipped again, this time on his shoulder. He gave a shudder and an ‘mmmmm…’ of delight.

I rubbed my hands over Trunks’ bare back, trailing one finger up his spine and lightly massaging his muscles. They relaced under my touch even as he grew tense in other areas. His mouth opened slightly. Smiling, I lifted myself off him and turned him over. Then I kissed him, slipping my tongue into his mouth and running it over his. Trunks pulled me close to him, pressing his body against mine, pulling my shirt off and kissing my throat. I groaned as he moved lower, his tongue making wet circles in a live over my collarbone, down my chest, my stomach, my…//

I jerked awake, my pulse thundering in my ears. –What the hell was that?!– I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I’d had a dream about Trunks, and … and LIKED it. The sound of my heart racing seemed loud enough to wake the whole house. I could picture Trunks waking up and wondering, ‘What’s that sound?’ He’d get up, and first he’d look out the window to see if it was the androids attacking, then he’s come and ask me if I knew what it was, then he’d ask what the matter was with me.

Then I’d tell him I had a nightmare.

But it wasn’t a nightmare. It was a dream, one which I didn’t know whether I wanted to come true.

*What do you mean, you don’t know?* said a voice in my head scornfully. *You liked that dream, Gohan, admit it* ‘Fine,’ I hissed under me breath in reply, too disturbed to argue. ‘I liked it. Now go away.’ But that part of my brain wouldn’t stay quiet. *It’s not enough just to say that* it sneered, *you have to do something about it now*

‘No!’ I objected. ‘That – that dream – it was just hormones, that’s all, like when he kissed me.’ I did a pretty poor job convincing myself, and an even worse job of convincing that voice. I could hear it laughing at me as if it was another person, rather than the stubbornest part of my own mind.

*Ah, but it –wasn’t– just hormones when he kissed you, was it?* said the voice nastily. In a flash, I relived the kiss, noticed every detail as though for the first time, and couldn’t deny Trunks’ feelings – or my own. *That’s more like it* said the voice approvingly as I threw off the blanket and went to the door. I didn’t argue.

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

My fears had been realised. Miserably I stared at the sodden patch on my blankets. After what I had told my mother, she would never believe that — this– had happened over a girl. And however understanding she had been when I talked to her before, I didn’t even want her understanding now. Suppressing a groan of frustration, I began to bundle up my sheets to take them to the laundry.

When Gohan barged in the door I froze. Despite my acute embarrassment, I noticed that he was just wearing a pair of cotton pyjama pants and his chest was bare. Then I plastered my eyes to the floor.

‘What are you doing here?’ I mumbled, trying to sound rude.

‘Trunks, I have to talk to you,’ he said urgently.

I guessed immediately what he wanted to talk about. I took a deep breath and offered my excuse. ‘Look, it was just hormones, okay? You know I’ve never been with a girl, well, that was the result. It was nothing, really.’

‘Don’t think you can fool –me–, Trunks.’ His tone startled me and I looked up sharply and met his eyes. ‘I know you too well. Besides, I tried blaming them, too. Didn’t work.’ I furrowed my brow, perplexed. To my alarm, Gohan crossed over to me and grabbed my arms. He was a head taller than me and to tell the truth I was a little intimidated. ‘Trunks, I love you.’

I dropped the blankets and gaped, but couldn’t speak. ‘I love you,’ he repeated insistently, and kissed me. When he drew away I staggered, and stared up at him still, hardly daring to believe.

‘You … love me?’ My voice came out half as a squeak, half as a gasp, and he grinned.

‘Of course I do, even if you are a little slow,’ he teased. In that instant, everything seemed to fade away – embarrassment, disbelief, hurt – leaving only indescribable joy. I laughed, delighted, and threw my arms around Gohan, hugging him as tight as I could. He chuckled and hugged me back.

‘I love you too, Gohan,’ I said happily.

‘Yeah, I know,’ he replied. After a few minutes I released him and my feet were on the floor again, but he kept his arms wrapped around my waist.

‘What made you change your mind?’ I asked.

Gohan grinned, blushing, and one arm crept up into the traditional Son scratch. ‘I, um, had a dream about you,’ he muttered, embarrassed, ‘and it sort of made me realise what we both were feeling.’ I laughed, but stopped quickly at the hurt look on his face.

‘I wasn’t laughing at you,’ I said hastily. ‘It was because I just had a dream about you, too.’ I indicated to the pile of blankets on the floor. ‘I was just getting up to change my sheets when you came in.’

Gohan sniggered. ‘Well, come to my room, then,’ he said. ‘My sheets are clean.’ My heart jumped into my throat and I couldn’t speak. He kissed me softly on the lips. ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle,’ he whispered, and led me down the hall to his bedroom. I swear my feet didn’t touch the ground at all.

When Gohan shut his door behind me, I don’t mind admitting that I was nervous. No matter how much Gohan and I loved each other, I’d never done anything like this before. Gohan sensed my apprehension as he drew me to the bed. ‘I’ll go slow,’ he promised, ‘but I gotta tell you, I don’t really know what I’m doing.’

‘That’s okay,’ I said, my voice hoarse. I cleared my throat. ‘Neither do I.’

‘Then I’ll take the lead, should I?’ he offered. Even before I mutely nodded my consent, he was unbuttoning my sleepshirt and laying me on my back. I felt very vulnerable, but the kiss he gave me was full of reassurance. I swallowed heavily as his mouth left mine and travelled elsewhere.

***

Gohan’s P.O.V

I couldn’t really believe this was happening. Only a few short hours ago, the idea of sleeping with Trunks would have revolted me, but now I couldn’t wait to get his clothes off. Trunks lay beneath me, clad only in boxer shorts just like in my dream, and he was letting me do whatever I wanted to him. This was all I could ever hope for. Trunks was all I’d ever wished for. I loved him.

With that love came lust, and I had to constantly remind myself to be slow, like I’d promised, and gentle, like he needed. His moans as I ran my tongue over his chest made it difficult to control myself, but I fought to subdue my urges at least for now. I lightly bit his nipple, which my tongue had just been flicking, and felt him arch towards me. Something hard pressed against my stomach. I put my hand inside his boxers to stroke it and received a harsh kiss in gratitude. Trunks seemed determined to explore every inch of my mouth. My tongue fought his for dominance but to my surprise I was subdued. Miffed that he had managed to do so, I renewed my assault, plundering his mouth and, this time, overwhelming him completely. Satisfied with my victory, I left his mouth again and let him breathe.

‘Go … Gohan…’ Trunks gasped, the air starting to return to his lungs.

‘Yes, love?’ I murmured.

‘Now, please.’

I looked up from where I had been nibbling his shoulder, and saw his eyes half-lidded with lust and burning for me. ‘Are you sure?’ I asked cautiously.

‘If you don’t, I will!’ he snapped. I was taken aback. ‘And in case you’re wondering,’ he continued, ‘that’s a threat –and– a promise!’

‘Well, if you insist,’ I relented, and pulled off both his boxers and my pants. Here was where my confidence failed, but even as I hesitated, instinct kicked in. It was like I’d done this a thousand times before. I took Trunks’ length in my hands and stroked it like I had before. His moans increased in volume as I increased the speed, until a few drops of liquid appeared on my hand. I used this to ease myself into him, hearing his quiet whimper of pain and apologising breathlessly. Kissing him and using my hands to bring his arousal up to match mine, I started rocking my hips in a rhythm. Slowly Trunks’ voice changed note, to cries of delight, and I began losing my restrain. I moved faster, excitement flooding through me, and bit him sharply on the neck, drawing blood as I marked him as my own. Trunks yelped in pain, but then returned the bite, sinking his teeth into my flesh. Our minds met and bonded, a telepathic and empathic link formed in that moment of passion. We came at the same time, his essence spilling between our stomachs while I released mine inside him. The climax was the sweetest bliss I’d ever experienced, and for a long time afterwards I wouldn’t – couldn’t – leave him. The delight we’d just felt was beyond anything either of us had thought possible.

Fatigue fogging my mind, I drew Trunks close to me and lay back against the head of the bed. His beautiful purple-topped head rested in the crook of my shoulder, and I felt the thudding of his heart against my chest. It slowed as he fell slowly into sleep, and a sense of supreme comfort washed over me. I wished I could lie there with him forever.

***

Bulma’s P.O.V

I went to bed not long after Trunks did, so I didn’t find out what passed between him and Gohan until morning. As far as I knew, things were the same as they had been last night – Gohan had turned Trunks down and the younger boy had resolved not to speak of it again. Shaking my head as I climbed the stairs the day after their fight with the androids, I reflected on the denseness of Saiyans. Even half bloods like Trunks and Gohan could be blind to the obvious – like the attraction that had started between them as a result of the closeness of their friendship. Whatever Trunks had told me about Gohan’s reaction, I knew Goku’s son well enough to be certain that the feelings were mutual.

So I made my way up to Gohan’s room, intending to talk to him and make him see what was so plain to a human woman. Those two were made for each other. If he tried to deny it, I wouldn’t listen: I had to made him understand how precious love was. I had loved Vegeta, Trunks’ father, even if neither of us really admitted our feelings other than that one night. Then those cursed androids had taken him away, along with almost everybody I’d ever cared for… I blinked back tears. I didn’t need to cry right now, not when I could help my son and his friend find happiness in the middle of all the devastation they lived in.

I reached Gohan’s room and quietly turned the handle. The door opened silently as I stepped through onto the thick blue-grey carpet that covered the floor of his room. Cautiously, aware that he might still be asleep, I peeked around the door and my eyes fell on the bed.

A wide smile immediately crossed my face. They lay there, together, leaning back against the headboard of the bed. The blanket only covered them to Trunks’ waist, around which Gohan had looped his arms, and given their undressed state I could clearly tell what had happened the previous night. So – Saiyans weren’t that dumb, after all. Here I had been plotting to get them together when the whole time they’d already done it. My smile split into a grin.

At that exact moment, Gohan’s eyes opened and met mine. For a second, alarm registered in his gave, but I mouthed, “Congratulations” and he beamed through the red on his face. A second later Trunks woke up, echoing his lover’s thoughts maybe. He echoed Gohan’s blush, too, but grinned at the same time. ‘Well, there go my hopes for grandchildren,’ I said cheerfully, and their laughter followed me out the door as I left to give them privacy. ‘I’m making breakfast, by the way,’ I called over my shoulder, knowing that they would be down immediately.

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

When I woke up and realised that my mother was standing at the door grinning at us, I first felt highly embarrassed. But I was relieves, as she left, that she was so happy for us. She didn’t seem to have any objections to the red marks Gohan and I had given each other, although I wasn’t sure if my father had told us what they meant. But I knew what marking was, and the fact that it was Gohan who had bitten me, and vice versa, made me very happy. Even now he was running his mouth over the spot again. It was extremely sensitive and inclined to get me excited again, but before I could respond in kind, my stomach rumbled.

‘Oops.’ I clamped my hands over the flat of my belly and laughed nervously. Gohan sweatdropped. Defensively I pointed out, ‘Well, neither of us have eaten since yesterday. We got back late from fighting.’

‘Yeah, you’re right,’ said Gohan. ‘Which reminds me,’ he added, ‘how’s your cut? Does it still hurt?’ he ran his fingers over it gingerly and I shivered in delight. ‘Not when you do that,’ I whispered suggestively. I could sense Gohan’s smile as he slid his hand lower, beneath the bedsheets, yet again. *God, he’s insatiable* I thought.

