"Well? Do you understand it?" Bra asked.
"Look, it's not like this is easy, okay? Come on, you've tried to read Mom's handwriting!" Trunks retorted.
Bra began chuckling. "Yeah, you're right, sorry. But I'm so anxious to get Son back to me-us."
Trunks didn't appear to notice her slip. "Well, I'm working on it. Okay. I think it says to push this button and enter in these coordinates…" Trunks crossed his fingers. "I hope these are the right ones…"
"Well, come on!" Bra exclaimed when the portal opened again. "We can't just sit here you know!"
"I know, I know! Just a second." Trunks picked up a little remote control-type device he had been working on. "Okay, we should be able to access the portal from anywhere with this and find our way back here. At least, that's what I programmed it to do."
Bra jumped from one foot to the other in her impatience. "I don't care, Trunks! Just come on!"
"Right, sure, and when we can't get back home, guess who's fault it's gonna be?" he muttered, closing his eyes and jumping in.
Trunks tumbled out of the portal and into the woods. He started to sit up, but then fell back down as Bra landed on top of him. "Geez, Bra, how much do you weigh?" he asked without thinking. Then he groaned as he realized he was now going to be flayed alive by his little sister.
She didn't seem to hear as she pushed off him. "Less than you," she replied absently. "Okay, how can we find Son?"
"What is with you lately?" Trunks demanded irritably. "You're all obsessed with Son all of a sudden!"
And he was crying again, heart-wrenching sobs that twisted her stomach and made her long to answer, but doing that would require energy…and it was a struggle just to keep breathing.
"Oh, Bra-chan, Bra-chan, you can't leave me, you just can't…you don't know I love you yet…"
Bra gasped. Well, mentally she did. Physically, she didn't move. Her lips moved but no sound came out and it was too dark for him to see. Suddenly, she got the sensation of being lifted and carried and then she was at her mother's lab and he was gone again.
"Bra, you're not even listening to me!"
She blinked again. "Sorry, Trunks," she apologized. "Just distracted. But how can we find Son?"
Trunks groaned for the third time and stood up, helping her up. "Oh, geez, Bra. Look, I don't know where we are or what kind of world this is. I think our best bet is to try and find Capsule Corp. Then we can find out something."
"Yeah, you're right. So let's go."
Trunks rolled his eyes. "Come on," he said and they began flying.
"Wow, this world looks like they had it pretty good," Bra commented.
Trunks nodded. "Yeah, I know. I was thinking the same thing. There are still forests and cities, instead of just a bunch of big holes."
"I'd almost forgotten what that looked like. Hey, do you feel that?"
"Yeah, power surges. Pretty strong. Let's go talk to them…see if they know where Son is."
"Okay," Bra agreed. They went down and walked silently through the bushes until they got to the clearing.
"It's Son!" Trunks cried in delighted. "And…Chibi Son?"
Bra didn't hear him. She just ran the rest of the way through the underbrush and into the meadow. "Son!" she cried.
Son turned and the expression on his face was a strange mix of total shock and complete joy. "Bra-?" he started to ask.
She jumped into his arms and locked her lips to his. Son's eyes widened, but then he wrapped his arms around her and held her tight.
Goten and Trunks, who had just come out of the shadows, stared at them. Then Trunks looked down at Goten and his jaw dropped even further. "Son?" he asked.
Goten looked startled. "That's my last name," he confirmed. "But I'm Goten. That's Son." He looked back at the couple and grinned in satisfaction. "Well, I was right. He does love her."
"WHAT?" Trunks exclaimed. "My little sister?"
"He loves her. I always thought so, even from the start. Hey, what's your name, by the way?"
"Trunks," he answered.
Goten looked stunned. "TRUNKS? Wow, Mr. Son was right. You don't change much, do you?"
Trunks looked down. "I'm bigger than you, kid," he said.
Goten grinned. "Yeah, but Mr. Son's been training me. And he spars with you. So I'll be able to defend against you, I think, but you don't know my style." He nodded in satisfaction with a smug little smile on his face.
It was times like these, when Son (or Chibi Son, as the case may be) was so insightful that at the times when he was stupid, Trunks couldn't help wondering if he was stupid on purpose.
Son and Bra finally broke apart. Son looked dazed. "Well, what was that for?" he asked in a stunned sort of tone, loosening his grip on her.
"Because I love you," Bra answered softly as she dropped to the ground. "And I know you love me."
