Pan sat in the comfortable airplane seat, her elbow resting on the armrest and her chin cupped in a slender white hand. She stared out the window, at the wispy clouds swirling by, and imagining herself outside, soaring in the pure blue skies. Then, something else caught her attention.
Curiously, she rubbed the palm of her hand against her cheek, surprised to find that it was smooth. She smiled, pleased with that fact. Usually, her hands were rough with callouses, but since she had been away from home for a year, she wasn't working out as much as she used to. Although, she did exercize daily, it was nothing like the regiment Vegeta had made her follow at home. It was also why the muscle she'd worked so hard to sculpt had filled out to soft, womanly curves that she'd learned to emphasize. Needless to say, she was noticed by interested parties of the opposite sex.
I wonder if he'll notice? she mused.
Sighing, she realized that she couldn't seem to escape thinking about him at least once even though the purpose of her trip was to forget.
I'll need a lifetime to forget.
The plane shuddered slightly. The other passengers didn't notice, but Pan's heightened senses called her attention to the movement. She leaned towards the window and saw that they had begun their descent. Her home city stretched below the plane, getting closer by the minute. Despite herself, excitement bubbled inside Pan. It took a lot of self-control not to jump out of the plane and fly straight home. Not only would that freak the other passengers out, but she would also ditch the person waiting for her at the airport.
At the thought of him, Pan sobered and sat back in her seat. It was only a matter of minutes until they were face to face again and she prayed that she wouldn't throw herself at him like her body was aching to do. She sighed again and prepared herself for the inevitable.
The wind blew gently. Trunks stood with his hands in his pants pockets, not bothering to brush the strands of lavendar hair that was blowing in the blue eyes that were as clear as the sky. He seemed as unmoving as a statue, the sudden narrowing of his eyes being the only movement he made in the past ten minutes. He sensed something familiar in the air and he glanced to his side just as a young woman heading in his direction came to a halt.
Pan studied Trunks' handsome face, a lump forming in her throat. This was the man who she had been wanting to see for so long--the man she'd dreamed about for so long. She was so overcome with emotion that all she could do was stare at him as he stared back at her. Then, slowly he smiled and held out his arms to her. Without a second thought, she hurled herself in his arms, knocking the air out of his lungs. Gleefully, she laughed, clinging to his neck.
So much for not throwing yourself at him, she scolded herself, but gave up to the joyful laughter that erupted from her.
Trunks laughed along until he realized they were drawing too much attention to themselves. He took hold of her arms and gently pulled her away from him, looking down into her face. Pan had always been a pretty girl, but it was only now did he notice how beautiful she'd become. The year she'd spent away had done a lot of good for her. She never had a problem with confidence, in fact, he'd considered her over-confident, but he could see that she had learned to rein it in somehow. She still had the spark in her eye that he'd learned to watch out for, but the smile on her face was mellow. Trunks decided that Pan had left a restless, young girl, and had returned an attractive, serene woman.
"Is there something in my teeth?" she asked, half-joking, half-serious when his gaze lingered on her face too long for comfort.
He grinned. "No. It's just been a while since I last saw you and I wanted to make sure you came back looking the same as when you'd left."
"What's the verdict?"
"You look beautiful, Pan. The tan looks great on you," he complimented her.
Pan was thankful that she wasn't the blushing sort, but she knew that if she was, her face would be as red as a tomato.
"Thank you," she said gracefully.
They strolled over to the baggage carousel where Pan pointed out her bag to her friend.
"Just one bag?" Trunks asked incredulously.
Pan grinned cheekily. "I thought you'd be happy about that since you're the one who has to carry my luggage."
Trunks smiled, and lifted the bag. Of course, he was able to lift it. His father's Saiya-jin blood did flow in his veins, but it was pretty heavy for one bag.
"Did I mention that your mom made some special capsules for me?" she said wryly.
He laughed outright at that, knowing that she would have had to have hundreds of capsules for her bag to weigh as much as it did. Pan danced beside him, satisfied that she'd been able to make him laugh. He led her out to his car, a sporty black model. Pan ran an appreciative hand on its shiny exterior.
"You like it?" he asked as he held the door open for her.
"I love it," she answered. He closed her door and went around the car to get into the driver's side. When he was buckled in, she asked, "So, this is what being president of Capsule Corp. can bring, huh?"
His lips twisted slightly. "Among other things."