Once again, however, the demands of a Saiyan stomach stopped us. The growl that came from Gohan’s gut was even louder than mine. He grumbled and, disappointed, I started to sit up. But as I did, a sudden pain in my backside made me inhale sharply. ‘Ow,’ I whispered, cringing as that part of my body throbbed. Gohan instantly asked, concerned, ‘Did I hurt you?’

I put on a brave face and smiled, ‘Nah, I’m okay.’ Gritting my teeth, I determinedly stood up and waited for the pain to go away. It was several minutes before I noticed Gohan’s eyes hungrily fixed on my body. I blushed, but secretly was absurdly pleased. Reluctantly I went to my room, had a shower and got dressed. As I made my way downstairs, I felt for Gohan’s ki, and found that he was already at the kitchen table.

::Hurry up, Trunks:: he said, impatience in his mental tone.

::Keep your shirt on:: I replied irritably. Then I smirked. This telepathic- bond thing was pretty cool.

::Why should I?:: he asked. ::It’s not like you want me to:: I had to admit, he had a point.

And only then did I remember that I still had to change me sheets.

***

A few months later…

Trunks’ P.O.V

When we heard that, in a single brutal attack, the androids had destroyed an island with a population in the tens of thousands, Gohan and I decided that it was time to pay them a little visit to renew old acquaintances.

In the twelve weeks or so since out last battle, Gohan and I had spent out time almost solidly training. That, combined with the exhausting activities we pursued elsewhere made the time pass very quickly. Although I still hadn’t managed to reach Super Saiyan, I’d become a fair bit stronger even without transforming. Both Gohan and I doubted it was enough to defeat the androids, but that wasn’t important. What was important was that they were destroying out world and we had to at least try to stop them.

My mother, as always, stressed as we got ready to fight. She hovered nervously as Gohan and I suited up, biting her lip and trying not to distract us. When at last we were ready, she said nothing, but gave me a quick kiss on the forehead and ushered us out. The last we saw of her as we left was when she was standing at the door, hands clasped. I waved, then we flew out of sight.

I caught up and flew beside Gohan in silence. Both of us would go quiet before a battle – there was always the unspoken question: would this be our last fight? Would the androids finally lose their amusement in the only Z fighters left alive? Though it was not normally in me to worry about my own death, this time I found myself wondering if Gohan and I had finally crossed the line between interesting toys and a danger that had to be removed. If we did actually pose a threat to them, then it would all be over for good or bad. Either we were strong enough to destroy them, or they would, at long last, end out lives just life they had ended so many other. Then Planet Earth’s last hope would be gone.

Angrily I shook my head. That would not happen! I wouldn’t let it happen! My love sensed my thoughts and flew closer to me in reassurance.

‘Don’t worry, Trunks,’ he said quietly. ‘One day we’ll make them pay, you can be sure.’ I smiled believing his words completely and not just because I wanted to. The total confidence in his voice brooked no argument. Some day we –would– get them back for all they’d done. And today might just be that day.

***

Android 17’s P.O.V

I was bored. Bored, bored, bored. My sister found endless amusement blasting buildings and killing hundreds of people at a time, but for me it quickly lost its fun. It was much more interesting, I thought, to kill with my own hands. Or sometimes not even kill – to torture or toy with them held unending fascination for me. 18 was just lazy.

The only thing as interesting as killing at close quarters was when the two Saiyans turned up to fight. They were the only people on this dustball of a planet able to force 18 and I to make an effort. Of course, they couldn’t hope to actually beat us, but occasionally they put up a good fight. I had been annoyed last time they challenged us, when the kid was badly hurt and they left early. I hadn’t finished playing with them yet.

The taller one, Gohan, had black hair and a scar on his face that I myself had given him. He was easily the stronger of the two, and could do some strange thing where his hair and eyebrows went blonde and his eyes went green. This gave him an impressive power boost, although still not enough to rival me or 18. I found the other one, his friend, much more intriguing. Trunks had straight, fine lavender hair and blue eyes like sapphires. He was nine years younger than Gohan, but seemed to be mature beyond his age. His face had fine lines – well-defined cheekbones and a straight jawline. Although he wasn’t as well defined as the other one, he seemed to have an almost catlike agility and grave that I liked to watch. I guess it was my weakness that I was often nicer to him than to Gohan, and, even though I said nothing, I disliked it when 18 was cruel to him. Strangely, I preferred fighting Trunks to Gohan, despite the fact that he wasn’t as good sport as his friend. He attracted me.

18 didn’t know I wanted Trunks, but she had noticed me being merciful to him once or twice, and told me I was weird. To be honest I didn’t really care about her opinion. All I was concerned with was how long it would be before I saw Trunks again. The two of them couldn’t stay away – they were far too stubborn not to try and destroy us every now and then. No matter how many times we defeated them, they came back, with those ridiculous ideas of saving the world. As if they had a hope! 18 and I were undefeatable – their attempts at heroism did nothing more than provide entertainment for us. Still I looked forward to their arrival. I always liked seeing Trunks.

If I wasn’t an android, the desire I felt for the lavender-haired boy might have prompted me to lose my focus. But I had enough control over my thoughts to avoid any kind of compassion for him, and so I was not distracted when 18 treated him roughly during out little scraps. It was a purely selfish decision, when I saw the two half-Saiyans approaching, to make Trunks mine.

***

Gohan’s P.O.V

For the first few minutes it looked like the fight was going well. I was almost a match for Android 18, and with a fair bit of luck managed to land some good hits. Trunks seemed to be doing okay, too – keeping 17 fairly busy although it was obvious the android wasn’t fighting at full strength. We appeared to finally be giving them a run for their money. For the first time since they killed Piccolo, Krillin and all the rest, I began daring to hope that we might, with a huge slice of luck, be finally able to get revenge for all the lives they’d taken.

Then Trunks got through 17’s guard and brought his sword slashing down across the android’s cheek. 18 and I had paused to get out bearings, and could see everything. Apparently amazed that he had actually got a blow it, Trunks froze for an instant as purple blood traced a line down 17’s face. Slowly, disbelievingly, the black-haired teenager wiped the liquid away, then he looked at the person who’d inflicted the cut on him. In that moment, things got serious. An evil smirk crossed his face. When Trunks recovered from his shock and attacked again, 17 kicked the weapon from his hand and zanzokened behind him. The android had my love in a stranglehold before I had time to blink.

‘Aaugh!’ Trunks’ cry of pain made my vision go red with anger. Furious, I dived in, preparing to launch an all-out assault, but I had forgotten 18. She came at me from the side with a kick that sent me smashing into the wreckage of a nearby building. Dazed but still angry, I tried to pull myself out of the rubble and found that 18 was standing on me. I was on my back, and she had one foot on each of my arms, at the elbow. As I brought my legs up to kick her off, she stamped down hard. Excruciating pain shot through my whole body, paralysing me. Only my head remained free and I was able to turn it and see 17 torturing Trunks.

The cursed android still had my love in a headlock from the left side. Trunks’ right arm was free, as were his legs, but every time he struggled, 17 would press down on a nerve in his neck, causing him to scream in agony. My heart ached for him and I wriggled furiously, trying to get up, but 18 kept her feet firmly on the pressure points in my arms, leaving me helpless and unable to move or help my love at all. I could only watch as 17 kneed Trunks in the gut, crushing his insides. Three blows, and even from this distance I could see blood spilling from Trunks’ mouth when he coughed.

::Trunks, hold on!:: I said desperately, but when he didn’t respond a horrible realisation dawned on me. The pain Trunks was going through right now was so extreme that it had destroyed our telepathic link. Despair overwhelmed my and I squirmed again, but this time 18 lost her patience. Trunks’ agonised expression was the last thing I saw before the android’s foot connected with my head and everything went black.

***

Android 18’s P.O.V

Gohan certainly was stubborn, I had to give him that much. I had him lying helpless beneath me, in a position to kill him easily if I felt like it, and yet he was still determined to try and save his little friend. I wondered, if this was Gohan’s reaction when 17 was just hurting Trunks, what he would so if he discovered what else my brother was going to do to him. 17 had told me he wanted Trunks as a toy, and I had agreed to help him mostly because it would be fun having him around. I could play with him, too. 17’s other toys had been boring, easily broken and certainly not strong enough to interest me, too. But this Saiyan promised to be much longer lasting than any of the other, weakling, humans. Besides, Trunks was kind of cute. It would be fun having him at my mercy.

If I’d known exactly how Gohan and Trunks cared for each other, I would have been more thorough and killed the older Saiyan outright. Seeing how he had given me a workout today, we couldn’t afford the risk of Gohan finding out our plans and perhaps powering up by getting angry. I knew it was possible for him to do that, but since I thought they were just friends I figured we could handle him even if he did find out what 17 planned.

Once I had knocked Gohan unconscious, I flew over to where Trunks and 17 were still locked together. The Saiyan’s eyes were like blue fire with rage.

‘If you’ve killed Gohan, I swear I’ll tear you apart,’ he growled.

Trunks was worried for his friend. How cute.

I ignored him and spoke to my brother. ‘Come on, 17. You’ve got him, now let’s go.’ Surprisingly, there was no fear in Trunks’ eyes, only wariness. But he shuddered when 17 ran a finger down the side of his face in a caress. He glared at the one who held him. I decided that I quite liked the way he looked when he was furious – like his attractiveness was intensified. I smirked. Trunks was going to be fun.

‘Yes, that’s a good idea,’ said 17. ‘We’ll go back to the lab and Gohan will never be able to find him.’ Casually 17 squeezed his fingers around the nerve centre of Trunks’ neck. The blue eyes closed and the Saiyan went limp, and my brother and I flew back to the lab where we lived when we were bored with blowing things up. It was in much the same condition as when we first woke up, with a lot of Dr Gero’s inventions scattered around the place. Most of them were useless pieces of junk, like a gas-powered toaster, and compared to 17 and I, they were as primitive as the wheel.

Now 17 was pinning Trunks against the wall. Ordinary bindings could not hope to hold a Saiyan, but 17 made cuffs of energy that fastened around his wrists and ankles so he couldn’t escape. Not that he could do much while he was unconscious, but once he woke up I had a funny feeling he’d object.

‘How are we going to feed him?’ I wondered aloud. My brother paused in the act of removing Trunks’ shirt. He looked like the idea hadn’t even occurred to him.

‘You’re right, he has to eat,’ said 17. ‘He won’t last long if he doesn’t.’ 17 hadn’t bothered feeding any of his other toys, as they never survived long enough to need food anyway. But if Trunks was anywhere near as tough here as he was in battle, we could play with him for quite some time. ‘We’ll have to find some town we haven’t completely destroyed and get food for him there.

‘I’m going to do that now,’ I announced. ‘He’ll probably wake up before I come back, so I’ll take my time.’

‘Very considerate of you, 18,’ murmured 17. He stripped off Trunks’ top as I headed for the door.

***

Android 17’s P.O.V

‘Come on, 17. You’ve got him, now let’s go.’

That was 18, always impatient. But I waited a minute before replying. I wanted to savour the moment – I held Trunks completely helpless, his body against mine, closer than he’d ever been. I could feel his heart racing through his chest against my shoulder, but the look he gave 18 was one of wariness rather than fear. His bravery was rather impressive and made him appeal to me even more. Delighted that the gorgeous Saiyan was going to be mine so soon, I caressed him light, trailing one finger over his temple, cheekbone and the edge of his jaw, enjoying the feel of his skin. Trunks shuddered at my touch.

