CHAPTER FOUR
 °»You did good,°… Trunks complimented Marron at the end of their session as he carried her home.

        °»Good?  Or not,°… Marron replied, discouraged. °»You kicked my butt and wiped the floor with it.°…

        °»Well, Marron, I°«m quite a bit better than you are.°…

        She sighed. °»Oh, I know.  And I knew you would win.  It was just a bit depressing at how _easily_ you won.°…

        °»It improves you.  Seriously.  You lose, you don°«t want to lose, you fight harder to win.  And I predict in two weeks you will be flying on your own.°…

        Marron grinned at him. °»Thank you.  That makes me feel better.°…

        °»I live to serve.°… Trunks set her down gently.

        °»Will you go get my backpack?  It°«s under the sink in the downstairs bathroom.  I°«ll change somewhere else.°…

        °»Yeah, no problem.°… He went in and came back out with it. °»Here you go.  I°«ll see you on Thursday, all right?°…
        She went on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. °»Thank you, Trunks.  °«Bye.°…

        °»See you.°…

        Marron climbed on her motorbike and hurried to a gas station.  She refilled the bike and changed back into her school clothes.  She winced when she saw the bruise on her leg. °»How can I hide this?°… she muttered, tugging at her socks. If she pulled them all the way up, she could cover it, but, as Goten had once put it, that was °»oh-so-dorky.°…  Still, better dorky than regrounded, so she went out and rushed home.

        °»Hello?  Tousan?  Kaasan?  Is anyone home?°… she called.

        °»Marron-chan!  Where have you been?°…

        °»Oh.  Jisan Kenji.°… Marron attempted a smile. °»What are you doing here?°…

        °»Uh-uh.  I asked you first.°…

        °»I was with a friend.  We were just hanging out.  Now you.°…

        °»Azami invited me to stay over again.°…

        Marron smiled. _What°«s wrong with me?_ she wondered._Jisan Kenji hasn°«t done anything that would imply he°«s anything but great and I keep feeling like I need to be on guard with him.  What°«s wrong with me?_

        °»Marron-chan, are you all right?°…

        °»Of course, Jisan.  Uh, where are Kaasan and Tousan?°…

        °»They went to the mainland to buy groceries.  Just the two of us.°…

        °»Wonderful.  Uh, I°«m just going to go up to my room now, all right?  Will you tell them I°«m home, you know, if I don°«t hear them come in?  You°«re the best.°… She fairly ran upstairs, locking the door behind her._Okay, so Jisan Kenji is a math teacher.  It°«s not like he°«s evil or anything!  Chill out, girl!_
        Still, she couldn°«t bring herself to unlock the door until she heard Jinzouningen Azami °«s voice calling for her.

        °»Marron, where have you been?°… she demanded.

        °»Just hanging out, Kaasan, with one of my friends.°…

        °»Which one?  Marron, you had us worried sick?we had no idea where you were.°…

        °»Oh, I°«m sorry.  I°«ll call next time.°…

        °»You do that.°… Jinzouningen Azami appeared not to notice her daughter didn°«t specify what friend°«s house she was at. °»Okay, help put these groceries away, please.°…

        °»Sure, Kaasan, no problem.°… Marron went out and took two of the bags out of the car.

        °»Wow, Marron-chan, you sure are strong!°… Kenji commented when she came back in.

        °»Oh, not really.  These bags aren°«t that heavy, but thank you.°…

        Kenji took them from her. °»And you said you didn°«t have any powers,°… he teased.

        °»But I don°«t,°… she protested. °»I°«m going to go get another bag, all right?°… Marron left before waiting for a response.
Jinzouningen Azami followed her out. °»Marron, what°«s going on with you?°…

        °»Going on?  Kaasan, nothing.°…

        Jinzouningen Azami grabbed her arm. °»Marron, you were unnecessarily rude to your uncle.  He was justcomplimenting you!°…

        °»What°«s necessary rudeness?°… Marron asked without thinking.  Her hand flew to her mouth. °»I can°«t believe I?°…

        Jinzouningen Azami °«s face flushed in anger and she pulled her daughter up. °»Marron, that was-was?°…

        Marron tried to keep her balance. °»Kaasan, I°«m so sorry.  Sorry.  I don°«t know why I said that.  I°«m sorry.  I really am,°… she babbled. Jinzouningen Azami glared at her then shoved her away roughly. °»You will apologize to Kenji now,°… she said.

