Trunks blinked as the figure surrounded by the bright light came towards him. The voice was painfully familiar.
Goku grinned when he saw the younger man. Trunks had never met this Goku, for he had died before he was even born, but his smile and his face were as familiar to him as his own face. He shook his hand formally, even though he wanted to throw his arms around him. Goku hadn't changed a bit except for the halo that floated above his head. He still wore the orange gi with the kanji on it. He still wore the hapless grin that had made enemies bring down their guard.
"What are you doing here?" Trunks asked. "I didn't think Dende would let you out of heaven."
"Actually, you're dreaming," Goku said.
Trunks looked around him and realized that they were in a white space. There were no walls, no ceiling, and no floor. Just an endless white space.
"That would explain the decor."
Goku chuckled. He sat down on the non-existent floor. Trunks followed suit.
"So, why don't you just give in and love my granddaughter," Goku asked bluntly.
Trunks was stunned speechless by the question. He recovered quickly and replied, "Who says I love her?"
Goku gave him a look. "Even your father knows you love her and he's usually doesn't notice feelings."
"I do notice, Kakarot, I just don't talk about them like humans so love to do."
They turned and saw the Saiyajin prince coming towards them, dressed in his armor and blue bodysuit, hair flying straight up from his head like a flame on a candle, and the halo glowing brightly against the blackness of his hair. Trunks stood as his father neared. Goku just watched them silently. Trunks had never met this man who was his biological father, and the effect it had on him was astounding. He was inches away from passing out.
"Father," he managed to say.
"Son," Vegeta mocked in the same formal tone Trunks used.
Trunks smirked. "That's a nice way to greet the son you've never met."
"I was always a nice man. Just ask your mother."
They stared at each other until Trunks broke the contact and sat down again. Vegeta got down on his haunches next to Goku.
"So, why are you humiliating our race by acting like such a jackass?" Vegeta asked casually.
"Your actions with Kakarot's brat's brat is embarrassing to me and to your mother. She didn't raise you to be such a...a..."
"Jerk," Goku supplied.
"That's right," Vegeta agreed.
"This coming from the King of the Jerks," Trunks spat.
"Prince," Goku corrected.
Vegeta glared at the two of them and hit them both in the back of the head. Trunks grinned. To him, it was equivalent to a hug--although he doubted a hug would hurt as much.
"Answer the question, Boy," Vegeta ordered.
"I'm afraid," Trunks answered.
"Of what? It's not as if you haven't slept with her yet," Vegeta sneered. "And you can't tell me that you didn't enjoy it."
"I'm not too happy about that," Goku pointed out.
"I'm sorry, Goku. I know it shouldn't have happened."
"You shouldn't have told her that," Vegeta said.
"This from the man who once told my mother that she looked a little 'round' in the moonlight."
Vegeta raised his hand to hit him again, but changed his mind. Instead, he said, "I made a lot of mistakes in my life. Hurting Bulma was one of them. I died before I even got to tell her how I felt."
Both Goku and Trunks were shocked. Those were words that they never expected to hear from Vegeta of all people.
"That time in heaven turned him into a marshmallow," Goku explained with a grin.
"I'll show you marshmallow next time we spar, Kakarot."
Goku turned his eyes to Trunks. Even though his face would always stay young, and the air of innocence would never leave him, there was now a wisdom in his dark eyes. He smiled gently.
"Why do you want to hurt yourself and her? You belong together. You're both torturing yourself over something so simple."
"It's not so simple. She slept with me on the rebound from Ken. She needed me to help her feel better."
"You keep telling yourself that," Vegeta snorted sarcastically. "Just keep on lying to yourself."
"What are you talking about? It's true!"
"It not true and you know it!" Vegeta yelled, leaning forward until he and his son were nose to nose. "You know she loves you. She said so herself. She's loved you from the second she met you. Why don't you believe her?!?"
"Why should I when everyone I ever loved has left me!!!!" Trunks screamed back.
All three of them were surprised at the outburst. Trunks breathed deeply, trying to slow his racing heart.
"She'd never leave you, Trunks," Goku soothed, putting a hand on the younger man's shoulder.
"She already did," Trunks said bitterly.
"You didn't stop her," Vegeta said as gently as he could. "You sent her away. She couldn't very well stand there and brake into pieces in front of you."
