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Another Day's Work




Pan stared blankly at the columns of numbers on her computer screen. She'd been working since seven-thirty that morning, and after five hours, she could barely focus anymore. The lunch that the secretary (What was her name?) brought in sat on the corner of her desk, untouched. Her black pinstripe suit jacket was slung over the seat, her once ironed cream-colored blouse was now untucked, rumpled, and her sleeves were rolled up. She had kicked her shoes off sometime before her fifth cup of coffee.

Since Trunks had caught the flu a week before, she'd had to take over the presidency of Capsule Corp. in his absence. She knew how to do things. After they had gotten back from their honeymoon, she had demanded that he let her help him, and within a year, she was doing half his work. Officially, she was his assistant. Unofficially, she was co-president. She did enough work to get that title, but she didn't want it. Trunks would be president of Capsule Corp. until he died, or until Goket or Lei took over. Bulma would have it no other way, and Pan felt the same way.

She rubbed her weary eyes and tried once again to make sense of what she was looking at. She reached for her coffee mug and gulped down the last drop of coffee. Without even looking, she put the cup beneath the spout mounted underneath the desk, within easy reach of her left hand. Hot coffee poured out. She had done that so many times since she'd gotten there that morning that she knew exactly when to take the cup away.

You just had to get sick during the busiest season of the year, she groused at her absent husband. You little...

The intercom beeped, interrupting her train of thought.

"Yes?" she answered.

"Your husband is on line 3, ma'am."

"Thank you." Pan pushed the corresponding button. "Hello?" she spat.

"Hi," Trunks greeted, his voice raspy and his nose stuffy. "I just wanted to ask you to pick up dinner before you come home, and I think Goket's going to need some flu medicine. He's getting sick."

Pan groaned. "Oh, no."

"I know. There's nothing worse than that kid when he's sick. How are you doing?"

"I've been better." A lot better.

"I'll let you work then. Love you."

"You better after all the hardships I've gone through for you," she said crankily.

He chuckled, then sneezed in rapid succession. "Thanks."

"Get some rest."

"I'll try. I sent Lei over to Mom's. I don't want her getting sick, too."

"Your mom or mine?"

"Mine."

"Good idea."

Pan heard the sounds of Goket causing chaos in the background. "Uh oh."

"He got a hold of a giant rubber ball. Your uncle," he said not without malice, "brought it over."

"You better go stop him before he breaks something. I'll see you tonight."

"Alright. Bye."

"Bye."

Pan took a big gulp of her coffee. The numbers seemed clearer to her, and she pounded gleefully on the keyboard. Her flying fingers inadvertenly punched the wrong key and the entire screen went blank.

"Oh, shit!" she swore.

Taking calming breaths, she did all she could to get five hours worth of work back. The screen stayed stubbornly blank. In desperation, she punched the intercom, and yelled for the secretary (Dammit, what the hell is her name?!?) to come in. The stout middle-aged woman came in, her smile pasted on.

"I just lost the budget for the electronics division," Pan explained calmly although she gripped the phone so tightly that she her fingers left marks. "Could you get it back for me?"

"I'm sorry, but I don't know anything about computers."

Pan felt her ki rise. "Could you get someone who knows something about computers?"

The secretary waddled out. She returned a few minutes later with a young man who didn't look a day out of college. He pushed his wide-rimmed glasses up his nose, and looked expectantly at Pan. He reminded her as the boy that she would have picked on mercilessly in elementary school for being a nerd. But right then, he was God.

"You needed help, ma'am?" he said politely.

"I must have done something to make the screen go blank," she said, fighting to keep the hysterical note out of her voice. "Can you get it back?"

"I'll try."

She got up and let him take the seat. He punched in a command and miraculously the numbers reappeared. Pan let out a relieved breath.

"Thank you. Go and eat lunch on me," she said brusquely, but thankfully. "The secretary will reimburse you. Just bring her the bill."

"Thank you, ma'am."

Pan nodded. She waited until the door shut before collapsing on the seat. She put a trembling hand to her forehead. A massive headache assailed her, and she opened the desk drawer to take out a bottle of tylenol. Extra strength. The kind that you only took one every six hours.

She popped three into her mouth.



After finally sorting out the budget, signing out some paperwork, and having a short meeting, Pan was ready to go home. She made sure everything was in order before closing the lights and locking the office door. Everyone had left hours before, and the building was silent. She shrugged into her black trench coat and got into the elevator.