        °»Yes, Kaasan.°… Marron looked down at her forearm.  A bruise in the shape of her mother°«s hand was beginning to form.  Marron was shocked?her mother had never done anything like that before.  She numbly walked inside and up to her uncle. °»Jisan Kenji, I°«m sorry for what I said.  It was rude.  I°«m just a bit tired right now, but that°«s no excuse.°…

        °»It°«s perfectly all right, Marron-chan.  I understand.°…

        °»Thank you.°… Marron turned. °»Tousan, may I go to my room?  Will you tell me when dinner°«s ready?°…

        Krillin grinned at her. °»Sure, no problem.°…

        Marron smiled a small smile. °»Thank you.°…

        °»Marron-chan?°…

        She turned. °»Yes, Tousan?°…

        °»What happened to your arm?°…

        Her eyes flickered towards her mother, then returned to her father. °»I, uh, hurt it.°…

        °»Well, that°«s obvious.°…

        °»It-I just°ńit°«s nothing.°…

        °»Are you sure?°…

        °»Positive.°…

        °»All right.  Dinner°«ll be ready in about half an hour.°…

        Kenji followed her upstairs. °»Marron, what really happened?°… he asked. °»Did someone hurt you?°…

        °»No, no.  I just°ńfell.  Forget about it.°…

        °»Marron°ń°…

        °»Jisan Kenji, I would really like to lie down for a little while, so could we continue this discussion after dinner?  I°«d really appreciate it.°…

        °»All right.  I°«ll talk to you then.°…

        °»I°«ll look forward to it.°…

***

        °»Marron-chan, I need to know if you°«re all right with me,°… Kenji said.

        °»Of course I am.  Why wouldn°«t I be?°…

        °»You seem uneasy around me, Marron-chan.°…

        Marron thought fast. °»Well, maybe a bit.  It°«s just a bit of a shock, but I am unbelievably thrilled that Kaasan has found her little brother.°…

        Kenji nodded. °»Oh, I understand.  That makes sense.  I°«m glad we got everything out in the open.°…

        °»Well, yeah, of course.  It just makes everything better for us.°… She got up to go.

        °»Marron-chan?°…

        °»Yes, Jisan Kenji?°…

        °»What would you think if I lived here?°…

        She stared at him. °»Are you going to?°…

        °»Neechan invited me to, but I need to know you°«ll be okay with it.  I don°«t want to make you uncomfortable.°…

        Marron shrugged. °»I might a little bit, but that°«s just natural.  It would be great if you were here; it would make Kaasan so happy.°…

        °»Good.  I°«ll tell her tomorrow, then.  Well, I better get home.°…

        °»Okay, °«bye.°… Marron went into her room and sighed.  She didn°«t trust Kenji, something in her went immediately on guard the minute he walked in any room she was in.  Marron went to the window and opened it.  She climbed out and sat on the roof.  She wondered if she could fly.  She _had-_ to fly, and soon.  Maybe if she knew she could fight Kenji, she would feel better.
        She stepped over to the edge and looked over.  There were bushes down there; it wouldn°«t necessarily hurt if she fell.  Was it worth the risk?

        She stepped off.

        She didn°«t hit the ground.

        Marron opened her eyes and looked down.  She°ńon her own°ńwas flying.  She experimentally attempted raising
herself and was overjoyed when it worked. °»I°«m flying,°… she whispered. °»I°«m _flying_!°…
        She went even higher and flew around the island a couple of times. °»I can°«t believe this!  I°«m actually flying.  Me, flying!°… She stopped as a thought occurred to her.  She grinned and headed for the mainland.

***
        Trunks woke up to the sound of tapping on his window. He rolled over, looked out, and fell out of his bed.

°»Ma-Ma-Ma-Marron?°… he finally got out as he opened the window.

