“Hey, Rai, I was wondering something,”
Trunks said, eating an apple.
Raiko and Bulma both looked up—Bulma from a kneeling position on the floor and Raiko from the chair where she was sitting. Raiko’s shirt was pushed up over her back. “Tendency of the young, I suppose,” she replied with a smile.
“Hey, you’re younger than I am.” He took a bite and began chewing loudly.
She looked at him. “How very observant of you,” she said sweetly. “But what was your question?”
He glared at her for a moment. “Humph. No, my question is about your past.”
“What about it?” The amusement in her eyes faded.
“Well, basically, what do you remember?”
She looked away and her eyes got distant, as if she was looking in the past. “I—it was bad. Bad people were always trying to get … I don’t know who—everyone I loved, I suppose. They had to fight all the time.”
“_They_ had to fight?” Trunks repeated.
“Trunks, where is this going?” Bulma asked sharply.
“Trust me, Kaasan. They fought? You didn’t?”
Raiko shook her head and put her hand around the bruise on her neck. Her hand almost fit perfectly. “No, I never did. At least, I don’t think I did.”
Trunks took another bite. “So, would you like—”
“Don’t talk with your mouth full.”
He swallowed half. “You sound like my mother.”
“I can’t understand you when you talk with your mouth full.”
“So—would—you—like—training?” he enunciated—and took another bite.
Her mouth dropped. “You—you’re _serious_?” she exclaimed.
He swallowed half of his bite. “Why wouldn’t I be?” he asked. “Why is that so surprising?”
“I have no idea, but the idea of you training me shocks me to the very core. Isn’t that funny? But, yes, I’d _love_ training from you.”
“Well, then. I’d be happy to train you.”
“Bulma-sama, may I train?” Raiko asked.
Bulma got up from her kneeling position. “Well …” She blew her breath out. “Trunks, you’ll go easy on her?”
“I won’t let her hurt herself.”
“Remember her back?”
Bulma thought about it. “Then I suppose you can. But we’ll need to find you better clothes, Raiko-chan. Go into the attic—there’s a box with capsules of Trunks’ old clothes.”
“Okay.” Raiko left.
Trunks watched her leave and turned to his mother. “Kaasan, can I ask you something?”
“You can always ask. I can’t guarantee I’ll have an answer.” Bulma began cleaning up the medication.
Trunks hesitated. He wasn’t sure he wanted to tell her this, but he didn’t really have a choice.
“Could she … be your daughter?”
“I assume by ‘she,’ you mean Raiko, and by ‘your daughter,’ you mean in another timeline.”
Bulma sat down and patted the spot next to her. “Trunks, listen to me. She may be a daughter of a Bulma. But she is not _my_ daughter and she is not _your_ sister. _I_ don’t have a daughter. The other Bulma may. I doubt it, though.”
“Because Vegeta—” Here her voice caught and trembled slightly. She steadied it with an obvious effort and continued. “I loved your father. I still love him. I don’t know why. However, I doubt our relationship would have lasted if he hadn’t di—” She pressed her lips together. “If he had lived,” she corrected. “We were too different. We would’ve wound up killing each other. It hurts to think of him, but only because he was torn away from me, and I never had a chance to hate him for being a pig-headed, stubborn, egotistical …” She smiled sadly and seemed to look through her son. “I can list each and every one of his faults, but it never stops me from missing him so badly it can physically hurt.”
Trunks just stared at her.
He’d had no idea his mother felt so deeply about his father.
“Even if we had willingly split up, I don’t think I would’ve gone to anyone else. You were there, a living, breathing reminder of your father. I know you don’t like to hear it, but you are the very best of him, and you look like him, too. After your father had died, I could look at you and see him.”
Trunks smiled at her.
He didn’t like to hear it, but he knew his mother wasn’t trying to make
“I guess she has to be a relative of a Bulma. She looks too much like me to be otherwise. But, if you have feelings for her,” Bulma looked him straight in the eye, “don’t feel like it’s incest. It can’t be, because she’s not related to _us_.”
Trunks grinned. “Good. I’m glad.”
Bulma grinned back. “And why is that?” she asked innocently, but with an impish gleam in her eyes.
“Let’s just say I never really noticed how very, very beautiful you are until just recently.”
“Well, it took you long enough. Now, go train her.”
“Yes, Kaasan.” Trunks kissed her cheek as he passed. “Thank you. Come on, Raiko!” he called into the attic.
“Coming!” she called back. She raced out, wearing some of Trunks’ old overalls. He stared at her for a moment. She had a bra on, but …
“Here, put this on.” Trunks peeled off his jacket and gave it to her. She put it on and it neatly covered up all parts of the female anatomy that Trunks was uncomfortable with. “Okay, let’s go.”
“I’ve been ready.”
“Follow me, then,” he instructed, and they flew out together.