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The Disquiet of the Father

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Vegeta's eyes snapped open, waking from his light sleep. His ki tingled under his skin. Instincts, something the Prince of all Saiyans had once held great pride in, now screamed at him obnoxiously as they had for the past several days. Sighing under his breath, Vegeta sat up and looked to his left. There through the sheer canopy curtains was the other bed in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, occupied by his son from the future.

They had hardly interacted the past two months. Vegeta made sure of that. From the moment the door to the outside world had been shut behind them, the Prince blasted out into the white void to train, kicking the boy away when he tried to follow. The days after consisted of Vegeta falling into a routine of training, eating and sleeping, all while ignoring every attempt the boy made at conversation. Trunks' attempts halted after two weeks and the boy no longer interrupted his training. They had kept to themselves. The few times that they were even in close proximity was when they slept, like now.

Vegeta felt the rise and fall of Trunks' ki, the sharp spikes and dips being the very cause that he awoke. It had been the cause for his lack of rest for over five days. For as much irritation the drowsiness had led to, the frustration he poured out during brutal training gave no more than a flicker now. Vegeta's Saiyan instincts desired to comfort his distressed son. It didn't matter that he had barely interacted with boy since he came to the past. It didn't matter that he had a son here in this present time.

It was unsettling how these unfamiliar emotions had bubbled up.

The last few times when he was awoken, Vegeta quickly left to train. Training was the best way to gain control. But he wouldn't do that this time. Waiting out for Trunks' sleep pattern to return to normal was no longer an option. This had to change.

Vegeta got up, pushing open the canopy curtain to stand between the two beds. Pulling open Trunks' own canopy curtain, he didn't need ki sensing to tell the boy was trapped in the clutches of a nightmare. He was curled onto his side towards his father, lavender locks stuck to sweat drenched skin, youthful face scrunched in pain, teeth clenched. Trunks' hands lightly clawed at the bed sheet, trembling. He was the very portrait of a vulnerable child.

The Prince scowled before giving a solid kick to the young half-Saiyan's stomach.

Trunks woke immediately, scrambling to get out of the sheets, eyes darting around to find a threat. They fell on Vegeta and Trunks stilled his movements. The boy's breathing was quick and harsh, tremors still shaking his frame, but his eyes held firm to meet his father's eyes. Trunks' breathing slowly calmed down as he forcefully controlled his breathing. He looked down at the sheets, eyes closed as he put an arm around his stomach. A moment passed before he looked back to Vegeta.

"Why did you kick me?"

Vegeta contemplating not answering. "To wake you up."

"You didn't have to kick me."

Trunks once more was looking down, frowning at the bed. As ever, the boy was unwilling to confront his father. Vegeta scoffed. "What? Do you expect me to call your name? Grab your shoulder? Waking a sleeping Saiyan shouldn't be taken so lightly, even for a half-breed like you."

"That's – "

Vegeta raised his eyebrow.

"Never mind."

Trunks leaned back against the headboard, running a hand through his hair then gripping the roots. He took a deep shuddering breath. As the boy calmed his body and mind, Vegeta felt Trunks' ki simmer down to a quiet buzz of anxiety. His own instincts still flared.

"What did you dream of?"

"What?"

"Tell me."

Trunks stared stupidly up at his father.

"You've had nightmares for five days now."

"Oh." Trunks shrunk into himself, his bangs falling into his eyes. "Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."

"You're horrible at controlling your ki while asleep."

"Sorry …"

Vegeta stayed silent. Waiting wasn't a difficult thing when he had bided his time for years to get his revenge against Frieza. Trunks didn't look up, but a small turn of his head toward Vegeta told enough. The boy looked away to the other side of the bed.

"They were attacking the nearby city again."

There was no need to elaborate. Vegeta could guess who 'they' where. The androids.

"It was raining, just like when Gohan – … when I turned Super for the first time." Trunks brought his knees up and wrapped his arms around them. "I felt Mom's ki dropping and tried to get to her. But I … "

Vegeta smelled salt.

"But I couldn't get to her. Her ki just went lower and lower till I felt nothing and I – … I failed. Again."

Tears began to fall down the boy's cheeks and drip from his chin and Trunks took a shuddering breath. Then another. And another. The quick, short bursts of inhales where eerily quiet and that unsettled Vegeta. He imagined a small child, sitting tucked away in a dark corner muffling their cries. A small child fighting against the urge to seek comfort from their parent. He imagined this small child teaching themselves to cry alone, lock away pain till they were alone, because that was the only time crying would be safe. Vegeta's hands twitched and he didn't know what to do.

"Trunks."

"I trained so hard back home to keep Mom safe, to keep everyone safe. I trained and trained so that I could stop them from killing more people."

"Trunks."

"But now I'm not there and I can't protect anyone. I'm here in this time to make sure no one has to suffer the same world as mine, but I can't – … How much are they suffering without me? It … I can't – "

Vegeta swiftly sat on the bed next to the boy, placing a hand at the back of Trunks' neck. The younger bowed his head under the weight and curled up tighter. Immediately, Vegeta began running his fingers through the boy's lavender hair, let his instincts take control and wrapped his ki around the other, his son.

"Trunks. It's okay."

"No, it's not."

"It is."

Trunks shook his head. "No."

"Yes," Vegeta stopped to grip his son's hair lightly before continuing. "Yes, It is okay."

"But I'm not there – "

"Doesn't matter. You're here."

Trunks shot his head up and glared straight at his father. "That's what I'm saying! I'm here and not there!"

"And?"

The glare disappeared.

"What makes you so confident that everyone will be dead when you get back? Can you also see into the future as well as travel through time?" Vegeta paused, once more gripping the lavender locks instead of carding his fingers through it. "That word that was written on the side of your time machine. What was it?"

"Hope."

"Exactly."

Letting go of Trunks' hair he leaned back, creating some distance between them but still close enough for his ki to continue its enveloping of his son. Trunks loosened the grip on his legs, ki lessening its distressed flux. The tear stains where bright in color and began to lose their shine as the moisture dried.

"Perhaps, my son, you should believe in the word that gave you the strength to come here."

Trunks looked back down to his lap, sniffing as he rubbed the back of his hands over his eyes. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. "Okay."

"Good."

Vegeta got off the bed and began walking out towards the void, grabbing his white Saiyan armor by his bed.

"Father?"

"Come. These restless nights I've been having are your fault. You're going to spar with me. At the least, you'll serve as a good punching bag." Vegeta halted his steps and looked over his shoulder to his son. "I, however, expect better then that from the son of the Prince of all Saiyans."

Vegeta saw a smile bloom across Turnks' face before he looked forward and continued on his way, reaching the beginning edge of the white void. "Yes, sir! I won't disappoint you Father!"

The smallest raise in the corners of his lips Vegeta decided to ignore. He definitely wasn't feeling happy at hearing the boy stumble to grab his own armor or feeling Trunks' unstressed ki. The Prince of all Saiyans was only looking forward to fighting an opponent who'd help him get stronger.