Categories > Anime/Manga > Dragon Ball Z > Fathers and Sons

chapter 4

by cnewtson 0 reviews

The best place to hide, is in plain sight.

Category: Dragon Ball Z - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Trunks,Vegeta - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2009-07-19 - Updated: 2009-07-20 - 2549 words - Complete

With a thousand lies and a good disguise, hit 'em right between the eyes.

“We’re coming in on the night side of the planet, and we’re landing in a relatively unpopulated area. Why?” Bardock turned from the computer console to look at Trunks, eyebrows raised.

“You’re hoping we’ll be relatively unnoticed.” Succinct, and to the point. Several weeks of space travel with Bardock had taught him to answer questions like that. Come to that, several weeks of space travel had taught him more about the Sayajin culture and mindset then had previously been available on Earth. Know thy enemy, Bulma had said once, but she’d been referring to Vegeta, and not necessarily focused on the basic Sayajin makeup, outside of what would be useful to kill them. Trunks had been completely submerged in the very essence of what it meant to be Sayajin. As a culture, they were simple; there fourteen acceptable ways to die in battle, four acceptable relationships to have with another Sayajin, and technology was just another basic tool for war. Trunks was vaguely reminded of the Spartans, if they'd built an empire.

“Good.” Bardock turned back to the computer console, and landed the ship in silence. Trunks slung his sword over his shoulder, checked the draw, and waited. Bardock had taught him to wait, too, more than his mother ever could. Most Sayajin fought quickly, all brute strength and no thought behind the movement. True, you had to trust the movement, but movement without cause is a waste of energy, a waste of time, and a weakness your enemy can exploit. It surprised Trunks that Sayajin thought so similarly to humans; there was a clearly well-defined self, and clearly well-defined others, and anyone beyond the self was a potential enemy.

He’d been given Sayajin armor, and he’d been taught to fight like a Sayajin; Bardock didn’t explain why it was so important that Trunks blend in. Purple hair and blue eyes not withstanding, Trunks simply did not exude the presence of imminent destruction that had been so prevalent in all the Sayajin he’d ever met. Bardock didn’t seem too despairing; in fact, he seemed to have a well-thought out plan that didn’t need to be vocalized. Trunks swore as the hatch opened, and flung his ki up around himself; they’d landed near the northern polar icecap, on a small landmass separated from the rest of the continents by large red seas.

They stepped out into the pink snow, and Trunks tailed Bardock as the older man zipped away across the night sky. He followed Bardock complaisantly into a large cavern mouth, through the first huge, dark chamber, and then into a smaller, fire-lit chamber beyond. It was warmer here, and sheltered from the wind, but the man sitting at the back of the cave was wrapped in furs. Trunks jolted; he was old, withered and white-haired, obviously Sayajin just from the shape of his eyes and the line of his jaw. Trunks had never even known that a full-blooded Sayajin could have blue eyes.

“Bardock,” the old man greeted, “You brought a friend. Looks like one of mine, but I’ve never laid eyes on him before. My, my, what have you been up to?” and then the old man cackled, manically, and there was a fire in those blue eyes that burned more brightly than intelligence; madness.

“Jardin.” Bardock actually bowed, and Trunks didn’t think Bardock even bowed to Vegeta. “Trunks is a halfbreed, from Earth. I need you to give him the Guarding Moko.”

Jardin cackled again, watching Bardock with an intensity that bordered on obsessive. “My price, my price, what is my price?” and he cackled again, holding out his open palm, waggling his fingers suggestively.

“This,” and Bardock reached into his armor, and pulled out a familiar pouch. Trunks had last seen it tied on Krillins belt, knew that its contents clicked gently like hard candy. Jardin pulled a senzou from the purple bag and licked it carefully, then cackled again.

“Magic beans, Bardock, magic beans!” Jardin didn’t stop cackling for a full minute, just long enough that Trunks could feel his very last nerve begin to grate. Suddenly the madness dropped from the old man, and he turned his still-burning blue eyes on Trunks. “Take off your armor. Strip to the waist.”