Pan frowned and looked as if she wanted to say something, but he spoke before she could.
"So, how come you didn't just fly yourself back?" he inquired.
She shrugged. "I thought I'd pamper myself just this once."
"Just to warn you," Trunks said with a smile, "everyone's waiting for you at Capsule Corp. They missed you, Pan."
They, not we.
Pan took note of that particular bit of information but put on a careful facade of cheerfulness.
"Well, they better have," she retorted with a chuckle. "I've been gone for a year."
Trunks frowned slightly. "Where did you go? Last I heard you were somewhere in Europe."
Another interesting piece of Trunks information. "You mean you never bothered to ask about me?" she exclaimed. "That was four months ago!"
He heard the hurt in he voice and winced. "I guess I got a little behind in the news." He tried for an apologetic smile. "I had to make enough money to buy this baby, you know."
Pan smiled slightly, forgiving him. He turned back to the road.
"So, what did you do?"
"I was...on a quest," Pan admitted quietly.
Trunks glanced at her from the corner of his eye. She was looking down at her clasped hands and her whole body seemed to tense up.
"What were you looking for?" he asked.
"I can't say, but I can tell you that I didn't find it," she replied vaguely.
They drove in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. Finally, they reached Capsule Corporation headquarters. Grinning, Trunks offered her his arm and escorted her into the large rec room where everyone was waiting.
"Brace yourself," he murmured, his mouth close to her ear. "I'm afraid they're going to hug the life out of you."
Pan's breath caught at the brush of her lips against her ear and couldn't respond which was just as well since she was quickly dislodged from Trunks' arm. She let out a surprised gasp when her mother swept her into a tight hug before relinquishing her to her father, who crushed her to him. Her grandmother came in and fussed over her, then Goten twirled her about in the air. Bura squealed and threw her arms around her. Bulma hugged her, and Vegeta nodded in her direction.
Pan caught Trunks' eye and they grinned. That was probably the warmest greeting Vegeta had given anyone.
Last but not least, Mr. Satan came up and crushed Pan in his arms. Pan gasped for breath, at the same time making wheezing noises that could pass for laughter.
"Miss me?" she asked when she was finally had her feet on the ground.
"More than anything, Darling," Videl said, wiping away the happy tears in her eyes.
Gohan put an arm around her. "We're glad you're home, Pan."
Pan went to her parents and put her arms around them both. "I've missed you two so much."
"Everybody dig in before the food gets cold," Chichi called out.
They needed no further convincing. As usual, there were several tablefuls of culinary delights--Saiya-jin appetites were nothing to joke about. And in accordance to that rule, most of the food was in the respective digestive systems of Vegeta, Gohan, Goten, and Trunks within ten minutes .
"Don't you ever get indigestion?" Bulma asked her husband peevishly.
Vegeta only smirked. "Only when you cook."
Those within hearing distance choked back laughter except for Trunks and Goten who howled. Bulma glared at her son, who stifled his chuckles. Goten smiled angelically.
"You boys will never grow up," she clucked.
The party went on for a couple more hours. Pan told them about her travels and her adventures. They were all impressed with her and they could all see how much she'd learned from being an independent woman for a year. Finally, Goten stood.
"I hate to be a party pooper, but I have a date in half an hour," he said apologetically. "I'll be by for dinner though, so you can tell me some more stories, Panny."
"Sure, Uncle Goten."
"We should get going anyway," Videl said, glancing at her watch. "Bulma, Vegeta, thanks for all this."
"It's no problem," Bulma said, putting an arm around Pan's shoulders. "We wanted to welcome her properly."
Pan smiled and caught Trunks' eye. She stepped up and hugged him before she chickened out.
"Thanks for coming to get me, Trunks," she said. "I liked seeing you there waiting for me."
"It's no problem, Pan. Since I didn't know where you were all this time, I wanted to make sure that you were really coming home," he teased.
She grinned and pressed a kiss to his cheek. And then with one last wave to the remaining guests, she swept out the door, walking jauntily between her parents.
Trunks stared after her, bemused. The kiss had been a surprise and his reaction was an even bigger surprise. He put a hand on the spot where her lips had touched his skin. Unfortunately for him, he was the blushing sort and he knew his face was as red as a tomato.
"Are you gonna help your mother clean up, or what?" Vegeta barked at his son.
After one last look at Pan's retreating back, he turned away. "Yeah, I'm coming, Dad."
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