Trunks felt the air stir his straight locks as the door closed behind him. He walked on ahead of his father, feeling oppressed, the heat, the tight air and...
That's when he saw the vast void of nothingness around them.
Trunks stared at his father who walked out ahead of him to stand at the beginning of the void, getting to know it for himself. Trunks stared at Vegeta, the whole time his mind screamed at the fear and building panic within him.
Alone for an entire year with his father in this place; Trunks didn't think he could do it.
Trunks stared at Vegeta, who had his back to him, arms crossed. “Father?”
“Too much for you?” Trunks couldn't see his face, but he knew Vegeta was smirking as he asked the snide question.
Trunks squared his shoulders in determination, trying to quell the fear within him. “No, it's not!”
Vegeta merely laughed in derision and walked off.... into the nothingness.
Trunks wanted to follow immediately, not wanting to be left behind even if it meant following Vegeta into the void. But something in Vegeta's carriage told him his presence would be most unwelcome.
Trunks looked down, trying to steady his breathing.
“I can do this.”
* * *
Vegeta smirked, hearing the fear in his son's voice, as Trunks' voice was carried to him on the strange wind of this magical place.
* * *
Trunks somersaulted in the air, jabbing and kicking upon landing, his movements almost faster than the human eye could detect, but in comparison he could see that his movements were still frighteningly slow compared to his father. Vegeta was about 40 feet from him, doing his own routine of kicks and jabs, his body covered in sweat, the spandex he was wearing glistening with it.
Trunks watched Vegeta for a moment, and then his face took on determination as he turned it up and notch and punched, kicked, jabbed and somersaulted in a frenzy.
The training would have been more effective if both men agreed to spar against each other. But every time Trunks suggested it, Vegeta would scoff and say something like, “Who needs to waste time with you.”
Trunks was frustrated by his behavior, but he kept his mind focused because there was a bigger goal to achieve and that was to save this time from a future so horrible that at moments of complete defeat, Trunks had almost given up hope. That was, until he remembered the sacrifice of his mentor and tutor, Gohan.
Trunks knew that Gohan would be so proud of him if he could see him now. Trunks took the faith that Gohan had in him and clung to it, because it was all he had to keep him going now. Especially, in present company.
Trunks' father just didn't want to have a thing to do with him.
Trunks still wanted the man's approval, still wanted the Saiyan Prince to show him just an ounce of love. But Vegeta seemed determined to do anything but that.
* * *
Trunks walked, his face grim, eyes angry.
“You coward! You can't run home to your mother, you know!”
Trunks kept on walking. He had had enough of the abuse that day.
Everything he did, everything he said, even his hair growing halfway down his neck to his shoulder was something for Vegeta to belittle.
“You are not a true Saiyan. You will never be a true Saiyan. My son, the Super Saiyan.” Vegeta grunted in derision. “What an imposter!”
Trunks just walked, until he couldn't hear Vegeta's taunts any longer.
But by then it was too late.
In a panic, Trunks turned round and round, seeing nothingness encircle him. He had no idea which way the Time Chamber was and had no clue as to how he'd ever make it back. In a panic, he remembered Mr. Popo's words of caution.
“Do not stray out too far into the void. You can get lost and may never return.”
Trunks stopped walking and breathed deeply to try and steady his nerves. Tears trailed down his cheeks but he wiped them away quickly. Trunks sat down and forced himself to meditate, to calm himself and to try and train himself on Vegeta's ki.
It took some time, perhaps days because things were not always as they first seemed in this realm of nothingness, Trunks often walking for hours in the direction he suspected he felt Vegeta's ki only to find more nothingness staring him in the face. Finally, one day, he felt Vegeta's ki stronger than ever before and headed in his direction.
Trunks was dismayed, yet little surprised to see that Vegeta had not spared him a moment of concern while he was away. Trunks headed indoors, needing a shower, food and sleep. If he was going to have to deal with Vegeta's antagonism, then he was going to do it fully replenished.
