Title: Future Imperfect (part 2)
Fandom: Dragon Ball Z
Character(s): Trunks Briefs, Son Goten, assorted others, some OCs
Word Count: ~16000
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Akira Toriyama does along with assorted others. Actually, I own a couple of the characters but w/e
Warnings: loads of character death
Author's Note: alternate title: WUNDY'S TEARS ARE AN ELIXIR
Summary: after messing around with an invention in Bulma's lab, Trunks and Goten find themselves in a hellish alternate future
Goten got up first as Trunks said he didn’t feel like dealing with their “futuristic bullshit” yet. He gently pressed his forehead against his and got up out of his bedroll.
He was glad he was stuck here with Trunks. Trunks was his best friend. His blood brother. They had gotten through everything together: their mutual comings out, heartache, dying, saving the world, fusion—everything. They could get through this, too.
Goten looked around the civic center and wasn’t surprised to see that everyone else was up. Marron was handing out what looked like those string cheese packets to Din (who had navy-colored hair this morning) and Yanda who stared up at her with kitten expressions. She noticed him, perhaps noticed him watching, and beckoned him over.
“Have some breakfast,” she said, handing him a bagel from the bag she was carrying.
“The grocery stores still work?” he asked as he took it. “They still have power?”
Marron nodded. “Yes. Your d—Goku…made sure they did.”
He allowed himself a small quarter-smile.
“Of course he did.”
Goten nodded his head towards the bagel to thank her and walked over to the other side where Future Trunks was sitting and staring at nothing.
“Hi,” Goten said as he drew near. “So where’s my statue?”
He didn’t answer him at first. He thought that maybe Future Trunks couldn’t hear him so he opened his mouth to try again.
“We’re building Pan’s now,” he answered. “She died last week.”
His stomach dropped and his mind went back to his little niece happily looping her arms around his neck or asking him to train with her. Pan’s sweet little face and the way she made grabbing motions with her hands whenever she wanted Goten to give her a helicopter ride.
“He didn’t kill her,” Trunks continued. “Not personally. She went over as a mole. He found out and tried to get her to tell him where the survivors were or he’d kill her. Pan had a choice between death and our safety or death and us being found. She chose the first one.”
“What do you—?”
“She threw herself off of a building before he could force the information out of her.”
“How can you sound so…so removed?” Goten demanded, seized with the urge to chuck his bagel at him. “So cold?”
Trunks turned his face towards him and looked at him with his good eye.
“Because if I don’t…I’ll lose it,” he responded flatly.
“Oh…” He lowered his eyes.
Goten stared at the bagel in his hand for a distraction. It wasn’t anything special. It was a plain bagel. A bagel designed for some sort of topping like butter or jam or cream cheese. It had no flavor other than the unique flavor of “bagel,” which somehow didn’t taste quite like other breads.
“What about my mom?” he asked, eyes still trained on the bagel.
“Chi-Chi’s alive,” was his curt, desensitized reply. “As far as we know. He’s keeping her in the house on the mountain.”
Trunks mumbled something unintelligible under his breath. Goten looked up sharply.
“Nothing,” he answered. “It’s just…seeing you here.”
“Because you lost your Goten?” he asked. He shifted his gaze to try and gauge Trunks’s reaction.
A muscle in his jaw tensed and his eyebrows narrowed. It was only for a moment—a lapse in his cold and separated veneer—but Goten had known Trunks’s (at least, his Trunks) face his whole life and could detect the slightest change even on this stubble-smeared and one-eyed Trunks.
“Yes,” he said finally. “Because I lost my Goten.”
Trunks knew it was probably stupid for him to sneak out of the civic center and try to get to his destination on his own but he also knew he didn’t care. He was determined to get him and Goten home, no matter the cost.
He walked through Capsule Corps alone. It was a hollow shell. Barely even his home anymore. The only things even still standing were the remains of the laboratory and the room his mother built Tapion all those years ago. He knelt on the floor of the lab, digging through shrapnel and destroyed inventions. He was hoping against hope that it was still in here or even on paper at all. He gave a sideways glance at the sad and defeated computer that slumped in the corner, broken and shattered.
A desk was in the far corner of the lab. Two of the legs were broken, leading it to be tilted at a sharp, forty-five degree angle towards the floor. It was streaked with soot as though burned but, other than that, showed no real damage.
Trunks carefully crawled over to it and eased one of the drawers out. It clattered to the floor of the lab all too loudly. He looked sharply over his shoulder, expecting Goku to appear immediately and blast him to smithereens. Like he did to his parents. Trunks gritted his teeth and his grip tightened on the handle of the drawer. It twisted and broke off in his hand.