*You’ll be doing a lot more than shuddering soon* I thought smugly. ‘Yes, that’s a good idea,’ I said to 18. ‘We’ll go back to the lab and Gohan will never be able to find him.’ I could sense Trunks start to become nervous at those words, but before he could say anything I rendered him unconscious. I carried him over my shoulder as we flew back to the lab. My first order of business once we arrived to restrain Trunks and prevent him from escaping once he regained consciousness. I barely noticed 18 talking to me before she left: what mattered to me was that I had a new toy, better than any of the others. Although, admittedly, there wouldn’t have been more than two before him, Trunks would be better than a hundred.

‘Wake up, Trunks,’ I whispered, and my latest toy stirred and opened his eyes. It was only a moment before suspicion appeared on his face, and my smirk grew. If he only knew what I had in store for him … I ran my hands over his bare chest and shoulders and saw him recoil from my touch.

‘What are you doing?’ he snapped. ‘Why did you bring me here?’

‘Trunks, I said soothingly, ‘don’t stress. You’ll find out soon enough … to soon for your liking in face.’ He eyed me distrustfully for a moment before I covered his mouth with my own.

There was a moment of initial shock when he couldn’t move. In that time, I ran my tongue over his teeth and tried to gently prise his mouth open. He tasted sweetly of his own blood, which had been brought to his mouth when I’d hurt him earlier. Before I could gain further access, he gave an exclamation of surprise and twisted his head away.

‘Get off me!’ he shouted in a disgusted tone of voice, but I caught the note of panic in his words. The smirk still on my face, I ignored him and pulled off his pants. Now he really started to lose control, struggling vainly against the bonds I had placed on him. I pressed myself up against him, pinning him between my body and the wall, and kissed him again. This time Trunks was unable to struggle, as I held his jaw in one hand while the other worked him free of his boxer shorts. His protests were muffled, but lost none of their urgency as I teased him. Even through the fear he now felt, his body was entirely subject to my will and he responded involuntarily. I worked him quickly and mercilessly while he moaned in a mixture of shame and unwanted pleasure. I pushed my tongue almost down his throat in my eagerness, forgetting momentarily the Saiyan’s need to breathe. I was reminded when he came, spasming into my hand, and he gasped for air, almost ripping my tongue out as he desperately gulped oxygen into his lungs. Licking his seed off my fingers, I released him … for the moment.

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

When I woke up, the last thing I had expected to find was that Android 17 had decided to make a toy out of me. For that matter, I had no idea that androids had toys – I would’ve thought they just liked killing. The idea that either of them enjoyed such sick cruelty hadn’t even occurred to me.

I learned my mistake the hard way. While I was unconscious, 17 had pinned me to a wall with bonds of energy that I couldn’t break of dissolve. I was completely at his mercy, and scared shitless. To my intense disgust and shame, 17 had already proved that he could control my body against my own will – I didn’t want to think what else he would do. While 17 gave me time to recover (he was –so– considerate) I tried with all my might to reach Gohan’s mind and tell him where I was, before it was too late. But when 17 had gotten me in that headlock earlier he had somehow made us lose our bond and I couldn’t talk to Gohan telepathically anymore. I couldn’t even flare my ki as a signal – the cuffs the android had put on me absorbed energy. If I tried to power up, all that happened was that excess ki was drained. I was trapped.

It appeared that this was just the way 17 wanted it. The bastard had stripped me and spent several minutes just staring at my body. Gohan had ogled me before, but he had my consent – I loved him. I hated Android 17. My discomfort grew as he walked across to me again. His face was as expressionless as always as he placed his hands flat on my chest and looked into my eyes.

A quick, bruising kiss he gave me before he started to take off his own clothes. Oh my god .. he wasn’t going to do … –that– … was he? …He was. Only a moment later he stood before me completely nude. He was slim, with skin like porcelain over muscles that resembled whipcord. Belatedly I slapped myself for even looked at him, but at the same time something inside me expressed a need to see who was going to torment me.

17 stepped closer, his face now barely a few inches away from mine. He cupped my face in his hand, his palm cool against my flushed skin, and terrible anticipation surged through me, rooting me to the spot so that my gaze was locked with his. He stroked my face with the back of his hand, then suddenly laid my cheek open with his nails. A cry of shock was ripped from me as he dug oozing red trenches in my skin, setting nerves afire. I tried to turn away, but he held my jaw in place again and brushed my mouth with his, biting on the bottom lip and drawing blood.

Even in the midst of the pain he was inflicting, I felt 17’s hard-on nudging between my thighs, parting my legs. I writhed wildly, but a sharp backhand across the face stunned me beyond action.

The first thrust was agony itself. I felt as though my insides were being torn apart. I think I screamed, but it was inaudible over the roar of blood in my ears. At the same time I felt sick and for a minute I thought I would throw up. Then 17 withdrew and I gave a sobbing gasp for breath before he impaled me again. He began moving rhythmically, wave upon wave of pain spreading outward until my whole body burned and throbbed. Liquid seeped down my legs: my own blood from where 17 had ripped skin in his brutality. The depth of his thrusts increased steadily, the torture mounting until, with a groan, 17 sheathed himself in me completely and climaxed. I could feel, to my horror and disgust, his fluids filling me, my insides screaming in protest at the excruciating pain they had just endured.

Tears, squeezed from my eyes, spilled down me cheeks, leaving warm salty trails. My breath came in dry sobs; my shoulders shook and I fought to control a cry of pain and 17 withdrew. His mouth was wandering over me neck and jaw almost tenderly, but I paid no heed. Ever muscle in my body ache, and the area he had violated stung unbearably. For the moment I was unconcerned with anything he might do to me now. I was too occupied with my own agony to worry about anything else just then.

A few moments later I became aware that he had put my pants back on. Bitterly I though *why bother? You’ve already stolen my dignity, why now give me any back?* But 17 was not Gohan, and couldn’t hear my thoughts like my love used to.

Immediately, my stomach turned to ice. –Gohan– … what would he do if he knew 17 had raped me? How could he still want me, knowing that the android he hated so much had violated me in the worst way possible? I felt ill. 17 had forced me to betray my love. In taking me against my will, he’s made me unfaithful to Gohan. *But I didn’t want this* I cried mentally *I didn’t choose it. I love Gohan, I would never to anything to hurt him!* Silent tears slid down my face and I bowed my head, trying soundlessly not to cry.

‘Oh, cheer up,’ said Android 17 scornfully. ‘I might be nicer next time.’

I jerked my head up, my vision watery but my mind crystal clear. White-hot fury was pounding through my veins, robbing me of speech, thought and reason. With an inhuman yell, I wrenched my arms free of their bindings and hurled a massive energy blast at 17. The attack was fuelled by hatred so extreme that I momentarily lost my grip on reality. All I wanted was to see Android 17 dead at my hands.

He caught the blast and dissipated it, albeit with some effort, and the shock of seeing my most intense attack brushed off like that left me totally defenceless. In the blink of an eye, 17’s fist smashed into my head and blackness was on me once more.

***

Gohan’s P.O.V

When I woke up and realised that Trunks was nowhere in sight and I couldn’t sense his energy signal, I almost had a heart attack. Where could he be that I couldn’t feel his presence? I refused to even consider the possibility that he was dead – it just couldn’t be.

Determined to find Trunks no matter how long it took, I flew up into the air to have a look around. Stars danced in front of my eyes as I reached surveying height, and my head pounded fiercely. Confused, I rubbed circles over my temples with two fingers, trying to alleviate the pain. Why did my head hurt so much? Oh yeah, 18 kicked me and knocked me out. Geez, that hurt. She had feet like concrete. I knew my head was pretty hard, but evidently her feet were tougher. I wondered briefly if they hurt. The mental activity made my brain ache again and I dug my fingers into my hair, the pain almost splitting my skull in two.

Trunks … had to find Trunks … but where to look? He could be anywhere, hurt, out cold, or … or … I stopped that train of thought. For now, I firmly believed him to be alive. Now, to locate him … He wouldn’t have gone straight back to Capsule Corp, just leaving me there, if he’d been able to wait or carry anything. But what if he’d been hurt so badly he’d had to go straight home, trusting me to do the same? It was possible. Mainly because I didn’t know what else to do, I slowly, after scouring the area for a purple-haired teenager, flew home.

Bulma’s reaction, when I asked her if Trunks had come back, was much the same as mine had been – she literally stopped breathing for half a minute. Her eyes grew huge and her bottom lip trembled. When her lungs started working again, her breaths were shallow and panicky and she gripped the edge of the tabletop until her knuckles turned white. From this, I guessed that she hadn’t seen him. Despair temporarily overcame me and I slumped into a chair opposite, my elbows on my knees and my head feeling too heavy for my neck.

‘We have to find him,’ said Bulma, her voice hoarse. When I didn’t respond she violently shook my shoulders. ‘Gohan! Snap out of it!’ she shrieked, sounding mote than a little hysterical. ‘All right! All right!’ I shouted, alarmed, and seized her arms to stop her shaking me. ‘Bulma! Calm down!’ She released me abruptly, tears shining in her eyes. ‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered. ‘It’s – it’s just that—’ She sobbed and wiped her eyes on her sleeve.

‘It’s okay Bulma, you don’t need to apologise,’ I murmured, and drew her into a hug, stroking her blue hair comfortingly.

‘You’re so much like your dad, Gohan,’ she said softly. Taking a deep, shuddering breath, she told me in a low voice, ‘I’ve been waiting for this for three years. You and Trunks are all I have left, Gohan. I let you train him because then there would be less risk of losing you, Goku’s son. For the last three years, and ever since they – those heartless beasts—’ her grip on my shoulder tightened as the venom in her voice grew ‘—ever since they appeared I’ve had to sit here every day, trying not to kill myself with worry. You two go off and fight them risking your lives, and I can’t stop you, but I can’t help you, either. And now it’s happened.’ She drew away and stood up, turning her grief-stricken eyes on me. ‘Promise me you’ll find him, Gohan,’ she whispered.

‘I will, Bulma. I promise I’ll find him. I promise you’ll have your son back.’

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

Android 18 had come back a little while ago, bringing half a dozen grocery bags full of food. Her comment to me as she came in was an expressionless, ‘You flesh-and-blood types sure eat some funny stuff.’ The only indication that she saw my half-undressed state was a barely noticeable flick of her ice-blue eyes over my chest. 17 had presumably left while I was out cold, as he was nowhere in sight. 18 didn’t look for him as she dumped the bags on a nearby table and came over to me.

Instantly I became wary, but to my surprise she removed the bonds on my wrists and ankles. I gaped at her, but she fixed me with a cold stare and said, ‘Don’t get excited. You’re stuck here, don’t forget. And I wouldn’t upset 17 by letting his favourite toy escape. I just happen to remember a bit more about humans than he does.’ While I stared, disarmed by her unexpected … compassion? … she made a chain link fence out of ki and sectioned off a corner of the lab with me in it. I had been tied before, now I was caged.

18 pointed to a small door at the back of my cage. ‘There’s the bathroom,’ she said. I blinked. With all I’d recently been through, the thought hadn’t even occurred to me. Obviously 18 was more considerate than her brother because he hadn’t said or done anything about it either. *Thoughtless bastard* I cursed him mentally, hating the black-haired android even more than ever. Mainly to prevent the hot tears I felt pricking at the corners of my eyes from escaping down my cheeks, I looked around at my prison and wondered if I could blow out this side of the mountain before 18 stopped me.

Almost as if she’d heard what I was thinking, the blonde android said blandly, ‘And don’t think you can blast you way out. This lab wouldn’t still be here if 17 and I could destroy it, so it’s not like you’ll have a hope.’ I shot her a sour look, and 18 laughed. ‘Poor Trunks,’ she said mockingly, ’17 really is cruel, isn’t he?’ I balled my fists, gritting my teeth in anger. She knew exactly what 17 had done to me, and she found it — funny–. Growling furiously, I hurled myself at the energy fence, but it didn’t give, I attacked it again and again with the same result, while 18 stood on the other side just smirking. After several fruitless minutes, my anger started to fade and I gave up. As soon as I did, 18 stepped forward and walked right through it.