"And she did brake into pieces," Goku said. "Pieces only you can put together."
"I--I can't," Trunks said, shaking his head wildly.
"Why not?" Vegeta demanded. "You are my son. Nothing can stop you."
"She won't leave you, Trunks," Goku assured him. "Dende let me look into her heart. All she wants is you. Her heart and her mind is filled with only you."
"She's young...she'll change her mind."
"Coward," Vegeta spat. "You're a coward."
"I know," Trunks said softly.
"Why don't you just face it? You need her as much as she needs you," Goku said.
"That's the problem," Trunks exclaimed. "I need her too much. When she leaves me, I don't think I can repair the damage."
"SHE WON'T LEAVE YOU!!! Vegeta yelled at the top of his lungs. His ki rose dangerously, but he powered down before he blasted the other two away. He grabbed Trunks' face and forced him to look at him.
"Listen to me, Boy. Listen to Kakarot. He may look like a moron, but he actually learned something from Dende. Pan is not a foolish young girl. She's lived a hard life. Harder than yours, but she survived. That taught her to never take anything for granted, to hold on to things important to her. She'll never let you go. She'll be on you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Where you will be, she will be right behind you." Vegeta stared into his son's blue eyes, into the face indentical to his. "Do you understand?"
"Why did you two come?" Trunks asked.
"To make sure that you'll be happy," Goku answered. "You and Pan have been through too much to let something this perfect and simple slip through your fingers. And I can't stand seeing my granddaughter so unhappy.
"Do you understand now?" Vegeta repeated.
"Yes. I'm going to see her as soon as I wake up."
The two Saiyajins stood. Trunks jumped up.
"You're going already?"
"We told Dende we'd only fix this problem," Goku explained. "He said to go back as soon as we were done."
He hugged Trunks. "Good luck, Trunks"
He disappeared into thin air. Vegeta and Trunks faced each other.
"As much as I despise the idea of my blood mixing with Kakarot's I think that she'll be good for you," Vegeta said. "We need to thin out that human blood in your offspring, anyway."
After saluting with two fingers, he turned and followed Goku. Trunks smiled.
"Thank you, both."
Then, he woke up.
She was dreaming. In her dream she could smell his scent, feel his presence. He surrounded her, keeping her warm and safe...and loved.
Pan woke to find herself staring into a pair of sky blue eyes staring at her from a handsome face topped by lavender hair. Without a second though, she launched into the air and aimed her foot at the face that haunted her dreams.
Trunks had been anticipating that and caught her foot in a palm. He pulled her down onto the bed and pulled her into his arms. Her body was stiff in his arms, but judging by the erratic breath stirring his hair, she wasn't unaffected.
"I'm sorry," he murmured. "I shouldn't have doubted you."
"It's too late," she said flatly.
He held her at arms length. Her face remained stubbornly set. Her lips thinned uninvitingly. If it wasn't for the tremble in her hands, Trunks would have believed her. He took her shaking hands in his and kissed the back of each one.
"Then we're going to start on a new time," he said.
He smiled crookedly at her. "I love you, Pan."
Her breath caught in her throat. She blinked rapidly, the color leaving her face. Her hands shook in his grasp.
"I don't care," she cried even though saying it hurt her. "After what you did to me, why should I even believe you?"
Trunks dug around inside his pocket and took out a small velvet box. Pan's eyes widened. He opened it and a 24 karat diamond winked up at her from its setting on a silver band with intertwining vines.
"Do you believe me now?" he asked.
She freed herself from his hold and threw her arms about his neck. "I'm not dreaming am I?" she asked.
"Not at all." He kissed her. "That was no dream."
She frowned, and took his face in her hands. "Promise me you'll never push me away again."
"I'll always be here for you, Trunks," she vowed. "Always."
"Even if this doesn't work?"
She kissed him. "This will work. We'll make it work."
He slipped the ring on her left ring finger. It fit perfectly. He kissed her again and had a vision of a small child, a little girl, with Pan's face with his hair and eyes. The child smiled at him. Trunks smiled against Pan's lips. He would love nothing more than having children with her, and he knew that the little girl would be well loved. He held her tighter and never wanted to let go.
"Break it up, you two," Chichi said from the doorway. "It's time for breakfast."
"So, are we going to plan a wedding?" Bulma asked from the kitchen.
"Yes," Pan and Trunks said in unison.