Her footsteps echoed in the empty parking lot. She took out her car keys, and headed for the black skycar that Trunks had given her for her twenty-first birthday, two years before.

She stopped in her tracks when she sensed an unfamiliar energy behind her. She resumed walking to her car at a faster pace, not wanting a confrontation. It wasn't that she couldn't handle a mugger, but she didn't think she had enough control left to keep from blasting him to another dimension.

Unfortunately, she didn't walk fast enough. She felt the press of the barrel of a gun on her back. She sighed exhaustedly.

"Let me guess," she said with sarcasm worthy of her father-in-law. "You want all my money, and my jewelry."

"Gee, if all my other victims were as cooperative as you, my job would be so much easier," he rasped, his stale breath rustling her black hair.

Her temper snapping, Pan grabbed the gun, squeezing the barrel flat. She twisted the mugger's grubby blue sweater tightly around his neck and raised him in the air. She glared fiercely into his dirty face.

"The only reason I'm not going to kill you right here and now is because there are cameras here and I really don't want to get into any trouble." She tightened her grip until he began to struggle for breath. "Now, what I want you to do is go to the police station and turn yourself in. I'm just too tired to do it myself."

He nodded his head, beginning to turn purple.

"If you don't go, I swear I will track you down and I will not hesitate to tear your head off," she said between clenched teeth.

His eyes widened with fear and he nodded his head frantically. She dropped him unceremoniously and got into her car.

"I'll go order pizza first before buying Goket's medicine so that I'll save some time," she said to herself.

She stepped on the gas and sped out of the parking garage.



She went to Trunks' favorite pizza place and ordered three large pizzas. The owner knew her, and pretty much everyone in their immediate family. He always had their orders ready in half an hour. With a grateful smile, she paid him and promised to be back in the alloted time.

Pan crossed the street and went into the pharmacy. It had begun to rain hard, and she was water-logged by the time she got there. She chose the medicine quickly, knowing what her son needed, and dawdled a bit in the magazine aisle since she still had twenty minutes left. She made her way slowly to the cash register, and had the bad luck of waiting in line behind a woman who was arguing with the cashier over the price of a box of tissues. There was only one cash register open, so she was stuck. She checked her watch and saw that the pizza she had ordered was ready.

Swearing under her breath, she waited a few minutes before stepping in front of the woman.

"I'm tired and I need to get home to my husband," she said, her tone booking no argument. She slammed the medicine on the counter with too much force, succeeding in breaking the bottle and getting the sticky purple syrup all over her hand.

"You're going to have to pay for that, ma'am," the cashier said flatly.

"FINE!" Pan exclaimed, her face reddening with frustration. "Add another bottle to that, too!"

She paid for two bottles of cough syrup and ran across the street to get the pizza. Wrestling to get a good grip on the pizza boxes, she finally made it to the car. Speeding all the way, she made it home in ten minutes flat.

As she pulled into the driveway, the house never looked more inviting. Her homelights called to her to hurry and come in, take a warm shower, and have a relaxing dinner with her husband. She got out of the car, her heels clicking on the driveway. Wanting to cry with relief, she opened the door and walked in...

...only to trip over something and fall forward right on top of the pizza boxes. Her hand slapped at the edge of a bowl lying nearby, causing its contents to splatter on her face. Immediately, she knew that it was oatmeal. There was nothing else that had quite that...texture. Then, she heard the popping sound of the cough syrup bottle breaking in her coat pocket.

"Pan?" Trunks said, sounding like he was about to burst into laughter.

She rolled over and glared up at him, oatmeal all over her face. "If you even as so much smile, you're going to be sleeping on the couch for a week and I don't care whether you're sick or not!"

His face grew sympathetic and he helped her up. He picked up the pizza boxes. She put a hand on his shoulder when she felt a pain shoot up from her right ankle. She lifted her foot and saw that she had broken the heel of her shoe, and twisted her ankle.

"Tough day?" He glanced down at her ankle. "We'll put some ice on that."

She nodded, and pushed aside the large toy truck that she had tripped on. She picked up the bowl of oatmeal, and a glass of orange juice on the stairs. The house was a mess. She followed him, limping, into the kitchen and wiped her face with her sleeve. The coat was ruined anyway.