I guess I must have looked like a guppy fish with the way my mouth was hanging open. ‘What the … but that … you … how did you do that?’

She gave me a smug smile. ‘That fence doesn’t let weaklings like –you– pass through it,’ she said contemptuously.

‘Would it let Gohan through, then?’ I asked cuttingly.

18’s cold eyes blazed with angler and she glared at me, her expression livid. ‘Shut up, you little brat!’ she snapped, and before I knew what was happening she kicked me into the wall. I slumped to the ground, dazed and more than a little woozy. A second later 18 picked me up by the neck and punched me in the face, sending me sprawling across the floor. Not finished yet, she started kicking me repeatedly in the ribs. My muscles screamed at me and I could feel bones cracking as 18’s foot connected with them again and again. A red haze fell across my eyes and I thought I would either vomit or cough blood or both. Just when I thought I would pass out, she stopped, but hardly had I tried to draw a breath when, before I could be grateful for small mercies, her hand closed vice-like around my wrist and I was thrown across the cage. My head connected with the hard granite of the lab walls and I fell flat to the floor again. There I lay, partly on my side, every part of my body bruised and aching, a painful ringing in my ears, and 18 stepped up to attack again.

‘Really, 18, do you have to break my toy so soon?’

17, my tormenter, was back. At the moment I was in too much pain to be bothered hating him – the slightest mental or physical effort was beyond my capabilities. I lay there like a dead thing, a fuzzy blanket making sounds indistinct but doing nothing to muffle the pain of my abused body.

‘Look, 18, he can’t even move. I haven’t even had him for a day and already he’s almost broken.’

‘Just because it was your idea doesn’t mean I don’t get to have fun, too.’ 18 sounded annoyed. Her brother’s reply was sharper than his previous words.

‘Of course you can play with him,’ 17 snapped. ‘But if you keep treating him like that you’re going to break him.’ From where I was lying nearby, they could have been talking about a different person. I felt totally indifferent to their conversation, not that they would have cared about my opinion anyway. ‘What was the point of going and getting all that food if he’s not going to last long enough to use it?’

‘Calm down, 17,’ said the girl android. ‘I wasn’t going to kill him.’

‘Yeah, sure, whatever,’ sneered her brother.

18 scowled at him. ‘You’re so childish,’ she said. ‘Nobody’s allowed to touch your toys except for you.’

‘If you’re so set on breaking him, then you can clear off and find your own toy,’ he retorted. ‘Maybe you can get Gohan. No, my mistake, you wouldn’t be able to catch him.’

‘Shut up!’ shouted his sister, and stormed out of my cage, again passing through the energy barrier as if it wasn’t there. Obviously any mention of Gohan aggravated her. She walked out through the open door of the lab. I didn’t hear her parting comment, but 17 chuckled before coming over to me again. Resisting the urge to close my eyes and turn away, I watched him warily as he knelt down next to me. The strength was not in me to get up or protest as he ran his fingers through my purple hair, cupping my face in his hand.

As always, I hated the feel of his skin on mine, but I forced myself to endure it. I was a Saiyan, the son of the prince of my race. No matter the disgust 17 inspired in me, I would be strong. I would not give in or be ‘broken’. I would survive, and live to see this talking tin can destroyed.

17 saw the determination in my face and smirked. ‘Poor Trunks,’ he said mockingly, echoing his sister’s words from earlier if only he’d known. ‘You know,’ he continued, ‘this is your own fault.’ If he wanted to get a response from me he was disappointed, but he didn’t show it. He continued stroking my face and talking reflectively, as much to himself as me. ‘It’s your fault for being so gorgeous. If you weren’t so exceptionally handsome, I wouldn’t even consider doing anything like … –this–…’

On the last word he pulled me towards him and crushed my mouth with his. His lips and tongue were ice-cold but hot at the same time, plundering my mouth and exploring every last bit of it. Angrily I tried to push him away, but 18’s beating had sapped my strength and I was powerless to resist as he pinned me against the wall. Again 17 bound me with those ropes of energy. I squirmed, even though I knew it was hopeless, and 17 placed a finger on my lips to stop the stream of abuse I was hurling at him.

‘Tell you what,’ he said, licking his lips, ‘I’ll do something for you this time. Maybe this will make you more receptive.’ He pulled off my pants and knelt in front of me, and disgust immediately filled me. it was truly terrible having 17 inside me, but how degrading would it be to have him suck me off? ‘Get away from me,’ I spat. He just smirked and took me into his mouth.

From the instant his tongue touched the tip of my length, I hated myself. I hated the damn instincts, Saiyan, human or otherwise, that made my body respond to his ministrations. I hated the fact that 17 could control me in this way and get me off even though I despised him with every fibre of my being. I hated how he, in taking me once, had been deeper inside me than Gohan ever had. I hated myself when my body betrayed me and I came in his mouth, furious as he drank my essence. In the three of so months we had been together Gohan had done this to me more than once, but 17 affected me even deeper than he did. He was doing it against my will, without my consent, and I hated both of us.

‘You taste beautiful, Trunks,’ smiled 17, sliding himself up my body and trailing kisses as he went. His ice-blue eyes were hooded, closing as he began sucking on my neck. His hands travelled over my body, kneading clenched muscles and trying to get me to relax, but I was tense and uneasy. When he lifted his mouth from my neck I sensed, rather than saw, the red mark he had left there. In quiet hatred, I shut my eyes and wished sincerely that when I opened them, Android 17 would be dead.

No such luck. But before the day ended, I began hoping that I would be.

***

Android 17’s P.O.V

Trunks was definitely the most interesting toy I’d yet had. I’d taken him once and controlled him twice, and his defiance hadn’t wavered one but. If this was any indication of how long he’d last, I was in for a lot of fun. I should have thought of this before, I decided. I only wondered what would happened when he did eventually break. Would he merely give up fighting and submit to me? Or would he do something foolish and kill himself or force me to kill him? Only time would tell, and I for one hoped that it wouldn’t hurry.

With the other toys I’d had, I’d only really liked them for one thing. But I liked Trunks more than that – if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have gone down in him. I enjoyed kissing him and being nice to him, not that he’d ever admit he liked it. But, of course, what he thought and felt wasn’t important. What was important was that he was mine. I began to regret telling 18 she could play with him: knowing her, she’d probably break him after one use and ruin all my fun. I made a mental note to tell her, next time I saw her, to keep her hands off him. Only my hands were allowed on Trunks, just as I was the only one allowed inside him.

I had no way of telling if Trunks was a virgin or not – true, he was extremely cute, but 18 and I had driven most people into hiding, leaving few opportunities for getting laid, or so I thought. On top of that, I assumed that even if he had been with a girl, I would be the first male to take him. If I’d known then what I found out later, I probably would have hunted Gohan down and killed him.

The taste of Trunks’ essence spilling into my mouth was enough to set me off. I waited only long enough to give him a hickie before I forced myself on him a second time. He groaned in pain as I entered him, the sound even more satisfying to me than the scream he’d uttered last time. I kissed him passionately, desire pounding through my veins as I sheathed myself in the heat of his body. Trunks drove me insane; the lust I was feeling overpowered me completely and I thrust hard into him repeatedly, the pleasure setting every nerve in my body tingling. The sheer arousal he brought me to made it impossible to last long, which was probably a mercy to him but annoying to me. Much earlier than I wanted, I reached my peak, exploding inside Trunks in blind ecstasy. It took me several minutes to recover before I could remove myself and slowly pull my clothes on. Mostly so 18 couldn’t perve on him, I also replaced Trunks’ boxers and pants before releasing him from the bonds that held him up against the wall.

As soon as I removed his supports, Trunks fell forward onto his hands and knees, sweat and bruised standing out clearly on his pale skin. He looked up at me with hate-filled eyes. Those beautiful blue orbs were brimmed with tears of agony and shame but the loathing he was feeling made them spark with blue fire.

‘I’ll kill you one day,’ he grated, ‘and I promise it won’t be quick.’

‘You really aren’t in a position to make threats, you know,’ I said mildly. ‘My goodwill is the only thing keeping you alive right now, do you realise?’

‘I’d rather die than be touched by you!’ he burst out furiously.

I pouted at him. ‘Don’t be like that, Trunks. You’re mine now, and much as I hate to say it, you’re stuck with me. You might as well make the best of it. Just be grateful my sister thinks of your welfare. At least you have food, right?’

Trunks scowled at me and slowly, painfully, shifted so that he was leaning back against the wall. I had not defeated him; he was simply biding his time.

***

Bulma’s P.O.V

Not for the first time since the androids took over, I had a strong desire to blast something. I wished fervently that I could control my ki, and perhaps demolish a few pieces of furniture. A combination of anxiety and frustration was causing me to pave the living room ceaselessly, almost tearing my hair out with stress. Ever since Gohan had left to search for Trunks I had been a nervous wreck. At first I’d occupied myself doing repair work on the roof, but after dropping the hammer six times in a little over fifteen minutes, I realised that that particular distraction tactic wasn’t going to work. Watering the garden was no good either, as we had an automatic sprinkler system, and cooking anything was out of the question – I knew better then to go near an oven in my present emotional state.

So I paced, trying to occupy my mind with ‘how many steps can I take in twenty seconds’ or ‘trying to only step in each tile once’. But these inane games were no use. My stress levels continued to climb and the urge to throttle something was almost overwhelming.

Abruptly I whirled and ran to my bedroom. My mechanic suit fell to the floor in a crumpled heap as I took it off, instead pulling on a set of workout clothes I had bought many years ago. To my delight and vanity, they still fitted as perfectly as the day I’d gotten them. I hastily tied my hair back and jogged downstairs to the gravity chamber.

Okay, so I couldn’t handle 450x gravity like my beloved Vegeta used to, but I could still kick dust out of the numerous punching bags lying around the room. I programmed the computer to alert me if anyone arrived, and started working through my stress.

***

Android 18’s P.O.V

We’d had Trunks for several days now, and the kid still didn’t show any signs of breaking. I was rather impressed. 17 had taken him maybe half a dozen times, forcing himself on the demi-Saiyan basically any time I wasn’t in the lab, but Trunks was as defiant as ever. He still insulted my brother ever chance he got, still swore vengeance and threatened various painful deaths regularly to either of us: he hated us both, despite 17’s refusal to let me play with him. He was getting strangely possessive about his toy, taking back his offer of sharing Trunks with me. Now I wasn’t allowed near him

It was a mark of how much my brother trusted me (and how dense he was) that he didn’t mind leaving Trunks alone in the lab with me. He would go off and blow up empty cities, or whatever he did for fun when he wasn’t playing with his toy, and I would go for a bit of clothes shopping and come back before him. Normally I would leave Trunks alone, ignoring him while I tried on the outfits I’d got that day.

But on his fifth day with us, I decided to drop the good-little-sister act. If it weren’t for my help, 17 wouldn’t have even been able to get Trunks in the first place. Now, it was my turn to play with him, and see exactly what it was that made my brother so childish about him.

After 17 and I left the lab in different directions, I doubled back and returned to find that Trunks was in the bathroom. Not exactly eager to barge in on him I sat on a nearby chair and waited for him to finish.

When he came out and saw me, an expression of suspicion crossed his face. ‘What are you doing here?’ he asked warily, probably remembering the last time I’d played with him and nearly broken every bone in his body.