The pouch full of senzou disappeared into the furs, and Jardin reached around behind him and pulled a leather satchel onto his lap. He carefully untied the cords, and laid out his tools gently, kissing each item as it came out of the bag before he laid it down in front of him.

Trunks peeled off the armor and pushed the jumpsuit down, leaning armor and sword against the cave wall. He tucked his gloves into the top of his boot, before standing close to the old man.

“Jardin is going to mark you, boy. It’d going to hurt, but when its done, no one will question where you come from. I’ll be back in a day or so; I’m going to see a man about your tail.” Bardock turned and left, and Jardin motioned for Trunks to sit directly in front of him.

Trunks sat with his back to the old man, and only grunted as the other man began tapping the bone chisel into his skin. The ink burned, but not so badly.

Trunks had changed his mind after the first two hours; it hurt, yes, but at least it didn’t hurt as much as the time Gohan and Racine had ganged up on him a few years ago in a sparring match and sent him through a few concrete walls and several feet of packed earth when he wasn’t Super Sayajin. Or that time when Nappa had hit him with a stray ki blast and buried him under a pile of rubble when he was six.

Two hours after that, Trunks changed his mind again; the constant tapping and the burning ink hurt like hell. Worse than any injury anyone had ever given him, and he’d taken light beatings for years in the name of training.

Two hours after that, Trunks passed out from the pain, and Jardin stretched him out flat on his stomach and sat on his lower back while he continued to tap the ink into his shoulders.

When Bardock came back, cradling a large jar under one arm and a tool box in the other hand, Jardin had rolled the halfbreed onto his back, with a piece of fur between his freshly tattooed back and the cold ground. Bardock knelt next to the two of them, and studied the intricate blue lines.

“Jardin,” he spoke softly, just in case, but the old man was too engrossed in his work. “What exactly will he be guarding, Jardin?” Bardock tried to follow the pattern, and got lost in the complex swirl of blue centering over the boys heart.

“Guards this world. Guards own world. Guards father and throne, son and self. Guards my granddaughter. Guards Light. Guards Dark. He is Guardian.” Jardin didn’t look up from his work, and made only a vicious, half-hearted stab at Bardock when the younger man made to touch him.

Bardock sighed, and leaned back against the cave wall with his box and jar, waiting.

When Trunks woke up, his entire torso hurt. He was lying on his stomach, freezing cold, and naked from the waist up. He pushed himself into a sitting position, blinked blearily a few times, and looked down at his chest. The blue lines swirled this way and that, crossing and running together until it hurt to look at them. Trunks tried to pull the jumpsuit up, but decided against it as the material touched the fresh ink and scars, and burned with an unholy passion. He tried standing, and ended up falling flat on his face. He reached behind himself, and touched the base of his spine; it hurt like hell, but there was definitely a tail there. Bardock...Trunks growled low and furiously, baring his teeth in a way he never had before.

Up until then, he’d been mostly human. Bardock had tipped the scales, made Trunks something other than what his mother had intended. There was going to be an explanation, and it was going to be good, as soon as he’d beaten the absolute crap out of the bastard. Jardin was missing, although his scent still lingered in the cave, and Trunks wondered when his sense of smell had gotten so much better. His sword and armor were still leaning up against the wall where he’d left them, and as he made to crawl toward them, he heard Bardock’s footsteps coming toward him. He didn’t rush himself; there would be a beating, all in good time. Prefferably after he'd figured out how to walk again.

He stood carefully, swayed a little, adjusted his stance, and waited. He moved the new appendage from side to side, eyes closed as he focused on the new sensation.

“Trying it out?” Bardock asked, pausing in the entrance way.

“Yeah. A warning would have been nice.” Trunks kept his voice calm and even. Betray nothing.

“Didn’t know if I’d even be able to get it. Norseki do some weird shit by Sayajin standards, but a missing tail is pretty damn hard to explain, especially since you wouldn’t be ashamed about it. As it is, your hair and eyes are easily explained. The tail is all you, though.”

Trunks opened his eyes and craned over his own shoulder, raising his eyebrows at the wriggling purple appendage.

“Mom said it was just a normal brown tail when she had it cut off when I was a baby.”