Trunks cleared the cluttered kitchen table and set the pizzas on it. He was about to suggest that she change into some dry clothes, but the expression on her face begged him to keep quiet, so he did. Pan slumped into a chair, and ran a hand through her once nicely styled, but now limp hair. He handed her a towel, and sat across from her. He opened a box and handed her a slice before getting one for himself. He waited until she ate her fill of eight slices before speaking.

"Want to talk about it?" he asked gently.

She looked as if she was about to burst into tears. He got up and hugged her to him, mindless of her soaking clothes, kissing the top of her head. She smelled of oatmeal, pizza, and grape-flavored children's medicine. He smiled, loving it.

"You're an incredible lady, you know that?" he murmured. "I don't know what I'd do without you."

"I don't know what you'd do either," she responded sleepily.

"I love you."

She smiled. It wasn't the most romantic way that he had ever said it, with his nasal/raspy voice, but she needed to hear it. He felt her stiff shoulders relax. He lifted her in his arms and took her up to their room. She yawned, and rested her head on his comfortable shoulder. He deposited her in the bathroom, and she took a quick shower. She changed into her warm flannel pajamas, and quickly dried her hair. Trunks was already in bed and she climbed in next to him, curving her body against his.

"So, tell me about your day," he said, massaging her neck. "Unless you're too tired..."

She sighed and recounted the events of her day. He sympathized when she told him that she nearly lost the budget--it had happened to him more than once. He laughed uproariously until he had a coughing fit when she told him she got mugged. Even Pan had to smile. It was amusing now. She wondered if the mugger did go to the police station. She voiced her thought to Trunks. He grinned.

"He probably did. You put the fear of God in him. I know I would have."

She kissed his cheek with a cheeky smile. "I feel better. You always make me feel better."

He grinned. His eyes were red-rimmed, his nose was red and raw, his lavender hair was in dissaray, and his plaid pajamas were faded to the point of embarrassment, but she never thought anyone could look more handsome than he did at that moment. Any problems she had gone through that day were well-worth it when she got to go home to him.

The door to their room opened and a small face peered at them. Pan smiled at her son, and held out her arms. Goket grinned, looking like his father, and jumped onto the bed. Pan kissed him.

"Hello," she said.

"Hi, Mom," he lisped the three year old. "Can I stay here? It's lonely in my room without Lei."

Pan looked at Trunks. "Lei's sleeping at your parents' house?"

"I'm trying to prevent illness," Trunks explained. "We can get her tomorrow, though. I think Goket's cold was a false alarm."

Pan put a hand to Goket's forehead. It felt normal. His nose also seemed clear. She nodded, agreeing with Trunks' diagnosis.

"Mommy, can I stay?"

She turned to the little son staring expectantly up at her. "Ok, Goket. You can stay here with us."

Goket kissed her cheek. "Can we call grandma's and grampa's house to say good-night to Lei?" he asked.

"Sure," Pan answered.

Trunks picked up the phone next to him and dialed the number. Bulma picked up, her boisterous voice reaching even Pan's ears. She put Lei on the line. Trunks talked to the little girl for a few moments before passing the phone to Pan.

"Hi, Lei. How's mommy's little angel?" Pan cooed, missing her.

"Fine. Grampa flew me around today," Lei told her. "It was fun!"

"That was nice of him," her mother said. "Did you say thank you?"

"Yes."

"Ok. You better get to bed. I'll pick you up tomorrow. Hang on. Goket wants to talk to you."

"Ok. Goodnight, Mommy."

"Goodnight."

Pan gave Goket the phone and let the twins giggle and talk for a few minutes before whispering for Goket to hang up. He seemed disappointed at having to do it, but he did. Pan and Trunks exchanged amused glances. The twins were close, and couldn't stand being apart for too long. Goket hung up the phone after wishing his sister goodnight.

He climbed underneath the sheets between them, resting his head on Trunks' shoulder. Trunks put an arm around him, and kissed his forehead. They settled onto the pillow. Pan smiled at them, and Trunks smiled back. Her day seemed like a forgotten dream now that she was in the warm circle of her family. She leaned forward and kissed her husband's smiling lips, then tucked the blankets around him and their son. She reached to close the lights.

"Oh, Trunks, one more thing," she said.

"What?"

"What's your secretary's name?"




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