‘I do live here, you know,’ I replied, my voice expressionless as always. ‘And besides, I think it’s my turn to play with you.’ I gotta hand it to him, the kid was brave. With the harsh treatment 17 had been giving him during his stay, his body was bruised and battered all over, and his muscles and ligaments had no doubt been all but shredded. He wouldn’t be anywhere near as strong as he had been when 17 captured him, and he wasn’t close to my strength even then. If he took me on, it would be a completely one-sided match. But when the words left my mouth, Trunks shifted into a fighting form and got ready to battle. I smirked at him, pleased by the guts he showed, and said suggestively, ‘Not –that– sort of playing, Trunks.’

He looked confused and I could guess the thoughts running through his mind. *What could a girl do to me?* he would be wondering. *After all her brother’s done, what does she think she can do?* His voice said the same. ‘What do you mean?’ he demanded.

After all he’d been through, he still refused to be polite to me. How — rude–.

I stood up and walked into his cage, the fence of ki that presented such an impenetrable barrier to him not affecting me in the slightest, and stood in front of him, hands on hips. Before Trunks would react or defend himself, I tripped his feet out from under him and dropped him on the floor. He let out a surprised ‘oof’ as he hit the ground, then stubbornly started to float up again. He would still fly – impressive. However, I cut to motion short when I sat on him, straddling his hips and preventing him from getting up. While he squirmed helplessly, I put energy bindings on his wrists and ankles. I now had Trunks completely at my mercy.

‘I can definitely see what 17 likes about this,’ I smiled. Trunks struggled wildly, but could barely move an inch as I took off his shirt. He had a very appealing body – I understood why my brother liked him so much. ‘Have you been with a girl before?’ I asked, out of curiosity.

‘No,’ he muttered. I was delighted.

‘Then I’ll be your first,’ I said, leaning down to kiss him on the cheek before pulling off my shoes. I took off my black leggings, too, but left my skirt and the rest of my clothes on. Trunks looked, if possible, even warier than before.

‘What are you talking about?’ His voice was puzzled, apprehensive – but not scared. ‘You can’t force me too, you know…’ He trailed off and I realised that somehow 17 had not taken all of his innocence. Child-like, he was too shy to name it.

‘Oh, but I can force you,’ I replied, and ran a fingernail lightly up the inside of his upper thigh. With a shocked gasp, he went hard without even wanting to. ‘It doesn’t have to hurt, that’s all,’ I smiled as I freed his swollen organ from his boxers. Once again I was pleased – Saiyans were evidently superior to humans in more ways than simple fighting. Before going any further, I leant down and pressed my lips to his. ‘You’re going to kiss me back, aren’t you?’ I murmured, when he didn’t reply in kind.

‘No,’ he growled. ‘You can’t make me.’

‘Don’t be silly,’ I scolded. ‘I can make you do anything I want, don’t you see? Even though threats against –your– life may not work, I’m sure you’d hate to be responsible for the death of your friend Gohan, wouldn’t you agree, Trunks?’

I had touched a nerve. In the space of a heartbeat, Trunks’ stubborn resolve vanished and he perceived that I wasn’t bluffing. ‘No,’ he whispered, ‘not Gohan, please, I love him…’

Anything I had been about to say or do was put on hold by those three words. Did I hear him right? Did Trunks –love– Gohan? ‘Explain yourself,’ I ordered. ‘Do you mean that you and Gohan are together?’

Trunks looked like he wished he hadn’t said anything. ‘No, it’s not like that,’ he corrected himself hastily, but I sensed the lie. ‘I just love him like a brother, that’s all…’

I bashed him in the ribs with my bare knee. ‘Liar,’ I accused, as he gasped for breath. ‘You two are involved, don’t deny it.’ Closing his eyes in defeat, Trunks nodded. ‘How long?’ I questioned.

‘Since the last time we fought you, three months ago.’

‘Have you slept together?’

A silent nod.

‘More than once?’

Another.

‘So 17 wasn’t the first guy to have sex with you?’ Trunks shook his head and I laughed out loud. ‘Oh, this is too good!’ I hooted. At the Saiyan’s look of utter confusion, I told him, ‘17’s so jealous of you he won’t even let me lay a finger on you, and I’m his sister. Imagine his face if he found out you weren’t virgin for him! And to Gohan! He’ll be furious!’

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

My blood ran cold at 18’s words. She was right – if 17 ever found out that Gohan had been with me before he had, the android would be livid. My love’s life wouldn’t be worth a cent. ‘Please, don’t tell him,’ I begged, forgetting my pride in the face of such a threat to Gohan’s life. 18 just smirked.

‘Well, that depends,’ she said smugly. She truly had me at her mercy now – it was either cooperation or my lover’s death. How I hated being bribed.

‘I’ll do anything, just don’t put Gohan in danger!’ I said quickly. I hated compromising myself this way, but Gohan’s safety mattered more to me than anything.

Android 18 quirked an eyebrow. ‘You know, I might just hold you to that,’ she said. Nervously, I swallowed and nodded, showing that I was serious. I would endure any shame to save Gohan.

Even so, I don’t think I lived up to 18’s expectations. I tried my best to do what she wanted, even thinking of Gohan in her place, but it was very difficult. Between my disgust at having to sleep with her, the responses from my body that, although hated, had to be encouraged, and my deep-seated loyalty to Gohan, she must have been disappointed. But she didn’t show it. When we finished, she pulled off me with regret and loosed my bonds reluctantly. Once out of my cage, out of reach of the tiny threat I presented to her, she dressed slowly. I did the same, although my lack of haste was due to the collection of bruises I’d picked up during my stay with the androids.

‘Wasn’t that better than what 17 does to you?’ 18 remarked.

Mainly to save my own skin as well as Gohan’s, I nodded agreement, but truthfully I wasn’t sure. Maybe it had hurt less physically, but emotionally the damage may have been worse. Guilt, necessity, disgust and hatred chased each other round my mind until I thought my head would explode. I had been unfaithful to Gohan … he would have been killed if I hadn’t … I was dirty, cheap, a whore … the bitch would pay for what she had made me do … My thoughts were a tumble of confused but vehement emotions. During the last five days I’d been through more pain and emotional stress than I’d thought possible, and I swore to myself then, as 18 put her shoes back on, that they would die. Both of them. This was not the first time I’d wished that.

***

Gohan’s P.O.V

I was exhausted. Mentally and physically I was beyond my limits. For five days I’d been searching almost non-stop ; since Trunks disappeared I’d had about three hours sleep, tops. The fact that his ki was so low I couldn’t sense it worried me to no end. There was no way to contact him telepathically, either; our bond was destroyed. I’d gotten to depend on it during the three months since I’d marked him, and the lack of mental communication meant that I might search for weeks in the conventional way before finding him.

Flying low through a forest just after dawn, I was concentrating with all my senses to locate him; by sight, sound or sensing his energy signal. The ground was growing rocks beneath me, or was that just a trick of the light? I blinked and rubbed my eyes, feeling the craving for sleep more acutely than ever. Exhaustion dragged at my limbs; fatigue dulled my mind. Surely a little nap wouldn’t hurt … I could search much better if I was fully alert…

I woke up six hours later and almost killed myself. I had fallen asleep, when Trunks could be anywhere, hurt, dying … worse … I blasted into the air and resumed my search, filled with fury at myself and the androids.

It happened as I flew past a small cave-like opening in the side of a mountain. I heard voices. Hope suddenly, irrationally flaring in me, I slowed to a stop in mid-air and listened. Yes, there were definitely two voices, at least two, possible three. I flew in closer to eavesdrop.

‘I don’t know why you’re so upset, 17.’ Hold the phone – 17? And the girl talking sounded familiar.

‘Well I told you I didn’t like you touching my things, didn’t I? He is mine, not yours.’ No question, that was Android 17. It seemed as though I’d stumbled on their lair – both he and his sister were inside.

‘But he likes me better, don’t you Trunks?’ said 18 smoothly. My heart stopped beating.

‘You know what I’ll say to that,’ came the scathing voice of my beloved Trunks. ‘I hate you both!’ As he spoke, I almost passed out in delight. The whole world became filled with shining, wonderful light – Trunks was alive, and I had found him! For several minutes I was paralysed with joy and unable to move. Then 18 spoke again.

‘Oh, that’s not very nice, you know, Trunks,’ she said, and I could hear the pout in her voice. ‘But I can see why you don’t like 17 all that much. I certainly wouldn’t call him my friend if he’s raped me.’

I froze. What the –fuck– was that supposed to mean? She couldn’t possibly be saying that…

‘Don’t be silly, 18, you’re my sister. I’d never force myself on you. Trunks, on the other hand, isn’t any relation to me at all so I can do whatever I want to him.’ When 17 said those words, a horrible tightening started in my chest. Sick, overwhelming rage was building inside me, on a scale I hadn’t experienced since the first time I’d gone Super Saiyan. That unimaginable BASTARD! That disgusting, horrible piece of SCUM had taken Trunks against his will, violated him, hurt him more cruelly than in any battle … I became lost to reason. With one attack I blew the mountain to pieces.

Even before the dust settled I spotted Trunks. He was on his hands and knees in the middle of the levelled him, any number of bruises and scratches evident on his body through the tattered remains of his clothing. Happiness as seeing him gave way to concern, and I flew down immediately to see if I could help.

‘Gohan!’ he exclaimed suddenly, looking up and seeing me, and the relief and obvious pain in the teenager’s voice made tears spring to my eyes. I reached him and gathered him in a hug, having to restrain myself from squeezing too hard and hurting him. I buried my face in his purple hair as he burrowed into my chest. ‘Oh, god, Trunks, I was so worried,’ I whispered. ‘I’m so glad you’re safe.’

‘Safe? I don’t think so,’ said a voice. Interrupted from our reunion, Trunks and I looked up to see Android 17 hovering nearby. His eyes glinted maliciously as he took in out position. ‘In fact,’ he continued, ‘this will finally end, here and now.’ He pointed a finger at us to shoot an energy blast.

‘Goodbye,’ he said, and fired.

***

Android 17’s P.O.V

When I walked into the lab, the first thing I saw was my sister, kissing Trunks. She’d pinned him to the floor with cuffs of energy and was straddling him, cupping his face in her hands as her mouth covered his. I couldn’t see either of their faces, but the tension in Trunks’ body told me that he wasn’t happy. That, at least, was something. He didn’t like 18 any more than he liked me. But the fact remained that she was playing with my toy when I’d told her not to. ‘What do you think you’re doing, 18?’ I demanded coldly.

They both looked up at the same time. Trunks’ face was closed and I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, but 18 looked cross. ‘What do you care?’ she snapped, impatient as if I’d just interrupted something important.

‘He’s my toy, that’s why I care,’ I replied. My sister sighed in exasperation and stood up, removing Trunks’ bonds. I was glad to see that they both still had their clothes on. I wouldn’t have to blast either of them.

18 left the small cage she’s constructed for Trunks, and sat at a chair just on this side of the fence. ‘Well it’s very selfish of you not to let me play with him,’ she said coolly. Watching Trunks out of the corner of my eye, I saw him sit up, rubbing his wrists and ankles, and fall back into his semblance of “I-don’t-care-what-you-do-to-me”. The kid was pretty tough, I thought. Just one of the reasons I was so possessive about him.

‘You’re missing the basic point here, 18,’ I said, keeping my voice as neutral as hers, ‘which is the face that he’s mine. Why don’t you go find your own toy.’