        She grinned at him. °»Yes!  Look, I can fly!  I flew here!°… She laughed delightedly.

        °»Shh,°… Trunks cautioned. °»Bra would this is enchanting, but my parents would be less-than-thrilled.°…

        °»Oh, sorry.  I had to tell someone, though.  I stepped off the roof?°…

        °»You _what_?°… Trunks exclaimed.

        °»Shh!  I, uh, I st?stepped off the°ńroof.°…

        He just looked at her.

        °»I, uh, I didn°«t fall,°… she said brightly.

        °»That much is obvious,°… he replied flatly.

        She rolled her eyes. °»Trunks, don°«t even get on my case.  I°«ve seen some of the things you and Goten have
done.°…

        Trunks flushed slightly. °»But we°«re--°…

        She shook her head. °»Oh, no.  You can°«t use °∆We°«re Saiyajins°« or °∆We°«re guys.°«  At least, you can°«t on me.  I do not fall for that.°…

        °»Okay, okay.  Sorry.°… Trunks grinned. °»Wow, you flew all the way here?°…

        °»Yep.  It was so cool.  I was up in the air°ńall by myself.  No one was holding me or anything.  It was the greatest!°…

        °»So I guess that makes me kind of redundant, huh?°…

        Marron looked up at him in surprise. °»Redundant?  Oh, you mean because I can fly on my own.°… She looked down, then back up. °»Well, I still wouldn°«t mind coming over to visit you every Tuesday and Thursday.°…

        Trunks°« expression was so comical that Marron couldn°«t help laughing. °»Really?  You still want to come over?°…

        Marron lightly punched him. °»I don°«t kiss just anyone, Trunks,°… she said. °»I don°«t kiss guys I don°«t like.°… She suddenly looked uncertain. °»Do?do you want me to still come over?°…

        He gave her his most incredulous look. °»Of course I do!  Don°«t be ridiculous!°…

        She grinned at him. °»That gives me the most incredible feeling of exuberance you wouldn°«t even believe to hear you say that.°…

        °»Why?°…

        Marron thought it over. °»Probably because the idea that you like me is still unbelievable.°…

        °»Why?°… he repeated.

        Her most incredulous look was ten times more incredulous than his was. °»Let°«s see, you°«re a twenty-four-year-old millionaire and you like me, a seventeen-year-old high school senior?°…

        Trunks stared at her. °»I had no idea you felt that way, Marron.°… He put his hands on her shoulders and looked deep into her eyes. °»Don°«t.  You are a gorgeous, smart, funny, brave, beautiful woman.°… Marron wasn°«t quite sure how to respond. °»Well°ńthank you, Trunks.°…
        °»No, I mean it.  I hadn°«t even really thought about the fact that you°«re seventeen.  Am I supposed to care?°… Trunks bent and kissed her.

        Marron blinked in surprise and kissed him back. °»Wow,°… she said when they broke apart. °»I had no idea
you felt _that_ strongly.°…

        °»How could I not?°…

        Marron couldn°«t help grinning. °»That is unbelievable.°…

        °»You already said that,°… Trunks reminded her.

        °»Well, it still is.  In fact, it°«s even more unbelievable.°…

        Trunks shook his head. °»I can°«t believe you.  You°«re so smart, yet you have this strange inferiority complex.°… He kissed her again and didn°«t pull away until he was absolutely dying for air. °»Do you believe me now?°…
        All Marron could do was nod.  Her mouth was half-open and her eyes were unfocused. °»Um, I?I better g-go.  It-it°«s late,°… she got out.

        °»Are you okay?°…

        °»Uh-huh.  Don°«t worry about me.°… Marron turned and climbed out the window.  She turned back. °»This feels weird.  I know I won°«t fall, but°ń°… And she let go. Trunks had to restrain himself from jumping after her and pulling her back in. °»You okay?°…

        She nodded. °»Good night, Trunks.  Sleep well.°…

        °»You too.°… He watched her until she became a tiny speck on the horizon.


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