Goten tugged on Son's shirt. "Should we leave you alone?" he asked.
They both began to blush. "Um, no, that's okay," Son stammered. He looked around. "Oh, Trunks," he said. "H-how're you?"
"Just fine. Better than you're gonna be in about two seconds."
"I'm sensing some hostility, Trunks."
"Oh, just a bit." Then Trunks grinned. "Well, I'm ready to kill you, but I can't say how glad I am that you're around for me to kill."
Son grinned back. "The feeling's mutual."
"You're glad I'm around to kill you?"
Son ignored that. "How on Chikyuu did you guys get here?" he exclaimed. "When I…left, you were still both in comas."
"I don't know how, but we woke up. We watched the tapes and saw what had happened. Then we managed to figure out Mom's little machine, and here we are."
"Well, I guess we should go introduce you to everybody."
"Starting with him," Bra said firmly, pointing to Goten. "Who is he?"
"Oh, this is Goten," Son said. "Goten, you've probably figured out that these are my friends Bra and Trunks that I told you about."
"Oh, so now her name comes first?" Trunks asked.
"Trunks, her name always came first," Goten told him in a stage whisper.
Goten shrugged. "At least when he talked to me. But come on! I can't wait to show you to Trunks!" he exclaimed. "He'll be especially surprised when he sees you," he told Bra.
Bra looked puzzled. "Why?"
"'Cause our Bra is just a baby. She's, like, six months old or something."
Bra's eyes lit up. "Really? How cool! Let's go meet them!"
They hurried off, Son and Trunks lagging a bit. "Does he know that you're…him?" Trunks asked.
Son shook his head. "No, and don't you tell him. I know we're two different people, but I don't want him to have any kind of pressure to 'live up' to me or anything like that."
Trunks nodded. "Okay, that's cool."
"Hey, are you guys coming?" Bra called from up ahead.
"Yeah, we're coming!" Trunks called back. The two guys grinned at each other and ran after the other two.
Bra hadn't let go of him, Son noted as they got ready to leave. He was packing one-handed, since Bra had a death grip on one of his hands and the expression on her face indicated she didn't intend to let go any time soon. From the moment she'd kissed him to the present moment, she'd only let go of him when absolutely necessary. And he didn't think she'd willingly let him out of her sight at all.
The worst of it was the way Gohan kept looking at them, then at his brother, then at Chibi Bra, then back at them, and shaking his head. It made Son want to scream. He and his Bra weren't the same people as the ones he knew, plain and simple. He fled-with his new skin graft-to his room, where he began packing.
Goten walked in and plopped down on the bed. "You guys definitely have to leave?" he asked.
Son smiled. "If we don't leave, who fights the androids?"
"Can't anyone else?"
Trunks shook his head. "Like he told you, we're all that's left. And our mother isn't even there anymore. We have to go."
"But you'll lose! You'll die!"
"Probably, but that doesn't mean we can't try," Bra told him. "We have to keep them from hurting as many people as we can."
Goten looked up at them in disappointment. "But I don't want you guys to leave!"
Bra reached over and gave him a one-armed hug. "And I know I'd be a lot happier if we didn't have to. But there's not really a choice."
Goten looked up at her and nodded. Suddenly, he began smiling. "You have to go?" he repeated.
"We have to go," Son confirmed.
"Okay, then. I'll miss you." Goten slid off the bed and left.
"Well." Bra looked puzzled. "What was that all about then?"
"I wish I knew. I'm sensing we're gonna want to."
"Because I am him, remember? He's thinking up something that's probably incredibly stupid but will make sense in the strangest way possible."
Bra laughed, leaned over, and kissed him. "I wouldn't have you any other way," she said against his lips.
"Well, now, why don't we discuss that?" he asked and put his arms around her again, but, strangely enough, there wasn't much talking after that.
They were delaying. Putting it off. Shirking. They all knew it, but what was there to hurry to? Almost certain death. In fact, death was certain, whether they stayed or not didn't matter, but they all knew that if they went, death would certainly come quicker.
"We should leave tonight," Trunks said.
Bra and Son looked up in surprise. "Tonight?" she asked.
"Yes, tonight. Look, we've been dawdling here for three days now. I know we can't stop the androids, but just think of all the people they've killed. We could've stopped that-at least, a little of it."
"You're right," Son said quietly. "We have to go. And soon, before we convince ourselves to stay even longer.
Bra nodded. "Yeah. So. Tonight?"
Trunks and Son nodded. "Tonight."