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Chapter Seven

Early morning light streamed in through the window, casting a yellow glow in Bura's room, but she and Goten didn't notice. They had flown into each other's arms the second she had closed her bedroom door. Everyone was asleep and he'd flown up quietly. She'd thrown open the door before he had even touched it.

"Has it only been three days since Gohan's party?" Bura muttered when he finally let her go.

"It feels like an eternity," Goten said, sitting on the edge of her bed. "I've never been so scared in my life."

"You've faced death before."

"Yeah, but he didn't have my best friend's face."

She went to him and put her arms around him. He pressed his face against her stomach as she smoothed his unruly hair.

"It scared me too," she said. "Pan said she didn't think that Trunks could have that expression on his face and I agree. Despite all the fights we have, he's my brother and I love him. I wonder what happened to that Trunks for him to turn out that way."

"I don't want to think about it," Goten said, his hands tightening around her waist.

She leaned down and touched her lips to his, her own hands moving from his hair to his shoulders. Before either of them knew it, they were on the bed. Stars were exploding behind Bura's eyes as Goten's hands caressed her body. Gasps escaped from her parted lips and he silenced her with a kiss before pulling away with the intent to explore other areas of her body. When she didn't feel his kisses, she reached for him, but found only air in his place. She opened heavy-lidded eyes to find him sitting up next to her, his back curved as he covered his face with his hands. She sat up and put her hand on his bare shoulder.

"Goten?" she whispered. "What's wrong?"

He looked at her, his eyes flickering downward briefly at her state of undress. His hands shook as he closed her pajama top before cupping her face in his hands.

"I don't want our first time to be like this, Bura," he said quietly. "Not something done in the heat of the moment, in your room in your parents' house where we have to be quiet. When we finally make love, I want it to be just us and no worries. I don't want you to remember what's happening now when you look back on our first time. It sounds stupid..."

This time, she silenced him with a kiss. "No," she said. "I love that idea. I love you, Goten. I don't think I've said it before."

"I love you, too," he said with a smile. With one last kiss, he stood and pulled his shirt on. "I better go before I lose it."

He paused at the door to smile at her. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Goten."

The door closed with a snick. Bura flopped back onto her bed. She closed her eyes and smiled.

Outside, Goten leaned against her door, letting out a breath. He'd been close to letting it happen, but thankfully he'd been strong enough to stop. He closed his eyes, seeing her beneath him, and he nearly turned around to go back in. Fortunately--and unfortunately--Trunks took that opportunity to come out of his room, lavender hair dishevelled. Goten wished he could teleport himself out of there like his father could.

"What are you doing up here?" Trunks asked, squinting in the semi-darkness.

"Bathroom," Goten said hoarsely.


"See you in the morning," Goten said, pushing past Trunks as if his heels were on fire.

Trunks rubbed his eyes and headed for the bathroom. He flicked the light on and frowned as a thought occurred to him.

His shirt was inside out.

Trunks glanced behind him through the open door. Goten had been standing right outside Bura's door. He looked murderous for a moment, believing he knew exactly what Goten had been up to, but then he shrugged.


He looked into the mirror above the sink, then sighed, averting his eyes. He couldn't look at himself. His own reflection reminded him of who was causing the danger they were all in now.

Future Pan found Gohan outside. She stopped dead in her tracks. She was supposed to meet her husband, but she didn't mind so much since it was Gohan. She still hadn't been able to talk to either Gohan or Videl like she wanted to and she knew this was her chance. Gohan looked up then and she smiled.

"Hi," she said hesitantly. "What are you doing out so late?"

"Just thinking," he replied.

She sat down next to him, not quite knowing what to say.

"Tell me about yourself," Gohan said. "We haven't had a chance to talk."

She told him her story in halting words, for it was still painful even after all these years. About her illegitimate birth and searching out Trunks to learn about the father she never knew. When she was finished, she glanced sideways at Gohan. He looked back at her, his expression unreadable...until he smiled. But it was a smile that made her breath catch.

"Poor baby," he purred. "Want me to kiss it and make it better?"

"You're not Gohan," she breathed.

Moving with lightning speed, she shot up, her mouth open for a scream, but moving even faster, the imposter grabbed her arm, yanked her down, and clapped a hand over her mouth. Without saying another word, he shot to the sky as Future Trunks turned the corner in time to see his wife in the imposter's arms.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" he screamed, and he flew up after them.

His cry was enough to wake the other warriors in the compound. They came shooting out of windows and doors, not speaking, only following his energy signature. They found him, distraught, just floating in midair. His blue eyes were unfocused, blurred with unshed tears.

"I lost them," he said flatly. "I lost her."

Trunks put a hand on of his arm. Future Trunks blinked once and looked at him. A tear slid down his cheek, but his face was like granite.

"Let's go back to the compound," he said.

"I need to find her," Future Trunks hissed savagely. "I can't lose her too!"

"We'll find her," Bura assured him as she exchanged a worried look with Pan. "We'll find her, Trunks."

He nodded and it was then did he notice their group was considerably smaller than it usually was.

"Where are Krilin, Yamcha, Tien, and Chaozu?" he demanded.