He dropped the handle and began sorting through the drawer. There. Trunks grinned to himself and pulled the blueprints out. He made sure he had them all and slid them into the pocket of the yellow and black vest he wore. He stood and turned round to leave only to find himself fact to face with…himself.
Future Trunks stood behind him, looking tense.
“You shouldn’t have gone off alone,” he said coldly. “It’s dangerous. If you bumped into Son…”
Trunks pushed past him, not caring. “I didn’t. Let’s go back now, me. I want to get started on this thing to get me and Goten home.”
“Do you love him?” Future Trunks asked.
“What do you mean?” He slowly turned back round to face him.
“Goten,” he continued. “Do you love him? As more than a friend?”
He let a smirk twitch onto his face. “Shouldn’t you know? Aren’t you me?”
“Answer the question.”
Trunks patted the blueprints in his pocket and sighed. Answering Future Trunks would get him back to the civic center faster where he could start working on that time machine for him and Goten.
“Yes, I love him,” he replied. “When I see him, it’s hard for me to think about anything else but wanting to kiss him and hold him. I want to be with him. But, y’know, worried about ruining our friendship.”
“I had similar concerns.”
He rolled his eyes. “Is this where you tell me to tell him my true feelings because you never got to tell your Goten yours before he died?”
The way he spoke that singular word: at once cold and empty and full and sad. It made Trunks’s spine fuse and made him pay attention.
“You should tell him,” he continued. “But my Goten and I were indeed lovers. I loved him dearly.”
“I’m sorry that he’s dead, then,” he replied, feeling his chest tighten in empathy for his future self.
Future Trunks looked out up into the sky above them and didn’t answer at first.
“I miss him,” he said to the sky.
Trunks wasn’t sure he was even speaking to him anymore. He couldn’t blame him. Nor could he blame his cold and calculated word choices. He had lost the love of his life—his Goten. No wonder he was trying to emotionally separate himself from anything. He pressed his hand against his chest. He felt through the blueprints folded into his vest and the thin black shirt he wore under it. Through the skin and muscles and bones to his heart. He closed his eyes.
He couldn’t imagine what he would do if he lost Goten.
Goten flew low through the city. Future Trunks had advised him to keep his ki suppressed but he was barely putting forth anything at the speed he was going. He was just looking for Trunks. Even if his best friend was keeping his own ki suppressed, he could find him. They knew each other’s ki. No matter how long it was, they were finely attuned to finding one another.
Why did Trunks leave? Goten looked down at his hand and frowned at the TB still etched into it. He wondered if Future Trunks still had SG carved into his own palm under his fingerless gloves. He clenched his fist.
Where was Trunks? Why did he leave without telling him? Didn’t he know he could be killed?
His heart hurt for him. Trunks—his Trunks. He wanted him to be okay. He needed him. Loved him.
Goten stopped. Loved him? Where had that come from? He closed his eyes as he started up flying again. No, he knew where it came from. If he wasn’t sure before, he was now: he loved Trunks. He was totally arse-over-elbow in love with him. He wondered if in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic wasteland caused by his father would be a good place to tell him.
He was still flying when he detected a ki directly in front of him. It was strong but not entirely overwhelming. Even so, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Goten swallowed thickly, knowing whose ki it had to be.
It felt different than his father’s back home. Then again, whatever corrupted him could have warped the way his ki felt. Goten didn’t know. No one seemed to know what made his father go evil but a sinking feeling in him stomach made him realize that he was probably soon to find out.
He could have turned tail and flew back to the civic center but that would lead his father right to the others. No, Goten just pressed on. Part of him, anyway, wanted to see the monster that had been his father.
Goten spotted him ahead. He was moving towards him, the pinprick of his form growing larger.
“So he’s spotted me, too,” he murmured.
They drew close to one another and Goten stopped. The figure in front of him had his father’s hair and his father’s build but he was not his father. The face was nearly identical but there were differences that only Goten could catch.
The freckle above his upper lip. The scar over his left eyebrow from when he tried making a pterodactyl baby his best friend as a child.
His body began shaking all over as he took in the face and form of who was responsible for all of this destruction. Who killed everyone. Pan. Trunks’s parents. This murderer who had caused survivors to hide in broken-down buildings and live in fear. This murderer who Trunks and all of them said was his father. Goten knew that face. He had tried hours and hours to desperately examine that face in the mirror, looking for subtle differences. Goten swallowed as he stared at this monster.
As he stared at himself.
- [fic] ; Future Imperfect (part 2)