* * *
Vegeta ate in silence, his insolent stare piercing the wall opposite him, as he chewed absently. He had surprised Trunks by joining him as Trunks sat down to his meal. It was the first time he had done anything like this in nearly two months of time together. Still, he didn't glance Trunks' way or even acknowledge his presence.
Trunks ate his food, swallowing past the lump in his throat. He didn't understand why he still let Vegeta get to him. He had long given up on this being some kind of bonding experience for the both of them. Vegeta, through his coldness, through his lashing tongue, had made it quite clear -- they happened to be related by blood but that was all there was to them.
Trunks was not a true Saiyan, and he never would be for his human blood. He was the product of a weak moment. Vegeta didn't speak of Bulma unless it was to deride the woman for being so weak as to fall into his bed. Trunks would usually rush from the conversation when it took this turn because he did not want to hear the intimate details of his conception that Vegeta seemed all too eager to throw in his face.
Trunks had become a Super Saiyan before his father had. He could fight with the best fighters in the universe. But Vegeta would not acknowledge him with pride. He was just a bastard, something that royals often had on Planet Vegeta. He just happened to be Vegeta's only one. For the moment.
Trunks studied the man, since they were sharing a meal, and noted that he wasn't all that much older than he was now. His face was most definitely handsome in a rough sort of way and Trunks could see why his mother had been drawn to the Saiyan. Although Vegeta was so foreign, his thick accent, thick brows and angry eyes making him a bit more than just exotic, with his short frame, that was shorter than Trunks, every inch of him was muscle. Vegeta's body was a testament to the extent Vegeta was willing to go.
Trunks knew that Vegeta's goal was to surpass the level of Super Saiyan. He talked about it often enough. At first Trunks thought it was impossible, but then, after weeks of seeing Vegeta train, he knew that Vegeta was more than capable of doing it.
But Vegeta, paying so little attention to his own son, had neglected to notice that Trunks' training had taken on a new determination as well. Trunks was determined to surpass the level as well, to prove once and for all that he was worthy of becoming Vegeta's son.
Vegeta's eyes slid towards Trunks and regarded him with a cold stare. “What are you looking at?”
Trunks, in anger, said, “You.”
Vegeta grunted around a mouth full of chicken.
“Father, I've been doing very well. I'd like to show you what I've ach...”
“I'm not interested.” Vegeta continued chewing, then dipped his hand down to grab another chicken leg.
“Why not!? Why can't you at least take an interest in me! I am your son!”
“You're just a weak moment, personified.”
“That's it!” Trunks rose and glared at his father. “I've had it with your insults. You are such an ass!”
Vegeta stood up, smirking around his chicken. He swallowed, then took the time to down a tumbler of water. After wiping his mouth on a napkin, he hurled himself at Trunks.
Trunks got his spar after all, but it took him a good two weeks to recover from it, having to take several senzu beans to right broken bones. He watched his father from afar now, no longer trying to goad the older man into a spar.
Trunks had given Vegeta his fair share of injuries, but it was no where near as bad as the beating that Vegeta had delivered to Trunks. For one thing, Trunks really didn't want to hurt Vegeta. For another thing, Trunks had wounded Vegeta's pride -- not that Vegeta would ever let Trunks know it.
* * *
Six months went by and Trunks' hair had grown past his shoulders. It was a new taunt that Vegeta used, often comparing Trunks to a woman, saying that he was more beautiful than the average woman, here on Earth at least.
Trunks let Vegeta get his shots. He knew by now that the insults were Vegeta's way of letting off steam. Trunks had seen enough of Vegeta' training to know that Vegeta was pushing himself to the breaking point, his body often nearly broken when he returned to rest, his mind perhaps having suffered irreparable damage after all these months. Trunks tried to look at it this way -- Vegeta was no different than a person suffering from a terrible head wound, which Trunks knew Vegeta had often suffered in these past few months. Many people that have suffered such injuries sometimes could not contain their rage. Trunks told himself these things, to get through this ordeal.
Because Trunks wasn't too sure that he wasn't losing his own mind as well.
