To Dance Upon Threads: Arc One-Remembrance
by Valadein     More by this Writer
A long story about the impossibilities of relationships and the conquest of time…

The set-up may be a touch confusing, so to clear things up a little – italics are memories or events that happened in the past. Hope that helps a little…



Chapter 01: To Stop A Train
“Dad…did he want us to die?”

Vegeta was not shocked by the statement itself. Moreover, the surprise he felt stemmed from the three days of the idiotic dancing around the question finally coming to an end. Though he’d felt the urge to berate his son for the cowardice of silence, he’d held his tongue. The question had proven far too delicate and dangerous the first time it bore the weight of existence. He hesitated to imagine the outcome of it’s second coming.

After all, it had been this same questioning that had sent Son Gohan into the beginning of madness years before…

It had been the same voice, the same eyes, the same lips…only older, leaner; lacking of childhood innocence.

It had been by these means – through this same accusation – that Vegeta found his opening to finally break the quiet Son…and break him he did…but not without regret – not without nearly losing his life.

And now, years later…the same question…the same anger and the same pain – the same blue eyes and pale lavender hair – but this time, the accusation would be silenced before it reached Gohan’s ears, before Vegeta rose to that temptation again. Vegeta would see to that himself.

“What do you think?” Vegeta finally snarled in reply. The words slid across the air like razors – unintentional razors, but razors all the same.

Blue eyes fled direct gaze. Trunks, his small chubby fingers still lacking the refined agility of adulthood, folded and refolded a flimsy paper napkin.

The napkin dulled at his constant touch, becoming translucent with salt-staining sweat. A strong hand stayed his fidgeting. Blue once again raised level with black. “What do you think, kid?” This time the words erupted softly from the bottom of his throat, touching the boy with concern and even sorrow.

Vegeta had adopted the tone after watching Bulma elicit a stark confession about a broken lamp and a missing cake from the oft-wayward boy.

“He could have stopped it.”

Vegeta nodded in acceptance at the hasty answer. Trunks nearly breathed a sigh of relief as if he was off the hook, but, this was not his mother who had been won over so many times with hurried words and a flash of regret. This was his father, and whether or not he cared to admit it, his father was a terribly patient man – at least when it came to eliciting answers. He bit the inside corner of his lip nervously as his father folded muscular arms over his chest. Time passed slowly under Vegeta’s eyes.

Trunks squirmed under the pressure. He was stubborn – downright defiant to most – but compared to his father, he was a walking doormat.

“He’s stronger than you, Dad.” Another moment passed. In a way, he’d hoped that the words would force his father’s renowned temper, allowing him to scurry to his room and be released from the self-provoked conversation. But his father only nodded in agreement.

“He’s stronger than you and Goku combined.”

Again Trunks paused, weighing his father’s reaction. There was none. Gohan’s strength had never been a matter of contention for the elder Saiyajin. Goku’s yes, but Gohan’s…the retort fell flat.

The pressure to explain his barely self-understood thoughts welled a misaligned anger inside of the child. Adding his father’s intent glare only made matters worse. Trunks reddened against the spilling of his tongue. The napkin fell useless to the floor. Memories fluttered anxiously across his face.

Time wept for its ignorance – that such a place should exist; that such a place willed itself to continue…There had been no warning, no foresight…no preparation, no tactics. No time – no time to comprehend…and for that, time wept within the pink caverns…Dull pain was replaced only by torment – a cycle of hot and cold, never ending, never stopping…It was a tactic meant to keep the young demi-Saiyajin’s mind occupied long enough for final intentions to be constructed with minimal conflict.

His head split at the new sensation of consumption, and the long dark thoughts poured into his head like a waterfall. Horrible thoughts, evil thoughts, unspeakable thoughts…sent to crush his spirit into resignation. For what felt like centuries they came, haunting him; plaguing him. And soon, they began to devour him, to suck him dry; to bleed him of self – to meld and incorporate him…

Trunks waged an all-out war against the pink beast. He scurried himself, hid in the crevices of his own mind – waiting in ambush for the creature’s next attack. But all the while, he was losing…and from what little he could sense, they were losing too.

Goten, unaccustomed to anything of impure nature, barely kept afloat in the drift.

And poor Piccolo…Fierce to protect the demi-Saiyajin children, he had burned his ki bright, overtaking their suffering with last shreds of strength; hoping to pull pink attention to himself…but Piccolo – brave to the end – failed miserably. His decoy was quickly uncovered, and his power was proven hoax. His punishment severe.

Piccolo’s suffering was a slow nightmare…The boys withheld heartbeats and thoughts as the Namek screamed. Shredded and re-shredded – re-formed, only to be pulled apart again…The pink demon laughed into the depths of each of their hearts as he played with his unwilling toy.
Trunks could do nothing but plead for the Namek’s release, and all too soon was he answered. Like a tiny mouse he was leapt upon, hovered and stalked by the great night owl. Gathered strength was wrenched from his pitiful grasp and drank like intoxicating wine by his hunter. Thoughts were cornered, betrayed, and hoisted back at him changed and corrupted. Sweet memories became phantoms lurking in windows and behind trees. Friends became bitter, blood drenched, and bound thick with hatred. Family became distant and demeaning, cold and callous. Self wavered. The boundaries between Buu and himself blurred. Trunks knew fear.

“He could have stopped Buu at anytime.” Trunks wallowed inside the battle against the pink demon. “I felt it, Dad. I felt everything, and he let it all happen. He let Buu destroy the world.”

Behind his eyes he could see them die – feel the life forces fade out one by one, then all at once. The darkness of death pinched the corner of his eyes – the galaxies he swam before his spirit was given a home…the cold, vehement wait of a soul in limbo. It rose to the surface and overwhelmed the child. Closed fists sent splinters of wood spattering out across the kitchen as the table was split in half. Plates and cups slid downward at the quake filling the floor with glistening ceramic shards.