The remaining warriors looked around, only noticing then that they were missing. They flew back to the compound, Goku opting to teleport. When they entered, it was his enraged face they saw. Then, #18, drenched in her husband's blood, came down the stairs.

"They're dead," she said. "Their hearts were ripped right out of their chests."

But they weren't looking at her. Their eyes were focused on something behind her. #18 followed their gazes and sucked in a breath as she saw the word, written in blood, on the wall next to her. The word that Goku had seen the second he was in the compound.


Hours later, the bodies clean and wrapped in white sheets, were resting in one of the rooms until they could be buried. There were no more Dragonballs to wish them back. This was it for Yamcha, Krilin, Tien, and Chaozu. Marron had silently wiped the tears from her face as she had watched her father's face disappear behind the white sheet Goku gently wrapped him in. #18 had let the tears fall, not trying to wipe them away. She knew then what it felt like to have your heart break.

The survivors gathered around the living room, their expressions filled with sorrow, the atmosphere thick with tension. Bulma, Chichi, and Marron were the only three humans left, and it was not by accident. They would prove to be a distraction to the remaining warriors.

"Did you see who took Pan, Trunks?" Goten asked, his eyebrows drawn.

"Gohan," Trunks replied. "It was Gohan."

"Trunks and Gohan," Bura said, shaking her head. "Dende save us."

"Why would they take Pan?" Goku thought aloud.

Vegeta and Future Trunks exchanged a look. The younger Saiyan pressed his lips tightly together. The Prince merely looked away.

"Why?" Pan repeated, her eyes going from Vegeta to Trunks. "Spill it!"

Vegeta only stared at the floor, but Future Trunks met her eyes. They needed to know in case he and Pan didn't make it.

"She's pregnant," he said. "They want the baby."

"P-pregnant," Pan stammered, sitting down on an armchair and right into Trunks' lap.

He scrambled out from underneath her, understanding lighting up his eyes...and reddening his cheeks.

"It's your baby, isn't it?" he said.

Future Trunks nodded. "She's my wife."

Pan and Trunks glanced at each other, a new awareness coming over them. Quickly, they looked away.

"They need another to complete their group," Vegeta said from where he stood. "They'll speed up the birth of the child using an ancient Saiyan technique. After its birth, they'll kill Pan, then raise it to become like them."

"How do you know?" Goten inquired doubtfully. "It could just be another way to demoralize us."

"That's what I would have done had I been in their place," Vegeta replied. "They're probably thinking of offing each other and they know they need at least another person to be able to defeat alternate versions of us."

"The baby will be three-quarters Saiyan," Future Trunks said. "Strong enough."

"Or three-quarters human," Bulma said.

"It'll be Saiyan," Gohan said. "Saiyan blood is stronger in that respect."

"We need to find Pan," Trunks said. "Now."

"Can you sense her? I can't," Future Trunks retorted.

"She must be unconscious," Gohan said.

"I can't stand this waiting!" Vegeta exclaimed, slamming his fist into the wall. "They are cowards, both of them. They sneak around here at night like bandits." He turned his face up, willing the two evil Saiyans to hear him. "JUST FACE THE MUSIC, YOU BASTARDS!"

"Why are they here?" Gohan murmured out of the blue.

"To cause pain," Goku said simply.

"Not only pain," Trunks agreed. "They're up to something."

"World domination?" Future Trunks put in. "That's always the main reason."

"Maybe," Gohan said.

"Most likely, they probably just want to fight us," Goku said. "That would be the only reason they would come here. It would explain their behavior. If they wanted to take over the world, they could have already done it, but they're playing with us."

"After all these years, your brain finally woke up, Kakarot," Vegeta smirked.

"Looks like," Goku agreed with a shadow of his innocent grin.

"I can't sit here," Future Trunks said, pacing the length of the room. "How much time do we have, Vegeta?"

"Two days," Vegeta replied. "Any sooner, and the baby will be disfigured."

"If you were an evil Saiyan, crazed with power, where would you hide?" Trunks thought aloud.

"Somewhere dark," Vegeta answered. "Where I could get supplies easily, move freely, but still have enough places to hide in."

"It wouldn't be somewhere obvious like an abandoned warehouse on the edge of town," Gohan said. "It's probably somewhere right under our noses."

Silence settled over them.

"The Capsule Corp. tower," Bulma muttered.

"What?" Trunks demanded, his eyes shooting towards his mother. "What did you say?"

"The Capsule Corp. tower," she repeated. "Well, what's left of it anyway. I just got a report saying that floors ten through the top were blown off, but the remaining floors are under the rubble. Probably not much of each floor are left, but whatever's left is all that's standing."

"If they weren't there before, they're probably there now," Gohan said, standing.

"Wait," Trunks said. "Somebody's got to stay back to protect Mom, Chichi, and Marron."

"I'll stay," #18 said, taking her daughter's hand.

"So will I," Videl said, knowing that she would be destroyed in the blink of an eye if she went with them and would only prove to be a distraction for Gohan rather than an asset.

"Stay, Bura," Vegeta said.

"But..." Bura began.

"Stay," Goten said.

Their eyes met and she could see the fear in his. She didn't want him to worry about her while he fought. Averting her gaze, she nodded.

"Let's go," Goku said grimly.

To Interlude 3