Sometimes, when he stepped out into the void, no longer afraid of it as he used to be, Trunks felt it pull on him, tug at his thoughts and try to bend them, until they were almost someone else's thoughts, someone else that was angry, and twisted inside.
* * *
Trunks flashed into Super Saiyan and sped up his body's movements, knowing full well that Vegeta regarded him from the stairs, smirking at him.
“You are such a weakling.”
“If I'm so weak, why don't you come here and fight me.” Trunks had lost his nice ways long ago. It had been ten months in the chamber with his father, and he almost hated the man.
Part of him still wanted acceptance. And love.
Vegeta merely sneered. “You know full well I've ascended to a new level. I'd destroy you. Do you want that, Boy?”
Trunks wanted to bite back, “Sure!” but he had a fear that Vegeta would take him up on his offer. Then Trunks would have to reveal...
That he had surpassed Vegeta. It would be either that, or die. And Trunks wasn't going to let this version of earth down despite the anguish he was feeling over his own father's rejection.
“I don't want to be “destroyed,” by you, Father. No. I want you to treat me with respect. And love.”
Vegeta just laughed. “I see you doing some of Kakarot's moves now. Why don't you do that stupid `Kamehameha wave' he's so fond of too?”
Trunks was surprised that Vegeta had noticed that he was using some of Goku's techniques. He didn't think his father paid him much attention, really.
“Because it doesn't feel right to me.”
Vegeta sneered. “Oh come on! Don't you worship that Clown? Don't you want to be just like him?”
Where was all of this coming from?
“No, I don't want to be just like him.” Trunks held his tongue from saying further. He stopped himself from saying that he wanted to be something like his father, if not as cold or angry. But he knew that would only be a mistake.
“Well, you could have fooled me.”
Vegeta stalked off then, and Trunks stared after him, dumbfounded.
* * *
It nagged at Trunks -- his father's anger, and treatment. Could he be jealous? Of Goku? Did he really think that Trunks “worshipped” Goku? It was beginning to make sense, but in order for Trunks to tell his father, he would have to risk Vegeta's wrath.
Vegeta was just set against accepting Trunks, and Trunks already knew it despite months of hoping. Trunks finally had to accept it\it.
* * *
Trunks stared off into the distance, a pack on his back. He would travel out into the void for a few days to get away from his overbearing father who had become more than abusive, not only hurling verbal abuse and threats at him every chance he got, but the occasional vase or fist as well.
Trunks had been meditating a lot lately, and working on several moves that Vegeta had unmistakably noticed were Goku's. This seemed to push Vegeta over the edge and Trunks had had it.
Trunks tied his long hair back from his face, not wanting to have to deal with it sticking to his sweating face. Trunks was about to take his first step off into the void when Vegeta appeared before him, so fast, his movement hidden from Trunks' perception.
Trunks blinked at his father.
Vegeta smirked. “Running away?”
Trunks' blue eyes hardened. “No. I'm not. Anyway, what's it to you?”
Vegeta's face twitched. “Coward.”
“Father, let me pass. I'm not going to get into this with you!”
“You're a coward. What a disgrace to the Saiyan race.”
“Remember? I'm not a true Saiyan! So I can disgrace the race all I want!!” Trunks tried to push past Vegeta, only to have Vegeta grab him by his arm.
“What do you want from me?!” Trunks yelled, rounding on his father. Trunks managed to wrench free and stalk away.
“Come back here!”
Trunks whirled around. Both Saiyan's glared at each other.
“I know you've been trying to reach the ascended level. You're wasting your time. Don't disgrace our family by being a weakling in battle!”
“How dare you tell me what to do! Our family?!” Trunks was losing his temper, fast. “What!? Are you afraid I'll surpass you!?”
Vegeta walked up to Trunks and struck him across his face, Trunks falling to the ground, four feet from him. Trunks glared at him from the floor.
“It is you. You are the coward!!” Trunks yelled.
Vegeta's eyes literally blazed, followed by his hair. Then the Saiyan Prince turned from Trunks and walked out into the void.