“I took some of your hair for the DNA sample. Regrown appendages are tricky, and tails never turn out the way they were supposed to. Now, if anyone even notices the scar, you can simply tell them you lost the original in battle, or something.”

“What is Norseki?”

“A tribe of Sayajin who live around these parts. They live by the Old Creed. A normal Sayajin, living in civilized society, has evolved from tribes that originated in the tropical belt. Most of the rest of Vegetasie is uninhabitable, because of the vast deserts. Except the Norseki. They’re pale from the lack of sun, usually with some pretty crazy hair colors. They tattoo themselves, and they have an alarming tendency to keep quiet and think rationally. Any oddity about you beyond those basic stereo types can be easily explained.”

Trunks was quiet for so long that Bardock thought he must be out of questions.

“When will I see my father?”

“In a few days. Gotta give you some time to heal up.” Trunks nodded, carefully walked in a circle around the room, and then flew at Bardock with a roundhouse kick that sent him several feet through solid stone.

Three days later, Bardock was still sporting a black eye and several broken ribs as he lay sprawled in the kings chamber, idly biting a nail as father and son stared at each other contemplatively.

“Bardock, leave us.” And the older Sayajin went quietly, the door clicking softly behind him. “I didn’t think you’d come.”

“Not everyone takes the second chance, no matter how many times its offered.” Trunks shifted awkwardly. “You said you needed Sayajin killed. I can do that just fine. It’s the other part…” Trunks blushed, avoided the dark eyes, and cringed when the king laughed.

“Boy, you’re almost too human,” Vegeta chuckled, sobered, and continued. “Sayajin mate once, for life. If one mate dies, the other will never reproduce.”

Trunks snapped his gaze around and stared hard at his father for a long moment. When he nodded, once, almost imperceptibly, Vegeta went on.

“There’s a girl in there,” the king jerked his chin at a door nearly hidden behind the bulk of a lavish bed, “That I’ve agreed to mate with, for the sake of her father’s alliance. He will be in favor, and she’ll die after the heir is born.” Bardock had at least attempted to explained why the mother of the heir was executed, even though he’d eventually had to condense eight hundred years of history into a simple “The bitch is better off dead.”

“Do I have to do that now?” Trunks knew he sounded desperate, but the odd look Vegeta gave him was worse than the laughter he’d expected.

“Go to her in the dark. Don’t speak at all. Beyond that, it comes naturally, and if it doesn’t, ask one of the harem girls about it. You’ll guard her during the day, when I’m not sending you off to kill my enemies. You’ll train with me each morning, before dawn. Whatever else you do, say as little as possible to anyone else, and try not to kill Nappa just yet.”

Father and son stared at each other for a long moment again, and something close to understanding must have passed between them, because Trunks went through the door and into the waiting arms of a woman he’d never met.

As the red sun first started to peak over the lip of the world, Vegeta sparred with his son for the first time. By high noon, he’d left his son in the company of the intended mother of the heir, who introduced herself as Angerine. By evening, Trunks could see how his days were going to play out on this planet, and wondered if an hour each dawn was worth all the rest.

The days Vegeta sent him out to slaughter the enemy, it seemed to justify itself. The days he spent cooped up with a woman he was supposed to be secretly getting pregnant, brought the doubt back. Until she hit him hard across the mouth, and he caught just a glimpse of blue tattoo across her wrist. She’d kept hitting him, and he only started to fall in love with her because she wouldn’t stop, even long after she’d run out of strength. What had cinched it, though, was the only time she'd ever kissed him in the light of day; she'd pulled back before someone could round the corner and catch them, but the look in her eyes said that she knew. He wasn't that surprised; she'd been smart enough to figure out how to antagonize him to the point of actually shouting back at her, standing nose to nose, just barely catching himself before he went Super Sayajin.

When she did get pregnant, Vegeta wouldn’t have been quite so worried if Trunks had stopped going to her at night; as it was, he wasn’t overly surprised to hear his son begging for her life. And if Bardock hadn’t made that one, tightly veiled comment about wanting to be with his sons again, Vegeta would have killed her anyway.

When one door opens, one door closes, he’d thought at the time, before he’d told Bardock his plan.
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