‘But I like yours. He’s very cute.’ 18 smirked at the caged Saiyan, meeting a nasty glare in return. ‘See what I mean? But still, I don’t know why you’re so upset, 17.’

‘Well I told you I didn’t like you touching my things, didn’t I? He is mine, not yours.’ She was so dense. She couldn’t even get her head around a simple concept like ownership.

18’s voice was as smooth as silk. ‘But he likes me better, don’t you Trunks?’

‘You know what I’ll say to that,’ Trunks snapped. The blue fire had returned to his eyes, transforming them into bright rings of flame. I loved it when he looked like that. Not even his vehement, ‘I hate you both!’ made him any less attractive.

My sister responded before I did, her tone sulky: ‘Oh, that’s not very nice, you know, Trunks. But I can see why you wouldn’t like 17 all that much.’ She gave me an evil smirk. ‘I certainly wouldn’t call him my friend if he’d raped me.’

She was trying to turn him even more against me than he already was. ‘Don’t be silly, 18,’ I said to her. ‘You’re my sister. I’d never force myself on you.’ I turned to face the purple-haired teenager and watched him become instantly wary. ‘Trunks, on the other hand, isn’t any relation to me at all so I can so what I want with him.’

‘You’re both monsters,’ Trunks growled venomously. I smirked, and was about to reply when I heard something – like a voice yelling a long way off. A sudden premonition of danger struck me and I began to move towards the door of the lab. But before I got there the mountain exploded.

***

Android 18’s P.O.V

This was turning out to be one of the most interesting days I’d had in a long time. First, 17 had found out that I was playing with Trunks, then Gohan had turned up and trashed Dr Gero’s lab, and now he and Trunks were hugging like weakling humans hadn’t seen each other in ten years.

It was also watching 17’s face change expression at my prompting. At first, he just looked annoyed that his toy had escaped. He evidently didn’t know that Gohan and Trunks were together – he thought they were just friends. But I knew, and figured I’d do my brother a favour. I flew up beside him and said off-handedly, ‘Isn’t it just sickening when some couples are SO romantic?’

17 looked as though someone had just stuck him with a cattle prod. His eyes widened in shock and he stared at the two figures below like he was seeing them for the first time. ‘What are you saying?’ he demanded, ‘that they’re—’

‘Gohan had Trunks before you did,’ I said maliciously.

‘No – he’s mine,’ 17 growled, furious. ‘That brat – Gohan is going to pay for this!’ I sat back and watched as he flew down to confront them. It certainly was fun being manipulative, I reflected as 17, after a few short words, extended a finger and shot a blast. When his attack missed he repeated the action again, and again. For several minutes I hovered, doing nothing to interfere as Gohan, with his lavender-haired boyfriend in his arms, dived out of the way of everything my brother sent at him. The chase finally ended when Gohan set Trunks carefully on the ground and charged up an energy blast that hit 17’s attack head on.

For the moment disregarding the two fighters as they matched ki beams, I swooped down and picked Trunks up by the wrist, dragging him to a safer observation point. As always, he struggled slightly, but was too preoccupied watching Gohan face off against my brother to escape my grip. When I returned my attention to the battle, I realised with a shock that 17, despite putting all his power into his attack, was being pushed backwards with alarming speed. Without waiting an instant, I flew off to lend my aid, but before I’d gotten fifteen feet, something collided with my head. I hit the ground hard, my skull pounding with pain, and looked up to see that Trunks had knocked me off course.

He was hovering in mid-air a few yards away, eyes on the fight once more. A violent wind was blowing his purple hair in every direction. ‘What did you do that for?’ I shouted angrily. Trunks turned to me, an exultant grin lighting his face.

‘So Gohan could do that!’ he yelled back. I pulled myself out of my pile of rubble just in time to see my brother die.

With one blast, Gohan disintegrated Android 17. So many times he’d fought us, trying his hardest in each battle, and never gotten any further than messing up our clothes – and now it took him one attack to kill 17. I could do nothing but stare in disbelief as the explosion faded, leaving behind nothing but a tattered orange scarf. ‘17…’ I whispered, ‘I can’t believe you’re gone…’ I flew down to kneel next to the scarf, emptiness filling me as I, for the first time, suffered the loss I’d inflicted on so many other people. Now I understood why Gohan and Trunks hated us so much. I felt, only too clearly, what they felt for me.

‘You bastard!’ I screamed, rage overpowering my senses, and whirled and advanced on Gohan. ‘You killed my brother! I swear I’ll get you for that! You’ll wish you’d never been born!’ I flew at him and sent him crashing into a nearby cliff with a single punch. Not waiting for Gohan to recover, I followed him into the cave he’d just made and slammed another fist into a gut. Furiously I attacked again, punching him repeatedly and beating his insides to a pulp. If he weren’t part-Saiyan, he definitely would have been dead from those blows.

Before he could counter-attack I seized his wrist and threw Gohan out of the cliff, speeding after him as soon as he left my grasp. Once again, however, I’d forgotten Trunks. He reminded me of his presence with a blue- white energy beam that caught me on my side, sending me tumbling into the lee of another mountain. By the time I’d gotten my bearings, Gohan was on the attack again, with a mind to finish me off just like he had 17.

There was the sound of a huge energy blast and a colossal explosion immediately after. Pain filled my senses; agony, burning, crushing weight. Blackness.

Silence.

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

‘You did it…’ I whispered. A whoop of delight escaped me and I laughed for joy. ‘Gohan, you really did it! The androids are dead! Dead, dead, dead, dead, DEAD!’

Gohan laughed and hugged me around the shoulders. ‘–We– did it, Trunks,’ he corrected me. ‘Us, you and me, together, as a team – but mostly me,’ he added jokingly, and I hugged him fiercely. It didn’t seem real, somehow – after 16 years, the terrible duo had finally been silenced. Their reign of terror had at long last ended, and planet Earth had a future once more. The nightmare was over.

‘My mum is going to be so happy,’ I grinned, as Gohan and I started home.

‘Of course she will,’ smiled Gohan, ‘you’re alive! We were so worried about you, love. For days I could hardly sleep, barely eat … It’s such a relief to have you back.’

‘I’m really glad to see you too, Gohan,’ I replied, meaning it with all my heart.

‘Listen, Trunks,’ he began, ‘I want to know something.’ The sudden seriousness of his tone made me look at him questioningly. ‘Android 18 said her brother raped you.’ My insides turned to stone. ‘Is this true?’

Even though our telepathic link had been destroyed, I couldn’t lie to him. ‘Yes, it’s true,’ I said, my voice so low I could barely hear myself. A second later Gohan wrapped his strong arms around me and we slowed to a stop in midair. He held me close, conveying his sympathy, support and, above all, unconditional love, and the tears started falling from my eyes. The pain, the hatred, the self-disgust, shame and humiliation came surging up and overflowed, causing my eyes to blur and my shoulders to shake with wracking sobs. ‘I hate him, I hate him,’ I whispered. ‘The fucking bastard – I hope he died in total agony! I hope he went straight to hell! I swear, a hundred deaths wouldn’t be enough for him!’

::I’m so sorry, Trunks:: said Gohan, the strength of his love for me more evident than it had ever been in his mental voice. ::So sorry…::

A long time later, my sobs receded, and I sniffed and wiped my eyes. I’d made a big wet patch on the front of Gohan’s shirt where I’d cried on him, but he didn’t seem to mind. He didn’t even notice until I smiled weakly and pointed it out. ‘That’s okay, Trunks,’ he said. ‘Better tears than blood, anyway.’ I nodded in agreement and started slowly flying home again.

When we turned up at Capsule Corp my mother went three shades of white before almost crushing me in her embrace. She cried unrestrainedly onto my shoulder, whispering, ‘Oh, Trunks,’ over and over again. When at last she let me go, she held my arms in a fierce grip and said urgently, ‘Don’t ever do that to me again, Trunks Briefs.’

‘Don’t worry mum, I won’t,’ I assured her, and exchanged a look with Gohan before taking her hands in my own. ‘Mum – the androids—’ I paused, afraid I would burst with the good news. ‘They’re gone! Gohan destroyed them!’

The expression of shock and delight on her face was wonderful to see. ‘You’re – you’re serious?’ she gasped. I nodded, and she shrieked with delight. ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t believe it! I’ve been waiting to hear that for so long!’ she cried, and choked the two of us in ecstatic hugs, bouncing around the room in an overdose of joy. ‘It’s over, it’s finally over!’ she crowed. ‘Oh, Gohan darling, I knew you could do it!’

***

Later that night, Gohan and I sat up talking while he tended my injuries. He counted and revealed that during the five days I was at Dr Gero’s lab I had collected 103 separate cuts, bruises, scapes, and other marks. ‘Feels like more,’ I grunted as I gingerly moved one arm. And you couldn’t count the emotional damage the androids had inflicted on me. That was a total I wasn’t willing to evaluate.

‘Yeah, I can’t see how badly you’re hurt internally,’ Gohan muttered, ‘but I can tell it’s awful. And your muscles have taken a hell of a beating on top of the visible bruises.’

‘That’s 18’s fault,’ I said darkly. ‘She bashed me.’ At the immediate expression of pity I received, I felt a pang of guilt. It was confession time. ‘Gohan,’ I said nervously, the tone of my voice earning me an immediate look of scrutiny, ‘there’s something you should know. I … 18 … she, uh…’ I swallowed and looked down. ‘We had sex,’ I muttered.

For a moment Gohan was silent. I gradually realised the he was waiting for an explanation, and, relieved that I was being given the chance to offer one, I kept talking. ‘Well, it was like this – she said she wanted to “play” with me, but I told her to get off me, but then she said, she basically said that if I didn’t, she’d kill you.’ I paused to take a shuddering breath. Gohan opened his mouth to speak, but I forestalled him. ‘I honestly didn’t want to, but it was either – that’—I could plainly hear the disgust in my voice—‘or you would die. You see how it was, don’t you Gohan? She made me; you would have been killed if I hadn’t cooperated with her. Please forgive me.’ My words were desperate, and I realised that I needed him to forgive me so I could begin to forgive myself.

Gohan cupped my face in his hands and looked into my eyes. His beautiful ebony orbs locked with mine, and he said, slowly and clearly, ‘Trunks, whatever happened in there, I don’t blame you. We love each other, Trunks. We love each other. Nothing anybody can do can take that away.’

***

Gohan’s P.O.V

The androids may have perished, but my hatred of them was alive and kicking. I’d been livid when I found out what 17 had done to my beloved Trunks. He’d forced himself on the person who mattered most to me in the world, causing him pain and suffering worse than in any battle, and I took cruel satisfaction in the memory of how I’d destroyed him in one hit. Now, Trunks’ revelation that the bastard’s sister had done the same sent my fury spiralling to new heights. I half-wished that 18 were still alive, so that I could kill her slower, causing as much pain as I possibly could. At my request, Trunks told me how it happened in more detail, and I could see the healing begin as he spoke, albeit with difficulty, of what the two mechanical beasts had done to him. But he still had a long way to go.

The scars from an ordeal like this could take a lifetime to heal, I knew. I wished I could help more, but I honestly didn’t knew how – all I could do was be supportive and assure him that it wasn’t his fault. Trunks and I were close enough that I didn’t blame him in the slightest for what he’d had to do or the ways his body had betrayed him. I knew for certain that he loved me so much that the thought of being with anyone else, especially either of those two, would have sickened him. I could tell, in the tone of his voice, his body language, the words he used, that he hated them both with intensity that probably not even I could match.

His love for me was evident in exactly the same ways. He was obviously tearing himself to pieces with guilt, and it would be a long time before he would be able to stop unconsciously blaming himself for what 18 had made him do. In the meantime, all I could do was hug him and reassure him of his own blamelessness.