Trunks, feeling remorse, chased after his father. “Father! Father!!”
Trunks was stopped dead by ice climbing up his leg, ice that seemed to cling within him, reaching past flesh to ensnare bones, blood and organs. Trunks had been trapped by this ice before, as had Vegeta, but this time the ice traveled too fast, as if it had learned to get past Trunks' defenses. It climbed all the way up his body, until it ensnared him up to the chin.
Trunks struggled and called out to his father, who ignored him.
Trunks kept on calling, until his voice box bled. Vegeta never came to him.
* * *
After two weeks, a nearly lifeless Trunks fell from crumpling shards of ice that finally decided to relent and free him. Trunks, on the ground flat on stomach and face, crawled for a little while, not in any particular direction. After a time, Trunks got to his feet.
Trunks felt the heat before he saw the flames.
Trunks gasped as a burst of flame enveloped him, causing him to shiver from the intense feeling of being frozen and then being burned alive. His shivering erupted into endless screams of agony as the young man tried to beat the flames from his body, with little effect.
After minutes which seemed like hours, Trunks started a little fire of his own and burst into Super Saiyan form in answer to the rage within him. Finally clarity was achieved, flames falling away from him, impotent.
Trunks felt the anger all around him, palpable, thinking his own mind had finally come unhinged. But in the distance, Trunks finally spotted Vegeta, roaring at the sky as fires blazed around him.
Trunks heart caught in his throat. The sight was pure evil, rage and insanity and it chilled him to the core.
How could he ever hope to reach someone so enraged, so full of hate, and anger...
... and despair.
Trunks neared, screaming out his father's name, but the flames engulfed Trunks once again. Trunks tried to crawl through them, move forward, anything, just to get through, as painful as it was, because he had to save his father.
Trunks, reached his hand out, spying Vegeta through breaks in the flames surrounding him.
Then a vision of Frieza, laughing, filled Trunks' thoughts.
Trunks tried to shake the weird thought from his mind, as he crawled an inch towards Vegeta.
Frieza, using a whip and a white, gloved hand coming up, the whip wrapping around it, the fingers bleeding through the fabric of the glove...
Trunks gasped. He stared at Vegeta in horror.
Goku's smiling face.
“Fa... Father! FATHER!!”
A large, bald Saiyan speaking to... him. Then the large Saiyan crumpled to his knees, crying. And the vision glazed over slightly, as the vision filled with unshed tears...
Trunks' mother, younger than she was even now in this time period, wearing a black and yellow space suit/dress, a red band around her hair, sitting next to Krillen. She was frightened, cowering away from the eyes that stared at her. The eyes that lingered on her face, her eyes, her body...
Trunks gasped. These flames weren't attacking Vegeta...
A baby in a crib. It was... Trunks. A white glove coming into view, grabbing a small fist, making the baby laugh...
Vegeta was creating these flames himself... with his memories.
Trunks, as he was now, his hair long, exhausted... no, unconscious, blood smears on his face, his clothing shredded. A gloved hand coming down, taking a long lavender lock, to inspect it, then placing it back against the pillow. Then the hand, with the back of his forefinger... Vegeta stroked Trunks's cheek, the young man's troubled face going placid and content. Finally, a blanket was pulled up around the sleeping youth.
Trunks eyes filled with tears. He wrenched himself from the flames and ran towards his father.
Trunks finally reached Vegeta.
Vegeta, the same maniacal look in his eye, turned slightly and threw the young man from him.
”Leave me...” the voice cold and leaving no room for argument.
Trunks crawled backward, feeling the pain of so many lost and lonely memories envelope him.
* * *
Trunks stared at the door.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Open it.”
It had been an ordeal and perhaps not the father/son bonding opportunity he had dreamt it would be, but he did understand his father a bit better, perhaps more than Vegeta would have liked... if Vegeta had known the full extent of Trunks' understanding.
Trunks opened the door and walked out, to the stunned silence of his waiting friends.