Goku crept into the darkened room, his eyes studying the form lying on the bed. For a long time, he stood there, guilt and sorrow filling his heart. He didn't just learn new things while he was in that hazy place...he had a lot of time to do some thinking. He thought about all the times he'd taken Chichi for granted, all the times when put her through hell as he went off to fight battles, and he realized then how much he needed her. Chichi hadn't changed much since the last time he'd seen her, though there were a few more gray strands in her hair than he remembered. Just looking into her unlined face made him ache for her. He went to the bed and laid down, his hands clasped underneath his head because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to control his need to touch her.
"Why have you come back now when I've begun to put you behind me?" she whispered, her voice shaking.
"It wasn't up to me, Chichi," he answered softly.
"No, it probably wasn't. If it was up to you, you wouldn't have come back."
"That's not true," he said.
"Don't lie to me, Goku," she hissed.
He winced. Despite her quiet tone, her words stung him. He would rather that she yelled at him.
"I'm not, Chichi," he said, putting a hand on her arm which she shrugged off coldly.
"What are you doing here anyway?" she asked, hostile. "Do you think you can come back into my bed after what you've put me through? What you've put our children through?"
He stood, his eyes stinging with tears. He started for the door, but then he heard Chichi take a deep shuddering breath, choking on her tears. He turned back, and wrapped his arms around her. She fought him, but weakly, the need to be in his arms outweighing her anger. She stopped fighting and melted against him, her hands clutching the back of his shirt, as if she was afraid he would leave again.
"I'm sorry for everything, Chichi," he murmured, his lips brushing her hair. "I never realized...never took the time to think about what I did to you."
He felt her surprise shudder through her slender body. She pulled back and looked at him. She touched the tears making their way down his face with her fingertips, wonderment in her eyes.
"For me?" she whispered.
"For us," he answered.
With a cry, she pressed her lips against his, opening herself up to him. His hands were on her back, in her hair, on her face. He fell back onto the bed, taking her with him.
Future Pan shot up and ran for the bathroom. She barely had enough time to raise the toilet seat before she threw up.
"Pan?" Bulma said, knocking lightly on the door. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Future Pan replied, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. "Just nervous."
"Okay," Bulma said, but she didn't sound convinced.
Future Pan heard Bulma's footsteps grow faint as she walked away. She took a deep breath and stood. Looking into the mirror, she saw how pale and drawn she looked. She turned on the faucet and rinsed out her mouth, then splashed some water on her face.
There was another knock on the door and she opened it, not needing to guess who it was. Her husband looked down at her, worry creasing his face.
"What's wrong?" he whispered.
"Morning sickness," she replied, her voice barely reaching his ears.
"Maybe we should tell them you're pregnant," he suggested.
"Who do we say is the father?"
"We'll discuss this later," Future Trunks said, his eyes darting around. "They're waiting downstairs. I hope my...Bulma doesn't say anything."
Fortunately, the others were occupied with other matters. They were preparing to leave on another day of searching. One by one, they filed out the door, their missions their only thoughts.
Trunks and Pan sat in his car, not speaking. They passed the Capsule Corp. building for the third time.
"Nothing," Pan sighed. "Absolutely nothing."
"How do they do it?" Trunks questioned. "How can they hide their energy?"
"I don't know. Listen, pull up to the curb. I think I'm gonna walk."
"We're not supposed to split up, Pan," Trunks argued.
"I need to walk," she said.
He felt his own legs cramping and had to admit that it wouldn't be a bad idea. "I think I'm with you on that one."
He parked the car in his space in front of the Capsule Corp. building and they got out. Pan turned, about to say something to Trunks when an ear-splitting explosion cut her words off. Jumping into action, Trunks covered her with his body and they landed on the ground in a heap. Huge chunks of a building flew every which way, one hitting Trunks in the back of the head. His eyes flutttered shut and he became a dead weight on Pan's back.