“You haven’t convinced me yet,” his father finally quipped after his son had calmed down. Though he himself was prone to outbursts, his son, sure as hell, would not behave in such a manner – around him, anyway. Vegeta’s eyes locked into the pattern of ceiling tile scribbling out faces and cartoons in the pockmarked surface. “Go on, kid. Try again.”

Jaw clenched tight, Trunks matched his father’s glare. Ice bled upon coal, but coal held the wisdom of long years. Vegeta slicked half a smile across his face inching the boy further into crimson frustration. “Convince me.”

“All Gohan had to do was…”

“What? What did he have to do?”

“All he had to do was…” Again Trunks stopped himself. His father sneered. “All he had to do was…”

“Relinquish his control?” Vegeta finally said, his voice nearly cruel. Black eyes ripped away at the shame ridden blue.

But those blue eyes proved defiant. “Yes,” Trunks hissed back, more for his father’s ridicule than his own trusted belief. “He wanted you to die, too.”

The smile snaked further across Vegeta’s face. Slowly the eldest Saiyajin prince leaned in until his breath was warm upon his son’s cheek. “You know with certainty how much power the brat has?”

“Yes.”

“Without a doubt?”

“Yes.”

“And you still think it wise for him to relinquish his control?”

Trunks paused, watching his father’s dim eyes grow even darker. Trunks refused to back down, even if his instincts told him that it was the proper course of action. With vehemence crusting the edge of his voice he replied, “Yes.”

Vegeta became the flames of hell, burning away at his son’s soft lavender veneer. Then – without pause for momentum – the dark eyes softened with exhaustion and if Trunks looked close enough, within the creases of his father’s permanent scowl, he could see worry, sadness even – terrible sadness. It was not the look he expected, nor the reaction he had prepared himself for.

The words trailed from his father’s throat like a caught breath. “Then you’re an idiot.” Though the words were meant to barb, bait and berate, their intended meaning was lost to the scarcity of the small man’s voice. His head slid exhausted to the back of the chair and in a rare moment of visible regret, Vegeta rubbed his forehead with calloused fingers. And Trunks – as if witnessing something so sacred that naked eyes would burn for the sight – shied himself to the floor, occupying himself with the off kilter melody made when ceramic shards contacted displaced silverware.

Buu edged closer and closer to absorption. Senses went first – or rather, the knowledge of senses. Trunks could no longer recall the scent of his mother’s perfume, and taste followed so closely behind that if he had not been trying to remember the smell of sautéed garlic he would not have noticed. Not long after sight disappeared. No longer did his father’s scowling face grace his memories. Goten’s ever-present smile became a void at the edge of his mind. Or maybe, it was hearing that went next – he wasn’t sure.

Then came the storm. Buu came after his ‘self’.

Then it stopped.

At first, he was suspicious of the stillness; wary of an underhanded maneuver, but the sensation grew so strong…His fear, his focus – his self – could not find the will to battle…

He was warm.

Safe.

Serene.

He became light, like snow – drifting, bathing; melting into the calm that vined itself throughout. Fear could not exist in a place such as this. There were no nightmares, no demon faults. Compassion erased intrinsic errors of humanity, forgave the scars of battle, and cleansed away self doubt. Time rejoiced – that such a place should exist; that such a place defied the darkness…

And, to his surprise, a power filtered through the warmth – an immense power – a power that Trunks’ mind could not comprehend. But that power, too, sought only the happiness of those within its web. It sought to please, to give and ask for nothing in return. It was an enigma, a riddle; another self buried beneath calm seas and starlit skies. So familiar…so soft…

There was no skepticism in Trunks’ recovery of solid thought…no fear of awakening to find himself enmeshed in the pink demon – only the awareness that he was whole again. More than whole. More than self. Within the cloud of compassion that he nestled comfortably inside of, he realized that he was complete. Perfect.
And the tears he shed upon release from that pink pod were not for Buu’s adept torture…

Vegeta let loose a sigh of exasperation, warning his son that he was ready once again. “I trust you searched for my ki?”

“Yes.” Three weeks ago, the night after the world breathed safely once again, his father had left without warning or explanation. His mother would say nothing, nor would Goten who was promptly dropped off by the emerald skinned Namek. To satisfy his curiosity he had searched for his father’s ki. What child wouldn’t?

“You know what we went through,” Vegeta said, popping a wearied eye open to look at his son. Trunks nodded with understanding. For three weeks, his father and Goku had sustained a level two transformation. And though Goten disagreed, Trunks swore that for a solid two days, Goku and his father wore the veil of level three. Even Piccolo – who was long ago surpassed by the Saiyajins – sustained remarkable levels of energy.

“You know what he went through?” Vegeta’s eyes closed, not fully wanting to see his son’s reaction, but Trunks nodded anyway. It wasn’t the sustained levels of those three that had kept the boys in quiet contemplation for three weeks. It wasn’t the memories of Buu that had stilled their rambunctious energies. It was Gohan. For three weeks, the quiet Son’s ki had spiked and flared inconsistently – like a wild-fire, or so Goten had reckoned it to. Sometimes it fell so low that the boys had garnered migraines trying to sense it. Other times it was so alarmingly powerful that they could find no respite from its intolerable weight. Up and down, with no pattern, no order; no sense of comprehension – no sense of Gohan.

But then, three days ago, it stopped. Gohan’s ki stabilized – once again became familiar, warm and safe.

“Then you know he nearly died.” Vegeta bit the end of his words, a slow ache trembling the edge of his spine.

Trunks arched a fine lavender brow in confusion. “What?”

“We nearly killed him.”



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