Something I was infinitely grateful for was the fact that Trunks didn’t flinch from my touch. I’d heard that it was often the case for victims of rape to, for a time at least, dislike, or even be scared of, contact with other people. But out bond was so strong, and Trunks’ trust of me so complete, that the issue never even came up. Small mercies did exist, after all.

***

Bulma’s P.O.V

When Trunks came back, my stress and unease all but disappeared. For five days, the worst five days of my life, I’d gone between despair and desperate hope, wondering where my darling was and whether he was okay. Now he was home again, alive and in one piece, and for a time I had been walking on clouds in relief and happiness.

But then Gohan had quietly taken me aside and told me what my son had been through at the hands of 17, and I’d nearly had a heart attack. That … that –bastard– had violated my wonderful Trunks. That horrible, sick son of a bitch had taken him by force, and the only thing stopping me from killed the android with my bare hands was the fact that he was already dead. I didn’t want to think was my precious darling had endured – the mere notion sent sick hatred swooping through me and I felt ill. The idea that the android would do something so cruel, so terrible, was unbearable for me.

It was all I could do not to stifle Trunks with care, to treat him like a child that needed constant attention. Gohan had very gently explained to me that he, as Trunks’ lover, was in a better position to offer comfort than his mother was. Even as I understood and left the two alone, I hated the fact that he was right. Every cell, every fibre in my body pressed me not to leave Trunks alone for a second, my instincts as a mother urging me to stay right beside him 24/7 with unending care, but I knew, as Gohan did, that this would only slow the healing process. It was nothing personal in any way – Trunks needed Gohan, his love, right now, and my time to fret over him was yet to come. It took all the self-discipline I had learned over the last three years, when the two Saiyans were fighting Androids 17 and 18, to step back and leave them alone.

So, once again, I headed to the gravity room to belt up a couple of defenceless punching bags.

Five cups of coffee and an empty gravity room made a dangerous combination, and within ten minutes I was in 10x gravity and still going strong. You can’t hang around Goku for half your life without picking up some tricks. Those target pads didn’t know what hit them. Unfortunately, the workout didn’t do what it was intended for, which was made all my worry disappear, but it did tire me out enough so that I fell asleep in the shower.

I only woke up when the water turned cold. Grumbling about cheap hot-water systems, I dragged myself into my room and spent several minutes trying to find the energy to get dressed. In the end, exhaustion won the battle and I crawled into bed in my birthday suit, thinking what Vegeta would do if he found me right then. I’m pretty sure there was some vestige of a smile on my face as I fell asleep.

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

I didn’t like ignoring my mother like that, but the care I knew she could give me wasn’t what I needed just then – I needed Gohan. My love sensed this and somehow managed to convince her to give me some space, so that he and I could be alone. I’m not sure what she did while we were talking, but she was kind enough to let us have our privacy.

When I’d finished telling Gohan what had happened throughout those five miserable days, he held me silently for a long time. I seemed to have run out of tears; at any rate, I was dry-eyed when we drew apart. The injuries that had made a patchwork over my skin had stopped stinging so fiercely, the pain having died to a dull ache, and it no longer hurt to move my arms and legs. Tired of immobility, I stood up and left Gohan kneeling on the bed while I went to the window.

‘It just doesn’t really seem possible,’ I said quietly as I looked out, ‘that after all that, they’re finally gone. All those years, all that pain, all those deaths … I can’t really believe it.’ The almost-full moon shone down through the window, illuminating the Capsule Corp lawn below me. Everything had changed so little since I saw it last – the grass was still bruised and more brown than green, there were still small amounts of debris scattered here and there – and yet inside I was irrevocably different. The damage ran deep within me, and somehow such a quick fix like Gohan had provided didn’t seem like a resolution to the terror Planet Earth had endured for sixteen long years.

‘I know what you mean,’ said Gohan. ‘So much suffering, and it’s over just like that.’ I looked around at him and smiled.

‘You’re a hero now, Gohan,’ I told him, putting on a mocking journalist’s voice. ‘The planet’s saviour! How do you feel?’ I pretended to point a microphone at it.

He gave a half-hearted smile and replied sadly, ‘I feel awful that I didn’t do it five days earlier.’

::Gohan, you don’t really mean that, do you?:: I asked, slipping into telepathy unconsciously in my shock. He gave a silent nod. I was appalled. Gohan was blaming himself, feeling guilty, for what had happened to me, for what those androids had done to be. Disbelievingly, I crossed over to the bed and knelt next to him, wrapping my arms around his body and hugging tightly. He put a hand on my arm. ::Gohan, it’s not your fault:: I told him sternly. ::There was nothing you could have done. I can handle your pity, love, but not your guilt!::

::It’s just that I keep thinking I should have been there, should have saved you:: he said remorsefully. ::I love you, Trunks, it’s unbearable that something like this could ever happen to you. I hate even the thought of it::

I turned his head to face me and kissed him gently. ::It’s not your fault, Gohan. Believe me:: He sighed, and I slipped my tongue into his mouth, massaging his with my own. Hesitantly, as if afraid that I would break, Gohan pivoted and encircled my waist with his arms. He drew me closer as I started taking off his clothes. ::Are you sure?:: he asked telepathically. I hesitated, not completely sure I was ready, but answered affirmatively after only a moment. ::I’ll be careful anyway:: he told me, and pulled my top over my head. It was like our first time together – he was being so cautious, so considerate of me that I felt like I would explode, or drown in my love for him.

The feeling of Gohan’s body against mine was dreamy. Compared to 17’s ice- cold skin he was boiling hot, the sheen of sweat that covered him practically steaming. I ran my fingers through his hair and he lifted me onto his lap before laying me against the raised head of the bead. Just before he entered me I felt the familiar sense of foreboding, and held him off, for a moment remembering all too clearly the agony 17 had caused me. ::Trunks, what is it?:: Gohan asked worriedly, pausing as he sensed my distress.

::Not yet:: I whispered mentally, my body shivering, ::just give me a little more time…::

::Of course, Trunks:: said Gohan reassuringly. ::Take all the time you need::

::Thank you, Gohan love:: The gratitude in my mental tone was obvious. Relieved and thankful for Gohan’s sensitivity, I kissed his neck. I ran my tongue over the mark I had given him and felt his response immediately as his hands clenched tightly. He murmured my name, groaning as I lightly bit. His breath coming in short gasps, Gohan sat back, removing his neck from the range of my teeth, and bent his head over my hips. A second later I was immersed in the heat of his mouth. A whistling gasp was forced from me, and evidently pleased that I was so responsive, Gohan began running his tongue up the length of it. I was sure I would pass out any minute, and equally sure that anything this mind-numbingly pleasurable had to be illegal. Within only a few short minutes he had brought me to the point of release, but he stopped just short of it and lifted his head.

I gave an exclamation of protest as he moved back to where he had been kneeling before, leaning over me. ‘You can’t do that!’ I objected out loud, my desperation clearly evident. ‘That’s cruel and unusual punishment! You’re not going to just leave me like that, are you?’ I finished on a pleading note that made Gohan smile.

‘Of course not,’ he said reassuringly. ‘But I’m not quite so selfless as to let you have all the fun, darling Trunks…’ He drew my legs up so my knees were bent, and gently, cautiously, –agonisingly– slowly, pushed into me. For the first time ever, it didn’t hurt at all, and I understood why Gohan had left off where he had. ::Oh, god – I love you, Gohan:: I said, cupping his face in my hands and kissing him urgently as he started moving in me. He had one hand on the small of my back, controlling the depth of his thrusts, while the other was flat on the bed to help him balance, and through it all I sensed our bond strengthening as we made love. *This is how it’s supposed to be* I thought to myself, even as Gohan came and the two of us were lost in pleasure. *This is what it’s meant to be like*

***

There are a number of benefits to being part-Saiyan. For a start, Gohan and I are naturally stronger than pure humans. We’re fitter, better fighters, tougher, and have an instinctive knowledge of ki. Secondly, we heal faster. For example, a cleanly broken bone, set in plaster, would mend within three weeks, far less time than it would take for a human to recover from the same injury.

But throughout that night, what I was grateful for had nothing to do with either of those things. You see, Saiyans have endurance in bed that ordinary humans couldn’t possible match. Six, seven, eight hours, and Gohan and I were still on fire for each other. It was incredible. In three months, we had learned a lot about each other and where our sensitive spots were. For instance, there was a place at the base of Gohan’s spine that was like some wicked kind of button. And he had found a place on my shoulder that would send me into transports of delight with the lightest nibble, every time. By the time we were finally spent, each of us had discovered at least two more. I loved having Gohan submit to me completely, the way I could get him totally helpless with pleasure just be rubbing a certain spot. The fact that he could do the same to me only made it more interesting.

Neither of us woke up before noon the next day, the night’s activities having exhausted us completely. When we did finally stir, it was to the smell of something delicious, and we found that my mother had made us a late breakfast in bed. There were several plates sitting on a table at the foot of my bed, each heaped high with towering stacks of pancakes. My mother had really outdone herself – they were excellent, far better than anything the androids had given me to eat.

Just the thought of those two brought a scowl to my face. It had been six days, now, since 17 had first taken me to Dr Gero’s lab, but it seemed far longer. In less than a week I’d endured enough horror and pain for a lifetime. What the androids had done to me was far worse than anything a person should ever have to suffer. The scars, I realised, would never truly heal, but I had to move on as best I could in spite of them. And Gohan would help me.

***

Android 18’s P.O.V

*Ow. My head hurts. Why is that?*

…*Oh, I see, I’m under a mountain*

…*Why is that?*

…*Let me think … ow … thinking hurts … ah yes, I remember now*

*Gohan*

*He killed my brother … he killed 17, and all that was left was his scarf … that –bastard–! I’ll never see my brother again because of him. He’s gone, lost … forever … he’ll never come back…*

*Don’t cry, 18. Crying is no good now. Sadness is bad … but anger is good, very good, makes you strong, stronger than horrible Saiyans. They will die, both of them. Gohan killed 17 – therefore he must die. And Trunks … Trunks … he will die too. He has to. It’s such a pity, though … he really is so cute…*

*Enough reminiscing. Time to blow this place*

***

Innocent Bystander’s P.O.V

To be completely and totally honest, life sucks. Ever since those goddamned androids came along, blowing up cities and killing everyone, nothing is good anymore. Children grow up in constant fear, not knowing what it’s like not to live in a time where each day could be your last, thinking that the world really is a place of pain. I’ve lost a brother and a nephew to those brutes, and my son lost a leg before we found this underground shelter. But the real losses can’t be expressed in numbers – there’s no longer any freedom, any peace or hope for the future. The androids have taken everything away from us and there’s nothing anybody can do to stop them.

My brother died trying to put a stop to it once and for all. He was so brave – I’ll never forget it. One of the androids, the girl, had grabbed a man by the throat and was choking him, slowly and agonisingly killing yet another helpless victim. My brother, furious, stepped out of his hiding place with a machine gun and opened fire on the android. She just looked idly around with a bored expression and blasted him to smithereens. I’ll remember that for as long as I live – the complete lack of interest on her face like my brother was nothing to her, of less worth than an insect she might squash. The memory still infuriates me.

In the sixteen years since they appeared, I’ve managed to retain some sort of a life in hiding. My husband and two kids are more precious to me than my own life, and so are the few friends I have left. But the number of refugees surviving in our underground shelter is slowly decreasing – it’s such a risk going for a food run when there’s no radio to tell us where the androids are. Every now and then someone will go to get supplies and not come back.