It was over after what felt like an eternity. Pan opened her eyes and coughed as she inhaled a lungful of dust. Gently, she turned and took Trunks in her arms. His head was bleeding badly and she put her hand on the wound. She looked up and her eyes widened as she saw what had exploded.
"Capsule Corp.," she said. "Oh, shit."
Then, a figure caught her eye. He stood where the steps to the front of the building had been, but now it was covered with huge chunks of concrete. He stood on it like a victorious general, a wicked smile on his face. Pan's breath caught in her throat as she recognized his face. He winked at her and blasted off.
"Trunks!" she screamed. She pushed at her ear with shaking fingers. "It's Trunks! It's Trunks!"
Pieces of broken rock surrounded the rubble that had once been the Capsule Corporation building. Gone was the proud tower bearing the name Dr. Brief's had given his company. In its stead were pieces of metal, rock, and glass...and dead bodies.
Trunks savagely kicked a piece of metal and it flew far into the horizon. Pan had bandaged up his head with strips of gauze and tape though he would need stitches. He could still feel it bleeding but that was not his first worry. He thanked Dende that it was Saturday and there weren't many people in the building or on the street, but there were casualties. With angry blue eyes, he watched as bodies were pulled from the rubble to be placed in black zippered body bags. So far there were twenty found. Twenty hardworking executives, secretaries, and a janitor or two. There would be more.
"Animal," he growled underneath his breath.
Around him, the others stood, their eyes focused beyond the broken building, trying to seek out the man they had seen there, but to no avail. He'd disappeared. Pan went to his side, slipping her hand into his. He looked down at her and squeezed her hand, appreciating the gesture.
"He looked like pure evil," she said. She had a huge bruise on her temple, but it didn't appear to bother her. "I never thought I could see that kind of look on your face, Trunks, but it was there. His eyes...they were dead."
"Do you think it's just him?" Piccolo asked.
"Maybe," Gohan replied. "Maybe not. We can't make assumptions now. At least we know who one of them is."
"We didn't even feel him powering up," Trunks said angrily.
"This guy is BIG trouble," Goten said, shaking his head.
"We need some kind of code," Future Trunks said. "In case he tries to impersonate one of us."
"I could never think he was you," Future Pan said. "Either of you."
"Still," Krilin said. "It can't hurt."
Suddenly, Vegeta flew off, Goku and #18 close at his heels. The others watched them curiously.
"Where are they going?" Yamcha said.
Gohan's eyes widened. "To the compound. Bulma, Chichi, and Marron..."
Moving as one, they followed Vegeta and Goku.
Goten let out the breath he didn't know he was holding when Bulma answered the door. Vegeta roughly pulled her into his arms, but quickly let go after remembering that the others were there. Bura and Trunks embraced their mother, relieved that she was alright. Krilin and #18 rushed to their daughter, and the Son men went to Chichi, who looked at them strangely.
"What? You don't think we can take care of ourselves?" she said to them. "You forget. I am your mother and your wife...I'm not a sitting duck."
Goku smiled at her and squeezed her hand.
"You need firearms," Vegeta said to Bulma. "One of those long tube-shaped things that blow buildings up."
"A bazooka?" Bulma snorted. "Vegeta, I won't be able to pick that thing up fast enough."
"Well then put something together, Woman!"
"So about that code..." Bura piped up when she saw her mother about to open her mouth and retaliate.
"We need to think of something completely off-the-wall," Trunks said, tapping his chin. "Something no one can guess."
"How about 'blue high-top sneakers'," Goten suggested.
"I knew I could count on you for something off-the-wall," Trunks said wryly.
"In the meantime, do we go hunting for this third Trunks?" Goku said and he turned to Future Trunks and Trunks. "With so many of you running around, I'm starting to get a headache. And this one...I think he's much stronger than you two. We can't even sense his power."
"This one is going to be a challenge," Vegeta said grimly.
"He's playing with us," Gohan said, a muscle in his jaw working. "He wants us to go out there looking for him so we can fall into whatever trap he's got set up. Now, we wait. We wait for him to come to us."