So far I’ve been lucky – my forages have all been successful in that the androids have never spotted me. I try not to worry too much, but it’s difficult, when my daughter goes with some friends to fetch supplies, not to panic and refuse to let her go anywhere. I’d much rather go myself then have my darling risk her life so. Living in the world we do, you place great value in your loved ones.

‘Okay, Bri, this is it…’ murmured a voice at my ear. I came slowly out of my thoughts and realised that Brentton, my old friend from high school, was giving me the all clear. I swallowed my fear. Going on food runs always made me nervous. But slowly we crept up out of the shelter and made our way into the open, and Brentton whispered, ‘Doesn’t look like there’s anybody around. Can you see anything, Brianna?’

I carefully scanned the nearby area and shook my head. ‘I think we’re the only people nearby—’

I was cut off by a massive boom as a distant mountain exploded. ‘Oh no!’ Brentton yelled, ‘the androids!’ He and I turned to duck inside, but before we could hide, Android 18 came speeding in our direction. I couldn’t help myself, and screamed. The murdering teenager looked down, but appeared to dismiss us as she raced past. Hardly had Brentton breathed a sigh of relief, however, when there came the sound of another enormous explosion as Android 18 blasted the underground shelter. Everything turned to a cacophony of spinning colours and deafening noise and I realised that the distraught voice crying, ‘No, please, no,’ was my own, and after sixteen years of hiding and pain, it was all over.

My last thought was a protest, that life wasn’t meant to be hopeless as it had been since the androids showed up. But then again, for me, life wasn’t anything anymore.

***

Gohan’s P.O.V

I should have known it was too good to be true. The androids that had ruled my planet were not so easily defeated; they would not simply roll over and die. However much I or anyone else wished it, their reign of terror just wasn’t going to end so easily. Unfortunately, the way I found out that my job was incomplete was a way I would never have chosen.

Somehow, Android 18 found out where Trunks, Bulma and I lived, and as soon as she came within range (undetectable to our senses, being artificially constructed and all) she wasted no time in blowing Capsule Corp headquarters sky-high.

If she’d bothered to wait and see where we were, she might have delayed a moment longer. I’m glad she didn’t, as at the time of her attack Bulma, Trunks and I were all in the backyard grouped around a gravity machine. When the house blew up, Trunks and I acted on our first instincts. I dropped to the ground, dragging the lavender-haired Saiyan with me, and he took my arm in one hand and his mother’s in the other and took us to meet the dirt alongside him. As rubble fell in the aftermath of the explosion, I looked up cautiously and felt my heart turn into water. Hovering beyond the remains of Capsule Corp building was the blonde android I thought I’d killed a little over a day ago. She was alive, and evidently out for revenge.

Even as I gaped at her disbelievingly, she turned and spotted us, and extended her hands to blast us into oblivion. ‘Move!’ I yelled, and not waiting to the others to respond, I took them in my arms and hurled myself sideways, out of the way of the blast. It missed us, but not by much, and the aftershocks sent us tumbling for several metres. I sprang to my feet and fired off a number of retaliatory blasts as 18 dived in for the kill. They all missed, and a second later my head was almost snapped off my neck by her punch. 18 then spun around, a turning kick plastering my nose across my face, and used a double axe-handed smash to drop me to the floor, forming a crater that was more like a grave.

It felt like every bone in my body had been broken. I was a red lump of mush, incapable of movement, barely capable of sight. Android 18 flew over to where Trunks stood, angry and defiant, next to his shaken mother. Bulma was obviously scared out of her mind. She was on her knees, eyes huge, biting her nails in terror. 18 cast her a contemptuous look, then the blonde android kicked Bulma with enough force to send her flying forty feet into a pile of debris.

‘Mother!’ screamed Trunks, his voice ragged with shock and distress, sounding like his vocal chords would be shredded from the force of his cry. 18 laughed mockingly at the look on his face.

‘I don’t think she can hear you where she’s gone,’ she said maliciously to Trunks. The young part-Saiyan gave her a glare of such fury that she raised an eyebrow, amused at the pain and anger she was causing. ‘I’ve gotten under your skin somehow, haven’t I?’ 18 teased. Trunks growled low in his throat, insane rage in his eyes, grinding his teeth with force than would have reduced bone to dust. A rushing ki field began to build around him as his anger increased and his power level began to grow in leaps and bounds. I found myself thinking fervently, *Yes … yes, Trunks, that’s it! You’re going to become…* A cry burst out of him, a cry of such anguish, such fury that I felt my heart twist on hearing it. There was a flash of yellow light, blinding me; when it faded, there stood Trunks, a golden aura surrounding him, his blonde hair swaying, his green eyes snapping sparks.

Trunks was a Super Saiyan.

If I’d had the strength to move my mouth, I would have cheered. The pride and fierce joy pounding through my veins made me dizzy. ::Go Trunks!:: I shouted telepathically, and saw him nod in acknowledgment before fixing all his attention on Android 18. She looked distinctly unimpressed.

‘So now you’ve decided to be blonde, too?’ she asked, smirking. ‘You’re going to need more than a new hair colour to beat me, you know.’ Too quickly to follow, 18 zanzokened in front of him and said intimately, ‘Good lucky,’ before kissing him on the cheek and disappearing again. Trunks scowled and shifted into a combat stance.

18 stopped on a small pile of building materials only a few feet away from me. She stood, arms folded, and waited for Trunks to strike first.

His Super Saiyan aura glowing around him, the teenager lifted into the air, gaining altitude steadily until he was hovering in mid-air about thirty feet above and beyond the android. Then he dived. One, two, three punches were dodged by 18; a roundhouse kick passed clean over her head, but Trunks wasn’t trying. He was leading her on with a false guess at the extent of his newfound power. Trunks dropped so he was eye level with his blonde opponent, and aimed a quick pair of punches at her face. She tilted her upper body sideways to let them slide by, but Trunks’ knee came up under her guard and pulverised her gut. A blank expression of pain appeared on her face and Trunks hit her with a palmheel strike that introduced her closely to a nearby mound of debris. He paused to catch his breath.

After a moment, 18’s burial pile shifted slightly and she stood up. Her hair was a wreck, her clothes tattered, there was an inch-thick layer of dust all over her and a look of resentment had appeared on her face. ‘You brat,’ she said simply. ‘You can’t win.’

Trunks smirked at her, but through out mental bond I could sense him faltering. ::Don’t believe her:: I said, as firmly as I could. ::You can do it, Trunks. I know you can::

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

Without warning Android 18 flew at me, arm drawn back for a killer blow. I crossed my forearms in front of my face as her fist closed in on me, and the punch connected with terrifying force that made me slide backwards several feet through the air. Even as she prepared to strike again I seized her wrist and hurled her into the crumbling ruins of my home. Quickly I zoomed in after her and bashed her back the way she had come. Turning and cartwheeling gracefully in the air, 18 came to a stop facing me, and shot off a dozen powerful blasts. I evaded the first five or so, but the rest all landed at once.

I fell to the ground like a stone and 18 kicked me violently upside the head. She grabbed me by the front of my shirt and drew my face close to hers.

‘Well, it was nice knowing you, Trunks,’ she smiled evilly. Then she held her free hand against my chest and a blistering-hot ball of ki appeared in it. ‘I’d like to say I’m sorry for doing this to you.’ The blast grew. ‘Unfortunately that would be a lie.’ It detonated.

Or at least, that’s what 18 wanted to happen. In reality, I smacked her hand away almost before she finished talking and the energy attack soared through the air, exploding a mile or so above the ground. 18 goggled, but I didn’t give her time to enjoy the spectacle. I sent the bitch to Hell with the most powerful attack I could muster.

I swear the whole planet shifted. Without a doubt, there was a decent earthquake where I was standing. A crater hundred feet across and five times as deep was formed in an instant as I blasted Android 18 full on with all my power. Faintly through the deafening clash of noise I heard her mortal scream and knew, beyond contention, that this time it was permanent. They weren’t coming back. Ever.

All the desperate relief I’d felt when Gohan had supposedly killed them the other day came flooding up, along with the sheer effort it had taken to destroy 18, and I found that I had lost the use of my legs. When the last rumbles of the explosion faded, I was flat on my, back staring up at the sky. I felt the Super Saiyan power draining from my body and grief washed over me, obscuring all other thoughts and emotions, as I remembered what had happened to make me angry enough to transform in the first place. My mother was dead. 18 had killed her. Tears leaked out of my eyes and started sliding down my cheeks, the salty drops following each other in quick succession. I was an orphan – my mother had been killed … my chest shook with soul-felt sobs. My mother … dead … gone … my … mother…

‘Trunks? Trunks, honey, please talk to me. It’s your mummy…’

My blood froze. It couldn’t possibly be…

Terrified I was mistaken, I slowly opened one eye enough to squint out of. Blue hair came into focus and I opened both eyes wide. ‘Mum…’ I breathed.

She nodded quietly, a conflict of emotions on her face like she was somewhere between laughing and crying. To he honest, I felt the same way. So we did the sensible thing – both.

If I hadn’t been so terrified of hurting and, consequently, losing her, and if my limp legs hadn’t refused to move, I would have crushed her in my hug. As it was, between my embrace, her nearly-hysterical laughter and her heart- wrenching sobs, it was a wonder my mother could breathe at all. As for myself, my feelings had been snapping back and forth like a rubber band and I couldn’t have stopped crying if I had tried. So, Saiyans weren’t supposed to express their emotions so much. I didn’t care. The stress I had been suffering in the last while since 18 returned more than justified the tears.

***

Trunks’ P.O.V

A lot’s happened in a year – some of it hateful, some of it treasure. Ever since I fell on that fence during that battle with Android 18, so many things have changed. I found my true love, in my best friend. I went through an ordeal so hellish that the nightmares woke me for months afterwards. I thought I’d lost my mother. I experienced great pain and great happiness, but through it all, he was there, as he always has been and as he always will. My love, Gohan.

Without him I would only be half the person I am now. Without his unquestioning support and unconditional love, I doubt I would even be alive. And Nicca certainly wouldn’t be, either.

The three month-old baby, half-Saiyan thanks to Gohan and I, is already crawling competently, to the amazement of us all. Although my mother – her grandmother – tried to get me to cut off her tail, I resisted, pointing out that even if Nicca did transform Gohan and I could subdue her easily. Besides, she’s so cute with that brown furry appendage waving around of its own accord (although we do have to be careful when there are breakable things around, in case she knocks one accidentally.)

At the moment Gohan is playing with Nicca’s toes, causing our baby daughter to giggle happily. Grinning almost as much as she, I manoeuvre my wheelchair over to them and ruffle her unruly dark blue hair. Gohan looks up; his eyes meet mine and a feeling of warmth and love passes between us as we renew our bond in the smallest but sweetest of ways.

‘How are your legs, Trunks?’ he asks, taking Nicca and sitting her on his lap.

‘This morning, I moved one of my toes,’ I said casually. Gohan’s face lights up, his black eyes shining.

‘You’re getting better,’ he says. ‘I knew you would.’ He smiles down at the beautiful baby he holds, but sad recollections cast a shadow over his expression. I know what he’s thinking – it was Nicca’s birth, and the stress it put on my body, that delayed my recovery from the paralysis I’d received when I destroyed Android 18 six months earlier. But now it’s certain I’ll be able to walk again some day and neither of us begrudge her for it. Then again, neither of us ever did regret Nicca.

Gohan and I look at each other again and, though our link, silently affirm our devotion to each other. A lot’s happened in a year, but Gohan’s eyes are still as beautiful as ever.

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